September 23, 2011

The Odd Couple Eats featured on and Vegan MoFo 411

Awesome news! The lovely people over at have named The Odd Couple Eats as one of the "14 Best Cooking Blogs of the Moment"! What an honor to be alongside such legends as The Pioneer Woman, The Gluten-Free Girl, and my own personal favorite, Cake Wrecks!  (Hey, maybe I'll try to veganize one of those beautiful dessert monstrosities someday...)

Also, maybe you've seen that cute little orange logo on the right-side of my page? The one that screams "VEGAN MOFO 2011!"? For those of you not familiar, Vegan MoFo refers to "Vegan Month of Food". Each year, vegan food bloggers sign-up and pledge to blog every single day for an entire month (or as close to every single day as you can get). It's like NaNoWriMo but waaaaay yummier. This is a chance for our ragtag community to flex our cooking muscles, whip up some crazy delicious food, and stretch the limits of what "food blogging" can mean. I'm stoked! 

This year, Vegan MoFo takes place throughout October and it's my first year participating.  I've been trying to dream up some awesome themes to work with throughout the month and I think I'm gonna do a different theme for each day of the week: Sunday - Brunch Recipes; Tuesday - Dinner on the Cheap; etc. Any ideas out there you'd love to see me tackle? Just post them in the Comments section below! One blog is doing a whole month of True Blood themed food (ewww)!

That's all for now, my little veggie dumplings! Have a splendid Friday!

September 20, 2011

Recipe - Sesame Soba Noodles with Daikon and Veggies

After the sugar rush and inevitable crash that were my Brown Sugar Peach Muffins last weekend (delicious but dangerous!), I went into the week wanting nothing but healthy, happy foods. I had a strange mixture of veggies from an earlier grocery store excursion that I wanted to use up and the idea of a simple noodle bowl came to mind. I have been loving soba/udon noodles lately! They cook so quickly and take on the taste of whatever you toss in with them. I'm still trying to avoid any aggressive flavors (spicy, onions, garlic, etc) due to el acido refluxo, so sesame seemed like a natural fit. I kept seasoning each component until I put them all together and voila! A yummy and super nutritious dinner was born! I always know I really like a meal I've made when I can eat the leftovers for lunch two days in a row and still be excited about it.

I was introduced to the magic root veggie known as "daikon" a couple months ago when I made the recipe for Braised Daikon from "The Kind Diet". I had never eaten it before and I was totally blown away! Daikon looks like a giant white carrot and when it's raw it tastes like radish. But when you cook it, it becomes sweet and almost tangy. It's totally delicious on it's own or incorporated into a meal. Daikon is also well-known for its detoxifying properties. It can help clear up colds, aid in digestion, and is even a hangover remedy.

Johnny really seemed to like this dinner even though it contained the dreaded cooked greens! He actually confessed to me last night that he's starting to like them. Hahaha I win again!

Sesame Soba Noodles with Daikon and Veggies
Serves 4

1 kabocha or butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1" cubes
1/2 bag of peeled baby carrots (organic!)
2 tbsps toasted sesame seed oil
1 tbsp shoyu (or soy sauce or tamari)
1 tbsp sesame seeds or gomasio

1 large daikon, skinned and cut into 1/2" thick rounds
water to cover
1/4 cup mirin
1 tsp shoyu (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 large bunch collard greens, ribs removed and sliced into ribbons
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tsp (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 package buckwheat soba noodles or noodle of your choice

Begin by placing shiitake mushrooms in a bowl and covering with very warm water. Set aside and let soak for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large glass baking dish, toss the squash and carrots with the sesame seed oil, shoyu, and sesame seeds. Cover loosely with foil and cook for 40-45 minutes or until very tender. You can remove the foil during the last 10 minutes of cooking to brown the veggies a bit.

Placed your daikon rounds into a large skillet and cover almost completely with water. Add the mirin and shoyu and stir. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Continue simmering for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice, until all the liquid is absorbed. If the liquid is taking too long to absorb, remove the lid and allow it to evaporate.

In a large soup pot, toss your collard greens with a bit of water and shoyu. Cook covered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the greens are just about tender (about 10 minutes). Take the soaked shiitake mushrooms and remove the hard stems and discard. Cut the mushrooms into smaller pieces then toss in with the greens. Continuing cooking for another five minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.

Rinse out the soup pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil and add the soba noodles. Cook according to package instructions (4-6 minutes is the norm). Drain and return to the pot. Drizzle a bit of toasted sesame seed oil and some shoyu over the top and sprinkle in some sesame seeds. Toss together.

Divide the noodles between four bowls then top with all the veggies. (I cut my daikon rounds into fourths when they were done cooking.) 

September 14, 2011

We have a winner!

All good things must come to an end and it seems as though the official deadline for entering my Gardein Giveaway has passed. Nothing left to do but pick a winner! (The winner was determined using Let me set the mood for you...

I feel like the freakishly tall and emaciated teenage daughter of an aging celebrity who has been chosen to be Miss Golden Globe. I've been handing out awards all night, my feet are aching, and my lips are sticking to my dry teeth from smiling so much.  Navigating the slippery stage in my floor-length clingy dress and my 18" heels has been no easy feat, but I've managed not to fall thus far. Finally, the biggest award of the night is about to be handed out. My hands are sweating as I clutch an envelope filled with Gardein coupons. Alec Baldwin takes the stage and announces the nominees. I feel like I may pass out from excitement (or maybe the 12 champagne cocktails I had before the show and the hot television lights beaming from overhead). Finally, Alec opens the envelope and reveals the name of the winner of the 2011 Odd Couple Eats Gardein Giveaway.... it's....


"andrea said...
I'm following you on facebook and twitter, too. Woohoo : )!"

Congratulations, Andrea! You will soon have coupons for three free Gardein products of your choice, three coupons for $1 off any product, and the cute little Gardein herb matches! Please email me at with your address and I will get everything in the mail to you a.s.a.p.!

Thanks to everyone who entered! This will definitely not be the last giveaway I host, so be sure to check back often. Coming tomorrow: my healthy and super tasty recipe for Sesame Soba Noodles with Braised Daikon and Veggies! Have a great Hump Day!

September 12, 2011

Recipe - Brown Sugar Peach Muffins

Hi guys and gals, Happy Monday! Did you all have nice weekends? We met up with some friends on Friday night, went out for a date on Saturday night, and spent Sunday curled up at home watching the 9/11 ceremony and some movies on TV. A pretty relaxing time overall.

The restaurants we ate at this weekend were magical! On Friday we went to Rice, an adorable little place on Elizabeth Street in Nolita. Our friends introduced us to it awhile back and it's been our standard meeting place ever since. Their food is simple and comforting and you get to choose from about 10 different kinds of rice with your main dish! I got an order of the Spinach Rice Balls: rice and spinach formed into balls, then dipped in breadcrumbs, fried, and covered in a zesty tomato/cumin sauce. If I don't have this dish every so often, I'm liable to have a meltdown, so to say I liked it would be an understatement.  Johnny, who usually gets the Chicken Satay, opted this time for the Chicken Kebabs with Lebanese rice, grilled pita and steamed veggies and he loved it all! Other choices around the table were the Vegetarian Meatballs (I've had these before and they're goooood!), Thai Coconut Curry, Baked Black Beans, etc. I highly recommend Rice, it's perfect for a group of mixed eaters.

Saturday we went to the famed Angelica Kitchen in the East Village. I've heard that celebs frequent this spot a lot, but their menu is what tempted me. Since I've been trying to eat cleaner, healthier food, I love that their ingredients are so fresh and non-processed. They are a vegan restaurant that's been open since 1976 and the server told us that they were originally macrobiotic. Over the years they've phased out some of those principles, but they've kept others (like no soda or ice in their drinks, which Johnny was not too pleased about). The restaurant itself is gorgeous and has lots of character, as does everyone who works there. I was noticing they even have a large communal table where parties of 1 or 2 people can sit and chat with strangers while they eat their meal.

But on to the food...  Oh yes, the food... mmmmm. We started with the Agrarian Salgado appetizer, "Baked rounds of mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and herbed seitan, with a basil-walnut pesto center; topped with dill-tofu sour cream & garnished with piquant marinated kale." Sounds fussy, but it was so tasty! Plus, proceeds of this app go to Friends of the Brazilian Landless Workers' Movement - what more can you ask for?

For my main, I had one of the nightly specials, a casserole of beets, mushrooms, collard greens, onion, etc. topped with puffed pastry and served on a carrot coulis. It was every bit as yummy as it sounds! I am going to try to recreate it at some point, so keep on the lookout for that. On the side was an equally dazzling green lentil salad with walnuts and roasted cherry tomatoes in a light vinaigrette. This is the stuff of my food dreams! So simple and so satisfying.

Johnny took my suggestion and ordered the Tempeh Reuben Sandwich with a side of Mashed Potatoes in Brown Rice Gravy. (Bless him, he's such a sport!) He liked the sandwich okay, but the bread was not toasted or grilled, so it was definitely the healthiest version of a Reuben I've ever seen. However, he inhaled those Mashed Potatoes like he was in some sort of contest! I managed to steal one bite and they were pretty freakin' delicious. We will definitely be back to Angelica, I'm dying to try their daily Norimaki, their Dragon Bowl, and any of their daily specials. One of their dessert specials tonight is an Apple Chamomile Kanten Parfait with Maple Tofu Whip. How spectacular does that sound?! 

Anyway, onto the recipe of the day. I am still making my way through the fruit we picked at the farm last weekend, so I decided to make the Brown Sugar Peach Muffins from the Post Punk Kitchen. I'm so glad I did! These were easily the best muffins I have ever made. They were sweet, but not too sweet, crunchy on top, moist inside and the warm chunks of ripe summer peaches were just... divine. Since the recipe is available on-line, I will re-post it here with the substitutions I made. These originally called for spelt flour which makes them gluten-free, but sadly I only had regular flour on hand. Let me know if you make these with spelt and how they turn out! Oh, and I thought the recipe made way too much batter at first, but you can really load up your muffin tins with the batter as they don't rise too much.

What a cute couple!

Brown Sugar Peach Muffins
(From The Post Punk Kitchen with changes)
Makes 12 muffins

2 1/2 cups spelt flour (I used 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
3/4 cup brown sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup almond milk (I used So Delicious Coconut Milk [not the canned kind])
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chopped peaches (I removed the skin, but can leave them on)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a muffin tin or use muffin liners.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. Make a well in the center and add the applesauce, almond milk, vinegar, canola oil and vanilla. Stir with a wooden spoon until mostly combined. Add the peaches and combine until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

Scoop batter into muffin tins, they will hold their shape a little bit if you use an ice cream scoop. The batter should almost fill the entire tin. Sprinkle one or two teaspoons of brown sugar on top of each. Bake for 28 to 32 minutes, or until a toothpick or butter knife inserted through the center comes out clean (mine took 32 minutes). Let cool for a few minutes in the tin then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely, or just flip them up in the tin to cool, as shown above.

September 10, 2011

Vegan Apple Crumb Pie, Twitter, and Contest Reminder!

Lots to talk about today. Let's start with the recipe. So I've been trying to be really healthy and cut out all processed foods, sugar, gluten, etc. And I've been doing a good job and feeling excellent as a result. (Hello, energy! Where have you been all my life?) So, I really failed at life when I made this pie, but we had so many apples from visiting that farm last weekend and can you honestly refrain from making apple pie when you have a bunch of golden/red perfectly ripe Gala apples staring you down? Yeah, I didn't think so. Not to mention Johnny specifically requested an Apple Crumb Pie, and he's been so good about eating all my bean/rice concoctions lately that I had to give him what he wanted just this one time.

Some crates at the farm. I could live in there. 
I'd never really made a pie from scratch before. It seems like more of an East Coast-Yankee thing to do. My family wasn't really so into the whole baking thing, unless you count my Uncle Ernie's baklava which was LEGENDARY. I was a little intimidated to make my own crust and while the crust dough was super crumbly and had to be pressed into the bottom of my pie plate rather than rolled out, it baked up great and held together well. The apple filling is outrageously good - crispy, cinnamon-y and everything an apple pie should be - and the crumb topping... wowza! The hint of nutmeg is reminiscent of egg nog and the crumbs added the perfect crunch. Top it off with some non-dairy vanilla ice cream or vegan whip if you know what's good for you! This pie would be right at home on any Thanksgiving table and I swear your hardcore meat-eating family won't even know the difference!

Johnny was super stoked about this pie and said it was the best pie he's ever had, but that could have been the sugar talking. That's the trick: you feed someone nothing but kale and quinoa for awhile and then anything different you cook will be "the best thing ever!" Tricky.

Guess who finally joined Twitter? That's right, I finally caved in to yet another social media platform. I'm still not entirely sure I understand the point of Twitter, but it can be tough to promote this blog and if it helps me do that, it'll be worth it. Blogs are a labor of love, y'all! Most of us never get paid a cent and do it just for the love of writing/ photography/ oversharing info about our lives. :-)  You can follow me on Twitter @OddCoupleEats.

Just a reminder about the Gardein Giveaway! You only have until Tuesday to enter. If you follow me on Twitter that'll be yet another way to enter to win. Make sure you add a comment to the original contest post letting me know you're following me. Tell your family and friends about it, too, Gardein products really are delicious and getting three for free is an amazing deal! Now, onto the sinful and lip-smacking pie recipe...

A little monochromatic, but you get the idea...

Vegan Apple Crumb Pie
(Based on this recipe by Baked by Rachel)
Serves 8

Crust ingredients:
1 1/4C flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp cold Earth Balance
4-6 tbsp ice water

In a food processor blend flour, sugar, salt and Earth Balance. Blend until Earth Balance bits are pea size or smaller. Begin adding 1 tbsp ice water at a time until you reach the consistency you are happy with (mine was pretty crumbly, but this worked out fine). Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour. *Alternately you can mix everything together by hand with forks or a pastry blender.

Filling ingredients:
5 1/2-6C apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used 4 Gala Apples)
1/2C brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla
1/2-1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. Peel and slice apples. Transfer apple slices to a large bowl with dry ingredients. Top off with vanilla and lemon juice. Toss to coat apples well. Set aside for 10-15 minutes while you prep the dough.

Roll out dough accordingly to fit your desired pie dish. If the dough is too crumbly to roll out, transfer it to the pie plate and press into the bottom of the plate and about halfway up the sides. If you can roll out the dough, make it 2-3" larger than your pie plate, transfer it to the plate and press along the bottom and sides, then trim any excess. 

Topping ingredients:
1 1/4C flour
1/2C brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2C Earth Balance, melted

In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Pour cooled melted Earth Balance into bowl. Toss and cut until small to medium sized chunks form. Break up large chunks as needed. Using a spoon, sprinkle crumb topping over entire pie.
Cover pie loosely with foil. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and continue baking for an additional 35 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes and enjoy!
He liked it!

September 7, 2011


Hello, my little peppers! Hope everyone had a fantastic Labor Day weekend! Johnny and I went up to Connecticut to visit his brother Patrick, his wife Lisa, and their adorable baby, Ethan. It was so much fun! Connecticut is so darn beautiful, it was lovely to be out in the fresh air, enjoying nature. We went to a farm and picked apples, pears and peaches; we visited Little Italy in New Haven; we checked out the area around Yale where "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was filmed; and we watched Ethan's favorite movie "Rio" - he bops his little feet in time to the music, it slays me! 

Anyway, I'm bursting with excitement to announce my first ever GIVEAWAY! Regular readers will know that I've been singing the praises of Gardein products for awhile now. I  use their Chick'n Scallopini in my recipe for Chick'n Noodle Ssssoup and their Seven Grain Crispy Tenders in my recipe for Crispy Chick'n Salad with Creamy Dijon Dressing. I'm not a huge advocate of fake meats or convenience foods, but Gardein is the exception. Their ingredients are lovely: non-GMO soy, wheat and pea proteins, vegetables and ancient grains; all their products are totally vegan; they are great sources of protein (complete protein at that) and fiber and contain no cholesterol or trans fats. And the best part is that they taste AMAZING. Seriously, head and shoulders above any other faux meat option I've tried.

So, do I have your attention yet? Good! So let's talk about this giveaway. The nice people at Gardein have provided me with some awesome coupons for one lucky reader of The Odd Couple Eats. The winner will receive coupons good for three (3) free products of their choice as well as three (3) coupons for $1.00 off any product! You'll also receive some cute little Gardein Herb Matches which can be planted and will then sprout into fresh herbs. I don't know how much Gardein costs in your area, but here in NYC it's generally about $8 per product so these coupons mean big savings! They can be used on any Gardein product such as The Ultimate Beefless Burger, Buffalo Wings, Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick'n, and their new refrigerated products like Chick'n Marsala, BBQ Pulled Shreds, or Sante Fe Good Stuffs.

There are a few different ways to enter and the more times you enter, the better your chances of winning! To enter the giveaway: 

1. Become a follower of The Odd Couple Eats with your Google Account, then leave a comment on this post telling me you did so.

2. "Like" The Odd Couple Eats on Facebook, then leave a comment on this post telling me you did so.

3. Write a post about my giveaway on your blog or website and link back to this post, then leave a comment on this post and include the link to your site.  

4. NEW WAY TO ENTER: Follow @OddCoupleEats on Twitter, then leave a comment on this post telling me you did so!

*The comment you leave on this post is your official entry, so don't forget that step.* If you already follow me on Google and/or Facebook, don't fret! You can still enter by leaving a comment on this post for each way that you follow me. This contest is open to everyone and I will mail the coupons internationally if you don't live in the U.S. I'm spreadin' the love worldwide!

Entries are due by 12:00am EDT on Tuesday, 9/13/2011. I will then pick a random winner  on Tuesday, 9/13/2011 and announce it here on The Odd Couple Eats. If you enter, be sure to check back that day to see if you won!

Good luck everyone!

***UPDATE: The giveaway is officially closed. Congratulations to Andrea!***

September 5, 2011

Recipe - Between Seasons Pasta

I don't mean to brag here, but I've been feeling the first tinges of Autumn in the New York City air these past few days. We survived a hurricane so maybe the payoff is an early Fall? It's been positively brisk on my morning walks to the subway and we've been able to turn off our A/C a few times and not immediately dissolve into sweat puddles. Huzzah! Being from Arizona, I'm not used to really experiencing Fall - 80 degree weather can stretch clear into Christmas there - so having access to this season is one of my favorite things about living on the East Coast.

When Tucson did manage to produce a Fall season, it was always my very favorite time of year. Sweaters, scarves, boots, hot tea, baked goods, Halloween movies, blankets, stepping on crunchy leaves ... what's not to love? (Not to mention the Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks that my cousin Kelly lives for and the Thanksgiving sandwiches at Cosi that Johnny could eat by the fistful.) But we're not there quite yet, so I decided to devise a meal that features some of Summer and Fall's best produce. Between Seasons Pasta was born!

I started with some quinoa pasta given to me by my nutritionist. It's made of quinoa flour and corn flour and I wasn't too sure I'd be a fan, but it was worth a shot. I'd bought a few nice looking organic summer zucchini at the store and thought they'd be a nice addition. I then roasted up some cubed sweet potatoes to kick start those familiar autumnal flavors and added some rosemary to further the coziness. I planned on caramelizing an onion for an added punch of flavor, but I didn't have any onions! (I always have onions, WTH?) I could have gone to the store, but wait... what's that hiding in the corner of the crisper drawer? A leek! Can you caramelize a leek? I think I saw someone on Top Chef do it once, though I'm pretty sure they added it to panna cotta or something weird.

Anyway, as you can see this was truly an off-the-cuff dinner and the results could have gone either way, but MAN ALIVE did it turn out good! The quinoa pasta is quite good (though it stays a bit al dente for my tastes) and the zucchini and sweet potatoes had their own little romance going on. The caramelized leek turned out to be a great addition and provided so much flavor that hardly any other seasoning was needed. And the whole house smelled like a chilly October evening, just the way I like it!

Can I just say that I think someone is slipping something in Johnny's water? He has positively devoured everything I've put in front of him lately! I haven't faced one of those awkward "It's good..." moments as he swallows one bite and leaves the rest of his meal untouched since... I don't even know when! Between Seasons Pasta was no exception, he actually went back for seconds. I nearly fainted.

A quick note about substitutions: any pasta will work just fine, though something hearty like penne or rigatoni would be my suggestion. Roaster butternut squash would be a great sub for sweet potatoes. And if you have an onion and not a leek, feel free to caramelize that instead. "What the funk is nutritional yeast?" you may be asking. It is deactivated yeast which you can buy powdered or in flakes (usually in the bulk section of your healthier stores). It has a mildy cheesy flavor so it's popular with vegans. The best part is that it is a great source of B-complex vitamins and is fortified with B12, which is hard to find in non-animal products. I highly recommend you give it a try, but if you vegetarians and omnivores just aren't feeling it, feel free to use parmesan instead.

Between Seasons Pasta
Serves 6

1 box quinoa pasta shells
2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
2 tsp Earth Balance (divided)
1 leek
2 large zucchinis
2 large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp dried rosemary (or 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped)

Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes and place them in a glass baking dish with 1 tbsp olive oil. Toss until evenly coated, then cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and removing the foil during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

As the sweet potatoes cook, heat the other 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp Earth Balance over low heat in a large skillet. Remove the dark green top of the leek and slice the remaining white and light green parts into 2" long strips. Add them to the skillet and stir until coated with the oil/margarine. Cover with a glass lid and leave a crack for steam to escape. Cook the leeks on low heat for 15-20 minutes or until they've developed a deep brown color. Stir a few times to ensure they don't burn. As they caramelize, start boiling a large pot of water for your pasta. Then cube your 2 zucchinis into large chunks. Once the leeks are browned, add the zucchini to the pan as well as the rosemary. Continue cooking for 10 minutes or so, until the zucchini is translucent and browned.  

Once the water has come to a boil, add your pasta and cook according to the package (mine took 9 minutes). Drain and return to the pot. Add the remaining 1 tsp of Earth Balance and the nutritional yeast to the pasta and stir well. Then add the leeks, zucchini, and sweet potatoes to the pot and toss gently. Serve hot with extra nutritional yeast sprinkled on top if desired.