Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I'm not going to pretend that I have a great excuse for not blogging over the past week or so. Granted, Marzie did make off with my memory card reader, but I replaced it several days ago. I just have not blogged because... I have enjoyed not feeling like it was my responsibility to blog. I've been hanging out with friends, going for long walks and enjoying the gorgeous autumn that we're having, cooking when I felt like it, and enjoying every minute of it.

See what I mean about the gorgeous autumn?

That's not to say I'm quitting this blog. I enjoy it too much. But when blogging goes from being a hobby to a full-time job, it loses its appeal. Maybe some of you have had this experience before. So, you may see less of me around the blogosphere, but I'm not going to disappear. I promise!

Starting off with some Seitan O'Greatness. This batch didn't last very long--it was too tasty! I made the Mostarella Cheeze from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook to go with it, because I ran out of agar and didn't feel like trying to hunt some more down. The cheeze was okay. It was better heated up with refried beans and salsa... yum.

On my last visit to R. Thomas, I tried their Hearty Breakfast Stew and loved it so much that I wished I had the recipe. Well, since I didn't, I decided to make one up. This soup was like a "souped-up" potato chowder (hee hee), and it was so good that I decided to share the recipe with all of you. It's not just like the soup at the restaurant, but it's darn close and maybe tastier. I've posted the recipe at the end.

This post by Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan! came back to me one day when I wanted to make a pie and could not decide what kind I should attempt. I'm glad I tried the Key Lime Teasecake; it was delicious, and I felt much less guilty knowing that it was made of millet and sweetened with maple syrup. I only wish the key lime flavor had been a little stronger...

I loved DGMGV's kiwi topping so much that I copied her! Of course, original credit for the recipe goes to Jo Ann Stepaniak.

The credit for this blackened tempeh goes to Eat Air. It spent a day marinating in the refrigerator, and then it was a snap to blacken it on the stove for dinner after work. Sautéed kale and potatoes accompanied this meal, and it was all delicious.

I guess tomorrow's Thanksgiving. To tell you the truth, I had kind of forgotten about it this year. You see, we're not really celebrating in the traditional way this time--we're going to Disney World with my sister and her fiancé instead! But I wish each of you a wonderful, safe, and compassionate holiday. Until we meet again...

Potato Quinoa Chowdah

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 large carrot, diced small
3 cups water
6-7 small potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks (about 2 pounds) - Peeling is optional
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1 teaspoon paprika
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup quinoa
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup kale, chopped
Cooking spray
3/4 teaspoon salt
Kelp granules and/or nori strips, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large soup pot and sauté the onion until it starts to brown. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for another 2-3 minutes. It's okay if the veggies try to stick to the pot a little. Add the water and scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the little bits of veggies off the bottom. Add the potatoes and spices and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are pretty tender. Add the quinoa and cook for another 15 minutes, until the quinoa is done. The soup will get pretty thick at this point.

Spray another pan with cooking spray, and sauté the chopped kale just enough to take the bitterness off. Set aside.

In batches, purée about half the soup, then return it to the pot over low heat and add the milk, corn, and kale. Heat slowly, until the corn is done and the soup is hot all the way through. Add the salt. Serve, garnishing each bowl with kelp granules and nori strips, if desired. Makes about 6-8 servings.


Courtney said...

I cannot imagine what it must be like to try to photograph everything you eat to post it on a blog...I am grateful for every post you make and they are all appreciated! I am glad that you have been enjoying your fall and also happy to see you back.

All of your food looks great, and I think you have inspired me to make some seitan myself! Have a safe trip with your family--it sounds like fun!


Vivacious Vegan said...

I hope you have a wonderful trip with your family! You certainly deserve it.

I know what you mean about blogging. Sometimes I feel like it just sucks away all of my time. I have over 125 blogs that I read and its starting to feel ridiculous. When my new job starts blogging is definitely going to have to take the back seat.

Shelley said...

Wow, what fun Disney World. Oh, my husband and I miss it there so! Hope you enjoy yourself...have you been before? You really can survive being vegan there quite well.

Oh, and please don't give up on your blog, I enjoy reading your posts:-) Haven't posted many comments before and hope to do so more frequently. Just pace yourself with your blogging and make sure it doesn't consume you, I know far too well how that can happen.

God Bless

aTxVegn said...

Disney World will be so fun, Laura! Have a great time.

I'm dying to make that pie.

VeggieGirl said...

Yay, welcome back!! I've missed your posts, but hey, blogging shouldn't be a responsibility; just something fun to do on the side, when you have time. And I'm THRILLED to hear that you will not be quitting your blog - I love it! :0)

Autumn IS indeed a gorgeous season - by far my favorite one out of the four! I just wish it would last longer - it's already snowing here :0(

Mmm, the Seitan O'Greatness, Quinoa-Potato Chowdah (your rendition of the Hearty Breakfast Stew - sounds delish!!), Key Lime Teasecake (my favorite in this post, for sure!), and Blackened Tempeh look absolutely fantastic - you never cease to amaze me with all the goodness that you cook/bake!

Ahh have a lovely time in Disney World!! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Melody Polakow said...

That soup looks perfect. quinoa in soup is my favorite thing.

I have wondered about that teasecake recipe since I first saw it. It looks good.

Don't worry about blogging. We've all had to take breaks now and then. I know I do.. and the great thing, is that we're all here when you do post and thrilled to "hear" from you.

urban vegan said...

Don't ever feel bad about not blogging...everyone needs a vacation--and you know you need one when you feel that way.

Your autumn truly is gorgeous--ours was rather blah becuase of the drought. The leaves mostly turned brown and fell off.

The food looks magnificent..the tease cake. the seitian o greatness, the tempeh. It's always a pleasure to visit your blog.

Rest up without guilt, my profiterole--genius friend!

bazu said...

I've been blogging a lot this month for veganmofo and have been loving it. I do think, though, that I've reached critical mass in how many blogs I can visit - and how often! Some people seem to make the rounds every day, and I don't know how they do it!
I'm glad you're having such a fun time lately, and such a good Autumn!

Chris said...

Glad you liked the tempeh! Looks delicious!

Veg-a-Nut said...

I am so jealous on many levels. First you have REAL AUTUMN. In San Diego we see little of that. SECOND DISNEYWORLD. We have not been to Disneyland in about 23 years. THIRD YOUR YUMMY PIE AND SOUP AND EVERYTHING! Now that I have that off my chest, lol.. I am so glad you are not quiting your blog. I love to see your creations and hear about your life. You are a friend to me and I enjoy visiting your blog. Don't let the fun pass you by. We are all here to share, talk, and enjoy each other. I will just keep checking back and see what you have been up too!. Hugs and hope you had a blast at Disneyworld!!!

Anonymous said...

hey, I used to work at r thomas and the recipe for the soup was posted in the kitchen. I kept meaning to write it down, but I never got around to it and one day it was gone. I do remember that they used coconut oil(instead of olive oil), red potatoes, and sprinkled dulse and bits of toasted nori on top. yours looks like it may be even better, I just thought I'd comment.


Anonymous said...

oh yea, and the quinoa isn't actually part of the soup, the quinoa is made separately and mixed with peas, corn, and diced red bell pepper. The soup is just potato corn chowder. They put the quinoa in the derving dish and pour the soup over it. I really enjoy reading your blog every once in a while and looking to it when I'm trying to think of something interesting and new to make :)


Caty said...

The autumnal tree is beautiful, I really love the colours of autumn.

Oh and by the way I've tagged you over at my blog.

Carrie™ said...

I know exactly what you mean. Relax, post when you can & enjoy Florida!!

theONLYtania said...

Ohh thanks so much for the chowder recipe. I made it last night, DELICIOUS! I'm quoting my roommate and our boyfriends there. I added rice instead of quinoa because it was already cooked and leftover in the fridge. And spinach instead of kale. So so good!

Midwest Vegan said...

I hope your trip and holiday were great. I know the weather in FL is usually pretty great this time of year.

The weather here is getting colder so I'll have to earmark your soup recipe.

Gaia said...

I'd like two orders of chowder, 1/2 the pie and some tempeh please.

No coke or apple pie.
Thanks for taking my order! :D

J'espère que ce fût un merveilleux voyage!

Jes said...

The chowder recipe looks delish!

Sarah C. said...

Never feel like you have to fulfill the demands of your readers - just think of us as friends who like to hear from you once in a while. And that can be on your terms when you need it to be! So take care of yourself.

When you get a chance, I do have a question that I think you would be well positioned to answer. I know from reading your blog that you eat a lot of kale. I am new to kale (and only eating Lacinato - the curly kale is too bitter for me). When I buy my bundle of kale and take it home, I put it immediately in the fridge. However, it goes limp almost immediately! I have started trying to put the stems in water, but that doesn't help much. Is there some way I can store my kale to make it last more than half a day in that bright upright state I buy it in?


laura jesser said...

Meghan, thanks for visiting! I'll remember the coconut oil tip--I would never have thought to use that. Very cool that you used to work at R. Thomas...

Sarah, the way I usually store kale and any other fresh green is in an airtight freezer bag. Also, you can try rinsing the leaves of the kale and then wrapping them in a clean kitchen towel before you seal them in the bag--I think that gives them just enough moisture to keep the leaves healthy. Anyway, it always works for me. I hope that helps!

Sarah C. said...

Thanks! I'm loving the addition of kale to my diet, and I didn't want to end up getting frustrated by the wilty-ness - so I appreciate the suggestion, and I'll certainly try it.

disa said...


Levinson Axelrod said...

The quinoa chowder looks great. Thanks for sharing your recipes.

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