Beefless Gyoza

When I was grocery shopping a few weeks ago, I had forgot my list so I was just browsing aisles trying to remember what I needed. I saw gyoza wrappers, and even though they were so not on my list, I wanted them. Fried little dumplings dipped in salty soy sauce, yum!

Gyoza are Japanese pot stickers. What sets them apart from the Chinese version is they tend to be more garlicky and satly. Since those are pretty much two food groups in my diet, so I like them better.

I had also bought  Gardein Beefless Tips and thought they would be a lovely filling for half the batch, the other half were filled with frozen veggies.  I highly suggest all of Gardein’s products. My omnivore boyfriend even likes their stuff.

This recipes makes 16 dumplings, a nice entree for one or a side to share for two or three.

Vegetable and Beefless Gyoza
16 gyoza wrappers
Gardein Beefless Tips, thawed
1/2 cup frozen veggies (the standard carrots, peas and green beans works fine)
1 clove garlic, minced
soy sauce for dipping

In a small bowl, microwave the frozen veggies. Afterwards, add half the minced garlic and mix together.

In another bowl, add the thawed beefless tips and mix in the garlic.

Get a small bowl of water, which will be used to seal the dumplings.

Time to assemble…

Generously oil a skillet.

Take one gyoza wrapper and place it on a clean flat surface.

Either place one tablespoon of the veggie filling or one beefless tip in the middle. You might need to reshape the tip to fit properly, which is why I suggest you thaw them first so they are more pliable.

Then dip you finger in the water and make wet the edges of the wrapper throughly.

Now, there is a specific way to fold the gyoza, but if you are unfamiliar with the method, just close it up any way you can. Fold it half and seal or crimp the edges to make a half circle.

Now place it seal side up in the in oiled pan.

Repeat till all the gyoza are filled.

Now place the skillet on the stove and turn it to medium-high heat. Cook until the gyoza are golden brown on the bottom. Do not stir or move them.

Next pour in about 1/4 a cup of water and cover with a lid for the dumplings to steam all the wary through. They should be ready when all the water as evaporated.

To remove them, take the lid off and place a plate over the skillet. Flip it over and gently tap the bottom till they all pop out. 
Get yourself a little bowl of soy sauce to dip and enjoy! 

Fresh Rolls

Merry Christmas! I hope you all were very nice this year :-)

For my holidays and special events, my family loves to go to this Thai restaurant in Beaverton, Oregon called Typhoon. I decided to keep the Thai food tradition alive this year and planned on making fresh rolls and pad thai for Christmas Eve. But, working till 11:15 PM the night before and opening at 6:45 AM on Christmas Eve, plus having to come home and clean my whole apartment on top of cooking…. yeah, didn’t work out. I invited a friend from work over for dinner and after making the fresh rolls decided that was all the cooking I could do for one night. But they came out pretty good. I based this recipe off one from Alton Brown on his show Good Eats. Here’s the video of his version (skip ahead to 5:00):

I forgot to cut the noodles before cooking like he did, but I didn’t notice a real difference. I also cooked my noodle a bit too long so they were softer than I would have liked, but no big deal. Also, I obviously did not use shrimp, but tofu instead. Overall, I really liked this. Next time I will try wrapping them in lettuce like he did.

This makes 8 decent sized rolls.

Fresh Rolls
8 rice paper wrappers
1/4 of a block of extra firm tofu, drained and chopped into bit sized cubes
2 tbs soy sauce
The juice of half a lime
1 tps chili sauce
3 bundles of vermicelli mung bean noodles
1/4 cup of cucumbers, sliced into strips like Alton does in the video (I forgot these actually but I could tell how they would have rounded out the flavor)
1 medium carrot, cut into thin strips
Bean Sprouts
Cilantro, removed from stem
Thai basil, removed from stem (I forgot this too but once again, I see how it would have made the rolls even better)

Drain and cube the tofu.

Put it to a large bowl and add the soy sauce, lime juice, and chili paste. Mix together well and set aside.

Soak the noodles in water for 15 minutes. You can cut the noodles first like Alton did in the video but I didn’t.

Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. Once the water boils, cook according to the directions on the package.

Once cooked, drain and let them cool. Then add to the tofu mixture and coat well with the sauce.

Cut the cucumber and carrots into thin strip. Remove the cilantro and basil from the stems.

Now time to assemble, I didn’t take many photos during assembly because it was hard to rolls and shoot at the same time.

First soak the rice paper wrap in warm water for 10 seconds.

Remove and drain from the water, then lay on flat surface.

Along the bottom edge of the side closest too you, put down about 2 tablespoons of the noodle and tofu mixture. Make sure to leave a little bit of the edge free.

Next add put on a few cucumber and carrots sticks.

Now add a few bean spouts.

Lastly put on some cilantro and basil.

Now, like Alton says in the video, roll it up like a burrito. Start by rolling the top around first, then bring the sides in and then continue to roll over until closed.

Set a on a tray and cover with a damp cloth while you prepare the rest of the rolls.

I made a dipping sauce of soy sauce, lime juice, and chili sauce. And we had them with some sparkling wine.  A very lovely and light dish. I have more wrappers so I will making this again soon.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  I hope you had a lovely and festive day surrounded by those you love. And I hope santa brought you everything you asked for!

P.S. Speaking of Santa, I got a juicer so look out for some juice recipes soon.

My juicer with Penny fascinated by the bubbles in the wine.

Thanksgiving 2011: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I saved my favorite Thanksgiving dish for last. I LOVE mashed potatoes. When I was a teenager I used to eat a bowl of instant mashed potatoes for lunch most days. I am happy to say I have grown out of those unhealthy days and I don’t eat mash potatoes that often anymore. But, they are still one of my favorite foods. Creamy, buttery, and fluffy—what’s not to love? And, I thought garlic would make them special for holiday.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
4 Russet potatoes
1 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbs more vegan butter
1/2 cup rice milk (soy milk works fine too) 
Salt and pepper, to taste
Wash, peal, and quartered the potatoes. 
Place the potatoes in the pot you plan the boiling them in. Covered the potatoes with cold water. Let them soak for at least 15 minutes. This allows the starch to leach out so they mash better. 

Place a lid on the pot, place it on the burner, and bring it to a boil. 
While that comes to a boiling, the 1 tbs of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once it melts, add the minced garlic. Cook until golden, but careful not to burn it. 
Once it’s ready, remove from heat and set aside. 
Check the potatoes once they have boiled for a few minutes, they will be ready when a fork can be easily inserted all the through a quarter with no resistance. Once they are ready, remove from heat and drain. 
Return the potatoes back to the pot, add the garlic, the other 1/2 tbs of butter, and rice milk. Mash the potatoes until smooth and all the ingredients are incorporated. 
Now you have a big bowl of potato heaven! I hope you love this as much as I did. 

Thanksgiving 2011: Green Beans with Caramelized Onions

Green bean casserole was one of my favorite Thanksgiving sidedishes before I went vegan. But do you have any idea how many calories, sodium, and preservatives a traditional recipe can have? Even if you make it with all vegan ingredients like vegan sour cream and soup mixes, it still a lot of proceeded foods. I still wanted the taste of green beans and onions, but not all the junk. So I decided to keep it simple, caramelized onions and pan roasted green beans, cooked in just a little bit of vegan butter. This makes two servings.

Green Beans with Caramelized Onions
1 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 medium onion, sliced into half rings
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
2 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup green beans, washed and the ends cut off
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the vegan butter.

Add the onions and cook until the they are golden and caramelized. Turn the heat down as needed and be careful not to burn them. Be patient and don’t crank the heat in frustration if it takes awhile.

When the onions are just about done, add the ginger and garlic. Cook until the garlic is slightly golden and the ginger softens. Again be careful not to burn anything.

Add the green beans, and seasoning to taste. Cook until the green beans soften and start to brown.

It may take some time, but this recipe is simple and healthy. I loved the pop of green on my Thanksgiving plate. The ginger is what totally makes this dish.

Bloody Sangria

My friend had a Halloween party last night and I wanted something fun to drink. I was searching for Halloween cocktails while watching Semi-Homeade Cooking with Sandra Lee. She made Sassy Sangria and decided to make a blood-red sangria. I didn’t originally plan posting this, but it was so delicious I felt the need to share.

Sangria is a wine-based punch that originated in Spain and Portugal. It consists of mixture of wine, brandy, seltzer/ginger ale, and fruit pieces. Brandy is not something I normally drink so I added a bit of tequila instead. Also, Walmart did not have ginger ale for some reason, so I used Sprite instead. I normally don’t drink soda at all, but once in a while it’s okay to have a bit extra sugar.


Bloody Sangria
1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
4 oz tequila
1 orange, sliced
2 limes, sliced
1/2 liter of Sprite

Pour the wine into a large pitcher.

Add the tequila.

Drop in to the orange and lime slices.

Chill in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight if you have the time.

Before serving, add the Spite.

If you want it “bloodier,” you can add some grenadine and some fake spider.

I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween! Keep an eye on your keiki (Hawaiian for kid) and please don’t drink and drive. Also, please keep your pets indoors if possible. There are sick people who torment cats for fun or witchcraft.

I was one happy bunny. 

Mashed Plantains

I mentioned yesterday in my Sopa de Mani post that I had a side of mashed plantains. They were so good I decided to give it it’s own post. I have wanted to cook something with plantains for awhile now. I’ve never had them before, but I see them all the time in the Hilo Farmers Market. I finally bought some this weekend and then searched for a recipe. I kept finding various ways to to fry them, which does sound delicious but not the healthiest. Then, I found one for mashed plantains. Made just like mashed potatoes, but boiling plantains and adding a bit of spices. I loved the idea and thought it was the healthier option.

Plantains are less sweet and starchier than bananas. Common in the tropics and along the pacific, they are a staple in South and Central America cuisine. They need to be cooked before eaten and are usually eaten while still green (I used yellows ones because I did not know green ones are better for cooking). Like bananas, they are high in potassium and fiber.

Mashed Plantians
2 large plantians
1 tsp butter
salt and pepper
chili powder
red pepper flakes

First, peal the plantains. This is best done by first cutting off the ends.

Then making an incision into the peal length wise. You might make another on the other side too.

Then pull the peal off.

Next remove the seeds inside. Cut the plantain in half.

Then cut just to the side of the seeds.

Now cut off the top strip with the seeds.

Cut the plantains into smaller pieces so they fit into the pot better.

Add to a large pot or saucepan and cover with water.

Bring to boil over high heat and cook until tender.

Drain and return back to the pot. Add the butter and mash until smooth. You may need to add a bit of water to help the texture.

Add the seasoning to taste.

Taste similar to bananas but a bit starchier. Sweet with some spice, but neutral enough to go with most main dishes. I even ate the leftovers for breakfast the next morning.

"Cheesy" Breadsticks and Mushroom Sauce

I had pizza night last night because I have plans for tonight (Bad Geology Movie Night for the geology club, geeky I know) but I still wanted my pizza night. When I was about what kind of pizza to make, I thought of Pizza Hut, which made me think of its breadsticks. So I decided to make some. But, a big pile of cheesy bread is not a healthy dinner, so I decided to add some more veggies to sauce to add some more nutrients. There was sale on mushrooms at the store (99 cents a pound!) so I went with a mushroom sauce with some fresh basil from patio garden.

Mushroom Sauce
1 cup button or white mushrooms, de-stemed and diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
1 can tomato sauce
Handful fresh basil, chopped
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Wash, de-stem, and dice the mushrooms. Chop the onion and garlic too.

Heat some olive oil in a pot over medium heat.

Add the mushrooms and cook until they release most of their water.

Add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions begin soften and the mushroom water evaporates.

Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Scrape up the stuff up from the bottom.

Add the tomato sauce and stir well.

Add the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.

Cook for a minutes so all the flavors come together.

Take it off the heat and add the chopped basil.

This would be lovely over pasta, but it’s an even better dipping sauce for breadsticks…

“Cheesy” Breadsticks
1 pre-made pizza dough (try mine)
Italian Seasoning
Garlic salt
Vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)

Pre-heat the oven to as high as it will go and spray a pizza pan with cooking spray.

Roll your pizza dough into a rectangle. This dough I made last week and froze.


Cut into about 1 inch strips.

Arrange the strips on the pizza pan.

Sprinkle with desired amounts of Italian seasoning and garlic salt.

Top with desired amount of mozzarella.

If you want some extra flavor and crunch, you could brush on some olive oil before you put the toppings on.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the dough is slightly golden. I like mine on the softer side but you can bake them longer if you want more crunch.


I had my breadsticks and mushroom sauce with a side of olives for bit more salt. And of course the rest of my Pinot Noir.

Warning, this dinner may attract your new 9-month old kitty.

Meet Penny, got her from an animal sanctuary on Tuesday. 

Jack-O-Latern and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

I love Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday. Like I said in my Halloween Taco Rice Bowl post, I am named after Elizabeth Montgomery’s character Samantha from the TV show Bewitched, so this holiday is pretty much made for me. If I could get away with it, I’d still go trick-o-treating (and don’t pretend like majority you wouldn’t too!) As fun as dressing up and getting free candy was as a kid, my favorite part was actually carving pumpkins. It was good quality time I got to spend with my family while having fun and being creative. Those are some of my most cherished childhood memories. What kid doesn’t love to get messy and throw pumpkins guts at their brother? And, there was always the delicious toasted pumpkins seeds afterwards too. I haven’t carved a pumpkin in several years sadly. Now that I am not living in the dorms anymore, I decided it was time to carve and toast seeds again.  I also decided that I would spiced up my seeds this year, ya know be a little more adult. I divided my seeds in two in order to make some savory and some sweet.

You don’t have to carve your pumpkin like I did, you can just cut it in half length wise and scoop out the seeds. But what fun is that?

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
1 large, ripe pumpkin
Oil or cooking spray
Savory Seasoning
1 tsp curry
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic salt  powder
Sweet Seasoning
1 tsp cinnamon
1tsp ginger
1 tsp black strap molasses

Setting up to carve on my balcony. 

First thing, carve your pumpkin. Since this can be get messy, I decided to do this on my balcony. You will need two bowls, a big knife, a smaller pairing knife, a spoon or ice cream scoop, and a dish towel to wipe your hands.

Draw the desired design on your pumpkin while it’s still whole.

Cut a circle around the stem, clean off the gunk and set aside.

Ew, slimy.

Scoop out the membranes, but separate out the seeds. The little tiny ones can be discard though.

Carve the design. I am not the best artist, but I like mine cock-eyed and crooked-toothed. I named him Igor.

Meet Igor. 

Clean up the edges and put the stem back on.

Put your beautiful pumpkin on display for everyone to enjoy.

Now for the seeds….

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Rinse the seeds very well and get all the gunk off.

Dry them well too.

You can either oil or spray a baking sheet. Oil can give the seeds a bit more flavor but adds more calories. I just spray mine.
Spread the seeds into a single layer.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once they are lightly golden, they are done.

Combine all the savory seasonings a bowl and add the seeds while still hot. Toss together to coat.

Combine all the sweet seasonings in another bowl and add the seeds while still hot. Toss together to coat.

Now you have a lovely jack-o-latern and delicious pumpkin seeds.

But, there is more a simple pumpkin can yield. Those slimy, nasty membranes can be added to a compost pile to give nutrients to your garden (assuming you have one). The pieces you cut out can be roasted in the oven and make a tasty addition to your dinner.

Baked tofu, pesto smashed potatoes and a side of roast pumpkin

Purple Sweet Potato Hash

I talked about purple sweet potatoes, or uala in Hawaiian, in my Purple Sweet Potato Salad post. But I have fallen more in love with them since. They are cheap at the Hilo Farmers Market so I buy them often. My new favorite breakfast is a purple sweet potato hash. A little sweet, a little salty, and very easy to make. A hash is usually just chopped or julienned ingredients pan-fried until golden brown. Most common kind is hash browns, which usually consist of white potatoes. While I have nothing against traditional hash browns, purple sweet potatoes have more nutrients too. You might as well get more vitamins and minerals in your food if you are going to cook them in fat. 


This is the most basic way to make this hash. You can add in veggies, beans, tofu, or even top them with some vegan cheese. I had shortening left over my from birthday cupcakes so I fried them in shortening but olive oil is great too. 



Purple Sweet Potato Hash
1 cup purple sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1 tbs vegetable shortening
1/4  cup of water
salt and pepper to taste











Wash, peel, and dice the sweet potatoes. Mince the garlic. 





Heat the shortening in a large skillet over medium heat. 



Once the shortening is melted, add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet. Cook for a minute or so, just until you can smell the garlic. Don’t let it brown or burn.





Next add the sweet potatoes. Stir to coat every piece. 





Next pour in the water and cover with the lid so the potatoes can steam. Keep it covered for 3-5 minutes until the water is mostly evaporated. 



Remove the lid and turn up the heat a little so the potatoes can brown. Cook to desired color and crunchiness. It hard to tell because of their dark color, but I like mine lightly golden. 


Remove from the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste.



This hash makes a wonderful main dish or a nice side dish. Try it with a tofu scramble and some soy bacon strips. I ate mine as is with a dash of hot sauce. I love a good Sunday morning breakfast.  










Go Ducks: Yell-O and Green Nachos

For the past 6 years of my life, every Saturday from September to December is taken over by Oregon Duck football. I am proud graduate University of Oregon and needless to say, I bleed green and yellow. I loved going to the games with my sorority sisters and yelling “O” until we went hoarse. I have sadly had to spend the past seasons and this one cheering from Hawaii. But just because I am in the middle of  the Pacific doesn’t mean I don’t get all ducked-out. I either go to a local sports bar or watch from home, but regardless I have my jersey on and shout like a maniac.

Today the Ducks face off against LSU, a game that will sure deserve a special blog post. So I decided to make something green and yellow (U of O colors), and finally settled on nachos. I made queso sauce from nutritional yeast and used salsa verde for the colors. Plus some jalapeños for some spice and because they are little O’s. I wanted to top it all off with some vegan sour cream, but my store was sold out.

I just realized this is also fitting because our coach is named Chip.

Yell-O and Green Nacho
Queso sauce:
4 tbs vegan butter
1 and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, divided

3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup unsweetened, plain soy milk

1/2 tbs garlic powder
1tps cumin
1 tps parkia
1 tps chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
The rest of the stuff:
1/4 medium onion, chopped
1 cup soy” beef” crumbles (I used Smart Ground)
Tortilla chips
Salsa verde
Jalapeños
Vegan sour cream

To make the queso sauce, add the vegan butter and 1 cup of the nutritional yeast to saucepan over medium/low heat. Incorporate the two together to make a sort of roux. It should clump together and get a little golden.

Add the vegetable broth and soy milk. Whisk together so there are no lumps.

Add the garlic powder, cumin, paprika, chili powder and pepper. You can add salt if you like, but mine didn’t need it. Mix together well.

Reduce the heat to low. Let it reduce and thicken, stirring frequently. Taste it after awhile, if it need more “cheese” flavor, add some more nutritional yeast.

In skillet, lightly brown the chopped onion. Then add the soy crumbles. Cooked until heated through.

Once the queso sauce is smooth and thicken slightly, it’s time to assemble.

On a large plate or platter, scatter desired amount of chips. There is enough sauce for at least 5 serving so be generous.

Next sprinkle on the soy crumble mixture.

Now pour on the queso sauce.

Now add the desired about of salsa verde.

If your store didn’t run out of sour cream like mine did, add a few dollops.

Top with desired about of jalapeños so your nachos are yelling “O”.

Turn on the Ducks game, open a Widmer (or any other fine Oregon brew) and get ready to cheer! Win the days boys!