Indian-Style Curry with Potatoes, Cauliflower, and Chickpeas

Serves 4 to 6 as a main course


  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (sweet or mild)
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons garam masala (see note above)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
  • 12 ounces Red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed, cored, and cut into 1-inch florets (about 4 cups)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes,
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Table salt
  • 8 ounces frozen peas (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) coconut cream


  1. Toast curry powder and garam masala in small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until spices darken slightly and become fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove spices from skillet and set aside.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and potatoes are golden brown on edges, about 10 minutes. (Reduce heat to medium if onions darken too quickly.)
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Clear center of pan and add remaining tablespoon oil, garlic, ginger, chile, and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add toasted spices and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute longer. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring constantly, until spices coat florets, about 2 minutes longer.
  4. Add tomatoes, water, chickpeas, and 1 teaspoon salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to boil, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Cover and reduce heat to medium.
  5. Simmer briskly, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in peas and cream or coconut milk; continue to cook until heated through, about 2 minutes longer. Adjust seasoning with salt and serve immediately, passing condiments separately.

Mushroom Bolognese

Vegetarian for sure, vegan with substitutions.  Takes an hour and a half if you include the prep.

  • 2 pounds Cremini Mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • Tomatoes
    • 1 28-oz can of whole peeled tomatoes OR
    • 1 28 oz can of chunky crushed tomatoes (if you can find them)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup of dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth/stock
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cream
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream OR
    • 1/4 cup cashew cream
  • 1 lb fettuccine
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
  1. Working in batches, pulse cremini mushrooms in food processor until pieces are no larger than 1/2 an inch, 5-7 pulses, transfer to a large bowl.  Pulse carrot and onion in now-empty processor until chopped fine, 5-7 pulses; transfer to boal with mushrooms.  Pulse tomatoes and their juice in now-empty processor until chopped fine, 6-8 pulses; set aside separately.
  2. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add processed vegetables and porcini mushrooms, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until they release their liquid, about 5 minutes.  Uncover increase heat to medium-high, and cook unti liquid has evaporated and vegetables begin to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in wine and simmer until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in processed tomatoes, vegetable broth, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low ans simmer until sauce has thickened but is still moist. 8 to 10 minutes.  Off heat stir in cream.
  5. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts (a gallon) of water to a boil in a large pot.  Add pasta and 1 tablespoon of salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente.  Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to the pot.  Add sauce and toss to combin.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and adjust consistency with reserved cooking water as needed.  Serve with cheese.

Black-Eye Pea and Tomato Stew (Red-Red)

The kids and I like to eat this with rice, my wife prefers not to eat the rice.

  •  Oil
    • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil OR
    • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeño chilies, stemmed, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 3-ounce piece fresh ginger, cut into 4 to 6 chunks
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • Black-Eyed Peas
    • 14½-ounce cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed OR
    • 1 pound of dry beans, soaked over night and cooked for al dente
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Tomatoes:
    • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved OR
    • 15 oz can of Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • Lime wedges, to serve
  • Plantain chips, to serve
  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the coconut oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the jalapeños, ginger, tomato paste, curry powder and chipotle powder. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the black-eyed peas and stir well. Stir in the water, soy sauce and tomatoes, then bring to a simmer. Reduce to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat to maintain a gentle but steady simmer, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove and discard the ginger chunks, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve with lime wedges and plantain chips.

How We Vegan

A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was looking for suggestions and recipes on how to go vegan.  I should say this is the 3rd or 4th time that I’ve started this post and have yet to finish it.  So if you’re reading it, success!!

The first thing is motivation, I’ll get this right out of the way at the top.  We are becoming vegans to promote a healthier lifestyle.  We watched Forks over Knives (Netflix) several years ago and were vegans for a while, lost a ton of weight, felt great, etc.  But went back mainly due to my laziness and complacency.  Recently, we saw What the Health? (Netflix) and re-watched Forks Over Knives and renewed our vigor for the lifestyle.

Will we make trips to Five Guys occasionally? Yes.  While we are striving for a mostly vegan diet, cravings must be satiated.  But when that happens, we have decided that it is not wrong, anthropologically speaking, to celebrate with meat food.  This will likely involve pulled pork that I’ve smoked myself.  Or some kind of time limitation.  Plus when eating away from the house, there still aren’t many vegan options.  Sometimes you’ll have to settle for vegetarianism, pescatarianism or flat out carnivorism.  And that’s ok.  Be selective and mindful of the meat you are choosing to eat.  We don’t go to McDonald’s, for a variety of reasons, one of which is the overuse of antibiotics and the CAFOs that are required to sustain that situation.

So the first thing you will notice about getting started is that many recipe sites require you to do everything from scratch.  I steer away from that or I try to boil down recipes to their necessities.  Canned Beans are fine if a recipe is calling soaking and then cooking.  Canned greens are also very tasty.  The best example of this was this recipe where I had to soak and cook the beans the day before (didn’t have an Instant Pot at the time).  I have to chop and cook the leafy greens (Kale I think) the day before.  The day of involved finding decent tomatoes and chopping them.  Then cook the pasta and bring it all together.  So I did that once, and it took multiple hours and many things had to be cleaned.  I turned it into White Beans, Greens, and Tomatoes and now the whole thing takes about 45 minutes.

I also try to stay away from recipes that require me to drive an hour to a Whole Foods or specialty Organic market.  Don’t get me wrong, I love MOM‘s.  I can go and always find a way for them to take my money in exchange for some organic deliciousness.  But where I live, I have Roland‘s 10 minutes away and Safeway is 20.  So that’s where most things get purchased.

Organic.  As often as possible, but we aren’t militant about it.  I was at a grocery store where a lady was having a meltdown because they didn’t have her normal organic, single source, small batch, artisanal, free-range kombucha.  That stock boy didn’t give a shit about that, and no one has time for that nonsense.  This isn’t Brooklyn, it’s Southern Maryland.

We are fortunate to have some new options in the area.  One of which is Chesapeake’s Bounty who are committed to local produce and has an excellent year round selection of things despite being locally focused.  Most is not certified organic, but a lot of the suppliers follow organic practices.  Recently we joined Chesapeake Farmery, this is a CSA that will deliver a box every week.  So far the boxes have been excellent and include a recipe for something tasty.

Now on to book recommendations.  I cook a lot out of The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen.  There are a lot of vegan options or things that can be made vegan by leaving out the cheese or substituting the butter for vegan butter spread (we like the Earth Balance brand). Not all these things are vegan:

  • Indian-Style Curry with Potatoes, Cauliflower, and Chickpeas (pg 63)
  • Chickpea Fritters
  • Black Bean Patties (put a couple avocado slices on this with some of the Sriracha Mayo)
  • Creamy Brussels Sprouts with Peas and Gemelli
  • Red Beans and Rice
  • Collard Greens
  • Rustic Mushroom, Tomato and Chard (Spinach) with Polenta Casserole

I recently purchased Vegan for Everybody by America’s Test Kitchen which I haven’t cooked anything out of yet.

I also found some good stuff in the Moosewood Restaurant Favorites Cookbook:

  • Moroccan Vegetable Stew (without eggplant)
  • Cuban Black Beans
  • Caribbean Red Beans
  • Basque Beans with Polenta

On a whim (listening to a podcast) I bought the Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi.  I can say that I have found one decent recipe called Barley Risotto which is phenominal.  It is vegan until the Marinated Feta goes in.  We also didn’t care for caraway seeds in the marinated feta, so we substituted with oregano.

Recently, there has been a new addition to my monthly reading the form of Milk Street Kitchen Magazine.  If you aren’t familiar with this enterprise, the former managing editor of America’s Test Kitchen left under contentious circumstances and started this thing up.  It is basically the same as ATK, but they are doing international food.  This means that there is less emphasis on the standard American meal construct of meat, starch and veg.  Definitely worth a look, but even the website costs money.  This dish called Red-Red from Ghana is the best things we’ve had so far.

So that’s about all I have as far as getting started.  There will be more to come about make-ahead and other minor tips and tricks.