Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

This recipe is by request (which I always appreciate, so definitely send any and all recipe requests my way in the comments!).  As you already know, I love sweet potatoes and I love caramelized onions.  This simple burger marries the two together, along with black beans (another personal favorite) into one simple patty-shaped deliciousness delivery system.

If you have never made your own burgers before, I promise you that once you do you will never go back to frozen pre-packaged patties.   Home made burgers pack a punch of fresh flavor and textures that the little cardboard hockey pucks simply can’t imitate.  These guys are fairly easy to make, especially if you “bake” your potatoes in the microwave (to do this I poke holes in medium sized sweet potatoes with a fork, wrap them in damp paper towels, and bake them in the microwave for about seven minutes or until soft) and have some caramelized onions in your refrigerator ready to go.  I especially like the addition of chipotle pepper to these – they add a nice smoky flavor that compliments the sweetness of the potatoes.

The best part about eating burgers is, of course, the fixins.

We top ours with lettuce, tomato, avocado, caramelized onions, mustard, ketchup, and cilantro-lime mayo (see recipe below).




Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

1 cup mashed sweet potato
1 15oz can black beans
1 ½ cups bread crumbs (I like whole wheat)
½ onion, caramelized (or, depending upon how you like your onion flavor, use a smaller amount of raw onion or still use ½ onion that has been sautéed for 10 or so minutes)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 small chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Oil for frying

1.    Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix/mash together until well blended.  (The black beans will lose some of their texture, but I like to make sure that there are always some whole beans left to make the burgers more interesting)
2.    Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat (a few tablespoons to cover the bottom will do, but be sure to continue to add oil if needed because these burgers can easily stick to the pan).    Shape the burger mixture into eight patties.  
3.    Cook four burgers at a time (or fewer depending upon the size of your pan – the goal is to not crowd the pan), for about 4-5 minutes per side or until crispy brown on each side.  
4.    Serve with lots of fixins!

Cilantro-Lime Mayo

½ cup vegan mayonnaise
½ -1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (amount depends upon how spicy you like it)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 tbsp lime juice

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.




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Admit it … you probably thought that I’ve decided to take another year and a half break from this site again didn’t, you?  Well, I certainly can’t blame you for that.  I was, however, simply traveling for work since my last post, but now I am settled back on the island and I have a perfect recipe for your fall dinners to share.

Everyone has that moment in their lives when they do something that makes them suddenly sit up and realize that they are, indeed, an adult. For some, it’s a birthday (21 … 25 … 30 … maybe 40), for others it’s marriage, it could be buying your first house, or holding your first child.  For me, it was the moment that I realized that I enjoy Brussel sprouts that certified me in my mind’s eye as a bona fide, card-carrying member of the adult population.

Brussel sprouts are fairly simple to make as they require very little prep or additions.  They are versatile and they always seem to add something special to a meal.  This is my latest interpretation of sprouts (other versions may include walnuts, mushrooms, garlic, caramelized onions, carrots, shallots,, chestnuts, or pine nuts) and we thoroughly enjoyed them.  The apples and pecans add nice texture and flavor to sprouts.

I am curious to hear how everyone else best enjoys their Brussel sprouts (or if you simply can’t bring yourself to even try them!) – please share in the comments!

Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Apple and Pecans

2 lbs Brussel sprouts
1 apple, diced
1 cup pecan halves, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
More salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450F.  Cut off the ends of the Brussel sprouts and remove any wilted outer leaves. Slice them in half.  Dice the apple and slice the pecans.  Place the sprouts, apple, and pecans in a 9×12” baking dish.  Whisk together the oil, teriyaki, and maple syrup in a small bowl and pour over the sprout mixture.  Toss to even coat, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss again.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until browned.  Be sure to stir once or twice during baking to ensure even browning.

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In case you were wondering what to dunk your cornbread into, worry no more … this chowder is the perfect thing to pair with it.  I have a love affair with sweet potatoes every autumn, and they find their way onto our dinner table at least one time per week, often times more.  I love their vibrant orange color, their sweet flavor, and their versatility.  I bake ’em, mash ’em, cream ’em, slice ’em, dice ’em, and roast ’em.  I make sweet potato bread, sweet potato and black bean burgers, baked sweet potatoes with all of the fixings, coconut-mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato casserole, sweet potato pie, sweet potato cake, roasted sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, and sweet potato chowders.  For those of you who are having a Forrest Gump moment right now, I will demonstrate restraint … but please know how much I love thee, dear sweet potato.

Here in Hawaii we have purple sweet potatoes. True story.  Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes (‘uala) are also called Okinawan potatoes and are native to Japan, but they are believed to have been grown in the Hawaiian islands for centuries.  They get their unique purple hue from their abundance of anthocyanin (a type of phytochemical).  We also have purple Molokai Sweet Potatoes, which are only grown on the island of Molokai.  This chowder  does not use purple sweet potatoes but instead calls for the traditional Mainland-style red-skin and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes because I really love their flavor and, quite frankly, am not too keen on serving up purple soup.  Purple sweet potatoes are best served with simple preparation so that their purple coloring can be a unique addition to your plate and not look like a side dish at a grotesque Halloween buffet.  If you ever have the opportunity to work with them, mashed or baked is the way to go with purple potatoes, and then top them off with the simple garnish of your choice.

This (not purple) chowder is simple to make, which makes it a prime candidate for a weekday meal.  Pair it with some bread and a salad and you’ve got a delicious, healthy dinner for your busy work week.  Enjoy!



Two Potato and Corn Chowder
1 tbsp Earth Balance butter
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
4 medium red potatoes, diced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder (add more or less depending upon your heat tolerance)
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 cups broth ( I used Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base but use whatever flavor strikes your fancy)
1 10 oz frozen corn
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish
1.  Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the onion, and saute for 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the carrots and potatoes and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the spices, salt, and pepper and cook for 30 additional seconds.  Add the broth, bring to a boil, lower to medium-low heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
2.  Stir in the corn and almond milk and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.  Use an immersion blender or stand-up blender to puree the soup (I like to leave it a little bit chunky, but puree to your desired consistency).  Sir in the cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper.  Gently heat for 2-3 minutes.  Garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro and serve.


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Seitan Tikka Masala

It’s been a very hectic month or so here, and while I have been managing to feed us and keep us eating well, I was challenged to find the time to share those recipes with all of you.  Finally I’ve managed to come up for air, and what I have for you today is my favorite dish to come out of my kitchen recently … and the lovely thing is that it actually came off of our grill and, if I am not mistaken, this comes at a good time for all you who live in more temperate climates.  I am hoping that these early days of spring are bringing you all warmer weather, and a recipe for the grill is a perfect excuse to get outside and dine alfresco.
This recipe combines some of my favorite things: Indian food, kabobs, seitan, grilling, and eating outdoors.  Whip yourself up a batch and, while you’re standing over grill, smile at the fact that you are participating in a act of converting the tried and true conveyor of barbecue and seared meat products into  atrue blue vegan grillin’ machine.  Then, as you sit outside with a cool breeze at your back and you enjoy these kabobs with friends and family, hopefully you’ll be basking in the thought that “life is good.”  While you’re at it, grill up a batch of naan to serve along side your tikka masala.
This recipe was adapted from the cookbook The Food of India.
Seitan Tikka

½ tbsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp garam masala
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, grated
½ cup cilantro leaves
1 6 oz container plain soy yogurt

1 batch seitan dough (I used the simple seitan recipe in Veganomicon)

1.    Blend all marinade ingredients in a food processor or a high speed blender until smooth.  Season with salt to taste.

2.    Cut the seitan dough into bite sized chunks.  Place these into a bowl with the marinade and mix thoroughly.  Cover and marinade for 6-8 hours.

3.    Set your grill to medium heat/flame or heat your oven to 400F.  Grill, covered, for 10 minutes per side or roast on an oven rack above a baking tray for 15-20 minutes.

Seitan Tikka Masala

1 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, finely chopped
¼ tsp cardamom
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp garam masala
½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp brown sugar
1 14oz can coconut milk
1 tbsp ground almonds

1 recipe seitan tikka

1 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

1.    Heat the oil in  dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until lightly browned.  Add the cardamom and garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomtoes and cook until the sauce thickens (about 5 minutes).

2.    Add the cinnamon, garam masala, chili powder, and sugar to the sauce and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the coconut milk and almonds, then add the cooked seitan tikka.  Gently simmer for 30 minutes.  Garnish with the chopped cilantro.

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December 31st is a day to take stock of the year passed, a day to celebrate our gems and recognize our challenges in order to capitalize on these opportunities for improvement in the coming year.  I personally enjoy this occasion to formally recognize one year’s passing and ready myself for the possibilities of the year ahead. Isn’t that really what is at the heart of the celebration of the New Year:  all of the possibilities contained within the yet unturned pages of the new calendar?  Possibility, if it were an emotion, could easily be hope – the thing that drives us, lifts our spirits, and makes us look towards the future with enthusiasm and gratified anticipation.  The new year is a blank slate upon which we can write our hopes, dreams, and goals.

Come January 1st, however, we should not sweep the previous year under the rug – we should enter the new year armed with the accomplishments that were celebrated, lessons that were learned, and growth that incurred during the previous twelve months.  In that spirit, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you all our favorite recipes from the Outpost for 2008.  These recipes will definitely be making repeat appearances on our table in 2009.

I wish each and everyone of you a very happy, healthy, joyous, and prosperous 2009.

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!

The Best of the Outpost in 2008

The Best of the Outpost in 2008

Working from the top left to bottom right:

Danish Braid

French Yule Log

Green Papaya Salad


Small Tarts

Jambalaya Stuffed Eggplant

Pineapple Poppy Seed Ice Cream


Pumpkin Pie

Lemon Gems

Noodle Kugel

Seitan Pot Roast Brisket

Raw Papaya Banana Pie

No Piggies in Blankets

Roasted Butternut Squash, Potato, Apple, and Caramelized Onion Bisque with Pepita-Poblano Garnish

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake


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Happy Hanukkah!

Though I am not Jewish I grew up immersed in the culture and, oftentimes, coveting it. Thus, when an opportunity presents itself, I like to celebrate (and, of course, indulge in one particular rite of passage: prepare traditional foods and enthusiastically enjoy them). Hanukkah, the Festival of Light, has many foods associated with it: latkes, sufganiyot, and dairy. Fried foods are symbolic of the limited supply of oil that lasted for eight days, and dairy is symbolic of Judith (Yehudit) who saved her village from destruction.

For our Hanukkah dinner, I made potato latkes, noodle kugel, challah, and a pear-walnut cake with honey-orange syrup. I felt assured that all would turn out well, but I had my concerns about the kugel. You see, I’ve never actually experienced kugel – I have only heard the tales of woe and horror from my Jewish friends and, as such, steered well clear of any kugel offered to me (a far easier feat once I went vegan). This year, however, I decided to tackle the kugel. According to Wikipedia,Kugels may be sweet or savory. The most common types are made from egg noodles (called lochshen kugels) or potatoes and often contain eggs, but there are recipes in everyday use in modern Jewish kitchens for a great diversity of kugels made with different vegetables, fruit, batters, cheese, and other flavorings and toppings.” I chose a Martha Stewart noodle kugel recipe that is both sweet and savory.

My concerns arose when I looked over the recipe, and the trepidation set in as I began to assemble my ingredients. The combination of flavors appeared to be so unlike any other I have tried – and, more importantly, have enjoyed. This dish was truly jumping into the unknown for me. The other source of concern was how rich the dish must be: the original version called for 2 cups of sour cream, 1 cup of cream cheese, 6 eggs, 1 cup of butter, and 1 cup of sugar – oh my! Not only did I sub in vegan options for the sour cream, cream cheese, butter, and eggs, but I also reduced the quantity of each. Traditional noodle kugel also calls for wide egg noodles, but I used lasagna noodles that I cut into smaller pieces and they worked beautifully.

Personal growth can only occur when we take risks and step outside of our comfort zones; the same can be said about the growth of our culinary prowess. This kugel was delicious, and it was, most definitely, the belle of the ball at our Hanukkah dinner. Sure, the challah received its fair share of praise, and the latkes enjoyed their time in the spotlight, but it was the kugel that had people coming back for more. The bonus? It tasted even better the day.

Happy Hanukkah!

Noodle Kugel
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance or other butter substitute, melted, plus more for dish
Coarse salt
1 pound lasagna noodles
¼ cup canola oil
1 cup (8 ounces) Tofutti sour cream, room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) Tofutti cream cheese, room temperature
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1/3 cup golden raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 13-by-9-inch baking dish; set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until al dente according to package instructions, Drain noodles; set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, use a pizza cutter to slice the noodles in half lengthwise and then in thirds widthwise. Put back into pot and set aside.

2. Put oil and sour cream into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on medium speed until combined. Mix in 1/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup Earth Balance, and the cream cheese. Set aside.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons Earth Balance in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar, the cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add apples; gently toss to coat. Cook, tossing occasionally, until soft and caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir apples into sour cream mixture; pour over noodles. Add the raisins and toss gently to combine. Pour into prepared dish. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons butter over noodles; sprinkle with remaining sugar.

4. Bake until set and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let stand 15 minutes before serving.

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When we were in North Carolina earlier this month, our friend Emily took us out to an amazing restaurant that featured an all vegetarian menu. She and her boyfriend Aaron highly recommended the fesenjan – a thick Persian stew made from walnuts and pomegranate juice. My experiences with Persian food has, admittedly, been limited to the few times in college when another close friend of mine and Emily’s, Gitta, had opportunity to express her Persian heritage.  She did so by getting her hands on ingredients enough to make actual food (not ramen, or spaghetti, or cereal, or any of the other economical items we were so accustomed to eating) in any of the meager kitchens in the places we called home during our days at Oberlin. Persian food is not a well represented cuisine on Maui, so Dan and I decided to order a bowl of fesenjan knowing that it may be a while before we again have the opportunity to do so. After it arrived to much lip smacking and oohing and ahhing, we finally came up for air and declared it to be delicious.

The next day as I continued to talk about how good it was (I can’t help it – a good meal can create conversation material for me for days, though it might be unfortunately limited to exclamations about how delicious it was) Emily challenged me to replicate the dish in my own kitchen. I can appreciate a good challenge.

Back on Maui, I research fesenjan and learned that it is often paired with chicken or duck. I had a difficult time finding a version online that did not contain meat. I could easily have omitted the meat from any of the recipes I found but I decided to be a bit more adventurous. Though the fesenjan I had in North Carolina did not contain any faux meat, I decided to add seitan to mine. I used this recipe for guidance as I adapted it to suit my tastes, and I used the simple seitan recipe from Veganomicon. Instead of simmering the seitan in broth I added the raw dough directed to the fesenjan pot and let it cook in the juices of the stew. I was so, so pleased with how this turned out – it was delicious, and it tasted even better the next day for lunch. We enjoyed ours over brown rice. Dan declared it to taste just like the restaurant version, though, admittedly, having only tried it once I am not sure we can be taken as expert opinions on this one. We really loved this, and if anyone out there knows a thing or two about fesenjan I would really enjoy hearing your opinion as to the “authenticity” of my version.

I highly recommend this dish for any holiday menu you may be creating. The flavors of pomegranate, walnuts, nutmeg, and cinnamon are perfect for this time of year. Be sure to not skimp on cooking time – the fesenjan starts out thin but, as the walnuts release their oils during the cooking process, it will thicken up.



1/8 cup olive oil
2 small onions, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 ½ cups walnuts, finely ground
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
2 cups pomegranate juice
1 tbsp agave
½ tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 generous pinch saffron, crushed
4 tbsp lime juice

1 batch seitan dough

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onions and sauté until golden brown.

2. Add the garlic, cinnamon, and nutmeg and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the walnuts, pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses, agave, salt, pepper, and saffron. Bring to a low boil and simmer for 30 minutes. In the meantime, make the seitan dough.

3. Divide the seitan dough into small “nugget” size pieces and add the pieces to the pot. Simmer for another 30 minutes.

4. Stir in the lime juice and simmer for an additional 60 minutes.

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