Cookbook Challenge: Shut up and Eat!

Shut up and Eat! by Tony Lip and Steven Priggé is a cookbook, but unlike most cookbooks, it’s not just a collection of recipes. The book does include a lot of recipes, but in my opinion the stories are the best part of the book. Many famous Italian-American actors share their memories about food, movies and life and after the story they also share their best recipes. Some recipes are old family recipes, some are from famous restaurants and some are just food they like to cook. You can read about Tony Lip’s days in the army, how he later worked in nightclub Copacabana in New York City, how he served dinner to young Sopranos fans who came to his door asking for autograph. And then you can cook same Pasta Fagiole he cooked for Mickey Rourke when they lived together in Los Angeles. And this was just the first of many actors in the book and about 20 first pages.

As you can expect, the recipes include a lot of animal products. Few are already vegan (just don’t sprinkle the optional parmesan cheese on top), some are easy to veganize and many recipes are impossible to veganize.

Who would I recommend this book to? The stories I would recommend to anyone, but I wouldn’t recommend the recipes for veg(etari)ans. I’m happy to own this book, but I read it as a collection of interesting tales, not as a great recipe collection.

I’m going to skip this challenge in February for two reasons. A) I’m starting to work overtime next week and I don’t want any extra work with cooking. B) I want to cook more from One Dish Vegan and Shut up and Eat!
I’ll return to the cookbook challenge in March or April.

False Morel Risotto

Recently I ate false morels first time in my life. My co-worker had found lots of them and she gave me a small box of boiled false morels. I used them for a mushroom risotto, which was great. About a week later I was at my grandparents’ summer cottage and found some false morels myself. I picked them, boiled them three times in lots of water and made a creamy sauce. False morels are delicious, but they must be prepared properly, because they’re very poisonous when they’re raw.

Mushroom Risotto

300g boiled false morels
OR 1 l any fresh mushrooms
2 shallots or 1 small onion
2-3 garlic cloves
glass (1-1,5 dl) white wine
300 risotto rice
hot vegetable broth (home made or from cubes)
salt, pepper
fresh parsley
2 tbsp margarine

Peel and chop the shallots and garlic cloves. Coarsely chop the mushrooms. Fry/sauté the mushrooms in oil on a frying pan and meanwhile prepare the risotto. Heat couple of tbsp oil in a pot and sauté the shallots and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the rice and sauté couple of minutes. Add the wine and stir until it’s absorbed. Add a ladleful (1 dl) broth and simmer until it’s absorbed. Keep adding broth and stir often until the rice is done (it takes maybe 15-20 minutes). Remove from the stove and stir in (freshly ground black) pepper, parsley, margarine and mushrooms, and salt if needed. Cover with a lid and let sit about two minutes before serving.

VeganMoFo 2011 Pizza Post

We’ve posted about pizza in previous Mofos, so I guess we have to do it this year too. The filling is a little different than usual pizza filling and I strongly recommend trying it. I think other mushrooms would be good too, if chanterelles aren’t available.

Chanterelle Pizza

1 round pizza crust

1 l chanterelles
1 tbsp oil
1,5 dl tomato sauce
1,5 dl plain soy yogurt
0,5 tsp oregano
1-2 tbsp fresh parsley
(salt, pepper)

Put the chanterelles on a dry pan and sauté until the water comes out of them. Discard the water or continue sautéing until it’s evaporated. Add the oil and fry few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix and spread on the pizza. Bake and enjoy.

Mushroom Lasagne

I invented this recipe earlier this autumn when we had picked lots of forest mushrooms with my mother. It was great, and I made it again last weekend when we had dinner guests. I don’t have pictures on the computer yet, but I’ll add one later.

Mushroom Lasagne

9- 12 lasagne sheets

Mushroom sauce:
1-1,5 l cubed forest mushrooms
2 tbsp oil or margarine
1 onion
1 can passata + half can water
scant 1 tsp salt
0,5 tsp black pepper
1 tsp basil
1 tsp chervil
0,5 tsp thyme

Bechamel sauce:
3 tbsp margarine
1 dl wheat flour
7,5 dl soy or oat milk
pinch of salt and white pepper
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
0,5 dl nutritional yeast

Heat the mushrooms in a big pan or pot until the liquid comes out of them. Drain or continue heating until the liquid has evaporated. Chop the onion. Add the oil and onion to the pot and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent. Add passata, water, salt, pepper and herbs. Simmer while you make the bechamel sauce.

Melt the margarine in a sauce pan and stir in flour. Add 0,5-1dl milk, stir well, add more milk, stir etc. until all the milk is gone. You can increase the amount of milk you add when half of the milk is gone. Bring to boil (remember to stir often!) and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the nutritional yeast. Check your mushroom sauce and add water if needed. It should be relatively thin, so thin that you wouldn’t want to eat it with spaghetti.

Grease a lasagne dish and spread a thin layer of mushroom sauce to the bottom. Put a layer of pasta sheets to the dish, spread half of the remaining mushroom sauce on them and 1/3 bechamel sauce next. Repeat and last put a layer of pasta and bechamel sauce on top.

Bake 45 minutes in 175 Celsius degrees.

Lentil Cannelloni

When I saw Kurpitsamoska’s lentil cannelloni recipe several months ago I wanted to try it. Soon my sister came to visit and asked if we could make mushroom and eggplant cannelloni, which we made and enjoyed and I forgot the lentil cannelloni recipe. Until a friend of ours told that she had made awesome vegetarian lasagne and the next day Nomad suggested that we’d have lasagne or cannelloni in the near future. On Valentine’s day I veganized Kurpitsamoska’s cannelloni and they were great.

Lentil Cannelloni

cannelloni tubes

Lentil Filling:
2 dl red lentils
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp sugar
0,5 dl nutritional yeast
0,5 dl oat cream

Tomato Sauce:
2 cans crushed tomato
1 big onion
5 garlic cloves (or more)
1 glass red wine
pinch of sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
2 tsp dried basil

Boil the lentils 10-15 minutes. Drain and stir in other ingredients. Let sit a little while.

Chop the onion and mince garlic. Sauté in oil until soft. Add rest of the ingredients and simmer as long as you have patience.

Fill the cannelloni tubes with lentil filling and put them on one layer to a oven proof dish. Pour the tomato sauce over them and bake 25-30 minutes in 225 celsius degrees.

Pizza Day

Today we had a pizza day. We made two big pizzas, so I think we’ll have a pizza day tomorrow too. We used this quick and easy pizza dough recipe, which is from Kaarina Roininen’s book Parhaat kotileivonnaiset. Regular yeast dough is better, but this is great when it’s already getting late when you start baking. Double the recipe if you want to make a pizza that is as big as the baking sheet.


Quick Pizza Dough

2,5 dl wheat flour or durum flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
0,5 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp oil
1 dl cold water

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add oil and water and mix with a spoon or a wooden fork. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and pat the dough on it. Put toppings on the dough and bake in 225 Celsius degrees about 20 minutes.


Toppings on the pizza number 1: Salsa barbecue (=kidney beans in tomato sauce), pickled mushrooms, onion and pineapple.

Toppings on the pizza number 2: Tomato paste, textured soy protein, onion, olives, corn and sun dried tomatos.

“Cheese” on both pizzas: 2 dl oat cream, 1,5 dl nutritional yeast, pinch of herb salt, turmeric and garlic powder. This makes enough for two big pizzas.

Cooking with the Sopranos

We have been watching Sopranos DVDs and usually the food they eat looks so delicious. So we borrowed The Sopranos Family Cookbook from the local library. I wouldn’t buy this book, because most of the recipes include meat, but I like to have it at home for a month. Few recipes are already almost vegan, you just need to sprinkle vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast on top of the dish instead of  dairy cheese. Some recipes need more substituting to make them vegan and some recipes are completely useless. I have tried only one recipe so far, and it included four kinds of meat! Pork and veal were used only for flavour, the meat pieces were removed before serving, so they were easy to substitute. The other two meats were sausages and meatballs, which were easy to veganize. The soy ball recipe makes loads of balls, so you may want to make only half.


Sopranos Style Lasagne

Lasagne pasta
Tofu ricotta
2 dl oat cream + 1,5 dl nutritional yeast (or melting soy cheese)
1-2 dl Parmazano or other vegan parmesan

Tomato sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
2 sausages
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp tomato puré
3 cans of crushed tomatoes
2 dl water
1 vegetable bouillon cube (I used herbs and garlic flavoured)
salt and pepper
6 basil leaves, chopped

Soy balls

3 dl textured soy protein
vegetable broth
2 dl bread crumbs
1 potato
1 dl wheat flour
1 garlic clove, minced
1 onion, chopped
0,5 dl nutritional yeast
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper
2 tbsp oil + more for frying

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot. Fry the sausages until they are brown from every side and put them on a plate. Throw the garlic cloves to the pot and fry couple of minutes or until they are browned. Remove from the pot and eat them. Fry the tomato puré for a minute and add crushed tomatoes. Add water, boullion cube, salt and pepper. Stir in basil and sausages. Bring to boil, cover the pot partly and simmer for 2 hours, stirring from time to time. Add more water if necessary.

Meanwhile make the soy balls. Put the soy protein into a bowl, add some broth and stir with fork. Keep stirring and add more broth until the soy protein is moist. Remember that it’s easier to add broth than remove it, so add only little bit at time. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients and mix with your hands. Make small balls, about size of a grape. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the balls from every side.

When the sauce has been simmering for two hours, add the soy balls and simmer 30 more minutes. Remove the balls and sausages from the sauce and add water if the sauce is very thick. I had to add several desilitres, because the sauce for lasagne must be much thinner than the sauce that is eaten with cooked pasta. Slice the sausages.

Lightly grease a lasagne dish and spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom. Put a layer of pasta on them, then some soy balls and sausage slices, spoon tomato sauce on them, then  1/4 of Tofu ricotta and few tbsp nutritional yeas mix and  parmazano. Make the rest of the layers the same way. After two layers my dish was nearly full, and I decided to put fewer balls and rest of the sausages on the last layer. I thought I’d freeze the rest of the balls and sauce. But I couldn’t even put the last layer of pasta to the dish, because it was this full:


I still had some sauce and quite a lot of soy balls and cheeses left, and thought that I could make more lasagne and freeze that instead of balls and sauce. I added one more can of crushed tomatoes to the sauce, because there wasn’t enough left for another lasagne. This time I managed to put layer of pasta on the top, and spread rest of the tomato sauce and nutritional yeast mix and sprinkled some parmazano on it.

Bake in 175 cesius degrees for 45 minutes.

My First Focaccia

I have baked bread hunreds of times, but for some reason I had never tried to make focaccia. Then I saw a carrot and onion focaccia recipe in a magazine called Me! (it’s Finnish and means We!) and I gave it a try. Focaccia was delicious and I’m definitely going to make it again and I’m sure I’ll try other focaccia recipes too.

IMG_4605-1Carrot and Onion Focaccia

200g grated carrots
25 g yeast
1 tsp sugar
0,5 tsp salt
3 dl water
2 dl whole wheat flour
4 dl wheat flour

on top:

1 (small) red onion
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp sea salt

In a bowl mix water, grated carrots, yeast, sugar and salt. Add flours and stir or knead a dough. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle some flour on it. Spoon half of the dough on the sheet and sprinkle flour on it. Pat the dough to form a flat (about 2cm) bread. Peel the red onion and cut to thin slices or half moons. Spread half of the onion slices on the bread and sprinkle half of the oil, molasses and salt on it. Bake in 250 Celsius degrees for 15 minutes. Make another focaccia the same way.