Espresso jello dessert (#vegan)

vegan espresso jello dessert

Vegan Espresso Jello Dessert with coconutMilk whippedCream and an organic strawberry on top

Thank goodness for nature—she provides everything we need to a T without ever harming animals. In this case, to make vegan jello dessert.
Although it’s nothing new. I’ve had this vegan jello option since childhood, growing up in Japan. It’s called “kanten” in Japanese, and which is agar—extracts of algae.

I use the powder agar that’s conveniently packaged for single uses. 

What I used (for 6 individual servings):

  • 1 packet of kanten (agar) powder
  • 300ml of purified water
  • 150ml of freshly brewed espresso coffee + 100ml of purified water (you can use 250ml of strong regular coffee)
  • A dash of cinnamon powder
  • 1 Tablespoon of coffee-bean-soaked vodka (or coffee liquor)
  • 1/4 cup of cane sugar
  • 50ml of unsweetened almond+cashew milk
  • A small saucepan
  • 6 glass containers
  1. In the small saucepan, put kanten powder and water, & bring to boil.
  2. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. While kanten jelly liquid is simmering, prepare the coffee (espresso+water) by adding the coffee flavored vodka & cinnamon powder, & stir.
  4. Add the prepared coffee to the boiling kanten jelly liquid, & stir.
  5. Add sugar, & stir.
  6. Pour into 6 small glass containers (or tea-cups).
  7. Chill them in the refrigerator for a few hours until firm.
  8. Add a dub of coconutMilk whipped cream, & enjoy eating!

Here’s a vine video:

The big difference between cooking with kanten & gelatin is the jelling process; kanten requires to be boiled for a few minutes to form while gelatin only requires hot water.

You can also use fruit juices or sweet wines instead of coffee. When you do, make sure the kanten jelly liquid is cooled off the burner for a few minutes before adding the acidic liquids.

It’s really easy, yet so tasty! Oh, and guilt-free, because kanten is soluable fiber, which helps you regular!

vegan espresso jello dessert with coconutMilk whippedCream & an organic strawberry

Vegan Espresso Jello dessert w/ coconutMilk whippedCream & an organic strawberry

Happy healthy cooking & eating!


Tofu Scramble (#vegan)

Good tasting vegan food doesn’t have to be complicated to make. This TofuScramble I just came up with is a keeper! It’s delicious, quick & easy!

Tofu Scramble

Tofu Scramble

What I’ve used…

  • 1 teaspoon coconutOil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • A dash of blackPepper+seaSalt
  • 1/2 cup onion—diced
  • 1 big clove of garlic—chopped
  • 1/2 package of firm tofu (I used TraderJoeSan’s organic)—cut into cubes & lightly squeezed (the excess moisture out) in the hand
  • 2 shiitake mushrooms—diced
  • 2 small jalapeño peppers—chopped
  • 1~2 leaf of cabbage (I used 2 small ones)—chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons of hummus
  • 1 teaspoon of ground flaxseed mixed in 1 Tablespoon of water
  • 1 teaspoon of nutritionalYeast
  • SeaSalt+whitePepper to taste
  • Frypan with lid

…and here’s how I made it:

  1. In a heated non-stick frypan, put coconutOil, turmeric, seaSalt, & blackPepper.
  2. Add onions & stir. Then add shiitake, garlic, & cabbage, & stir. Place a lid, & let them steam in their own moisture for a few minutes (⇦this is important) in the low heat.
  3. Meanwhile, hand-squeeze the excess moisture out of the cubed tofu. Then add them to the pan & stir.
  4. Add hummus & stir. Then add flaxseed+water mixture & stir.
  5. Add nutritionalYeast & stir.
  6. SeaSalt & whitePepper (& 1/2 teaspoon of soySauce if you like) to taste.
  7. Served on steamed plain jasmineRice, & enjoy eating!

Vine video:

recent version:

My reasons behind what I’ve used:

CoconutOil mimics butter, & adds a dairy-like flavor.  It may not be totally healthy thing to eat, so I use it sparingly.

Turmeric+blackPepper is the power combo for health. For more info, please learn at (not affiliated).

Onions, garlic, & shiitake are triple umami makers! You don’t need meat for umami if you use these three!

Cabbage adds a wonderful hidden umami where vegan dishes need “oomph.” lol  IMHO, it adds a hint of animalFood-like odor.

Tofu is such a versatile food! If you like Edamame, you’d like tofu, coz they’re both soyBeans! It’s an excellent plantBased protein.

Hummus gives both the taste and texture of cooked egg yolk, and it works in cooking!

Flaxseed+water mixture is one of the go-to ingredients in vegan cooking in place of egg-white.

There you have it. All the ingredients work together to possibly fool an egg-lover 😉

Happy Cooking & eating!

Cucumbers and Wakame Seaweed Salad (#vegan)

Perhaps my love for cucumbers was rekindled by a scene of the famous Oscar Wilde play, The Importance of Being Earnest. What could depict a perfect summer tea better than cucumber sandwiches?!

Then I saw the SupermarketWars (a parody of theStarWars). In the fateful scene, Darth Tater tells Cuke Skywalker, “Cuke, I am your father.” I still chuckle recalling the scene when Cuke answers, “That’s impossible!”

Anyway, I LOVE cucumbers. 

Part.1:  Lightly Pickled Cucumber slices

  • 2 Cucumbers or 1 long English variety
  • Kelp powder stock
  • SeaSalt – to taste
  1. 2 cucumbers, partially pealed if homegrown or organic, but completely peal them if they’re conventional.
  2. Slice them thinly (about 5mm thick) 
  3. Place a layer of cuke slices in a glass container (or a dish, you can put inside of a reusable ziplock bag).
  4. Sprinkle some kelp powder stock, and repeat until all the slices are used.
  5. Keep the lidded container in the fridge overnight. 
  6. Gently mix the cuke slices with hand.
  7. SeaSalt to taste. 
  8. You can eat them as they are, but to make it disgustingly healthy, set them aside for Cucumber and Wakame seaweed salad.

Part.2: Cucumber and Wakame Seaweed salad

  • 1 cup of lightly pickled cucumber slices
  • 1/3 cup of dried pre-cut Wakame seaweed
  • Filtered water
  • 3 heaping Tablespoons toasted (black) sesame seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons agave
  • 2 Tablespoons soySauce or tamari 
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar 
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking sake
  1. Rehydrate the seaweed in cold filtered water. (Tap is ok, I don’t recommend bottled water.)
  2. Soak the seaweed until they’re all seaweedy again.
  3. Drain the water, & squeeze as much water out as possible (otherwise it will dilute the vinegarette).
  4. Crush 3 tablespoons of roasted sesame seeds
  5. Combine 2 tablespoons each of Agave, soySauce (or Tamari), riceVinegar, and 1 tablespoon of cooking sake.
  6. Mix the crushed sesame seeds into the vinegarette. Please adjust the taste to your liking.
  7. Add lightly pickled cuke slices and well-drained Wakame seaweed, and gently mix.
  8. Serve as a cool side dish, and enjoy eating!

#Vegan White Sauce Pasta w/ OysterMushrooms & YellowSquash 

This is much easier & tastier than the conventional white sauce that uses flour and butter. So I hope you try it!

What I’ve used (for 2 servings)

  • 1/4 onion (orange-sized) sliced
  • 1 cup of OysterMushrooms sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic sliced
  • 1 yellow summerSquash (≒ 2cups) chopped to bitesize
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric 
  • A dash of blackPepper 
  • 1~2 tablespoons of oliveOil 
  • 1 teaspoon of shiitake powder-stock*
  • A pinch of lemonZest**
  • A dash of white wine 
  • 1 teaspoon of DijonMustard 
  • 1/2 cup of almondCashewMilk 
  • 2 teaspoons of ground Flaxeed as thickening agent 
  • 4oz (1/4 package of most) dry pasta boiled al dente 
  • (Habanero)SeaSalt to taste
  • (Thai)Basil & kale for garnish & digestive aid
  1. Slice & prepare onion, garlic, OysterMushrooms, & squash.
  2. Heat the frypan (w/ a lid), add turmeric, blackPepper, & oliveOil.
  3. Add prepared onion, OysterMushrooms, & garlic in the pan & stir.
  4. Add squash & stir.
  5. Reduce heat to low, place the lid, & simmer.
  6. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in another pot.
  7. Add white wine, DijonMustard, almondCashewMilk, shiitake powder stock, ground flaxseed, & lemon nZest, and stir.
  8. Add the boiled pasta to the creamy mix.
  9. SeaSalt to taste, and garnish with basil & kale.
  10. Enjoy eating!

* shiitake powder stock: you can find this at most Japanese (Asian) grocery stores. It has sodium, so I only add salt to taste at the end of cooking when I use this.

** lemonZest: I always keep some organic julienned lemonZest in the freezer. It gives a depth to the dish. Besides, I LOVE cooking with lemons.

Here’s a visual aid:

Happy cooking & eating! 😋

Btw, this recipe is similar to my Creamy Vegan Alfredo Pasta.

Kabocha squash soup

Kabocha is a Japanese pumpkin. It looks almost identical to buttercup squash, but tastes sweeter and creamier. Traditionally people add sugar when cooking Kabocha, but I say that’s utterly unnecessary. 


My Kabocha soup is very simple. Just a little elbow grease for dicing the pumpkin, but since the skin is edible unlike ButternutSquash, it’s pretty easy.


  • 1 Kabocha squash – diced into bite size
  • Filtered water – enough to submerge the Kabocha 
  • Konbu* (kelp) sheet
  • 2 tablespoons of Mirin
  • 2 tablespoons of white miso
  • Scallions – chopped
  1. Wash the Kabocha thoroughly, cut into half, spoon out the seeds, and dice into bite sizes. 
  2. Place Kabocha in a large (Dutch oven) pot, and add water, kelp sheets, and mirin; and start cooking.
  3. When the kelp sheets are soft enough (a few minutes after it starts boiling), take them out on the cutting board, and cut them into bite sizes, and return them to the pot.
  4. Add miso & stir.
  5. Add scallions right before serving. Enjoy eating!

Here’s the vine.

Our backyard wildlife, squirrels and birds, love Kabocha seeds! So I toss them in the back of the flowerbed for them. Some of them come right to the kitchen door.

A couple of years ago, two seeds escaped being eaten, and grew two small Kabocha!

Dried kelp sheets are wonderful, but if you don’t have them at hand, you can use kelp powder stock or dried shiitake mushrooms for dashi (Japanese word for soup stock).

Cilantro goes well with the soup, too!img_7380

Yesterday, I used the leftover Kabocha soup to make a creamy vegan veggie pasta

You can also add cooked potato chunks & vegan sausages to make this soup into a stew. It’s very versatile.

Well, happy cooking & eating!

ButternutSquash Soup/Stew (#vegan)

It’s been a while since I last made this soup (stew), and boy it’s delicious.

Butternut squash stew

 Here’s what I used this time:

  • 1 tablespoon of oliveOil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric 
  • A dash of blackPepper
  • A pinch of seaSalt
  • 1/2 large or 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium butternutSquash, skin removed & cut in bite size
  • 2 small (Yukon) potatoes, cut in bite size 
  • 3 shiitake mushrooms, diced (stems sliced thinly)
  • 2 tablespoons of mirin* (sweet cooking sake)
  • Filtered water (enough to cover the cut ingredints)
  • 2 teaspoons of Kelp powder stock*
  • A pinch of lemon zest (optional, but recommended)
  • 2 tablespoons of rice miso*
  • Scallions for the finishing touch
  1. Start with heated pan with oliveOil, turmeric & blackPepper, and add onions. Stir, & cover the pan to sweat the onions in low heat.
  2. Add butternutSquash, potatoes, shiitake, water, and mirin. Stir, and bring to boil.
  3. Reduce heat again to simmer until the squash & potatoes are soft (about 10-15 minutes).
  4. Add kelp powder stock & lemon zest, and miso. Stir.
  5. Add scallions for color and flavor.
  6. Enjoy eating!

Sometimes I also add fried tofu cubes on the second day to enjoy slightly different versions. Or if you prefer, you can add a couple of diced vegan sausages for a richer taste.

* You can find these in the Asian grocery stores. 

Here is the vine video.

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy cooking & eating!

Veggie+tofu pasta in creamy Kabocha sauce (#vegan)

I just made this up with stuff I found in the fridge. We often find ourselves pressed with time, and I’m forced to whip up something in 20 minutes. But this came out to be so delicious, I’m jotting it down here.  

What I used:

  • 1 tablespoon of oliveOil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric 
  • A dash of blackPepper 
  • 1/4 of a large onion – sliced
  • 1/5 of pressed firm tofu – cut into small pieces, but not too small
  • 4~5 BrusselsSprouts – quartered
  • 1/2 of a large tomato – sliced
  • 3 shiitake mushrooms (incl stems*1) – sliced 
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine
  • 2 servings of cooked pasta (usually a box of dry pasta contains 8 servings)*2
  • 1/4 Leftover Kabocha squash soup*3
  • 1 teaspoon of tapioca powder*4
  • A few pinches of seaSalt (to taste)
  • A few sprigs of cilantro 
  1. Start the pan with oliveOil, turmeric & blackPepper, and add onions & tofu.
  2. Add the rest of the veggies, and stir lightly, add white wine, cover the pot to pan-steam for about 4~5 minutes.
  3. Add cooked pasta.
  4. Mix tapioca powder to the Kabocha soup, then pour it into the pan.
  5. Stir, adjust taste by adding salt & pepper, and cover the pot to simmer until ready to serve.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro, and enjoy eating!

As I was in a hurry to make food, I didn’t have time to make the vine video. But here’s the vine for Kabocha Soup.


*1 Don’t throw away the shiitake stems! The much of the flavor is in the stems as well. I thinly slice them or minced, depending on the recipe.

*2 I usually cook 1/2 of one box of pasta (4 servings), and save half in the fridge for another recipe within a few days. I used the saved half in this recipe. I soak the cold pasta in boiled hot water for a minute before using.

*3 Kabocha soup is super easy to make! It just requires a little elbow grease dicing it. The skin is soft and edible upon cooking.

*4 Tapioca powder can be substituted with corn starch.

Happy cooking & eating!