Archive | September, 2011

Some salads

28 Sep

I can’t believe it’s 85 degrees at the end of September! Wait, yes I can! As a native southern Californian (and current Bay Area transplant) I have never experienced a true fall. Crisp winds, dim sunlight, colored leaves, cozy coats, and hot soup…these are the things I dream of. I know “the grass is always greener” and such and when I inevitably have to move somewhere cold and icky for my post-doc in a few years I know I’ll long for coastal California weather. Until then, I’m going to complain and use the heat as an excuse to have cold, raw food for breakfast lunch and dinner!

Today for lunch I went to a little cafe on campus and had the best best best salad (I actually have it almost every day). It’s got romaine, grape tomatoes, red onion, sweet white corn, black beans, jicama, and tortilla strips on top all tossed in a cilantro lime vinaigrette. Nothing special but it tastes amazing and they give you the most gigantic bowl along with some French bread so it’ll keep you full till dinner! I forgot to take a pic but I think you get the idea!

Tonight I started off just making a simple green salad but it seemed way too boring so here’s my version of curried chicken salad:

Chick peas are absolutely amazing in mayo-based mock-meat salads. I’ve seen them used in place of tuna (with a little sea weed flavoring to add “fishiness”) and chicken. I know I probably swiped this recipe from a cookbook but now I just kind of wing it.

Curried Chick Pea Salad:
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/4-1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1-2 Tbs vegan mayo (I like Vegannaise best)
1 tsp curry powder
salt, to taste

Mash up chick peas with a fork or in a food processor.  Add onion, celery, curry powder, and enough mayo to moisten everything.  Add salt to taste.  Serve on salad or in a veggie sandwich!

I just threw some on top of my salad (the white stuff is a little ranch dressing from Appetite for Reduction) with some chopped chives.  Simple, healthy, and yummy!

While I was making dinner I used leftover veggies to make salad for lunch tomorrow.  I grabbed a handful of chick peas from the can I used to make chicken salad with and made a little cous cous while I was chopping, and voila!

The recipe comes from Appetite for Reduction, but it’s a pretty basic concept.  I think the book calls for quinoa but I didn’t have any so I subbed cous cous and it’s still really tasty.  There’s also some romaine, carrot, red onion, and tomato.  It’s not pictured but I used the balsamic vinaigrette from AFR too.  That stuff is awesome!  It doesn’t use any oil and all the fat comes from pureed cashews.  Genius!  And it’s amazing on this salad.

Remember what I said about eating cold food in this hot fall weather?  Well, I lied a little.  Last night the boyfriend and I were craving pumpkin so we made a pumpkin pie.  We had to turn on the fan to counteract the heat of the oven but it was worth it! 🙂

It’s not beautiful, but it was really good and you can’t really tell the difference from non-veg pumpkin pie.  I used pumpkin pie filling and just mixed in a package of pureed silken tofu and a little more spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice). I hate most crusts so we made a cinnamon graham cracker crust instead. My oven is stupid and I burned edges a bit so it’s a little ugly but still tasted fine!

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Cookbook Challenge Week 1 – Isa & Terry: Tempeh Helper

21 Sep

I never thought I would ever crave Hamburger Helper again but guess what…I’m not the only vegan who remembers and wants to recreate the stuff!

This recipe is from Appetite for Reduction and uses tempeh as the meat substitute. It tastes like the taco flavor, with oregano, thyme, and chili powder in the noodle mix and topped with a nutrtitional yeast based cheesy sauce. Tasty! We added peas to bulk it up and get our dose of veggies.

Cookbook Challenge Week 1 – Isa & Terry

19 Sep

Over at the Post Punk Kitchen forum we are embarking on twelve weeks of vegan cooking, drawing from some of the most popular vegan cookbooks. This is a great way for me to get out of my cooking funk and try out new recipes from books I’ve owned for ages. I’m sure I’m like a lot of people, in that I buy a book, try out a few recipes, and then file it away. What a waste!! I’d love to eventually work through every cookbook I own (and sooner rather than later, so I can think of some great recipes to serve at our wedding reception in July).

This week’s challenge is to make recipes from books by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero.  I’ve recently discovered how amazing the salads are from Veganomicon and we just happen to be experiencing a nasty heat wave so it looks like this week I’ll be making salad!

I’m starting off with “Quinoa Salad with black beans and mango”. It’s a pretty easy recipe and calls for quinoa, black beans, mango, red bell pepper, cilantro, and scallions tossed in a little red wine vinegar and olive oil. I subbed cous cous since I was out of quinoa and it was super tasty!

Ethiopian food!

18 Sep

This weekend we had a PPK meet-up at Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant in San Jose.  I’ve been there before but this time was even better!  We ordered the vegetarian combo which included (clockwise, from top) a carrot, cabbage and vegetable stew, a red lentil stew, a scrambled injera & red pepper dish, a yellow split pea stew, simmered collard greens, and a green salad all served on top of a big piece of injera bread.

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BF and I shared a serving of lentil stew and split pea stew since those were our favorites last time. The whole table shared a big basket of injera, which I have grown to love. Super yums!

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We also tried Ethiopian beer and red wine and it was all quite good! They also offer a coffee service for $25 that you have to order before your meal starts. I’m very curious what that entails.

Now that’s my kind of swollen ovary!

17 Sep

Fun fact: did you know that zucchini is the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower? Hee hee, that’s the appetizing description you’ll find if you check Wikipedia!

Boyfriend is not fond of zucchini and we got quite a few in our CSA box this week so I tried to disguise it a bit!  When I was a kid my parents had a huge garden in their backyard and our fridge was always chock full of tomatoes, green beans,  cucumbers, radishes, and squash.  One way to use up the tons and tons of zucchini was to turn it into a sweet bread.  I’ve never made zucchini bread as an adult because it seemed wrong to “waste” it in bread when I could be eating it in its truest form.  So while it often drives me nuts that bf is so picky about his veggies, this time it was awesome because I got to do some fun baking!

I modified a Betty Crocker recipe:

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

3 cups shredded zucchini (abouot 3 medium)
1 2/3 cups sugar (I used 1 cup white, 2/3 cup brown)
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
equiv of 4 eggs (I used Ener-G egg replacer, but you can also use flax or banana)
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans (the ungreased sides allow the batter to cling while rising during baking, which helps form a gently rounded top).  Mix zucchini, sugar, oil, vanilla and egg replacer in large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Pour into pans.

Bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 min.  Loosen sides of loaves from pan and remove from pans  Cool completely before slicing and store tightly wrapped in fridge up to 1 week.

Cherry tomatoes!

14 Sep

My first post is about cherry tomatoes!  After 3 years of failure, I finally grew tomatoes on our north-facing, shade-loving apartment balcony! The tricks seemed to be:

1) Planting early (February)
2) Blasting those seedlings with a grow light the first few months
3) Our super awesome planter, which holds water much better than a tiny pot and lets the roots grow deep
4)  Cherry tomatoes!  Those babies are prolific and don’t need as much sun as other tomato varieties

Our cherry tomato plant responded really well this year, growing up about 3 feet, hanging over the balcony rail, and then growing down 4 feet.  The thing is tall!  The two early girls did ok, but I think I only got about 10 mealy fruits from them.

Since I’m not the biggest fan of cherry tomatoes, I decided to cook them down to make bruschetta.  It turned out great!  I didn’t really follow a recipe, I just tossed the tomatoes in a little olive oil and roasted them at 400 degrees for 45 min.  After they cooled down I mixed them with a splash of red wine vinegar, a few cloves of minced garlic, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh basil.  The mix was spread on toasted french bread and topped with more fresh basil and pine nuts.  That’s it!  The roasting really concentrated the tomato flavor so it was super sweet and tangy.  A perfect summer treat that brings back childhood memories of growing a summer garden with my family.