A toast to avo

Avocado toast? Yes, please.

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Here’s my version: sweetly ripe, on organic baguette, with a smattering of red pepper flakes. 

When did avocado toast become a thing? I seem to think sometime last year; possibly the year before (2015). But now I see it popping up on vegetarian restaurant menus all over the place. How did something so simple become a phenomenon?

The newest local organic eatery near me has a version: on wheat toast, drizzled with a smudge of olive oil, salt, pepper and, if you desire (I always d0), red pepper flakes. Truly, there are as many ways to concoct your own version as there are avocados in the world. But: will  avocado toast become 2016-2017’s girl left behind at the dance? What might become the new vegan must-have grab & go snack? Stay tuned – but for now, I’m totally loving this mushy-crispy comfort food concoction.

 

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The simple things

It’s the simple things that sometimes taste the best. Take, for instance, this whole wheat pita (made by a local baking company), smothered in vegan cream cheese, market-fresh beefsteak tomatoes (also grown locally), and sunflower sprouts (ditto). What a wonderful, light, and refreshing snack!

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Taco Tuesday

Let it be known that I, along with many, many others, love tacos. Pretty much in any way, shape or form. But when my bod has had enough of masa flour tortillas, refried beans, faux meats  and other such heavy things, I can always turn to raw tacos as a backup.

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I first discovered the raw taco concept a few years ago in a local raw vegan restaurant on the beach that has sadly closed recently. But I carried the idea away with me, and now these babies are popping up all over the place. Really, why not? The recipe is so simple, and you feel so…good eating these. You can eat about ten of them and roll away with no guilt factor.

The basic recipe can be found online on a number of sites – but the gist is this: the taco ‘meat’ is comprised of walnuts, ground up with taco seasoning (I blended mine with a chipotle pepper in adobo, cumin, and chili powder); the pico de gallo is made fresh, and the crema is made from Ani Phyo‘s recipe for jalapeno-lime kream (made from cashews). You still get the crispy-crunch from the romaine lettuce shells – with none of the fat.

Summer is long, folks. There are a lot of Tuesdays involved, so indulge yourselves!

 

 

 

 

Bowled over

Scrolling recently through Pinterest (as one often does) for veg recipe ideas, I kept coming across something called a ‘Buddha bowl.’ I supposed it’s called such, because it’s chock full of yummy,healthy, good things like veggies, fruit and a protein, a grain, and maybe something else. I don’t know, it seems these BBs are very DIY when it comes to ingredients.

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Baked curried tofu, zucchini noodles, arugula, yellow bell pepper, with a cashew cream sauce. 

Really though, you could make the argument that BBs are glorified salads, with a hipster-y title. But, there seems to be kind of an art to assembling one: if you search on Pinterest for Buddha bowls, you’ll notice a cohesion, nay, an almost melodic harmony, of the ingredients that so-so salads just don’t have. Each element is beautifully assembled, not jumbled, together: everything in its right place (sorry, Radiohead), nestled gently in the bowl, begging for that Instagram shot you just know you’re going to take.

Being a food-like kind of person, I fell for the sell, and darn glad I did. It forces my brain to re-think food presentation, even if I’m only the one who is going to eat it. These two, pictured, are my first and second forays into BBs, and I’m almost giddy with the anticipation of what will come next.

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Zucchini noodles, avocado, tomatoes, chickpeas, mango, in a mojo dressing.

And: aren’t they pretty! Go make one or two or three for yourself.

Getting loaded

Oh Pinterest, you temptress. You may make me dump all of my cookbooks for good. As I scroll through looking casually at recipes for loaded french fries, this one pops out at me and I can’t resist. It jumps out screaming these are two of your favorite food things, amirite? and I take the bait.

13244818_10207509583230849_9059118154667485866_nI sent hubby to the store for fast food fries (as the recipe recommended) and whipped up a garlic mayo with some Veganaise. I didn’t have sriracha, but I had hot Thai chili sauce, which worked just as well.  I was happy that I actually had hoisin sauce in the pantry. I added in some green onion and a squeeze of lime, and I was in heaven. Loaded. Fries. Vegan. Vietnamese. (or Thai, depending on your POV).

I think now my new summer cooking obsession will be variations of loaded fries. Stay tuned.

Avo got a great recipe for you!

Anyone who asks my opinion on avocados, will hear me reply that they are the world’s most perfect food. I do believe this. And I was quick to confirm my belief when I made this truly amazing avocado pasta sauce.

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I think quite possibly this is the creamiest, dreamiest pasta sauce I’ve had in a long time. Avocados make everything better without any overpowering flavor, and here, I added a drizzle of olive oil, a clove of garlic, and sea salt/ black pepper. Blend it all together until smooth, and you have not only a sauce, but, a dip? A spread? Avos are awesome that way; they’ll meld their green little selves to what you desire to make, really.

After making the sauce, I boiled some angel hair, and in a saucepan, sauteed these gorgeous heirloom cherry tomatoes from Trader Joe’s ( a pricey indulgence, but worth it) in some olive oil until just soft. I drained the pasta, returned it to the pot, added the sauce and mixed in. The sauce actually thickened a bit (thanks to the starch in the pasta water) and turned into this succulent beautiful green dish that I couldn’t wait to dig in to.

Not really a recipe here – just more like inspiration – but if you poke around Pinterest and look for “avocado pasta.,” you’ll find variations aplenty.

 

For the love of leftovers

You either love leftovers or you don’t. I happen to. Things just seem to taste better two or three days after you’ve cooked them. I am a huge advocate for clearing out the fridge and getting those almost-forgotten foodstuffs outta there and into my stomach.
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This one was simple: homemade mashed potatoes, paired with garlic-sauteed mushrooms and fresh baby asparagus that I’d made a few days before. It looks a little wan here, but it was simply divine, in my eyes.