Category Archives: vegan

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.

PART_1461159518304_IMG_20160415_194240

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.
PART_1461159528131_IMG_20160417_135546
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.

The prodigal vegan has returned – with a new friend!

Hi all! I made a new friend recently in one of my condo clients. Not only is she close to my age, loves thrift shopping, photography, and believes in the three Rs  (Reduce, reuse, recycle) – like me – she is vegan!

E lives in the building I manage. Having just moved from Atlanta with three little (vegan) daughters in tow, she works from home and in between phone calls, whips up tasty raw vegan treats. She’s only housesitting for the summer for her dad, but E brought all her vegan cookbooks, juicer and even her dehydrator down to Florida! Talk about a woman on a mission!

And my new BFF has invited me up to her place for two yummy raw lunches so far. What a treat! And now we’re emailing each other photos of our food. (Dorks, haha!)

Here is E’s raw tofu scramble: tofu, turmeric, red
onions, tomatoes, parsley (newly dehydrated), roasted buckwheat, olive oil, nama shoyu, sea salt and pepper.

IMAG0484

It’s so nice having a new buddy like E!

Steak-out

Who says vegans can’t have decent steak sandwiches? Ok, granted, this veers a

Get out the napkins.

bit from the traditional “Philly” style – but I can’t be more pleased. Get good rolls from a reliable bakery. Saute gardein steak chunks, garlic and mushrooms in a little olive oil, add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pizza sauce, and load that roll up! Top with yummy cheddar vegan cheese (like daiya), or a sprinkling of nooch. It looks like a sloppy mess here, but then again, steak sandwiches have never been known for their delicateness.

Cookbookery Cookery

I have loads of vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my collection. Some get a healthy workout; others, not so much. One of my favorite go-to cookbooks is Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen. I’ve made more than half a dozen of his recipes from the book. Seems to me the reason being, is that Terry keeps the ingredients simple – and they are almost usually what I already have on hand. The book goes heavy on protein sources, like tempeh, tofu, seitan, and beans.

The bean and veggie mixture, pre-BBQ sauce. Aren’t the colors pretty?

I’m big on beans, because they’re not only a good source of said protein, but they are cheap, filling, and stretch a meal nicely. Today I whipped up Terry’s BBQ Baked Black-Eye Peas.

I’d previously made a batch of smoky BBQ sauce from the cookbook, so that saved me a step. (By the way, french fries taste awesome dipped in that BBQ sauce. Especially waffle fries, for some reason.) A home made batch will stretch a long way. And yes, I keep mine bottled in the fridge in an old, clean 7Up bottle capped with a wine cork. Way to recycle!

Bryant Terry’s BBQ sauce. Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, garlic, cayenne, agave nectar, and loads of other good stuff.

The beans are cooking now in my casserole pot and the house smells great. I bet this dish will go well with some crusty French bread. Simple. I love simple.

Stock it to me

There is nothing, in my opinion, more glorious and humble

Gorgeous, isn't it?

than beautiful homemade vegetable stock.

Radical radishes

Delish.

I am officially over my longstanding childhood dislike/fear of radishes. Roasting them low and slow in the  oven in garlic butter renders them sweet and tender and soft. Drizzle crusty french bread with the melted butter, top with the halved radishes, salt/pepper, and you have a winner of a simple, delicate lunch.

Idea courtesy The New York Times 

Day-off Dining

I love those lazy days off from work where I can, at my discretion, knit, nap, read, and most importantly, cook. I always have veggies in the house, but today I noticed that some of them needed to be used as soon as possible – you know how veggies get that sad, dull, almost-but-not-quite-squishy look to them, begging to be eaten or cooked. Yep, I had quite a few of those.

Take cherry tomatoes, for instance. I bought them last week at a local farmer’s market; a tiny, but heaped-up basket full – and down to about 10 or so today, they were looking a little wan. I also had an uncut  green pepper who needed attention as well, so I chopped those guys, along with some elephant garlic, and started a tasty sofrito that will be used in some black beans and rice. Sofrito – the homemade kind -adds a wonderful flavor to Caribbean dishes. Skip over the jarred stuff and make our own – trust me. It smells awesome while it’s cooking.

Last week’s leek greens and kale stems had been saved, along with some mushroom stems and onion bits. I’m of the mindset that you pay (sometimes dearly) for produce; you should get every bit out of it that you can. I save things like stems and inedible parts to make pure vegetable stock.  Kale makes amazing stock. I let my bits boil away for two hours, and the result is a hearty stock that forms the base for many soups, such as this shell pasta/veggie soup I made today as  well. Yum. Good comfort food for a lazy day off!

The five foods I can’t live without

You’ve seen the “desert island” lists before, those fantasy lists detailing the top five books/records/people/etc that, were you stranded on a deserted island, rank the top 5 you couldn’t live without. But what about food? What if I had no fantastical desire to be stranded on an island (as sexy as it may sound), but rather just needed to compile a list of my five most coveted foodstuffs?

As much as I love food, the answers were surprisingly easy to come by. Here they are, in no particular order, for I love and crave them all equally:

Avocado. Six year-old me wouldn’t have touched an avocado if it were the last food available on Earth. Now, grown-up me cannot get enough. Avocado sushi? Yes please. Guacamole? I could eat it with a spoon. In paninis, salads, even on pasta? Avocado has a place there, too. I’ve been known to become fanatical about the fluctuating cost of these fleshy green beauties (see my Twitter feed) and have taken to frequenting local farmer’s markets for the best possible bargain on my favorite fruit.

Pita bread. Versatile, healthful, what more could you ask for in a bread? I use mine as a base for quick veggie pizza, slice them up and toast as pita chips, or use it to make breakfast fruit pockets (see previous post). Thankfully, there are a few companies in Tampa that produce excellent pita bread, and the best are sold at local health food stores.

Noodles. I never met a noodle I didn’t like. Soba, somen, vermicelli, bean thread, spaghettini, ramen; noodles made from spinach, noodles made from rice. Doesn’t matter. If it’s noodly, I’m addicted to it and have been since I was a toddler. You’ll find me trawling the local Asian markets’ noodle aisle like some kind of stalker. Don’t mind me; I’m just setting up for my next fix. (I still have yet to try shirataki noodles – I’m a little wary because someone once told me they ‘smell weird.’)

Hummus. I’m always in search of the perfect hummus. I’ve even tried making my own, and while the taste was okay, I couldn’t get the texture just right. I’m particular to garlic hummus, but have had some smashing ones from local restaurants and even Trader Joe’s (a jalapeno/cilantro hummus? Yes please!). I find it hard to live without hummus because I love snacky-type things, and hummus has quickly replaced bean dip as my go-to guy, whether I want to dunk chips or a carrot stick (or the aforementioned pita chips).

Sushi. You may argue with me on this one, but is there anything more sublime than sushi? Perfect little pockets of (usually) healthy goodness, dipped tenderly in a heady soy sauce, daubed with a smidge of fiery wasabi, and edible in one bite? The perfect finger and party food, sushi is something I would grandly weep over if it disappeared. You’ve got your sushi connoisseurs, your purists, and your simple “hey, let’s grab sushi” once-in-a-whilers; I’m somewhere in between. I’ve had fabulous sushi and horrid sushi. You know which is which once you take one bite. Lucky for me, it’s become so commonplace that even my local supermarket carries in in ready to go lunch packs; no waiting involved. My perfect roll: brown sticky rice, nori on the inside, avocado, carrot, asparagus, and topped with a spicy sauce. Were I stranded on an island and had only this to eat, I would be a very happy girl indeed.

Mango Tango

Peak mango season is here! At my local fresh farmer’s market the other day, mangoes were on sale, so I grabbed one. Now, I’m not a big fan of fruit, but once in a while, I do like mangoes and since it was a blistering hot day, I had visions of cool, syrupy, tropical goodness.

Rummaging through the fridge, I tried to conjure up something to make with or from the mango. Bingo! I had all the ingredients for a nice little pocket sandwich – great for breakfast or brunch.

  • 1 whole-wheat pita bread
  • 1/2 sliced and peeled mango
  • Vegan cream cheese
  • paprika & salt

Heat the panini machine. Split the pita bread down the middle to make two pockets. Spread the vegan cream cheese on one side of the pocket on the inside. Add mango, and sprinkle with a little salt and paprika.

Add the pocket to the panini maker, and grill until the sandwich is heated through. Much tastier and healthier than a Pop-Tart! Enjoy!  (and be careful – the fruit gets really hot inside!)