Curried Nada-Egg Salad Wraps

I almost entitled this post “Heat Wave Survival Food,” but I decided to call it by the name its creator, Kris Carr, gave it in her book, Crazy Sexy Kitchen.  Even so, I can tell you that it is, in fact, excellent heat wave food.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve been hit with record-breaking high temperatures and a distinct lack of moisture.  I can’t stand it.  Heat is my kryptonite.  So I’m on the lookout for tasty, nourishing food that doesn’t require any heat and won’t have a warming effect on my body.  This recipe did the trick.

Start by crumbling some firm tofu (a cooling experience in itself – tofu out of the ‘fridge is COLD.  Kind of wanted to roll around in it but refrained).

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Next, add in vegan mayo, finely diced green onion, grated carrot, chopped parsley, nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, curry powder, sea salt and black pepper.  (Two notes:  all of the measurements are in the link below; the original recipe calls for cilantro as well, but that wasn’t speaking to me so I skipped it.)

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Mix it all together.

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Put some kind of wrap on a plate (I used a flour tortilla, which I slathered with more mayo; Queenie put avocado on hers) and spread a pile of tofu salad on it.  Top with watercress and sliced tomatoes.

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Tuck in, roll up and YUM!  Excellent news:  it’s just as good the next day, which means not only no heating up the kitchen, but no effort at all.  Just reach in the refrigerator and pull out lunch.  Yay.

http://kriscarr.com/recipe/curried-nada-egg-with-watercress-wraps/

Enjoy!  xo

Creamy Avocado-Potato-Asparagus Salad

It’s been warm in these parts, and I’ve been looking for meals that are easy and don’t heat up the house (or me) too much.  Although there’s some cooking involved with this recipe, it fits the bill for a variety of reasons.  First, the oven does most of the work.  You just need to chop up a few things and the oven does the rest.  And second, you can eat this salad at room temperature or even chilled, so you’re not ingesting something warming when you’re trying to stay cool.  And yes, it’s easy!

The recipe hails from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon.  This has become a book that I turn to again and again, and I absolutely recommend that you pick it up.  I’ve made tons of recipes from the book and have yet to encounter a dud.  Ditto her website:

http://ohsheglows.com/

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that Liddon has published this recipe online anywhere, so I’m just going to give you the gist of it here.  You’ll need to pick up her book to get the specifics (so worth it!).

There are really just a couple of steps to this recipe.  The first is to roast a bunch of cubed yellow potatoes that have been tossed in olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

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You’re also going to roast up a bunch of chopped asparagus tossed in olive oil and salt.  They take about half as long as the potatoes, so just pop them in the oven part way through the potato roasting process.

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The other step is to make the dressing, which is a combination of avocado (which makes it heavenly creamy), dill, lemon juice and a few other tasty things.

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Now all you’ve got to do is toss everything together.  I let the potatoes and asparagus cool first to room temperature and then tossed it and, voila, dinner was served.  Super tasty.  Super easy.  Perfect for a summer day.

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Enjoy!  xo

Spiralizing!! Not sure why I waited so long!

The other day, my friend Sera and I were hanging out and the subject of zucchini noodles made using a spiralizer came up.  I confessed that I’d owned a spiralizer for years and had yet to take it out of the box.  We decided that between the two of us, we could figure out how to produce a decent dish.

Fast forward to today… Queenie and I spent the day at Sera’s beautiful home, playing in the kitchen with her kids, and I’m happy to report that we produced a multitude of more-than-decent dishes and mastered the (very easy to use) spiralizer.  It’s one of my new favorite gadgets – so fun!

I have the Joyce Chen Spiral Slicer, and it worked great.  It was easy to put together and simple to use.  In no time, we were all taking turns producing perfect zucchini noodles.

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This particular gadget has two settings.  One produces a thinner noodle, more like angel hair.  We used this for the zucchini noodles.  The other setting produces a thicker ribbon-like strand.  Sera had the brilliant idea to spiralize some carrots, too, and we did those using the ribbon setting.  They provided a wonderful, crunchy counterpoint to the zucchini.

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We made three sauces.  From left to right we had an avocado, Brazil nut, mint pesto from Deliciously Ella; an heirloom tomato basil marinara from Living Raw Food by Sarma Melngailis; and the “Mac Cream,” an Alfredo-like sauce, from Juliano’s Raw:  The Uncook Book.

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We sampled a bit of each and absolutely loved them all.

unnamed-4Ultimately, my favorite sauce ended up being a combination… I mixed together the creamy Alfredo-like sauce with the marinara and WOW, it was heavenly.  But truly, these zucchini noodles would be fantastic with just about any topping.  I’m thinking of trying some kind of Thai peanut sauce, or the black pepper cream sauce I made with kelp noodles, or… the possibilities are endless!  And they’re not only delicious, but they’re raw and clean and make you feel wonderful after eating them.  And with this heat wave we’ve got going, they’re the perfect way to create a tasty, satisfying meal without turning up the heat.

And to cap off this fabulous meal, Sera made the most delicious strawberry shortcake of all time.  The strawberries were picked from her garden by the kids while we cooked, and she whipped up some coconut cream to top it.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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Such a fun, delicious day with friends.  Now run out and get a spiralizer and let me see what you come up with!

Enjoy!  xoxo

Pizza Rolls!

Gene Baur is a wonderful ambassador for all things vegan and compassionate.  Queenie and I had the good fortune to see him speak recently, and I picked up his latest book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life, at the event.  I expected the book to be a wonderful glimpse into life at Farm Sanctuary (it is) and to present compelling reasons to make more compassionate choices in our day-to-day lives (it does), but I didn’t really have any expectations about the recipe portion of the book, which is a collection of recipes from guest contributors.  Happily, it’s fantastic also!  So far, I’ve made three recipes – Sesame Soba Noodles with Collard Greens and Tempeh Croutons, Gardein Bolognese, and Pizza Buns – and all three have been scrumptious.

Queenie and I renamed the Pizza Buns, calling them Pizza Rolls instead (because their appearance resembles cinnamon rolls, and you roll them up), but whatever you call them, they’re yummy.  They’re also absurdly easy.  In fact, it’s more of a concept (a genius concept!) than a recipe, courtesy of Wendy Matthews, the education and outreach manager at Farm Sanctuary.  You basically take pizza dough (we used the pre-made pizza dough ball from Trader Joe’s), roll it into a rectangle shape, top it with whatever you want, roll it up into a log, and then slice into individual portions.  You pop those into a 9 x 13 baking dish and bake roughly like you would a pizza (about 10 to 15 minutes at 450).  The result is fun and tasty.

Queenie and I have been on a Gilmore Girls marathon lately, and these were the perfect accompaniment to a couple of episodes.  (They eat a lot of junk food and would love these.)  Queenie’s are on the right.  She kept it simple, opting for sauce, herbs and cheese (we used Trader Joe’s vegan mozzarella shreds, but any cheese you like will work fine).  On the left, to her base I added mushrooms and black olives.

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The possibilities are endless…

Enjoy!  xo

Super Tasty Steamed Artichokes

It’s spring, which means artichokes!  Queenie requested that I whip up some artichokes yesterday for her and a friend, and I decided to poke around on the internet to see if I could find an especially fun recipe.  This one caught my eye, from the FoodNetwork website, and it was easy and delicious (and only required one tweak to veganize):

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/steamed-whole-artichokes-recipe.html

As you’ll see, the trick is to steam the artichokes in a tasty concoction.  But first, you need to prep them, which involves trimming off the prickly leaf points and then rubbing the cut areas with lemons to prevent browning.

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Next, prepare the steaming liquid.  Use a pot that is the right depth that when the lid is placed on, it will hold the artichokes in place.  To that pot, add either veggie broth or water (or a combination of both, which is what I did), some cut lemons, bay leaves, garlic cloves, white wine, olive oil, salt and pepper and parsley sprigs.  Bring that to a boil.

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Place the prepped artichokes into the boiling liquid, bottom side up.

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Cover and boil/steam them for about 30 minutes, or until they are fork tender (mine were large and I had to boil for about 40 minutes).  Serve with your favorite dipping accompaniment.  Queenie said that the artichokes were so wonderfully flavored that when she dipped in plain mayo (Hampton Creek Foods “Just Mayo”), it tasted like aioli.  Yum.  Queenie and her buddy whisked the artichokes off and consumed them before I had the chance to snap a photo, but let this one show you how popular they were!

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Enjoy!  xo

The Easiest Tacos Ever

These tacos are absurdly easy to make and they’re super tasty, the perfect thing to throw together when you don’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking.  All you need to do is heat a little oil in a pan and add a package of Yves Meatless Ground.  To this you will pour in the salsa of your choice.  I used Frontera’s Double Roasted Tomato this time, but I’ve also used all kinds of other salsas.  As long as you like the salsa, you will like the results. Start with about a half cup of salsa and see if you like the consistency.  Add as much as you want!  Cook this until it’s heated through.

Meanwhile, prepare the toppings of your choice.  On this particular day, I just chopped up a little romaine, sliced a few cherry tomatoes and cut up an avocado (I sprinkled a bit of lime juice and salt on the avocado).  You’ll also want the rest of the jarred salsa on hand for those who want a bit more.  You can put whatever you want on these things:  vegan sour cream, cheese shreds, super hot sauce.  Anything goes.

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The final step is to heat up some crispy taco shells for about 5 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.  Once they’re out, fill them up and dinner is served.  I told you they were crazy easy!

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Enjoy!  xo

Vegan Cheese Plate

Queenie and I had fun putting together a cheese platter recently, the goal of which was to sample some of the vegan cheeses we hadn’t yet tried.  It was quite festive and tasty, and I wanted to share our impressions.  Here are the brands we explored:

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Cheese-wise, we tried Kite Hill’s almond-based Soft Truffle Dill & Chive, Treeline’s Herb Garlic Soft French Style, Heidi Ho’s Black Lava Ne Chevre, and two of the new slices by Follow Your Heart, specifically American and Provolone.  Our accompaniments were various kinds of crackers, apple slices, fig spread, olives and cornichons.  Once it was arranged, our plates looked like this:

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The results:  my favorite cheese by far was the Treeline Herb Garlic.  In the photo above, it’s the middle dollop, below the white triangle of cheese (the Kite Hill) and above the one with the black stripe running through it (the Heidi Ho).  It had a terrific spreadable consistency and a delicious flavor and mouth feel.  This cashew-based cheese is not subtle.  It packs a wallop of flavor!  But if you appreciate a hit of garlicky, herbaceous yumminess, you’ll probably like this, too.  We enjoyed it on crackers and on the apple slices.  Yum.  I definitely want to try more Treeline cheese.  Their link:

http://www.treelinecheese.com/

I liked the cashew-based Heidi Ho Ne Chevre (aka “no goat”) quite a bit.  The Black Lava is a type of salt, and it adds a lot of visual interest, along with the hazelnuts that are in that black stripe.  Queenie noted that the after taste of this one is reminiscent of the flavor profile of Dr. Cow nut cheeses, so if you’ve tried those, you’ll have a sense of this one.  Not everyone likes that vibe (Mr. Man included), but I do so it worked for me.  Also, Heidi Ho’s line includes a fantastic range of jarred melty cheeses (“Chia Cheeze”) that are perfect for dipping and nachos, etc.  Definitely a brand to get to know if you don’t already.

http://www.heidiho.com/

I have to say that the Kite Hill cheese we sampled was a bit disappointing for me (Queenie liked it a little better than I did).  Kite Hill is a line of almond-based cheeses developed by Tal Ronnen, and I’ve tried a range of them at Crossroads in Los Angeles.  I enjoyed those very much, so I’m not sure what happened here.  For me, it was a consistency thing.  It says “soft” right in the title, but that made me think of either something spreadable or something like a triple cream, but that wasn’t the case.  It held its form when cut, which I guess made me think it would have a different mouth feel than it did.  It was squishy and funky to me.  I didn’t go back for seconds on that one.  I will try other Kite Hills because of my respect for its creator.  Will let you know how that goes.

http://www.kite-hill.com/

Finally, we played around with the Follow Your Heart slices, which I’ve been hearing a lot about.  It’s not often that you can take a vegan cheese slice right out of the package and eat it happily.  These are pretty successful.  Slap some on a cracker with a bit of fig spread on top and you’re talking deliciousness.  The rumor is that they make divine grilled cheese sandwiches, which is how I’ll play with them next.

Enjoy!  xo