Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lotsa Zucchini

We already had a couple of good-sized zucchinis in our fridge and then we discovered this monster hiding in the garden. Now it wasn't quite as big as Bazu's mother of all zucchini but it did weigh in right at 2 pounds. I was already planning on making Susan's excellent Vindaloo Vegetables with the zucchini in the fridge. I mostly followed her recipe but since we had large zucchinis I left out the cauliflower. I also added fresh tomatoes and used white beans instead of kidney beans since that was what we had on hand. I made flatbreads to have on the side, which were really nothing more than store-bought pizza dough rolled out into small pieces and baked. When the breads first came out I couldn't stop dipping pieces of bread into the vindaloo sauce and scarfing them down, but eventually I served up the whole stew with all the veggies over rice with more bread on the side.

Then with our monster zucchini we did the Eggplant and Artichoke alla Napolentana from Vegan with a Vengeance, only with breaded and fried zucchini slices instead of the eggplant. That worked fine for me since I'm not a huge eggplant fan anyway. And the mellow zucchini was just right with the bold flavors of the artichokes, olives and capers in the ragout. We put a few cherry tomatoes on top and had garlic bread on the side and it was most excellent.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Spicy Udon Noodles

Here's another one from the depths of our recipe folder. This dates back to when we lived in Raleigh, NC and comes from Wellspring Grocery, which was a small local chain of natural food stores that was gobbled up by Whole Foods when they were expanding like crazy in the late 90's. At any rate, we used to make this fairly often and even had it at our wedding reception (which was a fairly low-key affair at our house). We hadn't done it in quite a while but it's still good - and simple too. This time we had it with steamed broccoli on the side. Here's my way of making it:

Cook an 8 oz. package of udon noodles according to the package directions. Drain, rinse well with cold water and set aside. Whisk together the following in a large bowl:

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. sesame oil
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 Tbs. finely minced cilantro
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
cayenne pepper to taste

Toss the noodles with this mixture and serve cold or at room temperature with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. It's not in the original recipe but I also added a diced tomato just because we have so many from our garden now.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Zucchini Patties and Barley Salad

The one zucchini plant we put in our garden has started taking over. We're not completely overrun with zucchini but it has been producing pretty steadily. Which leaves us to come up with different ways of cooking it. It's good with pasta or just sautéed as a side dish, and I've made Susan's excellent zucchini muffins a couple times now. Tonight Darlene suggested that we grate it and make little fried patties; zucchini latkes if you prefer. So I grated a big zucchini and stirred in some egg replacer mixed with a little water, flour, nutritional yeast, baking powder, paprika, salt & pepper. Then I put little scoops of it into a fry pan with olive oil. Well, zucchini has a fairly high water content, and more moisture comes out when you cook it so my first attempt resulted in something that more resembled piles of goo. Oh, they were tasty piles of goo but it was enough to make me add quite a bit more flour to the remaining mixture and that was when I created the nice relatively firm patties you see in the picture.

Since we also have a plethora of tomatoes right now I diced some yellow cherry tomatoes and a red Roma, added salt & pepper plus a touch of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar, and served that on the zucchini patties along with a bit of Tofutti sour cream on the side. Several diced Roma tomatoes also went into the barley salad, along with corn, cucumber, celery, red bell pepper, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. A little different from the last time we did a barley salad but tasty just the same.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

BLAT

First off, in the "don't let anyone tell you vegans are weak" category, I won a silver medal in a state championship bike race today. We decided to celebrate a bit by having something fun (but easy) for dinner. Enter the (tempeh) bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich. The lettuce and tomato were fresh from our garden and we went out and bought some nice whole grain bread and a hefty avocado. Add some vegan mayo and Vegan with a Vengeance tempeh bacon and it was an excellent meal. But since I was so famished from racing, I also cooked up some yellow squash and zucchini (with fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt & pepper) and then put a little yummy pasta salad on the side that Darlene had made for dinner last night. And I made short work of two sandwiches too, plus extra tempeh bacon and avocado. I like riding my bike just for the sheer joy of riding but it's also nice in that it often allows for the consumption of mass quantities of awesome food.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tempeh with Peanut Sauce and a Luscious Dessert

Yesterday was our anniversary and though we wanted to have something nice for dinner, we didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen either. So we settled on the Tempeh with Coconut-Peanut Sauce from Quick Fix Vegetarian. The tempeh was good but the highlight of the meal was dessert. I think I might've been in high school the last time I had a banana split, but it all came together last night. We've found some coupons on-line recently for the various dairy free ice cream products from Turtle Mountain and we've also gotten hooked on the Sharon's coconut sorbet that we find at Trader Joe's. Earlier this spring we picked strawberries and Darlene tried her hand at making jam. It didn't set very well but now we call it strawberry sauce and it's awesome on pancakes and waffles, and - my new favorite dessert - on chocolate So Delicious. She's also been making a wonderful homemade caramel sauce recently, mostly following a recipe in Sinfully Vegan but using brown rice syrup.

So with all these ingredients on hand it was time for banana splits. We made them with chocolate and raspberry So Delicious, coconut sorbet, strawberry sauce, caramel sauce and chopped peanuts. They weren't exactly traditional (nor did we have a traditional oblong bowl), but they sure were good.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Seitan, Squash and Two Salads

I'm not sure where it came from but lately I've had a hankering for a good old fashioned macaroni salad. You know, one with lots of mayonnaise and not much else. Lately we've been getting the accidentally vegan mayo from Trader Joe's because it tastes pretty good and isn't too expensive. So last night I finally made my salad with lots of the vegan mayo, a little Tofutti sour cream, carrots, celery, and homemade sweet pickles (from our abundance of garden cucumbers). I also added salt & pepper and the secret ingredient, based on a suggestion from Darlene, rice vinegar. It was every bit as good as I hoped, but since you can't live on macaroni salad alone, I also fried up some seitan that was coated with an almond meal mixture. But I didn't stop there because we still needed to use up some more abundance from the garden. So also on the side was sautéed squash and zucchini and a salad made with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, fresh oregano, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper. Quite a change-up from our usual one-course meals, but a good one.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Linguine with Citrus Cream Sauce and Radicchio

This was another recipe I printed out a long time ago but never got around to making. We saw it once while watching Emeril so it's decidedly not vegan but with enough adaptation it came out very good. Although it did remind both of us that we're not huge fans of radicchio. Was it just the particular head that I bought or is this stuff really bitter? I roasted it briefly with a bit of olive oil instead of using it raw as the recipe suggests. It was pretty good with the citrus-y sauce but next time we make this we'll probably go with a different vegetable.

But we may well make the sauce again because it was excellent, if a bit different. It started with cooking a shallot in a little Earth Balance, then adding a little vegetable broth, then a mixture of Silk creamer, plain soy milk and cornstarch. Then I added the orange zest and lemon zest, along with nutritional yeast, miso, salt & pepper, and finally the fresh mint at the end. Sometimes there's just no veganizing a Food Network recipe but this attempt turned out well.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

General Tao's Tofu

It's been a while and I forget where I saw it originally but maybe one of you blogged about this recipe from VegWeb. Or maybe I saw it on a forum. Regardless, I printed out the recipe when I first saw it but it's been sitting in my recipe folder since then. I just organized said folder a few days ago and found this recipe again. I've actually done something like this once before with seitan, but I figured I'd give the VegWeb recipe a whirl since I remembered there being many positive comments about it.

And now I'll echo the positive comments. It's awful good. I'll also concur with several of the comments on VegWeb in that next time I'll make more sauce. But other than that, YUM!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Quick Barbecue

Last post I wrote about not wanting to heat up the kitchen, but yesterday I just forged ahead with turning on the oven and forcing the a/c to work overtime. I started with making these burger buns just to have on hand since we've still got some of the Chicago Diner veggie burgers in the freezer. Then I decided that tempeh baked with bottled barbecue sauce might be good on the buns. But before I got that going I remembered Dreena's recent post about home fries and I chopped up some potatoes and popped them in the oven (they were mixed with olive oil, fresh rosemary, salt & pepper). When there were about 30 minutes or so left for the fries I smothered tempeh in store-bought barbecue sauce and put that in the oven. And to get something green on the plate I did a quick sauté of a zucchini fresh from the garden.

What started out as just something thrown together quickly turned into quite a delicious meal. The tempeh was great, especially on the fresh buns, and the fries were some of the best I've made - probably because I was patient enough to let them get nice and brown and crispy. The freshness of the zucchini just topped it all off.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Rice Salad with Fresh Veggies

With today's heat I didn't want to spend a lot of time in a hot kitchen tonight. This salad came together quickly as we had a lot of cooked brown rice left over from some wraps we made last night. I just mixed in whatever we had on hand with the rice - fresh red bell pepper and corn from the farmers market today, a cucumber from our garden, cabbage from last weekend's market, and also some diced celery and shredded carrot. The dressing I'll call a citrus vinaigrette - lemon juice, orange juice, soy sauce, mustard, garlic, flax oil and olive oil. I did turn on the stove to boil water and cook more fresh corn but that was worth it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Burgers, Coleslaw and Corn on the Cob

What could be more American for a July 4th dinner? Except our burgers were made from oats and mushrooms and there was vegan mayo in the slaw. Oh, and that's not cheese on top either but rather a spread pretending to be cheese (leftovers from the grilled uncheese sandwiches).

We just started subscribing to Vegetarian Times again and the burger recipes in the latest issue looked pretty good, especially the Chicago Diner recipe. Then I saw Don't Get Mad Get Vegan's post about them and I was sold. Especially since we had cabbage and fresh corn that we really needed to use. The burgers were mighty tasty, though I think I made 'em a little on the large side and they fell apart a little. They were actually better for lunch today so next time maybe I'll make them a day beforehand and let them sit in the fridge overnight. It was getting late so we just ate them straight from the oven, and I wasn't sure if they'd hold up to grilling anyway, but after sitting for a day I think they would.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The First Tomato

So what would you do with the first garden-fresh tomatoes of the season? Salad? BLT? How about a grilled cheese sandwich? Well, uncheese that is. I made the Grilled Cheeze from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook on homemade multi-grain bread with fresh-from-the-garden tomato slices. And we even had some sautéed zucchini from our garden on the side. Though the sandwich was excellent I'm a little uneasy about calling it a grilled cheese (or cheeze or uncheese or whatever). For many vegans Jo Stepaniak's uncheese recipes are great but obviously she hasn't tasted cheese in many years. Not that I have, but this stuff doesn't taste much like the cheese that I remember. Don't get me wrong, I think it tastes excellent - just not a lot like cheese. So what do you call it? I guess "grilled sandwich with a yummy creamy spread" is just not very concise.

At any rate, I also wanted to share a pic of our dessert, grilled peach pizza. Darlene and I came up with this recipe for a contest. It's a grilled pizza dough with minted vegan cream cheese and grilled peach topping. Wish us luck!