Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Brussels Sprout Salad

This is a great side salad or main dish salad for summer or Thanksgiving.  The original recipe calls for cheese but I replaced with toasted pecans which added a nice, rich flavor.  Kevin brought home some raw olive oil from the farmer's market and I've been waiting for a special reason to use it.  The salad dressing was the perfect opportunity to put it to use.

Brussels Sprout Salad
Adapted from Jamie Deen recipe

1            pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and sliced into quarters
2            tablespoons olive oil
              Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5            big handfuls baby arugula
1            Fuji or Gala apple, diced
1            cup red seedless grapes, sliced in half  (I used 1/3 cup dried cherries)
1/2         cup pecans (warmed on stove top for a few minutes)
              Simple Vinaigrette  (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. 

Add the Brussels sprouts to the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss everything together. Roast the Brussels sprouts until tender, 30-35 minutes.

Add the arugula, apples, grapes or dried cherries and pecans to large salad bowl.  Add roasted Brussels sprouts and toss everything together.  Drizzle with about 1/2 cup of Simple Vinaigrette.  Toss everything together.

Simple Vinaigrette
3/4         cup olive oil 
1/4         cup red wine vinegar (or your choice of vinegar)
1            tablespoon Dijon mustard
1            shallot, minced
              kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add the oil, vinegar, mustard and shallots to a jam jar and shake it up.  Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary with salt and pepper.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Choco Chocolate Chip Avocado Pudding

I love that this pudding is not made of soy it gets it's creaminess from avocados!  Agave and dates give it sweetness and cacao powder gives it a nice, rich chocolate flavor.

Choco Chocolate Chip Avocado Pudding
The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook by Melissa Costello

Info on Cacao Powder

1            cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours
2            ripe avocados
1/3         full-fat coconut milk
1/3         cup raw cacao powder (purchased in health food store)
2            teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3         cup agave or maple syrup
1            tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/4         cup date paste  (see below)
1            tablespoon melted coconut oil
1/8         teaspoon fine sea salt
1            cup vegan chocolate chips

**Date Paste: Pour two thirds cup of hot water over one cup pitted dates and soak for about an our, put all ingredients in a blender and process until a smooth, thick paste is formed.  ***I didn’t have a full cup of dates so I used about 1/2 – 3/4 cup and I still had some left over.  If you have paste left over, you can always pour over soy ice cream.

Drain the water from the cashews.  Combine all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Corn and Tomato Soup

Since I usually have frozen corn on hand, and lots of fresh basil from the garden, I thought this would be a good soup recipe to have on file.  Next time I make this I'm going to try the frozen Roasted Corn from Trader Joe's for a little kick

Corn and Tomato Soup
Adapted from Giada De Laurentis recipe

2            tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2            shallots, coarsely chopped
1            teaspoon kosher salt
1/2         teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 -1/4 c. frozen corn, thawed  (1 pound)
3            cups vegetable stock
2            medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped into 1/2 pieces
1/4         cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium=high heat. Add the shallots, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about  3 minutes. Place the cooked shallots, corn and vegetable stock in a blender.  Blend until smooth.

Pour the corn mixture back into the saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tomatoes and basil.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Macaroni Salad

Yes, this is supposed to be Macaroni Salad but I could only find these fun, round noodles at Trader Joe’s, so if you want to be get technical about it, it’s a Round Noodle salad – and it’s so very good.  I love any kind of cold noodle salad and this one is perfect for a barbecue.  We had it with veggie kabobs and corn chip salad.

Macaroni Salad
Adapted from Ree Drummond recipe

4            cups Elbow Macaroni – Round Noodles if you’re feeling fancy
3            whole Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
1/2         cup Black Olives, chopped fine
6            whole sweet/spicy pickle slices, diced (I used sweet pickle relish)
3            whole green onions, sliced (white and dark parts)
1/2         cup Vegenaise
1            tablespoon white vinegar
3            teaspoons sugar, more or less to taste
1/4         cup nut or soy milk
              splash of pickle or relish juice

Cook the noodles in slightly salted water according to package directions.  Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside.

Mix together Vegenaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.  Splash in enough milk to make it pourable.  Splash in pickle juice for extra flavor. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, set aside.

Place cooled noodles in a large bowl and pour 3/4 of the dressing.  Toss and add more dressing if you’d like.  It will seem thin but will thicken up as salad chills.

Stir in olives, roasted red peppers, pickles, and green onions.  Add more of any ingredients you’d like more of.  At the end, splash in a little more pickle/relish juice
and stir.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Chickpea Tacos

Now that we are back in our kitchen, it is time to start back up Taco Fridays!  We made brown rice with garlic and parsley as a side.  These tacos are very filling and packed with fiber and protein!

Chickpea Tacos
Makes approximately 8 tacos
Adapted from magazine

1                medium red onion, finely chopped
1                garlic clove, minced
1                15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
                  taco seasoning mix to taste
2                avocados
                  prepared salsa
8                crisp corn taco shells
                  vegan cheese
                  vegan sour cream

In large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add chickpeas and taco seasoning.  Cook chickpeas approximately 5 minutes.  Remove and put in bowl. 

In same skillet, add a bit more oil and add chopped onion and minced garlic.  Cook until soft then transfer to bowl.  Mix together with the chickpeas.

Layer Tacos.  Layer of chickpea mixture, shredded lettuce, jarred pico de gallo or salsa (we used Trader Joe’s salsa with beans, corn and tomato, vegan cheese and top with diced avocado.  A dollop of sour cream for the final touch.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pasta Alla Norma

A really flavorful summer pasta!  We bought fresh eggplant from our local farmer's market to make this dish -- no supermarket eggplant for this!  This recipe originates from a chef at Brooklyn restaurant Antica Pesa.  Haven't been to the restaurant but love this dish.

Pasta Alla Norma
Serves 4
Simone Panella’s recipe

***The recipe below calls for 2 large eggplants, I used one large and about 10 oz. of pasta noodles. 

2          large eggplants, sliced in 1/4-in slices
1/2       cup all-purpose flour
3/4       cup olive oil
1          onion, peeled and chopped
2          celery rigs, diced
1          carrot, peeled and diced
1          28-oz can plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2       teaspoon sugar
6          basil leaves, chopped
1          16 oz. package rigatoni pasta
            vegan parmesan cheese for topping

Sprinkle eggplant slices with 1 tablespoon salt. Place in a colander, cover with a weighted plate, and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Rinse eggplant and pat dry.

Coat eggplant slices in flour. Cook in batches, using 2 tablespoons oil for each batch, in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes until golden.  Set aside.

Cook onions, celery, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon salt with remaining olive oil in large skillet over medium heat, 10 – 15 minutes or until golden. Add tomatoes and sugar, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in basil.

Cook pasta in large Dutch oven until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water; drain pasta and return to Dutch oven.

Add half of eggplant to sauce; cook over low heat 3 – 5 minutes. Add sauce to pasta, adding reserved pasta water if needed. Garnish with remaining eggplant slices and vegan parmesan.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Vegetable Kabobs

Spent the Fourth of July holiday up north and fired up the grill for some delicious vegetable kabob's and grilled corn.  The perfect meal to enjoy on the 4th!

Vegetable Kabobs
*  Cut veggies in big chunks.  Can also add Vegan Sausage.

1            red bell pepper
1            yellow bell pepper
1            large sweet onion
1            zucchini

** I just mixed together a marinade with the following ingredients – mix to taste.
Let vegetables sit in marinade for at least 2 hours.  I left out the mushrooms and just brushed with sauce before putting on skewer.

            soy sauce
            olive oil
            2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
            orange juice or pineapple juice
            onion powder

Cooked kabobs for 8 minutes then turned once.