Hello, friends! It’s been a long, long time since my last post and for this, I apologize! Life has been overwhelmingly busy with work, with friends, with my newly adopted crippled hamster (yes, a hammy!), and with studying for the veterinary technician national exam. There have also been some recent changes to the way I feel comfortable creating recipes so, finding myself in the recipe writing, experimenting, and cooking “mode” is rare. Hopefully for all, posting this recipe will help me get back to form. So, as you can imagine, with the precious little time I have to cook for myself, when I do cook, it’s almost always easy, filling comfort food. Usually that means a massive, loaded salad, but every once in a while, it’s a pasta dish. I love pasta almost as much as I love casseroles and anything that requires an oven to cook.
Recently, I posted a photo of the less involved version of my Sweet Potato Baked Mac N Cheese on my personal Facebook page that got quite a bit of attention and requests for the recipe so, here it is, folks! This is a “staple” recipe in my book and one that I turn to whenever I need something quick and filling and good enough for lunch the next day. As far as I’m concerned, it gives its maddeningly unjust, sad, and fat laden dairy counterpart a swift kick in the arse–mostly because it’s free of animal exploitation (awesome!), and obviously because it’s delicious. Feel free to add vegan sausage, hot dogs, or broccoli–if you’re so inclined–to make it more hearty. I also recommend adding crisp tempeh bacon or barbecue spices if you like, to make it more “smokey.”
Until we meet again…enjoy!
It’s Christmas Eve and all I can think about is food. Shocker. As I said in an earlier post, I am out of commission for a big, extravagant Christmas menu. Thanksgiving left me beat and I have been way too busy and overtired from work to even sit down and commit myself to looking up recipes or to try to invent something on the fly. Maybe next year. Definitely next year. Suffice it to say, that I have to feed my family something. I just haven’t figured out what that something is yet. For now, I’ve just had my mind on all those Christmas parties people go to in which they need to bring a dish to share. Why not a fun appetizer that will go flying off the table? Why not a nice festive looking dip?
So, here’s the final piece to my Christmas appetizer trio. This dip is something that came up out of need for something quick and easy to snack on and it hit the spot! The flavor is bold without being overpowering. What I love most about it though, is the festive presentation of the green kale and red kidney beans against the white bean background. It’s also thick and hearty and will serve as a nice lunch, if you’re so inclined. I recommend serving it with crackers that can hold up to it–I used sesame melba crackers. I prefer not adding oils to food if it isn’t necessary (and this dip doesn’t need it) but, if you’re using crackers that are more inclined to break in a dip, you can smooth out the dip by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
I love summer. I mostly love non-humid summers, but I’ll take this New England heat, if I must, for now. My favorite thing about summer is the extended daylight, but coming in at a close second is the near daily opportunity to go to a farmer’s market. I absolutely adore farmer’s markets. Big ones, little ones — anywhere where there are farmers with fresh fruits, vegetables, or vegan baked goods — that’s where I want to be.
My first visit to a farmer’s market was last year in Portland, Oregon. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better initiation to farmer’s markets than the lively and vibrant Portland Farmer’s Market at Portland State University (Saturdays 8:30 to 2!). It was like being in an amusement park. Ok, not really, but I was overwhelmed with excitement and I hadn’t even started cooking for myself yet. I think this is where the revolution began. To be fair, it truly began in California where, as a new vegan and Animal Care Intern at Farm Sanctuary, I had to learn how to feed myself. But the farmer’s market was like a different sort of Eden to me. So many colors, so many smells, so many authentic “Portlanders” (if you know what I mean)! In any case, I could have spent hours there just looking at the plethora of colorful earthly goods, but I gathered my necessities, a bottle of pear cider, and went home.
Well, let me tell you, the farmer’s market I went to last week was no PSU, but it was still — a farmer’s market. And like a kid in a candy store, I couldn’t help myself. I had to have a little of everything. This recipe is something that came of it. As soon as I smelled that fresh basil and mint, I knew something had to be done. Something had to be done and it had to be simple, fresh, delicious, and versatile. Besides, I’ve been wanting to get into canning and preserving for quite some time. I didn’t properly “can” this recipe because I knew I’d be using it all fairly quickly, but if you want to preserve a little bit of the gifts of the summer sun for later on this year, I suggest that you do. It’ll probably last longer than your tan. Continue reading
As promised, here’s another salad sandwich recipe just in time for beach season here in New England or for lunch wherever you are. This recipe is so simple and easy, it only has two directions! I was going to use tofu or mashed chickpeas instead of tempeh, which seems to be a more traditional way of making vegan tuna, but tempeh once crumbled really does seem to have a similar texture to canned tuna. It is also a wonderful source of protein — the highest in a vegan diet per serving — and an invaluable resource to vegan cuisine because like tofu, it is a versatile “stand in” and it takes up flavor phenomenally!
In any case, if you prefer to use mashed chickpeas or tofu, you can. I am seriously in love with how easy and delicious this recipe is. Tuna sandwiches were my favorite when I was growing up, but this just hits the spot better than any fish could. I honestly feel like I just want a child to feed this to. So if you have kids who’ll like this, please feed it to them and tell me about their smiles because I need to live vicariously through you. I hope you’ll enjoy it too!
It’s summer and it’s hot. Too hot to constantly be in front of the stove or running the oven. I know, I’m sad too. But, be not melancholy friends! Summer means beaches, picnic potlucks, hiking, camping, super expensive (and horrible) amusement park food and so, brown bag lunches! Which also means…wait for it…wait for it…SANDWICHES! Hooray!
Who doesn’t love a good sandwich? I must admit, I’ve neglected the awesome power ingrained in all of us to make something out of nothing. So much so, that my brain has been working in over drive on how to best cook this or that, rather than just eating it. For example, the other day I bought a bunch of fresh strawberries and I immediately thought to myself, “what can I make with this?” That’s when I knew I had a problem. That’s when I knew I needed to get back to a simpler time when you could just eat the strawberry right then and there and be happy. And as if by fate, in comes my friend Peter who reminds me that when all you have is a few veggies, some bread, and hummus, you can still have yourself a nice little feast. And I sure have been feasting!
I’ve decided to take up quick and easy sandwich making. I will be experimenting with sandwich dressings and spreads and probably also making things that are so simple and overdone by the vegan foodies that if you’ve been vegan for a while you’re probably going to say, “Oh. Great. Another TLT recipe.” Bear with me, I have quite a few non-vegan readers and I’m trying to keep it easy, tasty, enticing, and traditional, for their sakes. And let’s be honest, who of us doesn’t want to see how someone else makes the “regular” stuff? So, since we all know by now that the only peeps who need eggs are those little peep-peep-peepers themselves: the birds, I’m starting with this recipe for a basic, naturally high in protein, delicious tofu-egg salad. I hope you like it!
Recently at dinner one of my friends remarked that he wishes Boston had an all vegan Mexican restaurant. I thought to myself, “Well that would be wildly popular, no doubt!” Then I thought about what kind of items besides the standard burrito and taco would be on the menu. Then I remembered that Daiya Foods had just released this behemoth of a vegan cheese — pepperjack — and that I had picked some up after having been shocked out of my boots at its appearance at my local natural foods store, in my current town of Middle Of Nowhere, NH. And so, with Daiya pepperjack shreds in hand, a pie dish, and some beans — I got to work. And this delicious, belly filling, comfort food creation is what came of it.
This is a great dish to take to your next potluck or party, or just to make for your next Mexican inspired home cooked dinner. My one word of advice is to go easy on the hot peppers (or omit them) if you can’t take the heat. I originally made this with one full cherry pepper. I don’t recommend it unless you like really, really spicy food. Either way, this dish is delicious and you are bound to impress!
*If you can’t find the Daiya pepperjack near you yet, try the cheddar shreds. Those would work well too. And if you can’t find Daiya near you or in your country, try ordering some online, asking your store to carry it, or when all else fails, use another vegan cheese you like or omit the cheese altogether.