Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tempting Tempeh!

I am so excited to use this image! Our local market is pretty good on Saturdays, and it's the highlight of my week to go there after my morning run (wish me luck on the July 4th race!). This week, I didn't get as much as I wanted, because I didn't have much moola! I did get some fresh fruit (blueberries for breakfast cereal, plus a cantaloupe and some blackberries). The green beans and red leaf lettuce in the final picture, and the red pepper in the next one, were all from the market. So was the huge mound of kale! I just love kale....thanks, Dreena, for introducing it to me! Well, I think I may have first tried it with another cookbook's recipe (sauteing it with some pine nuts and raisins), but she certainly pushes the greens! Yum!
Anyhoo, on to my food pics... I hated to move the beautiful stuffed squash pictures down, but . . . Here is the Kale and Red Pepper Slaw from (you guessed it) my cookbook of the summer, The Candle Cafe Cookbook. This turned out pretty yummy and juicy. It satisfied me for several meals -their recipes usually make a lot!

Speaking of satisfying, if you like pineapple, here are two recipes for you! The sandwich is the Barbecued Tempeh-Chipotle Burger with Grilled Pineapple and Mango-Ketchup (from Candle Cafe), and the beans are Honolulu Skillet Beans (from a Moosewood cookbook, - can't remember which one!). The sandwich was a little sweet with the incredibly luscious grilled pineapple, so if you don't like things too sweet, you can leave that off your sandwich(but try it first!).

The Mango-Ketchup was not too sweet but had a nice hint of cilantro, and was the perfect accompaniment to the tempeh! As you might be able to tell, the beans have a little of the fresh pineapple mixed in, with some orange rind. I used some red beans along with the pinto, because red beans have the most iron! The green beans were just slightly boiled in water and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Overall rating - four stars for the sandwich!! It was sweet and tangy and drooly good. Only suggestion - we didn't have time to marinate the tempeh overnight, and that might have made it a little better. I also left out some of the heat, so it could have been spicier. Oh yeah - warning with this book - their recipes make a TON of sauce! I halved the marinade, trying to save some of my expensive agave nectar, and we still had loads of marinade left over.

As for the beans, they were a tad dry, but different and good. Maybe 2 1/2 to three stars. Oh! I forgot - the bread was from the market, too! No preservatives, vegan, and no high-fructose corn syrup!!! I laughed when we compared the ingredients of this bread (four or five) to the at least twenty of the store-bought crap. Wow. I love summer and the farmer's market. My goal for this coming weekend: Fat Free Vegan's Japanese eggplant!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Summer Lovin'!

You just gotta' love summer! I visited the local farmer's market again this weekend, and came home with a whole slew of stuff, including three handmade necklaces from a local craftsman! The park where the market is, is also occasionally host to events like they had this time, with different craftspeople selling their original, local wares.

Anyway, I happened upon some squash blossoms, and remembering how I had passed them up last summer, snatched them up this time! I found lots of recipes to fry them, but didn't want to go to the bother, or the calories. Instead, I modified a Vegetarian Times recipe from online, which called for goat cheese and dried herbs for the stuffing, and then to bake them in the oven. I used Tofutti cream cheese (recommended in another recipe) and fresh herbs from my potted garden. They were killer! My hubby said they'd be better fried, but hey - who's the chef tonight? Me, that's who! They kicked ass, mostly due to the flavor of the fresh herbs. These are male blossoms. I don't think there's a whole lot of protein in the cream cheese...

Here are the blossoms just going into the oven. This picture reminds me that my oven needs cleaning :P

This was the other meal of the night: Aztec Salad from The Candle Cafe Cookbook. I just love this new cookbook. I got it in January or so, and I can't stop using it! The recipes are so fresh and inspiring! This called for marinating tempeh, then basting it with BBQ sauce (sorry, we did use bottled stuff- ran out of time!), and grilling it. It's served over a salad of red leaf lettuce, quinoa, black beans, fresh corn, red pepper, red onion, and cilantro. Most of these were also from the farmer's market. Yay, local produce! The dressing was Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette, with toasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top. It got the thumbs up from my hubby, a man who's not easy to please when it comes to salads.

Here's the salad before the dressing and seeds, so you can see the nice grill marks. I did let hubby do the grilling while I did everything else ;)

I found some photos from a while ago, which I never got around to posting, so here is a backlog of yummy recipes! It should hold you for a while, since I will be busy studying for my comprehensive exam for my masters in the coming weeks, as well as doing a practicum! I guess school is not out for me!

This is a long time ago recipe, also from The Candle Cafe Cookbook. It is called the Portobello Mushroom Panini, but we couldn't figure out why, since it's not grilled like a real panini! However, it still kicked ass. It consists of roasted portobello shrooms and red pepper on ciabatta bread, with an excellent Herbed Tofu Spread. We just couldn't stop raving over it! The kale was drizzled with our new favorite Sesame Tahini dressing from Vive la Vegan! The only downside: the bread was a little "holey," and the spread was leaking through everywhere. Just an excuse to lick our fingers!

This here is Chana Masala, or Indian Chickpea Stew from, you guessed it, The Candle Cafe Cookbook. Great flavor, quick and easy for a weeknight meal. My only complaint was that it was not quite a stew. I added more tomatoes than it called for and cooked it for less time, but it still turned out a little dry.

Last, and probably least, was the Soba and Snow Pea Salad from the most recent Vegetarian Times magazine issue. It was pretty good. I used the peanut dressing for another recipe. But as usual, there were too many noodles and not enough veggies! I eat low-carb on a general basis, so I rarely make sandwiches or pasta anyhow. Sorry to leave this post on such an uninspiring note! If I were you, I would scroll back to the top for a happy ending :)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Busy, busy time of year!

It's a busy time of year for us teachers, so I'll keep this short and sweet (and yummy!). My hubby was away for a bit recently, so I was able to explore some recipes that I know he'd have no interest in. For example, he doesn't like coconut or ginger flavored foods, at least at dinner time. I try to explain to him that the coconut is not at all sweet, and you really can barely tell the flavor sometimes, but he doesn't care.

So, pictured here is the Tofu Satay with Coconut Peanut Sauce, from The Candle Cafe Cookbook. I actually didn't use their coconut peanut sauce, because I still had lots left over from the Snow Pea and Soba Noodle Salad (Vegetarian Times) recipe I had made the night before (another recipe he wouldn't have cared for, I think). So, using the other sauce and some vine ripe tomatoes (not pear or grape ones), I had an excellent, hot weather dish! I prepared the marinade in the morning, and by evening it was ready to be baked! The tofu came out awesome - spicy and herby, and so perfect with the sauce!

For those interested in protein, tofu is an excellent source, with 9.2 grams per serving (4 oz.- that's almost 20% of your daily needs) with almost no saturated fat and only 86 calories! That is zero cholesterol, by the way, compared with 25mg per serving of meat. It is also a wonderful source of calcium, omega- 3's (14.4%), iron, selenium, and copper! I always mention tofu when some asks me, "but do you get enough calcium?" I was annoyed the other day at a friend asking me, "I'm concerned that you are not eating healthy enough. Are you getting all your nutrients?" If I ate any more healthier, organic, natural foods, I'd throw up.

I used the leftover coconut milk from the sauce to help cook down and flavor the red kale, which I secured at the local farmer's market. I was excited to get the kale, because it was from an "all natural" vendor, who stated she didn't use any chemicals or pesticides, but wouldn't apply for the organic label because it still allows farmers to use 5% non-organic materials! Way to go!

That weekend was also the last meeting (until the fall) for my local vegetarian group. I made these Cookies and Cream cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, for the potluck meeting. I could have eaten the icing (buttercream with crushed cookies mixed in) straight out of the bowl. Wait a minute - I did. Anyway, the cookies are Newman's Organics, not Oreos, which actually are still vegan but probably definitely not as healthy and definitely not organic. Unfortunately, the pictures came out kinda' crappy. Still, there wasn't a single cupcake left at the end!

Last, we have the cookies I baked in record time last night, due to thunder in the distance, and then crashing all around me. I was yelling at the storm, "Stay away until I'm done baking!" It pretty much did. Thanks to Isa again, for her wonderful Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies (I think they are also entitled, Gigantoid, but I made them the regular size). These got eaten up by my Sierra Club friends. If you haven't made these yet, you must!!
Well, that's it for now - I've got some studying to do and report cards to write and parent volunteer gifts to make. Oh, and a few dishes to wash...