Monday, June 29, 2009

Colorful Eats

This past weekend brought a gorgeous bouquet of colorful food into our household. My mango finally ripened enough to give us this Quinoa-Black Bean-Mango Salad, from Veganomicon. With cilantro straight from my garden, I didn't even bother serving it atop lettuce. I cut down on the quinoa, too, although it was perfectly cooked in the rice cooker (the best appliance ever! well, next to my immersion blender...).Three and a half, maybe even four stars **** for this dish. Great flavors, textures, and colors.
Speaking of colors, check out the bold red and brilliant green on this plate! It looks like Christmas except for the heat and humidity (OK, so it has been beautiful these past few days, really). The BBQ Tofu from Veganomicon was even baked, so no one had to stand in front of a hot grill. Except Mr. PLV did, even though it was just for those crispy, tender, grilled rosemary-olive oil new potatoes. No recipe. Just scrub 'em clean, quarter them, toss them with olive oil (extra virgin, as always), grill them for about 20 minutes, then toss them with fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. The best part about this meal? The beans (barely steamed) and potatoes were from CSA pickup #6! Yum, yum, yum. The tofu came out pretty good. You bake it first, then add the sauce and bake a little while longer. The sauce itself (from the recipe) was too spicy for us, and could've been a little sweeter, but while we could add more sugar or molasses, we couldn't extract the spice. We're hoping to use this sauce recipe on some seitan for our cookout on the 4th. Three solid stars for the tofu, four for the whole plate ****.

A day earlier, we (meaning, I) spent some time chopping and then threw this dish together: Basmati-Dill Chickpea-Chard Bake or some equally long name, from, Veganomicon. It was really easy, once you chopped everything, and we used jasmine rice instead of the basmati, with a little extra water, and it came out just fine. In fact, the flavors reminded us both of stuffed grape leaves! The lemon and the greens and the rice and even the occasional chickpeas were like eating grape leaves that had been unraveled. Delish. Three, maybe three and a half stars - needed some help in the heat-spice department. (Did I change to a five stars rating a while back? Because I'm still using the four star rating here.... oh well).
And, of course, the token garden picture, this time of my beautiful orange-yellow flowering zucchini plants. Unfortunately, I must be the only person on the entire continent who has a hard time growing these things. Last year, the mildew took them. This year, the flowers are opening, but then just dropping clean off the stems! I wonder if they're not being pollinated. I think I might move them near my back garden, although I saw a bee in one flower today. Advice from fellow zucchini growers would be great!


mysticxian said...

I don't know how much you know about zuchinni but I've had a little luck with the plants this year.
Those yellow flowers are the males. They open in the morning and fall off after a day or two. It's typical to have a lot of male flowers before the females (zuchinni) arrive. It's easy to spot the females because they look just like the flower stems you have now but are a little more plump.
When the big flowers are open take an artist paintbrush and gather the pollen. Brush the pollen on the smaller more plump looking stems.
This helps with pollination.
I picked my 2nd zuchinni today.

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

Wow - thanks so much. I thought that the big flowers were also the zucchini flowers. Very cool. Thanks!