Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vittles from Rhode Island

I promised I would post about these amazing Cinnamon Rolls, from Vegan Brunch on my last post, so here they are in all their glory! A picture cannot do these bad boys justice. I wanted to put my face into the pan :) Luckily, there were lots of people around, so I made do with a half...and then another half...and then a bit or nibble more. Five stars *****, if I can give that many - I can never remember my new rating system....

My big sister from Rhode Island (almost a veg-head) made these from scratch along with: tofu scramble, fresh watermelon and blueberries (which were a thousand times better than the ones in VA!), potato hash (sweet and regular), and banana-chocolate French toast. It was a brunch to remember....wish we didn't live so far away!

We also ate at Crazy Burger while we were up there, which had a pretty decent number of vegan burgers on their menu, despite the plethora of dead-animal ones :( The link above shows you a menu slightly different than the one we saw. The burger shown here is the Just Plain Nuts one, which was served open-faced on a pepita-corn cake (polenta) with this amazing sun dried tomato-artichoke pesto. Gluten free and a good price! My only complaint was that it was way too much to eat :) Three stars ***. (Oh, and that isn't a Styrofoam container. It was biodegradable paper!).

Back home, I was saddened to see that my zucchini plants are just about dead (even with a friend watering them, they just didn't make it). However, my tomato plants are making up for it! This handful is about what I pick during one afternoon lunch break. Warm from the sun, I just pop them in my mouth along with whatever goodies I'm munching on. These are my first self-grown tomatoes since I was a little kid!

They also go well on a raw salad, featured here with a lemon-dill dressing from Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine. I was pretty disappointed in this dressing. It was wicked easy, but seemed to curdle and froth up, and was way too lemony. One star *. Oh well. The greens, cucumber, zucchini and larger cherry tomatoes were straight from the latest CSA pick up. Can't wait to dig into the first cantaloupe of the season that came with it!

We also got twelve ears of corn - wow! I put one on a salad (minus the cob, of course - raw corn is so good!) and turned four more into this Harvest Corn Chowder from Rawvolution. It was really easy to make, but I was disappointed in the flavor. It just didn't taste enough like corn! The other flavors (cumin, garlic, tamari) were nice enough, but I really wanted that corn taste. Perhaps the corn just wasn't sweet enough! I have to say, it isn't the best corn I've ever had. But at least it's organic - yay!

We also got a small bag of shiitake mushrooms from the pick up. Here they are, soaking in some Bragg's, alongside some chopped and diced tomatoes, red pepper, carrots and chives (from my own garden- yay!). The chopping was pure pleasure today, as Mr. PLV sharpened all our knives. I held the red pepper in the air and slid the knife across - it sliced through like non-dairy butter!

Mushrooms are so good for you. Besides offering selenium, copper, and other vitamins, they have shown to be anticancer, antiviral, and absorb cholesterol. We are advised (see link above - although I've heard this from many sources) to avoid raw white button, portobello, and cremini mushrooms, though.

These Raw Veggie Wraps from Vegan A Go-Go, were whipped up with ease from the ingredients in the above photo, wrapped in rice papers with a little raw zucchini hummus (I really like the one from Rawvolution). The dipping sauce was just the leftover Bragg's from the mushroom marinade. A quick, cool, delicious lunch, alongside a green smoothie. Ahhh....nothing like eating raw vegan food in the summer! Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Playing Catch-Up

After finally getting some well-deserved vaca this past weekend, I'm finally back in the blogosphere (or whatever you call it) with some great food finds!

Using up leftovers before we left (redundant but true) was imperative. I didn't let a single bit of produce go to waste. I even cut up the last of our celery and zucchini to eat with dip on the road. Above, you see a quick meal we made with some leftover kohlrabi and potatoes. The recipe, Indian-Inspired Kohlrabi with Peas and Potatoes, was initially on the Fat Free Vegan blog, but the link appears to be broken. I've linked the recipe title to a recipe that seems exactly the same. Even though it contained coconut, Mr. PLV seemed to like it quite a bit! I loved it and gave it 3 1/2 stars ***. The flavors were awesome and it was very comforting. Easy, too.

A week before we left, my mother-in-law came to stay for a few days. After trotting out our favorites (Baked BBQ Tofu from Veganomicon and Kung Pao Seitan from Vegan Planet), it was time for something a little more familiar to her taste buds. I spent a morning at the grill before it got too hot outside, with some thinly sliced eggplant, roasted red peppers, and summer squash. Then, with a homemade pesto (basil straight from the garden!) and a jarred tapenade (you can't do it all) ...

I put together this Mediterranean Pressed Sandwich, from an old Vegetarian Times issue. With some balsamic vinegar drizzled over it all, then everything sandwiched on ciabatta bread (vegan!), wrapped up tightly, and pressed under a cast iron skillet for the day in the fridge, by dinner it was chilled and yummy and "seemed" like no work at all. The flavors melted together in a harmonious, "ummmmmm....." of yum. But I have to warn you - it is quite a bit of work. Three and a half stars - oh, what the heck - four!

On the side, we served Green Beans Tossed with Walnut-Miso Sauce, from Cooking Light. This is one of my favorite recipes for green beans. Three stars this time because I under-cooked the beans, but normally four ****.

Meanwhile, my garden continues to thrive (well, my garden minus the zucchini, which I have sadly given up on). These cherry tomatoes are covering nearly every inch of all the huge plants that I have somehow not killed this spring and into summer. I eat the ripe ones straight off the plants, still warm from the sun, on my lunch break.

Huge carrots, well fat ones at any rate, surprised us last week at the CSA pickup. They did have tops and I stupidly chucked them into the compost bins before realizing that you can eat them (courtesy of some ideas behind Green For Life, which is alternately annoying and amazing me). The carrots? Sweetness :)

Speaking of sweet, can you find my sweet kitty? Bear is the master of disguise. Agent 009 reporting....
Next post - Vegan Cinnamon Rolls from Vegan Brunch!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Let's Hear it for the Sides!

Just like at Thanksgiving, most holiday feasts or celebrations involving food are celebrated more for their side dishes than the main one (in many households, a big hunk of meat). This 4th of July, it was no different.

But first, check out this beautiful bowl of fresh fruit! My first fruit salad of the season to feature blackberries and blueberries (although this is an older photo - probably taken a week ago). Isn't it funny how alone, these fruits are good, but combined they are a masterpiece (both visually and on the palate)?

However, nothing beats blackberries, fresh from the farmer's market, and still warm from the sun -yeah! These just melted in my mouth. I mean, seriously. I didn't even have to chew...

But back to the 4th...we made a hideously large amount of food - makes me feel awed, guilty and honored to live in this country and have all the pleasures of life that we often take for granted.

And, as usual, the BBQ seitan was relegated to the side, while the "sides" took front and center stage! We tried some new dishes this year including: Prospect Park Potato Salad from Veganomicon, which was decent, but needed some onion and more salt and pepper. Not as good as my family's recipe, which I have yet to veganize but I promise I will this summer! Two and half stars ** 1/2 for this one, though. Also, Cucumber Salad, from a recent Veg News email, which was spicy and fresh and all around yummy! With jalapeno, peanuts, and mint, it was easy and delicious! Three solid stars ***. As usual, we had to have my family's Three-Bean Salad, from god knows where, but the reduced fat version I started making several years ago is always a big hit. The coleslaw and BBQ seitan was a repeat of the recipe from Veganomicon that we made a week or so ago - still very, very good! We also had grilled corn with this great jerk rub from Cooking Light that I've used for almost a decade now! We also love the Cajun and North African spice rubs, too.

Well, that's it for the weekend's food. We'll be eating leftovers for several days now! Oh, I did make a raw bok choy paneer, from Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine, my newest acquisition, as recommended by a raw foodist friend. Mr. PLV ate it with some naan and I had it with some brown rice.
It wasn't attractive enough for a photo, and was just too rich to eat alone, but it was very, very good! Three, maybe three and a half stars! ***