Thursday, August 27, 2009

End of Summer Treats

Around here, it feels like summer is just getting started (we had a really cool summer in June and July), so it's hard to believe that we're nearing the end of the season!

Nevertheless, we're trying to eat as much summer produce as possible, before it's no longer available. Last year, I began trying to eat in-season produce as much as possible and I'll tell you - it is worth it! You really appreciate the in-season fruits and veggies, they are at their best in terms of flavor, and you know they weren't shipped in from out of state (or country!). Meanwhile, when the season is over, you aren't saying, "Oh, I wished I had had more corn!, etc."

The above Raw Hemp Tabouli from Rawvolution (different recipe name in the book, but I thought this better described it) was made simply of tons of herbs from the garden, cherry tomatoes (mine are so small, you don't really have to even chop them), and a sprinkle of onions and hemp seeds (the hemp seeds stand in for the traditional bulgar). I really loved this fresh parsley salad (the typical American version has more bulgar than parsley, but the real stuff has mostly parsley). Four stars! ****

Not so seasonal or fresh (or health), these Dulce Sin Leche Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (VCTOTW) kicked some serious ass, once again. Made these for a co-worker's birthday and as always, they didn't disappoint! Although, the glaze melted a bit overnight and I had to refrigerate them. The coconut on top is a must, for presentation, at least, but I will never understand the "I hate coconut" people, anyway...

Next up, this spicy and amazing Moroccon Spring Tagine from Vegan with a Vengeance was excellent and pretty easy. Except for the fact that all the veggies are actually summer ones, and not spring, so it was a perfect meal to have this week! Zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, onion, beans... Four stars **** and Mr. PLV even at the leftovers - twice! :) Speaking of in-season, we finally had grilled okra, too! No photo, as it was scarfed down too quickly. My mother, who is visiting, just couldn't get enough of it - yeah!
Last week, we feasted on a quick meal of vegan gnocchi (most gnocchi is, but Wegman's brand actually had the vegan symbol on it - yay!) with roasted tomatoes and roasted green beans. We had never had roasted green beans before, and they were pretty good! Three stars ***, maybe less - it needed some garlic.

Last week, I also used some of the slew of late-summer corn to make another Sweet Corn Chowder. This time, it was from Ani's Raw Food Kitchen. This was much better than the Rawvolution version, but still needed way more corn. I would double the corn. Nice and fresh and great with the avocado and cilantro! Three stars ***

Another quick, fresh and amazingly delicious meal came from Ani's book last week. This time it was Walnut-Cranberry Squash "Rice." The rice was made by grating a raw butternut squash in the food processor. I would never think of doing that, but it was incredible! Tasted a bit like stuffing. Yum, yum, yum and all raw!! Four stars ****.

It's been a while since I roasted root veggies, but since we got a few from the CSA the previous week, it was time to do something with them before they went bad. Roasting is a great way to use up veggies that are a tad past their prime. This was the Roasted Salad with Roasted Garlic Salad from Veganomicon. Even though it's hot as blazes out there, our central air made it comfy enough to use the oven for all this roasting. I figure, with all the meat I haven't eaten in years, my carbon footprint is already smaller than average (which it really is, I calculated it online) so I can afford a little electricity splurge now and then. And WOW, was this worth it! The roasted garlic makes a creamy, rich dressing, that's not overly garlic at all. And roasted turnips? Woah. Four stars, without reservations! **** Mr. PLV also liked this one, because of the taters.
I also roasted two small eggplants from the CSA to make my second-ever Baba Ganouj (recipe from Madhur Jaffry's World Vegetarian), which kicked ass! So yum, so easy, but so not photogenic :P Four stars anyway ****

These Pesto-Stuffed Mushrooms from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen were also so incredibly good, we're going to make them again this week! I haven't had stuffed mushrooms in a while. I even used local bread (frozen last week) for the breadcrumbs. Wow! Mr. PLV ate almost all of them :) Four stars ****.

Meanwhile, my garden continues to give me a pint to two pints of cherry tomatoes a day. Except for this plant, which I swear came from the same packet! It's giving us these beautiful elongated globes - plum tomatoes! They're not as tasty as the cherry ones, but they do have more substance. Someone said that getting different tomato varieties from the same seed packet is pretty common. Cool!

And, last but not least, THEY'RE BACK! :) Last summer, my "green bean seeds" flourished into melons. This year, three plants came back, even though I didn't really try! One withered in the sun, I tripped on another and accidentally ripped the vine out of the ground...and then there was one. Wonder if it'll taste better than last year? Well, I'm off to continue helping with the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves my father has been working on all week! Happy Early Christmas to me and my books! :)

1 comment:

Courtney said...

Yum--everything looks and sounds so good!

Even though I eat local all summer, I am ALWAYS saying "I wish I had had more ___" when it comes to produce...I LOVE my fruits and veggies!

I am super jealous of your AC and ability to roast veggies in the summer :-)