Tag Archives: picnic

A Tale of Two Salads


Between having guests over on Friday evening, going to a picnic on Saturday, and our usual Sunday brunch-at-home, I feel like I’ve been spending every other hour of my weekend in the kitchen. Which, at least some weekends, is exactly how I like to be spending my time.

I don’t like going empty handed to any function, especially a picnic, so I thought I would whip up two cold salads and then cross my fingers and hope that they would remain tasty even after surpassing room temperature in the outdoor heat. I really need to invest in a proper cooler and cold packs if I’m going to be traveling with food. Luckily for this time around, both dishes survived the mugginess.

The first salad I made was a white bean, radish, and pea salad that was a modified variation of a member-submitted recipe on Chow. The radishes we had gotten in our first CSA had long since been devoured but we still had the half pound of pea pods. Everything else was simple stuff that I had on hand, substituting vegan cream cheese for the recommended tablespoon of yogurt.

The second salad was an improvisation based on both an orzo salad they commonly serve at Zenith and a suggestion from Mike on what to do with all the CSA garlic scapes we had received. The result was a garlicky pesto salad with a touch of oregano. I think it could have used more black pepper, but it was still pretty good. The recipe works the same whatever kind of pesto you want to make, so go with whatever you have on hand. Want an added crunch? Throw in about a half of cup of pine nuts. For non-vegans, a little Parmesan really gives this salad an extra boost of flavor.


White Bean, Radish and Pea Salad

Ingredients
– One shallot, minced
– 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
– 3 tsp lemon juice
– 1 tbsp vegan cream cheese
– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1 15 ounce can navy beans, drained and rinsed
– 3 –  5 radishes, thinly sliced
– 1/2 pound pea pods, cut in bite-sized chunks
– 2 tsp dried dill
– Tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely minced (optional)
– Salt and pepper

– In a bowl, combine shallot, vinegar, oil, lemon juice, and vegan cream cheese. Toss the veggies and herbs in the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix until well combined then chill for at least an hour.


Orzo with Garlic Pesto

Ingredients
– Half pound of garlic scapes, chopped
– 2 tsp fresh oregano
– 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
– Garlic pepper seasoning (to taste)
– 1 pound orzo, cooked as directed on box
– 3 tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
– 1 zucchini, cut into bite-sized chunks

– In a food processor or blender, process the garlic, oregano, and olive oil until smooth. Add the garlic pepper to taste. Toss pesto with orzo, tomatoes, and zucchini, until pasta and veggies are well coated. Allow to chill for at least one hour.

Pasta Salad and BBQ Tofu Sandwiches


An indoor picnic in December?

Me and my partner spent all of Saturday in West Virginia, cheering on the Mountaineers as they won their final game of the season. Then we joined some other WVU fans at a local bar to watch the basketball team and then the Big East Conference deciding U Conn-South Florida game. After freezing solid at the game, then drinking on and off the rest of the afternoon and evening, we were pretty bedraggled by the time we got home well after one am.

Around waking at noon, I had a sudden impulse for cookout type food, despite the fact that it was snowing outside. Maybe it was because James (who is vegan) doesn’t get to eat much at the tailgate before and after the games, the pasta salads and barbecues and most of the other food usually not even close to being vegan, but… I was hungry to make some brunch that would be football season appropriate.

In addition to its tie in to the season’s end, I wanted to make something that would be, for the most part, incredibly easy to make. Somehow, my laziness never prevents us from eating. This time, it paid off just right.


Too Worn Out to Cleverly Name This Pasta Salad
Ingredients
– 1 lb rotini pasta (can substitute macaroni if preferred)
– 1 small onion, chopped
– two large carrots, chopped
– 1 zucchini, sliced into thin, short strips
– 1/2 cup vegan mayo
– 2 tsps mustard
– 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
– 1 tsp salt
– 2 tsp sugar
– 2 tsp garlic pepper

Boil pasta. Add all ingredients to cooled pasta and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least an hour.


The Easy Way Out BBQ Tofu Sandwich
Ingredients
– 1 lb firm tofu
– 1/2 cup flour
– Poultry seasoning
– Garlic pepper
– Chili powder
– Vegetable oil
– Barbecue sauce of choice (I LOVE Sweet Baby Ray’s, but take your pick.)

– Mix 1/2 cup of flour with seasoning. Cut tofu into large slices, then coat each one in the flour mixture. Heat vegetable oil, then fry tofu slices, until both sides are golden and crispy.

Turn the heat to low, then add the barbecue sauce, to taste, flipping the slices as needed to coat evenly. Serve with lettuce on a toasted bun.

And if you feel kind of odd eating this kind of food indoors in December, set the heat at seventy and spread a blanket on the floor. That’s the kind of thing I would do as a kid.