Tag Archives: vegan cooking

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.

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Good Morning… Uh, er… Good Afternoon!


My Sunday afternoon laziness delivers rewards once again!

It was a withdrawal weekend for me and my partner. While the pro football season is still going strong, it’s just about over for college football (except for the bowl games, but we have to wait for those). Luckily, nice weather on Saturday gave us a good excuse to enjoy a few hours outdoors, including some backyard time spent tossing the football back and forth. (I’m getting better, really! I can almost throw a consistent spiral.)

Something I didn’t do this weekend was make it to the Strip for my bi-weekly produce shopping. (After a Friday night out late, celebrating a friend’s birthday, I needed a morning in.) My fridge was stocked with tofu from DeWalt’s World of Health on Potomac (selling extra firm 1lb water-packed tofu for $1.20 each) and I had a few remnants from my post-Thanksgiving Strip trip, but otherwise, not much to work with.

Luckily for our Sunday afternoon late brunch, I had just enough to make us a decent round of vegan “huevos rancheros,” this time with the added novelty of tomatilloes. Note to self: as long as there are cans of beans in the cupboard, you will eat like a king. Good thing to remember when I’m a broke student next fall.


Sunday Afternoon Lazy Man’s Tofu’n’Beans

Ingredients
– 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 pound extra tofu
– 5-7 small tomatilloes, sliced
– 1 large sweet potato, sliced
– 1 avocado, sliced
– 1/2 tbsp liquid smoke
– 1 tbsp turmeric
– 1/2 tbsp Arizona Dreaming spice from Penzey’s (you can use any Tex-Mex style spice blend, or better yet, make your own!)
– 1 tsp onion salt
– 1 tsp cayenne pepper
– Ground black pepper (to taste)
– 1 tbsp salsa (I used an extra hot jalapeno salsa)
– 4 corn tortillas (optional)
– Olive oil (as needed)

– Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour about two tablespoons of olive oil on a baking sheet. Peel and slice the sweet potato, then toss on the oiled baking sheet. Lightly season with onion salt and pepper. Toss again to evenly distribute seasoning, then place in oven. About ten minutes later, flip the potatoes. You want them tender, but a little crunchy on the exterior.

– While the potatoes are baking, drain the tofu and squeeze out excess water (if you’re gentle, you can do this by hand just by squeezing the tofu like a sponge, but gentleness is key). Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a non-stick pot – again, amount is really up to how oily you like your dish – and set at medium heat. Add tofu, tomatilloes, liquid smoke, and turmeric. Cook for about five minutes, then add the beans and the rest of the seasoning (including the salsa). Cover and turn heat to low. Let this cook for about ten to fifteen minutes (the longer the better).

– Suggested plating: Two corn tortillas on the plate, a layer of the roasted sweet potatoes, then the tofu’n’beans. Top with avocado slices.

Introducing: Vegan, A to Z

Like many active bloggers, I’m a nut for challenges. In my experience, I have found that restriction does lead to the greatest surge of ingenuity. Inspired by the variety of amazing offerings by the VeganMoFo bloggers, I’ve decided to take on a little project. Starting this week and continuing on for the next (you guessed it) 26 weeks, I’ll be doing a weekly feature entitled, Vegan A to Z, where I cook and bake a vegan recipe for every letter of the alphabet. Not exactly complicated, I understand, but whatever. We like to start simple here at Forked!

First up, a few weeks ago Sarah over at I’m So Hungry I Could Blog shared a terrific recipe for Spiced apple drop cookies that looked so good, I couldn’t wait to try them.

Veganizing Sarah’s recipe was exceptionally easy. I swapped out the butter for vegan margarine. The one egg became three tablespoons of apple sauce. Otherwise, everything stayed the same. I used a big Gala apple for my apple chunks and local apple cider as well.

The only other change is simply an omission: Sarah’s delicious looking cookies are topped by an apple cider vanilla frosting, which sounded terrific. Alas, I ran both short of supplies and time and decided to keep my cookies naked. They’re still delicious, with a crunch from the walnuts and little pockets of soft sweetness courtesy the baked apple chunks. And the recipe yielded nearly forty cookies, which means, even for this Cookie Monster, enough to share!

Woohoo, one down, 25 to go! Next up, ba-ba-ba- B!

(Make sure to check out Sarah and Caitlin’s excellent blog for this and other recipes!)