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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cilantro Citrus Vinaigrette

I came up with this tasty salad dressing for a new Roasted Corn & Qunioa Salad recipe I came up with. This is so easy to throw together and would be great in a jicama salad or just as part of a tossed greens salad.

The Stuff
  • 1 bunch cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • juice from 1 large lemon or 3 limes
  • 2 T raw tahini
  • 1/4 c rice vinegar (no, not the seasoned kind)
  • 1/4 t garlic powder *optional
  • 1/4 t xanthan gum *optional
The Making

Cut the stems off the bunch of cilantro about 3-4 inches up. Wash in a colander and shake off just some of the excess water.

Put wet, washed cilantro into blender, add remaining ingredients and blend on high until completely blended.

If the dressing seems a little thick or too vinegary, add some water a tablespoon at a time until it is the right consistency/taste.

If the dressing is very thin or if you would like a very thick dressing you can add the xanthan gum to thicken it. Bob's Red Mill is a good source for this ingredient.

Roasted Corn & Qunioa Salad

Ahhhh, summer! The time of fresh, sweet corn is finally here and although I usually just like to roast it, coat it with lime juice and eat until there's nothing left, I did come this yummy recipe using some.

The Stuff
  • 2 ears of roasted corn, kernels carefully removed
  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1-2 cups of shredded, raw cabbage (red looks more dramatic)
  • 4 small tomatoes, diced
  • 8oz tempeh
  • 1 batch of Cilantro Citrus vinaigrette
  • half a small head of Romaine or other crisp lettuce cut into big shreds
  • 1 small avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2 corn tortillas
  • Spray canola oil

The Making

Slice the tempeh into 1/2 inch strips. Heat a skillet, or a cast-iron grill pan (preferred), coat with a little canola oil, and add tempeh. Cook tempeh on both sides, using a little spray oil before turning, until golden. Set aside and cut into small pieces (roughly diced) once it has been cooled.

Heat oven to 425F. Cut tortillas into very thin strips with a sharp knife. Spray tortilla strips with some oil while tossing. Place tortilla strips on a small baking rack and put into oven. Bake for 5 minutes, or until crispy. Set aside.

While the tempeh is cooking put the remaining ingredients, except salad dressing, together into a large mixing bowl. Once the tempeh has cooled and been diced up add it and the dressing to the bowl and toss all ingredients together until everything is evenly coated with the dressing.

Serve salad on a bed of Romaine lettuce, topped with avocado slices and some of the baked tortilla strips.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Raw Kale & Chickpea Salad

Last summer we picked up a raw kale salad from the deli at a co-op in Davis, California, and enjoyed it a lot. This salad doesn't really recreate it, but it was that salad that encouraged me to try using more raw kale in dishes. You can mix & match things like dressing, veggies used, etc., but this is generally what I stick with.

The Stuff
  • 1 bunch of kale, any variety
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 bell pepper, diced small (I prefer a red just for contrast in colors)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced small (you can use red or yellow, I'd just saute it first)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15 oz can, rinsed & drained)
  • 1/2 cup pesto or balsamic salad dressing
Optional Stuff (tasty, pick a couple of these!)
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomato pieces, cut up small
  • 1/3 cup green olives (oil cured, not canned, go to the olive bar if your market has one), sliced small
  • 1/3 cup thin sliced basil
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped up fine
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, brown rice, barley, or wheat/spelt berries **You'll need more pesto or salad dressing (this option makes for a nicely hearty dish - great for picnics)
  • Fresh tomatoes and cucumber (if this is going to be eaten right away), drained capers, raw cauliflower, beets and peas. Any additional veggies should be chopped up into small pieces.

The Making

Stem, wash and shred the kale into very small pieces and add to large bowl. Add in all other ingredients, pesto or salad dressing last. Toss well to evenly coat all of the kale and to keep the grated carrots from clumping together. Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 8

This salad keeps very well and does very well being made a day ahead of serving. It travels great too.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vegans at OSCON

This week O'Reilly's Open Source Conference, or OSCON, is happening in town. There will be a few parties and events around town, but most of the action takes place at the Oregon Convention Center (OCC). I was lucky enough to win a ticket to all of the sessions from the Linux Fund and will be attending events most of the week. It is a great chance to talk to several companies about jobs as well as connect with other Open Source professionals.

I'm really excited, except for one thing... The OCC and the neighborhood around it is pretty lame as far as vegan options and good coffee go. In general the mediocre coffee issue and lack of interesting food options pretty much affects everyone, just for vegans it is somewhat of a hassle. The OCC itself is a pretty nice place to be, but the food/beverage issue requires some planning.

I did contact O'Reilly and asked abut vegan options. They said that there would be buffet lunches and I should be able to get something. This kind of response always leaves me personally a little dubious since food often isn't labeled clearly and/or it means some hummus and pita. It also can quite often mean an assortment of raw veggies. All of those things aren't bad, but sometimes I find I'm still hungry!

My awareness of this really played into what suggestions I made for the catering for Open Source Bridge. Yes, we had hummus & pita, but as part of a really nice mezza plate clearly marked as vegan. We also were sure to offer soy milk as an alternative to dairy milk as well as vegan cookies and doughnuts.

Anyway, back to this week and being a vegan at a big conference in the OCC. I can say that closer to Lloyd Center (a mall) there is a Chipotle, which is a vegan option if you stick with the black beans (the pintos are cooked in beef stock). A little further away on NE 15th is Blossoming Lotus which features a fantastic all vegan menu with many raw options.

Another option to finding something beyond the conference buffet is to take MAX across the river into downtown (free from the OCC) and check out a food cart. Since we get 90 minutes for the lunch break, this option is possible and is a lot of fun. If you walk 2 blocks west up Stark from the First & Oak stop there are 3 food carts with very tasty vegan options: Just Thai (will be closed this Monday & Tuesday - they offer a vegan Thai Iced Tea made with coconut milk - yum!), DC Vegetarian, and Sonny Bowl. There are also food carts ("pods") at SW 5th & Stark and SW 10th & Alder. Many of the food carts in Portland have vegan options and offer excellent food.

That said, check out Stumptown Vegans for reviews of mostly all local places. They have a map on the site with restaurants indicated, including those food carts I mentioned, and it is a great resource for vegans in PDX. Also, just in time for OSCON, The Portland Vegan 100 a great list compiled for Try Vegan Week that mentions many, many tasty restaurants and dishes around town.

Really though, Christie and I are actually planning to bring a lot of food. We find that eating out all week tends to leave us feeling a little blah, so having food along really helps. This means that a recipe for my raw kale and garbanzo salad with pesto is forthcoming! We're also making up some tofu salad and my garbanzo & nori salad (mock tuna-ish). I may even write down what I did for those and post recipes too!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Spot-on Toby's clone...

I love Toby's.  Pretty much everyone does.  Like so many things, I just stupided into a perfect clone of this, -ala- my Yumm-Sauce clone a while back.

  1. 1 16oz block Super- or Extra-Firm Tofu (undrained).
  2. 1 stick celery (cleaned, leaves on).
  3. 1/2 to 1 cup Vegenaise (depending on how creamy you like it).
  4. 2 green onions (cleaned, with greens on)
  5. 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  6. 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  7. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  8. 1/2 tsp celery salt
  9. 1/2 tsp sea salt.
  10. 1/2 tsp turmeric.
  11. 1-2 tsp water.
  12. 1 pack powdered guacamole seasoning (brand of your choice).
  • Place celery and onions into food processor.  Whizz up until broken down into bite-sized pieces.
  • Break the tofu into chunks and place in food processor with all other ingredients except the water.  Whizz to a paste, adding water until desired consistency is reached.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vegan Dashi

I began making dashi because we missed having soups when out at Japanese restaurants. This is a real problem since fish, usually as bonito, shows up in so many stock bases. We'd even found out, after assuring other friends it was alright, that a once-favorite local restaurant had been serving us soup with bonito extract in it! I'd been using a recipe from the mighty VegWeb, but since I've made several variations, I thought I'd post what I'm really doing.

The Stuff:
  • Kombu, at least 6 inches worth
  • 4 large, dried, whole shitake mushrooms
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 t of wakame (just use a teaspoon to scoop out a big pinch worth, OK if it is a very rounded teaspoon!)
  • 2 T of sake (use something decent that you can enjoy with dinner later. We like Sayuri a lot)
  • 3 T of mirin
  • 2 T shoyu or tamari

The Making:

Cut the kombu lengthwise, about 2/3 the way up. In a small stock pot add the cut kombu and dried shitakes. Let these steep at room temperature for at least 1 hour, more is OK.

Remove kombu and shitakes, making sure to squeeze mushrooms to get out liquid. Add the remaining ingredients and put pot onto medium high heat. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim off the wakame and either use dashi immediately or store in fridge for up to a week. This also freezes really well.

Note: The steeped kombu and shitakes can be used again!
  • We actually don't care for mushrooms much at all, except in stocks, so we compost the shitakes after steeping. Feel free to slice them up to add to soups.
  • The kombu can be used in a kind of Japanese, fresh pickle. It is often sliced into small, thin pieces and marinated in some shoyu, rice vinegar and sesame seeds. This can be a nice kind of condiment to noodles or soup.
Yes, this IS the dashi I use for the miso udon stew already posted to this site!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Organics to You - July 5, 2010

I think we're nearing the time when we will have to cut down to every other week or go into hibernation as we're starting to get more from the garden and the Farmers Market.

That said, here's today's box full of goodies:
  • a head of green leaf lettuce
  • kale
  • basil
  • yellow onion
  • 4 zucchini
  • a head of green cabbage
  • 2 ears corn
  • snow peas
  • a cucumber
  • blueberries
  • a cantalope
  • 5 apricots
  • cherries
  • 3 nectarines
In the fridge:
  • carrot sticks
  • carrots
  • green onions
  • peas
  • lettuce
  • 1 avocado (might be beyond saving)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • some garlic
  • a shallot
  • some onions
  • chard
  • celery
  • green cabbage
  • 4 apples
  • broccoli
  • head of cauliflower
  • red beets
  • radishes
  • 3 grapefruit
  • 1 mango
  • a lemon
  • several small limes
  • 1 peach
  • a watermelon
  • 4 plums
  • 2 pluots
  • 2 apricots
  • 2 small daikon
  • several bananas
  • pounds of strawberries
  • medium sized jicama
  • 1 tomato
  • 4 Walla Walla onions
  • ginger
  • cherries
  • pounds of blueberries
  • pounds raspberries
  • basil
The Compost Pail of Shame (what we didn't use and had to compost):
  • jicama
  • kale
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • some apricots
  • some Russet potatoes
Came up with a great cilantro lime salad dressing last week, will be recreating and posting a recipe. Fourth of July provided the opportunity to make two big potato salads as well as a raw kale & garbanzo salad. This helped use up all of the red potatoes in the house. Although I tried having a few Russets, we just didn't get to them in time. I did make a pesto type dressing for the kale salad that used the garlic spears, mint and some basil as well as raw cashews and balsamic vinegar - very tasty!

This week - Several slaws with all that cabbage and perhaps a sweet & sour dish as well. The cabbage pairs so well with all the snow peas! Another pesto, this time with all the basil, perhaps to be served over zucchini pasta with grilled tempeh. I'm thinking I'm going to make a soup with the chard, perhaps a white bean soup. The kale will either go into another raw salad or appear steamed alongside the zucchini pasta & pesto.