Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nacho Cheese


We ate dinner with our fingers and drank beer from bottles. 

2 C mashed potatoes
1 C cooked, diced carrots
1/2 C nutritional yeast
1/3 C olive oil
1/3 C water
1 T lemon juice
1 1/2 t salt

High power blender.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Radish



What’s up with radishes? Either people love them or hate them (poor little guys). I didn’t start eating radishes until a few years ago, probably because I didn’t grow up eating them (sorry little fellas).  Of course you can toss them in salads or on a veggie tray, but think about other ways you can eat these spicy little globes of goodness. One quick look on the internet will provide many ways of preparing them. 


I have been roasting them lately to great acclaim – they actually become quite sweet (it’s true, you just have to trust me.)  Last week I tried sautéing the greens, but….well….. I didn’t love them. It took some real chewing and tooth chomping to get them down. But if Foodand Wine can conquer the humble radish top (cute little guys) then so can I!

I am growing radishes for the first time in my garden. I suppose they should be in nice rows, but we just cast out the seeds, thinned them a bit and stand back to watch. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Animal Antics

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A turtle laid her eggs right in my onion patch a few weeks ago.



Cabby has learned how to eat strawberries right from my strawberry patch.




Sparky and Cabby have finally gotten used to each other.




Old Beanie Babies make great chew toys (or props for horror flicks).

Friday, June 21, 2013

No-Bake Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Chunks



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From The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

I served this last night at a small dinner party – it’s always risky to try new recipes with company, but I knew this would be great….and it was. Ate the rest for breakfast this morning right from the pan, standing at the kitchen counter. Can you picture it?  I can’t wait to make this again! Maybe with peaches.

Here’s what you need for the crust:
2 C raw pecans or almonds
¾ - 1 C pitted dates, preferably Medjool
¼ t salt

Here’s what you do for the crust:
Place nuts in food processor and grind them until they are a coarse meal. Add the dates and salt and process until thoroughly combined. Press into a lightly greased 8 inch or 9 inch spring form pan ( or tart pan)

Here’s what you need for the filling:
5 C ripe strawberries, divided
5 pitted dated, soaked 10 minutes in warm water and drained
2 t lemon juice
Dark chocolate for garnish
More strawberries for garnish

Here’s what you do for the filling:
Arrange 4 C sliced strawberries over crust. Set aside. Blend 1 C strawberries with soaked dates and lemon juice until smooth. Pour this over the sliced strawberries. Garnish with dark chocolate and more strawberries. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.



NOTE: Colleen recommends serving this within an hour or two after you make it. I made the crust in the morning and then assembled the pie 2 hours before serving. It was perfect, but maybe a bit too moist. But I think that’s because my dates were huge. It didn't really cut into nice slices, but it tasted great! And I think the beautiful presentation made it extra special. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dijon, Orange and Dill Dressing

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I recently picked up a copy of “Vegetarian Journal” magazine. I should have read the cover more thoroughly because most of the magazine is devoted to Filipino cuisine, and in particular dishes that include coconut and Bagoong Miso – which is some type of garlicky, vinegary, sugary, miso-y seasoning, that you have to make in your own kitchen. I am sure it all tastes great, but it’s just not my alley right now. I see that next month’s issue is devoted to Ecuadorian Cuisine, which – if it’s all about the potato- I could get in to!

There is also a long article about how to eat vegan while camping and backpacking. If you know me, then you know that I am not a camper or backpacker. I walk around the block and call it good.

Then there is the article about how to eat vegan in China --  be on the lookout for hidden eggs! But I digress……

Between the pages is a great collection of recipes using fresh herbs. I zeroed in on Dill and Mustard Salad Dressing, made some ‘tracy’ changes, renamed it and Voila! My new favorite thing! We had it on lettuce a few days ago and then used the rest as a dip for fresh cooked green beans last night. Tonight we will finish it with some asparagus.



Here’s what you need:
1 T silken tofu (you could also use sour cream)
2 T Dijon mustard
2 t orange juice concentrate
½ C olive oil
2 T vinegar….here’s where you can really pump up the flavor. I recommend using Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champaign Vinegar – the stuff is awesome! Or use good quality white wine vinegar.
1 T dried dill
2 t black pepper

Here’s what you do:
Put the tofu, mustard and orange juice concentrate in a blender and whirl. Drizzle the oil in to emulsify. Add the vinegar, herbs and pepper. Blend some more. Refrigerate for an hour before eating.

(printable recipe)


On a totally different note, a house was torn down across the lake yesterday. It was the last of the tiny, cottage-type homes on our water. I imagine a big mega-house will go up this summer, which will be fun (and noisy) to watch. But in a way it makes me sad and nostalgic....I kinda liked looking at the little yellow house. In fact, when it was for sale last year, I secretly dreamed of owning it and living a cozy little life there. There's just something about a screened-in porch that I adore!  I wonder if my piano would even fit in the living room? 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Warm Mediterranean Barley Salad


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Question: Is barley the unsung hero of the grain world?

Here’s what you need:
1 ½ C pearl barley
3 C water plus more if it needs it
1 C garbanzo beans (or more to taste)
½ C Kalamata olives, chopped
¼ C pine nuts
½ C onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ C lemon juice
3 T olive oil, plus more for the pan
2 T red wine vinegar
1 t cumin
½ t coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
4 C baby kale, stemmed and cut in small pieces



Here’s what you do:
Bring 3 C water to boil in a big pot. Add the barley and 1 t salt. Bring back to boil, lower to simmer, cover and cook for about 30-35 minutes. I had to add more water a few times. When the barley is tender and most of the liquid is gone, set it aside.

Make the dressing by whisking together: lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper.


 In a large skillet, warm 1 T olive oil and sauté the onions, garbanzos and pine nuts. When the onions are tender, add the garlic and olives. (This is the most wonderful combination of flavors and aromas!)


When the barley is almost done, stir in the kale, cover and allow to cook for about 5 more minutes.

To finish the salad, mix everything together well. Serve warm.

(printable recipe)


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Shopping in the big city


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I always go a little bonkers when I get the chance to shop in the big city. Check out my new pantry additions from Trader Joe’s:
                Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant and Garlic (putting that on a pizza later this week)
                Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce (that would be killer on a pizza also!)
                Marinated Artichokes (pizza worthy)
                Bruschetta (don’t make me say it….pizza)
                Artichoke Antipasto (you know…)
                Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar (this stuff is awesome on lettuce, avocadoes, and anythig with black beans….just a drizzle make your plate pop)
                Thai Red Curry Sauce
                Thai Yellow Curry Sauce
                Dukkah (can’t wait to try this…it’s a nut and spice blend for veggies and bread)

And from the Middle Eastern place:
Roasted Red Pepper and Onion Dip
                Rose Water (what does a person do with this?? Help)
                Pomegranate Molasses (this is going in cocktails)
                Date Syrup (this is a new product for me, but the guy behind the counter gave me some great ideas how to use it. Stay tuned.)

And from the Indian Place:
                Two bags of Panch Puran seasoning (which I have been dying to try!)



Then there was the 4 pound bag of garbanzo beans, pita bread and anise cookies. Oh, and the pile of Indian Fare instant meals….. which I adore for lunches.

My husband just smiled at me and started making room in the pantry when I got home and started unloading. But, see what I made him for his lunch? Homemade hummus from dried beans with a huge scoop of the Red Pepper Spread. NUM!

                

Friday, June 7, 2013

Random stuff and finally back to the kitchen.

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I am almost an 'empty-nester."
I feel like I am finally coming up for a breath of air! Life has been full-up-to-the-brim these past few months…. pant….pant….pant…..Whenever I am on the verge of whining and complaining, my husband  patiently reminds me that I live a ‘full life.’ He is so wise (and kinda irritating, because sometimes it just feels good to whine and complain…. !)



We ate the entire thing.
Congrats to our youngest son who graduated from high school. To celebrate, I hosted a big open house where I served shredded chipotle pork and also some shredded Mexican chicken breasts. Tortillas, cheese, lots of guacamole, homemade refried beans and tons and tons of rice. Fruit salad. Mexican soda. 80 guests. The most decadent and delicious Tres Leches Cake. 



I want Thomas Jefferson's vegetable garden.
He loved peas. 
I took my students and their parents on a week long field trip to Virginia and Washington DC. I did a really great job of eating vegan for the entire week, but I did indulge in a big scoop of mac and cheese at Pickett’s Buffet (love that name) in Gettysburg. I am not counting it as cheating though, because it was totally desiccated and void of any cheese. I didn't even enjoy it.



The folks. 
My mom had knee replacement surgery this week and I have complete guilt because I haven’t seen her since the surgery….:( Now that school is over, I can do a bit more traveling.


He hopes to get a degree in electrical engineering and spend his
  life building stuff like this small satellite. 
My middle kid drove to Seattle this week to begin a summer internship. That’s a long drive from Michigan. I know he will love his time there – great city and better weather than west Michigan, I hear. J



I hosted a small picnic for my choir. On the menu were grilled hot dogs and guess what? I totally broke my vegan diet and ate TWO of them. Except for a few bites of cheese and maybe a small bit of meat, that’s the very first time! Oh, and a few slices of that awesome Tres Leches cake you see up above!  Crazy! I just couldn't resist!  



I'm the old brunette, not the gorgeous blonde! But that is my daughter. 
I cut off all my hair. Man, did I need that! It was getting pony-tail long. 


48
I lowered my cholesterol by 48 points in the past 9 months. Doctor is pleased and so am I! 
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