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Archive for May, 2010

 

I was really craving a big Greek-style salad the other day and, although, as a vegan,  I could bring together nearly all the ingredients to fashion one, there was one glaring omission:  feta cheese.  That tangy and salty flavor coupled to a creamy and crumbly texture; oh how I miss feta.  It was time to go back to the kitchen and tinker. 

Turns out, this tofu is delicious enough to stand on its own merits and serve as the star of the show upon a homemade flatbread cracker.  It’s not nearly as salty as feta cheese, but it’s a really nice compassionate stand-in that has worked very well in all the dishes I’ve since used it in.  Plus, it’s just am incredibly beautiful bite of food.

 

Feta-Style Tofu with Olives

Ingredients:

one recipe homemade tofu, at the curd stage

1 cup caper brine

2 T capers

1/2 cup Greek olives and their brine, pitted and halved

juice of one lemon

2 T dried oregano

Directions:

Once you have the tofu at the curd stage, drain in a cheesecloth-lined colander.  Transfer to a bowl and add all of the ingredients.  Gently mix to incorporate.  Let sit for one hour at room temperature to marinate.  Transfer to a cheesecloth-lined tofu mold and press for an additional hour.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

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Wanting to have a lighter dinner, I served the curry over some roasted spaghetti squash and sautéed kale rather than rice. 

 

Sweet Potato and Coconut Curry with Lentils

Ingredients:

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 T tomato paste

2 tsp chili garlic sauce [You could substitute with any hot sauce or chili pepper.]

2 T Kashmir garam masala [I used Urban Accent’s Blend]

2 T coconut oil

1-14 oz can lite coconut milk

1-15 oz can sweet potato puree

2 cups faux chicken broth

2 cups carrots, diced

2 cups plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-sized pieces

juice of one lime

2 cups puy lentils, cooked in faux chicken broth

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

freshly-cracked green peppercorns, for garnish

Directions:

Sauté onion in the coconut oil until softened.  Add garlic, ginger and garam masala and stir for a couple of minutes.  Add the tomato paste and spread it around the pan to ensure that it is cooked.  After a couple of minutes add in the chili garlic sauce, coconut milk, sweet potato puree and broth.  Mix well and simmer gently for 15 minutes.  Add in the carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower and lentils.  Cook until the vegetables are fork-tender.  Add the lime juice and season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with cracked green peppercorns.

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We went nettle picking recently on a local organic farm and walked through a gorgeous pasture full of blooming dandelions.  We gathered up quite a few of the beautiful flowers and decided to work them into a meal.  The petals are fairly sweet, while the green of the flower is slightly bitter.  I figured integrating them into a salad full of cooked sweet vegetables would be perfect; and it really was.

Golden Beet, Fennel and Grilled Pear Salad with Dandelions

Ingredients:

1 bunch golden beets with tops [Clean the tops well in cold water and chop into pieces.]

1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly

1 pear, cored and cut into wedges

a handful of organically-grown dandelion flowers

vegetable broth

olive oil

Directions:

Peel and cut beets into wedges.  Place in a pan and cover with broth.  Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until fork-tender. [Keep an eye on the level of liquid, you may have to replenish.]  Remove the beets and transfer into a bowl that can accomodate the entire salad once made.  Add the washed and chopped beet greens to the same pan and add more liquid if needed.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Drain and add to the bowl with the beet root.

Wipe out the pan and add a drizzle of olive oil.  Add the thinly sliced fennel bulb and sauté until slightly softened.  This should take 5-7 minutes.  Add fennel to the salad bowl.  Add the dandelion flower tops to the pan and sauté briefly.  Add to the salad bowl.

Heat a grill pan on medium high heat and add the pear wedges.  Cook until each side has grill marks.  Add to the salad bowl.  [You may want to cut the pears into smaller pieces, if so, let them cool atop the vegetables so that their juices fall into the bowl and are not wasted.]

Toss the cooked fruit and vegetables and season to taste with sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.  Either serve warm or at room temperature.  Garnish with fennel fronds.

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