Posts Tagged salsa

Tasty Tailgating

We didn’t do anything grand or fun for the Fourth of July this year, but we did go to an A’s game that weekend.  Weekend games are for tailgating!

In a patriotic bid, Dave made Philly cheesesteaks for the boys, so I made my version with portobello and a vegan cheese slice.  The cheese wasn’t my favorite brand for slices (Tofutti) and didn’t melt at all, but this was still a very tasty sandwich.

I had two lovely CSA tomatoes waiting to be used, so I whipped up a chickpea tuna salad and stuffed ‘em.

Stuffed tomato with grilled corn; patriotic plate and napkin presumably left over from last year.

Last weekend we had a biiiiig tailgate.  Normally it’s just the four of us – myself, Dave and two friends.  This time we were expecting a sister, a friend of Dave’s, his wife, their two friends and their four collective children.  Then, as we were cooking, another friend of Dave’s called to see if we were there.  He was on the way with his pre-bachelor party group, and we ended up having at least twenty five people!  Luckily, we had plenty of food.

Dave’s friend’s wife has celiac disease, so we wanted to make everything gluten free.  In discussing with Dave what we could and couldn’t make, I mentioned that corn tortillas are usually gluten free, so we went with Mexican food.

We started with chips and salsa made from a Rick Bayless recipe.

Dave made carne asada tacos for everyone else, so I grilled up some portobello.  Topped with salsa and cilantro, with a spot of guac on the side.

I wanted a substantial side dish as well, to avoid eating a bajillion tortilla chips, so I made this Mexican Bean and Rice Salad.  I was skeptical that the recipe didn’t include any oil, but the salad didn’t really need it.  If I made it again though, I would use less onion.  I’m just not big into lots of raw onion.

Since we were expecting a crowd, I wanted to make a dessert, and I do love the challenge of vegan, gluten free baking.  These White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies were adapted from this recipe.  I substituted Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour plus 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum for the flour, and used kosher white chocolate chips that I picked up at Food Fight in June.  The first batch spread too much in the oven, so I mixed in 2 Tablespoons of chickpea flour which seemed to do the trick.  The recipe says it should make three dozen, but I ended up with about sixty cookies!

I’m off to Portland for Vida Vegan Con tomorrow!  I will be attempting to live blog throughout the entire event, so check back here regularly for updates!

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July CSA’s – Pizza, Almondine, Beety Potatoes & Delicious Italian Food

I’m considering participating in VeganMoFo this year.  (If you don’t know what VeganMoFo is, check out Kittee’s post here.)  While some people save up pictures and posts to meet their self-set VeganMoFo post quota, I would like to catch up to at least fairly recent so I’m not blogging about food I ate three months ago!  It’s harder to remember the details of all these dishes, but I will do my best…

7/1/10 CSA:  cauliflower, gypsy peppers, green beans, zucchini, basil and lettuce

peaches, tomatoes, grapes, carrots and a watermelon

Taco salad!  Lettuce, tomatoes, roasted corn, cilantro, a quick ranch dressing made from Trader Joe’s reduced-fat mayo (which explains the weird color and sheen), and to be honest, I don’t remember what the taco part on top was.  I think it might have been sauteed peppers, mushrooms, onions, spices and other stuff – Whatever it was, I remember it being good!

Zucchini pizza on a brown rice tortilla with basil and Daiya mozzarella.

Tofu Almondine with Lemony Green Beans, adapted from Clean Eating Magazine’s Chicken Almondine recipe.  I also had some dry-roasted cauliflower on the side.  The flavor of the tofu and green beans was really good, but it was kind of dry.  I felt some sort of sauce would have brought it together.

7/15/10 CSA:  grapes, lettuce, beets, purple basil, corn and a lemon cucumber

peaches, tomatoes, plums, an onion, a cantaloupe and carrots

I wanted to eat the corn raw, and I remembered that when I was in England I tried corn mixed with tuna salad and actually really liked it.  So, I made some chickpea tuna salad, mixed in the corn, and rolled it up in a Flat Out with lettuce.  Those are Food Should Taste Good chips in the background.  I love their chips!  They’re so good that I don’t buy them very often, because I’ll eat the whole bag much too fast.

I don’t know what possessed me, but I decided that I would make beet-stuffed potatoes.  I baked the potatoes and beets, sauteed some minced leeks, scooped out the potatoes then mashed the insides with the beets, the leeks, some parsley and probably some sort of vinegar, knowing me.  They turned out a little dry, but tasted really good, and turned everything red!

Clean-out-the-fridge Roasted Veggies:  sweet potato, onion, portobello, tomato, swiss chard and possibly some other things.  I roasted everything except the chard, then tossed the hot veggies with the greens to wilt them slightly.

7/29/10 CSA:  watermelon, lettuce, cucumbers & corn.  I don’t know why they keep sending me watermelons!  I don’t like ‘em!

tomatoes, an onion, nectarines, grapefruit and grapes

Salad:  lettuce, corn, black beans, lime-marinated cucumbers, salsa & pepitas.  Super tasty and light!

Caponata over gluten free pasta.  I used this recipe for the caponata.  The raisins and red wine vinegar and capers made this TOTALLY delicious.  The eggplant seemed a little undercooked, but that might have been because I reduced the oil called for a little.  I would definitely make this again.

To go with the caponata and add some protein, I made mashed white beans, I think using this recipe.  They were easy and tasty, with a very satisfying mouthfeel.

I was going to slice the zucchini into long, thin strips and use it as the “noodles” in a lasagna, but I was feeling really lazy the night I planned to make it, so I sliced it into half-moons instead and threw the lasagna together as a free-form casserole.  Still just as tasty.  Also in there was tofu ricotta, spinach, jarred sauce and Daiya mozzarella.  This post makes me feel like I eat a lot of Daiya since I’ve mentioned it twice, but I’m pretty sure the cheese here was leftover from the pizza above.

This isn’t CSA-related, but I wanted to share it because it was really good – Tofu Migas for breakfast.  I’ve never had real migas but have read several descriptions, so I figured I could wing it.  I scrambled the tofu with Mexican spices then added salsa, tortilla strips and some green onion.  I would definitely make something like this again if I had an extra tortilla laying around.

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Random Meals & Laptop Lunches

I feel like I lost my cooking mojo there for a few weeks in July and had a hard time figuring out what to eat, so I have no theme for this post.  The theme is random!

What does one do when one has leftover filling from tomato-basil-mozzarella sandwiches but no bread?

One makes tomato-basil-mozzarella bites.  Yum!

This is a secret risotto that I tested for a friend to submit to a recipe contest.

CSA delivery…

Corn, yellow onions, peppers & lettuce mix

Grapes, red onions, peaches, tomatoes, cherries & an eggplant

I like eggplant but don’t always like cooking it.  It seems like most eggplant cooking techniques use a lot of oil, so I wanted to do something different.

My solution was eggplant and lentil curry.  This had a whole can of light coconut milk in it, so it wasn’t exactly low fat anyway…but I tried!

Thinking back, I don’t really know why I did this, but I made a little slaw to go with the curry.  This had carrot, celery and broccoli stalk and a Vegennaise-based dressing.  (Again, so much for keeping the meal low-fat!)  Oh, I think I made it cause I had broccoli stems that needed using…

I wanted to make a salsa with the corn and tomatoes, so I made some mostly-raw lettuce tacos.  On the bottom is seasoned black beans, them lime-marinated mushrooms, corn salsa and fresh cilantro.  These were very tasty but very messy to eat, because the fancy lettuce at TJ’s looks like it would be good for lettuce wraps, but in reality was decidedly not.  In the back are TJ’s corn-flax chips, which are slightly addicting.

I got a spiralizer!  I’ve been jealous of other blogger’s zucchini noodles for far too long, so I finally bought one.

…and made zucchini and squash noodles.  I used the larger noodle shredder the first time, and they were a bit too large and super curly.  The blade with the smaller holes is much better for this purpose.

I had fresh basil in the fridge and I was feeling too lazy to make a raw sauce, so I went the easy route and added spaghetti sauce, basil, toasted pine nuts and almond parmesan.  This was very tasty!  The sauce separates and gets watery if it sits with the zucchini, so I want to try a different type of sauce next time.

This is a Saturday afternoon clean-out-the-kitchen salad.  It has red potatoes, purple potatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, celery, carrot and sliced veggie dog, with a Vegennaise dressing.  It wasn’t the most fantastic thing I’ve ever eaten, but it was pretty and it got the job done.

Farmers market purchases:  rainbow chard, okra, baby cucumbers, jalapenos, peaches and nectarines, a golden and regular zucchini, a lemon, broccoli and strawberries.  All for under $20!

The main purpose of my farmers market trip was to get ingredients to make my Southern Style Dolmades for a potluck that night.  I ran late and didn’t have time to assemble the rolls, so I just took the filling and the sauce and hoped it would be okay.  Turns out people really liked it as it was!  That was a big relief.

I realized while at the market that I hadn’t had anything with cheesy sauce for a long time (such a travesty), so I bought the broccoli with plans to make this:

Shells n’ cheese n’ broccoli.  You can’t beat it.  I used my favorite cheesy sauce, which is tofu based, but I used the wrong kind of tofu and eyeballed the ingredients and so it didn’t turn out the best it ever has, but it still hit the spot.

To go with my pasta, I roasted the okra.  Look at the size of these okras!  They are with a regular sized golden zucchini and jalapeno for reference.

All roasted up.

I still had the chard leaves from my non-roll making debacle and hadn’t a clue what to do with them since they were already boiled.  So I asked The PPK for ideas, and one member suggested peanut sauce.  Bingo!  Peanut sauce makes everything better.  I still ended up making rolls, but went a different direction with the filling.

So these are quinoa, pepper, carrot and zucchini chard rolls with fresh cilantro, basil and peanut sauce.  It was very yummy!  I was glad I could salvage my $4 worth of boiled organic chard.

I won’t be using my laptop lunchbox for a reason to be discussed in my next post, so I’ll catch up with lunches.  Most of them are repeats from the meals above anyway.

7/14 the aforementioned secret risotto, steamed broccoli,
carrot sticks, grapes & cherries

7/16 potato & fava bean salad with miso-mustard dressing,
roasted asparatus, sweet potato-chocolate chip-
walnut muffin, strawberries & raspberries

7/21 broccoli/carrot slaw, eggplant curry, brown rice,
oat bran pretzel sticks, wasabi-soy almonds, figs

7/22 lettuce wraps with seasoned black beans, marinated mushrooms,
corn salsa & cilantro, corn-flax chips, dark chocolate

7/24 zucchini noodles with spaghetti sauce, pine nuts & almond
parmesan, beanballs, maple cookie, b-complex supplement

7/27 clean-out-the-kitchen salad with lettuce & avocado, strawberries

7/28 shells & cheese & broccoli, roasted okra, gf corn muffin, strawberries

7/30 chard rolls with peanut sauce, celery, soy nuggets
with ketchup, dried figs, dark chocolate

7/31 leftover quinoa filling with peanut sauce, zucchini noodles with spaghetti sauce & almond parmesan, cherries, gherkins, sandwich cookies

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Roasted Seitan Fajitas & Chimichurri Tofu

That CSA delivery that I posted about last time and said I didn’t remember what I did with it?  I remember now, at least what I did with some of it.  Gosh, I’m so organized these days!

I had a bunch of little bell peppers on my hands, so I thought that I ought to make fajitas.  Fajitas are, after all, delicious as well as being a fantastic use of peppers. Fajitas, however, are not my friend in the way that I always put too much stuff in the saute pan and it ends up all crowded and hard to stir and doesn’t saute as much as cook down and get soft.  Also, you have to keep stirring the stuff around.  So I thought to myself that I could try sticking them in the oven to see if the oven would do all the work for me.  Work it did, indeed.

I also had a bunch of peaches and even though I love peaches the most just as they are, I decided I would try to make a peach salsa.  I looked at a few recipes online and decided in the end to just put what I thought would taste good in a bowl and see what happened.

The fajita filling turned out fantastic.  The veggies were cooked but still firm, the seitan a bit crispy on the edges, and the oil and mushroom juices were just enough to keep the whole thing moist but not dripping.  I show you a picture of just the filling because…

I didn’t really make fajitas.  I only had larger tortillas, so I went for a fajita burrito.  Just as good, and possibly less messy.  In the front we’ve got cucumber and jicama slices, Amy’s refried black beans in the back, chunky guacamole and peach salsa on the burrito.  The jicama was really awful and almost inedible.  Maybe it’s not jicama season?  Apart from the jicama, this was a really tasty meal.  The peach salsa was fantastic, if I do say so myself.  I didn’t even miss the tomatoes, although there were tomatoes in the guac just incase.

Roasted Seitan Fajitas

2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried oregano
dash each of onion powder, garlic powder & cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp sugar
1 lb seitan, sliced into strips
1 large or 2 small bell peppers (red or green), sliced into strips
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
1/2 lb mushrooms, halved or quartered
2 Tbs olive or canola oil
small tortillas

toppings
lettuce
salsa (regular or peach salsa, recipe below)
guacamole
vegan sour cream
shredded vegan cheese
fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Combine all spices (chili powder through sugar) in a small bowl and mix well.
3. Place the seitan, peppers, onion and mushrooms in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the oil over and stir to coat. Sprinkle on the seasoning mixture and stir well, making sure ingredients are well combined and coated.
4. Line a baking pan with foil. Transfer seitan mixture to the baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once after 15 minutes.
5. Spoon filling into tortillas and top with your choice of toppings.

Serves 3-4.

(I used the basic seitan recipe from Veganomicon, doubling it and freezing the rest for later use.)

Peach Salsa

4 small or 2 large ripe peaches, cut into small dice
juice of 1 lime
2 Tbs minced red onion
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 tsp salt
heaping Tbs chopped fresh cilantro

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Refrigerate and allow flavors to combine.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

I also had a big bunch of parsley that needed using, and while I love parsley pesto, I was in the mood for something different.  I had heard of chimichurri sauce but never tried it, so I decided that was the way to go.  I had also seen pictures of a baked chimichurri tofu floating around on some blogs, a tester for the forthcoming Vegan Latina cookbook, so I at least knew it would work on tofu.  Upon Googling, I found that there are about a bajillion ways to make chimichurri, and they all claim to be authentic.  I also came across this recipe for Grilled Tofu with Chimichurri Sauce, which looked perfect enough to make just as is.

I was intrigued by trying the dry rub technique on tofu and worried that it wouldn’t work, but it actually worked really well.  This is not a recipe for tofu haters – aside from the dry rub and the chimichurri sauce, it’s really just a slab of grilled tofu.  That’s fine by me though, I love me some tofu.

I forwent the garlic bread called for in the recipe and stuck with toasted, thick-sliced whole wheat bread.  In the end the recipe was easy to make, relatively healthy (didn’t need all the oil called for), and downright delicious.  I am now a fan of chimichurri.  Also, I don’t know why I felt the need to include two green veggies with my green-sauced meal, but that’s steamed spinach and roasted brussels sprouts up there.

That’s it for tonight, folks.  I’ve got planned posts to catch us up on laptop lunches, as well as a massive one to document the last four weekends, which were packed with food and fun.

On a personal note, I just acquired the entire NKOTB discography and will be listening like mad before I see them in concert next week.  I never got to see them when I was younger, so I’m pretty excited!  Don’t judge me.  I also finally sent in my application to a certain school that I really want to attend this Fall, and should hear back within a few weeks!

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Tres de Mayo

My friend Hope had a graduation party on Saturday (congrats, Hope!).  With Cinco de Mayo upon us, and considering none of our circle really go out on Mondays, she dubbed it Tres de Mayo.  Her boyfriend Tom, who is quite a cook, told me he was going to go with a taco bar setup, and Hope was readying margaritas and Mexican beer.  Tom confirmed that I would be able to eat the tortillas, refried beans, pico de gallo, and his most excellent guacamole.  Yes, that would be more than enough to fill me up, but you know me – I always go overboard and I like to get all fancy.  So I made some foods and hauled them over to the party.

I’ll start with the Breakfast Veggie Chorizo from VWAV.  This stuff is goo-ood.  It took me longer to cook the liquid off than the directions said, but that’s alright.  It was probably the first time I’ve cooked with tvp where I didn’t burn it to the bottom of the pot!  There were two vegetarians at the party (an unusual occurrence for me) who greatly appreciated it, and vegan-skeptic Tom even filled a taco with it.  Granted, that was after a few beers…

chorizo

I whipped up this Jalapeno Salsa from Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings.  It couldn’t be easier – chop, cook and blend.  And it tastes great!  I left the seeds in one jalapeno and seeded the rest, and that provided a really nice medium level of heat.

jalapeno salsa

Why do my first two pictures kind of look like upchuck?

Moving on, I made a Mexican Slaw for our Cinco de Mayo party last year that I had to make again.  I don’t know where I got the recipe from – probably a magazine many years ago, so I’ll post the recipe.  The hardest part is peeling and shredding the jicama.  I was going to use my food processor, but for the life of me I couldn’t find the shredding blade.

mexican slaw

Mexican Slaw

Serves 8.

1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs orange juice (from 1/2 an orange)
2 Tbs lime juice (from 1 lime)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
dash of cayenne pepper
1 (10-oz) package finely shredded cabbage
1/2 lb jicama, shredded (2 cups)
1 large carrot, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together olive oil and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl.  Add shredded cabbage and remaining ingredients, and toss to coat.  Cover and chill slaw mixture at least 4 hours.

My dad gave me a huge bottle of sangria a while back, and I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to get rid of it.  Tres de Mayo fit the bill.  I mixed in sliced lemon, orange and lime, brandy and triple sec, and served it with club soda to thin down the strength a tad.  I couldn’t confirm or deny the vegan-ness of this, but wine is an area I sometimes choose my vegan battles.

sangria

Here’s my plate from the taco bar, which was truly impressive.  My tacos had refried beans, chorizo, guac, jalapeno salsa, pico de gayo and dashes of Tapatio, slaw and chips on the side.  I had a couple more tacos as the night went on.

taco bar

I also wanted to make a dessert.  I immediately thought of a Mexican Chocolate Cake (scroll down a bit) that I printed from Yeah, That Vegan Shit last year around Cinco de Mayo.  I was thinking about adding cayenne and cinnamon flavors to chocolate.  I was also thinking about cupcakes, because I didn’t think Tom and Hope would appreciate having 20 extra plates and forks to wash.  Then I got to thinking about Green and Black’s Maya Gold Chocolate, which also has orange in it.  I decided to make Maya Gold Chocolate Lava Cupcakes, with the sauce from the original recipe acting as a filling in the cupcakes.

Unfortunately, I ran short on time and tried to microwave the sauce and that just didn’t work AT ALL.  So the cupcakes got a dressing of powdered sugar and went to the party mostly naked.  They were well received, but I thought the sauce was the missing part that would knock everyone’s socks off.

maya gold cupcakes

Luckily, a few of them survived the party and the next day I got to completele my experiment.  I was right – the cupcakes are good plain, but the sauce takes them to the next level.  I based the sauce on the ganache from VCTOTW, mostly because I knew I could depend on it being the right consistency.

maya gold lava cupcake

Maya Gold Chocolate Lava Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Cupcakes:
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs white vinegar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs canola oil
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
powdered sugar for decorating

Sauce:
6 oz. Green & Blacks Maya Gold Chocolate
6 Tbs soy milk
3 tsp sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line and/or lightly grease 4 cupcake pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and spices.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vanilla extract, vinegar, canola oil, water and sugar. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Using a 1/4 cup measure, fill the cupcake pans to about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Place the soy milk in a small saucepan and bring just to a light boil. Add the chocolate and sugar and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Set aside to come to room temperature.
6. When cupcakes and sauce are cooled, fill the cupcakes. Put the sauce in a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip. Poke a finger into the middle of each cupcake and move it around to make a cavity. Fill the cavities with a small amount of sauce, and garnish with powdered sugar.

Note: This will also make 2 9-inch layer cakes – bake for 30 to 35 minutes then use the sauce as filling and topping.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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