Posts Tagged blackberries

Summer CSA’s

I stopped taking pictures of my CSA deliveries for a while there.  I like winter squash, greens and citrus plenty, but after a while they’re not that exciting.  When summer produce starting arriving my interest was renewed!  Before I get to that, here are a few dishes that used up the last of my winter and spring produce.

Fajita-style poblanos, fennel and mushrooms over polenta cakes with lettuce, tangerine salsa, beans and a bit of Daiya.

I had some sweet potatoes sitting around and decided to try to make a sweet potato based bbq sauce.  It turned out a little grainy but tasted good enough on tempeh.  In the back is a brussels sprout and corn hash.

To use up some root veggies, I made this Root Vegetable Stew with Herbed Dumplings from Eating Well.

I used Tofurkey Italian Sausage and subbed egg substitute in the dumplings.  This was a very hearty and tasty dish.  You cook the dumplings right on top of the stew!  Some of my root veggies were beets, which turned the whole thing red and a little sweet.  Next time I would probably stick with neutral colored roots.

Black bean and sweet potato hash with cumin, coriander and orange; steamed broccoli on the side.

6-9-11 CSA - corn, lettuce, peppermint, carots and radishes

cherries, cantaloupe, tomatoes

This orzo salad was for Vegan Happy Hour.  I caramelized shallots then reduced some balsamic vinegar in the same pan, and blended the mixture with mayo and seasonings.  The orzo and dressing was tossed with diced tomato, raw corn and fresh basil.

This isn’t CSA related, but these blackberries came from my backyard!  We had some friends over on a Saturday and I had a bowl of freshly picked berries, so I made the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins from Joy of Vegan Baking into a cake, subbing berries for the chocolate.  I added some cinnamon, which was a great compliment to the banana and berries.  This was a perfect snack cake – moist but not dense, sweet but not too sweet.

6-16-11 CSA - bok choy, avocado, lettuce, cilantro

melon, strawberries, carrots, gypsy peppers, tomatoes

Peppermint tea!  I’m not a huge fan of mint in food, so I boiled a pot of water then seeped a whole bunch of mint.  Strained, chilled and served cold with stevia and lemon, it was a great treat.

After my last CSA delivery included basil, I was wondering what I could use to make an interesting pesto other than nuts.  Lucky for me, that very same day Gena of Choosing Raw posted a recipe for hemp pesto.  Perfect!  I dont’ love hemp seeds as is, so I’m always looking for different ways to incorporate them into my diet.  I used only one tablespoon of oil, and mixed the pesto with some shirataki noodles.  In the back are some green beans cooked with coconut oil, onion, lemon and fresh dill.  I really liked the pesto, and had the leftovers on toast with arugula and sliced tomato.

Lastly, one of my favorite ways to use up random veggies, the hot dog salad.  This salad included lettuce, tomato, gypsy peppers, radishes, carrot, cilantro, sliced veggie dogs and Cesar Chavez Dressing from Appetite for Reduction.  What is most important about this picture is that I finally figured out how to take a good picture of a giant salad!  Normally I just pile stuff in the salad bowl while I chop it up.  For this picture, I kept a bit of each topping off to the side then sprinkled them on top at the end so that you can see all the pretty colors!  Obvious to some, maybe, but I was pretty proud of this accomplishment.

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Vegan Fire & Spice

Firstly…

Yes, yes I am.  The world vegan bake sale is just that, vegan bakesales taking place all over the world during the same week, raising funds, having fun and spreading the joy of tasty vegan baked goods.  The concept was brought to us by Compassion Over Killing, who do great work in animal advocacy.

Our San Francisco vegan bake sales are organized by Melisser the Urban Housewife, Vegansaurus, and the people of The PPK.  We’re holding them next Saturday, June 27th and Sunday, June 28th.

Details (both days in San Francisco):

Saturday, June 27th, 11AM – 4PM
3506 16th Street at Sanchez, in front of Ike’s Place

Sunday, June 28th, 11AM – 4PM
800 block of Capp Street, near 24th St (about 1/2 mile from 24th Street Bart)

Proceeds go to Animal Place and East Bay Animal Advocates.  I will only be there with goodies on Saturday (we have baseball tickets preventing me from going Sunday), but there will be amazing stuff both days.  So if you’re in the area go to the website then come by the bake sales!

On to the food.

When I came back from my trip to Texas there was nary a lick of fresh food in the kitchen, nor any cooking inspiration on my part.  So I decided to open up a cookbook and just pick some recipes to make.  My mom got me Vegan Fire & Spice for Christmas last year and while I had read through it a few times, I had yet to make any recipes.  So I got down to business and picked out some meals.

Paella!  Despite the picture trying to burn red holes through your retinas, please take my word that this was good good good.  I think I ate it for five days straight and could’ve eaten more.  I was in major need of protein after eating whatever was available for five days, and this packs a triple protein threat.  And just enough veggies to make it a well rounded one pot meal.  My singular complaint would be that I didn’t like the tempeh in it.  I am a fan of tempeh, but this tasted like big chunks of plain tempeh that didn’t really jibe with the rest of the dish.  I think either cutting the tempeh smaller or putting it in the cooking liquid sooner, or both, would make it better.  Next time I’ll just do chicken-style seitan, seitan sausages and red beans and it’ll be perfect.

This isn’t from VF&S, but I had CSA rhubarb withering away, so I stewed it for dessert.

Cooked down with water, sugar and lemon juice and served over vanilla soy yogurt, this was a tasty and relatively healthy dessert.  I’m still not a huge fan of rhubarb so I don’t want to eat it all the time, but this is a nice way to do it.

Next I decided to try the Texas BBQ Sauce baked on some tofu.

This sauce was quite tasty.  I like that it started with a whole onion and green pepper, and the ingredient list was pretty short and pantry-friendly.  The only problem was that I don’t currently have a working blender and use my food processor for everything, and the sauce started splashing out the top so I had to stop blending too soon, leaving the sauce chunky.  It didn’t coat the tofu like I had hoped but still tasted great.

For my third VF&S meal I went to the Caribbean.

First the Island Rice Salad.  This salad was nice, but not anything I’d go crazy for.  The majority of the dressing was storebought mango chutney.  A container of locally-made chutney ran me $4 at Whole Foods, and I think the flavor of the salad would really differ depending on what kind of chutney you were able to buy or make.  The sweetness of the mango chunks and the crunch of the bell pepper offered a nice contrast.  I think something chewy and smoky would fit in nicely and round it out, perhaps small pieces of baked tofu.

To go with the salad, I made the Jamaican Baked Vegetables.  While the dish was fine, I wasn’t a huge fan.  It baked for a loooong time and rendered all the veggies kind of mushy, and I had a hard tine getting through all the leftovers.  The flavors were nice though, very citrusy and plenty spicy since I used a whole serrano, seeds included.

All in all I was pleased with the dishes I made and I will definitely go back to try more from Vegan Fire & Spice.  I think I’ll also try to do another cookbook-themed post here and there, it’s fun to force myself to go through and pick out multiple recipes.

Randoms:  I made my creamy corn casserole a third time, got it as close to perfect as I think it’ll get, and submitted it to the Vegetarian Times Reader Recipe Contest.

I got a CSA delivery, and can’t really remember what I did with most of it now.

lettuce, parsley, carrots, gypsy peppers

tomatoes, blueberries, canteloupe, peaches

And here’s a very random dinner I made one night when I was in a big hurry without much food on hand.

Whole wheat tortilla with TJ’s soy nugget pieces, diced soy cheese, and a mixture of finely diced broccoli stem, shredded carrot and vegenaise/apple cider vinegar dressing.  Odd perhaps, but good and quick.

Lastly, the blackberry vines in our backyard are bursting with berries!  I have done nothing more than trim back the dead growth on last year’s vines, and I have managed not to kill or harm the plant.  Here are the first few berries I picked when they were just starting to ripen.

The blackberry vines are actually kind of insane.  They’ve grown so thick that I can’t even reach most of the berries, which is sad, but I think I’ll still get plenty off the vines.  Also, blackberry vines are absolutely covered in thorns, which makes it quite painful to harvest.  It’s almost like they don’t want me to have their berries!

The majority of the vines are behind the high fence on the right, all clumped up in a bunch that I can’t get to.

I took these pictures about two weeks ago, and there are way more ripe berries now.  Here are all the very ripe berries I picked just last weekend.

I’ve also been eating the first cherries, apricots and peaches of the season.  Summer fruit is the best!

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