Saturday, May 29, 2010
So, my last post was to clarify a few things about what makes a vegan a vegan. Just because you’re vegan, you are not necessarily a “health nut.” (though my ego would like to think my junk food is better than some people’s junk food) This being Memorial Day weekend, and all about cooking outdoors, sitting over the grill and such, I thought I’d share my offerings to the picnic spread.
Hotdogs. I now consider Chicago home, so hot dogs are a big deal. And here, we have the best hotdogs that are as much about the toppings as the actual wiener. And this is a good thing, as you could mask a lot of crappy dogs with all the goodies, but you should have a good foundation as well. In my opinion, Lightlife makes the very best hotdog. And I’ve tried many veggie dogs. With Lightlife's Smart Dogs, the texture is great, as is the slightly smoky taste. There is a lack of funky soy/chemically taste you get with some products, which to me is key. I picked up some Eden’s vegan chili, which will pair well with a little mustard and relish. Daiya cheese would be an excellent addition, and of course, a dash of celery salt!
Now, for some great sides!
Sweet Potato Salad
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in fairly evenly sized chunks
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup chopped onions, white or yellow
Pinch of salt
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/3 cup diced bell pepper
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
5 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. hot sauce(Hot Sauce Planet will give 15% off to Bunny Bite readers!)
1 tsp grainy mustard (make certain no eggs are in this, if you’re vegan)
1/4 cup chopped scallions to garnish
Preheat oven to 400. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, onions and salt, then spread out on a jelly roll pan or a baking sheet with edges. Cook for 30 minutes and then let cool. I like my potatoes and onion to be just a little bit crispy, so I sometimes leave mine in a bit longer. Put all other ingredients in a big bowl and then add your potatoes and toss everything up.
Wheat Berry Salad
This is actually a modification of Eric Tucker’s recipe for kamut-pine nut salad, in The Artful Vegan. I adore Eric’s recipes, but they are often complicated, and I find I can pull one or two of the “layers,” out to stand alone, as a dish. Wonderful.
1 cup dried wheat berries
1 ½ cups water
Pinch of salt
¼ cup toasted almond slivers
2 scallions, minced (I don’t love onions, so I just put one)
1 cup cucumber, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp. chopped frsh parsley
2 Tbsp. basil chiffonade
Juice of 1 lemon
Fresh black pepper
¼ c. roasted garlic cashew cream (recipe to follow)
Place saucepan with water and salt on high, and when it starts to simmer add wheat berries. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer and cover until done. This should take only about 30-45 minutes. Mix all the other ingredients in a larger bowl, and when wheat berries are done and cooled, toss everything together.
Roasted Garlic Cashew Cream
2 lg. bulbs of garlic, with much of the outside layers peeled away (you can leave the individual skins or remove
½ cup olive oil
1 rosemary sprig
Preheat oven to 350, and put garlic, oil and rosemary in a heatproof bowl. Don’t just wrap in foil. I did that and my oven still needs cleaning! Roast for 30-40 minutes, then take out, remove rosemary sprig and squoosh our the garlic and mash around with the oil. This stuff is awesome, and great spread on bread or in potato soup….OMG!
1/3 c. cashews
½ tsp. nutritional yeast
1 ½ cups water
Salt to taste
2 tsp. fresh herbs, chopped (I used lemon thyme, basil and parsley)
I recommend soaking your cashews overnight, but the original recipe doesn’t call for this. Just make the cream creamier. But, whatever…Combine the roasted garlic, cashews, yeast, ¾ cup water, and a pinch of salt in a blender. After it is well blended you can start adding more water until it is the consistency of heavy cream. After well blended, stir in your herbs. I cannot tell you how great this stuff is, drizzled over grilled eggplant!!!!!
Last, but certainly not least, Alton Brown’s Mooless Chocolate Pie. This recipe is so easy, and just wonderful! I will tell you, I made it last night, and when I was licking my bowl I tasted a little tofu, which means I might use a different brand next time. Having said that, I might taste it today and it will be fine. I just think it’s important to find a tofu you like and stick with it. Also, I didn’t have coffee liquor, but I did have Godiva, so that’s what I went with. I also don’t use honey, so opted for agave nectar. To serve this, I’m going to mix a bit of almond extract and toasted almonds with some chilled coconut milk (full fat, of course) and drizzle it over the pie slices with some raspberries. But I will pray there are slices left for me to eat right out of the pan, in front of a movie, while I’m nursing my annual sunburn!
Have a great weekend, rest, relax, and get ready for summer!!!!