Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Joys of Summer

There are certain foods I always associate with summer, mostly ones prepared the way my mom did. Tomatoes, of course, in a sandwich with mayonnaise, and in a salad that my mom made. She cut them in chunks, added salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and dried oregano. That's it - no oil! The juice from the tomatos would release as it sat. My brother and I would drink it after all the tomatoes were gone. Corn on the cob, with lots of butter and salt. Cucumbers and onions in sour cream. Potato salad, made with melted bacon grease (!) and mayo, celery, salt & pepper (no onion, please). And stewed zucchini, cut in big chunks and cooked with tomatoes and Italian seasonings (again, no oil). This was even good cold the next day, sprinkled with grated Romano (can you tell we were big into the dairy?)

I made the zucchini last night, and wanted to add some dumplings to it. I used Bryanna's Featherlight Dumplings from the "(Almost) No Fat Cookbook." They were indeed light, but more like biscuits than what I would consider dumplings - smooth and silky, not floury like a biscuit. Does anyone have a good dumpling recipe? As you can see, the dumplings cooked up giant size and took over the pot. Still, they were good, especially alongside some yummy baked tofu (just the tofu part, not the olives, bay leaves, etc)! Now, if only I could sub out something for the bacon grease in the potato salad!

And yet one more joy of summer........

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vacation Food

Hi, all. I was away visiting a friend for the past 5 days. We had such a great time - I have known her since 1st grade and she moved to North Carolina a few years back. I miss her terribly, but we visit back and forth frequently. That's how you know what a good friend is!
When I came home, I was treated to this sign made by my girls:

My husband picked me up at the airport and when I opened the door they all started screaming (in a good way). The people on the sidewalk were all laughing. It was a nice homecoming!
My friend is a foodie like me, although not vegan (she is a former vegetarian but converted back to meat when she got married). Anyway, we had loads of fun planning stuff we could all eat. We enjoyed this tomatillo salsa from Rick Bayless (roasted tomatillos, jalapenos, cilantro, chopped onion). It is delicious and I make it every time I go there. They can get authentic corn tortilla chips in their supermarket, while we can only get Tostitos and other fake stuff in my town!

I was thrilled to see prepared (washed and chopped) raw collard greens in their store. I hate dealing with those bunches of huge leaves I get at home! I made this collard green and corn dumpling dish that I love. My friends have lived in the south for 3 years and never had collards! The look on her husband's face as he tried them was priceless. I guess they are an acquired taste, as are most bitter greens. However, I was gratified when another friend, raised in South Carolina, came into the kitchen as I was cooking and said it smelled just like when her momma made collards (probably why she wouldn't even try them!) Oh, well, this Yankee loves her some collards!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Who says seafood has to be of the animal variety, anyway? I like to add sea veggies to my chickpea salad. They are so full of minerals and good taste. We are fortunate to have a sushi chef in our local grocery store, so avocado rolls are always available. Also, for a quick miso soup, I simmer wakame or kombu in water for 10-15 minutes, add white miso, and garnishes (finely grated carrot, chopped scallions, tiny cubes of soft tofu). My 8 year old loves this, too, and it is perfect for upset tummies.

Speaking of upset tummies, how does a vegan get food poisoning, anyway? This has some really unpleasant symptoms, of which I will spare you the details. Fortunately it was only me and not the kids or hubby that got it. I suspect it was takeout from our new Thai place, as it's the only thing that I alone ate. Sad, because I was so happy to have some good Thai available finally! It sure tasted good - maybe I should give them another chance.
Here is a "seafood" knockoff from the Horizons cookbook - "Atlantic Tofu Gratin." This was delicious and I served it with Root Veggie Mash from the same book. Here they are after roasting (beets, parsnip, sweet potatoes & carrots). And then mashed......also great and so pretty!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Comfort Food

When I was little, a cold rainy day meant tomato soup and tuna salad sandwiches (on buttered toast, of course). While tuna is long gone from my diet, the memory of that lovely combo lives on.......

Although that famous can of soup is vegan, it also contains high fructose corn syrup and other nasties I try to avoid. Enter Cream of Tomato & Basil Soup from La Dolce Vegan. I was skeptical that this simple combination of ingredients would taste like soup rather than just like a can of tomatoes, but I was surprised at how good it was.

I really like chickpea sandwich spreads, and the Tuna Free Sandwich Filling from Vegan Planet fit the bill in this case. It has blanched almonds in it, which add a nice touch to the texture. Perfect for a rainy day (even if the cold is generated by an air conditioner)!