Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Friday, May 28, 2010

Orzo Bean Salsa Salad

Music: Billy Joel on shuffle on iTunes

Today's smoothie: flat parsley, frozen strawberries, banana, orange juice

Here's a delicious and easy salad that's great for picnics, potlucks, and parties of all kinds. I'm making it this weekend for a Memorial Day visit with loved ones.

Salsa, Orzo, & Black Bean Salad

1 C orzo
One 15 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 C canned corn (I use a 15 oz can, drained & rinsed)
1/2 medium green or red bell pepper, diced
1 C prepared salsa (I like Garden Fresh Salsa Company's Jack's Special, medium heat)
1/4 to 1/2 C fresh chopped cilantro
2-3 scallions, green parts only, finely sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice or more to taste
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook orzo until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water. Combine rest of ingredients in large bowl. Done!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quick Tempeh & Tofu

Music: AM580

Today's smoothie: parsley, Looza apricot nectar, frozen peaches, banana

To add more substance to a meal, or a salad, I often prepare some firm or extra firm tofu, season it with some all-purpose spice, and cook it in a little Braggs and toasted sesame oil.
Here it's served with some roasted carrots, onions, and beets, coconut lime rice, and homemade bread.

After cutting up and steaming tempeh (in a strainer basket over boiling water for 20-25 minutes), I sauteed it in a little flax oil and lots of barbecue sauce (I like Roadhouse brand original since I recognize every single ingredient and there's no high fructose corn syrup or artificial anything). I served it with a salad but Jim rolled both his tempeh & salad up in a tortilla.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mixing it Up

Music: The Weepies, Happiness

Today's smoothie: radish greens, frozen strawberries, banana, bit o'avocado

One of the best discoveries to make when you are vegan is the variety of different grains that exist out there in the big wide world. Like many people, I grew up eating only white rice, instant oatmeal, and semolina pasta. Now I experiment with all kinds of rice (and, by the way, Holiday Market in downtown Royal Oak has the largest variety I've seen around here) including brown, basmati, jasmine, wild, sweet brown, and rainbow just to name a few.

I've also switched to almost exclusively whole wheat pasta instead of just semolina (regular white) pasta. Incidentally, since going vegan, I don't eat nearly as much pasta as I used to, preferring to use a whole grain instead.

And, since breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, I now enjoy old-fashioned rolled oats, wheat flakes, barley flakes, rye flakes, amaranth, and millet.

I've made this Power Porridge recipe before, but this time I tried it with red quinoa and it came out just so pretty (and absolutely delicious) that I had to show you the picture.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Green Sandwich

Music: Helen Forrest on shuffle on my iPod*

Today's smoothie: baby spinach, frozen strawberries, frozen peaches, fresh lemon balm, banana, bit o'avocado

This is a new recipe from The Urban Vegan. At first reading, you might be skeptical of this recipe tasting good; it's just made of rapini, garlic, olive oil, and nutritional yeast served on a baguette that has been hollowed out. Rapini, according to the book, is broccoli rabe and is used traditionally in Philly steak sandwiches. But rapini has so much flavor who needs the meat? These sandwiches were incredibly good and filling.

Her recipe made four servings so I just halved it. The measurements are what I used.

Rapini Panini
5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 tbsp olive oil
red pepper flakes (optional, but oh, so good!)
1 bunch broccoli rabe (aka rapini), blanched (to blanch, fill a pan with 2 inches water & bring to a boil. Cook rapini about 1-2 minutes until bright green & tender)
1 whole-grain baguette
sprinklings of nutritional yeast (alternatively you can use vegan slices of cheese, such as Daiya brand)
sea salt to taste

1. Slice garlic & saute in olive oil, along with red pepper flakes, if using, over medium-low heat until softened. Do not overcook garlic or brown it. Toss in blanched greens & cook until warmed through. Salt to taste.
2. Cut baguette & pull out soft middle (you could save for breadcrumbs later). Sprinkle with nutritional yeast or line with vegan cheese and fill with hot rapini mixture.

We enjoyed it with raw radishes & extra rapini that wouldn't fit in the sandwich.

This was just a quick meal I pulled together of coconut rice, steamed collards, & sauteed firm tofu.

*Not many people know who Helen Forrest was and that's too bad, because she was one of the most popular female singers who sang with three of the best big bands of the 1930s & 1940s: Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Harry James. (And, a bit of gossip, she was in love with Harry James but he broke her heart for movie star Betty Grable, whom he married). I actually got to meet her when she played in the 1980s at MeadowBrook Music Festival. By then she was losing her sight but she still sang beautifully. One of her biggest hits was "I Heard That Song Before."