Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Creamy Cucumber Salad Dressing

For my first VeganMoFo post, I'd like to share a funny story from my childhood, and a quick and simple salad dressing...  I am a HUGE fan of making my own salad dressing from scratch.  Have you ever read the lables on some of those bottled dressing in supermarkets!?!? Half of them are utter garbage. It literally takes two-minutes to wisk up a vinaigrette in your own kitchen, and it tastes a WHOLE-lot better that the mass produced mixtures of cheap oil, water, MSG and other wretchedly unnatural chemicals sitting on our super market's shelves.
And now for my embarrasing childhood story.  In my pre-veggie loving days, as a young child, my favorite salad dressing was none other than CREAMY BACON... (yes, my arteries harden just thinking about it).  I don't even think Wishbone makes this stuff anymore...

Anyhoo, in honor of the "Creamy Bacon" salad days of my past, I give you this: 

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

**Some notes: I like to use 2 small (pickling) cucumbers, rather than 1 large because of the seeds. IF using a large or non-organic cucumber, make sure there is no wax on the peel, and scrap some of the seeds out! For a thicker, creamier dressing add more cashews and less water; for a thinner, lighter dressing add more water and fewer nuts.

2 small cucumbers, chopped (peel and all if organic)

1/2 cup cashews, soaked

1/4 cup water (more or less depending on how thick you like)

1 lemon, juice of

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (to taste)

1 tablespoon agave nectar (to taste)

2 tablespoons dried dill (or 1/2 bunch fresh)

1 tablespoon sea salt (to taste)

1 tablespoon black pepper (to taste) 

1.  Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender, adding water as needed.

2.  If using fresh dill, blend 1/2 of it at first, them add the rest after the cucumbers and cashews are smooth!

3.  Dressing will thicken in fridge.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Farewell to my Farmer's Market (at least until next year)

The University where I work sponsored a beautiful Farmer's Market every Friday, since the first week of school.

Today, in honor of the campus "Eat Local Challenge," was the final one of the season.  Our campus community came out it great droves from the hours of 11 - 2, to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, home made breads and jellies.  I, for one, am quite sad to see it go...

So for my final haul, I picked up these:

Photo taken with iPhone, sorry...

I see in my future... warm whole wheat pasta, topped with these halved tomatoes, olive oil, basil and lots of fresh garlic... (and crushed red pepper too, cuz that's how I roll)


October has been deemed the "Vegan Month of Food" by the veggie blogosphere.  For the entire month, vegan cooks and bloggers will post their various musings about the wonderful world of vegan cooking. 

Come check out all the tasty stuff that made in my kitchen for the month of October!!  My original blog and website, made on my Mac, is here.  I have not abandoned it, however it's much easier to connect with the other vegan friends on here using this format...

Isa Chandra Moskowitz, creater of the Post Punk Kitchen (PPK) website, and author of such amazing cookbooks as Vegan with a Vengeance, Veganomicon, and the newest, Vegan Brunch, is the master behind this amazing collection of culinary inspiration. Isa modeled this event after NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, held yearly in November). (which I think is pretty darn cool...)

Read more about the inspiration behind this event in an interview with her: Here! from Veg News

so much to think about...what should I make tonight?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Farmer's Market Fun

This recipe was inspired from the lovely little butternut squashes at the Farmer's Market last week.

I used my recipe: Sweet Potato Curry With Spinach and Chickpeas as a base, switched the sweet potatoes for butternut squash, and added a can of coconut milk, and came up with this!

Butternut Squash Coconut Curry

Butternut Squash Coconut Curry

1 onion, chopped
1-2 teaspoon canola oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
curry powder, salt and pepper for sprinkling over squash
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can light coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
basmati rice or brown rice, for serving

1. Place cubed butternut squash on a foil lined baking sheet, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Sprinkle generously with curry powder, salt and pepper, and roast at 350 for 35-45 minutes, or until tender. You still want them to hold their shape when added to the curry, and not be mush :>.
3. While squash cooks, heat 1-2 tsp of canola oil over medium heat.
4. Add onions and a little bit of salt, and sauté 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
5. Next, add the curry powder, cumin, coriander and cinnamon, and stir to coat the onions evenly with spices.
6. Add tomatoes with their juices, and the chickpeas, stir to combine.
7. Next, add the spinach, stirring to coat with cooking liquid.
8. When all the spinach is added to the pan, cover and simmer until just wilted, about 3 minutes.
9. Add coconut milk and gently stir to combine.
10. Finally, add the roasted butternut squash to the liquid, and stir to coat.
11. Top with fresh chopped cilantro (optional) and serve over basmati rice (I like brown basmati).

I did take the time to toast and grind whole cumin and coriander, but feel free to use the already-ground versions of these spices as well.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Also, roasting your butternut squash with some salt pepper and curry powder brings a wonderfully deep and caramelized flavor to your curry.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NY System - Hot Weiners Vegan Style

Call me crazy, but I somehow felt the need to veganize these wretched things!! And ya know, they turned out quite amazing, if I do say so myself...
For those of you who have not had the pleasure: New York System "Hot Weiners" are a Rhode Island classic. hmmmm... did I just say that??
Well, in a way they are. Most folks in little RI have gorged themselves late-night on these dogs, (sometiems known GAGGAHS - or gaggers for non-Rhode Islanders) at some point in there life. I, myself, might be the one exception. Wanna see a real one??

WARNING, not for the faint of heart:

Let me expalin what these are. If you happen to walk into Olnyville’s New York System and order: “THREE ALL THE WAY" you will get: a hot dog served on a steamed bun, then topped with quite a "distinct" flavor of meat sauce, mustard, raw minced onions and celery salt, prepared in a batch of six on a man's forearm. Sound good?
OK, so WHY?? I say “because...”
My inspiration for the "meat" sauce flavoring was from a number of different recipes I found on the web.

I took bits I liked from here and there, and came up with this:

•2 tablespoons margarine
•1 yellow onion, minced
•2 tablespoons chili powder
•2 tablespoons paprika
•1/2 teaspoon allspice
•1/2 teaspoon curry
•1 teaspoon dry mustard
•1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 cup TVP or 12 ounces soy crumbles (I used Boca brand)
•1 cup water, more if needed
•20 tofu hot dogs (I like Smart Dogs)
•1 teaspoon salt
•20 hot dog buns
•minced yellow onion, for topping
•celery salt

1.In a medium saute pan over medium heat add, margarine and 1 minced onion.
2.Saute till translucent, but do not brown.
3.Next add chili powder, paprika, allspice, curry, dry mustard and cinnamon. Then add veggie crumbles, stir thoroughly and cook for 5 minutes, add water and simmer over medium to low heat for 30 minutes, adding more water if pan gets dry.
4.Bring water in sauce pot to a boil, add slat, remove from heat and throw in the veggie dogs for 3-4 minutes.
5.Serve dogs in steamed buns, topped with "meat" sauce, mustard, minced onion and a shake or two of celery salt.

NY System Hot Weiners - Veganized

Please DO NOT omit the raw onions, yellow mustard OR the celery salt. This is what makes these dogs a classic Rhode Island treat, whether it's vegan or not!!