Tuesday, June 23, 2009

eat good food all year long

Time for more summertime awesomeness easy peasy lazy hot and sweaty meals!  First up is a radioactive picture of some lovely zucchini provencal that I made with my friend Becca.  We also baked some tofu with bbq sauce and she sauteed red cabbage in raspberry vinegar with apples (amazing).
lovely layers

This was kind of like a lasagna without noodles.  And it ruled.  You can find the initial recipe here, but we used 3 zucchini, 3 tomatoes, and added tons of minced garlic to each layer.  Even better that way.  Anyway, it's something to do with the mountains of zucchini that I'm sure you'll have this summer.  It's always good to have a nice zucchini recipe.
who needs color when you can have tots and corn and breaded things?

Ha.  Seriously though, these were the tofu fish sticks from Vegan Dad's blog, and they were fabulous.  A bit messy to prepare, but worth it.  Nice and crunchy with a soft interior.  I had no idea you could get things this crunchy by just baking them.  We made the tartar sauce as well, but I hated it because I am, as you might remember, currently hating vegan mayo.  Blegh.  Anywho, we channelled our inner children and had them with tots and corn on the cob.  That's how we roll.
we eat healthy crap too, ok?

This kick-ass salad was assembled by me.  I made this salad specifically to go with this wonderful lime thyme dressing from VegWeb.  You know, I always used to think my mom was nuts for putting strawberries in salads.  Not so, friends.  Paired with a nicely salty salad dressings, strawberries in salads are the bomb.  Anyway, after I made the dressing, I marinated some tempeh in about 1/4 of it, and then pan fried it to get it nice and browned.  Genius, let me tell you.
how could anything this green be bad?

Everyone:  make this dressing.  I didn't think it tasted overly thyme-y, but maybe I didn't add enough.  At any rate, I only added 2 Tbsp of the sugar, which was way too much for me, so I reccommend only adding 1 Tbsp and working up from there.  I also added way more salt and lime and a little red wine vinegar to make it more tart.  We ate the leftovers of this dressing for days on salads.  Fabulous.
smoked tofu is awesome.

Ok, I'd never had smoked tofu.  We were in Indiana this past weekend to see Michael's family, and I saw this in a health food store and just had to get it.  Amazing.  It's...creamy.  Like cheese.  It tastes more like cheese than any vegan cheese I've ever had.  Weird, but very cool.  It's rich though...I probably didn't need to eat all that, but what the hell.  Served up cold (straight out of the package) with some roasted asparagus and curried couscous (recipe from the idiot cookbook).  I cut my tofu up into little bits and mixed it with the couscous and it ruled.  I so wish we could get this stuff around here...but it's like 5 bucks a package, so it's definitely a luxury item for us.
i made muffins!

Another VegWeb recipe.  I kind of forgot that I had a bajillion recipes saved on there and revisited them this past week a bunch, obviously.  These gems are orange poppyseed muffins.  And they were glorious.  Though not really orange-y.  I even added the zest of a big orange along with the orange juice (fresh squeezed).  Next time, I will add twice that much zest.  Also, here's a perk: the only fat they have in them is from the flax seeds.  They're not even gross or dense because of it.  Fluffy.  Moist.  Almost cupcake-like.  Oh, another bonus: they are super cute on top!  I don't know how that happened, but I definitely am a fan. 
israeli couscous is not for everyone

By 'everyone', I definitely do not include myself.  Because I loved it.  Michael, not so much.  But that's ok.  I ate the crap out of this.  For it, I roasted 2 tomatoes that I diced beforehand with some sliced green olives, then added that to the prepared couscous.  We found this for $1.50 a bag at Big Lots, which makes me happy.  It was a nice lunch, anyway.  For me.
everything in the kitchen pasta, plus portobellos

This weekend at Michael's parents' house, we cooked dinner the first night.  Basically, anything I found in the kitchen, I put in the pasta.  That includes asparagus, green olives, spinach, onions, scallions, roasted red peppers, and artichokes.  It was very vegetable-y and yummy.  Michael grilled the mushrooms, and even though I claim to hate portobellos, these were delicious.  I was also kind of drunk though, so I might blame that.
summertime classic

Because of my embargo on vegan mayo, I have to be creative when it comes to pasta salad now.  As some of you might remember, I am enthusiastically obsessed with the flavor combination of mint and dill.  This pasta salad was the perfect vehicle for it.  Those two herbs, plus peas, scallions, and red cabbage, then a generous dousing of olive oil and red wine vinegar.  It was heavenly.
the best dips are the accidental ones

Right?  Well, maybe.  Anyway, I was starving and wanted hummus, but didn't have any chickpeas.  Or lemons.  Thus, curried white bean dip was born.  I made it in about 2 minutes and it was absolutely addictive.  I even have a recipe.

Curried Bean Dip

1 15 oz can butter beans, drained (or other white bean.  or any bean, really.)
2 large cloves of garlic
1/4-1/2 15 oz can coconut milk
1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 Tbsp red curry powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried dill
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp salt

Throw the beans and garlic in a food processor and process until smooth(ish).  Add spices (except salt) and 1/4 can of coconut milk, and continue to process, adding more coconut milk until it gets to the consistency you like.  Add the salt, to taste.  It's spicy, so if you're a wimp, leave out the chili garlic sauce or use yellow curry powder.  Wuss.
recently, we've been stealing herbs

Yeah, we found this apartment building down the block that has rosemary, mint, oregano, and lemon verbena growing in the yard.  No one's ever around.  What?  Anyway, it's fun to add fresh, free herbs to food.  For example, here we added mint and dried dill to those beans.  And roasted the potatoes with rosemary.
the basil is ours

Yeah, too bad there's nowhere with free basil, huh?  Oh well, we have some growing in our kitchen (and two other plants maturing on the porch).  Basil and tomatoes are a classic summertime combination, but add some avocado to that mix and...  Oh my.  It's pretty, too.

Hope you're all still enjoying your summer!  Except for those of you who are now having winter.  Disregard.  Remember, even though it's a million degrees out and you're hot and sweaty and tired, that's no excuse to not eat decent food.  Though, admittedly, I do use that excuse from time to time.  Nobody's perfect.


Becca said...

Your photos are fantastic and, as always, I'm starving after reading your blog. I'm beyond flattered to be name-checked, too. xox

Anonymous said...

I love your posts because they are super long and full of crazy-good food (and photos) and lots of funny wit and sarcasm and just plain funness (it's a word, trust me).

Stealing herbs is not a crime. There are huge rosemary bushes growing by my bank and I love walking by, whipping out my kitchen scissors and clipping a few sprigs for pizza or whatever happens to want rosemary! We should start a basil planting mission across the globe so that we (and others)can have free basil, but have it feel like stealing for the sake of a crime rush.

Keep enjoying and sharing all those yummy summer meals!

GSB said...

I want some....

Anonymous said...

Why does your food always look so amazing?! Seriously..I have to go eat now since you made me so hungry!

eileen said...

you should get all the herbs you can! urban foraging is the best. in california the vacant house up the street from us had two extremely productive fig trees...way more of a crime to let all those figs fall off and rot on the ground! and the apartment complexes usually had a lemon or orange tree, just dropping its fruit into the street. do it!

Jes said...

I am **such** a believer in easy peasy summertime food! And baked breaded tofu is the best too! Such good eats and what an awesome recipe!

michelle said...

So much yum! I've been putting strawberries on my salad like craaaaazy lately too. Best combo ever! I think it is because it mixes with the oil/vin. dressing I usually make to produce this super-awesome strawberry viniagrette. Yeaaaaaah!

mayapamela525 said...

Love cooking with fresh herbs. And Israeli couscous, mmm.


Jeni Treehugger said...

Oooh where to begin.....that Provencal looks and sounds so so good. new ways of eating Courgettes always get my attention. And I heart Salads with Strawberries in - they totally ROCK don't they. I'll have to try that dressing seeing as Salad is my main food right now (too hot to cook) I'm always looking out for new and interesting ideas - you've certainly given me plenty here.
Dips are a big winner as well - especially with crunchy fresh Veggies to dip into 'em. I LOVE the sound of this recipe.
You naughty little Herb stealer you.
Actually - it pains me to see edible Plants go to waste. There are a few Fruit Trees round where I live that are in unlived in houses and all that gorgeous Fruit just ends up all squished on the ground making a mess and attracting swarms of wasps - so by me picking the odd Lemon or Orange here and there - I'm doing everybody a favour really.

vegan.in.brighton said...

Yum, all that made me super hungry!

I love how cute your flower pasta is and you reminded me I've been wanting to make vegan dad's tofu fish sticks for ages!

The muffins look like they came out great too, I can't believe the only fat is from flax? Awesome! When I make them I'll use your tip to make them more orangey.

pixiepine said...

Definitely trying the bean dip- it sounds great!

Virginia said...

i love strawberries in salads! lucky you scoring the free herbs!

jessy said...

hot ‘n sweaty meals sound super fun, and they’re all look’n good, Jessica! love the zucchini provencal, bbq baked tofu, and cabbage ‘n apples sounds oh-so awesome! loooove me some bbq and anything with cabbage! huzzah! noodleless lasagna totally kicks ass. we made some once using polenta for the “noodles” – awesome! such a tasty idea for all that zucchini. oh shoot – i totally forgot about those fishy sticks, sooo need to make ‘em – i love that they’re baked, too! i always used to eat fishy sticks with ketchup, f* tartar sauce. ick! tots are so awesome – it’s been too damn long since i’ve had tots. after the ACT i’m totally getting down with tots! salads are my new favorite – i too love strawberries in salads – and the lime thyme (love the rhyme) dressing = mmmmmm! i don’t recall ever having smoked ‘fu either – oooh, i need to ASAP! sorry the muffins weren’t overly orangey, but i’m glad they were glorious! never had Israeli couscous before either – man, i need to try all this awesome! yay for curried bean dip (and thanks for the recipe!), awesome pasta filled with veggie yummies, and herbs of deliciousness! hellz yeah!

Hannah said...

That all sounds like perfect "summer food" to me... I'm just jealous because it hardly feels like summer over in these parts at all, and we haven't even gotten a good crop of tomatoes in yet. I'll just have to drool over these photos for now, I guess...

jodye said...

Wow, so many great dishes in one post! I love pasta-less lasagna, and I'll surely be making the curried bean dip soon!

be'ershevaboheme6 said...

All of your food looks SOOO good. I love Israeli couscous, although my grocer has recently renamed the bin "Middle Eastern" couscous. I've also noticed "support the West Bank" olive oil recently added to the shelves.

I'm pretty sure they're trying to make a political statement, and if anything, I except the food in my life to be non-politically charged. I don't like where this is heading...

Erin said...

All your foods look so tasty and healthy! Okay, minus the tots maybe, but you gotta have some tots every once in a while.

I'm totally with you on the smoked tofu. I thought I might have been crazy the first time I had it and thought it tasted like cheese.