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Archive for June, 2010

Father’s Day BBQ

Yesterday afternoon, Husband and I gathered at his brothers’ place with the in-laws to celebrate Father’s Day in the only way my father-in-law would find acceptable…with a blazing BBQ, cold beer, and basking in warm June sunshine. My sis-in-law whipped up some great marinated veggies and roasted potatoes for the grill, as well as a simple spring greens salad and a strawberry-rhubarb crumble. I brought along some veggie and tofu skewers for Husband and I, a rhubarb coffeecake (great minds think alike! two rhubarb desserts!), and a delicious green and yellow bean salad. We sat in the backyard stuffing ourselves on fresh salads and charbroiled fare while the sun warmed our backs and it couldn’t have been a more perfect meal!

I based the salad off one I have in a book called 125 Best Vegetarian Recipes by Byron Ayanoglu. My version is below:

Green and Yellow Bean Salad

approximately 2 handfuls each fresh green and yellow beans, washed and trimmed

-juice of 1 lime

-1 T. lemon juice

-1 avocado, peeled and sliced

-1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

-3 green onions, chopped

-2 T. chopped fresh cilantro

-1 T. chopped fresh tarragon

-2 T. good-quality fruity olive oil

-salt and pepper, to taste

Blanch the beans in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and place in ice water immediately to stop cooking process and cool beans. Drain again and set aside.

Toss the avocado slices gently with the citrus juices, making sure each piece is well-coated.  Add the remaining vegetables and herbs; toss gently. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve; serve within an hour to prevent the avocado from browning.

The salad has vibrant colour, ample crunch, and the most wonderful, fresh lemony aroma. The olives add a great saltiness and the creamy, rich avocado makes the salad feel almost like a treat. So delicious….

Oh, and on a side-note, my new computer has arrived! I have somewhere to download and edit my photos again!! I’ll be back to posting photos of all my food-related experiments/experiences after today! YAY!!!

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Oh, how I wish I had my computer already so I could have uploaded some photos of last night’s dinner. It was so colourful and crisp and summery! Alas, no computer of my own means no photos yet. *Sigh* Okay, mourning period over…on to the food!

And while I’m on the subject of food I ate yesterday, I have to get sidetracked by the pound or so of cake I shoved into my gullet thanks to Isa’s amazing East Coast Coffee Cake in Vegan Brunch. I followed the recipe exactly, adding 1 cup of chopped rhubarb as a substitute for berries. It was the most intensely delicious coffee cake I have ever eaten. Husband actually groaned when he tried his first piece! If you haven’t already bought/borrowed a copy of Vegan Brunch, do so immediately! It’s worth it for that cake recipe alone. The cake actually tastes a little like an old-fashioned cinnamon donut…how could you NOT eat a pound of it?!

Anyway, back to my very healthy dinner. It was crunchy and chewy, crisp and cool, refreshing and absolutely delicious. And because it’s essentially a sandwich, you can substitute ingredients at your will. It’s almost silly to include the recipe for such an easy meal; but, it was so tasty I had to share.

Baked Tofu Salad Wraps with Peanut Sauce

First, prepare the sauce. It will be used as the tofu marinade and also as a sandwich spread. Whisk together until smooth:

-1/2 cup natural peanut butter

-1/4 cup water

-1 T. + 1 tsp. rice vinegar

-2 tsp. tamari

-1 tsp. brown sugar

-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

-1/2 tsp. garlic powder

-a 1/2″ piece of fresh ginger, grated

Slice a pressed brick of tofu in half horizontally. Then slice each half into five approximately 1/2″ strips. Lay the tofu in the marinade and cover. Marinade for at least 1 hour (I recommend longer), turning over halfway through. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Transfer the tofu pieces to a baking sheet, reserving leftover marinade. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until they are slightly golden and firm. Cool completely.

Once the tofu is cooled, begin assembly. You will need:

-4 full leaves of cabbage (I used a small Chinese cabbage)

-1/2 of a red pepper, julienned

-1/4 of a small field cucumber, julienned

-1/2 of an avocado, sliced

-2 T. fresh mint, chopped

Spread a little of the leftover marinade in the centre of each cabbage leaf. Fill the leaves with the tofu and veggies and garnish with fresh mint. Wrap the edges of the leaf around the ingredients as much as you can. Serve immediately.

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Husband and I moved into our own place this past weekend. Words cannot express how wonderful that makes us feel…we have alone time again, we’re using our stuff again, we can walk naked to the bedroom from the shower (!!!), and best of all, I have my own kitchen. (Please insert sigh of relief and elation here)

We had been moved in for a grand total of perhaps 40 minutes before I started to cook. Now, to be fair, I spent most of last week carting over all my kitchen stuff to the new place and getting it all organized. Come move day, the kitchen was completely ready to start using….can you see where my priorities lie?!

The very first thing I whipped up in my kitchen: one giant vat of potato salad for a BBQ we were attending that evening. As a main for Husband and I, I marinated some slabs of tempeh in my favourite store-bought BBQ sauce, tweaked with a light drizzle of maple syrup. Cooked over the grill and eaten al fresco with good company, it was a perfect dish. But, on to the salad! I have to brag a little here, I make the greatest potato salad ever. I know everyone says that about their potato salad; but, mine really is the best *wink*.

I won’t include an actual recipe because I change it up a little bit each time; but some things are always the same…I leave the skin on the potatoes. I can’t eat potato salad without the skins. I always stir in way more fresh herbs than is necessary…this time around it was flat-leaf parsley and dill. The way I see it, the more fresh herbs you add, the more you taste them and that can’t be a bad thing, right?! Besides, have you ever eaten anything so perfect as potato salad heavy with fresh dill….mmmmm….

It was very well-received at the BBQ. In fact, a friend who had already eaten dinner with her family stopped by to hang out and she had two helpings! I gorged myself on it…just let loose on that bowl without thinking about etiquette or calories.

I guess the point of my little anecdote is that I’m back in the kitchen! It was nice to see my cast iron pan, my great-grandmother’s wooden spoon, my coffee grinder, my vintage Juice King, you know…all the things I love so much and have missed like crazy these past seven months. Oh, did I mention that I have room to expand! I can start shopping for more dishes…EEK!

This week, I’ve made every one of our meals from scratch. It’s been just perfect. Husband says I stand around the kitchen with a dopey lovesick grin on my face. I sip strong coffee from my favourite mug while I brainstorm dinner ideas (lentil bake and seared rapini this evening, if you must know) and I know that I’m consumed in the honeymoon phase. I hope it never passes.

I must apologize for the lack of photos to accompany this long-overdue post. I’m in the process of trying to tackle the office. Right now it’s in a state of chaos, boxes and piles everywhere. I don’t even have a desk or computer…I’m upgrading this week and didn’t bother bringing the old ones along with me. So, sadly, I have not taken a single picture of what I’ve been making…I promise to make it up to you as soon as I have my shiny new 27″ iMac!

If you’ll excuse me, I must go check on the tofu jerky I’ve been dehydrating since 7AM…*dopey grin and lovesick sigh*

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