Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recurring Francophilia

David Lebovitz's French Lentil Salad

There's a promising chance that for Spring 2011, I'll be carrying out my studies in Paris. Though my as-yet-undetermined date of departure isn't for another seven months, I think practically every day about what it will be like to live in France/have Europe at my fingertips for four months! David Lebovitz is a culinarily gigantic American ex-pat currently living and blogging in Paris, whose surprisingly numerous vegetarian recipes I have found to be reliably delicious, so whenever I feel like pretending I'm making dinner in a charming apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower, I know who to turn to.

Pictured is my rendition of David's classic French warm lentil salad, which I paired with some cornmeal-encrusted tempeh and roasted haricots verts (fancy French word for green beans, hehe!). The only adjustment I made was to add an extra tablespoon of red wine vinegar. The flavor is light, but the salad is sooo satisfying! Next time, I'll probably be using some variation of Get Sconed's recently blogged breading on the tempeh. Mm mm, bon!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Everyday Soul

Ah, first days of school. Going back when July hasn't even begun feels a little wrong, but I was ready for a reason to leave the house during these sweltering days of summer. At least in six weeks, I'll be through with math classes for GOOD!! Now, I think I'm in need of some Everyday Soul.

Been on a serious kick for Angela of Oh She Glows' Vegan Overnight Oats. Layered mine yesterday morning with some Banana Soft Serve (Choosing Raw) as per Angela's suggestion. YUMMMM, I can hardly eat hot oatmeal anymore! Summer is for cooling foods, dudes!

Now, how many of you have ever whipped up some homemade almond milk? Anyone? It's so simple, it's GENIUS! I almost made a habit of it in the fall of last year, but I have pledged to make a batch every Sunday from now on because it saves SO much money, reduces packaging aaand tastes so fresh and delicious! My golden ratio is 1 cup almonds, soaked overnight, rinsed, then blended with 7 cups filtered water. Strain well and use within a week.

And finally, finally the Cooking Channel is live! Since I read this NY Times article on the new Food Network brainchild, I've been waiting to see more. Well, Two Fat Ladies reruns rule, and so does the ethnically diverse set of CC hosts. Plus vegan cupcakes are listed as a "Food Trend" on their front web page - a very good sign!

Images courtesy of Oh She Glows and the Cooking Channel.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Salad Day

Yesterday, I indulged. As a vegan, it's pretty easy to do so when you want to in Gainesville. Had a very messy chili dawg from Gator Dawgs, then went next door for a brownie sundae at Karma Cream. My lord, I had been away for too long! Vegan whipped cream and hot fudge and Triple Chocolate Threat ice cream...I'm feeling nostalgic already.

So after all that, I wanted something easy and relatively light for dinner at home. A salad certainly fit the bill, at least until I drenched it with the vegan mayo-laced dressing. Still, it was ready in a half hour, and it was deeeelicious!

Tempeh Caesar Salad
serves 4

2 pounds tempeh
frying oil

Boil the tempeh in a pot of water for ten minutes. Drain and transfer to a hot skillet with your oil in it. Sprinkle the upside with salt and pepper and fry for 7-8 minutes before flipping. Fry for another 7-8 on the other side before slicing.

[Vegan Caesar Dressing]
1 ginormous clove elephant garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or powerful blender and blend until smooth. Taste it, see how you like the proportions, play with them if you feel so inclined.

Top each of four piles of mixed greens (or romaine) with a quarter of the sliced tempeh, then overdress with caesar - believe me, if you're into garlicky stuff, you're gonna wanna lick your plate. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Everyday Soul

For your dose of Everyday Soul today, I wanna show some love for the longest day of the year and present a few morsels I've been referring to for summer inspiration lately.

Clockwise from top left: Lemony Spiked Sweet Tea, immortal summertime jams by The Beach Boys, American Cream Solid Perfume by LUSH (SMELLS SO GOOD!!!), sweet aaaand savory crepes even though I have yet to produce a successful batch of gluten free 'uns (this VeganYumYum recipe looks promising), the Miu Miu Spring 2010 kitty cat!!! (can't wait to find a way to iron this DIY--i.e. affordable--version all over something adorable), and finally, YogaGlo, a cool site for doing all kinds of yoga on any level for any duration of time right in your own home. Discovered via Savvy Abby.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hail Yacon!

So I literally JUST ate the devil outta these johnny cakes.

I haven't enjoyed johnny cakes with cane syrup, one of my favorite breakfasts ever, in quite some time. Yes, I recently whipped up the fabulously cheap and easy-to-make cornmeal pancakes to accompany my Southern Caviar the other day, but I really prefer them smothered in Earth Balance and something sweet. Maple syrup and cane syrup, though, and even most jams, I generally try to avoid because of the massive sugar content.

Enter yacon syrup!!! Saw this ingredient in a few scattered raw recipes across the blogosphere and picked up on its reputation as a molasses substitute with a radically low glycemic index. Got a hold of a bottle of the stuff and I'm going to town with it! What a relief to have found something so dang yummy, AND healthy to boot, to drown my breakfast cakes with. Try them:

Johnny Cakes
serves 4

2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups boiling water
coconut oil for frying

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk the boiling water slowly into the mixture. Stir with a spoon until well combined.

Heat up some coconut oil in a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high. Once hot, spoon three cakes into the pan, shaping them with a spatula. Allow the cakes to cook for about 7-8 minutes on the first side, then flip and fry for another 7-8 minutes. A scrumptious crust forms with time, so don't lose your patience.

Serve with Earth Balance and syrup. Or whatever!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Easy Livin' Summertime

Summertime evokes a lot of food memories for me. Deciding what to make for the small potluck dinner party I went to last night, I discovered some long-forgotten black-eyed peas and was quickly reminded of my grandmother's recipe for Southern Caviar, beloved by all as an appetizer on hot summer evenings at her house.

For the party, I opted to bring a pint of homemade ice cream, saving my grandmama's glorious cold salad for my own consumption this evening. It's so simple to make, but goes fast with company! Once you start dipping, it's tough to stop until dinner is served. Here's my variation on her classic recipe.

Southern Caviar
4 cups canned black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalepeno, de-seeded and chopped
1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
the juice of one whole lime
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, toss and chill. Serve with corn chips for an appetizer, or hoe cakes for supper.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Everyday Soul

Enticed? That's a pic of this fantastically thick strawberry smoothie I threw together yesterday morning, composed of:

3 strawberries
1 frozen banana
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 heaping tablespoon almond butter

Blend until smooth, enjoy with a spoon.

In other news, I have been roped in to The X Files series. Have y'all noticed the incredible selection of movies and TV shows now available for Instant Play on Netflix? Dang. All nine seasons of the show are up! It's gonna take a while, but I think I'm in it to win it. Plus we've had a projector set up in our living room since Saturday; dinner and a movie is now an at-home luxury. LOVE IT.

Also, who's heard of The Morning Benders? I'm very much enamored with this song of theirs, especially the recording process. Check it out:

Yours Truly Presents: The Morning Benders "Excuses" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

There's some Everyday Soul. Go forth and find some of your own!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Heart Tarts

HI! This week has simply flown by, and not without some culinary experiments. Firstly, tried Sweetly Raw's recipe for Blueberry Cardamom Ice Cream - YUM! I'd consider it a great success for not even having soaked the cashews at all.

Second, endeavored to forge a log of vegan genius chef Tal Ronnen's cashew cheese, which takes three whole days to make because it's cultured! Neat! On day three, today, it had finally set up in the fridge, so I filled a savory tart with the stuff. With the probiotics working their magic, this scrumptious cheese is so much richer than your average cashew-based one. You can find the recipe here and in Tal's book, The Conscious Cook (drool). I highly recommend it!

Tarte Proven├žale
serves 4

1 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup ground flax
1 teaspoon sea salt
a hefty pinch of Herbes de Provence
1/3 cup coconut oil
5-7 tablespoons of water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk dry ingredients, then pour in oil and whisk until it takes on a bread crumb consistency. Add water one tablespoon at a time, mixing with your hands until it firms up a bit. Press the dough into a tart pan, poke holes all over with a fork and bake for 10 minutes.

1/2 recipe of Tal Ronnen's cashew cheese
zucchini and tomato slices to cover
more Herbes de Provence
olive oil
nutritional yeast (for sprinkling)

Toss the zucchini and tomato slices in just enough olive oil to cover, along with another pinch or two of Herbes. Spread the cashew cheese onto the pre-baked crust, then arrange your veggies on top. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast as a finishing touch before you toss it back in the oven for another 20 minutes at 325 degrees.

Try this with whatever veggies you have on hand. Tarts are fabulous no matter the filling.