Monthly Archives: August 2011

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes – One recipe, Three dishes

Saturday morning was nice and lazy, just how I like it (but rarely have it).  Wife and I bailed on a planned hike and decided to go swimming instead–but not until after we got in some serious veg time on the couch.  Veg time for us often means watching the Food Network, and this time we got sucked into a show we normally can’t stand – The Barefoot Contessa.  There’s something that irks me about Ina Garten, but one of her recipes just jumped out at us as the perfect vegan pot luck dish for Sunday’s party.  Here is Wife’s take on Ina’s recipe (thanks for cooking, honey!), along with a couple of fun ways we used the leftovers:

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

4 pints cherry tomatoes – fresh from the farmer’s market

2 T olive oil

Good herbed salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup chopped/sliced fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Toss tomatoes and olive oil and spread on a baking sheet.  Add liberal amounts of salt and pepper.

3. Roast for 10-15 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft.  Try to catch them before they completely collapse, but it’s ok if you don’t.  They’re still yummy, just a bit mushier.

4. Spoon into a bowl, including as much of the oil/juice as you’d like.  (If you’re going to turn leftovers into a sauce later, you can reserve the juices separately for a day or two.)  Top with the fresh basil.  Serve hot, at room temp, or as a cold salad.  I liked it best cold!


Roasted tomato brushetta – chill the tomatoes, then use as a chunky topping for crostini.

Pizza – something about this flavor reminded us of really fresh pizza sauce, so try mashing the tomatoes and spreading on a pizza crust with your favorite toppings.

Tomatoes – use where you’d use fresh or canned tomatoes and appreciate the extra flavor!



Rounding up the veggie webs

No Meat Athlete has some advice for what to feed the munchkins when they’re running around and generally making you feel lazy and old.

Believe it or not, there are people in the world who like coconut.  If you’re one of these weirdos, check out Fat Free Vegan Kitchen‘s new recipe for abusing innocent kale.  If anyone can make coconut edible, FFV can.

Everyone’s favorite hottie, Ellen Degeneres, has started her own blog about her vegan adventures.

Vegan Hope doesn’t care why you’re vegan, and she wonders why we can’t all get along.  As someone who went vegan for health reasons (after being ovo-lacto for fuzzy wuzzy animal reasons), I dig it.

Finally, Famous DC has some shocking pics of the devastation caused by the DC earthquake.  Fortunately, no injuries have been reported.

Picnic at the farm, picnic from the farm

This was the week of outdoor eating, which is just about my favorite kind of eating.  I had one opportunity to bring a picnic to a nearby farm, and a chance to bring straight-from-the-farm food to another outdoor food extravaganza.

Picnic at the Farm

On Thursdays in the summer at nearby Kruger Farm, Portland music/food/wine/blanket-sitting lovers can find free live music and for-purchase or BYO outdoor feasting.  This week featured one of Wife’s favorite local musicians, Ashleigh Flynn, along with sunny weather and friends with adorable kids–a winning combination.

My job as de facto housewife was to throw together a picnic, pick up Wife from work, and drive out to the farm in time to snag a good blanket spot before the crowd arrived.  I think I nailed it.  Here’s what we ate:

Easy Quinoa Salad, left over from earlier in the week

Simple Mezza

1 tub of Trader Joe’s Creamy Mediterranean Hummus

12 whole wheat mini-pitas

1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips

Miscellaneous olive bar treats – olive/feta combo (for Wife), kalamata olives, artichoke hearts

Baby carrots for dipping

Big box of wine

1.  Eat salad.

2. Try random combinations of mezza ingredients stuffed inside pita.  Eat.

3. Eat a carrot to feel good about self. (Such a healthful picnic!)

4. Spread hummus inside pita; stuff quinoa salad inside pita.  Eat.

5. Drink wine.  Eat more.

Picnic from the Farm

Sunday brought a last-minute meeting of Wife’s Portland to Coast team (for which I am a volunteer, so I swear I was invited) and another opportunity to eat food outside.  Sunday mornings also bring our closest local farmer’s market–the one that is literally a stone’s throw from our front door.  Yes, literally.

As the peaches in the world are finally ripe (finally!), Wife and I were inspired to bring along a fruit salad to share with the team.*  The result was the most beautiful and vibrant, and possibly tastiest, fruit salad I’ve ever made. We cheated with a few non-local bananas and clementines, but they were going to spoil soon anyway, so I forgive us (don’t you?).

*Wife also made an awesome tomato salad, which I’ll share with you guys soon!

Farmer’s Market Fruit Salad

3 small peaches

1 cup blackberries

1 cup blueberries

1 large banana

3 clementines

1. Chop, combine, refrigerate, eat.

I hadn't added the banana yet

How about you?  Any outdoor eating opportunities remaining this summer?


Easy Quinoa Salad

Admit it: when you first read the word “quinoa,” you pronounced it “kwin-oh-ah.”  I know I can’t be the only one.  Despite our early misunderstandings, quinoa (KEEN-WAH) and I are now total besties.  I bought a big bag a couple of weeks ago to try out a delicious quinoa recipe from Fat Free Vegan (which was titled “Ridiculously Easy” but should be called “Ridiculously Addictive”–seriously, try it!).  I burned out, though, after a few batches, and needed to find a new way to use the quinoa in my cabinet.  This new recipe was inspired by my bean-based hashes, but has a very different flavor.  I imagine it would be good warm, but I added the greens after it had cooled and labeled it a salad–delish!

Easy Quinoa Salad

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

1 veggie bouillon cube + 2 cups water OR 1 cup veggie broth + 1 cup water

1 yellow onion, diced

1 summer squash or zucchini, cut lengthwise, then into 1/4″ slices

8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup chopped roasted red or yellow bell peppers

2 cups (packed) mixed lettuces

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine water/broth/bouillon and quinoa and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until water is absorbed, 10-15 minutes.

2. Saute onions until they begin to soften, then add squash.  Continue cooking for a few minutes, just until the squash is barely softening.

3. Once the quinoa is cooked, combine with the squash/onion mixture and season to taste.  Really taste it here, because some veggie broth will have made it plenty salty to begin with.  Set this mixture aside to cool while you prep the tomatoes and peppers.

4. Once the quinoa mixture has cooled to close to room temp, combine all the ingredients in a big bowl–it needs to be big to handle the greens.  **Here’s where you leave out the greens if you’d rather serve it hot.  Heat the quinoa (or don’t let it cool) and add the cold peppers and tomatoes and serve immediately.**

5. Refrigerate for an hour or so for a cold salad, or serve at room temp.

I’m taking this to a picnic tonight.  Yum!

Easy, Breezy, Lazy Deliciousness

Hey lazy veggies!  Today, as I was thinking through my post-Doe Bay Fest inertia, I realized that I might not be alone in my post-summer-weekend Blah Fest.  As such, I decided I’d throw together a list of the easiest, quickest-to-prep dishes I’ve rocked over the last few months.  If you, like me, are feeling less than pumped today–or perhaps so busy with your fabulous goings-on that you lack time to cook a proper casserole–read on and click through for recipes you can toss together in less than 10 minutes.

Big Plate of Roasted Veggies – good for veggie variety, but easy to break down into one or two delicious components.  Five minutes from cutting board to oven.

No-Cook Hearty Indian Salad – a quick toss of Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley and mixed greens – no chopping, cooking, or dressing required!

Spinach Hummus – requires a quick spinach saute, but can be thrown together in minutes.  Great for dinner, and even better for a leftover lunch tomorrow.

Garbanzo-Tahini Salad – I hate chopping veggies, which just figures, so here’s another hearty, no-chop salad that easily suffices for dinner.  This dressing can be made in a cup with a quick fork-whipping.

Smoothies! – I am a fan of smoothies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so check out these varieties or throw my usual concoction in the blender: 4 cups spinach, 1 or 2 cups water, 3/4 cup frozen berries, 1 banana.


Summer: Full of the Busy (and Pesto!)

So, as I was saying in my post last week…Wait, what?  I haven’t posted in, oh, a month or so?  Oops!  I got busy, as I tend to do in July.  Trips, weddings, mountains, concerts–it all adds up to not much cooking and not much blogging.  Eating, yes; writing about it, no.

Anyway, so sorry!  I’m bringing it back with a doozy, and one of my new favorite recipes: edamame pesto.  Inspiration to try this lower-fat, higher-density version of my old fave struck when I was gobbling a post-climb veggie burger at a normally uninspiring restaurant/brewery in Hood River, OR.  I had ordered the vegan burger with fries (oh shut it; I’d just climbed a mountain), and in my sleep-deprived stupor opened the burger to find a chunky green spread on the inside–edamame pesto, I discovered.

I swear it was mostly the quality of the pesto and less my desperate, gnawing, calorie-deprivedness that made me decide I HAD to figure out how to make this stuff at home and immediately put it on everything.  So, you know, I did.  I cobbled together some inspiration from others’ traditional and vegan pesto recipes and used what I had in the house.  What follows is the pesto recipe, as well as a couple of ideas for how to serve it.

Edamame Pesto

12-oz package frozen shelled edamame (I used Trader Joe’s)

3/4 c (or more) fresh basil leaves

1-2 T lemon juice

2 cloves minced garlic

1 t olive oil

1-1.5 t salt

1 T nutritional yeast

1/4-1/2 c veggie broth

1. Cook the edamame according to package directions, drain, and set aside to cool.

2. Blend basil, garlic, lemon juice, oil, and salt until fairly smooth.  You may use a food processor or (if you have an awesome new blender like mine) a blender will work just fine.

3. Add the edamame and nutritional yeast to the blender (but don’t blend yet).  It’s ok if the beans are not completely cool; you’ll chill the pesto or use it right away in a dish, so whatevs. Add a splash of the veggie broth and begin blending.  Add the veggie broth gradually until your pesto is the consistency you like.  Mine was a bit like hummus, and it softens when warmed.

Serving ideas

Crostini:  Slice a narrow sourdough baguette into thin (1/4″) slices.  Arrange in an even layer on a baking tray.  Spray or brush with olive oil.  Broil until golden, then flip and brown the other side.  Keep an eye on these guys while broiling!  Spread pesto on each piece and serve as an appetizer.  Top with tomato slices for some color and brightness.

“Quesa”dilla:  Spread pesto all over one side of a flour tortilla.  Spread one half with mashed black beans and a bit of salsa.  Fold.  Brown in a pan on both sides, heating through.  I ate mine with guacamole.

Pasta salad: Cook some short pasta (penne, farfalle, etc.), drain, and rinse with cool water.  Add gently cooked–but still firm–broccoli and any other veggie that sounds good.  Add sun-dried tomatoes if you want your pasta to be awesome.  Warm the pesto and toss together with the pasta and veggies.  Some extra olive oil will make everything toss together more easily.  This is good hot or cold!

See?  Even vegans don’t have to live without pesto.