I hope you’ve been enjoying the recipes from Vegan al Fresco. I don’t normally share so many recipes from the same cookbook (at least at once, because we all know I love to share Tess‘ fabulous recipes).
I was immediately drawn into this recipe. Adding a chopped pickle to a potato salad seemed ingenious. Adding the pickle juice to the dressing was doubly intriguing.
A perfect make-ahead salad for my next picnic.
The original recipe called for asparagus, which I am sure would be lovely, but not currently easily accessible. I liked Rika’s idea to substitute green beans for asparagus and ran with it. With a minimal amount of steaming, they were perfectly tender-crisp. And while I have been using tiny creamer potatoes all summer long, this time I had new potatoes and chopped them very small so that they would cook quickly. (Teaching tip: We tried to barbecue little pieces of potato like this and it took over 45 minutes, potentially because they were steaming because our steamer basket was overfilled).
I was worried this salad would be very salty (pickles + pickle juice) but it wasn’t at all. Definitely trust, Carla. She’s got your back. It definitely needed the salt called for in the recipe. I ended up fortifying the salad as a main course by adding some white flageolet beans.
Other than burgers, where do you like to add pickles?
Recipes from Vegan al Fresco spotted elsewhere:
Buckwheat and Onion Mini-Loaves
Caper and Edamame Dip
Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches
Grilled Zucchini Sticks
Groovy Multigrain Burgers
Hearty Three-Grain Salad
Melon and Corn Salsa
Pumpkin and Corn Cakes
Roasted Beet and Quinoa Salad
Overflowing with zucchini? Tis the season for local zucchini.
Too many growing in your garden? Or in my case, swooping up a few too many while at the grocery store.
This was as simple as making a marinade, letting the zucchinis absorb some of it, passing it off to Rob to grill and then dousing it in additional marinade. Fabulous.
With the white wine and tarragon, it screamed French and the simplicity reminded me of a farmhouse. French farmhouse grilled zucchini, hence named. Enjoy it as a side for your next meal.
You can see it, as pictured in the cookbook, below amongst a picnic spread with the Hearty Three-Grain Salad, the Pickle and Asparagus Potato Salad, Caper and Edamame Dip and Cider-Battered Tofu.
Other ways to enjoy zucchini:
Kale grows fairly easily in North America. It rather amusing that kale, the superfood extraordinaire, could easily be grown in my backyard (see exhibits A, B and C) and even easier to find in the grocery store within the last few years, including heirloom varieties.
We had friends visiting from Hong Kong earlier this summer and of all things, they were craving kale. I guess it should not be surprising that kale might be difficult (or more expensive) across the globe. I wanted to surprise them with a kale salad. I already made my favourite kale salad this summer so I experimented with this delightful salad instead. And let me tell you, they loved it!
The salad reminds me a bit of this seasonal Peach and Hazelnut Kale Salad with a Maple Miso Vinaigrette. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it definitely has an Asian-fusion feel to it. Miso and garlic were the pronounced flavours balanced by the maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. The red cabbage contrasted beautifully next to the deep green kale. While miso is a novel flavour in North America, it was not new to these ex-pats who once lived in Japan.
Other kale salads you may enjoy:
Toronto had a wicked storm this past weekend.
Yeah, that one. (Sorry for the rain tease for those in California!)
The next one is a video:
#impendingdoom… #toronto #downtown #city #cityscape #skyline #blackandwhite #bnw #bnw_magazine #bnw_of_our_world #bnw_life #bnw_planet #bnw_umbria #video #timelapse #lightning #thunderstorm #streetsoftoronto #totescanadian #thankyoutoronto #lovetoronto #torontoclicks #narcitytoronto #postcardsfromthe6 #trumptoronto #imagesoftoronto #utilizemedia #way2ill #toronto_insta @itsakich
If you saw a plane trying to land at the Island Airport at that time (I didn’t see us in the video), I was there. We circled back and forth between Toronto and St Catharines as we waited for a clearing to land. The landing was probably the most rocky I had endured and it was only afterwards, gawking at the photos in the comfort of my own home, did I realize what we had missed.
(Hopefully they got some awesome wedding pictures)
Anyways, Rob and I had a very quick weekend trip over the long weekend out to New Hampshire for some relaxation and hiking in the White Mountain National Forest. Rob was in Boston for a conference but when I flew down, we opted to head outside the city instead. If you like outdoors, this is a great place to visit. We stayed with a host through AirBnB and it was almost like our own piece of heaven.
I had been talking about making Bourbon-spoked barbecue sauce for a while, but we had no Bourbon nor whiskey. Our trip to duty-free solved that and I quickly followed through with my promise of homemade barbecue sauce. Earlier this year, I made Miyoko’s zippy barbecue sauce (fabulous, by the way) and found it oh, so easy and was equally delighted with this concoction.
Smoky. Apple-infused although I couldn’t really taste the apple. And the Bourbon was in there, too. The Bourbon is more of an aftertaste after the alcohol is simmered away, adding depth to the sauce. A bit on the spicier side but I loved it. So, even if you do not like whiskey (hello, me!) and even if you do (hello, Rob!), you will love this. I imagine this will be gone by the end of the weekend. Veggie burgers really do better with something saucy slathered overtop.
Enjoy! Please let me know how you like it. Do you have a favourite barbecue sauce recipe?
Remember that time I had a mustard tasting party? Only 18 months ago, or so… I don’t think I have bought a new mustard since and we are down to the bare minimum, guys. Depending on what I find first (mustard or mustard seeds), I may try my hand at homemade mustard. I want to try Miyoko’s recipe for Ale and Brown Sugar Mustard but don’t want it to taste like beer. If you make it (or can recommend other homemade mustard recipes), please let me know. I will await your assessment in 4 weeks. ;)
In the meantime, onwards with the potato salads. A perfect side for your summer meals.
Another winner of potato salads, this is for serious mustard fans. Rob preferred the Creamy Lemon-Dill Roasted Potato Salad but I really can’t pick a favourite, especially considering the Smoked Paprika Roasted Potato Salad. This salad is definitely heavy on the mustard, so pick a good one. The vibrant yellow is courtesy of a dash of turmeric and the dressing is more complex with the addition of Old Bay. A fun twist for yet another non-mayo potato salad. Enjoy!
PS. I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes.
Even though we have had the BBQ on in full force since it arrived, it is (mostly) limited to the weekends. However, I love bulk cooking on the weekends, so we’re trying to keep things simple mid-week.
Here I multipurposed leftover portobello carpaccio (just as good with a longer marinade) into a glorious summer salad with strawberries, fresh (not grilled) tofu, all over a bed of baby spinach, doused with a balsamic dressing.
Jessica asked about mosto cotto in my previous posts. It is a sweet balsamic reduction and a simple 1-ingredient dressing. A balsamic vinaigrette could easily be substituted, so I decided to make my own and use it all week. I made a glorious full cup to share with Rob.
Except the world was against me, and I tipped 75% of my dressing. Onto my shorts, onto my slippers and behind my stove. I am not sure if bird poop or balsamic vinegar makes a worse stain, but I quickly disrobed and cleaned my shorts and next my slippers. My black shorts fared better than my slippers which may now look a bit more brown than white. Oops….
Anyways, the salad was fabulous. I hadn’t planned to share it but the mushrooms added a wonderful earthy contrast next to the sweet strawberries and savoury balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious. Enjoy!
I am sharing this with Meat Free Mondays.
This may very well turn out to be the summer of potatoes and mushrooms. While not everyone likes the mayo-heavy potato salads, everyone seems to like the non-mayo salads from this summer so far.
Rob said this was his favourite potato salad yet.
His Polish roots may be particularly partial to fresh dill.
The dressing is a creamy, but not heavy, lemon-tahini sauce with a touch of mustard which I tossed with salt-and-pepper roasted potatoes and fresh dill. The recipe makes a lot of dressing, which was great throughout the week to dress up some of the leftover grilled vegetables. The dressing was also great when I added in some extra chickpeas.
What is your favourite recipe for potato salad?
It has been a week in the new house and we’ve given our new barbecue a quick initiation.
Part of the beauty of the new grill is that meals are simpler. Fresh vegetables with a touch of oil, salt and pepper along with a veggie burger. It still hasn’t stopped me from pinning more creative recipes (follow my vegan BBQ pinterest board here).
These BBQ lentils are from my pre-BBQ days and a fun way to switch up your BBQ protein if you are tired of veggie burgers. While you could eat these as a side, I opted to construct a sandwich, reminiscent of Sloppy Joes but with a BBQ flavour. I topped it with my carrot-sriracha coleslaw for an easy topping.
Do you have any favourite recipes for the BBQ? I highly recommend these balsamic roasted portobellos which have been my go-to option whenever I had access to a grill in the past. I am also curious which brand of veggie burgers is your favourite. There are so many options. The one I have liked so far has been “Veg Out” Quarter Pounder. Oddly enough, I can’t even find a link with it on the google interwebs to share my find with you.
Our house is feeling settled awfully quickly. With a lot more space than our former abode, we have embraced my parent’s suggestion to keep the boxes still to be unpacked out of sight. We certainly still have boxes to unpack, but the essentials are out and the unpacked boxes don’t bother me while they are out of sight.
With a presentable main floor and a new barbecue, we celebrated the midweek Canada Day with some friends and a simple meal. I can already tell the barbecue will be on in full force this summer. It is never too late to try out new salads and this was a fun spin on traditional coleslaw. First of all, I have massaged kale but never cabbage and carrots. The simple dressing is massaged to wilt the veggies and left to marinate in the fridge for optimal flavour. A dash of sriracha makes this slightly different and I suggest tasting it prior to serving, as the spice level dissipated while it mellowed in the fridge.
Happy belated Canada Day and early Fourth of July. :)
Do you have any great BBQ or picnic recipes to recommend?
I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes.
What a weekend, guys! Rob always complains the May long weekend is fraught with rain but this year, the rain was pushed away by all the sun. (We even managed to dry some clothes outside!)
It was a glorious long weekend and it was nice that my body was as eager to move around too. Rob and I spent a lot of time visiting family and friends, and the majority were stopping by our friends unannounced simply because we were in the neighbourhood. The stars were aligned because someone was always home for our impromptu visits. Score!
I finally have my cooking mojo back although my blogging mojo is still lagging behind. With the nice weather, I am drawn more to walking in my ‘hood instead of sitting in front of my computer. One thing that has helped to get me cooking again is the multitude of fabulous vegan cookbooks hitting the shelves. One of them is Annie Oliverio’s new cookbook, Crave, Eat, Heal. You have probably met Annie through her blog at An Unrefined Vegan where we she shares plant-based recipes without refined ingredients. Her cookbook has the same philosophy and aims to show that there should be no deprivation. All of your cravings are answered.
Annie’s cookbook is broken down into 13 chapters, each focusing on a different craving: carbs, chocolate, comfort, cool, creamy, crunchy, green, junk, salty, spicy, sweet, tart and warm. I am used to the traditional setup of cookbooks organized by course or season, but this was unique. Oftentimes, I do have cravings for something with chocolate, or something crunchy, and this would be a different way to find something satisfying to eat. With this warm weather, of course, I ventured into the “cool” cravings. There were coolers, smoothies and popsicles. Even a sweet potato pie and apple pie spice ice cream that looked phenomenal (and totally happening next weekend). But I decided I needed something a little more substantial and dove into the butter wedge salad.
After my surgery, I was on a liquid diet for nearly a week and when I finally improved, all I wanted was to bite into something. Here I was biting and actually cutting into my meal. It has been a long time since I actually used a knife and a fork for a meal, and of all things, it was to cut my wedge of lettuce.
Perhaps Annie missed out on potential “cut into your meal” cravings, because I could understand missing this not-so-fun meal normalcy. In any case, the knife and fork allowed me to experience every part of the salad with each bite: crisp lettuce, subtly sweet/soft pear, salty/meaty tempeh bacon, creamy avocado and a creamy/cool sunflower peppercorn dressing. I used a peppercorn dressing base which made for a very intense dressing but it was well balanced with the remainder of the salad.
The recipes in Crave, Eat, Heal span sweet and savoury and most are accompanied by Annie’s photographs. Her recipes are nearly all oil-free (not necessarily low-fat), mostly gluten-free, and without processed foods like white sugar. Her photo of the salad can be seen below.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the Crave, Eat, Heal cookbook to a reader living in the United States. My international readers are eligible to win a copy of the ebook Crave. Eat. Heal. Outtakes. To be entered in the random draw for the book or ebook, please leave a comment below telling me what you crave most often (and please let me know if you are not from the US). The winners will be selected at random on May 30, 2015. Good luck!
Recipes from Crave, Eat, Heal spotted elsewhere:
Roasted Garlic and Fresh Herb Cream Cheese (aka Vegan Boursin)
PS. There is still time to enter the giveaway for Superfood Juices here.
Long time no chat. I feel like I have been revived back to life. Those past few weeks seemingly lost into the neverlands. Of course it was all in the name of recovery, but I am at a loss for words as to how I spent my days. I certainly wasn’t at work. There was barely any blogging. I aimed for a short walk a day, usually to the nearby grocery store although sometimes just around the block. And eventually I started feeding myself.
At risk of sharing TMI, bear with me. While most suggestions after bowel surgery is to eat a high fibre diet, I found I needed to scale back my typical fibre rich meals. This was one meal that was very easy to make and worked well. I figured the sauerkraut would be good for adding probiotics after a long stretch of antibiotics but I also really liked this with some smoked tofu. I told Rob the smoked tofu reminded me of cheese although he denied it vehemently. He agreed it looked like cheese but it did not taste like it.
Avocado toast is definitely the sandwich du jour, but it wasn’t until we travelled through Guatemala and Honduras that I truly appreciated its versatility. There was a stretch where I had avocado toast (with refried beans and fried plantains) for both breakfast and dinner. It was just too good. Here is Rob’s play with refried for one of our snacks. Enjoy!
Have you ever had a rough recovery from surgery?
So, how are you faring with the first blast of winter?
Turns out my furnace was not up to the increased stress and stopped working. Twice. For the past two nights, we have woken up to a fairly frigid home. At least we have warm blankets, so you don’t really notice until you escape for breakfast.
It reminded me of the time we were in Houston, in May during the first heat wave. It was at that time we noticed our air conditioner was broken. Eventually our home was a few degrees shy of the sweltering outside and we knew we had to contact our landlord. Accessing the air conditioner was another challenge, as it was difficult to find a safe ladder to span 4 storeys and jockey around the lightning and rain.
This time, I keep telling myself: at least we’re not in Buffalo. Did you catch the video of the snow blanket being lifting from the lake?
I thought, perhaps my salad days were over, too. But this is a delightful salad warm or cold. A bunch of leeks are caramelized and added to creamy flageolet beans and coated in a simple lemon-mustard sauce.
Another winner from Gena!
WOAH! Stop the presses. Where have you been all my life?
I always thought barbecue sauces were tomato-based. This barbecue sauce has no tomato in sight. Instead, the base is from mustard and vinegar. It is amazing what a little blackstrap molasses can do to herald a sauce into the barbecue family.
The ultimate barbecue sauce is probably a very touchy/personal topic for many, especially in the US, with each region having their own spin on their special sauce for grilling. While in Texas, I didn’t go for barbecue, but I seem to be homesick for my time in Houston and bringing the barbecue back to Toronto.
However, this is not Texas-style barbecue sauce, it hails from South Carolina. Mustard-loving Germans added a barbecue twist to their local sauce and it is wonderful. Not too sweet, a heavy hand with the vinegar and a perfect punch from the savoury spices. A perfect mix for me and my love of all things mustard.
I haven’t quite decided what to do with this sauce yet. I was originally going to toss it with some tofu and veggies and then bake it, but now all I want to do is keep it. Why use that all in one go?
What is your favourite barbecue sauce and what do you like to do with it?
One of my more popular salads is my spin on Whole Foods’ Detox Salad. I used lime and cilantro to complement the riced vegetables. I named mine “Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Lime and Cilantro” because I cringe when I hear the name “Detox Salad”.
In general, I always assumed that the enzyme myth was in fact, just a myth….. until I saw this video. (That long pause is Dr Gregor’s hallmark, at least in my mind).
In this other video, De Gregor highlights the presence of sulforaphane in broccoli which enhances liver enzymes, as the most potent natural phase 2 enzyme-inducer. However, since sulforaphane is only created when two components interact, until you crush the raw cells (ie, with chewing or chopping), you miss out on sulforaphane. He later mentions that this needs to be done prior to cooking broccoli. Yes, the “enzyme myth” is true. Cooking is not as good for the broccoli’s sulforaphane levels.
But who likes raw broccoli?
To get the best of both worlds, a fun solution would be to chop your broccoli, wait a bit for the enzymes to work and then cook it.
And yes, this was my round-about introduction to this lemon-cilantro chickpea salad with almost riced broccoli, which I actually steamed for a gentler taste. Although, you are completely free to try this with raw broccoli rice, too. The lemon juice would make it tender, too, with time.
Poll time. Raw or cooked broccoli: which do you prefer? :)
Lately my meals have been a lot of random foods. I am holding out. I knew I had some staples waiting to be unpacked but quickly replenished my perishable staples (tahini, peanut butter, maple syrup, etc). As such, the last few weeks have had me cooking without spices, relying on strong-flavoured ingredients and let’s be honest, I bought some pre-made soups and added some beans to make it a complete meal.
I promise to share some of my fun meals once my home is back to normal. Until then, I will continue to unearth some oldies-but-goodies from my backlog. I chose to share this one because it is actually pretty similar to what I am eating these days: cooked quinoa, random vegetables, beans, topped with a creamy sauce.
What is your template for healthy lunches?