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Archive for June, 2011

Pretty to look at, fun to make, goes down easy. Keep room for seconds.

Summer vegetable torta (modified to be nondairy by me, from Dream About Food blog)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4″ thick

2 red peppers, sliced into 1/4″ strips

8 ounces soy cream cheese, softened

6 large eggs

1/4 cup soy cream

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups shredded nondairy cheese (I used cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and brush bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan with oil. Line bottom with parchment and brush parchment with oil. Wrap outside of pan with aluminum foil.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, zucchini, and fresh peppers. Saute until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs until combines (it’s okay if it’s a little lumpy). Beat in cream. Stir in garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon to drain off liquid, add sauteed veggies to egg mixture. Add shredded cheese. Stir with a rubber spatula to combine.

Spread mixture in a prepared pan and set pan on baking sheet. Bake for 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours or until top is puffy and golden brown and the center no longer jiggles when shaken. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes in pan, then run a sharp knife around edges of torta to loosen. Gently remove pan sides. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold. Makes 8 servings.

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Another fast and easy lunch or dinner, perfect for summer. Fire up the grill (or your frying pan). The red pepper spread is perfect with the chicken and mushrooms.

Chicken and portabello baguette (from Mayo Clinic)

1 large red bell pepper, roasted and seeded

1 shallot, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts

2 large portabello mushrooms, stemmed, brushed clean, and halved

1 whole-grain baguette, cut crosswise into 4 sections, each about 6″ long

1 tomato, thinly sliced

lettuce leaves

Chop the roasted bell pepper coarsely. In a blender or food processor, combine the roasted pepper, shallot, walnuts, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, the mustard, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Pulse a few times to puree and set aside.

In a large, nonstick frying pan, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides and no longer pink on the inside (170 F if using a food thermometer), 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Thinly slice the chicken lengthwise into strips. (You can also do this on the grill)

In the same frying pan, heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute, turning frequently, until well browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and drizzle with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar. (you can also grill these, too, instead of frying)

Using a serrated knife, split the baguette sections in half lengthwise. Spread about 1 tablespoon red pepper mixture on both halves of each baguette section. To assemble a sandwich, place 1 mushroom half on the bottom half of a baguette section. Top with 1/4 of the chicken, a lettuce leaf, and 1 or 2 tomato slices. Close the sandwich with the top half of the baguette section, and slice in half. Repeat to make 3 more sandwiches, and then serve. If making ahead, omit the red pepper mixture, wrap the sandwiches in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Spread the red pepper mixture on the baguettes just before serving. Makes 4 sandwiches.

 

 

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A quick and fabulous salad for summer days and after work specials. Comes together easily. All the flavors seemed to complement each other. Shout out to Chaos in the Kitchen.

Asian chicken salad with roasted peanuts and mango

approximately 1/2 cup Asian-style dressing, to taste (see below)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or minced

10 ounces fresh baby spinach, arugula, or other salad greens mix

2 cups sliced bell peppers, red, yellow, or orange

3 green onions, thinly sliced

3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped; or the meat from a rotisserie chicken

1/2 – 1 cup honey roasted peanuts, crushed

1 mango, pitted, peeled, and sliced

Mix dressing, cilantro, and ginger in a small bowl. Let stand.

Toss salad greens with peppers, onions, chicken, and peanuts. Dress salad to taste and toss to combine. Add mango and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Asian salad dressing:

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/4 cup peanut oil or other mild salad oil

Combine all ingredients in a small jar. Shake to combine.

 

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One last warm soup for spring. The green veggies really impart a fresh taste and a light soup for the season.

Spring soup with fava beans, fennel, and leek (from Cafe Liz)

1 onion, chopped

canola oil, for saute-ing

1 fennel, cut into thin slices (3 cups)

1 small leek, cut into thin slices (3 cups)

2 cups peeled fava beans

4 – 6 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves

Pour a little oil into a pot and saute the onion. Add the fennel and leek, and saute until the veggies soften. Add the fava beans and the rest of the ingredients, and top off with about a quart of water. Boil until the beans soften, about 10 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

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For a chilly damp spring day like we had last week, I still yearned for some warm soup, even though spring is almost over. This soup was perfect.

Cabbage and chickpea soup with fresh basil (from Fat-Free Vegan)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 6 cups hot water (plus bouillon cubes, below) or vegetable broth (and no bouillon cubes)
  • 3 cubes no-salt added bouillon cubes (or enough to flavor 6 cups of water)*
  • 1/2 head cabbage, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 16-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • generous grating black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted (optional)
  1. Heat a large, non-stick pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the basil and pine nuts. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Stir in fresh basil and serve in individual soup bowls, topped with 1 teaspoon of pine nuts, if desired.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.

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Here’s a delicious pasta salad that was easy to adapt to nondairy. I went to my local health food store, where they sell frozen soy ravioli, but this would also taste good with gnocchi, which is usually made nondairy also. Instead of feta cheese, which was called for, I grated some soy mozzarella. The flavors blend nicely in this dish – it’s not over-powering zing; just nicely seasoned and spiced.

Spinach, artichoke, and soy ravioli pasta salad (inspired by this recipe)

20 ounces soy ravioli (I used frozen), or gnocchi

2 tablespoons oil

salt

8 ounces fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons jarred roasted red pepper, minced

1 14-ounce can baby artichoke hearts, quartered

1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, julienned

1/4 cup soy mozzarella, grated

Boil a large pot of water. Add oil and salt to water. Add ravioli and boil 4 – 5 minutes or until tender but still firm. Drain pasta and spread out on a rimmed cookie sheet to cool.

In a large bowl, add chopped spinach, red pepper, artichoke hearts, and olives. Toss.

On a cutting board, sprinkle minced garlic with coarse salt. Mash garlic with the flat of your knife, scraping back and forth until garlic becomes a paste. Scrape up the garlic paste with your knife and add it to a small jar. Add red wine vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, and black pepper. Shake or whisk to combine.

Pour dressing over spinach. Toss well. Add cooled pasta, tomatoes, and cheese. Toss again and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 12 cups.

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Heavenly! This cake is very moist, very easy to make, and most delicious. It will remind you of summer in every scrumptious bite. Not only that, but it’s very pretty.

Strawberry summer cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen, and made nondairy by me)

6 tablespoons margarine

1 1/2 cups AP flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

7/8 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10″ pie pan or 9″ deep-dish pie pan.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, bet margarine and 7/8 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, almond milk, and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.

Pour into prepared pie pan. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 – 60 minutes. (Gooey strawberries on the tester are a given). Let cool in the pan on a rack. Cut into wedges. Makes 8 – 10 servings.

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