Saturday, August 31, 2013

Gazpacho Salad

My husband loves tangy cucumber and onion kinds of salads. I was pretty sure he would like this version, and I was right. He had three helpings.

Gazpacho Salad

2 cucumbers, diced
Handful of sliced mushrooms
Green onions, sliced
1 T. dried parsley or 1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped
5 Roma tomatoes, diced
One green pepper, sliced thin
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 t. soy sauce
1/8 t. dry mustard
1/8 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. basil
1/4 t. oregano
1/2 t. celery salt
5 T. olive oil

Add the vegetables and the parsley to a large bowl. Mix the vinegar, olive oil and herbs and spices together and pour over the vegetables. Mix well to coat. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours. Add a sprinkle of vegan cheese, if you'd like, and serve.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Greek Wrap

Have you ever looked at cookbooks from the 60s or 70s, maybe the 80s and seen recipes labeled Mexican or Chinese, and you know there is NO way the recipe is even remotely authentic? You've had authentic Mexican or Chinese food and you are just slightly offended that the author is trying to pass off their concoction as something other than it is?

Well, that is probably the case with this recipe. (Sorry!) I only named it Greek because it reminds me a teeny bit of a gyro.

Greek Wrap

2 cans garbanzo beans (or 4 c. cooked from dried)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. coriander (that's cilantro to the rest of us)
1 t. cumin
2 t. dried parsley or 1 T. chopped fresh parsley
Whole wheat flour tortillas
Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber, chopped green onion, plain vegan yogurt

In a pot, add the garbanzo beans, garlic, coriander, cumin and parsley. Cook until heated through. Use a potato masher and mash the bean mixture slightly. You want it a little chunky. On the flour tortilla, layer the shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, green onion and a dab of yogurt. Add a spoonful of the beans on top. Roll up. Eat!

I actually mixed the tomatoes, cucumber, green onion and yogurt together and served it that way.

I tend to cook at night and have to use a flash, so it washed out the photos, but you can get an idea of what it might look like.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

But Where's the Rum Chili

It has been a hot summer. Well, every summer here is hot, that's a fact. Some years have been worse than others and I am VERY THANKFUL to have an air conditioner that works. One year our ac went out at least five times. Five times! When I hear about my friends having ac issues, I can sympathize, truly.

So why would I make chili in the summer? True, I generally think of chili on cool autumn or cooler winter evenings as a real comfort kind of food. But I was looking in my pantry when I came across some rum I had bought earlier in the year for a rum cake. I told my family I was making chili for supper and they all gaped at me. When I oh so casually mentioned it was made with rum, I definitely got their attention. And interest. And "is the chili ready yet?" questions.

But Where's the Rum Chili

Olive oil
2 T. chili powder
One can diced tomatoes
One can diced tomatoes with chiles
One onion, chopped
2 T. rum
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Saute the onion in olive oil until softened. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

I'm sure I don't need to mention there were no leftovers.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Easy Corn Chowder

One thing about living in a hurricane prone area: canned foods are your friend. A lot of people criticize or even refuse to eat canned foods, but let me tell you, when you lose power for days or can't get out of the house because of flooding, those canned goods come in vveerryy handy.  They are also a fairly cheap staple for families with limited finances.

Canned goods aren't without risk, of course. I never, ever buy a can with a dent, for instance. There are other things to watch for when buying canned goods. Here is a list of things to watch for when using canned goods:

Foul odors

If you see any of these signs, toss. Don't use it. Food poisoning still happens.

Another concern, and the biggest one really I think, is canned foods may contain trace amounts of BPA. Unless you have been living under a rock or a long time media blackout, you will have heard about the dangers of BPA. The trace amounts in canned foods come from internal coating of cans to prevent canned foods from coming in direct contact with the metal of the can. While the potential is, again, trace amounts, I recommend rinsing the contents of the can before cooking, and, let's be honest, limiting the use of canned goods, especially in immune compromised individuals.

Now that you are completely freaking out and wondering why, why, WHY would I use a recipe that uses food coming out of can, well, like I said, there is that convenient factor. Also, research shows that the commercial canning process not only destroys bacteria that can cause food spoilage, but also can eliminate as much as 99% of the pesticide residues occasionally found in fresh produce. So, pretty much unless you are growing your own food, there is always a risk, whether it be canned, frozen, or bought fresh from the grocery store. I'm not being flip, but I'm not going to flip out, either.

Now, on with the recipe.

Easy Corn Chowder

One can of corn, drained
One can of creamed corn, undrained
One can of diced potatoes, drained
One onion, chopped
1/4 t. celery salt
2 c. vegetable broth
1 c. non-dairy milk
1 T. cornstarch mixed with 2 T. water

Add everything but the cornstarch mixture to a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 5-10 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir to mix well and let thicken slightly. When serving, sprinkle on some freshly ground black pepper.

You can see the black pepper flecks and the corn kernels peeking. We had no leftovers.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Top 25 Vegan Blogs of 2013

Holy planteaters, Batman! The Zen Vegan got voted as one of the Top 25 Vegan Blogs of 2013!

Seriously, thank you so much to everyone who voted for this blog! I feel so honored and excited!

Please, check out the other blogs that made it into the top 25 as well! You can see them all here.
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