Homemade Crunchy Croutons & A Big Salad

IMG_5336 IMG_5338On our trip to Maine, we stopped at When Pigs Fly Bakery in York and bought three loaves of bread: 2 sourdough loaves and an amazingly delicious cinnamon-raisin-brown sugar swirl (which we ate all the way home!)

We got through a loaf and a half of the sourdough but then I found myself with a half a loaf of amazing bread that was a little too old to enjoy. What to make? Croutons! My mother always added croutons to our salads when I was young and they really do make for a great crunchy addition. And they are very easy to make!

For this salad, I chopped up lettuce, apples, cucumber, red and yellow peppers and added sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas and delicious Long Island summer corn. Topped with these flavorful, crunchy croutons, it’s a great meal!

Crunchy Croutons
Old Bread
Olive oil
Granulated garlic & parsley mix

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the bread into cubes. Drizzle olive oil and shake a few shakes of the garlic parsley mixture over the bread. Toss well. Add more oil and spice mixture and toss again. You don’t need to coat every piece but it is good to try!

Turn the bread cubes out onto the baking sheet and organize into a single layer. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cubes are dry and golden brown.

Let cool and store in a container. Enjoy!

Morning Glory Granola

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I have posted a lot of granola recipes on this blog because I love making different variations! We just returned from visiting our niece in Maine. We stayed at the Morning Glory Inn in York where we had a delightful vegan breakfast that included fantastic granola. Margie, one half of the duo who own the B & B, makes fresh batches almost daily! I loved it for two reasons (1) pine nuts. I never thought of that! and (2) Margie doesn’t cook the dried fruit. She adds it after. Never thought of that either!

So of course, I asked for the recipe. Turns out it is posted on the website here and I am reposting my slightly adapted version here.

Wet Ingredients
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons vegan sugar
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients
2 1/2 cups of rolled oats
1 cup mixed nuts: pecans, walnuts and pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup of shredded coconut

Dried Fruit
1/4 cup of golden raisins
1/4 cup Thompson raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a big bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix well until the wet ingredients are completely incorporated with the dry ingredients.

Turn out onto the lined baking sheet and pat down so that it is as compact as possible.

Bake on the middle rack in your oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Fill a large bowl with the raisins and cranberries. Break up the granola and toss everything together.

Store in an airtight container and serve with delicious homemade vegan milk. Enjoy!

Rustic Summer Tomato Sauce

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This is by far my most favorite sauce I make. Velvety tomatoes with a little kick. Personally, I like it chunky but if you prefer a smoother sauce, like my husband, run it through a Foley Mill.

serves 2

4 beautiful red ripe summer tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of good organic tomato paste
Red pepper flakes, big pinch
Sea salt, big pinch
Spaghetti, enough for 2 people

Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Make an “X” on the bottom of each tomato. Set up an ice bath.

When the water is boiling, drop the tomatoes in and keep them in there for 30 seconds. Drop right into the ice bath. When the tomatoes are cool, peel the skin off. Next, core and de-seed the tomatoes and chop them up. Set aside.

Dice the onion. Drop into a sauté pan along with a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes. Dry sauté until the onions start to stick and then add a bit of water to deglaze the pan. Cook until the onions become translucent. (Use oil if you prefer.)

Grate the garlic with a microplane or press in a garlic press and add to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Two minutes is slightly arbitrary. Remember, cooking is an art,not a science, and you just have to keep an eye and nose out for what makes sense. The garlic should be getting soft and smell really good.

Add the tomato paste and stir around to coat the onions and garlic.

Get the pasta going.

Add the tomatoes and a splash of water (so that the pan is not dry). Turn the heat up and bring to a boil. Cover and after a few minutes, reduce the heat. Cook for 15 minutes or so until it looks good enough to eat.

When the pasta is almost al dente, use tongs to drop it into the sauté pan. Toss well with tongs and cook together for another minute or two. This enables the pasta to soak up some sauce and finish cooking.

Serve in a big bowl with extra sauce on top. Enjoy!

Avocado Toast

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We love avocados on toast. And apparently it is the new “in” thing. Whatever. We love it with a little cumin and red pepper flakes. The key is to use good bread. It really makes a difference.

1 avocado
1 tablespoon lemon juice
A few shakes of cumin
Sea salt
Red pepper flakes
2 toasts

Toast some really good bread.

Mash an avocado. Squeeze in some lime juice. Add a few shakes of cumin and sea salt. Mix together well. Taste and adjust. Spread on the toast and then sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

Book Report: Salad Samurai

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If you read this blog regularly you know that my vegan idol is Isa Moskowitz. I have made her recipes, participated in Chopped/Vegan, follow her on FB, and even went to a book party that wasn’t even for her because I knew she would be there.

That book party was for Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero who is now tied for the title of “My Vegan Idol!” Even thought she coauthored several books with Isa, my idea of Terry’s cooking was limited to what I saw of her on Vegan Mashup where I got this really great recipe for Chipocado Cookies.

And now I find myself sitting here totally impressed with Terry’s recipes. Her ideas are brilliant and creative and her writing is totally accessible and humorous.

I bought Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-To-Make Salads You Don’t Have To Be Vegan To Love at the book launch party at Mooshoes and had a great conversation with Terry. She is totally down to earth and lovable!

And yes, this book is an entire book of salads! ! couldn’t believe it to be possible but Terry has put together 100 super creative recipes that take salad to the next level. Terry organizes the book by seasons, uses regular ingredients that can be found in any store, and opines about the best ways to prepare salad. One of the best pieces of advice: use long tongs for tossing.

I read through the book and marked at least half of the recipes to try. I decided to start with the Mexican Roasted Corn Salad with Avocado (Esquites) and the Curried Tempeh & Apple Salad in Radicchio Cups. I also took Terry’s idea to roast chickpeas in myy chimichurri sauce (which I had in the refrigerator) and just served them on the side.

All three recipes deliver! Layers of flavor and easy to make. Not only that, but the book is loaded with deliciously beautiful and artsy photos and the design is simple and easy to follow.

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Mexican Roasted Corn Salad with Avocado (Esquites)

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Curried Tempeh & Apple Salad in Radicchio Cups

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Chimichurri Chickpeas

I’m going to be making many more recipes from this book and you should too! Order the book here. You can also catch Terry on Vegan Mashup and her blog veganlatina.com.

Ice Cream Shmice Cream #14: Salted Pistachio

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I love pistachios. And ice cream. So why not pistachio ice cream? To tell the truth, I have never had pistachio ice cream in my whole life. That green color was always such a turn off. But I always have pistachio meat in the house which I like to use for crusted tofupestoquinoa pilaf, or just on top of salads. But on this summer day, they found their way into my ice cream maker!

Note: If you want “white” ice cream, use vegan cane sugar. Check out my post on different vegan sugars. Today I used coconut palm sugar.

2 cans coconut milk
1/4 + 1/2 cup vegan sugar, divided
1 cup pistachio nut meat
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Combine 1 cup of pistachio meat and 1/4 cup of vegan sugar in the food processor. Process until finely ground.

Pour the coconut milk, the pistachio mixture, the rest of the sugar, the vanilla extract and the salt into a bowl. Mix together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Pour the coconut milk mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 10 minutes.

Turn out into a Tovolo ice cream tub or a freezer safe container with a piece of wax paper on top. Freeze, and enjoy!

Daily Buckwheat Pancakes (Gluten-free, Oil Free)

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My son is on a pancake rampage this week. I think it is because he has been at soccer camp and can’t eat enough! I love making these pancakes because buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, energizing, and packs a nutritious punch! It is full of flavonoids, magnesium, has a deeply rich flavor and is a great source of easily digestible protein.

This batter makes about 24 silver dollar size pancakes. Refrigerate any leftover batter and make pancakes daily!

1 cup buckwheat flour
2 cups fresh almond milk
1/4 cup fresh almond pulp
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon maple sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Mix ingredients together with a whisk. Heat a non-stick skillet. Drop pancakes into the pan with a tablespoon measure. When bubbles appear, flip them over. Cook for another minute on the second side. Enjoy with maple syrup and any fruit you like!

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Kale & Radicchio Salad with Lemon Caper Vinaigrette

IMG_5135This salad was inspired by one I had recently at Pure Food & Wine. I rejiggered all of the ingredients into my own version of the salad and dressing. The same flavors but easy to make at home!

Lemon Caper Vinaigrette (makes about 2 cups)
1 cup cashews
1 cup filtered water
The juice of 2 lemons, about 1/4 cup
2 tablespoon capers, plus a little brine
1 tablespoon Dijon or stoneground mustard
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix or blender and let it rip until smooth. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator.

Kale
Radicchio
Red grapes
Golden raisins
Pine nuts
Pumpkin seeds

Slice the kale and radicchio into ribbons and the grapes in half and place into a bowl. Add the raisins, pine nuts and pumpkins. Toss with the dressing. Enjoy!

Habanero Hot Mac ‘n Cheese

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My husband bought these habanero peppers at Wild By Nature because they looked good. It turns out habaneros are the spiciest pepper there is.

I brought some up to Woodstock last week and we made a hot cashew cream dipping sauce for my friend Bart’s amazing roasted potatoes. But what to do with the rest? I was inspired to make this hot mac ‘n cheese after taking a cooking class with the genius behind The Cinnamon Snail food truck. Vegan, organic and wildly delcious. Adam Sobel taught us how to make a jalapeño mac ‘n cheese which was mildly spicy and quite good.

My recipe is not even a close rendition of Adam’s technique or recipe. I have to say that for legal purposes! But to be fair, the umeboshi vinegar from Adam’s recipe made it into this sauce. It is my new favorite vinegar and it will definitely be making its way into dressings and sauces in the future.

Just like with jalapeños, the oil from the habaneros gets onto your skin when you cut them. My fingers were burning for two days last weekend after making the hot cashew cream sauce. What to do? Disposable gloves. Today,my fingers are feeling groovy.

IMG_5151 1 lb gluten free macaronis *

Habanero Hot Mac ‘n Cheese Sauce (makes about 4 cups) **
2 1/2 cups cashews
2 1/2 cups water
1 onion
2 habanero peppers
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (nooch)
1/4 cup umeboshi plum vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste

* I like Andean Dream macaronis because they remind me of the old Kraft macaronis from the blue box.

** Save the rest of the cheese sauce in a container in the refrigerator and make this dish again soon! You don’t even have to bake it like I do here; you can just heat up the sauce and mix with the cooked macaronis.

Chop the onion, habaneros (discard the ribs and seeds) and garlic and sauté in a pan until soft. I water sauté. You can use oil if you prefer.

Place the cashews and water into the Vitamix. Add the cooked onion mixture, nooch, vinegar and tomato paste and let it rip until it is super smooth.

IMG_5159Boil up the macaronis. Mix in the sauce. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle with paprika. Cook for 20 minutes and then turn on the broiler for 5 minutes to get a crispy top. Enjoy!

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Roasted Garlic Hummus Plate