Today is my 6-year blogiversary! I have been sharing my own creations, veganizing my mother’s recipes, recipes I find in the Times and all over the internet, making and reposting other vegan cook’s recipes if I love them, talking about my vegan journey, reviewing vegan products I love (aka Taste Tests!) and reviewing cookbooks (aka Book Reports!) for 6 years. Wow!
It has been a fun ride. I have met tons of great people, coached people on their transition to a vegan lifestyle, and taught people how to cook. I graduated from eCornell with a certificate in plant based nutrition and from two courses at Rouxbe.com.
I have certainly developed my own style of cooking, but, as I have learned over the years, cooking is an art, not a science. In fact, I have gotten really good at reading other people’s recipes and knowing whether or not they are going to work for me based on ingredient list and the instructions as written. Even when I follow my own recipes, I am always tweaking them or making adjustments.
Here is a little video that aired on PBS on my birthday last year starring the famous chef Jacques Pepin. He says that following a recipe can lead to disaster. Watch!
I have posted over 1,000 times in these 6 years. That is a lot of recipes and meal ideas, but I have my favorites like tempeh meatballs, tomato sauce, gnocchi, salad dressing, citrus tofu, chocolate pudding, and pasta a million different ways. And anything that I can make myself, I make. I’m talking bread, roasted peppers, mustard, ketchup, bread crumbs, plant milks, nut butters and tahini, and even ice cream!
What will this year bring? Blue Plate Specials, because there is always a new way to serve tofu and tempeh with a vegetable and a starch or grain. Plenty of cookbook reviews (with bonus recipes and sometimes giveaways) because there are a lot of new books coming out. And new (old) recipes. I am going back to the beginning to recook the blog. It will be fun to see what I was making over the years, what I was thinking or doing that day, and would I even want to make whatever I posted again! Of course, I will be writing and posting all about it here and on Instagram so be sure to follow me over there too.
Oh, and speaking of Instagram, I have gotten involved in a vegan cook along! It is so much fun to cook from the same book as other people from around the country and see what they have to say about the recipes and outcomes. And, it is a great way to connect into the vast, global vegan community.
To celebrate this milestone, I am eating a bowl of gnocchi and sauce, and posting this amazing toasted sunflower seed quinoa salad. I have been making forever and it is one of my all time faves. When I made it this week, I realized I never posted it on the blog, so I saved it for today.
Here is the story. When we first moved into our house, we started going to the local organic health food store. The owner encouraged me from the the minute she met me to make my own food and get creative. She answered all of my questions and taught me so much like how to make beans from scratch and how to make great veggie burgers. I post this salad in her honor and hope to inspire others the way she inspired me.
Toasted Sunflower Seed Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 big leek
1 stalk of celery
1 clove of garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil, to finish (optional)
Fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the sunflower seeds on a baking tray and toast for 10 to 15 minutes, until brown and fragrant. Set aside.
Cook the quinoa according to the package. (You can do this ahead of time.)
Clean the leek well. Then, cut it in half and half again. Then finely slice it. Drop it into a pan with sides. Peel and dice the carrot. Add to the pan. Dice the celery and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Water or oil sauté until the vegetables are fragrant and soft.
Toss the quinoa with the vegetables and add the sunflower seeds.
If you would like to, finish with a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve warm or chill and serve later. Enjoy!