Caprese Salad

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I said I would make a caprese salad when we had this one at Christopher’s Kitchen in Florida. And here it is with gorgeous tomatoes from the CSA.

Fresh tomatoes *
Cashew cheese
Fresh basil
Aged balsamic vinegar

Cashew Cheese
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup water, or more depending on consistency you like
Dash of lemon juice
Pinch of salt

Place the cashews and water into the Vitamix. If you don’t have a Vitamix, soak the cashews for at least 8 hours. Process until completely combined. Add more water if too thick. Add a dash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt, if desired. Taste and adjust but keep the salt to a pinch!

Slice the tomatoes. Place a slice on a plate. Add a dollop of cheese. Alternate with tomatoes and cheese until you have made a beautiful plate. Decorate with fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

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* CSA 2013 Week #12

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Pasta Puttanesca

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I love the supposed origin of this pasta. Pasta puttanesca is literally “prostitute pasta” because the ladies were so busy working, this was an quick meal to make and eat between jobs! They were right, those working girls! It is super quick and perfect on a busy weeknight.

This is definitely in the top 5 of my husband’s all time favorite Lisa meals. I love it too and I make it my own special way: tomato paste, a combination of black and green olives (because I love green olives), and a few secret ingredients for an overall outstanding sauce.

1 clove of garlic
1 7oz jar tomato paste
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chickpea miso
1 cup black and/or green olives
2 tablespoons capers (drained)
Olive oil
Sprinkle of vegan cane sugar, optional
S and P, to taste
1 package spaghetti
Chiffonade of fresh basil, 4 to 6 big leaves

Get the pasta going.

Mince the garlic. Add a small amount of olive oil into a pan with sides, enough to cook the garlic. Keep the flame on low and cook the garlic until fragrant and soft.

Add the tomato paste, water, and chickpea miso and whisk to combine. Cook on a medium flame.

Press the olives with the back of a big knife to push out the pits and then roughly chop them. Add to the sauce along with the capers. Taste and then season with sugar, salt and pepper. Taste again and adjust.

Drain the spaghetti and then drop it into the sauce and mix well.

To chiffonade the basil, place the leaves one on top of the other. Roll them up like you are rolling a joint or cigar and thinly slice the joint/cigar. Voila! Chiffonade of basil.

Serve pasta in a big bowl with basil on top. Enjoy!

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Tempeh Parmesan Hero

I love breading tempeh and using it for blue plate specials. Recently I made tempeh cutlets and the next day I heated up the leftovers to make a sandwich. As I was eating, I thought to myself that this would be great with tomato sauce and vegan cheese. So here is my version of a parmesan hero. And it is great over pasta (see below) too!

Breaded Tempeh
1 package soy tempeh
1 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons tamari
Flour
Vegan milk (I used oat because I had it in the house)
Panko breadcrumbs
Fresh parsley, chopped
S and P

Cut tempeh in half, half again, and then into 8 cutlets. Steam in apple juice and tamari for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Set up breading station by pouring each element into a bowl. I have no measurements, just use your judgement!

1 – flour
2 – vegan milk
3 – panko + fresh chopped parsley + salt + pepper
4 – plate for breaded tempeh

Dredge the tempeh in the flour, then the milk and then the panko. Heat up sunflower oil in a non-stick skillet and cook until tempeh is crispy on the first side. Using tongs, turn and cook on the other side.

Tomato sauce
Hero bread (I used Ezekiel 4:9 Buns)
Olive oil
Vegan parmesan, optional
Vegan mozzarella cheese, optional (We love Daiya!)

Heat the tomato sauce.

Brush the hero bread with olive oil and toast in a 350 oven for five minutes until crispy.

Place the tempeh on the bread and top with tomato sauce. Top with vegan parmesan and/or vegan Daiya cheese. Place back in the oven for five minutes to melt the chese.

Enjoy!

Bonus! Tempeh Parmesan and Spaghetti (or what to do with leftover tempeh cutlets). For a quick leftovers lunch, heat tomato sauce in a skillet and add the tempeh. Make the pasta and then toss it all together. Top with vegan parmesan. Enjoy!