grilled tilapia with mango salsa & andean quinoa & corn salad

My second attempt at a recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant farm fresh meals card deck was an Andean Quinoa & Corn Salad. Having started the dinner planning with a side dish, I thought fish with some kind of fruit salsa might go well as a main. I found this recipe (slightly embarrassed to say) from Oprah’s O magazine online: Grilled tilapia with mango salsa. Although I have made a great veggie lasagna recipe from there, so I shouldn’t dis Oprah so much.

Grilled tilapia with mango salsa & Andean quinoa & corn salad

For the quinoa salad, rinse 1 cup of dry quinoa under running water several times and set aside to drain. I used red quinoa instead of white since I thought it would look more colorful with the corn. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a saucepan, add 1 tsp paprika, and stir constantly for about 1 minute. Add the quinoa, 1 1/4 cups water, and 1 tsp salt, cover, and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Meanwhile, I steamed two ears of fresh corn (you can use frozen corn kernels if you like), cut the kernels off the cobs, and and set them aside in the refrigerator. Heat 2 tbs olive oil and sauté 1 diced onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tsp cumin, and 1 tsp coriander until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1-2 chopped bell peppers (I used red), a fresh hot chili (seeded, stemmed, and minced), and 2 tbs chopped cilantro, and sauté for another 3-5 minutes. In a large serving bowl, combine the cooked quinoa and the sautéed vegetables and chill. Finally, stir in the corn, 1 large chopped tomato (I used the equivalent amount of chopped cherry tomatoes), parsley (if desired), 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, salt, and black pepper.

This turned out to be a great mix of flavors – perfect for dinner on a hot summer night! If you’re only cooking for two people there will be plenty of leftovers. I tossed the leftover mango salsa in the food processor today, pulsed a few times to make it less chunky, and am bringing it to a barbeque today to eat with some blue corn chips.

navajo peach crumble

On the last day of my boyfriend’s family reunion in northern Maine, we stopped for a lobster roll and then had some time to kill before checking in at the airport. There’s not a whole lot to do in Bangor, so we wandered around the LL Bean outlet store for a while. At the “impulse buy” shelves by the register, I found a box of recipe cards: “Farm Fresh Meals: 50 Delicious Recipes for Every Season” from Moosewood Restaurant, which I had to buy. Inside, each recipe is on its own card, organized by season, so you can just pull the card out and take it to the grocery store. Genius.

California white peaches

It didn’t take me long to put it to use. We were invited to a friend’s place for dinner last night, so I decided to go through the “Summer” section and make a dessert. Since peaches are abundant right now, I made the Navajo Peach Crumble. What makes it Navajo? Well, that’s not explicitly explained in the recipe, but it does mention that cornmeal and pine nuts, two of the ingredients, are staples of the southwestern U.S. Anyway, this is super simple to prepare. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup unbleached white flour, 1/3 cup cornmeal, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/8 tsp salt. Using two knives, cut in 6 tbs butter until coarse crumbs form (you might have to use your fingers at the end to roll it). Then add 1 tbs toasted pine nuts (optional). In a separate bowl, combine 3 cups peeled and sliced peaches, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tbs lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. I found these giant white California peaches, and ended up using three of them, which was a little more than three cups. I also added extra lemon juice because I thought the tartness of the white peaches would be less than regular peaches. Spread the peach mixture into a round 9 or 10 inch pie pan and sprinkle the topping over it. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.

We served it with butter pecan Haagen Dazs. Deeeeee-licious.

Navajo Peach Crumble

edamame salad

So I did an extra day of vegan-ism, unintentionally really. I had so many leftovers in my fridge to eat! My friend Jonill came over for dinner last night, because I had promised to make her veggie sushi after my first attempt last week. This time I did an avocado-cucumber roll and a tofu-carrot-grilled asparagus roll, both made with brown rice. I also made the veggie summer rolls with peanut dipping sauce that I made for Vegan Week day 2. I had some edamame in the freezer, and wanted to make some sort of edamame salad to round out the meal. Most of the recipes I saw involved corn, which is not what I was going for. I came across this recipe though, which was perfect. I had to go buy furikake (after looking up what it was first!) and I just used one large orange pepper instead of five small multicolored peppers – which would have made it look even more colorful than it did. I also sauteed the shiitakes briefly in sesame oil, because they didn’t taste that great after just soaking in water. Now to think of things to do with a giant container of furikake…

Edamame salad with shiitake, orange pepper, and furikake

Vegan Week, Day 7

Day 7: Brunch
A Sunday morning and the last official day of Vegan Week clearly calls for pancakes. Blueberry pancakes! I came across this simple recipe and replaced the soy milk with almond milk, since that’s what I had in the fridge. The pancakes fluffed up very nicely and tasted great. My boyfriend said he’d eat these pancakes in place of regular pancakes any time.

Vegan blueberry pancakes

Day 7: Dinner
I ate seitan (mock duck) last night, but I still hadn’t cooked with it, so on tonight’s menu was Seitan Gyros with vegan tzatziki sauce and arugula salad. I made a slightly different twist on this recipe, mostly with changes to the tzatziki sauce. I used plain coconut yogurt, because I didn’t see any plain soy at the store, just flavored (another recipe I saw suggested toffuti sour cream which actually might have been the best choice here). There was still a lot of sweetness to the coconut yogurt though, so I left out the sugar, doubled the lemon juice, replaced the dill weed with oregano, and added two large cloves of minced garlic, and a dash of cayenne, cumin, and paprika. The coconut yogurt is still an odd consistency if you’re used to greek yogurt, but it tasted good once I added all that extra spice. I got lazy and bought seitan strips so I didn’t have to shave a 1 pound block of seitan. The cooking itself was a little tricky – I think I needed more oil maybe? – but the gyro, once assembled, came out great! But very messy.

Seitan gyro with vegan tzatziki sauce


Day 7: Dessert

You can’t do a whole vegan week without attempting to make a dessert. And anyone who knows me knows my addiction to peanut butter.

Vegan peanut butter blondies

So vegan peanut butter blondies? Yes please! Insanely simple to make, but definitely heed the advice to wait until completely cooled until cutting (I couldn’t wait to taste it, so the edge crumbled). They were so good I had to give a bunch away otherwise I was afraid I’d eat the entire pan full. If these couldn’t fool a non-vegan, nothing could.

So this ends vegan week. I have to say I didn’t miss much except seafood. No cheese, egg, or meat cravings, no mood swings, and I feel like I’ve eaten a ton this week and never felt deprived or hungry! There are still tons of vegan recipes I’d like to make in the future, and I will try to post them when I do.

Vegan Week, Day 6

If there’s anyone out there who’s actually reading this on a daily basis, you might be wondering, “Wait, what happened to Day 5?” Well, I did eat only vegan foods on Day 5 but I didn’t have time to cook anything or write about it, as my dog went in for unexpected surgery.

Spirulina almond milk banana shake

I threw together an almond milk banana shake with spirulina (I did find spirulina finally) – a small photo here. Yes it’s very green, and so good for you. I forced myself to eat some leftovers from the past few days while my dog was at the vet, and then we ordered in dinner so I could keep a close eye on the little patient. Actually, dinner is worth noting: we tried a vegan restaurant in Park Slope, The V-Spot, which has a wide range of Mexican, Italian, and Asian vegan food. It was good! We shared crispy nuggets with barbeque sauce as an appetizer, and then my boyfriend got the Philly Cheese”steak” (soy steak, onions, peppers, mushrooms and soy cheese), and I got a whole wheat quesadilla with soy cheese, chipotle black beans, sweet plantains, green peppers and onions. And the dessert menu sounded completely awesome. Anyway, on to Day 6…

Day 6: Brunch

Curry tofu scramble with wilted spinach

A few weeks ago, we went to a restaurant in my neighborhood that I love, Flatbush Farm, where I had a curried tofu scramble with sauteed kale for brunch that I dreamed about for the next few days. So I went looking for a recipe that sounded similar. There are several out there, and I decided to try this one. I didn’t have fennel seeds but I think that’s ok. It was really good, especially on top of a slice of whole wheat toast. The Flatbush Farm version had some kind of delicious sweetness to it though, so next time I’ll try adding honey (not vegan) or sugar or agave. Just a note – it is very spicy, so you should reduce the chili pepper flakes if that’s an issue.

Day 6: Dinner
We had planned to meet up with friends on the Upper East Side for dinner. At first, without thinking too much about it, we decided on an Italian restaurant, and I thought I could just find some sort of veggie pasta and ask them to hold the cheese. About three hours before dinner, the chef side of my brain woke up and I realized that I’ve made my own pasta before and there is usually egg involved. A quick call to the restaurant (which really made me appreciate what full-time vegans must go through all the time) confirmed that there was egg in all of their pasta dough. So it was either survive on a side salad for dinner or come up with plan B. Thankfully everyone was nice about changing plans at the last minute to accommodate my crazy food challenges, so we ended up at Tiny Thai.

Thai vegetarian “duck” in chili basil sauce

I felt adventurous and went for the “Vegetarian Duck” in chili basil sauce. I figured it wasn’t something I was going to make at home, so I should try it. Delicious! Of course it didn’t have the same consistency as duck, but if you’re prepared for that and like seitan, it’s really good. (But I have to admit I did want a bite of Chris’s red snapper).