Saturday, August 30, 2014

Avocado Cup Salad with Cucumbers, Radishes, and Ginger-Miso Dressing

Another great recipe for hot weather. If you're not cooking for a crowd, I would still make the full batch of salad and dressing, even if I were only stuffing one or two avocados. The salad will keep longer and is good on its own.

In the couple of weeks that have passed since I first made this, it's become clear to me that this salad left its mark--I've been putting cucumber and radish in everything, and have made several other dishes (like one with spicy blanched green beans) that have some sort of miso-sesame sauce. This may have been where it all began.

Avocado Cup Salad with Cucumbers, Radishes, and Ginger-Miso Dressing
(from smitten kitchen)

1 cup finely diced cucumber (from about half a long English or 2 small Persian cukes), seeds removed
1 cup finely diced radishes (from about 4 large red ones)
2 scallions, finely chopped
4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons miso
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated or minced fresh ginger root (or more to taste)
2 teaspoon white sesame seeds, toasted
4 ripe avocados

Mix cucumber, radishes and scallions in a medium bowl. In a small dish, whisk sesame oil, miso, rice vinegar and ginger. Add dressing flavor and seasonings to taste. Halve avocados and remove pits. Score avocado halves with a knife, cutting lines in both directions to form a grid, but being careful not to through the skin.

If you’re serving all four avocados right away, go ahead and mix the dressing and salad ingredients together, then heap each avocado half with salad and dressing and garnish with mix of sesame seeds. If you’d like to stretch this over several days of lunches or the like, keep the mixed salad ingredients and dressing in separate dishes. When you’re ready to eat, cut and score your avocado, dot a little dressing directly on each half, heap with salad filling and drizzle with more dressing. Garnish with mix of seeds.

Eat with a spoon.

Avocado Tartare

Take my word for it, this avocado tartare recipe from the first mess was superb. In fact, a totally famous rock star ate it and said so!

Think guacamole with a completely different set of flavors. Basil instead of cilantro, sherry vinegar instead of lime juice, mustard and capers... honestly I just ate this straight out of the bowl (hence the shitty photo), but I think it would do marvelous work in a menu when you want something to fill the functional role of guacamole (rich dip or side dish), but when the other things you're making have more Italianish qualities.

Avocado Tartare


1 small red onion, small dice
2 tbsp capers, minced
3 sprigs of basil, chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp sherry vinegar
small splash of tamari soy sauce
salt + pepper
1 medium, just-ripe avocado (You want the avocado to be ripe, but not so ripe that it’s soft and mushy)


In a medium bowl, combine the diced red onion, capers, basil, mustard, sherry vinegar, tamari, salt, pepper and a big splash of extra virgin olive oil. Cut the avocado down the middle and remove the pit. Carefully peel the exterior, trying to preserve the integrity of the flesh. Dice it up somewhat small and toss it into the bowl with the capers, mustard, sherry vinegar etc. Squeeze in the rest of the lime juice. Toss everything to combine, check for seasoning, and adjust accordingly.

Serve the avocado tartare with roasted beets, crackers/crostini, parsley leaves, diced onion... or just eat it with a spoon. Makes almost 2 cups.


Sauteed swiss chard and chickpeas with black bean paste

Friday, August 22, 2014

Roasted Mushroom Lentil Salad with Truffle Oil

I know truffle oil is like so not cool anymore, but it still makes things taste really good. Humble things, like potatoes, and mushrooms, and--newest discovery--lentils! Brown lentils are like the cheapest food out there, and while adding a small amount of truffle oil may not make them fancy, it makes them really delicious. I also added some fresh basil after taking this photo.

Roasted Mushroom Lentil Salad with Truffle Oil
(original, but a bit of a throwback to this marinated broccoli lentil salad and to this lentil and mushroom warm salad)

1 c brown lentils, rinsed
2 tsp tamari
1 bay leaf
8 oz. button mushrooms (or similar), washed and quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 TB olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp truffle oil
1/4 c fresh basil (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Simmer lentils in water with tamari and bay leaf until thoroughly cooked but not total mush. 
3. Meanwhile, toss mushrooms with garlic, pepper, salt, and olive oil. Place in a baking dish and roast until juicy.
4. When lentils are done, remove bay leaf and drain excess water. Toss with balsamic vinegar and truffle oil and place in fridge. When mushrooms are ready, add them as well, plus basil (if using). Serve at any temperature. Serves 3-4.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chickpea Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Smoky Tomato Sauce

This recipe from Vegan Richa is really, really good. It's not that hard, but it's pretty and delicious. And sort of Latin-South Asian fusion--so creative. I thought it would be redundant to have some of the chickpeas in the sauce, and some of the sauce in the chickpea stuffing, but it actually give great coherence to the overall dish. I also used some lemony cashew cream, but something avocado-based would be awesome, too.

Chickpea Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Smoky Tomato Sauce
(from vegan richa)


Bonus! I had some sauce left over, so I blended it into a new batch of hummus:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

More Caribbean Vegan

Split Pea Soup w/Tempeh Ham, Coconut Rice, and Curry Kale (from Sauteed Spinach recipe)

You would be amazed that there isn't actually meat in this rich, smoky split pea soup, and the coconut rice is one of my favorite rice dishes of all time, creamy and spicy. The author isn't paying me to say this, but you should probably just get the cookbook.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mushroom-Stuffed Crepes with Lemon-Thyme Cashew Cream

I'm just going to admit that this dish made me feel pretty awesome at life. Created spontaneously out of ingredients that were already in the fridge, this dish came together in 30 or 40 minutes for breakfast this morning.

Now, as I have before, I used the vegan brunch recipe for crepes. Such an easy recipe because all the ingredients just go into the blender and then onto the griddle. The cashew cream is so easy; I've been making versions of it and putting it on just about everything--enchiladas, stuffed peppers, etc.

Mushroom-Stuffed Crepes with Lemon-Thyme Cashew Cream
makes about 4 crepes

for the crepes:
1/2 recipe crepes from vegan brunch cookbook

for the cashew cream: 
1/2 c cashews
4 cloves roasted garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 tsp zest
pinch thyme
1/2 tsp better than boullion
water as needed
Cover the cashews with lots of water and then soak. Or just boil the crap out of them and they'll be ready in 20 minutes. Blend cashews with 3/4 c water and remaining ingredients, adding water as needed. Adjust seasonings to taste.

for the mushroom filling:
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, minced
8 oz sliced mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp splash tamari
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Over medium-high heat, heat the oil, then add garlic and scallion and sautee until soft. Add mushrooms and saute until soft, adding the splash of tamari near the end. Finish by adding black pepper, rosemary, and vinegar; stir and allow to sit for a few minutes before putting into crepes.