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Vegan Planet: July 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010


Corn and Blueberry Salad with Spicy Mango Dressing

This is one of those salads that started out simple and escalated from there. I had a ripe mango, so I made a nice spicy mango dressing. Then I noticed a couple ears of leftover corn and a container of blueberries in the fridge. That’s when things started clicking.

After removing the corn from the cobs and combining them in a bowl with the blueberries, I added some dark red kidney beans for protein (and a lovely color contrast) along with a chopped cucumber, sliced carrot, a couple minced scallions, and some cilantro (although I’m sure, parsley, basil, or tarragon would be equally lovely).

I can tell you this wonderful summer salad tasted even better than it looks!

Here’s the dressing recipe — in addition to using it on salads, it makes a yummy dipping sauce for spring rolls.

Spicy Mango Dressing

3 tablespoons mango juice or mango puree
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced scallions
1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce (or more, to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir to blend.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010


Smoky Joes

My current favorite version of sloppy Joes are the Smoky Joes from Vegan on the Cheap. I make them with ground seitan, although you can use what you like, including veggie burger crumbles, cooked lentils, tempeh, or even bulgur. Smoky Joes get their smokiness (and heat) from chipotle chiles in adobo. I like to make up a batch ahead of time to give the flavors a chance to get even better. Then it’s just heat and eat.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Smoky Joes helped me celebrate my “independence” from the kitchen on the 4th of July this year. Served with pasta slaw and some chips, we enjoyed a fun, no-fuss meal and finished up in time to watch the fireworks.

Smoky Joes are also a great choice to bring along if you’re invited to an omni cookout since you might not want to put your veggie burgers on a grill where meat is cooking. In case you don’t have your own copy of Vegan on the Cheap yet, here’s the recipe for Smoky Joes:

Smoky Joes
8 ounces seitan
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1 or 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely minced
1 teaspoon brown mustard
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 burger rolls
1. Shred, grind, or finely chop the seitan and set it aside.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, cover, and cook until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. Stir in the chopped seitan and the soy sauce and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to lightly brown.
3. Stir in the ketchup, tomato paste, water, chipotle chiles, mustard, chili powder, paprika, Liquid Smoke, salt, and pepper. Mix well, adding a little more water if the mixture is too dry. Simmer for 5 minutes to blend flavors.
4. When ready to serve, spoon the mixture onto the rolls and serve hot.

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Monday, July 12, 2010


Tea Time … and a Contest Winner!

I’ve been wanting to make “bubble tea” at home for a year now, but could never find those large-diameter straws big enough for the tapioca pearls – I finally found them in an Asian grocery in Charlottesville, VA.

My first foray into using the tapioca pearls was to add them to this Thai iced tea. So pretty and delicious, and those chewy tapioca pearls coming up through the straw are such a treat. Who knew drinking tea could be this much fun?

Cookbook Giveaway Contest Winner
First a big thank you to all who entered the cookbook giveaway by sharing your favorite summer foods. Lots of great food picks, including many votes for the super-popular tomatoes, watermelon, corn, and berries. Now on to the random-pick winner…

The winner of a copy of American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes is: Rose. Congratulations! (Rose: Just send me an e-mail with your mailing address and I’ll get a copy of this terrific book right off to you.)

Thanks again to everyone who participated. It was fun to see all of your yummy summer food choices — I love them all!

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Stuffed Capers

…well, stuffed caper berries, to be more precise. I’m not referring to the diminutive capers we use for tapenade, picatta, and puttanesca sauce. I’m talking about those large stem-on caper berries, which resemble smallish green olives. I’ve occasionally seen them used as garnish or dropped into a martini, but I’d never seen them stuffed, which was, of course, the only thing I wanted to do with them when I brought some home the other day.

To my mind, the caper berry seemed ideal for stuffing and the built-in stem makes it a perfect “pick up” food. A tray of stuffed caper berries would make an elegant an unusual appetizer or serve two to each person on a small plate as an amuse bouche, so, I thought why not give it a try?

How do you stuff a caper? First take a small sharp knife and slice a small “cap” off one side. Using the tip of the knife, remove the tiny seeds from inside each caper berry. For a stuffing, combine a raisin, a piece of walnut, and a small piece of roasted garlic inside the caper (or for a more homogenous stuffing, finely mince the stuffing ingredient and mix together before stuffing into the caper). Replace the “cap” and wrap the caper in a very small piece of puff pastry and place it on a baking sheet. Once they’re all stuffed, bake them at 400 degrees F until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. (Let them cool for a few seconds before biting into one because the inside is hot.) The result is not just plain old stuffed capers, but “pastry-wrapped” stuffed capers. (Remember, you saw it here first!)

They were so much fun to eat — just use the stem as a handle to pick them up. So cute, and literally bursting with great flavors and textures. I served them to company this weekend and everyone loved them.

In other news:
Cookbook Giveaway: There’s still time to enter the cookbook giveaway (see the previous post). The winner will receive a copy of American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes. The winner will be chosen on July 12.


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