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Posts Tagged ‘tomato’

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My April vacation has come to an end and I’m back to the daily grind. I will get more into what I did in my Travel Tuesday spots but I spent about a week at the Sunshine Coast, two days on a tour of Fraser Island and 4 days on the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast was a surprise addition to my travels and I am so glad I seized the opportunity to go when it was presented. Sometimes the best things in life are the ones that aren’t planned!

Anyway, with all of my traveling I haven’t had a ton of opportunities to cook. I did have a chance to help out at Easter dinner on the Gold Coast, though. I spent dinner with one of my boss’s business partners, Sharon, who opened her home to me and made me feel like family. Her family was so welcoming!

On Easter, I was put on veggie duty and helped make some homemade salsa and this super yummy salad. I was surprised how much I loved it! The ingredients are so simple but it is just so delicious. The first thing I did when I got back to Toowoomba was make a big batch for myself.

Of course, my second attempt at this salad didn’t come out as good as the one I made at East. Apparently, searching Youtube for Taking Back Sunday music videos instead of stirring the pine nuts is a big no-no. So you know, I wouldn’t recommend doing that.

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White Bean and Tomato Salad

  • 1/2 c. pine nuts
  • 550g or about 3 cups of mixed tomatoes, sliced (I used 350g of mixed grape tomatoes and 200g of yellow perino tomatoes. I like the smaller tomatoes but any kind will work)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. basil, thinly sliced
  • 1 can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
  • slightly less then 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Place pine nuts in a small skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Stir continuously until the pines nuts begin to turn golden. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine tomatoes, red onion, basil beans and toasted pine nuts.

Right before serving, add olive oil, salt and pepper to the tomato mix and tossed until well combined.

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I opted for the mixed grape tomatoes and the yellow perino because they tend to be sweeter and because they were just so gosh darn pretty! I mean, the deep red ones are practically purple so clearly I had to purchase them.

Plus, You tube distractions aside, this was such an easy dish to make. I love it because it comes together in minutes and it will last me a few days. It’s pretty and it comes together easily. What more could you ask for??

 

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Back when I was growing up, we very rarely went out to dinner. It was a treat that was reserved for special occasions. My mom cooked dinner almost every night and we always sat down together at the table for dinner.  I didn’t really realize there was another way until high school when my then boyfriend’s family had dinner out almost every night.  Every time I went over, they had take-out from a different place. I had more Chinese food over at their house in the year I was in that relationship then I ever had with my family…or probably since then. I thought it was awesome!

Now that I live on my own and have support myself (what a pain that is!), I still rarely eat out. I try and cook most of my meals at home, which helps me eat healthier and budget better.

With that said, though, I seriously LOVE eating out!  Especially when I get to try a new restaurant. A few weeks ago, two of my friends, on two separate occasions, told me that I need to try this restaurant called Life Alive. It’s super hippie-granola and has tons of vegan choices. I was game! The first time I went, I was so overwhelmed. There are never a lot of vegan options to choose from so having a whole menus worth, well, I didn’t know where to start. So I got a salad and a smoothie. BOR-ING!

I redeemed myself the second time around by ordering their Emperor bowl. It was so good! I’m not even sure if I came up for air during the process of shoveling it in my face.  Actually, I’m pretty sure I came up at least once to tell the person  I was with, “I could totally make this for Wicked Vegan!” And so I have. It’s not exact but I think it hits the spot!

My goal for this recipe was to let the veggies shine. I cooked them for a bit, but mostly until just hot, never until super soft, and kept the dressing  light enough where I felt the veggies were still the focal point

Sweet Corn and Kale Rice Bowl with Miso Dressing
inspired by Life Alive’s Emperor Bowl
makes 4 servings

         Miso Dressing:
         from 101cookbooks.com

  • 2 tablespoons miso
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard (whatever kind you have around, I used Dijon)
  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (recipe calls for brown but I had regular and it worked fine)
  • 1/3 cup mild flavored extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure toasted sesame oil (optional)

Make the dressing by whisking the miso, mustard, and honey/agave together. Now whisk in the rice vinegar and keep whisking until it’s smooth. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, and then the sesame oil. Two pinches of salt. Taste and make any adjustments if needed. Make dressing ahead of time and set aside. I prefer to let this sit overnight because it thickens up and gives the dish a really creamy texture. Feel free to use it right away, though. It will still taste great.

Rice Bowl:

  • 1 cup of brown basmati rice, uncooked
  • olive oil or cooking spray to coat the pan (I used coconut oil cooking spray to reduce oil, sesame oil would be delicious though!)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch of Kale (I used curly)
  • 2 Carrots, shredded
  • 2 Ears of Corn, cooked in  your preferred method (I boiled mine)
  • 1 TBSP of soy sauce
  • 1 block of pressed tofu
  • 2 cups of sun dried tomatoes (NOT packed in oil)
  • sesame seeds

Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let sit for 15-30 minutes or until soft. Once soft, slice into thin strips or dice, depending on preference. Set aside.

Prepare your basmati rice according to the package and set aside. I cook mine differently every time but usually I put 1 cup rice and 2 cups of water in a pot, bring to a boil uncovered, then reduce heat to simmer, cover with a lid, and let it simmer for 30-45 minutes. I find it depends on the brand, though.

Coat a large frying pan in oil and place over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook until it’s fragrant. Add the kale and toss until hot and a little bit wilted but not soggy. I would say about 5-8 minutes depending on your preference. Set kale aside.

Coat the pan again with a little more cooking spray, if needed. Add shredded carrots and corn with a splash of soy sauce. Again, cook until hot. Set aside.

Crumble the tofu in the same pan you used for the corn and carrots and cook until golden brown, stirring only occasionally. Set aside.

To assemble your rice bowl, you should have 1 cup of kale, 1/2 c. of rice, 1/2 cup of the corn/carrot mixture, 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes,  1/4 of the tofu, salad dressing to taste and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

To reheat or store leftovers, I really wanted to keep the measurements of this dish intact because it follows the Rabbit Food for my Bunny Teeth food pyramid. So I stored everything in separate containers. Then, to reheat, I would portion everything out, dump it in a pan on the stove, and reheat everything together. If the portions don’t bother you, store everything in one large container and just reheat however much you want on the stove top.

This is one of those meals that takes some steps but it’s SO yummy when it comes together. I love it because it sounds and feels fancy but, especially during this season when corn is 50 cents per ear (if not less), it ends up being a relatively inexpensive dish that tastes so fresh! I was able to buy all my veggies at the farmers market and already had rice in bulk. My biggest purchase was the miso paste, which you can find in the cold section of your grocery store near the tofu or in an asian grocery store.

Shoveling this unceremoniously into your mouth is pretty much the only way to eat it, just so you know!

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Last week was brutal. Every time I walked into the kitchen, I just started melting. It was just too hot and humid to function.

Despite this, I attempted to make cookies for my friends on Friday. Worst. Idea. Ever. The first batch spread out to thin pancakes in the oven. I attempted to chill them and add a bit of flour and then they just sat like rocks in the oven. They also turned an odd brown color. Rock shape + brown color resulted in my friends affectionately nicknaming them Cat Poop cookies. Thanks, guys! =)

After this lovely attempt at turning my oven on again, I reluctantly accepted  the fact that it’s not fall yet. ARGH!

So I am reluctantly continuing with my no-bake, no-oven routine. I hate it, but I’m continuing. Here is a recipe for cold soup. It’s my compromise with the weather- I want it to be fall and cook soups and wear boots and scarves. But the weather is all, no way! I’m going to be humid and ruin your life and make you want to waste away in front of the AC. Fine, I’ll make cold soup. Be that way.

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Raspberry-Nectarine Gazpacho
from New England Soup Kitchen Cookbook, found on Free Recipes
makes about 6 servings 

2 cups red raspberries
3 nectarines, peeled and diced
1/2 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1/2 long English cucumber, diced small
1 ripe tomatoes, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
3 cups V-8 Splash juice (I used the Berry Blend flavor cause it had raspberry juice in it)
3 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
Juice of 1 fresh limes
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon green Tabasco sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a very large and deep bowl, combine the raspberries, nectarines, scallions, yellow pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, V-8 Splash, tomato juice, bread crumbs, lime juice, cilantro, Tabasco sauce, salt, and pepper and stir well.

Pour 3 cups of the soup into a blender. Puree until the texture is mostly smooth, but a few chunks remain. Return to the bowl and stir to incorporate.(I made sure that all the cilantro and bread crumbs got put into the blender because I didn’t want whole herbs or soggy bread in my soup but that was just personal preference) Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Before I made this, I pretty strongly believed that soup should not be cold. I’m desperate for something other than salads, though. So, I braved the cold soup and I’m really glad I did! It’s different, especially since I’ve never had any sort of gazpacho. But this blog was created to encourage me to try new things so I can share them with you! So, I guess it succeeded!

Now…is it too soon to start a count down to fall? *cough 40 days cough* How about to start a birthday list if my birthday is early October??

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ahh yes. Another week as arrived. I spent the weekend moonlighting as Minnie Mouse at my niece’s Disney Carnival Birthday party (It was a bazillion degrees out!), working, and brunching it up with some friends at Fiori’s bakery (bagel sandwich with tempeh, avocado and spicy veganaise…so good!). I was hoping to catch up on some much needed sleep but that was the one thing I didn’t manage to fit in! There never seems to be enough hours in the day during the summer.

Anyway, due to the fact that it is, as a mentioned, a bazillion degrees out (and usually humid), my oven has officially been retired for the next few months (with the exception of roasted chickpeas…cause I’m obsessed!). I’ve been eating lots of salads, fruits and lighter meals which is why Wicked Vegan has been light on posts lately. Strawberries and blueberries drizzled with agave and shredded coconut (aka, my breakfast last week) is delicious but not super exciting! How many more weeks ’til fall? I miss the cool weather and comfort food!

Until then, here is one of the many salads I’ve been eating with yummy summer veggies.  Perfect for when you buy a crap load of corn on the cobb because they are 50 cents a piece…

Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing
salad was adapted from For The Love of Cooking;
serves 1-2  

  • 1 cooked corn on the cob (can be cooked however you like- grilled, boiled, etc)
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, approximately 6, quartered
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/8 c chickpeas (preferably roasted with a little salt and pepper)*
  • 5 strawberries, sliced
  • quinao (optional, about 1/2 cup per person)
Cut the cooked corn kernels off the cob. Toss with the tomatoes, avocado, chickpeas and strawberries. Drizzle Honey Lime Dressing (recipe below) over the corn mixture and let it sit for 10-15 minutes so the flavors mingle  and the avocado breaks down a bit (makes the dish creamier. yum!). Eat as is or mix with quinoa for a heartier dish.
*To roast chickpeas for this recipe, toss one 14 oz can with 2 TBSP of olive oil and salt and pepper (to taste). Roast for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. You can also use this cinnamon chickpea recipe with the cinnamon dressing for this salad and it also tastes delicious!

Honey Lime Dressing:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
Add all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

I know this recipe seems to have a lot of ‘approximates’ and vague ingredient amount. It’s because I make it a little different each time. I may have found a really good deal on tomatoes that day but am running short on chickpeas, or I’m having this as a small lunch or I’m throwing quinoa in for dinner. I love it because I almost always have these ingredients in the house during the summer so I can make this  quickly for almost any meal/snack. It’s light for summer, requires minimal stove work (I always make the chickpeas in the evenings when it’s cooler and make one big batch at a time) and it tastes fresh- all the things I require from a summer meal!

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Ahh…May 24. Today is my friend Sean’s birthday. Normally, I wouldn’t blast my friends’ birthdays on my blog but Sean’s having a bit of difficulty admitting that 1. Birthdays are the shit! (seriously, it’s a whole day for people to celebrate how awesome you are. What’s there not to love) and 2. he’s a year older than he was last year (26 isn’t old, thankyouverymuch!!). So to help him deal with his unhappiness over this particular day, I’m doing what any good friend would do…I’m sharing his birthday with the entire internet world.

(Don’t worry… I don’t get that many hits on this blog)

((He’s still going to kill me and possibly never talk to me again))

So, in celebration of Sean’s birthday, I’m sharing with you today… drum roll please….

A Salad!!

Wait..what? I know, it’s weird BUT the ice cream cookie cups I made in his honor will be way better to share with you tomorrow, as in Friday, as in the end of the week. I started the week off with a smoothie, I can’t end it with a salad!

I wasn’t even going to post this on my blog cause I didn’t want to bore you but my roomie, Bonnie, said it sounded pretty good and was interested so I figured I’d give it a shot. After all, this blog was designed to share with you my vegan meals and this is what I’ve been having for dinner all week

Veggy Salad with Quinoa
from Lauren Conrad.com 

  • a big handful of mixed greens, lettuce and/or baby spinach (I used baby spinach)
  • 1/2 an avocado, cubed
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes (I slice mine in half, which is sort of weird but the only way I can eat them)
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon,lime or orange juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine greens to quinoa together in a big bowl. Mix together the vinegar, olive oil and juice. Pour over salad and top with salt and pepper.

I didn’t put measurements for the dressing because honestly, I never measure this out. I always do a few glugs of balsamic vinegar, a splash of oil because I really don’t like a ton, and a little more lime juice than oil. Not very scientific.

The addition of the quinoa is great because it makes the salad really filling. I feel like, though salads can be really good for you, they often don’t hold you over. This one actually makes you feel full and satisfied so I’m a big fan! Thank you pinterest for introducing me to Lauren Conrad’s website. I’m kind of a fan now!

So in conclusion, Happy Birthday, Sean! As my present to you, I won’t make you eat this salad because  I know it’s not up your alley. And I hope you still speak to me at work. =D

 

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Sunday, I may have stayed up until about 2:30 am making 5 dozen cupcakes and my lunch for the week. And then I may have had to wake up at 6:30am…

And then Monday, I may have worked 7:30am-9:30pm between both my jobs and I may not have gotten to bed until 10:30, which may not have helped me recover from my 4 hours of sleep the night before…

And then I may have come home from work on Tuesday with every intention of going to my dance class, which I love to pieces, but I may have been so tired from Sunday and Monday, that I crawled into bed at 6, caught up on all my TV shows I’ve been missing out on (I’m so addicted to Once Upon a Time), snacked on some Cafe Indigo Vegan Chocolate cake and went to bed early…instead of going to dance class.

You know…that may have happened…

Good thing I had this yummy salad for lunch. Makes me feel less guilty about that whole crawl-into-bed-and-do-nothing thing…

“Back on Track” Wheatberry and Bean Salad
  from Oh She Glows

Yield: 7.5-8 cups

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry wheatberries, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • Kosher salt + pepper, to taste

Dressing (or sub in your favourite dressing)

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt, ground black pepper, & Herbamare, to taste

Prepare wheatberries according to package. I could not find mine in the bulk section of Whole Foods so I had to buy it in the bag from the grain section. To prepare, I added 1 cup of wheatberries to 1 1/2 c. of boiling water and let sit for one hour. Drain excess water (if you have any).

In a large bowl, mix together the diced vegetables (cucumber, red pepper, tomato, minced garlic, green onions). Add in chickpeas and stir.

In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside.

When the wheatberries are ready, stir into the salad. Add the dressing just before serving and stir well. Now season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley if desired.


I can’t say I loved the wheatberry, though, in fairness, mine look nothing like the ones on Oh She Glows so it may have been the type I bought. I think next go around, I’d substitute some brown basmati rice or try a different type of wheatberries.

Also, this recipe called for 1 cup of fresh, chopped parsley but I couldn’t find it anywhere at the grocery store. They were all sold out. It still has a good flavor without it.

It’s appropriate this salad is called “Back on Track” because after being a lazy bum all Tuesday evening, I’m seriously going to have to get back on track today!!

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A few weeks ago was my Dad’s birthday. He turned the big 5-0 and courtesy of my second job, I totally missed his birthday dinner. Not cool, Erin. Not cool.

So to make it up to him, I decided to make him a super yummy lunch… which just happened to be vegan.  My thought was, if the meal is good enough he would never even realize he’s missing meat or dairy. And really, how can  he miss those things when you have beer pretzels and a Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Soup, which is chuck full of flavors he loves??

Turns out, Dad had a bit of a surprise for me. Half way through the preparation of my pretzels and soups, he lets it slip that he had a brisket on the smoker. A brisket? As in, smoked cow? yeeeeah…that’s definitely not vegan, Dad! So much for stealthily sneaking that vegan lunch on him. Carnivore-1; Vegan-0

Meat or no meat, this soup is amazing! I’ve made it twice already. I like  dividing it up into 5 servings and taking it to lunch with me for the week.

Smoky Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Soup

via Whole Living
serves 4 or 5

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
2 carrots, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
4 cups vegetable broth*
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup quinoa
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
2 cups cooked black beans
salt to taste
cilantro or daiya cheese to garnish, optional

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and stir in the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and carrots, cook another 3 minutes. Add in the cumin, chili powder, and oregano and stir to coat.

Pour the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, quinoa and chipotle chile in the pot. Bring everything to a boil, then cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Once the quinoa is cooked, you should see the familiar little quinoa tail, stir in the black beans and salt to taste. Heat until everything is cooked through. Serve garnished with cilantro or vegan cheese. (I only used vegan cheese once or twice. I really like it just plain. It has enough flavor on its own)

*the recipe only calls for 4 cups of broth but the soup really absorbs the broth when you reheat it. I would suggest picking up an extra can or resealable carton of vegetable broth and keeping it on hand so that you can add it to the leftovers before eating.

This soup is also super versatile. I omitted the cumin and replaced the oregano with italian seasoning because that’s what I had and it still tasted great.

I know pretzels and soup sound crazy but it definitely worked. Trust me! It was delicious. 

(PS. Do you like my fancy, ripped paper towel. Someone get this girl some better kitchen props! )

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