Monday, July 28, 2008

Salads! Word!

that is some classy servingware

(This one goes out to all the cubicle-dwelling desk-eaters out there)

(That's not people who eat desks, but rather people who eat at their desks)

I've been making lots of salads lately, but can you blame me? It's summertime and there's all this great produce to be had and it's too hot to cook all the time. Much better to cook for a little bit of time and then eat cold things all the rest of your days. All the rest of your days being until you run out of salads and have to make more salads.



Last weekend I made a new salad, Quinoa, Kale and Avocado Salad and it's so freaking green and good! The recipe came in my last CSA box. They always send along a newsletter thing with some recipes on the back, most of which are vegan, and usually all of them are vegetarian and therefore easily veganized. It was originally posted over at http://www.eatdrinkbetter.com/ and like I said it's awesome! You can top it with any salad dressing, I chose Trader Joe's Goddess Dressing (which I am fairly certain is exactly the same as Annie's Goddess dressing) and added some vegan pate that a friend brought to me from Canada last week. The pate adds some substance, but really this salad is so hearty you don't need it. I just really like the pate and have to put it in everything. If you keep out the avocado until right before serving and resign yourself to eating a whole avo with each serving (which I am more than okay with), this salad is super as leftovers for work, just cut up the avo and add it along with your pine nuts and dressing right before you eat. Not to mention, if you are a cube-dweller like myself, then knowing this salad is waiting for you at lunchtime makes going to work worth the effort. And don't we need all the help we can get on a Monday? Yes we do.

What You Need:
1 Cup uncooked quinoa
3 Stalks of kale
1 Sheet of dried nori
1/2 Cucumber
1/2 Cup pine nuts
1 Avocado
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
Salad dressing to taste

What You Do:
In a small pot combine one cup quinoa with 2 cups of salted water and bring to a boil. Cover, and lower heat, simmering for about 15 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed.

While the quinoa cooks, remove the stems from the kale. Discard and chop the leaves finely, adding them to a large bowl. The nori can be difficult to cut, so you may find it easier to just break off very small pieces to add to the salad. You can leave the skin on the cucumber, but remove the seeds and chop into small pieces.

Add the pine nuts and sesame seeds to the kale, nori and cucumbers. Add the avocado last (as you don’t want it to brown). Halve it, remove peel and pit, and chop into small pieces. Add to the salad along with the vinegar and lemon juice. Once the quinoa has cooked, stir it with a fork and transfer to the fridge to cool.




Also making an appearance recently are kittee's Tempeh Salad That's Like The Crack of Salads, and the aforementioned Spicy Tofu and Spelt Salad, except that instead of doing the baked tofu thing, I put in a can of garbanzo beans and it was fantastic! A great alternative to dealing with a hot oven in summertime, plus loads of fiber and spelt+beans=complete protein.

Next week the salads continue! The plan is to make Hannah's Cold Sesame Noodles which I guess are not technically a salad but...they have a vegetable and are cold so therefore I'm calling salad, and if I'm feeling adventurous the Asian Pear & Tempeh Salad with Wasabi Dressing as posted on Vegan. Chicks. Rock and much like her, never noticed in V-con in all the times I've gone flipping through it.


Taking a break from salads though, this morning I'm making my first ever solo loaf of bread! When I was little, I spent hundreds (maybe only dozens) of hours helping my mom with her baking projects, but haven't done that many myself. I remember I made pretzels once, but that seems different. That was in her kitchen with her ingredients and tools, so it was partially her food, this time it's all my doing, all mine. I'm using the Quick Yeast Bread recipe from the Dirty South half of the Hot Damn & Hell Yeah/The Dirty South Vegan Cookbook. I didn't realize how soothing kneading dough really is. You just get into this totally relaxed state and the 10 minutes flies by and I was a little sad I had to stop, really. And it was sort of miraculous (to a non-baker like me) that you mix the first ingredients and it's really wet and messy and you add the last cup of flour and it's just a crumbly mess and seems it will never come together and then *poof* 10 minutes later it's a beautiful smooth ball of dough. I love how it feels, smooth and cool like the underside of a forearm or a baby's cheek. Right now it's on it's first rise, then another rise in the loaf pan and then baking and then finally I will get to eat it. In the meantime I off to find a way to distract myself.


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