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Archive for the ‘Vegan’


What To Do with that Tasteless Canteloupe 3

Posted on August 25, 2011 by crankycheryl

We were standing around the melon bin at last week’s CSA pick-up, and I was explaining to my mom what I knew about picking out a good canteloupe.

  1. It should feel heavy for its size.
  2. Its blossom end should have some give.  (Which end is the blossom end?  One side will be where the fruit broke from the thick vine, and you’ll be able to see the outline of where the vine was.  The other end is where the fruit grew from the flower, and that’s where you’ll want to press to see if it’s a little soft.)
  3. It should smell like you want it to taste – fruity and a little sweet.

So people started gathering around, looking at me and looking down at the melons in their hands.  I kept repeating myself, and soon there was a small group of us standing around sniffing and hefting and poking and nodding and shrugging.

Though my 3-point list let me pretend to be a candidate for mayor of Melonville, as often as not, I end up with a tasteless melon from our CSA share.  At the store, I ask for a taste of melons before I buy them, and if I can’t have a taste and end up with a dud then I’ll return it for a refund.  But you can’t do that at the farm, and that’s why I’ve been working on ways to use those less-than-perfect ones.  Here are a couple of my latest favorites.

Spicy Honeyed Canteloupe
Serves ~10 (adjust as necessary – we were having a dinner party and so wanted a big platter)


Ingredients
  • 1 whole canteloupe, seeds removed, sliced
  • 3 T. honey
  • 1 t. hot pepper (I used Aleppo, which has a great texture and is mildly hot.  You could sort of fake it with 1/2 t. sweet paprika and 1/2 t. hot pepper flakes)
  • sprinkle of kosher salt
To prepare:
  1. Put melon on platter, drizzle honey over, then sprinkle pepper and salt.
  2. Serve either cold or at room temperature.
Canteloupe Lemonade
6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • cubed flesh from one canteloupe, pureed in blender with 2-3 T. water
  • 2 c. lemon juice
  • 3/4 – 1 c. sugar, depending on whether the melon is at all sweet
  • water as needed
To make:
  1. For a smooth lemonade, strain the canteloupe through a mesh strainer, add water as needed to get to 6 cups total liquid.  If you don’t mind some texture, you can skip the straining and just add water as necessary to get to 6 cups.
  2. Mix together canteloupe, lemon juice and 3/4 c. sugar.  Stir well to dissolve sugar, then chill and serve.
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Fan-freaking-tastic Faux Eggplant Parmigiana 4

Posted on April 27, 2011 by crankycheryl

I needed something delicious, vegan and gluten free to bring as the alternate entree for a dinner at our church recently, and I scored some very slightly roughed up eggplants for a good price at our co-op and off I went with this.  It’s got a couple of steps, but the results are seriously great.  Isn’t it nice when your friends are chasing you down for a recipe for something you’ve brought?  Sure, and here it is.

Won’t Miss What Isn’t In It Eggplant Parmigiana
Adapted from Barbara Kafka’s Vegetable Love
Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 500 (yes 500).

1.  Slice lengthwise into 1/4″ thick slices:

  • 1 eggplant

Soak in well-salted water for 1/2 hour.

2.  Put a metal (no plastic at all) rack on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to preheat as well.  Once the oven is hot, drain the eggplant, pat it dry, brush generously with:

  • olive oil, about 1/4 c. in all

Put slices on the rack and roast for 20-25 minutes, turning once.  When done, the skin will be a bit crisped and the flesh will be soft and tender and not feel as spongy as it did starting out.  Remove from oven and place aside.  Turn oven down to 375.

3. Generously oil an 8″x8″ baking dish and set aside.

4.  Puree together in a blender or food processor or whatever your favorite such device is:

  • 1 lb. package extra firm tofu (get organic so you can avoid Frankensoy, ok?)
  • 1 T. fresh basil leaves
  • 1 t. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 t. salt

5.  Measure and place aside:

  • 1 1/2 c. homemade or storebought tomato sauce.

6.  Spread 1/4 c. of the sauce on the bottom of the pan, then top with eggplant slices just to cover the pan.  Spoon a total of about 1/3 c. tofu mixture on the eggplant, then top with another 1/4 c. tomato sauce.  Repeat with eggplant and tofu once more, then combine remaining tomato sauce and tofu and pour over the top.  Bake for about 25 minutes, let cool just a little and serve.

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Make Marmalade in March 3

Posted on March 12, 2011 by crankycheryl

It’s March and the birds are singing like it’s spring.  I don’t know if it’s a lion or a lamb, but our colossal snow fall is now running down the streets in rivers of rain water.

 

Things just seem to becoming more and more, I don’t know, richer, deeper, entwined.  Now a dear friend’s daughter is coming to spend a night with us every week since her family’s having a hard time.  E. is in the school play, along with children with people I knew 20 years ago when I was young and crazy and looking at them across the school gym is just like looking across a dark club at them and I’m wondering if I still find them intimidating.   At church, Z.’s class is making soup to share with hungry neighbors so we’ve got beans on the stove to add to tomorrow’s soup pot.   My heart catches, twisting as I watch the kids coming into their own lives, laughing, earnest and wild.

 

And it’s March, it’s my father’s birthday month and it’s peak citrus season.  He loves marmalade and so I made him a big batch for his birthday.  Marmalade always feels like a special success when it works.  Whereas a berry jam has some body, marmalade is really just sugar with juice and peel so it really has to set up just on the basis of getting it to the right temperature.  I find this usually takes a bit longer than recipes indicate – if you go ahead and make it, just make sure you’ve got the hands-on time it needs.

Orange-Grapefruit Marmalade
6 1-cup jars
Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

1.  With a sharp paring knife, remove the zest from:

  • 3 lbs. mixed organic oranges and grapefruit.

Far be it from me to question the canning gods over at Ball, but I found their instructions to score the fruit into quarters, remove the peel a quarter at a time and then use a paring knife to scrape out the bitter pith unworkable.  So I pulled out this and used it instead:

You can also do this with any vegetable peeler as long as you’re careful to leave as much of the white pith behind as you can.

2.  Set the fruit aside and place peel in a stainless steel saucepan with enough water to cover generously.  Bring to a boil and boil gently for 10 minutes.  Drain off the water, cover again and repeat, until peel is softened.

3.  Over a saucepan or bowl to catch juice, use a sharp paring knife to remove the pith from the fruit, and then separate the segments from the tougher membrane.  Put the fruit into the saucepan and squeeze the membrane to make sure all the juice is in.  Toss out seeds and pith (but if you have a use for them please let me know).

4.  To the saucepan with segments add:

  • the cooked peel
  • 4 cups of water

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until peel is very soft, about 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and measure 6 cups, adding water if necessary to reach that amount.

5.  Prepare your canner, jars, and lids.

6.  Ladle 3 cups of the cooked mixture into a deep stainless steel saucepan.  Ladle remaining mixture into a second saucepan.  Bring both to a boil over medium-high heat.  Keeping it at a boil, slowly stir:

  • 3 cups sugar

into each pan.  Boil hard, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches the gel stage.  Remove from heat to test, and then keep cooking if necessary (My recipe said it would take 12 minutes, but it took 45.  Here’s how to test.)  Once you’ve gotten there, skim off the foam.

7.  Ladle hot marmalade into jars, leaving 1/4″ head space.  Remove the air bubbles by poking down the side with a chopstick, and add more marmalade if necessary to get the proper amount of headspace.  Wipe rim, center lid on jar, and screw the band on without overtightening.

 

8.  Place jars in canner so that they’re completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil, cover and process for 10 minutes.  Remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars to cool and listen for that satisfying little pop that means the jar has successfully sealed.  (If it doesn’t, just keep it in your fridge and eat up in the next couple of weeks.)

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Miso Roasted Roots & Friends 1

Posted on February 05, 2011 by crankycheryl

At my last winter CSA share pick-up, I had gotten some of these hairy beauties:

A note suggested that they might be best roasted, and that their main winter-storage claim to fame may be that they aren’t at all sweet.  Since, like every aspiring Vermont winter localvore, I’m craving variety this time of year, in the bag they went, where they joined beets, rutabaga, turnips, potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots and parsnips.  And met up with more of the same at home.

There were a lot of them, and something had to be done.

You may know that I think that roasting is one of the very nicest things you can do to a vegetable.   It intensifies flavor and caramelizes sugars, and can be done to just about everything (not leafy vegetables, generally).   Plus it’s a good straight-forward way for a lazy cook like me to end up with some building blocks and variety for the meals of the coming week.

Facing off with the pile of roots and squashes, I decided to roast beets by themselves, butternut squash by itself, and then do a savory tray (potatoes, salsify, rutabaga) flavored with miso, and a sweet tray (carrots, parsnips, turnips) just plain with olive oil and salt.

My approach is a bit convoluted, but not at all fussy.    The goal is to let everything cook for as long as it needs, while being in the kitchen as little as possible.

Here’s how I did it.  Of course, use what you’ve got and make it how you want it.  Maybe you’re planning Italian food and would do garlic and some oregano instead of miso for a savory variety, or want to throw onions onto either tray, or toss them with some teriyaki sauce.  Go for it.

A Trio of Roast Roots, Plus Squash

1.  Preheat oven to 400.   Oil three rimmed baking sheets, and get out one baking dish with an oven-proof, snug-fitting lid.  Get out two large mixing bowls and set aside.

2.  Beets

  • Wash but don’t peel (isn’t this fabulous?) as many beets as can fit in your lidded baking dish in one layer.  Put on the lid and put them in the oven (it’s okay if it hasn’t preheated all the way).  They will need to cook the longest, one-two hours depending on size.

3.  Savory Miso-Roasted Roots

Prepare the salsify:

  • Put 2 T. lemon juice into a medium bowl and add water nearly to top
  • With the lemon-water right at hand, peel and slice 3-4 salsify roots crosswise into chunks about 1 1/2″ long and put immediately into the water bowl to prevent discoloration.

Put it all together by placing in one of the large mixing bowls:

  • 2-3 large potatoes, scrubbed, peel left on, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
  • the salsify, drained well
  • 2 T. miso paste
  • 2 T. olive oil

Mix thoroughly with your hands, then spread the whole thing out on one of the baking sheets and set aside.

 

4.  Sweet Mix

 

  • 3-4 carrots, scrubbed, peels left on, cut into 1 1/2″ – 2″ chunks crosswise
  • 3-4 parsnips, scrubbed, peels left on, cut into 1 1/2″ – 2′ chunks crosswise
  • 1 turnip, peeled, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt

Mix thoroughly with your hands, then spread the whole thing out on one of the baking sheets.

Put both baking sheets in the oven.  Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice if you think of it.  They’re done when a fork easily pierces a chunk.  The carrots and turnips are the slowest cookers here, so they’re good ones to test.

5.  Butternut Squash

Cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and put them in a colander.  Put the squash cut-side-down on the remaining baking sheet.   If your oven is big enough, you can go ahead and put it in now, or else wait until you take out the mixed trays.  This also cooks for about 30 minutes, or until very soft.

6.  Don’t Forget the Beets

When everything on a tray is done, check on the beets by poking the largest one with a fork.   Cook for a while longer if it’s till very firm, and when it is tender, go ahead and turn off the oven.  Leave the beets in there until the oven cools down, then remove and peel them – the peels will slip off in your hands.

If you’re feeling ambitious you can also go ahead and rinse, dry, oil and salt those seeds and put them in the oven once you turn off the heat.  If you do it right when the heat goes off, there’ll be enough warmth to toast them but not enough to burn them.

7.  Using Your Delicious Vegetables

  • Eat them as they are.
  • Puree the butternut squash and turn it into this soup, or you could mix it with some cream and broth and add in some of the other vegetables and some meat or beans for a heartier version.
  • Add pureed butternut squash to baked goods, waffles or the life.
  • Save pureed squash for a fabulous souffle that I’ll be posting this week
  • Slice beets and put them on salads
  • Save beets for the beet-rhubarb recipe I’ll be posting this week
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Snow Day Popcorn for Grownups 0

Posted on December 11, 2010 by crankycheryl

Ever since Danielle and I were kids playing in the snow tunnels outside her apartment building, snow days have meant popcorn and hot chocolate.   It’s a tradition I’ve been happy to continue with E. & Z., who have come to expect it as a birthright if they have even the briefest contact with cold and snow.

“Mommy, I walked from the car to the house.  I’m ready for my popcorn and hot chocolate now.”

This week, it must be said, they earned their winter warm-up.  They spent hours outside on those two inches of snow, sledding and flopping around and rolling up and down hills.  And when I made the popcorn, I put a couple of cups aside for a spicy and satisfying winter snack for the grownups too.


Maybe you know that pepitas pop and toast beautifully and they make a great combination with the corn, adding a little nutty flavored protein to the mix.  Next time, I’ll probably throw in some dried blueberries or cherries and call it a meal.

I used this particular mix of spices because of the rustic, coarse texture and mild heat of Aleppo pepper, plus the smokiness of smoked paprika.  You can approximate this with sweet paprika, ground chipotle powder, and a sprinkle of crushed pepper flakes if that’s what you’ve got around.

Spicy Popcorn & Pepitas

1.  In a large skillet, war over medium heat just until fragrant:

  • 2 T. butter or olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves chopped garlic

2.  Add and stir:

  • 1/4 c. pumpkin seeds (pepitas).   You can use the green ones that have had the hulls removed, or the ones you’ve scooped out of your own pumpkin or squash.  If you choose the latter, just dry and toast them first.’
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 (or to taste) Aleppo pepper

Cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir and repeat to coat and toast the seeds.

3.  Add:

  • 2-3 cups popped popcorn.

Stir well and serve.

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Socca 2

Posted on November 15, 2010 by crankycheryl

The purity of these little breads makes me realize how very impure and inconsistent my food life really is.  Does everyone vacillate between Fluff & shortening-frosted cupcakes and vegan, gluten-free, organic goodness?

Maude was so very right in the movie when she said, “Consistency is not really a human trait.”

I think I’m quite human.

Be this as it may, I do continue to try the Bittman-esque vegan-&-unprocessed before 6:00 p.m. approach.  And this simple, vegan little pancake is just the ticket for a hearty and healthy lunch when I’m home.  It’s a specialty of southern France, a sort of chickpea crepe that’s nutty and hearty and just lovely.  According to St. David Leibovitz, they’re not really to be made at home … though he does recommend this recipe.

And here’s my own take on it.

Socca
About 4
pieces

1.  Whisk together very thoroughly:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Let stand for at least one hour.

2.  Place a large, heavy skillet in the oven and preheat oven to 450.  Once hot, carefully pour into pan:

  • 1 T. olive oil

3.  Pour 1/2 of the batter into the pan and sprinkle with:

  • 2 T. spicy pumpkin seeds (optional)

Bake 12 – 15 minutes, or until set, then flip and broil for 2-3 minutes.  Serve immediately – as is, or topped with vegetables, cheese or whatever you like.  In season, it’s lovely with a meltingly ripe tomato and a handful of mesclun.

Repeat with the remaining batter, but keep an eye on that first pancake as anyone who’s around is likely to try to make off with it.

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Smoky Oven-Fried Green Tomatoes 1

Posted on October 22, 2010 by crankycheryl

Insert something here about the beautiful fall day.

Something here about the alchemy of a blue sky, brilliant yellow leaves, the first snowflakes to fall on upturned faces.

Something here about the sadness of a bright sun in October.

Something about the funny/sad persistence of children acting like children, like fast-flying meteors, like light.

And still there are the green tomatoes plucked before the first frost threatened, still green and hard and needing to be cooked.

Something about how nothing can be wasted.

Oven-Fried Smoky Green Tomatoes
Serves: maybe 4 as a side dish?

1.  Preheat oven to 400.  Coat a baking sheet with cooking oil.

2.  Slice thickly:

  • 6 green tomatoes

3.  Place in a wide, flat bowl:

  • 1/2 cup soy milk, rice milk, or cow milk

4.  Place in a second wide, flat bowl:

  • 1 cup cornmeal (organic, unless you like your food to be genetically modified)
  • 1 t. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t. ground thyme
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • few grinds fresh peppercorn

5.  Dip both sides of each tomato slice in the milk, then in the cornmeal mixture.  Place on the baking sheet, then bake for 15 minutes.  Flip the slices over, spray with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil and bake 15 minutes more or until golden brown.  Serve immediately or at room temperature.

They can also be frozen by cooling completely on a rack, then placing on the largest plate or baking sheet you can fit in your freezer.  Place them in the freezer for 2-3 hours or overnight, then put in a freezer bag or other freezer-safe container.  They can then be heated up to eat as-is, or layered with cheese and tomato sauce for green tomato parmigiana.

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Pumpkin-Cinnamon Swirl Bread 1

Posted on October 14, 2010 by crankycheryl

We’re blessed with a whole flock of new babies in our lives, and that means baking for the new parents. There’s a simple rule I follow in providing food for new parents of second and third children:

Give them delicious and healthy food their older children will eat without whining.

This way, the parents can feed their firstborn, and snitch a bite or two and receive just enough nutrients to survive another round of round-the-clock babycare.

E.  & Z. & I had a lovely version of this when we popped in at Great Harvest recently.  It’s near where we’ve started martial arts classes, and it takes all the bribery and threats I can muster to get my #1 son there.  I definitely credit Great Harvest’s sugary offerings and riding toy collection with my being able to bamboozle him to the dojo last week.   And the bread was so good that even in my traumatized state I was inspired to go home and make some of our own, which we then gifted to some of the new parents in our lives.  It’s like a cinnamon roll in loaf form, and reasonably healthy-ish as far as these things go.

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Bread adapted from Joy of Cooking
Filling adapted from The Weekend Baker
Makes one loaf

1.  Stir together in a large bowl:

  • 1 c. bread flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 package (2 1/4 t.) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 t. salt

Add and stir very well:

  • 1 c. very warm water
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. pureed pumpkin, acorn, or butternut squash

2.  Add 1/4 c. at a time, mixing by hand, or a hand-held blender:

  • 3/4 – 1 c. bread flour

Add flour until the dough is moist but not sticky.

3.  Turn your oven to 350 degrees for exactly one minute and then turn it off.

4.  Knead for 10 minutes, either by hand or in some fancy machine with a dough hook, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  But set the timer and don’t cheat your dough, even if it seems nice and elastic before you’ve kneaded for the whole time.  Then coat a large bowl with oil, place the dough in it, turn it over once to coat it, then cover with a damp tea towel.  Let rise in the oven (make sure you’ve turned it off!) for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in volume.

5.  While the dough is rising, prepare the cinnamon filling.  Beat together in a large bowl with a handheld mixer on medium speed until very thoroughly combined into a thick paste:

  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar*
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar*
  • 1/3 c. unbleached flour
  • 2 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. (4 T.) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 c. applesauce or apple butter

6. Preheat oven to 450.   Grease a standard (6-cup) loaf pan.  Punch down the dough, then stretch it out into an oblong about the width of the loaf pan and about 12″ long.  Leave a 1″ border on one short end, then spread the cinnamon filling to about 2″ from the other end, going to about 1″ from the sides of the dough.  (You can freeze any leftover filling or put it on your oatmeal or mix it into cookies.)

7.  Roll up the dough as tightly as you can, beginning on the short end with the filling that comes closest to the edge.  Tuck and push as you roll to get the neatest loaf possible.  Place in the loaf pan and bake for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 and bake for 30 more, or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove loaf to a rack and let cool completely.  Eat within three days, or freeze for up to two months.

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Blackberry Chutney Recipe 2

Posted on August 09, 2010 by crankycheryl

My inner hoarder has come out to play and I’m in an absolute frenzy of food preservation.  So far:

  • 26 jars of blueberry jam
  • 8 jars of gooseberry jam
  • 6 jars of gingered zucchini marmalade
  • 6 jars of blackberry rhubarb chutney
  • 4 pints of canned peaches
  • 10 pounds of frozen blueberries
  • 6 quarts of frozen blackberries
  • 4 pints of frozen shredded zucchini and carrots
  • 4 pints of frozen roasted tomatoes and garlic
  • 3 freezer bags of various roasted vegetables
  • 3 pints of frozen rhubarb
  • 1 bag of Czech plum dumplings

My kitchen is now a living fruit fly museum, the house is a wreck and I’m busier than if I had an actual job.  Is this because having a basement filled with food helps assuage the upheaval of part-time contract work?  Because Z. is starting kindergarten and I’m trying to maintain an illusion of control?  Because it’s an especially delicious harvest year?  Who knows.  I keep claiming that I want to stop with all the fuss and crankyGreg keeps telling me that I won’t.  He’s probably right.

Maybe you need a recipe to help with your own neuroses, or for some more sane purpose like gift giving.  Here’s one I adapted to use up the blackberries that have been going crazy around here, as well as some late-season rhubarb and gone-to-seed cilantro.  It’s tart, sweet, and a little spicy in addition to being beautiful.

Blackberry-Rhubarb Chutney
Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Yield: 6 8-oz. jars

If this is your first foray into canning, read this and this.

1.  Prepare your canner, 7 8-oz. jars, and lids, and keep warm.

2.  In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine:

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1 cup chopped rhubarb stalks
  • 1 cup shredded peeled green apple
  • 1 1/4 c. finely chopped onion
  • 1 can of chopped pineapple in juice (or else 2 large grated peeled green apples)
  • 2 T. finely chopped ginger
  • 3 cloves finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 t. orange or lemon zest
  • 1/4 c. orange or lemon juice
  • 1 c. red wine vinegar

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat, cover and boil gently for about 15 minutes.

3.  Add to the mix in the saucepan:

  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar (make sure it’s cane sugar when you’re canning)
  • 1 c. golden raisins (I left these out, but would have thrown them in if I had had them around)
  • 1 c. water

4.  Make a spice bag with some cheesecloth or a stainless steel tea ball with:

  • 1 T. coriander/cilantro seeds (fresh if you’ve got them on your bolted plants in the garden, dried if not)
  • 2 hot peppers, as hot as you like.

Boil gently until thickened, about 15 minutes.

5.  Ladle hot chutney into hot jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles by poking a chopstick or similar implement around the sides of the jar, then adjust headspace by adding more chutney if necessary.  Use a clean damp cloth to wipe the rim, then center the lid on the jar.  Screw band down until fairly tight, but don’t over-force it.

6.  Place jars in the canner so that they’re completely underwater.  Bring to a boil and then process for 10 minutes.  Take off the lid.  Wait for 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store in a cool place once you’ve made sure the jars have a good seal.

There.  Don’t you feel better?

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Insalata Caprese – Vegan 0

Posted on August 03, 2010 by crankycheryl

The vegan minister at our church retired recently, and we sent him off in fine Unitarian style with a big potluck picnic, music, bounce castle, and all manner of wholesome fun and well-wishing.

Though I knew most people in attendance are happy omnivores, I couldn’t bring myself to make something that the guest of honor wouldn’t eat.  And a quick review of what was in the fridge turned into this take on the summer classic, which seemed like one of those why-didn’t-I-think-of-this-before sorts of dishes once it occurred to me.   There was something especially fab about having it on the church picnic table right next to the genuine orange carrot-Jello mold, which I did indeed help myself to a big day-glo scoop of.

Vegan Insalata Caprese
Serves 8

Prepare tofu:

  • 1 lb. package extra firm (not silken) tofu, pressed, then sliced fairly thickly, and marinated for 1 hour in 1 cup of water with 1/2 t. kosher salt and 2 cloves chopped garlic

While the tofu’s marinating, reduce to 1/3 cup over low simmer:

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar (don’t waste super-high quality stuff on this – run of the mill stuff will be fine)

Pat the tofu dry, then layer it in whatever shape suits you and your serving dish with:

  • 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced into pieces about the size of the tofu
  • 1 cup large basil leaves

Drizzle the vinegar over the top, then top with:

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to tastev

Voila.  Now you’ve made the vegans happy.

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    Cheryl Herrick's brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life. All original content (written, graphical, recipes or other), unless otherwise noted, is © and/or TM Cheryl Herrick. All rights reserved by the author. Want to reprint a recipe? Just get in touch and ask.

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