Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ba-cun Ranch Broccoli Salad

I love broccoli salads. A lot. Like a lot-a lot. There are a million variations of broccoli salad to choose from to fit anyone's pallet. Sometimes I prefer a fresh broccoli salad, with a bright vinaigrette and some lemon. Other times, I prefer comforting and creamy broccoli salad - that's where this broccoli salad comes into play.

 I used the homemade mayo recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen in this salad (which is fantastic, and I will probably never waste money on store bought vegan mayo again.) You could certainly substitute Vegenase or Toffuti Sour Cream to make the ranch sauce though. I also recommend throwin in some scallions, diced tomatoes and shredded carrot. Throw in some fake bacon sprinkles, and you've got yourself a new spin on an old classic.

Ba-cun Ranch Broccoli Salad
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/4 cup soy bacon bits
1 small white onion, diced
1 cup vegan mayo
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dill
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp pepper
dash of cayenne
pinch of salt

Combine mayo, lemon juice and spices in a large bowl with a whisk. Toss in broccoli florets to coat. Sprinkle with the soy bacon bits and serve!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Soup On the Cheap!

I've been trying to cook from my plethora of cookbooks more than usual lately. I have a very bad habit of buying new cookbooks with reckless abandon, but then I never actually try the recipes. The cookbook I've been trying out this week is Vegan On the Cheap by Robin Robertson. I've had this one for years, but I usually just rely on her bulk recipes such as the Baked Seitan Loaf on page 51.

First up, the Almost Instant Chickpea Tomato Soup. This soup was so easy to make and only required like, 5 ingredients - most of which I always have on hand. The recipe calls for you to puree the chickpeas, but I need some texture in my soups. This soup has a creamy, tomato-y base and tastes like summer in a bowl. I garnished it with some fresh basil from the garden. Any dish that has an ingredient "from the garden" is superior to all other dishes. Just sayin'. P.S. sorry about the craptastic iPhone picture. I swear this soup tastes better than I make it look.

This was a great way to use up the unreasonable amount of kale I picked from my mom's garden last week. Robin's Caldo Verde has a simple spice mixture of marjoram and crushed red pepper. I used double the amount of red pepper called for to give it an extra kick. I think adding some lemon zest/juice would be a nice addition to this flavor profile. This is definitely a comforting winter soup, and I do not necessarily recommend eating it when you live in humid-ass Huntington, West Virginia. P.P.S. Soup isn't complete without a big chunk of crusty ol' bread.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Simple Panzanella Salad

Quick post today. One of the the most wonderful things about summer is all of the fresh herbs. My favorite herb is basil, and I've found a way to sneak it into a lot of recipes so far - like this delicious panzanella salad!

Fewer dishes are more rustic than a bread salad. This takes minutes to make and incorporates the perfect combo of balsamic, basil and tomato. Throw in some crusty, stale bread, and you've got yourself a bona fide meal.

Simple Panzanella Salad

4 cups stale bread, torn into thick pieces
1 large tomato, diced into large chunks
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp canola or olive oil
1/2 clove garlic, finely minced or crushed*
1 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade
1 tsp crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, red pepper, salt and pepper. Slowly pour in oil while whisking. Add bread and tomatoes to the bowl and toss to coat evenly with the dressing. Top with fresh basil and serve!

*Since you're using raw garlic in this recipe, you want it to be chopped extremely fine. A good way to achieve this so that you don't take a big bite of raw garlic is to peel the skin off of the clove, while leaving the clove intact. Don't smash the garlic like you would for a rough chop! Using a zester, grate the garlic into your dressing bowl. I can't lie, I picked this technique up while watching an episode of Rachel Ray. Now go spread this culinary wisdom!