Tag Archives: raw

Umeboshi; Japanese Pickled Plums

This is one of a long list of things I’ve been waiting to try as a vegan delicacy.  I figured it might be a good start for my re-entry to the land of blogging – a little weird and a little wonderful. They’re reputed to be good for digestion and hangovers. Who knows if I’ll ever get to try the latter out, but until then I’ll give it a shot for my digestion.

This was the first box I’ve seen of this particular product. I was pretty excited to finally see it, scooped it up and brought it home. Of course I paid for it, but that’s another story.

I opened the box and put a whole plum in my mouth and discovered that it really is a pickled plum – salty and sour like a pickle, but with a surprising floral aftertaste. My next stop with these will be to use them for hot pot which is a regular fun thing in our house. I think they’ll make a great addition to our regular szechuan style seasoning. Have you ever tried pickled ume plums?

This is Christie, signing off!

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GAZPACHO!

Sounds funny, tastes delicious… This is a simple cold summer soup that is loaded with good nutrients and packed with flavor. It should be a staple in your diet whether you’re vegan or not. Ours is made from the following ingredients:
2 bell peppers, stems and seeds removed (I like 2 different colors, in this case yellow and red)
1/2 cup of cilantro stems
2 cucumbers
juice from 1 lemon
5 tomatoes, stems removed
1 jalapeño (optional for the brave)
6-8 scallion onions, chopped just as the bulb turns green, stems diced
4-5 strawberries (optional)
hot sauce and salt to taste

Brent cut up the vegetables into sizes that fit easily in our food processor. The skins can be left on the cucumber for a richer flavor if they’re organic, otherwise I remove most of it if not all.


The tomato, cucumber, peppers, strawberries, lemon juice, scallion bulbs and cilantro stems all went into the processor and was blended until smooth. Afterward I added salt and hot sauce to taste, garnished with scallion onion (you can use cilantro too, if you like). and served with grilled cashew cheese sammiches. It hit the spot after a day in the muggy Florida heat. Let me know what you think!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Adventures in Fruit: FUYU!

This sounds like an insult but it’s actually a delicious fruit. Sometimes called ‘persimmon’ this particular variety should be available in most specialty markets when in season.
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Fuyu (when still yellow) has the texture of a not-quite-ripe nectarine with the flavor of honeyed pear with a dash of vanilla; I prefer it at this stage because it’s sweet but not overwhelming. When completely ripe it tastes like a mouthful of clover honey. If you see it, don’t hesitate… try it!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Brown Bag Vegan Lunch: Tofu & Tomato Salad

I’m really proud of myself, you guys, because I brought coffee, breakfast, and lunch to work everyday this past week. It’s a huge deal for me because I had grown accustomed to buying coffee and lunch everyday (I would buy coffee or soy lattes twice a day most days) and either skipping breakfast or eating junk from the cafeteria. So, here’s what I know about myself: while I don’t mind leftovers, I don’t want to eat the same thing for lunch and dinner for a week, which is pretty much what happened when I made the pasta bake, and I still had some left after that. In order to keep this up, my challenge will be to prepare and plan ahead so that lunch can be easy and not boring.

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One of the lunches I brought this week was a tofu and tomato salad. It took minimal effort, but did require some planning ahead. Here are the ingredients I used:

1 block extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
dill (fresh is great but I keep a bottle of Litehouse Freeze-Dried dill which is the next best thing)
salt and pepper to taste

I’d like to note that if I was eating this at home, I would have added some onion, but I didn’t want to offend anyone with my onion breath. Also, hot peppers or red pepper flakes would be a nice addition to this.

First, I had to make sure to press a block of tofu. I put my tofu in the TofuXpress before going to bed one night. Then, the next night, I drained it, cut it into cubes, and put it in a bowl with the chopped tomatoes. Then I mixed in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dill, and salt and pepper. I then placed all of it in my lunch container and put it in the fridge. In the morning, I grabbed the container, put it in my reusable lunch bag, and took it to work. All I had to do when it was lunchtime was grab a fork and chow down!

Not only was this really easy and about as effortless as lunch can be, it was totally vegan, raw, healthy, and a perfectly substantial lunch. It was also a lot cheaper than anything I would have bought for lunch. Yay! –Melissa

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Raw Tofu & Avocado Salad

It’s 2013 and time for me to get excited about food again — in a healthy, vegan way. This easy-to-make raw salad is a good start!

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My food preparation philosophy is pretty solid. As much as I aspire to be a more creative and fancy cook, I want things to be simple, to use as few ingredients as possible, and find several ways to prepare meals using items that I always have in my kitchen and pantry. I also don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing food. Thus, this recipe is a classic “Melissa” recipe. I didn’t even come up with it myself. It’s based on this recipe.

Raw Tofu & Avocado Salad

1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and drained and then cubed
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos — my first time using this in my own cooking!
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
scallions
fresh cilantro
sesame seeds

I placed the cubed tofu in a bowl. I added the lemon, Bragg Liquid Aminos, and sesame oil, and then mixed it very gently to coat all the cubes. I set the bowl aside and then prepared the avocado. I added the avocado to the bowl with the tofu but I didn’t mix it in. I topped everything with scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds. I also sprinkled some freshly ground black pepper onto everything.

I was a little skeptical, but everything melded together really well! There was the tartness of the lemony tofu mixed with the creamy avocado, and then final fresh kick from the scallions and cilantro. I experimented a bit by eating it in a whole wheat pita:

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The pita unfortunately muted the flavors too much for my taste, but the rest of the giant pita was great to munch on in between bites of the salad.

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Easy, quick, versatile, and no cooking necessary: a classic Melissa recipe, indeed! –Melissa

 

 

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Baked BBQ Tofu with Red Cabbage Slaw plus another Giveaway Winner!

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If you’re in the United States, you may be aware that McRib is back at McDonald’s. Wait, don’t go anywhere! There is a vegan point to this post! I used to be one of the many who love the McRib. It’s tasty stuff! Tasty, nasty, unhealthy stuff! Now that it’s back and I see the ads and the signs or read tweets about it, I MUST FEED MY MCRIB CRAVING! VEGAN STYLE!

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The Baked BBQ Tofu requires only two ingredients: 1 block of firm or extra firm tofu, cubed, and about 1/3 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce. Just mix it all together and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.

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I baked the tofu in my toaster oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, turned the pieces over and coated with some more BBQ sauce, and then baked for another 7 minutes.

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I made some red cabbage slaw to accompany the tofu. I mixed shredded red cabbage with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lime juice, about a tsp of balsamic vinegar, and seasoned with salt and pepper. I mixed it all up and let it sit in the fridge while the tofu was baking.

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I ended up making BBQ tofu tacos since I had tortillas. I adorned the tofu with only some onion since McD’s only puts onions and pickles on the McRib. I would have added a pickle, too, but I think that would have been a little much with the slaw. The tacos and slaw were a great combination! I was worried that they wouldn’t mesh well but the flavors were great. I did add some more BBQ sauce to the tacos for extra flavor.

Now, onto this week’s giveaway winner… our randomly selected prizewinner is theveganpennypincher! Whoohoo! Readers, be sure to visit theveganpennypincher blog. It’s excellent!

If you haven’t already, go here to enter our December giveaway. There are still two more chances to win a Bubble & Bee lotion stick as well as enter to win a TofuXpress. Yay! –Melissa

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A Different Kind of Tofu Scramble

I’ll usually make a tofu scramble for breakfast on the weekend, but I wasn’t quite feeling it today. That said, I had a pressed block of tofu that was ready to be eaten. So I decided to make a different sort of tofu scramble.

This was easy and turned out great with just a few ingredients:

1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and drained using the wonderful TofuXpress
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dill (I love dill)
chopped green onion or chives
salt and pepper to taste

I ‘crumbled’ the tofu with a fork and then added the olive oil, lemon juice, dill, green onion, and salt and pepper. I mixed it all up really well and then let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes. I served it on toast with a side of tomatoes.

This recipe reminded me of when I was in Israel a couple years ago and had the same thing for breakfast every day: bread with feta cheese. It’s kind of cool that I accidentally made a tofu-based vegan feta! I gobbled this up really quickly and am already planning to make it again with my next block of tofu.

Great on toast, great as a salad topping, great vegan deliciousness! –Melissa

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Hemp Cheese

I’ve been making cashew cheese for months now but wanted to try this with hemp seeds (nutrition data pictured at left). Hemp is a much more sustainable seed product than cashews or almonds mostly because they use less water to grow, ounce for ounce and has twice the protein for about the same amount of fat, Hemp is also rich in omega fatty acids and iron. This is also suitable for most people with nut allergies as well as soy-and dairy sensitivities. To make this cheesy spread I combined

1 cup of hemp seeds

juice from 1 lemon

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 generous pinch of salt

2-3 tbsp of water

I then blended the mixture until it was creamy. This took a while but the end product was worth it. We ended up with a lightly sweet cheesy spread. I suspect you could also bake it to make a harder cheese like I normally do with cashew cheese. I was feeling peckish and impatient so that didn’t happen.

You can also add your favorite vegan pesto spread for a pesto spread, some herbes de provence, dairy-free ranch seasoning or whatever your favorite dip is.

It’s great on our home-made gluten-free vegan bread or in combination with a sprinkle of fresh herbs on crackers. It also makes a great high protein pasta sauce. Let me know if you get to try it!

This is Christie signing off!

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It’s a Miracle!

Let me begin by saying that this post was supposed to be a review of a vegan frozen pizza until I read the finer print and realized that the pizza contained milk protein. Darn! I ate the pizza because I didn’t want to waste it, but I was seriously disappointed.

I found some consolation in a sweet treat: the Chocolate Almond Butter Miracle Tart by Hail Merry:

I have seen this several times but never bought it because, well… it’s not cheap. Having made my own raw desserts, I think the price is perfectly reasonable, but I couldn’t justify the investment until I made the mistake of going to the grocery store while on a crazy salty/sweet craving binge.

The tart itself is beautiful and dense. It’s not greasy and the best way to eat it was to just pick it up and take a bite out of it. I could definitely taste the coconut oil in the product and the almond butter was delicious. The tarts are small, but they’re perfect for sharing: there are three servings in one tart. I felt myself wanting more of a sweeter chocolate taste. For that reason, I don’t think I will buy this particular flavor anytime soon. There was a lemon tart that I am curious enough to try sometime.

Have you tried any Hail Merry products? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! –Melissa

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Pesto Tofu

Christie and Brent got me a TofuXpress for my birthday and it has changed my life! There are some recipes included in the box and I was immediately intrigued by the Pesto Tofu. This is a great healthy and raw recipe!

Pesto Tofu

1 block firm tofu, pressed in the TofuXpress for at least one hour (I pressed mine overnight)
1/4 cup pesto

The original recipe called for 3 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt, but the tofu was freshly made and I felt it was oily and salty enough as is, so I didn’t add it. It may have helped to make the pesto less clumpy, but I liked the clumps!

I picked some basil from the garden and made my pesto.

Then I cubed my tofu and mixed it with some of the pesto. I tried waiting an hour for the tofu to marinate in the fridge, but I couldn’t wait. So, after 15 minutes, I devoured it with some sliced heirloom tomatoes from the garden, which made it this great sort of vegan caprese dish.

I sprinkled some salt and freshly ground pepper on the tomatoes. A nice drizzle of balsamic vinegar would also be a nice touch!

Yum yum yum! Healthy, raw, delicious, nutritious. I enjoyed this dish a ton! –Melissa

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