Tag Archives: scallions

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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Fiddleheads and Ramps: Wild Harvest!

Nothing screams spring to me quite like fiddleheads and ramps. Fiddleheads are the newly budding tips of ferns that are common to the Northeast and ramps are wild leeks. The two make a fabulous pair and can make any meal visually stunning and delicious.
Fiddleheads are the easier of the two to recognize. They can be harvested from several different varieties of ferns: cinnamon fern, royal fern, zenmai and vegetable fern. These grow all over the world but aren’t cultivated by farmers. If you decide to harvest your own, the rule is to harvest fewer than half the fiddleheads from any one plant to allow the plant to survive the assault and produce again the next year. Be careful that you know your ferns, some are thought to be carcinogenic; specifically ostrich fern and royal fern. That being said, this isn’t quite as harrowing as hunting wild mushrooms. Note which varieties of ferns grow in a particular area when they develop fully and then you’re set for the next spring when you go fiddlehead hunting! Caveats being made, these vegetables are an incredibly tasty,  nutritious and filling addition to any meal and they also can be stored by freezing.
The flavor in ramps varies from root to tip. The bulbs have an intense and unique flavor that marries the best elements of onion and garlic. The stem is reminiscent of scallions and the leaves remind me of spinach with a touch of asparagus flavor. Subsequently, I advocate using as much of the plant as possible since the entire plant is harvested and the whole thing is delicious.
When I was a kid we would make this dynamic duo into a salad with chicken and toasted nuts. I loved the flavors but was terrified of chicken and egg products that sat at room temperature for hours and hours. Horrifying thoughts aside, Brent and I decided to try it with soy curls instead and were delighted with the result.
To start you’ll want to gather the following ingredients.
1.5 cups dry soy curls
3 cups water
1 cube veggie bouillon
15 ramp bulbs, peeled and ends chopped off
chopped ramp greens
ramp stems, the red sections, chopped
1/2 cup fiddleheads
1/2 cup vegenaise
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp flake red pepper (optional)
1/4 cup chopped toasted nuts (optional)
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Prepare the water and bouillon in your microwave in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the water at one minute intervals until the bouillon dissolves with light stirring. Add the soy curls. Heat as before until the water is mostly absorbed. Saute with olive oil until lightly browned and crispy. I like to refrigerate this dish in order to cool it, but this salad is also delicious when warm.

Separate the bulbs, stems and greens from the ramps. Saute the bulbs

and fiddleheads until the fiddleheads start to get tender.
Add the greens and stir until they wilt. Refrigerate to cool, if desired.
Combine the soy curls, greens and red stems with the rest of the ingredients. We used Follow Your Heart grapeseed vegenaise. It’s pretty awesome. We also omitted the cranberries. Serve on toasted bread.If you don’t have ramps and fiddleheads, substitute asparagus for the fiddleheads, spinach for the ramp greens, green onion for the ramp stems, and leeks for the ramp bulbs. Wow… that’s way more complicated. If you’re sensitive to soy, seitan or chickpeas would make a great substitute for soy curls. If you’ve got an allergy to pecans, toasted sunflower seeds have a great flavor and crunch.

Really, this stunning and delicious. It was crisp herbal flavors married to the nutty savory soy curls all mellowed out by lemon and vegenaise. We had it with a crisp glass of red wine and savored a lazy Sunday.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!
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GREEN Vegetables with Risotto!

I was planning to make more risotto ever since I saw VegHotPot’s risotto verde last week. I love risotto but can’t stomach the cheese so I gathered together some organic arborio rice and veggies in preparation for making my own vegan version. This is basically the same as the last time just with different veggies.

1/3 cup of arborio rice (this is more than enough for 2 servings)
1/2 liter of water
1 cube of veggie bouillon
2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp olive oil salt to taste
herbes de provence
white wine
I put about half a liter of water into my sauce pan along with a bouillon cube. While I was waiting for the water to boil, I added the onion, garlic and olive oil to one of my fry pans and Brent heated them until they began to sputter.

I set aside the following veggies that Brent chopped as necessary for my risotto:
zucchini
asparagus
edamame
scallions

I added the veggies and turned the heat to medium-low while my extraordinarily good looking sous chef began cooking the rice. We put the rice in a fry pan with a cup of wine and a generous pinch of herbes de provence. I turned the heat to low.

We added the broth one ladle at a time until the rice began to get tender and the liquid was mostly absorbed. It should be translucent except for a little bit in the middle that should still be opaque white when it’s done. You might not use all the broth. I mixed in my veggies and added a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and another tablespoon of vegan parmesan. Both of these are optional but dramatically improve the dish. Omit the edamame if you want this to be soy-free and the vegan parmesan if you’re adverse to nuts.

It really ended up being vegetables with risotto instead of risotto with veggies… but it was delicious. Just look at my evidence of ravenousness.

This attractive dish was loaded with vegetables and good flavors. If that doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what will. Let me know what you do with this idea!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off.

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