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Pita Bread

2 Sep

I made pita bread for the first time today. They came out great, all but one puffed up perfectly, and my defected one still tasted great.

I got the recipe from Pinterest. The author says it it important that the dough be rolled evenly to ensure proper puff  levels. Mine here were about 1/4 of an inch. I made a few large ones for dinner and some small ones to snack on.

It was really fun watching them puff up in the oven.

I will be making these again because they come out really good and they were super easy.

Pretty much all you do is make a simple dough of yeast, water, salt and flour, roll into small discs, les sit for 35 minutes and pop them in the oven for 10 minutes. The simplicity is beautiful!

-Kerri

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Cold Cucumber Rice Salad

21 Aug

I’m always looking for things to make for lunch at work. This cold cucumber and rice salad is the perfect thing because I can make it ahead of time, and the flavors blend beautifully by the time my lunch break rolls around. I made a batch of this and ate it two days in a row, and it was even better the second day.

I thought of this dish because i wanted something with a light flavor, that would stick my your ribs. I had a lot of cucumbers but i didn’t think my Cool Cookout Cucumber Salad would fill my up enough, and I didn’t want anything with a slot of dressing. This salad has just the right balance of flavors and texture. I’m really happy with the way it tuned out.

Cold Cucumber Rice Salad

1 cup plain rice (measured uncooked rice)

2 cucumbers

1 lime

1 teaspoon white vinegar

vegan mayo

I use extra long grain white rice. I make it like sushi rice because I love it slightly sticky. I make sticky rice by rinsing the uncooked rice with really cold water. I swish the water around and scrunch the damp rice in my fists so the grains rub against each other polishing the outside of the rice. Rinse several times until the water is pretty much clear. Drain rinsing water and add fresh water to the pot. Bring water and rice to a boil. Then turn the heat down and cover the pot to steam the rice. Simmer (watch out for boiling over) for 30 minutes.

While the rice is cooking cut cucumbers into bite sized pieces.

When rice is cooked remove from heat and place in mixing bowl, add white vinegar and fold into the rice.

Add Cucumbers to the bowl.

Add the juice from one lime.

Add a small amount of vegan mayo. Just enough to bring the mixture together. Taste test the salad until you get the right amount. People are very picky about how much mayo to use. Remember you can always add more if you want, but you can’t take it out once it’s in there.

You want to fold the ingredients together while the rice is warm and then place the batch in the refrigerator. I suggest making this at least 20 minutes before serving, but you can do it a day in advance. The flavor is better when its had time to blend.

Enjoy!

I’d love a comment if you try this recipe.

-Kerri

Vegan Caesar Salad

7 Aug

Generally, when I want a salad, I want it to be filled with veggies. Every now and then, though, it’s nice to enjoy a simple Caesar salad… well, unless you are a vegan, right? WRONG! Thanks to Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction cookbook. Check out her website to see some of her delicious recipes, at Post Punk Kitchen.

I will admit that when I first tasted this dressing, I found it a little too salty. Once I put it into the salad, though, the lettuce and croutons really balanced out the flavor. I also added a dash of Galaxy soy Parmesan. A perfect side for my leftover meatballs and pasta from last night.

A word of advice: When buying croutons, look for all-natural or organic. All the regular brands had milk in them. The ones in the picture are by Olivia’s Croutons. VERY delicious!

~Kate

If Vegan Food is Scary, Try This Bruschetta

5 Aug

For someone transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, one of the scariest things is the idea that you can’t eat any familiar favorites. For friends and family of vegans, sometimes the word vegan is scary, not to mention how terrifying the idea of actually eating a vegan dish might be. Maybe terrifying is too harsh of a term, but there is a lot of intimidation that surrounds a vegan lifestyle.

People say, “Oh my God. You don’t eat meat? What do you eat?” or “Hmm, I’ve never had a vegan meal before”. Chances are, almost all vegans thought this way before switching. An easy reply to “I’ve never had a vegan meal.” Is “sure you have, what about spaghetti and marinara sauce, or peanut butter and jelly.”

A slow introduction to vegan dishes can be a lot easier than suddenly showing up to a party with kale chips, or seaweed salad.

Here’s a familiar crowd pleaser to bring next time you’re invited to bring food to a party or a meeting. Serve this oil free bruschetta you friends and family of all ages, it’s that good! It’s to full of flavor they wont miss the cheese, and they won’t believe it’s oil free! I came up with this the other day and it was gobbled up in no time. All the ingredients were from my CSA!

Kerri’s Oil Free, Tomato and Eggplant Bruschetta:

Serves 3

1 Eggplant – I used one of the light colored, long and skinny varieties.

1 hand full of salt (trust me)

2 Large Garlic Cloves, or 3 small ones

2 Cups of Chopped Tomatoes – I used plum tomatoes, whatever’s handy

Salt and Pepper to taste

3 Large Slices of Crusty Bread – I used Panera Bread’s County Loaf.

Balsamic Vinegar to taste

Slice the eggplant into pieces about a ¼ inch thick.

To get rid of excess moisture and to avoid mushy cooked eggplant, place the eggplant slices in a single layer in a colander or on a paper towel. Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant with a hand full of salt. Let the eggplant slices sit for 10 minutes with the salt. You will see the water bead up as it’s drawn out of the eggplant by the salt.

While the eggplant is sitting chop your tomatoes. I cut my plumb tomatoes into 3 or four pieces each, no uniform shapes. If you cut the veggies into non-uniform shapes, it will give your dish a rustic look and varieties of texture.

Place a garlic clove on the cutting board. With a broad knife over the garlic pound down with the palm of your hand to squish the garlic, therefore releasing it’s fragrant oils and flavor, and freeing the clove from it’s paper prison. Again, I love my food rustic so I use the garlic in this smooshed state, but if you want you can cut it up a bit too. Continue with remaining cloves.

Put tomatoes and garlic in a bowl, add salt and pepper, and mix with your hand until evenly blended.

Place tomatoes and garlic in a single layer on a baking pan and bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes until juicy and colored on the edges.

Remove from oven and place tomatoes and garlic back in the bowl.

Wash the salt off of your eggplant and pat dry. Cut sliced eggplant into ¼ inch chunks. Place eggplant in a single layer on baking pan and bake in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes until lightly brown, may flip once mid way through.

Cut slices of crusty bread in half and toast in toaster oven. Do this while the eggplant cooks.

Add cooked eggplant into the bowl with the tomatoes and garlic. Mix well.

Serve with toasted bread.

My mom suggested dressing bruschetta bites with balsamic vinegar. I put it out so people could serve themselves, and the balsamic vinegar was a big hit.

What To Do About Cookouts

4 Aug

So far my family has tried to be accommodating about my new vegan lifestyle. Mike’s sister, Beth, has gone out of her way to cook me meat free sauce at a family pasta dinner, and at her barbeque she grilled veggies before the meat went on the gill (so thoughtful). However it is ultimately up to me to make sure there are vegan options.

Mike’s youngest sister, Sarah, graduated from high school this year, and the family celebrated with a pool party cookout. Most cookout food is just grilled meat, and if there is a veggie it’s mostly mayo potato salad, or bacon fat beans. I decided it would be best to bring something to ensure I didn’t spent the day eating empty hot dog buns just in case.

I had a few cucumbers from my CSA and not a lot of other ingredients, so I decided to make cucumber salad, and to bring enough for everyone. That way when everyone eats it and tells me how good it is I can see the looks on their faces when I say “and it’s vegan too”. So congratulations to Sarah for graduation high school, and congratulations to me for whipping up an awesome summertime side dish!

Cool Cookout Cucumber Salad:

notes:

  • I didn’t measure any of the ingredients, just keep tasting it til it’s awesome.
  • For milk I used Almond Breeze original unsweetened almond milk, but you can use whatever milk you have handy
  • A lemon could be used instead of the lime. I only had limes at the time and it ended up pairing quite well with the cucumbers believe it or not.
  • I used about 4 cucumbers, for variety I cut them all into small chunks but not uniform size, just smallish.
  • I also varied how much peel I left on each cucumber, this added dimension to the flavor, look, and texture of the dish.