It seems as though the Summer heat is still raging on here in Southern California, doesn’t the Mother Nature know that I want it to be Fall already?! Oh well… ‘Tis the season for the start of football, from what I’ve heard from family and friends. I’m not a huge sports fan, as far as following teams goes; I’m more into the idea of actually playing sports, myself. Either way, I do like to find any reason at all to get together with friends and have a great time, even if it does revolve around 300 lb. men ramming their heads into each other. *Ouch!*
What better snack to have on hand than guacamole? Seriously. I feel as though it is a mandatory party food, and is almost always amazing (depending on who makes it, obviously ;)). I have made guacamole several different ways, but thought that I’d try something a little different this time around. Something that gave the guacamole deeper flavors, that weren’t necessarily as fresh as some recipes, but that made it utterly addicting. It just so happened that my grill started malfunctioning a couple of days before I made this, but that alone did not discourage me. On to the oven!
I know that the last thing you want to do in this heat is turn on your oven, but I assure you, this is more than worth it. Plus, you can chop up the ingredients smaller when they’re on a baking sheet as opposed to being on the grill, which makes the veggies roast faster and saves you time and more of a mess. Also, roasting the onion and garlic takes a bit of the bite away that it usually has when it’s raw, giving it a sweet, more mellow taste. Mmmm…
My garden’s harvesting is coming to an end soon, with the exception of some tomato plants that I started pretty late in the season, and overall it’s been pretty successful! Even though these Summer wraps are a simple dish in execution and ingredients, I am extremely proud of them. Four of the main ingredients came from my garden, and that is something that I wouldn’t have been able to say just a couple of years ago.
Even though the corn stalks I had didn’t produce much, and the cobs are pretty miniature, they tasted great and had some excellent kernels. If my zucchini plant hadn’t fully succumbed to powdery mildew this wouldn’t have been my last homegrown zucchini of the season; but, you gotta take the good with the bad. I’ve never grown carrots before this year, and that was a very cool, patience-testing experience. Pulling a grand-looking, orange root from the earth was definitely a highlight for me. Then there’s the chard, which was started a little late but continues to grow and is quite the sight to see with its multi-colored stalks and deep green leaves.
With the addition of some red onion, tomatoes and mushrooms, these wraps have an array of colors and are not only delicious, but easy on the eyes. Salt and pepper are the only tools used for seasoning other than fresh Farmers Market basil, keeping it basic by letting the fresh produce shine through. Being wrapped in chard makes these wraps healthy and great to serve as an appetizer at a Summer dinner party.
This month’s Vegan Food Swap, was incredible for me! I got totally spoiled by Sarah of Good Story Sarah with goodies from all over the Northwest. Upon opening the adorably papered box, I laid my eyes on a jar of tasty-looking curry paste, hell yes! It only got better from there, also included was a jar of vegan salted caramel (be still my heart), Hurraw chap stick (how did she know I was a chap stick fiend?), and some tangy Tahini sauce (which is delicious). Not to mention I had a bag ofSoy Curlswaiting for me near the bottom of the box, I’ve never used these, but have heard tremendous things, so I can’t wait. Last but not least, some adorable cards and graphics were included in the bunch! I may just frame the buffalo card because it is so damn cute.
Now, onto the part where I get to try out my new Thai Curry Paste, which I was absolutely ecstatic to do. I’m a huge fan of curry, even though I don’t post many recipes for it here on VYA. I usually end up ordering it when I go to great vegan, Asian restaurants; or at PF Changs, they’re Coconut Curry Tofu is one of my favorites.
Instead of this being your typical thick-sauced curry, which I love so don’t get me wrong, I used So Delicious’s Unsweetened Coconut Milk for a lighter consistency. This makes for a yummy dish that has all of the flavor, but is still healthy for you. Because this made up mostly of vegetables, I feel that the serving size is relatively large; if you have a smaller appetite than I, maybe you could split it amongst three or four people instead of two.
A warm and flavorful curry that is still light and perfect for summer!
2 tsp. Coconut Oil
1¼ Cup White Onion, Cut into Slivers
1 Cup Carrots, Sliced into Thin Medallions
2 Cups Broccoli, Broken Up into Smaller Pieces
1 Cup Collard Greens, Chopped & Packed
1 Handful Roasted & Salted Peanuts
2 Cups Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk (I used Coconut)
2½ Tbsp. Massamun Curry Paste
1 Tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice
1 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro
Salt to taste
1 Block Organic Extra-Firm Tofu, Cut into ½" Cubes
Begin by pressing the water out of your tofu for 20-30 mins. while prepping the vegetables.
Get one medium and one large pan out for sauteing. Melt 1 tsp. Coconut oil in the large pan over medium heat; once hot saute the onions until they are almost clear.
Place the carrots and broccoli in the same saute pan and cover for 5 mins., stirring every couple of minutes.
Melt 1 tsp. of Coconut Oil in the small pan at just over medium heat. When the pan is up to temperature place the tofu in it and cook each side of the cube for 3-5 minutes.
While the tofu is cooking, add the collard greens to the veggie pan and saute together until it starts to wilt. Whisk together the curry paste and non-dairy milk, then pour it into the vegetable mixture.
Add the lime juice, cilantro and salt into the pan as well and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat.
Once the tofu is done cooking, add it to the veggie pan and fully incorporate it into the mixture. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, taking the lid off of the pan for the last 5 minutes.
When time is up, give it another stir and serve hot with a wedge of lime.
It seems as though I forgot that I have certain appliances in my kitchen; whether it’s tucked away in a cabinet that I never use or it’s hidden behind others that I use more frequently, every once in a while it will stick out and call to me. This time it was my rice cooker with steamer basket. I had purchased this thing on Craigslist because I was interested in trying one out without the full commitment of buying a brand new one; obviously I know myself all too well because I used it a few times in the summer and promptly forgot about it.
This brings me to the fact that I’m trying to eat a bit healthier than I have been, so I was thinking of different ways I could prepare foods that lend themselves to healthier recipes. Voila! The rice cooker, well, namely the steamer basket. What could be better than cooking two things simultaneously and not really having to pay attention to it? Not much, in my opinion. Of course, if you don’t have a rice cooker/steamer basket, all you need are a pan for the quinoa and a large pot with a steam basket like this one.
The sesame ginger dressing I made on a whim a few night before making this dish, and was inspired by Jill’s tahini/ACV/dill dressing that she made when she was visiting. On its own, it may seem a tad acidic (obviously), but once you pour it over the steamed vegetables you realize that the balance is actually quite good.
Steamed Veggies with Quinoa & Sesame Ginger Dressing
Try this healthy and simple dinner during the week and you won't be let down by the combination of nutty quinoa and sesame ginger dressing.
1 Cup Uncooked Red Inca Quinoa
2 Cups Water
2 Cups Kale, Chopped
2 Cups Green Cabbage, Chopped
1 Cup Carrots, Sliced
1 Cup Green Beans, Chopped
3 Tbsp. Tahini
2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
⅓ Cup Water
1 tsp. Liquid Aminos
1 tsp. Dried Ginger
Salt & Pepper to taste
¼ Cup Green Onions, Diced
In your rice cooker or pan, add the quinoa and water, stir a little and add a couple sprinkles of salt and pepper. If using a pan, heat over medium until the water starts to boil, then reduce it to low-medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Place the kale, cabbage, carrots and green beans into the steamer basket and steam for approx. 10-15 minutes.
While both of those are cooking, place the tahini, ACV, water, liquid aminos, and dried ginger into a blender or small food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Once the quinoa is done, fluff it with a fork and plate it. When the veggies are finished steaming, top the quinoa with them, drizzle the sesame sauce over the top and garnish with green onion.
Sometimes it is the easiest of recipes that really hit the spot. I think that I’ll actually be using the rice cooker more often, again! Now, I’ll just have to get my sauces on point so that I can top all of these steamed veggies with something different every time.
Do you have an appliance that you’d like to use more often?
This is a vegan food blog, run by Jackie Sobon, that covers everything from indulgent desserts, to healthy dinners, and even raw recipes! I also write up restaurant reviews and am sort of a beer snob. You'll find that there is something for everyone, here!
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