Summer Avocado and Balsamic Onion Salad w/ Crispy Tofu and Dijon Asparagus

 

On a Hot Day in July…

I feel like so many posts start this way (or should, because its the truth that maybe I’m not letting slip…) but the other day I got off work, and needed some seriously delicious food but there wasn’t much in the fridge. That day at work, the prep cooks prepared the chef’s balsamic onions and that got me thinking. Our friend Scott had just brought us a big old bowl of onions that we had to use before they went, and seeing as though we are moving out in a couple of weeks, I wanted to use as much of the balsamic vinegar we’ve got so that we’re not moving liquids. Then, like a vision from vegan food heaven, this little gem appeared. I wasn’t sure how it would work, but trust me, in the end, it was one of the best meals I’d had in a long long time. The crispy tofu and Dijon Asparagus are pretty straight forward, so I’ll share the recipe some time in the future with something else, but for now they’re just sides for the salad.

Ingredients

1/2 avocado

2 medium white onions

2 cups balsamic vinegar

3 fresh strawberries

1/4 cup blueberries

olive oil

salt & pepper

Balsamic Onions

Preparing the balsamic onions is really quite easy, slice the onions thin. My preferred method is as follows: slice off the top and bottom 1/8″, then slice the onion in half, peel the outer layer and from side to side, slice the onion paper thin. Place the onions in a pan with the two cups of balsamic vinegar and cook on medium low til the onions have completely soaked the balsamic reduction, approximately 30-40 minutes. When completely cooked, they will not only capture the essence of balsamic vinegar, but will also be caramelized, that’s key so that they accentuate the tart sweetness of the fruits and complement the savory deliciousness of the avocado.

Avocado and Fruit Salad

The rest of the salad is mostly prep. When you’re about 10 minutes out from the balsamic onions, slice the strawberries thin as in the picture above, and pit and extract the avocado. When the onions are finished, place the avocado on the “bed” of fruits and spoon approximately a quarter cup of balsamic onions into the crater of the avocado. Finish the salad with extra virgin olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper.

Don’t forget the Booze

Partially because it was the only alcohol we had, and partly because it really works, I took the plate with a Pinot Grigio. Very light, not overpowering which pulled out the flavors of the salad really well.

 

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Tofu + Avocado Pizza

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Background

This was one of those “we don’t have much in the kitchen, time to get creative” kind of meals (which in my opinion, really ends up making the best meals, amiright?). I always feel awkward posting and sharing things like this because, on one hand yeah, they taste delicious. On the other hand, since it was just a bunch of things thrown together, its not like it’s a concrete recipe, just a suggestion, like, “oh check this out it tastes quite good.”

Ingredients

1/4 block of tofu

1/2 onion

2 cloves garlic

1/4 zucchini squash

1 corn tortilla

1/4 cup barbeque sauce

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 avocado, sliced

Prep and Finishing

Cube tofu, slice onions thin, dice garlic and cook all in a pan with oil. I added spices when the tofu got crispy, and I’m a spice whore, so there was a dash of thyme, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder and sage. After cooking the toppings, I placed the bbq sauce on the tortilla, then added the toppings and put the whole concoction into the oven at around 350 for 10 minutes, or til the crust was crispy. When that happened, I fanned out the avocado in two halves, then added the nutritional yeast.

And then…

That’s about it. It’s pretty good with a spicy red or a rich red ale.

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Tempeh Wings with Vegan Sour Cream-Buttermilk Dip

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It has taken us many, many tries, but we’re certain that these are the most perfected version of the vegan “wing.” Normally, I don’t like when vegan food emulates meat products, but these are simply too delicious to hold a grudge or prejudice against.

Ingredients

1 bottle vegan-friendly buffalo sauce

1 lb Tempeh

1 cup Unbleached white flour

1 tbsp Paprika

3 tsp Oregano, divided

2 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp onion powder

2 tsp chili powder

3 tsp salt, divided

2 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided

Frying oil (peanut, sunflower or vegetable preferably)

1/2 cup vegan sour cream

1/4 cup veganaise

1 tsp parsley

1 tbsp olive oil

Prep and Batter

Fill a pot with frying oil and turn it up to medium-high heat. Cut tempeh block into your choice of size, we prefer smaller bites, but… whatever floats your boat. Combine flour, paprika, 2 tsp oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp pepper and about 1/3 of the bottle of the wing sauce in a large mixing bowl. Mix til all the flour is wet, you might need to add some wing sauce.

“Buttermilk” Dip

Combine sour cream, veganaise, parsley, olive oil and the rest of the pepper, salt and oregano in a small bowl and mix til consistent. Set in the refrigerator or other cool place til ready to use.

The Good Part

Take the batter and, using your nimble hands, shape it around each piece of the tempeh. It might take some work to form the batter, but trust us, it’s worth it. When all the pieces are covered in the batter (it will be thick, that’s good), drop them in about 4 pieces at a time. When golden brown, dark brown in parts, fish them out with a strainer of some sort. When all are fried, pour however much wing sauce you want on the whole lot of them. They’ll be spicy already, since you mixed chili powder and wing sauce into the batter, so don’t get overzealous! They should look similar to what we have pictured above. Serve with the dip. Yeah it’s good.

Goes with:

Like with any fried food, you don’t want any beer that’s too malty. Light, hoppy and refreshing-like. Especially with a spicy meal like this, you want something that’s going to whet your whistle like a Pilsner or Pale Ale.

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Pommes Frites and Vegan Chili Pepper Aioli

ImageIf you can get past the pretentiousness of our calling them pommes frites, then we’re sure that you will really enjoy these gourmet, glorified fried potatoes.

Ingredients

2 Large Russet Potatoes

1/2 Cup of Veganaise (we think that brand works the best, but you can get any non-egg mayo)

Lots of sunflower, peanut or vegetable oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil

1.5 tbsp garlic powder, divided

1.5 tbsp salt divided

1 tbsp Oregano

2 tsp Ground Black pepper

2 tsp Chili powder (or a pinch of cayenne if you’re feeling adventurous)

Big mug of beer to wash it all down

Prep

Fill a pot about halfway with sunflower or peanut oil, those seem to work the best. Crank it up to medium-high heat and let that get going while you slice the potatoes. I’ll try to describe how to cut them, but you’ll probably end up just having to figure out the best way that works for you. Cut the potato in half, then slice each half into long strips from right to left (about 1/4 – 1/2 in.), next divide the slices from each half of the potato into two parts and slice them perpendicularly to the cuts you just made so that you have long strips. I hope that makes sense… Continue til you’ve cut all the potato. Finally, before you start frying, put 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp garlic powder, oregano and pepper into a large mixing bowl.

Aioli

Combine Veganaise, olive oil, lemon juice, chili powder and the rest of the garlic powder and salt in a small bowl. Beat with a spoon til smooth and consistent. Set aside.

Pommes Frites

It’s so easy, there’s really no need for this section but it’s hard to write a recipe ok so just lay off. Just put the sliced potatoes into the hot oil in about 4 parts, depending on how large the potatoes are. BE REALLY CAREFUL THAT THE OIL DOESN’T BOIL OVER THE EDGE AND CATCH YOUR BURNER ON FIRE, IT HAPPENED TO US. When the potatoes are golden brown, fish them out with a strainer of some sort and let the oil drip off before placing them in the bowl with the spices. When you’ve fried all the potatoes, toss them in the bowl til the spices evenly coat them.

Bon Appetit! 

Goes with:

A nice, clean wheat beer like the hefeweisen we drank ours with. Basically you just don’t want to have anything too malty, and it might just be my personal preference, but a slightly hoppy beer like a pale ale works great.

Cheers!

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Portabella and Asparagus Tapenade

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What a way to kick off a new food blog! I’m sure that there’s going to be more interesting background information to come, but we just made this and had to share right off.

Tapenade 

  1. One bunch tender asparagus
  2. Three cloves garlic, chopped
  3. Quarter Cup Onion, chopped
  4. One Yellow squash, chopped
  5. One tablespoon Thyme
  6. One tablespoon Oregano
  7. Two Tablespoons Olive Oil
  8. Two teaspoons salt

Portabellas

  1. Two large Portabella Caps
  2. One Tablespoon Honey
  3. Two Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  4. Two Teaspoons salt
  5. Two Teaspoons Thyme
Preparation
Broil asparagus, garlic, onion and squash with spices and vegetable oil for ten minutes or until all vegetables are browned and soft.
While vegetables are broiling, take stems off portabella caps and cook on medium heat in vegetable oil with thyme and salt. Place a lid slightly smaller than the pan you’re cooking your ports in and place a heavy object on the lid to weigh down the ports. Flip the caps when each side gets browned. After flipping twice, add balsamic and honey. When caps are soft, take off heat and set on place upside down.
When Asparagus and other veggies are cooked, place in food processor, add olive oil and process until smooth. Place tapenade on ports and plate with whatever else you’re eating (we did toast with artichoke hummus and greens with miso dressing).
Voila!
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