Last Friday I took the day off and had plans to have a picnic at Pedernales Falls. The day before I was looking at the hour by hour weather report and my computing machine was reporting an 80% chance of thunderstorms between 11 and 1. Since Perdernales Falls is prone to flash floods it seemed that the world was against me. But I was wrong. The world loves me. Or maybe it feels completely indifferent and I just lucked out. First my friend Kristen brought me some cupcakes.
Then I got some really pretty flowers.
And then I made some olive salad to go in a muffaletta sandwich ’cause olives are my favorite food.
We went to McKinney Falls State Park and there were wildflowers everywhere.
We saw a giant lucky lizard.
But we still found a protected spot for our picnic, just in case. There was no one around, probably because of the scary forecast but it was the most beautiful day.
Dan let me take as many overprocessed photos as I wanted, because it was my birthday.
And then we finally ate the sandwich.
I guess an 80% chance of thunderstorms still means you get a 20% chance of blue sky.
One of my favorite bloggers is Jes from Cupcake Punk. We have a lot of things in common including our love of beer and tasty vegan food. The other day she created a recipe and I just had to try it because it involved tomatoes which are pretty much my favorite thing about summer and it looked so yummy. The sandwich is called the Trifecta which is a word that originates from the very non-vegan activity of horseracing. A trifecta is when you guess the three winners in the order that they win. It is hard to decide what order the winners come in here, there is a cornmeal crusted fried green tomato, sundried tomatoes , and a plump juicy red tomato. You may think that the tomato might be overwhelming but that was not the case at all, the flavors were all so different and worked magically together. It makes me feel like singing.I also made the avocado potato salad from Vegan Brunch. It was suprisingly more like a potato salad and less like guacamole than I thought it would be even though it had 2 avocados, lime, red onion, and cayenne. With the leftover potato salad, bread, and sundried tomatoes I made another sandwich for today and I can’t wait to eat it!
Yesterday was another wonderful trip the Sunset Valley Farmer’s Market. I couldn’t believe that tomato season appears to be ending, there were only a couple let (I might have just gotten there later than usual). Everyone seemed to have tons of produce however and it was really difficult to make decisions. I got some beautiful carrots, spring onions, peaches, tomatoes, and I can never resist mushrooms and Kombucha.I also had some inari sushi that was fabulous and the guy assured me that it was vegan.
For lunch we were busy doing things around the house so I wanted something very simple and decided since I had veganaise for another recipe I would try to make chicken salad sandwiches with tempeh. I was never a big fan of chicken/potato/tuna salads in my pregen days (unless my grandma made it) because I don’t like raw celery. So in my version I used carrot instead and fresh herbs and vegetables. It was pretty great, totally unlike what you get at the store which once again goes to show, if you want good food it is best to make it yourself.
And look at that tomato! My god, I love summer. Tempeh Salad
8oz of tempeh, cubed
1 carrot, grated
1/3 cup veganaise
1 scallion, minced
4 Tablespoons of fresh parsley, minced
2 leaves of sage, minced
1/4 tsp of fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp vegeta broth powder
salt & pepper
Simmer to tempeh in enough water to cover it with 1 Tablespoon or so of soy sauce for 20 minutes. Drain and let it cool, I was in a hurry so I put some ice cubes along with the tempeh in the freezer and it was cold by the time I was ready for it. Prep all the vegetables and herbs and toss until they are well incorporated. In a larger bowl measure out the veganaise and whip it with a whisk or a fork until light and creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients together and carefully toss. Enjoy!
I got some lovely “ancient grain” bread at the farmer’s market on Saturday and I had some portobellos so I knew I would have to make a sandwich. I have always had a strange relationship with sandwiches. When I was a kid I hated mustard, mayo, lettuce, pickles, relish, raw onion, sauerkraut, and horseradish so if I ever went to a restaurant my sandwiches were really plain. When I used to go to subway I would get a cold cut, tomato, and as many olives they could fit. One day, in the year 2001 I got into a fight with a sandwich “artist” who would only give me 6 slices of olives. She said the corporate policy was that extra olives cost 35 cents for each additional serving of 3 slices of olive. I explained that I wasn’t getting any of the other condiments so it seemed unfair. She refused to give in; maybe she didn’t have a soul or perhaps she was threatened by the company. Regardless, I left the restaurant in disgust and vowed never to return and to this day I refuse to purchase anything from Subway. Sometimes I can really identify with Grandpa Simpson.
I still don’t like most traditional American condiments but I love all sorts of other things including the great food love of my life: the olive. This sandwich was a roasted portobello marinated in wine, olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic, and garlic and then topped with arugula and roasted red peppers. I also made a cross between and chimichurri and a tapenade for the spread that was delicious! In a mortar and pestle I pounded out some garlic and then added parsley, basil, green olives, and tomato. Heavenly! The key with a sandwich like this is to toast the bread so it doesn’t get to soggy. I served the sandwiches with Potato Squashers. This picture also shows off my new salt and pepper shakers that I got at room service. So smurfy!
Did you ever see that episode of the Simpson’s where Homer is at the company picnic and they have one of those 25 foot long sandwiches? Carl says “We hardly put a dent in that sandwich” and Homer says he will give it a proper home. Then as the weeks go by the sandwich starts to rot and eventually makes Homer really ill and he looks at the sandwich and says “this is all your fault…. I could never be mad at you!” and starts eating the rotten thing again? That is how I feel about the Lemongrass Tofu Bánh mì at LuLu B’s. It was so good and only 4 dollars, it doesn’t get any better than that. Sleepy Smurf wanted me to make sure that I added that the avocado boba tea is the best that she has had in town. And the picture is only half the sammy! I had to eat the other half as soon as I got back to work or I would have gone into a panic. So you are really looking at 2 dollars worth of sandwich. Wow.
A few weeks ago I found a used copy of the uncheese cookbook at half price books. I was a little unsure about making my own vegan cheese but I had read some positive reviews so I thought I would try it out. The first thing that I made was the farmer’s chedda soup, it was mostly sweet potatoes and carrots as I recall so I thought it would be pretty good and I really enjoyed eating it. The soup was thick and filling while also being quite favorable. I was still not sure about the different cheese recipes but I kept looking them over and gradually got the extra stuff that I would need that I don’t normally have around (quick oats and pimento pieces) one of the main reasons that I thought I might not like these recipes is their reliance on nutritional yeast which I do like but not on everything all the time, mostly in tofu scramble.
So with great trepidation last night I starting putting ingredients into my blender that seemed totally unlikely to go together. It reminded me of “cooking” as a 5 year old, when you just mixed together a bunch of random stuff, added every spice in the rack and blended it all together and tried to get your mom to eat it. The mixture blended up very nicely and I poured it into a saucepan and heated it while it thickened. It looked very cheesy, very creamy and it was bright orange. I had made foccacia that was just coming out of the oven and I tested a corner in the cheeze mix. Oh my! It was so tasty! I ate a whole piece of bread standing over the pot! I spread it out on another piece of bread and put it under the broiler for a few minutes. It was divine. I can’t wait now to try some of the other cheeses!