Simple Tomato Salad

This recipe is a vegan-adapted version of Alice Waters Simple Tomato Salad. It’s a great summer side dish that’s very easy to make.

Yields 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ripe juicy tomatoes
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
  • handful fresh basil leaves, torn in half
  • garlic croutons or torn pieces of crusty bread, toasted or not (optional)

Directions

  1. Wash and core tomatoes. Cut into thick slices.
  2. Peel the garlic. In the serving bowl, rub the garlic using the tips of a fork, to make a puree, then add the vinegar and oil.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tossing gently to coat with dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Scatter top of salad with the torn basil leaves.
  5. Add croutons or pieces of bread, if using, to soak up the delicious juices.

Adapted from Alice Waters Simple Tomato Salad

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Hot Chocolate

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Why would a vegan need to worry about hot chocolate? Because almost all standard store brands have milk as one of the primary ingredients. And if you’re going to add whipped cream or marshmallows, that introduces even more animal-derived products (most “non-dairy” whipped cream contains casein, a milk protein, and marshmallows contain gelatin). So here’s a simple recipe (adapted only slightly from the original recipe) to follow for your own cup of vegan hot chocolate. I’ve included a couple of suggestions for tasty add-ons, too. It tastes just great and I’m willing to bet even a hot chocolate connoisseur wouldn’t be able to tell you used soy milk.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups soy milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Mix water, cocoa, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat at medium temperature until boiling, stirring constantly. Continue for another minute, continuing to stir.
  2. Stir in the milk and heat through, but don’t boil. Remove from heat, add vanilla and blend thoroughly.
  3. Add vegan marshmallows or vegan whipped cream, as desired. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also make your own marshmallows or whipped cream (I haven’t tried either recipe).

Adapted from CooksRecipes.com

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Vegan Carrot Cake

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A couple of weeks ago I visited my sister for a birthday co-celebration with my dad and youngest niece. Since I’m no longer eating dairy or eggs, but I’m not willing to put people out, I told her I didn’t want anything special and that I could just have some Tofutti Cuties or something in lieu of cake. But instead, she said a vegan carrot cake would be great and so my sister, my mom, and I worked together using this recipe from Veg Web. It was Stacey’s first time doing any vegan baking and it was my first time with this recipe, yet the cake came out tasting incredibly good. The icing was also quite tasty, though not as thick of a consistency as it should have been (perhaps refrigerating it a bit after mixing it would help).

We used applesauce in place of the pineapples and about 3/4 of a cup of Earth Balance instead of the vegetable oil. We used one container of Silk soy yogurt in place of the three eggs and opted for all spice while leaving out the optional nuts and raisins.

I probably shouldn’t mention that my sister bought all of the necessary ingredients for the cake before I arrived, except for one: the carrots. Fortunately, those don’t require a trip to the health food store.

Erik’s Diner

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Have you been itching for some good vegan-related talk radio? Head on over to Vegan.com, where our friend Erik Marcus has recently started up a new program called “Erik’s Diner.” It’s available in MP3 format (“Podcasting” seems to be the term du jour for Internet-only broadcasting, though this incarnation seems to be tied to RSS feeds) and each episode runs in the neighborhood of 20 minutes. Erik covers a variety of topics from the food industry to recipes to health and has already featured an interview with the likes of Peter Singer. I’ve been listening to it on my Nomad going to and from work.

One interesting thing I learned from one of their early episodes is that some natural health food stores offer various nut butters in bulk: peanut, almond, and cashew, for instance. But what’s even more interesting is that some offer what’s called “mystery butter,” which is essentially a mixture of two types of nut butter that comes from the batches in-between making “pure” nut butters. The mystery butter is cheaper than any of the other butters because without it, it would end up being discarded anyway as residue or “leftovers” from the regular batches. Interesting stuff and certainly nothing I’d ever heard of before.

So, check out Erik’s Diner and while you’re at it, pick up a copy of Erik’s new book, Meat Market. I’ll be reviewing here shortly, but take my word for it for now: it’s a mighty fine read.

Mayor Won’t Wear Fur

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Fur flies as mayor won’t wear robes

Councillor Linda Turton, a strict vegetarian, told Sandwell Council staff that she could not wear the robes – normally worn when the new mayor is sworn into office.

Instead, for the official ceremony in June Councillor Turton wore a “borrowed” robe that had a black material collar instead of the traditional fur collar.