Category Archives: vegan

Summertime Fresh Tomato Sauce–no cook sauce

IMG_7930 (2)FullSizeRender (3)Nothing better than a really fresh tomato sauce , so fresh that you don’t even have to cook it. Just let the tomatoes marinate for a few hours with some olive oil , basil and a few spices and you’re good to go. So very easy and delicious. A must go-to for summertime and why not anytime? The only down side to making this sauce is that I really feel it needs to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and really 4 hours is best. You can taste for salt and pepper during this period.

The other delicious thing to do with this is to add small balls of mozzarella and make a wonderful Caprese salad. I also love this tomato sauce on grilled chicken. And on grilled bread as bruschetta!!!

This recipe is sort of thrown together so there will be a lot of tasting as you go along, depending on the tomatoes you may or may not need extra salt and pepper. I made this for my grandson so I left out the crushed red pepper, if I were making for us I would have thrown in at least 1/2 teaspoon.  Crushed red pepper can always be added at the table.

*This should make about 6 servings, you can adjust to any amount you need, I used 1/2 for the 2 of us .

Ingredients:

app. 3 pints of grape tomatoes ( the little ones), you can use any beautiful fresh tomatoes especially in the summer months.  You’ll just have to eyeball the amounts of tomatoes. I like the pieces cut small but you can just roughly chop up larger tomatoes. If you’re using cherry or plum tomatoes you can cut in half or quarters. It’s not an exact science.

1/2 cup olive oil

app. 4 cloves garlic , minced ( you can adjust this to your liking, a little more or less)

app. 18 basil leaves plus extra for serving. Nothing beats the taste of fresh basil in this so don’t omit. You’ll want extra for serving. I roll up the basil and use a kitchen shear to slice it.

*this is optional –1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper–we love it but adjust to your liking or just serve on the table

Kosher Salt–app. 1 teaspoon and then you’ll taste for more

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper–again you’ll have to taste and adjust to your own liking

1 pound pasta of your liking , I like a thin spaghetti best with this sauce. Angel Hair, Cappelini, any of these.

1 cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus extra for serving.

Directions:

Combine the tomatoes, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, red pepper, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and just let it sit out on the countertop . The longer it sits the better, at least 2 hours to macerate and 4 hours would be ideal.

Just before you are ready to serve, cook pasta. Cook al dente according to the box directions. Angel Hair cooks up in under 5 minutes.

Drain the pasta and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add in 1 cup of parmesan cheese and some more fresh basil if you’d like and toss well. Serve in big bowls with extra cheese on the side . Cheese will melt, so keep giving it some good tosses to integrate tomatoes and sauce.

Yum!

Sesame Cukes

A very big thank you goes out to Jessica Seinfeld and her new cook book “Food Swings”.  Thoroughly enjoying this book and trying to cook my way through it. The other night I made a delicious simple salmon and wanted a nice light “virtuous” accompaniment to go with it.

Well here it is for all you gluten-free, dairy free and light eaters . Nothing difficult here and you can do it in 10 minutes. Of course it tastes best after it sits for a while but you can prepare and let sit for an hour or so.

Thanks again to Jessica Seinfeld and Food Swings cookbook which is available wherever great books are sold.

Ingredients:

1 English Cucumber, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds – available in the spice department

1/2 to 1 Jalapeno Pepper-seeded and thinly sliced or diced–I always suggest wearing gloves to seed and cut up Jalapeno to avoid any problems with those jalapeno seeds.

2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 -1/2 Tsp. Kosher Salt-Taste after 1/4 , I added a little more

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill–I didn’t have in the house but next time I will add because I love dill and it will add a delicious fresh layer of flavor. If you don’t like dill you can omit.

Directions:

Put the sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat. Cook , tossing for about 3 minutes, until toasted. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the cukes, jalapeno, lemon juice, oil and kosher salt. Stir in the dill and sesame seeds.

*little note on the salt– I started with 1/4 tsp. and after all was said and done added another 1/4 tsp. This is completely up to the cook depending on how much you like salt .

 

 

Pasta with Avocado and Tomatoes–Fresh and Easy

IMG_4523 (2) IMG_4528photo 5 (54) photo 3 (73) Thinking about what to make for dinner and I find myself with some tomatoes, some avocados and I always have pasta. Don’t want to go out, don’t want to really cook a lot and I had lemons and garlic. I love avocados, its possibly my most favorite fruit yes, it is technically considered to be a fruit.  I sometimes have them for breakfast , lunch and dinner . I don’t care, I love them. So for all of you avocado people this one is for you for sure.  I think this whole thing took me all of 20 minutes from start to finish. I used 1/2 a box of spaghetti so I would double for 1 lb. Hate to admit it but I ate almost the whole thing by myself. It was that good! The avocado made like a creamy sauce using a little pasta water which is key . Enjoy! this is my new summer staple.

*Remember this is for 8 oz. of pasta–double up for 1 lb.

Ingredients:

recipe based on 8 oz. of any kind of spaghetti , I think spaghetti is best because of the way it holds on to the avocado. Having said that use whatever pasta you like or have in the house.

1 large ripe avocado, scooped out

1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated . I finely chopped mine.

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

I used a handful of little plum tomatoes but you can use as much or as little tomato as you like. If using a regular tomato use 1 large tomato and I  would scoop out the seeds and discard them.

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to directions. Once pasta is cooked, reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water which you’ll definitely need to thin out sauce.

Cut tomatoes in 1/2 or 1/4 if using the little ones. If larger tomato just chop into small pieces.

Scoop out the avocado flesh into a bowl and using a fork mash into a chunky paste. (think guacamole consistency)

Add the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix together and taste then adjust the salt and pepper as needed.

Add the drained cooked pasta to the bowl with about 1/4 of a cup of pasta water and the tomatoes. Using tongs or spoons toss the pasta. The avocado will thin out as it coats the pasta. Add more pasta water as necessary to thin out sauce to desired consistency.

This was amazing!

Avocado Salad with Corn and Tomatoes and Lots of Good Stuff – Vegan

DSCN0190 DSCN0195 DSCN0194 DSCN0199Most perfect summer salad and it is a vegetarian delight. totally vegan. I am not a vegan so I was grilling steaks for dinner and wanted to do a cold salad on the side. I had 2 beautiful ripe avocados on hand and all the ingredients for this yummy salad.  I had some fresh corn so I just brought the water to a boil threw it in and when it turned yellow took it out and threw it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.   Of course I love  jalapenos , use your own discretion and this would be amazing without as well but it was kick ass with them.  You can make the salad ahead and let juices meld but don’t add the avocados till you’re ready to serve.  You can give them a little squeeze of fresh lime juice so they won’t turn brown so fast.  I like to serve salad at room temperature, you just don’t get the flavors when it’s too cold. It will keep in fridge for a few days, but you’ll have to take out the leftover avocado since it will turn brown. I cut this salad in 1/2 for the 2 of us. This easily will serve 6 as a side. By the way Joel took a bite but too much healthy stuff going on in here for his liking, although he’s gotten better he’s not quite up to this yet, it’s OK because there was more for me with leftovers.

Enjoy Memorial Day Weekend and be safe!

I was inspired for this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa recipe for Guacamole Salad. The corn was my idea.

Ingredients:

2 cobs of fresh corn ( cook and then shuck corn off the cob) if no fresh corn available use frozen . I use frozen when I have to and 1 small bag is usually sufficient. The frozen corn will defrost very quickly so just take it out and when you mix in with other ingredients it will start to completely thaw by the time you’re ready to serve. You want to serve at room temperature anyway.

1 pint grape tomatoes , halved

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced into small pieces ( app. 1/2 “)

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup small diced red onion

2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded ( app. 2 small jalapenos) use at your own discretion . Remove Seeds

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice ( 2 limes)

1/4 cup good olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into small cubes.

Directions:

Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper. Pour over the vegetables. Toss well. In the meanwhile cook the corn , bring water to a boil throw in for a few minutes to turn bright yellow, then I throw in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes to stop the cooking and lock in flavor and color. Then remove corn from cob. I let the salad sit for about an hour before adding avocados into the salad. Just fold avocados into the salad when you’re ready to serve. Check for seasoning and serve at room temperature.

Cinco de Mayo Salad and Green Goddess Dressing

photo (2)photo (5)photo (2) photo May is here and it brings warm weather and beautiful flowers and springtime has finally arrived. This is a perfect way to bring a little Cinco de Mayo into your home in a pretty healthy way.

Any excuse to celebrate a holiday with a new recipe! Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone and here is a new salad and salad dressing to help celebrate with. While I am not a vegan and don’t always cook that way,  I tried this salad dressing which I found in Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, “It’s All Good”, and I have to say it is all good! All good ingredients. I am not talking diet food–just good, healthy food, that when eaten in moderation, yields very good results. I used * Vegenaise in making this and highly recommend it in the place of mayonnaise. You can also use yogurt in its place. This is low salt and low sugar. Delicious, fresh ingredients. I made it with the delicious salad listed below. I love love cilantro, and I have to say that if you don’t love cilantro, this one’s not for you. I used half of a jalapeno and it was not hot at all, next time I will use a little more.  I scraped the seeds out. Be very careful handling jalapenos and their seeds–make sure to wash your hands well afterwards and maybe wear gloves to prevent any problems.

This dressing will keep well in a jar for up to a week.

*a little story about Vegenaise, which is lighter than mayonnaise and contains no eggs, milk or animal products. No GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms). Mix it with Dijon for great flavor in the place of real mayo. Extra added bonus is a great jar to store future salad dressings in.

Ingredients:

*this will be vegan if you use Vegenaise

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

2/3 cup of Vegenaise, yogurt, or mayonnaise

2 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)

1/2 green jalapeno, roughly chopped (you can use more or less, whatever level of heat you like)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon honey

DRESSING DIRECTIONS:

Blend all ingredients in a blender except for olive oil (I open the top and pour oil in after all other ingredients are combined.) It is a beautiful light green color with specks of dark green. Joel was definitely suspicious of the color but he really loved it! Gave it a big thumbs up!

This should serve 4 nicely as a salad but adjust quantities based on how many people you are feeding.

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

About two hearts of romaine Lettuce, shredded

1/2 can of yellow corn (or 2 fresh ears of corn, shucked)

1/2 can black beans (I use organic canned beans and rinse and drain them)

4 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

1 ripe avocado, cut into chunks

approx. 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I used delicious cherry tomatoes, halved)

1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

Green Goddess Dressing (see above)

If you’re using fresh corn, you’ll have to cook it first. I used the canned version this time. Place the lettuce in a large bowl and dress it with about 1/4 cup of the dressing, just so it’s nicely coated. I then added beans, tomatoes, scallions, avocado, cilantro and corn. Add a little more salad dressing, and serve immediately. Joel likes a lot more dressing on his salad so I served with dressing on the side. And no he didn’t eat all that stuff in the salad; he just ate lettuce and tomatoes…he really doesn’t know what he’s missing!

Green Pea Soup from Bergdorf Goodman – Happy St. Patricks Day

IMG_7457IMG_7459IMG_7455 IMG_7466 IMG_7469Let’s celebrate St. Patricks Day with this delicious green soup! The first time I had this soup was downstairs in BG and I thought to myself I must re-create this delicious light soup. Low and behold along came *The Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook which included this delicious recipe.   My two favorite items to order on the BG menu are the Gotham Salad and  the Green Pea Soup and they are both right there in this wonderful little cookbook. There are many other delightful recipes in the book as well which make it a worthwhile purchase. The shocking part of this delicious soup was the addition of a sweet potato and soy sauce. I didn’t see that coming, I would have made it without either of those two items. The soy sauce adds an intense layer of flavor and the potato gives it some real texture. Blend well. I used my high-speed blender for this .

*The Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook by Laura Silverman–available through Amazon or Bergdorf Goodman

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

1 whole sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 Tablespoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, if you have white pepper use it but I didn’t so I used black

3 3/4 cups chicken stock

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 lb. fresh or frozen , thawed green peas. I used one whole bag of frozen green peas.

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat parsley

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat and sauté the onion, celery, carrots, sweet potato, garlic, salt and pepper until the vegetables are tender but not brown. I let it cook down for about 1/2 hour.

Add the stock and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Stir in the peas and just blanch them for a minute.

Turn off the heat. Cool slightly, then add the parsley ( don’t omit the fresh parsley, please) Taste for Salt but I found it was just right with the 1 teaspoon.

In a blender or food processor, do it in batches ( I did it in 3) , puree all the ingredients until smooth. Serve warm!

Love the taste and enjoy all the healthy benefits!!!

*can be made vegan with vegetable stock

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho

photo 4 (3)photo 4 (2)I had purchased the most beautiful yellow  tomatoes and figured I would make gazpacho. Gazpacho is by far one of my most favorite summer time soups.  This one is fairly smooth.  Before serving I added  avocado and served with tortilla chips for a wonderful most satisfying meal. This is also super easy and you’ll look like a pro if you just follow these easy directions. You’ll need a decent blender and a few easy to obtain ingredients and you have a wonderful additional to any meal or a nice light lunch. This time I used beautiful yellow tomatoes, you can use any color you’d like and you can use any kind of tomato from the small grape or cherry tomatoes to the larger ones.  The yellow tomatoes with the flecks of jalapeno made a strikingly beautiful soup.photo 2 (3) photo 2I have another recipe titled “Farm to Table Gazpacho” it’s more of a traditional gazpacho! I am going to re-post it as well.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. yellow tomatoes, I used regular sized tomatoes. You can use yellow or orange cherry tomatoes and get the same effect. I washed and dried tomatoes and cut into quarters or halves for easier blending. Heirlooms are amazingly delicious when in season which they are right now! My sister makes this recipe by parboiling the tomatoes, removing the skin and cutting core out of tomatoes. This is an other option. I opted for the easier method but both are delicious and work well.

1 garlic clove (average sized)–you can use 2 cloves if you like a bit more bite of garlic

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced ( be careful handling jalapenos always, I use rubber gloves and be very careful not to get seeds on my hands) wash carefully after cutting up jalapenos, seriously. If you like more kick keep a few seeds from jalapenos. You can use Serrano Chiles also but I still think Jalapenos have the most bang for the buck.

app. 1 tsp. kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste , you may need to add salt and pepper at the end

Diced avocado and tortilla chips for serving.

Directions:

In a blender, puree the halved tomatoes and garlic with 1/4 cup of water. While the machine is on I gradually add the olive oil until fully incorporated. Transfer to a bowl then stir in the jalapeno and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, at least an hour or so, better overnight.

When you’re ready to serve ladle the gazpacho into bowls and top with diced avocado. Serve with tortilla chips. If you leftover shrimp it is also delicious to add and makes it more of a meal!

Eggplant and Tomato with or without Pasta

photo 5 (11) photo 5 (12) photo 4 (12) photo 3 (16) photo 5 (13)Another wonderful inspiration from Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook “The Can’t Cookbook”,  even though I can cook there are so many great and easy recipes in this book. This was certainly one of them. I served over pasta (see photos) and it is so easy! Everyone gets nervous about cooking eggplant and I really am not sure why that is, well this will cure you of that fear if you have it. You can just make this as a side dish without the pasta but any reason to eat pasta in this house is a good one.

Eggplants should be smooth-skinned, evenly firm and without soft spots. I bought organic ,  when  I’m eating the peel or the skin I  try to buy organic, same goes for tomatoes.

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant or 2 small ones

4 cloves garlic

1 pint cherry or grape type tomatoes

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1/3 cup olive oil

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

*1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper ( optional )

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the eggplant and the tomatoes. Cut off and discard the stem. Cut the eggplant into 1 inch thick round pieces. Stack 2 rounds, then slice  rounds 2 x and 2x across to make 1″ cubes. ( see photos). Smash the 4 garlic cloves with the back of large knife. Prepare baking dish by spraying lightly with Pam spray.

Place the eggplant , garlic, tomatoes, and thyme in baking dish.  Sprinkle salt , pepper and crushed red pepper if you’re using it. With clean hands toss together until the eggplant is coated with olive oil and don’t worry if it’s over-crowded. It will break down and there will be plenty of room.

Roast until the eggplant is really soft and tender. I roasted for an hour and gave it a stir and was good to go.

I served over pasta but you certainly don’t have to have pasta,  you can eat this just as is. If you’re serving over pasta you may want to drizzle a little more olive oil into the eggplant and tomato mixture–just for a little more saucier consistency.

Thanks again Jessica .

Summertime Fresh Tomato Sauce–no cook sauce

IMG_7930 (2)FullSizeRender (3)Nothing better than a really fresh tomato sauce , so fresh that you don’t even have to cook it. Just let the tomatoes marinate for a few hours with some olive oil , basil and a few spices and you’re good to go. So very easy and delicious. A must go-to for summertime and why not anytime? The only down side to making this sauce is that I really feel it needs to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and really 4 hours is best. You can taste for salt and pepper during this period.

The other delicious thing to do with this is to add small balls of mozzarella and make a wonderful Caprese salad. I also love this tomato sauce on grilled chicken. And on grilled bread as bruschetta!!!

This recipe is sort of thrown together so there will be a lot of tasting as you go along, depending on the tomatoes you may or may not need extra salt and pepper. I made this for my grandson so I left out the crushed red pepper, if I were making for us I would have thrown in at least 1/2 teaspoon.  Crushed red pepper can always be added at the table.

*This should make about 6 servings, you can adjust to any amount you need, I used 1/2 for the 2 of us .

Ingredients:

app. 3 pints of grape tomatoes ( the little ones), you can use any beautiful fresh tomatoes especially in the summer months.  You’ll just have to eyeball the amounts of tomatoes. I like the pieces cut small but you can just roughly chop up larger tomatoes. If you’re using cherry or plum tomatoes you can cut in half or quarters. It’s not an exact science.

1/2 cup olive oil

app. 4 cloves garlic , minced ( you can adjust this to your liking, a little more or less)

app. 18 basil leaves plus extra for serving. Nothing beats the taste of fresh basil in this so don’t omit. You’ll want extra for serving. I roll up the basil and use a kitchen shear to slice it.

*this is optional –1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper–we love it but adjust to your liking or just serve on the table

Kosher Salt–app. 1 teaspoon and then you’ll taste for more

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper–again you’ll have to taste and adjust to your own liking

1 pound pasta of your liking , I like a thin spaghetti best with this sauce. Angel Hair, Cappelini, any of these.

1 cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus extra for serving.

Directions:

Combine the tomatoes, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, red pepper, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and just let it sit out on the countertop . The longer it sits the better, at least 2 hours to macerate and 4 hours would be ideal.

Just before you are ready to serve, cook pasta. Cook al dente according to the box directions. Angel Hair cooks up in under 5 minutes.

Drain the pasta and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add in 1 cup of parmesan cheese and some more fresh basil if you’d like and toss well. Serve in big bowls with extra cheese on the side . Cheese will melt, so keep giving it some good tosses to integrate tomatoes and sauce.

Yum!

Avocado Salad with Corn and Tomatoes and Lots of Good Stuff – Vegan

DSCN0190 DSCN0195 DSCN0194 DSCN0199Most perfect summer salad and it is a vegetarian delight. totally vegan. I am not a vegan so I was grilling steaks for dinner and wanted to do a cold salad on the side. I had 2 beautiful ripe avocados on hand and all the ingredients for this yummy salad.  I had some fresh corn so I just brought the water to a boil threw it in and when it turned yellow took it out and threw it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.   Of course I love  jalapenos , use your own discretion and this would be amazing without as well but it was kick ass with them.  You can make the salad ahead and let juices meld but don’t add the avocados till you’re ready to serve.  You can give them a little squeeze of fresh lime juice so they won’t turn brown so fast.  I like to serve salad at room temperature, you just don’t get the flavors when it’s too cold. It will keep in fridge for a few days, but you’ll have to take out the leftover avocado since it will turn brown. I cut this salad in 1/2 for the 2 of us. This easily will serve 6 as a side. By the way Joel took a bite but too much healthy stuff going on in here for his liking, although he’s gotten better he’s not quite up to this yet, it’s OK because there was more for me with leftovers.

I was inspired for this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa recipe for Guacamole Salad. The corn was my idea.

Ingredients:

2 cobs of fresh corn ( cook and then shuck corn off the cob) if no fresh corn available use frozen . I use frozen when I have to and 1 small bag is usually sufficient. The frozen corn will defrost very quickly so just take it out and when you mix in with other ingredients it will start to completely thaw by the time you’re ready to serve. You want to serve at room temperature anyway.

1 pint grape tomatoes , halved

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced into small pieces ( app. 1/2 “)

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup small diced red onion

2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded ( app. 2 small jalapenos) use at your own discretion . Remove Seeds

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice ( 2 limes)

1/4 cup good olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into small cubes.

Directions:

Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper. Pour over the vegetables. Toss well. In the meanwhile cook the corn , bring water to a boil throw in for a few minutes to turn bright yellow, then I throw in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes to stop the cooking and lock in flavor and color. Then remove corn from cob. I let the salad sit for about an hour before adding avocados into the salad. Just fold avocados into the salad when you’re ready to serve. Check for seasoning and serve at room temperature.