I had a wonderful herb garden this year. I combined some of them with heirloom tomatoes for this salad.
3 heirloom or your favorite tomatoes¼ to ½ red onion¼ cup Kalamata olives¼ cup fresh parsley¼ cup fresh oregano¼ cup fresh basil¼ cup tarragon vinegar¼ cup extra virgin olive oilSalt to tastePepper to taste½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (optional)
To Make It:
Wash and slice the tomatoes. Overlap on a large plate or platter. Cut the onion into thin strips. Drop on top of the tomatoes. Drain the olives and sprinkle them over the tomatoes. Wash, dry and mince the herbs. Sprinkle them over the tomatoes. Drizzle the vinegar and oil over the lot. Salt and pepper to taste. If desired, sprinkle with crumbled cheese.
My mother made seriously good chicken and doughy, stick-to-your-ribs dumplings. Once I discovered seitan, I came up with my own vegan recipe for this comfort food. I hope you like it.
1 Tbsp extra light olive oil or canola oil2 8-oz packages seitan1 medium yellow or white onion
6 cups water1 vegan vegetable or mock chicken (e.g. Not-Chick’n) bouillon cube
2 cups unbleached white all-purpose flour1 tsp baking powder¼ tsp ground thyme¼ cup ice water
Cut the seitan into bite-size pieces if necessary. Dice the onion. Set aside.
Put a Dutch Oven on the stove top over medium heat. Mist with extra light olive oil or canola oil. Add the seitan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until lightly browned in spots. Remove from the pan. Add about 1 Tbsp oil to the pan. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until slightly translucent. Add 6 cups water and the bouillon cube.
Meanwhile, to make the dumplings, put the flour, baking powder and thyme into a medium mixing bowl. Stir to mix. Add ¼ cup ice water. Stir to mix thoroughly. The dough should be easy to work with—not sticky and not too dry. Add either a little water or a little flour if necessary.
Roll out the dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut it into long strips, then cut each strip into 4” sections. Drop strips into the broth. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Put the seitan back in the pan, cover and simmer for 10 to 20 more minutes, until heated through.
So many great fruits are ripe and available in stores now. This fruit salad is a very refreshing way to serve them.
2 large nectarines (about 1 cup)1 large mango (about 1 cup)1 cup fresh strawberries1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup orange juiceJuice from one lemon (about 2 Tbsp)1 Tbsp turbinado (raw) sugar or 2 tsp agave nectar
Sprigs of fresh mint for garnish
Peel the peaches, slice them and put them into a large mixing bowl.
Wash the nectarines and cut them into slices. Add them to the bowl.
Wash and cut the mango into 1” chunks. Add them to the bowl.
Wash the blueberries and add them to the bowl.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the fruit mixture and gently toss to coat. Cover and put into the refrigerator until ready to eat. Stir occasionally and stir again before serving.
Wash the mint sprigs and dry them with paper towels. Put a sprig on each individual serving for garnish. Alternatively, cut off the mint leaves and gently fold them to the fruit just before serving.
When you have a group coming for lunch, nothing is easier than putting out a buffet of sandwich fixings and letting everyone make his own.
Rennetless Swiss, American and cheddar cheese slicesLeaf lettuceTomatoAvocadosRed onionEggless mayonnaiseMustardHummusArtisan or sandwich bread
Set everything up buffet style, lining things up in the order they should go on the sandwich. Then set up the ingredients.
Slice the bread. Have a toaster nearby for anyone who wants toasted bread.
Put eggless mayonnaise, mustard and hummus in separate ramekins or small serving bowls.
Overlap the cheese slices on a plate or small platter.
Wash and thinly slice the tomatoes. Overlap them on a platter. Wash and dry the lettuce leaves. Tear the leaves in two or, if small, put entire leaves on the platter with the tomatoes. Wash the outside of the avocados, then cut them into slices and remove the peel. Add them to the platter. Cut a few thin slices of onion, separate the rings and add them to the platter.
For meat-eaters, add one or more deli meats to the buffet.
There are a lot of variations, so nutrition information is not included on this recipe.
I was completely befuddled the first time I saw anyone peel a tomato. I saw no need for it, as the peels are not very tough. I then started noticing how tomato peels behave in recipes. They can become chewy or hard, particularly if the recipe is one that is eaten the next day. I came to the realization that there are some cases where peeling them is a very good idea.
The easiest way to peel a tomato is to blanch it first. To do this, put enough water in a sauce pan to cover a tomato, but no higher than 1-½ inches from the top. Bring the water to a boil. I blanch one tomato at a time, particularly if the tomatoes are cold because putting several in the water drops the temperature. You can put up to three in a pan if you extend their time in the boiling water.
Using a slotted spoon, put one tomato into the pan. Leave it in the boiling water for 12 seconds. If the water doesn’t cover the tomato completely, then roll it around during the 12 seconds. If you leave it in too long, the tomato starts cooking and you will get a pretty good layer of flesh off with the skin.
Remove the tomato from the boiling water with the slotted spoon. Immediately dunk it into cold water to stop its cooking.
Then, using a sharp knife, cut a slit in the skin and peel the tomato by catching the skin between your thumb and the knife. The skin should come off very easily.
Put the peeled tomato aside and blanch and peel the rest of them. You can slice or dice them all at once.
Until next time,
Lisa, aka Veggie Gal
Sunflower Café320 Eastern Shore Shopping CenterFairhope, AL 36532Tel: 251-929-0055
Serving LunchMonday - Saturday10:30 - 4:00
Serving BrunchSunday10:30 - 2:00
I recently visited a dear friend who has moved to Daphne, AL, near Gulf Shores on the Emerald Coast. It is lovely there. Not only are the beaches and water beautiful, the landscape is green and lush. Also nearby is the delightful town of Fairhope. With an amazing number of boutiques, art studios and restaurants, Fairhope is a great place to visit. And a gem even in Fairhope is the Sunflower Café. Nestled next door to Fairhope Health Foods, the varied menu offers vegetarian, vegan, lactose free, gluten free and wheat free options. And for the omnivores in the group, they offer poultry and seafood items as well.
The food was so good that we dined there twice in the four days I was in town. For lunch I had their Portobello Sandwich and my friend had one of their free-range turkey items. We shared a couple of their vegan desserts—Orange Cranberry Pound Cake and Carrot Cake. For brunch, I had the Biscuits and Gravy with vegetarian sausage. Everything was just terrific.
So if you are cruising along the Emerald Coast and want some very good, healthy food, check out the Sunflower Café in Fairhope. You will be glad you stopped in.
Lisa (aka Veggie Gal)
I love summer. Everything is green and blooming. We see a large variety of birds and butterflies, all attracted by our flowerbed and surrounding berry patches. This special occasion menu celebrates the beginning of summer.
The first day of summer falls on a Friday this year, so you may need to honor this event a day or two later. This picnic menu will help you launch the glorious days of summer and will work in your backyard or at your favorite park.
Wraps (O, V or LV)Black Bean and Corn Salad (V)Chips (O, V or LV)Chocolate Scotchies (LV)Ice cold watermelon (V)Your favorite beverages
First decide what stuffings you want for the Wraps. If you are going to purchase them at the store, then just add them to your list. If you are going to make some of them, then decide which ones you can make the night before. Garlicky Hummus, Salsa and Tahini Sauce are all good night-before recipes.
Make the Black Bean and Corn Salad the night before. Not only will this save you time on picnic day, it will give the flavors time to blend. The Chocolate Scotchies are also a good night-before recipe. This leaves just Herbed Tofu Scramble and sautéing tempeh and vegetables for picnic day.
The Wraps are a great choice for a picnic. Not only are they easy to transport, each person can customize his Wrap with exactly what he wants. Make them at home, put the assembled wraps in foil or plastic bags and put names on them.
Be sure to pack a large knife to cut the watermelon (yes, this is the voice of experience). Also carry lots of napkins and water. Find a shady spot with enough room nearby for T-ball, baseball, croquet or your favorite outdoor game, then just enjoy!
O, LV or V WrapsV Black Bean and Corn SaladV ChipsLV Chocolate ScotchiesV Ice cold watermelonV Your favorite beverages
The first day of summer falls on a Friday this year, so you may need to celebrate this event a day or two later. This picnic menu will help you launch the glorious days of summer and will work in your backyard or at your favorite park. The Wraps are easy to transport. Make them at home, put the assembled wraps in foil or plastic bags and put names on them.
V Spaghetti BologneseV Caesar SaladV Croutons
Spaghetti Bolognese traditionally takes hours to cook. This is a quick version using meat replacer. This eggless Caesar Salad is very tasty and quick to put together. For the croutons, you can use store bought. Or, even better, make a large batch and put them in the freezer. They thaw very quickly, so you can add them straight to your salad from there.
V Pumpkin Mini SconesLV Bran MuffinsV or LV Butter, vegan spreadV Sliced apples, peaches and pearsV Your favorite cerealsV or LV Milk, almond milk, soy milkMake the doughs for the Pumpkin Mini Scones and Bran Muffins and let them chill overnight. Then surprise everyone with piping hot scones and muffins to go with their cereal and fruit for breakfast. Yum!
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Each month we will bring you breakfast, dinner and special occasion menus starring the foods you are already cooking, and featuring tantalizing new vegetarian dishes to appeal to everyone.