FOOD fit for a Rockstar

Deena Kamm's recipe book and always evolving food philosophy
Browsing Salad

My Mom’s (Cooking) Vegan(?) Eggplant Salad!

September20

My beautiful Mom is the wizard of all wizards in the kitchen!!  She has been whipping up amazing meals from scratch just about every night of the week since I was a kid.  I don’t ever remember a time when my mom had any trouble in the kitchen… with anything.  She’s a Culinary Savant.  She’s confident, fearless, and intuitive, and you can taste it in everything she makes.  She also taught me everything I know… that is until I went vegan and was forced to leave her in the meat & dairy farm dust with all that animal protein floating around everywhere.  Achoo.  Sorry Mom.

But LATELY Mom (AKA Diane) has taken to cooking with considerably less meat and animal products throughout the week.  Which is funny and strange because for the first time in my natural born life my mom is calling ME for quick answers and tips on how to prep and combine things instead of the usual other way around.  I know this won’t last long because she is now sending me her vegan recipes that worked out well so that I can try them.  Lucky you – here is one of her latest from the Diane Fonteboa No-Meat Test Kitchen straight out of the San Fernando Valley, California… totally vegan, totally satisfying, totally original and delicious!
Roasted Eggplant with Brown Rice and White Beans
1 large eggplant-peeled & cut into squares
2 cups cooked /chilled brown rice
1-Sm. roasted red pepper, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 can Cannelini Beans-washed & drained
Red onion, diced- you decide how much I used about 2 tbs
2 tbsp dice Italian parsley
Place eggplant on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper.
Cook at 400 for about 20 min. or until golden brown.
While that is roasting, in a large bowl add all other ingredients and mix together with your favorite vinaigrette.  Toss the eggplant in just before serving.  It is so good when crispy.
Serve with my fabulous wheat bread…..oh wait I haven’t given you that recipe yet!!!
Enjoy!!!
I would only like to add that my mom grows her own (mostly organic!) veggies including Eggplant so hers will be better by default. Unless you are harvesting your private crops too, and I hope you are.  Organic organic organic!!  Makes everything a little bit better.

Mom and my Niece Scarlett... NOT cooking.

Thanks Mom – and I’ll be needing that bread recipe next.  I had it last time we were in California and I know it’s a five star rating all over the place with both boys and me.  Do I see a regular guest blogger in the future??  I hope so!!
D-

Vegan Souvlaki with Cilantro, and Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

August1

Okay – I made this two nights ago and I really really liked it – I found to recipe for a chicken version in one of my many many many magazines, and thought I’d see what happened if I used tofu instead.  It worked.  It was super good.  Here it is:

1 package of Organic Extra Firm Tofu (cut into cubes wide and thick enough so they don’t fall off a skewer on the bbq)
8 warmed pita breads

Marinade:
small bunch of fresh mint chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon coriander Seeds
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 cup plain soy yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper

Dressing
large bunch of fresh cilantro, plus extra for serving
1 cup plain soy yogurt
juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoons of olive oil

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add Tofu to the bowl and smother with marinade. Cover and chill overnight or longer – up to three days if possible.
Preheat your BBQ and set to medium heat. Thread tofu chunks onto skewers leaving space in between. Cook them until they look yummy and charred, about 7-10 minutes turning a few times so all sides get some direct heat. It’s not meat so you can’t undercook them, but the longer you can leave them without burning the juicer and crispier they will be. Push tofu off skewers into a bowl.
Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a food processor until it forms a smooth green sauce.
I cut thin slices of raw onion and had chopped cilantro on the table too. Then I put all the parts on the table (pita, tofu, dressing, cilantro, onion) and let everyone build their own sandwich! I also had a simple cucumber salad that we ended up adding to the sandwich because it was so so good. Here’s what I did for that:

1 cucumber chopped into quarter slices
1 heirloom tomato diced into big chunks
1/2 medium onion sliced thin
oregano (I never measure – sorry)
Feta Cheese crumbled (if you’re going for the Vegan version obviously leave this out. It really doesn’t need it.)
mix together and serve in a bowl.

That’s all there is to it – it was really easy and I have to say – I was shocked at how great it came out. Most meat recipes that I replace with tofu don’t come out like the original meat version of the recipe. This totally did and I would even go so far as to say it was better. That’s right – I said it.
Sorry I can’t credit the magazine or chef who made this recipe – I cut it out and only kept the parts I needed. But I can say – I didn’t change anything except replacing the dairy and meat. That’s rare for me. I WILL be making this again only next time I’m going to try to make my own pita bread. I can’t find a good organic pita bread and it will make or break the dish.

Husband Rating Souvlaki 3 star:gold-stargold-stargold-star “So close to 4 stars, but the Pita Bread taste like a USPS Priority box .”

Husband Rating Cucumber Salad 4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Delicious Refreshing. Too Good to call salad.”
Kid Rating 4 smiley faces “ooooh this tofu is so yummy.”

Quinoa Cabbage Salad

July28

Oh my – this was a total serendipitous, no-plan, thrown together, cleaning out the crisper drawer dish, but MAN was it GOOOOOOOOOOOD!  It’s my new favorite salad of the year.  Here goes:

This was super easy and fast…

Cook 1 cup of Quinoa (Rinse 1 cup Quinoa and add to a sauce pan with 2 cups cold water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer for about 20 minutes.)

Steam 1-2 sliced carrots and thinly shredded Kale (about 4-5 medium sized leaves with steams removed from entire length of leaf)

Shred or cut up about 1/2 head of green cabbage

Shred one carrot

Chop about 1/2 cup of Italian Parsley

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. (Give or take a little on the Quinoa – I didn’t really measure and I had some leftover)

Combine about 1/2-3/4 cup Veganaise with about 1 cup or so of Braggs Liquid Amino Acid.  Whisk to combine well.

Add the dressing to the salad and mix well, leaving some reserve for people like my husband who like to drown their food!

I only served it with fresh corn on the cob, and we were still full! I think it would be great with some fresh baked bread though like this one: Country Style Yeast Free Bread.  Enjoy!!!

Husband Rating 4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “I would have given it a 4 1/2, but there was too much parsley for me.”

Orzo Salad

May4

This was a quick salad I made with random items in the fridge (where 50% of my ideas come from) when my mother in law was over and I hadn’t planned out any food because I too busy with the Whopping Cough.  Suddenly I realized it was the middle of the day and there was nothing to eat for lunch.  So I threw this big pasta salad together with fresh veggies and pantry stuff in about 15 minutes.  Super easy and it was so good I made it the following weekend for a BBQ we were invited to.  Here’s what I did:

Boil one package of Orzo Pasta, drain, rinse, throw in a big salad bowl.

While the pasta is boiling, put a steamer pot over the water and quickly steamed cut up carrots (2 or 3 medium), and broccoli (about 1 cup cut up small)… throw those in.  (or steam them separately – cut them small, thin, and evenly so they cook fast)

One cut-up yellow (red, green, whatever) bell pepper

3/4 cup chopped Kalamata Olives

Cheese of your choice – I used low fat string cheese because that’s what I had in the house – I just cut it into bite sized rounds.  about 1 cup or so.  Whatever ratio you like.  It’s a salad – who cares?

2-3 leaves of finely cut up Kale.  Health it up – you won’t even taste it and it looks great!!

mix together with some olive oil and red wine vinegar.  I also added sea salt, and Braggs 24 seasoning (love that stuff).

The longer it sits the better.  Overnight is great, but eat it cold or right after you make it when it’s still slightly warm. The thing is – put whatever you want or like in this, and do whatever you want with it.  It’s salad.  Be adventurous.  Great replacements are vegan cheese or Ume Plum vinegar, Sesame Oil, rice pasta… the list goes on.  I imagine every time I make it will be a slightly different dish.  But the above ingredients worked great the first time!!

Remember: ALWAYS USE ORGANIC EVERYTHING!!!  If you have the money to buy diet pills, fancy face creams, detox powders and $150 jogging shoes, you can buy organic food.  It’s more important for your health than anything else you will spend money on!!!

Husband Rating 5 star:  gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Yum.”

Pear Salad with agave and champagne vinegar dressing

January14

This is a common salad recipe and very easy, but I am posting it for my friend Jen who wanted the dressing ratio. It would be weird to post just that. The first time I made it was for a holiday dinner party and my good friend Leslie actually put it together for me. If you know Leslie then you already know that she made it look amazing and cozy! We made it as an appetizer and served it in little dessert dishes. It was so good!!!!!! Here’s what we did…

Slice this stuff up and put it in a bowl or a glass if you want to get fancy:

Pear (I used Korean Pears that our friends brought us – thanks Kei & Donny!!)

Salad Greens (I used baby greens)

Chopped Walnuts

Gorgonzola cheese, or Blue Cheese, or Gouda Cheese or all three!!

Drizzle with Agave and a a little bit of Champagne Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar. I don’t have ratios for you Jen, I just drizzle until it feels right!
I know you will feel it too.

Husband Rating 3 star: gold-stargold-stargold-star “It’s great… for a salad.”

Vegan Ranch Dressing that’s better than any Ranch out there!

January13

I got this recipe from the RFD cookbook, but I have made some changes to it because I don’t usually have some of the stuff it calls for.  So I can’t take the credit for this (like most of the stuff on this blog.)

This is for my Momma, who keeps asking me for it, and Ms. Mundy who also keeps asking me for it. Here you go, ladies:

3/4 cup veganaise

4 ounces vacuum-packed firm silken tofu (okay – this can be tricky to find but it HAS to be Mori-Nu Silken – it does NOT have to be firm though.  And buy the organic one!!!! It will last in your cupboard unopened for ages so buy it if you see it even if you’re not going to need it right away. I have only ever seen it in health food stores and Whole Foods. It’s not refrigerated so it can be tricky to locate. It’s usually in the Asian Food section. Ask someone. Don’t bother making this recipe without it. Trust me – I’ve tried. Gross.)

1/4 cup minced onion

1/4 cup unsweetened plain soy-milk (I use whatever non dairy liquid I have in the house; almond milk, rice milk, etc… Just make sure it’s not flavored.)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon onion powder (or double up fresh onion)

1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (or you can replace that with 1 Tsp white wine/champagne vinegar)

1 teaspoon agave

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon sea salt or more if you have a problem with salt like we do.

1/4 teaspoon white pepper or fresh black pepper (I don’t usually use this because Zeke hates pepper these days, but I love it in this recipe and load up on it when he’s not involved – which is never.)

fresh chopped chives

Mix all ingredients but the chives in a food processor or a blender until smooth. (Add in chives after this step.) I have stopped wasting time chopping and dicing and just put it all in my Cuisinart and blast it until it looks like salad dressing.  Saves TONS of time and makes no difference as far as end result.

Make about 2 hours ahead of time if you can, and up to 2 days in advance if you think you are going to eat most of it shortly after.

We use it for salad, pizza crust, chip dip, sandwiches… whatever you use traditional ranch for. It’s SO good!!!

Husband Rating 5 star: gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Thanks to the garlic no one will ever kiss you again.  Thanks to the taste you won’t care!”

so I don’t forget what inspried me…

November30

I used this Giada recipe the other night to make what turned out to be a great dish!
Giada’s Pasta Primavera

Giadas Pasta Primavera

Giada's Pasta Primavera

It was a huge hit. I didn’t use the tomatoes because I forgot, but I did roast the veggies and use Brown Rice Pasta from TJ’S. Yum. Zeke made his famous Stuffed Pizza and I made a simple salad with Ann Gentry’s Vegan Ranch Dressing. (that’s another post. It’s so good!! You’ll never go back) My whole family was happy and full. Hard to do considering they are convinced that everything we eat is weird and gross.

Husband Rating 4 stars: gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “It’s-a guud.”

Cucumber Bruschetta Side Salad

September8

So easy – so gooooooooood and gourmet. Here it is:

  • 1- Hot House Cucumber, peeled and cut into fours and then sliced in whatever thickness you like. I did about 1/4 inch slices
  • 2- ripe and good medium sized Red Tomatoes (I used Heirloom, although they are not always easy to find) chopped up into approximately the same size pieces as the cucumbers
  • 1- medium sized Green Heirloom tomato. cut like the tomatoes above.
  • 1/2 red onion diced very small
  • about a 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • olive oil, salt to taste and a dash of Champagne White Wine Vinegar.

I served this as a dinner salad in a coffee cup on the plate with the rest of dinner. It looked super fancy because my coffee cups are small and petite looking. I wouldn’t use a big coffee mug – different vibe… wrong vibe. This salad is pristine and delicate even though it’s very hearty and basic. You can use a pretty glass, or desert bowl – whatever, just keep it off the plate – it’s juicy!

Always use organic ingredients whenever possible – it tastes better, better for you and good for the planet. Win-win-win! All the above ingredients are available organically.

Enjoy!

Husband Rating 5 star: gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Move this side salad up to the front because it’s going to be better than anything else you serve!”

D-