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July 13, 2002

Greetings,

Summer, summer, summer time! I just love it when summer finally arrives and the weather here in the Midwest becomes a little more predictable. Our spring time weather during the months of April, May, and June usually runs the gamut from cold, snow, and ice, to gray and drizzly, to violent storms and tornadoes, to a heat wave, and sometimes all in the same week. One never quite knows what to expect. That's why when summer finally settles in, we embrace it warmly. One of my favorite things to do is to pack a picnic and go hiking or visit a local park with friends. There is nothing like feeling the warm sun on your face and breathing in the fresh air, while taking a brisk hike or other outdoor activity, to work up a healthy appetite for some great vegan picnic fare. And this installment of recipes is sure to please with its hearty Giant Garden Grinder Sandwich made of fresh vegetables and a creamy Italian Style Hot Pepper Almond Cheese, a wide assortment of pasta and vegetable salads and slaws, and two desserts - Brownie Bites and Fudgicools (vegan frozen fudge pops, yum!). What a great way to enjoy a summer day! As always, be good to one another, and remember... eat your veggies! :-)

 
 

Pepper Divider

 

Iced Lemon-Mint Green Tea

5 cups water, divided
4 green tea bags or other tea of choice
1 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup freshly chopped mint
Garnishes: ice cubes, lemon slices, and sprigs of mint

In a small saucepan, bring 3 cups water and tea bags to a boil, remove the saucepan from the heat, and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the tea to steep. Remove the tea bags and discard them, and allow the tea to cool completely. In a pitcher, combine the brewed tea and the remaining 2 cups water, along with the remaining ingredients, except for the garnishes, and stir well to combine. Place the pitcher in the refrigerator and allow the mixture to chill for 30 minutes or more to allow the flavors to blend. Serve in ice-filled glasses and garnish each with a lemon slice and sprig of mint.

Yields: 1 1/2 Quarts

 
Pepper Divider

 

Creamy Cilantro-Soy Dressing

1 - 12 oz. pkg. Mori-Nu silken style tofu, firm or extra firm
1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, loosely packed
1/3 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
2 T. olive oil
2 T. garlic, minced
2 T. nutritional yeast flakes
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t. cayenne pepper

In a blender or food processor, place the tofu, and process for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the container. Add the remaining ingredients and process for an additional 1-2 minutes or until very smooth and creamy. Transfer the dressing to an airtight container and store the dressing in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Yield: 2 Cups

 
Pepper Divider

 

Creamy Broccoli Slaw with Currants and Sunflower Seeds

1/3 cup currants
warm water
2 cups broccoli stems, peeled, and julienned
2 cups broccoli, cut into very small florets
1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded
1 1/2 cups red cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/4 cups Creamy Cilantro-Soy Dressing (see recipe above)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

In a small bowl, place the currants, cover with warm water, and set aside for 20 minutes to rehydrate. In a large bowl, place the broccoli stems and florets, carrots, red cabbage, and green onions, and toss well to combine. Drain the currants, add them along with the remaining ingredients to the vegetable mixture, and toss well to thoroughly coat the vegetables with the dressing. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or more to allow the flavors to blend. Gently toss the broccoli slaw again before serving.

Yield: 1 1/2 Quarts

 
Pepper Divider

 

Apple and Jicama Coleslaw

4 cups cabbage, shredded
2 cups jicama, peeled, and julienned
2 cups Gala or other apple of choice, cored, and diced
1/2 cup shallot or red onion, finely diced
3/4 cup Creamy Cilantro-Soy Dressing (see recipe above)

In a large bowl, place the cabbage, jicama, apple, and shallot, and toss well to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and toss well to thoroughly coat the vegetables with the dressing. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or more to allow the flavors to blend. Gently toss the coleslaw mixture again before serving.

Yield: 1 1/2 Quarts

 
Pepper Divider

 

Fab Five-Bean Salad

water
8 oz. green beans, ends trimmed, and cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces
8 oz. yellow wax beans, ends trimmed, and cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces
10 oz. frozen shelled edamame
1 - 15 oz. can black soybeans or black beans, drained, and rinsed
1 - 15 oz. can Roman beans or other red beans, drained, and rinsed
1 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup jalapeno pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 T. olive oil
4 t. unbleached cane sugar (or brown sugar from sugar beets)
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the green and yellow wax beans for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add the edamame and cook an additional 1 minute. Drain, rinse the beans with cold water, and drain well again. Transfer the beans to a large bowl, add the black soybeans, Roman beans, onion, and jalapeno, and toss well to combine. In a small bowl, place the remaining ingredients and whisk well to combine. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and toss gently. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or more to allow the flavors to blend. Gently toss the salad again before serving.

Yield: 2 Quarts

 
Pepper Divider

 

French Potato Salad

water
3 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, washed well
1/3 cup vegetable stock
2 T. white wine
3 T. olive oil
3 T. white wine vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
3/4 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
2 T. freshly chopped dill
2 T. freshly chopped tarragon
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced

In a large pot, cook the whole potatoes in boiling water for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender. Carefully drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside to cool for 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, thinly slice the potatoes and transfer them to a large bowl. Pour the vegetable stock and white wine over the potatoes, toss gently to thoroughly coat, and then set them aside to cool. In a small bowl, place the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and whisk well to combine. Add the herbs and whisk well to thoroughly incorporate them into the mixture. Drizzle the dressing over the potatoes, add the green onions, and toss gently to thoroughly coat the potatoes with the dressing. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or more to allow the flavors to blend. Gently toss the potato salad again and allow it to come to room temperature before serving.

Yield: 1 1/2 Quarts

 
Pepper Divider

 

Two Tomato and Orzo Confetti Pasta Salad

water
12 oz. orzo or other dry pasta of choice
1 cup yellow pear tomatoes, destemmed, and cut in half lengthwise
1 cup cherry tomatoes, destemmed, and cut in half lengthwise
1 cup orange or yellow pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and diced
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable stock or water
2 T. Dijon mustard
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup freshly chopped basil
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
3 T. freshly chopped dill

In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the orzo for 5-7 minutes or until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain well again, and set the orzo aside to cool. In a large bowl, place the pear and cherry tomatoes, orange pepper, celery, cucumber, and black olives, and toss gently. In a small bowl, place the lemon juice, olive oil, vegetable stock, mustard, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, and whisk well to combine. Add the herbs and whisk well to thoroughly incorporate them into the mixture. Add the cooled orzo and dressing to the vegetable mixture and toss gently to combine. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or more to allow the flavors to blend. Gently toss the salad again before serving.

Yield: 3 Quarts

 
Pepper Divider

 

Italian-Style Hot Pepper Almond Cheese

water
1/3 cup raw almonds
1 1/2 cups water, divided
3 T. cornstarch
3 T. lemon juice
2 T. safflower oil
4 t. nutritional yeast flakes
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
3/4 t. sea salt
1/4 cup Cubanelle pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and finely diced
1 T. freshly chopped basil
1 T. freshly chopped parsley
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes

Begin by blanching the almonds: In a small saucepan, place 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Add the almonds and cook for 1 minute to blanch them. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside for 3 minutes to cool. Remove the almonds from the water, squeeze each almond between your thumb and forefinger to remove the skin, and set them aside for 5-10 minutes to dry and cool. Place the almonds in a blender or food processor and process for 1-2 minutes to finely grind them. Scrape down the sides of the container. Add 3/4 cup water and process for 1 minute to combine. Add the remaining water, cornstarch, lemon juice, safflower oil, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, and continue to process the mixture an additional 1-2 minutes or until very smooth and creamy.

Transfer the mixture back to the small saucepan and place it over medium heat. Cook the mixture, while whisking constantly, for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture becomes very thick. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the remaining ingredients, stir well to combine, and set the mixture aside to cool for 10 minutes. Pour the cheese mixture into a 2-cup (16 oz.) plastic container, cover, and chill the cheese for several hours or until firm. Unmold the cheese and use slices on sandwiches or in place of commercially made cheese in your favorite recipes, or as a spread with crackers, breads, or fruit. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Note that this is a semi-soft style cheese, not a brick style cheese, so it can not be shredded.

Yield: One 2-cup loaf of non-dairy cheese

 
Pepper Divider

 

Herbes de Provence Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil
2 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. freshly chopped parsley
1 T. garlic, minced
1 t. Herbes de Provence
1/4 t. sea salt
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, place all of the ingredients, and whisk well to combine. Use as a sauce for sandwiches or salads, or to add flavor to grains, pasta, or vegetable side dishes.

Yield: 1/3 cup

 
Pepper Divider

 

Old World Big Loaf

1 medium potato
1 cup warm water
1 - 1/4 oz. pkg. active dry yeast
2 T. olive oil, plus additional for oiling bowl and pan
2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup soy flour
2 t. sea salt
1 t. sesame seeds
1/2 t. poppy seeds

Begin by baking the potato. Wash it well and prick with a fork in several places. Place the potato in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until soft to the touch. Remove the potato from the oven and set aside to cool. When the potato is cool, cut in half, and using a spoon, carefully separate the cooked potato from its skin. Place the cooked potato in a small bowl, mash it well with a fork (should yield 1 cup), and set aside.

In a large bowl, place the warm water, yeast, and olive oil. Stir well to dissolve the yeast, and set aside until bubbly, about 10-15 minutes. Add the reserved mashed potato and stir well to combine. Add the unbleached, whole wheat, and soy flours, and salt, and stir well to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead, adding additional flour if needed, until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place a little olive oil in the large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, give it a twist, and turn the ball over to coat the other side. Cover the bowl with a clean towel, place it in a warm place, and leave to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Using a little olive oil, lightly oil (or spray with a light mist of oil) a large cookie sheet or pizza pan, and set aside. When the dough has doubled, transfer it to the oiled pan, and stretch it to form a 10-inch circle. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and poppy seeds over the top. Cover the pan with a clean towel, place in a warm place, and leave to rise for an additional 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Remove the towel from the pan. Bake the loaf at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Transfer the loaf to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: One 10-inch loaf

 
Pepper Divider

 

Giant Garden Grinder Sandwich

1 recipe of Old World Big Loaf (see recipe above)
1 recipe of Herbes de Provence Dressing (see recipe above)
4 cups spinach, triple washed, destemmed, and patted dry
1 small summer squash, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
4-5 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 of a recipe of the Italian Style Hot Pepper Almond Cheese (see recipe above)
1 small Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Cubanelle pepper or green pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and thinly sliced
1 cup red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and thinly sliced

Using a long serrated knife, slice the Old World Big Loaf in half, and place the top half of the loaf on a large plate with the cut-side facing up. Dividing evenly between the two halves, spread the Herbes de Provence Dressing over the cut-side of the bread, and then set the top half aside while assembling the sandwich. Begin by layering all of the spinach leaves on to the bottom half of the loaf. Next, in a circular pattern, layer the slices of summer squash, zucchini, and tomatoes. Thinly slice the Italian Style Hot Pepper Almond Cheese and carefully place the slices over the tomatoes. Then layer the onions and all of the peppers on top of the cheese. Replace the top half of the loaf and press down slightly on the sandwich. Place the giant sandwich on a large platter or plate and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap for transport. Cut the unwrapped giant sandwich into wedges or squares before serving.

Serves 6-8

 
Pepper Divider

 

Brownie Bites

7 pitted prunes
1/4 cup hot water
1 1/3 cups unbleached cane sugar (or white sugar from sugar beets)
1/2 cup soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice
2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. sea salt
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, place the prunes, pour the hot water over them, and set them aside for 15 minutes to rehydrate. Transfer the prune mixture to a blender or food processor and process for 1-2 minutes to form a smooth puree. Add the sugar, soy milk, vanilla, and almond extract, and process an additional 1 minute. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Working in batches, using a 1 T. measuring spoon, portion tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, and space them 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until set, but still soft to the touch. Allow the brownie bites to cool on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat the portioning and baking procedure for the remaining dough. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 3 Dozen cookies

 
Pepper Divider

 

Fudgicools

3 cups bananas, cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice
3 T. cocoa powder
3 T. turbinado sugar
2 t. vanilla

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients, and process for 2-3 minutes to form a smooth puree. Fill 8 (3 oz.) frozen ice pop molds with the mixture and insert sticks. Freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight. Allow the fudgicools to sit at room temperature for several minutes for easier removal from molds. Serve immediately or wrap individually and store in the freezer.

*Note: Mini paper cups and wooden sticks or spoons can be substituted for the frozen ice pop molds.

Yield: 8

 
 
Garlic Press

 
 
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