Pesto Roasted Potato Salad

I’m being eased back into a school schedule, slowly but surely. I’m trying to get myself ready for when it’s in full effect by coming up with simple weekday foods. This idea came from the simple fact that I like potatoes and I like pesto.

For this pesto I used almonds. I also added some lemon juice. I would consider it to be successful pesto, but you know how I am about pesto.

Pesto Roasted Potato Salad

1 recipe pesto
5-8 new potatoes, cut into eighths
1 15-oz can red kidney beans
4-6 scallions, diced
an extra handful or 2 of almonds

0. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1. Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil. Add the potatoes and season liberally with salt and pepper. Throw in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and roasted. You’ll have to check on them over the course of the recipe to make sure they’re uniformly browned.

2. Make your pesto, chop the scallions, and drain the red beans.

3. Mix together. I served over steamed kale.

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Peanut Butter S’more Blondies

I made these. See?

I was instantly drawn to this recipe because of the marshmallow-chocolate-peanut butter combination. Senior year of college was one of the more stressful times in my life, and I drew an incredible amount of comfort from these exact foods.

I doubled the peanut butter because I didn’t want it to be an incidental flavor –  I wanted to go full force on this food memory. This made the dough come out way lumpier than it was supposed to, and not so spreadable. If I make them again I’ll cool it on the peanut butter. I would also put the chocolate chips in the actual dough.

Also, this recipe calls for white beans, I should point out. Just don’t tell my housemates because I want their assistance in eating these.

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Veganized Russian Mac

The original Moosewood has this recipe called Whole Wheat Macaroni~Russian Style that my mom used to make. It is hella not-vegan, but also delicious, so I went to Whole Foods to buy some fake cheese. You all saddened me when you didn’t text me at the time, too, because I was very excited about telling someone “I’m at Whole Foods buying fake cheese.”

Anyway, my vegan version is not very beautiful, but I was surprised by how well it turned out. I mean, this stuff was good, though!

I followed the recipe sort of. I did not have caraway seeds [which are spelled “carraway” in the cookbook, awesome]. When I Googled that spice, the second thing to pop up was the Wikipedia page for The Great Gatsby which I am currently reading (because Nick Caraway). More relevantly, the first was the page for Caraway, and it said it was also known as “meridian fennel” or “Persian cumin.” So I subbed in cumin and fennel seeds.

I used a tub of Tofutti sour cream instead of the genuine article, Daiya cheddar, and a block of mashed tofu for the cottage cheese.

Also, I’m slightly considering a new project and I will let you know if it comes to light.

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Miso-Glazed Tempeh

There is something – lots of somethings – about Bon Appétit that just makes me want to veganize all of their recipes. Their food styling is beautiful, and their style is gourmet yet approachable. It’s not food just for vegetarians or vegans, but food for people who eat everything, and the wider audience makes the recipes feel more endorsed.

This recipe came up when I did a Google search for “miso recipes.” I have miso and I like it, but I don’t use it to its full potential because I know of very few uses. I decided to give this a try, but with tempeh.

And it worked! Tempeh doesn’t soak up flavors the way flesh would have. But snap peas are delicious. Plus I have had a revelation about rice. I do not have time for brown rice.

That’s the whole revelation.

OK later.

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Inspired By

“I like when they say a movie is inspired by a true story, because that’s weird; it means the movie is not a true story, it was just inspired by a true story. Like, hey Mitch, did you hear the story about that lady who drove her children into the river and they all drowned? Yes I did, and it inspired me to write a movie about a gorilla!”
– Mitch Hedberg

This type of thing just happened to me. I read this post on 101 Cookbooks and I had kale and it seemed delicious. However, I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients, plus I wanted to make a whole meal of it, so my dinner was “inspired by” her post, like Mitch’s movie about the gorilla. Take a look:

I just adore Heidi. I made the miso-curry “delicata squash” dish for my meat-eating parents and they loved it. Her cooking is my answer to people who feel like vegan cuisine is not just lacking in but deprived of something. I can absolutely relate, for I used to eat bacon and muenster and real whipped cream and I understand that these foods are delicious on a fundamental level. However, Heidi’s vegan dishes are some of the few that could not be enhanced with non-vegan ingredients. I do appreciate fake meat and fake cheese and veganized classics – I just posted about how I want to do more of that, and I do! – but these foods are hearty and wholesome and worth a try.

I’m posting my recipe as I altered it as if it were something brand new, but if you’re going to try it (and you should), I recommend reading the original as well and spending time on that blog. It’s straightforwardly delicious food regardless of your food preferences.

Avocado-Bulghur Dinner Salad
inspired by Kale Market Salad from 101 Cookbooks

for the dressing:
2 scallions
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (that’s what I used but lemon juice would have been better)
1/3 C olive oil
about 1/4 of an avocado
1 tsp maple syrup (or honey)
salt and pepper

The rest of the avocado, cubed
1/2 bunch kale
1 C bulghur wheat (like in tabbouleh)
3 carrots, peeled into threads or diced
15-ounce can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1 handful of sliced almonds

1. Boil the bulghur according to the package directions. This is one of those grains you need to fluff with a fork. This forms the base of the salad in my version, kind of like some type of twisted tabbouleh.

2. Meanwhile, combine the dressing ingredients in a food processor/blender.

3. Chop the kale into small pieces, using as much of the stems as you care to consume.

4. Combine the salad ingredients and toss it in the dressing.

I’m really happy about this.

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The midwest

I recently realized that I know next to nothing about Cincinnati. I guess I never claim to; when people ask where I’m from I make a point of saying that I “went to high school in Mason, Ohio, kind of near Cincinnati.” No claims of origin.

Anyway, Cincinnati has some distinct neighborhoods in spite of its relatively small size. My parents and I went to Melt, on the Northside. It’s so much more vegan friendly than I could have ever imagined anywhere in Ohio to be. You can get vegan versions of almost everything on the menu; I got a veggie cheesesteak which was made out of Daiya cheese and seitan and peppers and onions. If it were not located in Ohio, I would go there more frequently because that was as melty and satisfying as food made out of less vegan items probably is.

Then I went to Chicago! The first night we went to Handlebar in Wicker Park and sat outside in their lovely outdoor seating area. Let me pause and talk about how awesome it is that other people are regularly OK with eating outside with me nowadays – it’s not ridiculously hot! I had delicious avocado tacos. Avocados are amazing things with the power to turn anything more delicious.

For brunch Sunday we went to The Chicago Diner, a seemingly normal diner where everything is available vegan. You can get Daiya cheese or normal cheese, and either scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu, for example. Plus I had a VEGAN CHOCOLATE SHAKE. With SOY WHIP. Enough said.

I really like this idea of veganizing cheesy, eggy, or meaty foods, and I am feeling inspired. I have posted hardly any recipes lately, which is a shame because it’s kind of the point of a food blog. I’m counting down the days until I start working again, which will entail something of a routine and therefore more regular meals about which to blog. I’m optimistic.

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Miso-Curry Zucchini

I really haven’t blogged in over a month? That is just not like me.

This is a picture of one of the most delicious things ever. I realized recently just how often I speak in superlatives, but this time it’s 100% true. I love this recipe.

It’s kind of the Miso-Curry Delicata Squash from Super Natural Every Day. Actually, I followed the recipe in an uncharacteristically faithful manner, except instead of the titular delicata squash I used a zucchini. I’m not against delicata; in fact I have never tried it. I just really like zucchini.

Everything else is amazing, too. Baby potatoes, tofu, and squash baked in an oven. Kale dressed in miso, red curry, olive oil, and lemon juice. Then it’s topped with cilantro and pumpkin seeds? Too much.

I am currently at my parents house in Ohio and soon I will be in Chicago. Perhaps I will have midwestern updates soon. At least I will cook things and tell you about them less infrequently once I’m back into a school routine – so soon!

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