Picnic and (Iron)Pigs!

Tonight I’m going on a double-date picnic at a baseball game! Goodbye, summer!

I’m excited to squish my toes in the grass, see how much I actually know about baseball (I think I finally get it), and share vegan foods with good friends.

One of the dishes I’m bringing is a mock-tuna salad. I can’t take the credit for this one – it comes straight from one of my favorite cooks, authors, podcasters, and all-around inspirational people, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

It’s the first time I’m making this particular recipe, and I’m totally impressed by how healthy it is! Even with Vegenaise (which is an amazing animal-free mayo substitute, but not low calorie by any means) it’s so full of fresh, whole foods that one serving only gets a tiny portion of Vegenaise, so don’t feel bad about eating this!

Better-Than-Tuna Salad (from The Vegan Table)

  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Vegenaise
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

I used the food processor for everything, and did it in this order:

Cut the carrots into 1-inch thick chunks, to help them break up easier in the food processer. Throw them in and process until they’re in tiny pieces/shreds. Transfer to a LARGE mixing bowl.  Cut the bell pepper and celery into 1-inch chunks, and do the same thing, transferring to the bowl.

Add walnuts and parsley to processor, mix until crumbly. Add to bowl. Add chickpeas to processor, mix until crumbly – consistency will be like a dry peanut butter, still film and crumbly, but really soft. Add to bowl.

Add Vegenaise, mustard and salt and pepper to bowl, mix everything together. THAT’S IT! *Note: You can add some sea vegetable flakes, like kelp or dulse, to the mix to make it taste “fishy” you’d like that.

This makes a TON of food! I filled two medium-sized tupperware containers with the salad. This is very inexpensive, and would be great for a large family, a potluck or party at which you need to feed a lot of people.

Some raw chopped onions would make a nice addition, but I didn’t want us all to have to breathe on each other with onion breath all night.

Spread on a sandwich, in a pita, or over some greens. ENJOY!

“Speak your Truth”.

My exercise of choice is running. I started a few years ago when I found myself feeling out of shape, and noticed all the time I spent complaining and feeling bad about it could be spent actually doing something to change it (imagine that!).

Last year I started searching for podcasts to keep me company during runs, and came upon something so wonderful you must believe when I tell you it has been, quite literally, life-changing. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau  is a Vegan Warrior to say the least. She is a cookbook author, writer, podcast producer, a teacher of cooking classes and lectures – to name a few.

You can find out about all of her endeavors through her website, Compassionate Cooks (.com) – and here’s a short video where she talks about her transition to veganism.

Today I want to draw your attention to her podcast, “Vegetarian Food for Thought”.  I was searching for something that would give me some recipe ideas, and what I found in this podcast is so much more! For starters, Colleen is very well-spoken and deeply intelligent. Her vocabulary alone will make you feel smarter, but it is the eloquence with which she speaks about issues often times difficult to articulate. Topics range from favorite foods to the historical context of vegetarianism to how to be the lone vegan at a party.

She can talk about lentils for twenty minutes and make it interesting. More than that, her enthusiasm and encouragement  for a more peaceful world, and a deeper understanding of self and others are the invaluable gifts you will gain as a listener.  Never “preachy” and always inspiring, Colleen has become a personal hero and one of the factors that motivated me to start this blog!

Go, right now, to itunes and find the podcast “Vegetarian Food for Thought” and download every episode. And keep an eye out for her cookbooks at your local bookstore, “The Joy of Vegan Baking” and “The Vegan Table”.

Mediterranean Cruise

Okay, not a cruise (a girl can dream!) but perhaps the next best thing: food from a Mediterranean Deli. Some dear friends were telling me about this deli I had never been to, even though it’s only 10 miles away and I’ve lived in this area for 9 years! My pal Tesh drives by all the time on her way to work, and picked up some goodies for me.

She is a real pal, because this stuff was tasty! She picked up some meatless marshoushe, which is a cold salad of green beans, parsley, bulgar, onions, lemon juice, huge brown beans…. and some other stuff, perhaps. I has trying to find a recipe online, but believe it or not, “marshoushe” doesn’t even turn up in google!  If anyone recognizes this food and knows it by another name, please let me know! It was AMAZING.

She also got me some garlic hummus – isn’t homemade always the best? Hopefully you all know the wonders of hummus and eat it on a regular basis, so I’ll move along to the mouhammara, a roasted red pepper dip. The best I’ve ever had, though, was one I made from a recipe out of the book “The Vegan Table” by one of my personal food-heros, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

Muhammara Recipe from “The Vegan Table” cookbook
2 to 3 whole roasted peppers (from jar or roasted yourself)
2/3 cup bread crumbs (see below to make your own)
1 cup walnuts, toasted
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons clover agave nectar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more for added spice)

Directions
In a blender or food processor, combine the peppers and all the remaining ingredients. Taste, and add more spice or salt as necessary.

But wait… here is the best part of my deli gifts. GIANT, HUMONGOUS HOMEMADE PITA BREAD. This stuff puts all other pita to shame.  It was so soft, and tasted like a cross between regular pita and Indian naan bread. Plus it was ENORMOUS!  One pack of pita contained four of these monsters all folded up.

I want to use it as a blanket for the duration of winter.

Today’s lesson: search your town for ethnic delis! You likely have something a few miles from home that you don’t even know is there! Get out those phonebooks and look.

And many thanks to my friends for introducing me to Forks Mediterranean Deli at 1508 Sullivan Trail, Forks Township, PA. (Essentially, its in Easton, PA.) Happy eating!