Tag Archives: vegan

Radish Sesame Salad

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Radish Sesame Salad

Every year, early in the spring I plant radishes from seed in my little garden.   Since my garden is so small, I tuck the radishes rows between some of the slower growing vegetables such as broccoli or cabbage in order to utilize precious garden space.  Radishes are amazingly fast and easy to grow.  All they need is water and warm spring days.  Within 3 weeks after sowing the seeds, I am able to harvest crunchy little radishes for salads and snacks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thin sliced crunchy red radishes…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Radish and Sesame Seed Salad is one of my favorite ways to prepare fresh picked radishes from my garden.  It’s vibrant in color and has wonderful Asian inspired flavors.  Next time you plant a garden, try sowing a few radish seeds.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients

  • 3 cups thinly sliced red radishes
  • 2 Tbs Mirin (sweet cooking wine)
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • fresh cilantro, green onion or chives for garnish

Thinly slice the radishes with a mandolin or sharp knife.  Set aside.  In a medium sized bowl whisk together the Mirin, sesame oil, rice vinegar, black sesame seeds, ginger, garlic and salt.  Add radishes and toss.  Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for about 45 minutes.  Garnish with fresh cilantro, green onions or chives.  Makes 4 servings.

Spring Green Salad with Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Spring Green Salad with Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

I’m so excited!  Spring has finally arrived in Southern Oregon!  According to the calendar, “technically” it’s still winter.  According to what is happening in my backyard, the calendar is way wrong :)…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A crocus blossom… One of the first flowers to make an appearance in our backyard early in the season.  I love the bright orange stamens and the purple and white streaked petals.  I have them planted in many places in our yard.  Some reside in pots, some are tucked under bushes and trees.  Crocuses grow only a few inches tall and come back every year during the month of March.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a shot of some pansies that I have planted in a hanging pot on my back patio.  Pansies are a regular staple to our yard in the spring and fall.  Every time I look at them they make me smile.  I enjoy the bright and cheerful colors outside my kitchen window.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A close-up shot of a pansy blossom.  I was thrilled to capture this image with my camera.  Through the lens of my camera, I was able to see this amazing amount of detail on the flower.  I can’t see this level of detail even with my reading glasses on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A tulip poking its way through the soil.  I look forward to a big vase full of bright red blossoms on our dining room table in a short couple of weeks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Purple crocus.  What’s not to like about that deep rich indigo color?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Even the koi fish in our pond are starting to surface for the first handfuls of feed of the year.  This is Pumpkin…  He’s one of the original fish to live in our pond.  He’s almost 2 feet long and about 10 years old.  I remember the day when Bruce and I purchased him.  He was about 4 inches in length and shared a plastic bag with four other fish on the trip home. Several years later, we now have a total of 8 koi fish happily living in our pond.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Whenever I think of spring, one of the first things that come to mind is fresh picked strawberries.  I purchased a couple of pints of strawberries the other day and one of the things that I wanted to do with them was to make a spring like strawberry vinaigrette.  My Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette is a wonderfully pink colored salad dressing made with fresh strawberries, red wine vinegar, local honey, Dijon Mustard, canola oil and poppy seeds.  It’s a delicious vinaigrette to serve drizzled over a plate of fresh picked greens and sliced strawberries.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound strawberries (cleaned and hulled)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs honey or to taste
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds or to taste

Add strawberries, red wine vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard and canola oil to a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Splash more vinegar into the dressing if you want… Mix in the poppy seeds.  Makes 1 cup or 16 – 1 Tablespoon servings.  Store in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days.

Green Salad (per serving)

  • 2 cups fresh lettuce
  • 1 thinly sliced radish
  • 2 strawberries (hulled and quartered)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced radicchio
  • 1 Tbs Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette (or to taste)

Assemble by placing salad greens on a plate.  Arrange radishes, strawberries and radicchio on top of the greens.  Drizzle greens with the Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette.  Makes one serving.

Sesame Seed Beer Bread

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sesame Seed Beer Bread

Beer Breads are some of my favorite loaves of bread to bake.  They’re easy, require few ingredients and taste delicious.  For years I have made the same Whole Wheat Beer Bread and it has always been my “go to” recipe.  “Go to” until now…  My favorite Whole Wheat Beer Bread recipe now has to share the spotlight.  I have a new recipe that is equally delicious but with a different spin.  I call it Sesame Seed Beer Bread.  It’s made with all purpose white flour, Oregon brewed beer, and black and white sesame seeds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Sesame Seed Beer Bread has a pretty black sesame seed speckled center with a lovely mixed sesame seed top crust.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It slices nicely and goes great with leafy green salads and piping hot bowls of soup.  I had a couple of slices toasted this morning for breakfast.  It’s easy to make and tastes fabulous!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 12 oz beer
  • 1/2 Tbs black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 Tbs white sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Mix together flour, sugar, 1 Tbs black sesame seeds, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium sized bowl.  Add beer and mix until lumps are gone.  Don’t over mix.  Add mixture to greased 9 x 5 inch baking pan.  Sprinkle top with 1/2 Tbs black and 1/2 Tbs white sesame seeds.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done.  Makes one fabulous loaf!

Broccoli Bisque

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABroccoli Bisque

I have not posted any recipes for the past couple of weeks… It’s not that I did not want to or that I was being lazy.  Most of my free time after work has been spent trying to figure out why my website was not cooperating with me.  Most of the time food blogging is an enjoyable and rewarding hobby but it can be extremely frustrating at times.  Maintaining a food/recipe website is a combination of being a food writer, photographer and webmaster.  I am comfortable with the first two items, but the web master part, I’m still learning (struggling). And, in my opinion, I have a long way to go…

My website problem was this…  Every time I tried to post my Broccoli Bisque recipe, the body of the post would not stay formatted properly. I tried everything. I uninstalled and re-installed different components on my website.  I tried even changing the look of my website.  My frustration level with my computer was at all time high.  I was seriously irritated and I was questioning why I even want to be a food blogger in the first place.  In other words, my website was seriously “jacked up”.

Then late last night it dawned on me…  I thought to myself that maybe I’m having software conflicts with web browsers.  I’ve seen that before with software applications at work.  I have certain applications that I work with that don’t run very well in Internet Explorer and perfectly in Firefox.  And vice versa.  Since I only have Firefox on my laptop, I thought I’d download a free copy of Google Chrome.  I installed it and then I tried working on my website while on Google Chrome.  Unbelievable!  Problem solved!  I learned something big.  Next time I am having problems with my website I’m going to check if it is an issue  with a web browser before spending the time dismantling my entire website.

Well, I’m back.  I look forward to being back on schedule and creating some dishes to share.  Meanwhile, be sure to try my easy vegan Broccoli Bisque.  It’s simple to make, good for you and most importantly, it tastes delicious!  Enjoy!  Tessa

 Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound broccoli florets
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 2 cups russet potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • salt to taste.

In a large saucepan on medium heat, add broccoli, onions, canola oil and a big pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring constantly until broccoli is crisp tender or onions are translucent.  Add potatoes, vegetable stock, coriander, and white pepper.  Cook covered until potatoes and broccoli are tender.  Grab an immersion blender and blend until creamy.  Add more stock if necessary.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley or chopped onion.  Serves 4.

Orange Pomegranate Salad

Orange Pomegranate Salad

The holidays are fast approaching and I am already planning our meal for Christmas Eve.  It’s a family tradition that every year on Christmas Eve I make a huge pot of New England Clam Chowder to share with my family and friends.  With the chowder, I serve up finger foods, fresh baked breads, salad and dessert.  Since the chowder is the only item on the menu that does not change from year to year, I try to think of different and fresh tasting dishes to serve with the soup.

While I am thinking about what I am going to serve with the chowder, our family is busy decorating our home for the holidays.  Bruce’s responsibility is to put up the lights out in the front of the home, and my job is to decorate the dining room and living room.  I love doing that.  It’s one of my favorite things to do.

This is what my dining room looked during the last Christmas season.  Last year, I focused on red and green colors.  This year my plan is to decorate with white and silver.  I want my dining room to have a shiny cold sparkle to it.  The table will be removed and 2 eight foot tables will take its place on Christmas Eve.  That’s what I do every time we have a large gathering in our home.  What I have in mind this year is crisp white table cloths, white candlesticks with snow covered greenery.  The three little trees that you see above are now covered with little white birds, silver ornaments and shimmery snowflakes.

One of my white birds.  I snagged about a dozen of these at a craft store last week for about a dollar each.  I would have bought more but I cleaned out the bin…

Silver pine cone ornament.  My Mom gave these pine cone ornaments to me earlier this year.  These pretty ornaments are on the same trees as the white birds.  Can you believe that this ornament is made of plastic?  Could have fooled me…  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not ashamed of decorating with plastic ornaments.  I like plastic ornaments because they are pet and child friendly, they don’t shatter and when they fall off the tree, all they do is bounce!  And what’s even better about plastic ornaments…  They’re inexpensive.

I just love the holidays!  In my opinion, it’s not about the gifts or the food.  It’s all about spending quality time with family and friends.  I want everyone who visits our home to have a wonderful time and have fond memories of our time together.

I have made the decision to serve my Orange Pomegranate Salad on Christmas Eve.  It’s light, plates beautifully and won’t leave my guests stuffed once I start ladling up steaming hot bowls of chowder.  My Orange Pomegranate Salad is made with fresh naval oranges, pomegranate seeds, watercress, radish shoots, crunchy pepitas and a tangy pomegranate vinaigrette.  It’s easy, bright and delicious! Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 6 large naval oranges, peeled and sliced.
  • 3 cups water cress (use more if you like)
  • 3 cups radish shoots (use more if you like)
  • 6 Tbs toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 6 Tbs fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/8 cup pomegranate vinegar
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Begin by cutting off the peel from the oranges.  Slice each orange into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Arrange on six salad plates with water cress, radish shoots, pomegranate seeds, and pepitas.  Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the canola oil, rice vinegar, pomegranate vinegar, brown sugar, ginger and salt.  Drizzle the vinaigrette on the salads when ready to serve.  Serves 6.

Creamy Red Lentil Soup with Garam Masala

Creamy Red Lentil Soup with Garam Masala

Bruce was out of town for the past few days.  I hate to say this out loud but…  When he is away from home, I get to make what I want to have for dinner without any negotiating or meeting in the middle.  Today, I was in the mood for a Creamy Red Lentil Soup with Garam Masala.  Garam Masala is an exotic spice blend that is of North Indian origin.  It has ingredients such as cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, cardamom and coriander.   It’s one amazingly fragrant and versatile spice blend.

My Red Lentil Soup with Garam Masala is vegan, easy, and most of all, delicious!  And as for Bruce, I love him so much that I made sure that I saved him a big healthy bowl of Creamy Red Lentil Soup to eat when he gets back :).  Enjoy!  Tessa

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup split red lentils (picked over and rinsed well)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (more if needed)
  • 1/2 cup carrots (diced)
  • 1/2 cup onion (diced)
  • 1/2 cup celery (diced)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper (diced)
  • 3 ounces tomato paste (half of a small can)
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp garam masala spice (or to taste)
  • seasoning salt to taste
  • garnish with thinly shredded carrots and chopped parsley

Begin by picking over and rinsing red lentils.  Toss lentils and remaining ingredients except for the seasoning salt or garnishes into a pot with a tight fitting lid.  Cook on low, stirring occasionally for about 30-40 minutes or until the lentils are tender.  Taste the soup and add your seasoning salt to taste.  Using an immersion blender, blend soup until creamy.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with thinly shredded carrots and chopped parsley.  Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Note:  You can find garam masala at most major grocery stores or online.

Chamorro Red Rice

Chamorro Red Rice

My dear friend Janie first introduced me to Guamanian cuisine several years ago and I have been a fan ever since.   One of my favorite Guamanian recipes is Guamanian Chicken and last night I decided to make up some Chamorro Red Rice as a side dish.  Chamorro Red Rice is a traditional Guamanian rice dish made with achiote seed powder (annato), onion, garlic and salt.  It has a beautiful reddish orange color and pairs very well with spicy dishes.  It’s surprisingly mild in flavor and tastes absolutely delicious!

If you have any favorite Guamanian recipes that you would like to share, please feel free to contact me via the comments. I would love to try them!  Thanks!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice (washed and drained)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp achiote (annato) powder
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Grab a medium sized pan with a tight fitting lid.  Add canola oil and onion and saute until onion is opaque.  Add all remaining ingredients, stir, cover and turn stove on simmer or the lowest setting.  Cook until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender (about 15 minutes). Fluff rice with a fork.  Remove from heat, cover and let the rice sit for about 3 – 5  minutes before dishing up.  Makes about 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Green Zebra Pico De Gallo

 Green Zebra Pico De Gallo

Bruce and I were out of town for nearly a week on a trip to the Southwestern portion of the United States in the small desert community of Aguanga, California.  It’s about 20 miles southeast of Hemet and is nearly 2,500 feet in elevation.  It’s pleasantly rural and has some stunning high desert views.  We spent 5 amazing days with family and friends.

View across the valley…

Some prickly cacti…  The spines are crazy sharp.  Note to self… Don’t touch.

More cactus.  This one had small symmetrical bunches of reddish colored spines.

This plant is called a red hot poker.  The blooms are a beautiful orange red color.  They thrive well in the hot desert sun.

Succulents in a pot.

Agave cactus.

Thunderstorms over the valley.  There was plenty of thunder and lightning during our stay and when it rained, it poured…  The views across the valley were lovely, even when it rained.

Bruce and I got home late Sunday night and the next morning before I left for work, I found bunches of ripe tomatoes in our garden.  When I say a bunches, I mean at least a gallon of fresh tomatoes.  I picked at least 6 varieties before I headed out to the office.  When Bruce and I left on our trip, all the tomatoes on the vines were unripe and not ready to be picked.

Tomatoes are my favorite vegetable (technically, a fruit).  Every spring I make it a point to plant some of the wildest looking tomato plants that I can find.  I have pink tomatoes, black tomatoes, orange, green, yellow, and a couple of local red varieties.  When I plant tomatoes, Green Zebras are always at the top of my list.  I love the Green Zebras because they are deliciously mild in flavor and they always make for a uniquely colored tomato dish.

Do you see the pretty dark green stripes and the light green skin?  With some of these fresh picked Green Zebra tomatoes, I decided to make a simple pico de gallo to serve with chicken soft tacos and crunchy tortilla chips.  Pico de gallo is a fresh, uncooked Mexican salsa usually made with bright red tomatoes, white onions, peppers, lime and spices.  I decided to make mine with my Green Zebra tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, lime, jalapenos, garlic, salt and pepper.  It’s easy and delicious!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used Green Zebras)
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs minced jalapeno (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Cover and chill for about an hour before serving.  Makes about 2 cups.

Zucchini Salsa

Zucchini Salsa

If there is one single vegetable in this world that will make my husband cringe with disgust, it’s zucchini.  He has despised zucchini as long as I’ve known him and quite frankly, his extreme disdain for it perplexes me to this day.  He says it’s the taste.  Sometimes he says it’s the texture…   And, I completely disagree with him.  Fortunately, it’s one of the few things that we don’t see eye to eye on…  I look at it this way, there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy disagreement.  If Bruce and I were in unison on everything, I think our life together would be so boring :).

Zucchini squash is one of my favorite summer vegetables and I grow it every year in my little garden.  I like zucchini because it is so amazingly versatile.  It cooks quickly and marries well with a variety of flavors.  Not to mention, it grows like a weed and if you are not careful, you can end up with more zucchini than your family can eat.  That’s why I check on my plants everyday and pick my zucchini when they are young and tender.  Any overabundance, I simply bag it up and take to work to share with my coworkers.

My zucchini salsa is a great use for those extra zucchinis that you don’t want to give away.  It’s fresh, bright with flavor and super easy to make.  Zucchini salsa taste great with crunchy tortilla chips or wrapped up in a fish taco.  Be brave and add some fresh jalapeno peppers for a fiery flavor.  Enjoy!  Tessa

 Ingredients

  • 2 cups zucchini (diced)
  • 1 cup onion (diced)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • few dashes hot sauce to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • jalapenos (diced)  **optional**

Begin by adding olive oil to a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion and red bell pepper and cook until onion is opaque or about one minute.  Add zucchini, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the zucchini is cooked.  Do not over cook.  Add to a bowl, stir in lime juice, cilantro and hot sauce.  Place covered in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  You want to let this sit and chill so the flavors marry well.

Before serving, add salsa to food processor and lightly pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add a splash of water if the mixture is too thick.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Place in serving bowl and serve with crispy tortilla chips.  Makes about 2 cups.

Green Cauliflower Salad with Garlic Caper Vinaigrette

Green Cauliflower Salad

I finally picked the last of my winter vegetables from my little garden.  Earlier this spring I planted some green cauliflower starts and I was amazed at how well they did this year.  I’ve never really had good luck with cauliflower before but, those who know me know that I’m not one to give up that easily…  One of the cauliflower heads that I harvested this year was about 10″ in diameter.  It was just amazing. I could not believe that I was able to grow such beautiful cauliflower in my garden!

In addition to the cauliflower, other vegetables that I have planted are ready for harvest.  My tomato plants are beginning to produce bunches of ripe tomatoes.  I planted several heirloom varieties of tomatoes in my garden and in large pots.  Medford Ace, Green Zebra, Black, Sweet 100, Pineapple, Caspian Pink, Yellow Pear, and Roma are some of the varieties that I selected this year.  Even my zucchini, yellow squash and lemon cucumbers will be ready to pick in less than a week.  I can’t wait!

Fresh picked green cauliflower.  Do you notice that it is almost a lime green unlike the traditional white cauliflower?  What’s cool about green cauliflower is that it retains its pretty green color even when it is cooked.

Green Zebra tomato.  One of my favorite types of tomatoes.  They are mild in flavor with gorgeous green stripes.  I like to slice them, combine with fresh mozzarella from the local creamery, fresh picked basil and drizzle with a good quality olive oil for a delicious and easy caprese salad.

Black tomato.  I have not tasted this variety yet.  It’s not quite ready to pick.  It will be interesting to see what the interior of this tomato will look like when I slice it.

Rainier cherry from my tree.  Rainier cherries are sweet, juicy and perfect for snacking.

The last of the Rainier Cherries. These tasty little fruits never made it into the house :).  Fortunately, I got to them before the hungry birds did…

Green Cauliflower ready to be picked.  You have to know that everything I grow in my garden is organic.  I am one of those people who refuses to use pesticides or herbicides.  I also make it a point to compost my yard debris, lawn clippings and kitchen scraps.  Sometimes I have problems with pests such as snails and slugs but in my opinion, I’d rather deal with them on an individual basis and be confident that the produce that I grow for my family is chemical free.

My Green Cauliflower Salad is a simple dish with fresh picked green cauliflower and a tasty garlic caper vinaigrette.  White balsamic vinegar and lemon zest give the salad a bright hit of flavor.  It can be served hot, cold or even at room temperature.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of green cauliflower or 1 pound of florets
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • water
  • 6 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbs capers
  • 1 Tbs lemon zest
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • garnish with fresh picked nasturtium blossoms

Begin by placing a steamer basket in a medium sized pot with a tight fitting lid.  Add about 1 inch of water to the pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add cauliflower, lemon juice and salt.  Add lid.  Steam cauliflower for about 6  to 8 minutes or until tender.  Remove from cauliflower from pot and drain.  Meanwhile, make the garlic caper vinaigrette. Whisk together the olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, garlic, capers, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Add garlic caper vinaigrette and chopped parsley to steamed cauliflower and lightly toss.  Place in serving dish.  Garnish with nasturtium blossoms.  Serve hot, cold or at room temperature.