23 August 2015

Maggie's Wild Rice Salad

A new semester of classes starts next week for me. I've met my incoming first-year advisees. Shana's new job has started. We have had the windows open more regularly because the weather has been cooler and less humid. My dad was talking about the ripening acorn squash in his garden. All of this indicates that summer is winding down. However, if you're not quite ready to let go of summer, with its hot days and more relaxed schedule, have I got a recipe for you.

I've been meaning to make this wild rice salad all summer (what can I say, Minnesotans love wild rice), but never got around to it for one reason or another. But yesterday we went to a pot-luck for a colleague's birthday and I needed something I didn't have to prepare immediately ahead of time. This was just occasion for wild rice salad, as it can chill for a few hours before you serve it.

We arrived to the pot luck, salad in hand, and it was gobbled up in short order. I did get a serving of it for myself, but I also wondered why I didn't make more of it. It made me realize why my mom often doubled the recipe when she brought it places. In any event, this salad is a wonderful warm-weather food and an excellent vegan option for a pot luck!


25 July 2015

Maggie's Grilled Tofu

It's summer. I love summer for a number of reasons: Shana loves summer, the world is full of beautiful colors, and the foods planted in the spring are ripening like magic. Our CSA is in full swing, so we are reaping the bounty of summer foods. This week, we got green beans, a head of lettuce, two cucumbers, a zucchini, fingerling potatoes, onions, garlic, and two kinds of tomatoes.

Here's the problem. I hate humidity paired with any temp much above 70, which pretty much captures midwestern summers perfectly. For me, what ends up happening is that I don't want to eat or cook anything. Combining this tendency with our travels, we haven't eaten anything new or noteworthy in weeks. Feeling ready for something new, tonight's dinner on our weekly meal plan simply said "new." Such dinners work well when I plan what I'd like to cook early in the week, but I neglected to do that this week. Luckily, my lack of planning led to a thrown-together dinner highlighting summer's bounty. We had a simple green salad (CSA lettuce, carrots, celery, and cucumber, with peppers and toasted almonds) with vegan ranch dressing, CSA green beans, sweet corn from another local farm (which we grilled to perfection), and grilled tofu (which is simple enough that I feel silly calling it a recipe). Altogether, this dinner was amazing and the quintessential vegan summer meal.



30 June 2015

Maggie's Vegan Cream of Chard Soup

Oh readers, I struggle. It's been over a month since last I posted! I'd like to be able to say that I've been doing amazing things that have kept me away, but the reality is that I've just been living life and cooking the same recipes we already know and love. Even with the CSA, I just  haven't been that creative with foods - with one major exception. This soup.

We got chard in our CSA shares for a couple of weeks and I remembered a soup we'd had years ago. I tried to recreate it after asking about ingredients, but then decided I didn't like the smell of one of the ingredients. Instead, I switched things up a bit and ended up with something delicious. Seriously, this soup is amazing. The richness of it makes it ideal for any season, but using fresh spring/summer chard is a great idea.



23 May 2015

Maggie's Spring Carrot Salad

If you read my last post, you'll know that our awesome CSA has been giving us lots of carrots. The past two weeks, we've also gotten some beautiful French breakfast radishes. One of the things I was so excited about with our CSA is that it would force me to explore new (or in this case, new uses) for veggies. Enter this salad. 

Apparently, shredded carrot salads are common in other parts of the world, but Americans don't eat them that often. I don't know why that's the case, because this salad was so easy and delicious. The only thing ingredient I don't keep on hand is the green onions, which is easily remedied. This salad comes together in no time with the aid of a shredding disc for a food processor. As the weather gets warmer, I'm thinking that this will be making an appearance on our menu more frequently and might even go to some warm-weather pot lucks. 



20 May 2015

MVK Savory Roasted Carrots

Look - a real CSA post!!! We've been getting some AMAZING veggies from our wonderful CSA out of Christopher Farm. As it's very early in the growing season, we've gotten mostly greens. However, we've also gotten a ton of carrots due to the hoop houses at the farm. We eat carrots in soups and in salads, but that hasn't been enough to eat through the carrots. I was talking to my sister about this the other day and she gave me a great idea.

Recently, my sister started working at a restaurant called Mill Valley Kitchen. She is really enjoying the way the restaurant engages with and thinks about food. When I mentioned all of our carrots, she said that I could try to make something on the menu there: carrots marinated in a savory marinade and then roasted quickly in their wood fired pizza oven. I have never eaten these carrots and I certainly don't have a wood fired pizza oven, but I figured I'd give it a go. I am so glad I did, because these carrots were ridiculously delicious. Even if you don't like cooked carrots, you will like these (says Shana). Seriously, eat them now.



08 May 2015

Vegan Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread - No Knead and Low Fuss!

I know that I promised CSA posts, but right now we've been eating things from the CSA so quickly that I don't have time to photograph them (I'm only a little bit kidding). Every week I get so excited to see what we'll get. Just yesterday I submitted another manuscript to a journal, so I hope that means I'll get back to experimenting with new recipes.

For today, though, I'd like to share a recipe for a whole wheat sandwich bread. I used to think baking bread was scary and tedious and required a master's touch. To be honest, I still think that way about a lot of bread. However, this bread is SO easy because it's a very wet dough and requires no kneading. The lack of kneading means it takes a while, but get it started one weekend afternoon or right when you come home from work and then let it do it's thing. With minimal effort you will be rewarded with awesome bread!




22 April 2015

CSA Excitement!

Everybody. We have a CSA this year. An organic CSA.

Don't know what a CSA is? It's awesome! CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it basically works by people like me & Shana paying a farmer before the growing season for a share of the crops that are grown. If you want more information, check out Local Harvest or Wiki. Today was the first day that we got our CSA share from Christopher Farm. I am SO EXCITED about it!! Here's a picture of what was in this week's share.

From bottom-left, going clockwise: box choy, kale, spinach, carrots & greens, lettuce, cilantro, garlic, shallots.
I've decided to post our weekly shares and have created a new tag for CSA-related posts. I'm very hopeful that the CSA will force us to explore new veggies. For example, this week I'm going to try a carrot-top pesto, a carrot-top soup, and roasted garlic compound butter. I've been feeling a bit in a cooking rut (as I think I do every spring), so having all of these ideas feels awesome. YAY!