Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad

Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl

Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl
with
Toasted Almonds, Red Oak Lettuce, Mint, Basil
Olive Oil, Balsamic Syrup, Edible Flowers
Lemon Verbena Iced Tea

Hey! How’s your summer going? Hot enough for ya? Try this Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl  – it’s a bright, light, and simply delicious summertime meal. Perfect for these sweltering days…there is no recipe per se, just a combination of healthful ingredients that have a particular affinity for each other, all arranged in a bowl. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan too.

Enjoy the salad/grain bowl al fresco along with refreshing Lemon Verbena Iced Tea – the high levels of essential oil contribute to a delightful citrusy aroma and lovely lemony flavor.

Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl

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Mung Bean Lovers’ Pasta

Mung Bean Lovers' PastaMung Bean Rotini & Mung Bean Sprouts in a Coconut Curry
#glutenfreevegan

Here’s a zippy gluten-free vegan pasta dish that’s full of flavor and spice, made with two different forms of mung beans. Those small green oval-shaped legumes are nutrient-dense and high in plant-based protein and dietary fiber. They are milled and ground into flour to make rotini shaped pasta. Fresh mung bean sprouts add texture and have a somewhat nutty flavor. They add more fiber, and Vitamins K and C.

I use Trader Joe’s Curry Powder with its wonderful exotic spice blend of cumin, turmeric, chile pepper, mustard, cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon, black pepper, and saffron. Then I add more ground turmeric for the extra boost of flavor, color, and especially the curcumin. Curcumin is the chemical in turmeric that is responsible for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

A garnish of plenty of chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, and a drizzle of chili oil (or chili flakes) make this colorful pasta dish especially exciting and appealing!

Mung Beans Lovers’ Pasta Recipe

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Red Rice Noodles with Stir-Fried Tempeh and Savory Peanut Sauce {Vegan}

Red Rice Pad Thai Noodles with Stir-Fried Tempeh and Savory Peanut Sauce {Vegan}
Red Rice Noodles
Stir-Fried Tempeh and Savory Peanut Sauce

Cucumber, Radish, Scallion, Cilantro, Peanut, Serrano Chile

Bursting with flavor. And color. And texture. And heat. May I say that this vegan dish has it all. Super satisfying organic red rice noodles are tossed with a savory peanut sauce that gets a hint of sweetness from agave nectar. Stir-fried tempeh cubes add substance and protein, radish adds a zingy crunch, while serranos bring fire which is balanced by cooling cucumber and herbaceous cilantro.

These Organic Red Rice Noodles from my friends at Explore Asian are a product of Thailand. Red rice called Kow Mun Pboo ข้าวมันปู in Thai, is a non-glutinous long grain rice that is reddish brown in color with a nutty flavor and a high nutritional value, as the germ of the rice is left intact. The noodles are made from organic rice, organic tapioca flour, and water only.

Organic Red Rice Noodles with Savory Peanut Sauce Recipe

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Pickled Tofu Carpaccio, Beet Syrup, Asian Slaw

Pickled Tofu, Beet Syrup, Asian Slaw

Pickled Tofu Carpaccio, Beet Syrup, Asian Slaw

By his own admission, he’s not a tofu guy. But my brother Don is definitely a foodie. Never met a foie gras he didn’t like. Tofu does not elicit even a glimmer of interest or enthusiasm. He trusts his sister though, so when she offers him a vibrant pickled tofu carpaccio – he definitely gives it a try.

Not to my surprise, it receives a big thumbs up. With the combination of exotic spices, sweet and hot juxtaposed to crunchy and soft elements, he advises to try all the flavors in one bite – calling it both a science experiment and a volcanic eruption.

Pickled Tofu Carpaccio, Beet Syrup, Asian Slaw Recipe

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Cooking for the Stars: Wolfgang Puck’s Kale Salad

wolfgang puck kale salad
85th Academy Awards Governors Ball Menu
Kale, Grilled Artichoke, Radicchio, Pine Nut, Golden Raisin
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

With 19 Oscar menus under his belt, Chef Wolfgang Puck has created another inventive bill of fare for the 85th Academy Awards Governors Ball including old favorites, signature smoked salmon creations, and several fashionable new dishes. This year’s menu includes many vegetarian and vegan offerings, as well as items like Kobe Burger with Aged Cheddar & Remoulade and Chicken Pot Pie with Black Truffle. The Chef shares his menu in photos on a page called “A Taste of the Oscars” here. (Check out those Huckleberry Macarons!) But it was the vegan Kale Salad that immediately caught my attention ~ bright winter color and various textures pair with smoky artichoke and a sunny sweet Meyer lemon vinaigrette. I served the salad as a meal, unlike at the Governors Ball, where some 30 to 35 dishes will be served as small bites to over 1600 people.

And The Oscar Goes To:

photo credit: wolfgangpuck.com

Raw kale is a bit chewy and not exactly tender, so it is best sliced thin, taking care not to press down and bruise the beautiful curly edges. Mildly bitter and peppery radicchio is also thinly sliced. I used fast & fabulous packaged grilled artichoke hearts from Monterey Farms which are available at Whole Foods Market. Without a recipe, I prepared this salad from the photo ~ tossing kale with radicchio, artichoke hearts, lightly toasted pine nuts, and golden raisins with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. The plate was garnished with a few Meyer lemon wheels and a sprinkling of nuts and raisins.

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The Vegan Gutbuster

creative cooking crew, vegan sausage recipe, hearty vegan sandwich, gutbuster

The Vegan Gutbuster Sandwich
In Honor of My Alma Mater, The University of Illinois

Homemade Vegan Italian Sausage on a Toasted French Baguette
Green Bell Pepper, Onion, Mushroom, Tomato
Spicy Tomato Sauce, Vegan Mozzarella, Basil Chiffonade

Last summer my Alpha Phi sorority sisters met in Champaign, Illinois for a PHI-abulous reunion. Over 80 members who graduated between 1976 and 1982 took a trip down memory lane for the weekend, we visited some of our old haunts, and had a blast reconnecting and rekindling old friendships. We slept and ate in the sorority house, so fun ~ and our contributions for staying there helped to raise funds for the chapter. Thank you for the hospitality, ladies!

alpha phi university of illinois

One of the fond memories from our college years was pizza. Garcia’s Pizza. And the Gutbuster was their famous 3/4-pound slice with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. Something we all remembered with affection…It had been many years since I even thought about the Gutbuster, but since our reunion weekend, I have been pondering a makeover of our beloved pie.

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