Cucumber Cups- Vegan with Roasted Corn Salad and Vegetarian with Goat Cheese and Pickled Beets

Cucumber Cups- Vegan with Roasted Corn Salad and Vegetarian with Goat Cheese and Pickled Beets

This is actually a recipe for two different types cucumber cups; one is vegetarian with goat cheese, pickled beets, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, celery and arugula. The other is vegan with a corn salad made of Tofutti cream cheese, roasted corn, purple sweet peppers, red onion, celery and heirloom tomatoes. Cucumber cups make great finger food for parties and gatherings. I will admit, these are a little time consuming to make, but so worth it. All of the ingredients can be prepped the night before, just make sure to keep the salad separate from the cucumbers. Otherwise, you’ll end up with watered down, soggy cucumbers (gross!). One cucumber will make about 10 cups. this recipe is for 20.

What you will need:
a mandolin slicer and a melon baler (if you don’t have either, a knife will work just fine.)

Vegetarian Cucumber Cups with Goat Cheese:
1 large cucumber
1 1/2 c arugula
1 jar of sliced, pickled beets
about half a package of small heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced with a mandolin
fresh dill
fresh parsley
2 oz goat cheese
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Cut cucumbers to about 3/4- 1 inch thick (you won’t want them any larger than that. It’ll make them harder to eat as finger food. Ask me how I know). Use a melon baler or knife to hollow out the cucumber bowl, making sure to take as much cucumber off of the sides of the bowl, while still keeping the bottom in tact (this is also very important. the thicker the sides of the cucumber, the harder it will be to eat).

Then, in a salad bowl, combine arugula, dill, parsley, goat cheese, red onion, celery and balsamic vinegar and and mix until everything is coated in goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. Place into cucumber cups and top with a pickled beet slice and heirloom tomato halves. Arrange on a plate and serve.

Vegan Cucumber Cups with Roasted Corn Salad:
1 cucumber
2 ears of sweet corn
2 spoonfuls of Tufutti cream cheese (about 1/3 of the package)
1 sweet pepper, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced with a mandolin
about half a package of small heirloom tomatoes, cut into 4ths
fresh dill
juice of half a lemon
a tsp or less of extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, and roast both ears of corn for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. While the corn is roasting, prep your cucumbers as explained in the recipe above.

In a salad bowl, combine Tufutti cream cheese, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and mix. Then, add sweet pepper, celery, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, and dill. Once the corn has cooled, remove the kernels with a knife and mix all of the ingredients together. Fill cucumber cups, arrange on a plate and serve.

Kale, Apple, Swiss Salad with Mung Bean Sprouts, Cashews, Hemp and Chia Seeds

Kale, Apple, Swiss Salad with Mung Bean Sprouts, Hemp and Chia Seeds

This is a good, hearty, salad that’s packed full of nutrients and good fats from hemp oil. I used hemp oil rather than extra virgin olive oil for the added benefits of omega fatty acids that it contains. I recommend letting this salad sit in the fridge to marinate for two hours before serving.

What you will need:
1 bunch of organic kale
2 granny smith apples, chopped into cubes
about 10 oz Swiss cheese, also chopped into cubes
juice of one lemon
cashews
chia seeds
hemp seeds
mung bean sprouts
2 garlic cloves, minced
enough hemp oil to coat the leaves
sea salt, to taste
a touch of Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids

On a cutting board, cut the kale into thin 1/4 inch strips, then cut those strips in half or thirds, depending on how big the leaves are. After adding the cubed apples, squeeze the lemon over the apple cubes to prevent browning. Add mung beans, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cashews, and garlic, using just enough oil to cover the leaves and veggies in a light coating of dressing. Add sea salt and Bragg’s Liquid Amino’s to taste and serve as a side with dinner, or as the main course.

Cherry and Peach Cobbler Smoothie

Cherry and Peach Cobbler Smoothie

This smoothie will satisfy your sweet tooth with the sweetness of peaches and vanilla yogurt, while filling you up with antioxidants and all sorts of nutrients from the cherries, steel cut oats and apples. Makes about 20 oz (or more).

What you will need:
blender or food processor and a sauce pan
I serving steel cut oats
1 c cherries, pitted and stems removed
1 peach, pitted
1 apple, core removed
1/2 c vanilla yogurt
about 1 tbsp brown sugar
cinnamon to taste
chia seeds
ice

In a sauce pan, cook one serving of steel cut oats according to the directions on the package. Season with cinnamon and brown sugar and set aside in the fridge to cool. Once the oats have cooled, in a blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Top with more chia seeds if desired and enjoy.

Vegan “Meat” Balls

These vegan “meat” balls pack a whole lot of flavor and protein without using egg or any animal by-products. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) and kidney beans make a great, meaty base for these vegan meatless meat balls. These can also easily be formed into patties to make veggie burgers! Makes about 12 meatless meatballs.

What you will need:
a food processor, mixing bowl and skillet
about 4 oz crimini mushrooms
1/2 red onion
1 can kidney beans
2/3 c TVP
1 tbsp bruschetta seasoning (pictured below)
sea salt to taste
oil for sauteing

Clean mushrooms and onions and chop into small pieces. In a large skillet, heat oil on a medium heat and add mushrooms and onions. They should sizzle once they hit the pan. Cook for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, reconstitute the TVP by adding about a 1/3 c hot water and set aside. It should only take about 7 minutes to reconstitute. Once mushrooms and onions are done sauteing and the TVP is reconstituted; in food processor, add drained and rinsed kidney beans, half of the onion and mushroom mix and half of the TVP and blend until smooth. Then, in the large mixing bowl, mix in the rest of the TVP, sauteed mushrooms and onions, blended kidney bean mix, seasonings and salt and mix. Start forming your bean ball mix into balls while heating oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add balls to skillet (you want them to sizzle when they hit the pan, or else they will start to fall apart) and cook until brown on all sides. Use them along with your favorite pasta, or make a meatless meatball sandwich. Freeze any extra for later use.

Deviled Eggs with Avocado- The Best Deviled Eggs You’ll Ever Eat

Deviled Eggs with Avocado- The Best Deviled Eggs You'll Ever Eat

I’ve never made deviled eggs before, and I have to say, these are the best damn deviled eggs I’ve ever had in my life. Adding avocado into the mix adds a delightful flavor, and gives you a little extra avocado and yolk mix to spread on sandwiches. So delicious!
This recipes makes 12 deviled eggs.

What you will need:
a food processor
6 eggs
1 avocado
a couple of slices of red onion and a few slivers to garnish
1 small garlic clove
1/8 c mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard powder
fresh dill, to taste (leave some for garnish)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt, to taste

First, gently add eggs to pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, cover with a lid and remove from heat. Let sit for 12-15 minutes. Drain and move eggs to a bowl filled with ice cold water. This well help separate the egg from its shell and make it easier to peel. Once they’ve cooled, peel the eggs and run under cool water to make sure all the pieces of the shell are removed. With a sharp knife, gently cut the eggs length wise and remove the yolk. Place the yolk and all other ingredients, aside from your garnishes, in the food processor and blend until creamy. Scoop mixture into a plastic bag with the tip cut off and squeeze into the egg white halves. Garnish with dill and onion.

Most likely, you will have left over avocado and egg yolk mix, and that’s fine. It makes a perfect spread for sandwiches. Just slice some fresh cucumber and tomato, add some fresh basil, and you have a full meal.

Grilled Pineapple and Portobello Mushroom Sandwich with Fresh Avocado Spread and Kale

Grilled Pineapple and Portobello Mushroom Sandwich

This vegetarian sandwich combines the perfect mix of sweet and savory, with the use of grilled, sweet pineapple and grilled, savory portobello mushrooms. This might just be my new favorite sandwich ever.

What you will need:
a George Forman grill
pineapple, sliced about 1/3 inch thick
portobello mushroom
cheddar cheese
avocado
kale
bread (I used 7 grain sprouted bread)
a little bit of butter for grilling the portobello mushroom

On a heated, non-greased, George Forman grill, take your pineapple slice and place it on the grill for 2-3 minutes. Remove it and use butter to grease the grill. Then, place your portobello mushroom on the grill for about 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile, toast your bread. Once the mushroom is done cooking, arrange it on the bottom half of the bread, then layer cheddar cheese and pineapple on top of it. Use the avocado as a spread and spread it across the top half of the bread and place kale on top as your lettuce. Serve with fries, chips or tomato soup.

Side note: if you don’t have a George Forman grill, you can make this on your stove top in a skillet.  Just cook your pineapple on medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, and cook your mushrooms on medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side.

Ohio City Farm in Cleveland, Ohio

20130813-075127.jpg
“The Ohio City Fresh Food Collaborative is an initiative designed to solidify Ohio City as the hub of Cleveland’s complete regional food system. The projects of the Collaborative will help to grow Cleveland’s local food economy and provide access to healthy food for Cleveland’s underserved communities by developing a cluster of urban farm plots that support entrepreneurs and workforce development, a hub for food production businesses, increased opportunities for value-added products and educating the community about a complete food system inherent in the historic West Side Market and catalyzing the Ohio City Market District.”

You can follow and find more information on Ohio City Farm at their blog- Ohio City Farm

Creamy Vegan Cucumber Pasta Gone Wrong

Creamy Vegan Cucumber Pasta Gone Wrong

Sometimes, not every recipe turns out to be a success. That’s not to say that this meal was a complete inedible catastrophe, it just didn’t turn out exactly how I planned. I really wanted to try making my own creamy, vegan, alfredo sauce, chilled. The flavor and consistency was almost there, but not quite. I used a mix of Daiya mozzarella style shreds, Tofutti cream cheese, one avocado and unsweetened almond milk as a base for the sauce. I love the avocado in it, and the mozzarella style shreds had just the right flavor, but the cream cheese seemed to make it too sweet. I think next time I’ll cut the amount of Tufutti cream cheese in half and use more avocado. I also didn’t throw this mixture into the food processor, which was a mistake. The flavor of the mozzarella style shreds wasn’t distributed evenly through the sauce. And it needs more fresh basil next time, too. Definitely more fresh basil.

Happen to have any suggestions for me? It would be greatly appreciated!

Tofu Salad- Vegan Faux Egg Salad

Tofu Salad- Vegan Faux Egg Salad

This vegan twist on egg salad will have your taste buds dancing. Crisp, flavorful veggies and fresh herbs really give this dish a bright and delicious flavor. This recipe yields quite a bit of tofu salad, so if you aren’t feeding a lot of people or don’t plan on eating it for days on end, it’s really easy to cut the recipe in half.

What you will need:
2 packages of 14 oz extra firm tofu drained and pressed
2 celery stalks cut into 3rds lengthwise and chopped
1 c chopped red onion
1 large carrot cut into 4ths lengthwise and chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 c chopped parsley
dill to taste (I usually end up using a lot. dill is one of my favorite herbs)
1/2 c vegenaise
a generous splash of Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
1/8- 1/4 c yellow mustard
2 spoonfuls of whole grain dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon

In large mixing bowl, crumble drained tofu into the consistency of scrambled eggs with a fork or your hands. Add all chopped veggies and herbs, along with all your liquid ingredients and mix. Spread over multigrain bread for a delicious sandwich or stuff into mini sweet peppers for a quick, finger food snack.

Kale, Banana and Watermelon Smoothie (Vegan!)

Kale, Banana and Watermelon Smoothie (Vegan!)

The sweetness of watermelon and banana compliment the slight bitterness of kale in this raw smoothie. Since this recipe doesn’t involve dairy, just raw kale and fruit, it makes it easier to digest all of the nutrients that are packed into this blended drink. If you’re new to kale, this is a great way to introduce yourself to it. Makes about two 16 oz servings.

What you will need:
blender or food processor
4-5 kale leaves with the stems removed
1 banana
4 oz of watermelon
ice. lots of ice

In blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and enjoy your delicious kale smoothie with a friend!