Creamy Avocado Potato Salad

Side Dishes
23 Nov 2011

I’ve never liked potato salad. I don’t know why; I love potatoes, and have always been a pretty big mayo fan. Potato salad always seemed gross to me, though. Maybe my judgement stemmed from a food poisoning incident in 1998, whereby my entire family (including my father, who was undergoing chemotherapy at the time) got sick after eating potato salad at a graduation party. (It was one of the largest food poisoning outbreaks in Illinois history, sickening over 1,800 people in the south and southwest suburbs of Chicago). At any rate, I’ve never been a potato salad fan.

What was I going to do, then, with the giant bag of local Virginia potatoes I’d just purchased at the farmers market?

I sat down with my stack of cookbooks to seek a solution to the problem of my overabundant potatoes and stumbled upon – what’s this? Potato salad made of guacamole?!

Yes, Isa is a genius. Enter: Creamy Avocado Potato Salad. This one is featured in her book, Vegan Brunch.

I didn’t have any plum tomatoes, so I used a couple tablespoons of oil-packed sundried tomatoes. I also skipped the optional cayenne. Otherwise, I followed the recipe, and it was delicious!

Creamy Avocado Potato Salad

Creamy Avocado Potato Salad

Isa mentioned that it should be served immediately, due to the inevitable browning of the avocado, but really, mine wasn’t all that urgent. As leftovers the next day, it still looked pretty good, and the day after that, still not bad. It obviously looks the best when it’s fresh, but don’t let the warning deter you.

This is a very fresh-tasting twist on an old favorite. Loved it!

Posted: November 23, 2011 at 10:53 am


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Lies of Omission

Lunch, Sandwiches & Panini
01 Jul 2011

So, I’ve been keeping something from you.

It’s a sandwich – one that I’ve now eaten 3 days in a row.

I didn’t mean to. I thought about sharing. The first time, I was just too hungry to stop and grab the camera.

The second time, I started to prep the sammy for picture time, but it just wasn’t photogenic enough to bother.

Well, the sandwich still isn’t very photogenic, but it’s so darn tasty that I was overcome with guilt today as I made it for, yes, a third time.

So here you go – my current crush of a sandwich:

Avocado Spinach Sandwich and Asparagus

Avocado Spinach Panini and Asparagus

It’s the Avocado Spinach Panini [recipe], inspired by the recipe in the July/Aug 2011 issue of Vegetarian Times.

My version is a slight modification on the original. It’s essentially (for one sandwich):

  • half an avocado, mashed
  • 1/8 of an onion, diced
  • a generous smear of garlic hummus
  • a small handful of baby spinach
  • some sundried tomatoes
  • smashed between two slices of bread and pressed for 4 minutes on the panini press

I’m currently enjoying the High Five Fiber loaf from Great Harvest Bread Company in Palos Heights, IL. If you’ve never had Great Harvest bread, you MUST check to see if there’s a GH near you. Their breads use simple, real food ingredients and fresh whole grain flours – ground daily! The flavor is incredible, and I’m so glad that I found GH at my local farmer’s market. I’ve been looking forward to shopping at GH Charlottesville once I get to Virginia, but it has been so delicious enjoying it here in the meantime!

Of course, I still suck at cutting bread loaves, so my slices are WAY huge. So, people, do not take these photos as an example of how much in grains you should eat at a meal. Leave that to MyPlate! My slices probably end up being 2.5 servings, at least!

But just look at this hot, gooey mess…

Avocado Spinach Panini

Avocado Spinach Panini

Oh, it is so good.

Mashing the avocado is definitely key. I had trouble in my first two attempts with the avocado slices falling out on the panini press or when I tried to eat the sandwich. The mashing also adds to the gooey-factor.

Side note: I’m eating asparagus like french fries now. Loooooove asparagus!

Fave way to prep asparagus: trim off the rough stems. Spray with a little olive oil spray. Sprinkle with veggie seasoning (I’m currently in love with McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Vegetable Seasoning. Yeah, the ingredient list is less than whole-foods-stellar, but it is mighty tasty). Then grill for 3 minutes. (Ahh, this is where having the Griddler is awesome sauce!)

So, as we embark upon this holiday weekend, I urge you to enjoy a tasty sandwich, grill up some veggies, and share some good times with the ones you love. :)

Posted: July 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm


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First Attempt at Sushi

Dinner, Vegan & Vegetarian
22 Apr 2011

I’m nothing if not ambitious, my friends!

Veggie Sushi

Veggie Sushi

My family’s Easter gathering is tomorrow, and as a vegan (and even as a vegetarian), if I don’t want to starve, I have to bring at least one dish I can eat. It’s all good; I don’t expect anybody to bend over backwards to make sure there’s something for me to eat. This holiday, I decided to try something new: veggie sushi.

I’ve never had sushi before. In fact, I spent the first 36 years of my life misinformed, thinking that “sushi” meant “fish.” (It doesn’t; sushi is actually the rice). What gets wrapped in that rice? Anything you want! Including veggies.

So I got myself a $4 bamboo sushi rolling mat, and set to work.

First, I prepped (way too many) veggies.

Sushi veggies

Sushi veggies

I had red peppers, sundried tomatoes, avocado slices, green onions, carrots, and cucumber slices. I also had some shiitake mushrooms and steamed asparagus on the side, and a small batch of buffalo tempeh and a small batch of ranch tempeh spread (inspired by PPK’s Spicy Tempeh Rolls).

I got to rolling. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be – though the rice is super sticky (keep your hands wet!), and it seems I was over-stuffing my sushi rolls a bit. Still, it all seemed to work out. I need more practice getting the rice to the ends of the nori sheets, though.

This roll was a simple avocado, carrot, and green onion roll.

Rolling up sushi

Rolling up sushi

My 10-pack of nori sheets only had 9 sheets in it! Gypped! That’s OK… since I was over-stuffing the rolls, I only had enough rice for 9 rolls anyway.

9 Uncut Veggie Sushi Rolls

9 Uncut Veggie Sushi Rolls

(Please pardon the “well seasoned” cookie sheet. I need new ones). I left some of the ingredients sticking out of the ends, because in the very first episode of the Post Punk Kitchen, Isa did that, and the end pieces looked cool with stuff sticking out. I’m not sure mine will look quite as cool, but can’t blame a girl for trying.

Next, I discovered just how not-sharp my formerly-awesome-sharp-knife is. Not so good for cutting sushi. I cut up one roll and taste tested it (pretty good!), but I’ll cut the rest up tomorrow.

The result: my very first veggie sushi:

Veggie Sushi

The result: veggie sushi, first try

Not so bad, eh?!
I made a couple buffalo tempeh & cucumber rolls, a couple ranch (actually, Sanctuary Dressing) tempeh and avocado rolls, and a variety of mish-mosh veggie rolls.

I feel like something in there probably needed some salt, but maybe that’s where the soy sauce for dipping comes in.

I’m definitely stoked about sushi now! Can’t wait till July for my Vegas trip, where I will be checking out some Vegas sushi.

What’s your favorite sushi filling?

Posted: April 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm


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Simple Lunch

Lunch, Vegan & Vegetarian
16 Jun 2010

I get really excited when I make a wrap and it actually wraps up nicely. Sometimes I stuff it too full. Sometimes I’m a clutz and just can’t get the thing to roll up without all of the guts falling out. Sometimes I do great, right up to the cut-it-in-half part, and then destroy the whole thing while trying to cut it.

Today, the stars aligned, and I made a pretty wrap!

arugula wrapI really could make a category here called “Adventures in Wrapping,” but it would be nearly empty because most of my wraps are nowhere near photo-worthy.

My first foray into the world of making wraps was based on the discovery that cucumbers make a pretty decent sandwich base. You see, I occasionally have a hankerin’ for a Jimmy John’s sandwich. When I went vegetarian, I had to change my normal sandwich order over to the #6 – the creatively named “Vegetarian” (sans mayo and tomato, please – I still can’t stand the texture of tomatoes). It basically amounts to a cucumber sandwich with a wonderful avocado spread.

I started using cucumbers in my wraps, and was really digging them. Then, I worked out my own version of a vegan avocado ranch spread, inspired by a dressing recipe in the You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan!

cookbook.

Ever since, I’ve been using those two as the basis of many delicious veggie wraps.

arugula wrap 2Today’s concoction features, of course, cucumbers and avocado spread, along with a chopped up veggie burger, about 3/4 of a carrot (shredded), a handful of baby spinach, a handful of arugula, and a drizzle of garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil. (That’s my giraffe friend Milly pictured in the background).

I have tried a lot of wraps in my day, and finding ones without offensive ingredient lists can be difficult. Lately, I’ve been using Smart & Delicious Tomato Basil Soft Wraps from La Tortilla Factory. The ingredient list isn’t perfect, but it’s not terribly bad, and they’ve got 12g of fiber per wrap at only 100 calories. They’re nice, big 9″ wraps and are (as the name says) very soft and easy to stuff with goodies (even for a wrap-challenged soul like me).

I swear, wraps taste better when they look pretty.

Posted: June 16, 2010 at 5:20 pm


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Kale and Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Gnowfglins, Recipes, Vegan & Vegetarian
24 Mar 2010

If you would have asked me to eat a “root vegetable” last year, I’d have gagged and said no way, even though I had no idea what root vegetables were. Roots? Just sounds bad. It turns out, though, that I really like the root veggies that I’ve tried since going organic! (For the record, the root veggies in question for this recipe are onions, carrots, garlic, and sweet potatoes). Yum!

The “firsts” for me in this vegan-friendly recipe include:

  • First time I’ve cooked with or eaten kale
  • First time I’ve made beans from dried and not from a can
  • First time I’ve made soup from scratch
  • First time I’ve worn my new Asics GT 2150 running shoes

OK, so the shoes are probably irrelevant to the recipe, but they sure are comfy! And hopefully, they’ll not cause blisters the way my old gym shoes did.

The recipe below comes from Emily’s blog – The Front Burner. Check out her recap – she takes much better food photos than I do, and explains every step in detail. This soup covers a slew of nutritional bases – it’s a good source of Vitamin B6, Folate and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese. It’s low fat, with no saturated fat and no cholesterol.

On with the cooking!

First, I should explain that I did not use canned beans for this recipe. As part of this week’s homework in the GNOWFGLINS e-course on traditional food preparation, we were to make beans from scratch. I bought some dried navy beans at Whole Foods yesterday, so to prepare for this recipe, I soaked 2/3 cup of dry beans in water with a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar. I soaked the beans overnight, then this morning, rinsed them and put them in the crock pot to cook on high for an hour then on low for 6 more hours. I added a thumb-sized chunk of kombu (a sea vegetable) to the crock pot during cooking to tenderize the beans and break down some of the sugars in them that tend to make them… gassy. Kombu also imparts some mineral goodness. By the time I was ready to cook dinner, the beans were ready to go.

The next step was to chop up carrots and a sweet potato and stick ‘em in the oven to roast. They didn’t look very exciting so I didn’t take a picture.

Up next: the stranger in my fridge, Kale. (No, not Kato). Here’s what it looked like, fresh from the bunch:

kaleThe recipe instructed me to pull the leaves from the stems. I wondered all the while if I was doing it right….

Peeling kale leaves from stemsI sure had a lot of kale…. the leaves reminded me of a cross between broccoli and seaweed. (Maybe I just had seaweed on the brain from my recent trip to Whole Foods).

Next I chopped up an onion and minced some garlic and sauteed them for a few minutes before throwing in the roasted carrots and sweet potato.

Roasted veggies awaiting kaleThen, in went the vegetable broth, and then the kale. The kale was huge and fluffy in the pot! I feared I was messing the whole thing up, but I took Emily’s word for it that the kale would wilt. I covered the pot and let it simmer for 10 minutes. At the 5 minute mark, I was still pretty nervous – the kale was huge! I think I might have had a little too much kale to begin with, so I added 1 cup of water. That helped, because by the end of 10 minutes, I could stir the kale into the mix and it was starting to look like soup.

I added the seasonings and simmered for 5 more minutes (ready to jump out of my new shoes because it smelled SO GOOD!)

When the soup was done, I ladled it into a bowl and topped it with a dollop of homemade guacamole that I had in the fridge. (Emily recommends topping with chunks of avocado). I slathered some Earth Balance spread onto a slice of my homemade sourdough bread, and…

Dinner!

Kale soupAll I can say is… this soup was AWESOME!! So tasty! My first impression of kale: thumbs up! Kale is a form of cabbage, a relative of cauliflower and broccoli. It’s a highly nutritious, dark leafy green, and has good anti-inflammatory properties and is believed to have potent anti-cancer properties as well. In this soup, it tasted mild – almost sweet. It’s a hearty green – good for chewing!

For all of its nutrition, a big ol’ bowl of this soup clocks in around 235 calories. I can’t wait for the leftovers! 100% delish.

[recipe-show recipe=kale-soup]

EpicOrganic.net

Posted: March 24, 2010 at 8:59 pm


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Quesadillas with Stealth Ninja Squash

Recipes, Stealth Ninja Vegetables
01 Feb 2010

Another smashing success in the Stealth Ninja Vegetable Experiment!

I made 2 more recipes out of the cookbook, Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food: Chicken Quesadillas (with Stealth Ninja Butternut Squash), and Guacamole (with Stealth Ninja… well, I guess the avocados are pretty Out There with their Green Flags Flying… hmmm).

In addition to butternut squash, the quesadillas also had stealth ninja white beans! What a crazy amount of ninja going on in there!

I did not have my camera nearby, so alas, I have no photos, but the prep was super easy (and therefore not worthy of Adventure status here at Epic Organic). All I can say is – these quesadillas were wonderful and the guacamole was heavenly! I used all organic ingredients and can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Insanely delicious, and again – not a single sign of odd vegetable tastes anywhere (aside from the flamboyant avocados). If you’re a fan of chicken quesadillas, these are gooey-delicious and filling (and a great source of vitamin A!)

Here are the recipes as I prepared them, along with approximate nutrition info at the bottom of each one:

[recipe-show recipe=quesadillas-squash]

[recipe-show recipe=stealth-ninja-guacamole]

EpicOrganic.net

Posted: February 1, 2010 at 12:25 am


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