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Summer nights

Posted Aug 13 2009 7:52pm
I am over the moon about the weather recently. The days have been hot but not too hot or sticky, and the nights have been cool. Totally unusual weather for July. It seems like the weather has just been wanting to make up its own mind recently.

Dinner with the crafty girls the other night:

Basil Pesto Pasta w/ Peas & Zucchini

Sliced the zucchini (and part of my finger) with my mandolin, then added the basil-parsley-mint pesto I made the other day with herbs from my garden. Added some frozen peas and voila--beautiful and tasty dish.

Sesame-Tahini Cookies

This is take 2 of this recipe. After I rolled the dough into balls and coated them with sesame seeds, I squashed them down to make this flatter & rounder shape. The texture was not as good as the smaller ones, but maybe a reduced baking time would solve that.

Nectarines & White Peaches

Peaches!!!! If you didn't know by now, I am SO excited about peaches. They are delicious. And in season. Eat them.

My favorite thing as of late:

Strawberry-Mango-Almond Smoothie

I've been putting almonds in my smoothies. Um, delicious. It adds an interesting texture that might be weird to some, but I love it. Plus it thickens up super well.

Some vague approximation of a recipe--

1 banana, frozen
10 strawberries, hulled and chopped in half or quarters
1 champagne mango, peeled and chopped
15-20 almonds, whole
1/4 c soymilk
up to 1 tbsp mint, optional
grated fresh ginger root, optional

Tonight's cookout:

Black Bean Hummus

I cooked black beans from their dried state instead of using canned beans like I usually do. I used 2 cups of dried beans and had more than enough, so I froze half.

2 c black beans, cooked
2 tbsp tahini
juice 1/2 lemon, or more to taste
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4-1/2 c olive oil, to achieve desired consistency

Pulse in food processor until smooth and creamy.

Fresh Corn Tortillas

Found a great recipe to follow. The only thing I changed is that I don't have a tortilla press and don't really see it being worth owning, so I just rolled the dough out between two sheets of wax paper. I made 2 batches, and the second batch was a bit more sticky than the first, meaning it was a little more difficult to handle. This recipe was really fun to make, and really relaxing for some reason. I just got into the zone, man.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Modified the recipe a bit by using 2 poblano peppers and 1 jalapeno. It was ridiculously spicy at first. So then I added a few plain ol' red tomatoes and some agave to chill it out. It turned out spicy but not ridiculously so, and I really, really liked it. I really can't give a recipe for this because I just kept adding random stuff until it tasted good.


Probably one of my favorite things to make. Ingredients:

5-6 large tomatoes (like Beefsteak)
1 red onion
8 stalks celery (like 1/2 bunch)
3-4 garlic cloves
1/2 baguette
1 bunch cilantro or parsley
tons of salt and pepper
lemon juice
red wine vinegar
olive oil
sugar (minimal)

tomato juice (like V8) or water to achieve soup-like consistency.

Cut all the ingredients into large chunks, then puree in the blender until smooth. The resulting soup will be textured, due to the french bread. It's okay like that. Transfer to a bowl and add the last 5 lines of ingredients until it tastes to your liking. Tomatoes are a great ingredient because they can take lots of acid and salt, so don't be shy.

Delish. I wanted to serve gazpacho "shooters" but I don't even think I have two shot glasses in the house. So tea mugs it was. It was a nice touch.

Fresh Corn, Tomato & Avocado Salad

I bought 6 ears of corn at Safeway for $2. How sweet is that. Then I just blanched them in some water for 5 minutes, let them cool and cut the kernels off. I mixed this salad with a dressing of lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Vegetable & Tofu Kabobs

Finally got to use the grill! Thanks to my dad, who is the grill master, and set it up for me. I marinated half of my tofu in a homemade BBQ sauce (ketchup, honey mustard, chopped garlic, hot sauce & water), and half in my homemade basil-parsley-mint pesto. Yum!

Link S'mores Cupcakes

From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. You can also find this recipe online if you look hard enough. I topped these with Vegan "Buttercream" Frosting from La Dolce Vegan, which requires refrigeration and I don't think I gave mine enough time, because it sort of melted on top of the cupcakes. But hey, what are s'mores if not melty, right? Then some melted dark chocolate and graham cracker bits.

Sweet & Sara Vanilla Marshmallows

Yes, they do taste exactly like regular marshmallows. And then I remembered that I never even liked marshmallows. But oh well. They were a good thing to try out and definitely got the omni stamp of approval. I would totally try their other flavors, like Toasted Coconut, if I had any taste for marshmallows.

Cantaloupe w/ Strawberry Coulis
S'mores Cupakes
Vanilla Marshmallows

Strawberry Coulis recipe here. I added some fresh mint from my garden and grated fresh ginger root. Mmm!

= success. And it was so beautiful out.
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