Gazpacho

Before I ever started eating a plant-based diet, I did have a vegetarian roll model: Lisa Simpson. I remember when the The Simpsons Episode “Lisa the Vegetarian” premiered. After snuggling with lamb at a petting zoo, Lisa deicdes to become a vegetarian for Animal Rights. Homer, of course, has a big BBQ, with the main dish being a whole smoked pig. Lisa decides to help out her fellow meat-gorging Springfielders and makes gazpacho. Someone askes what it was, she answered “It’s tomato soup served ice cold!”….no one is really cares.

The other day I wanted grilled cheese and tomato soup. That is not really the most nutrious meal, so I decided to jazz it up a little. I could add some veggies and avocado to my sandwhich to add nutrients, no problem. I could make my own tomato soup, but I wanted some than just cooked tomatoes, espcially because it was a little warm out that day. Then it hit me, “It’s tomato soup served ice cold!” A cool bowl of delcious raw gazpacho would be a lovely compliment to my veggie sandwhich.

I based the recipe on my own knowledge and a bunch of other recipes I saw on Google (I really liked all the veggies in The Pinoneer Woman’s recipe). I added or left out what best suit me. By the way, some recipes will call for worcestershire sauce. It is not vegan or vegetarian, it contains anchoivies. I left it out, but a little bit of soy sauce would be a good replacement.

I will post my sandwhich recipe in a separate post.

The soup recipes make 4-6 servings.

Gazpacho
4 cups diced tomatoes (I used canned, but fresh would be lovely)

2 cloves of garlic
1/2 medium onion, pealed
1 cucumber, cut into quarters
1 zucchini, cut into quarters
1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
2 stalks of celery
1 large carrot, cut into quarters
3 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
2 tbs fresh clinatro
1 tbs fresh chives
Water, as needed
Chili powder
Salt and pepper

It is pretty simple, throw everything in a food processor, except the  chili powder, salt, and pepper. I recommend pulsing it slowly at first to break chop the big pieces. I left mine a little chunky. Add water as needed to bring it to a soup-like consistency.

Season with the chili powder, salt, and pepper as desired.

Pour the soup into a big bowl and let it chill. The longer it sits, the better it tastes. I let mine chill while I made my sandwhiches.

Once it is cold, serve it up and garnish with some hot sauce, extra clinatro or chives, or anything you like.

Fresh, healthy, and full of flavor! It is a good thing I am a Simpsons junkie, or I would have missed out on a great dinner. Actually, you would be surprised how often I quote the show. It even helped me in my car accident. There is an espisode where the family’s car is sliding on the ice and everyone is shouting out what to do. My dad told me that Lisa was right, “Tap the breaks and turn away from the slide!” and I always remembered it. When the police officer came to my accident, he said I did the right thing to keep the car from spinning more. Thank you Simpsons!

And hey Mom, “Give me a slice!” (family joke)

Fresh Rolls

Merry Christmas! I hope you all were very nice this year :-)

For my holidays and special events, my family loves to go to this Thai restaurant in Beaverton, Oregon called Typhoon. I decided to keep the Thai food tradition alive this year and planned on making fresh rolls and pad thai for Christmas Eve. But, working till 11:15 PM the night before and opening at 6:45 AM on Christmas Eve, plus having to come home and clean my whole apartment on top of cooking…. yeah, didn’t work out. I invited a friend from work over for dinner and after making the fresh rolls decided that was all the cooking I could do for one night. But they came out pretty good. I based this recipe off one from Alton Brown on his show Good Eats. Here’s the video of his version (skip ahead to 5:00):

I forgot to cut the noodles before cooking like he did, but I didn’t notice a real difference. I also cooked my noodle a bit too long so they were softer than I would have liked, but no big deal. Also, I obviously did not use shrimp, but tofu instead. Overall, I really liked this. Next time I will try wrapping them in lettuce like he did.

This makes 8 decent sized rolls.

Fresh Rolls
8 rice paper wrappers
1/4 of a block of extra firm tofu, drained and chopped into bit sized cubes
2 tbs soy sauce
The juice of half a lime
1 tps chili sauce
3 bundles of vermicelli mung bean noodles
1/4 cup of cucumbers, sliced into strips like Alton does in the video (I forgot these actually but I could tell how they would have rounded out the flavor)
1 medium carrot, cut into thin strips
Bean Sprouts
Cilantro, removed from stem
Thai basil, removed from stem (I forgot this too but once again, I see how it would have made the rolls even better)

Drain and cube the tofu.

Put it to a large bowl and add the soy sauce, lime juice, and chili paste. Mix together well and set aside.

Soak the noodles in water for 15 minutes. You can cut the noodles first like Alton did in the video but I didn’t.

Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. Once the water boils, cook according to the directions on the package.

Once cooked, drain and let them cool. Then add to the tofu mixture and coat well with the sauce.

Cut the cucumber and carrots into thin strip. Remove the cilantro and basil from the stems.

Now time to assemble, I didn’t take many photos during assembly because it was hard to rolls and shoot at the same time.

First soak the rice paper wrap in warm water for 10 seconds.

Remove and drain from the water, then lay on flat surface.

Along the bottom edge of the side closest too you, put down about 2 tablespoons of the noodle and tofu mixture. Make sure to leave a little bit of the edge free.

Next add put on a few cucumber and carrots sticks.

Now add a few bean spouts.

Lastly put on some cilantro and basil.

Now, like Alton says in the video, roll it up like a burrito. Start by rolling the top around first, then bring the sides in and then continue to roll over until closed.

Set a on a tray and cover with a damp cloth while you prepare the rest of the rolls.

I made a dipping sauce of soy sauce, lime juice, and chili sauce. And we had them with some sparkling wine.  A very lovely and light dish. I have more wrappers so I will making this again soon.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  I hope you had a lovely and festive day surrounded by those you love. And I hope santa brought you everything you asked for!

P.S. Speaking of Santa, I got a juicer so look out for some juice recipes soon.

My juicer with Penny fascinated by the bubbles in the wine.

Smooth Breaskfast

Great for a snack, meal or even as dessert, smoothies are amazing. You can get a day’s worth of fruit and veggies in a glass. I like them for breakfast. A quick, cold and creamy treat while I run out the door for class. You pretty much cannot make a bad smoothie as long as you use fresh ingredients that mesh well together. You can even add in greens like spinach or kale. The sweet fruits mask their favor so you hardly taste them. Here is one of my favorites:

Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie
1 cup vanilla soy milk
1 cup frozen straw berries
1/2 crushed pineapple
1 small banana
1/2 tbs flax seed
Handful of ice

Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth. The flax seeds get ground up so don’t worry They add extra fiber and omega-3 fatty acid (something that is vital for our bodies but most Americans lack in their diet).