tofu eggless salad

Completely unrelated: grinding pink peppercorns for the Furious Vulvas chocolate!

A friend asked for a recipe for an egg salad-type salad, and I thought I’d post this one here. I make it for the meal delivery service once every summer or so. It’s nice, even for a non tofu-lover like me.  It’s adapted from the one in the Best of Bloodroot cookbook.

Tofu Eggless Salad

4-6 servings

1 ½ lb tofu, pressed

4 stalks celery with leaves, diced

3 Tb. chives or garlic leaves, finely chopped

¼ c parsley, finely chopped

¼ c grape seed oil

½ ts turmeric

1 ts ground cumin

¼ c shoyu

3 Tb. nutritional yeast

3 Tb. lemon juice

3 Tb. sunflower seeds

sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

Hot sauce to taste, optional but nice

Optional for serving:

Boston lettuce

pickles

avocado slices

sprouts

onion

gomasio (a mixture of sea salt and toasted sesame seeds. You can make your own [wash and toast sesame seeds, then combine with sea salt in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder] or buy it in the Macrobiotic section of health food stores in little jars. I eat great big spoonfuls of gomasio when I have sugar- or alcohol-induced headaches—it works!)

whole wheat toast

  1. Reserve ½ lb of the tofu for the “whites” and break the rest up into large pieces. Add chopped vegetables and herbs and stir well.
  2. Whisk together remaining ingredients (except remaining tofu) and add to tofu mixture. Mash all ingredients together by hand or with a potato masher until the salad is well mixed with a somewhat lumpy texture like egg salad.
  3. Cut remaining tofu into small pieces and fold it in. Taste for salt, lemon, and Tabasco.
  4. If desired, serve on toast with the lettuce, pickles, avocado, sprouts, and onion.

summery foodie miscellany

Celebrating the season—through food, of course!

Handmade vinegar snagged at the Monastery Vinegar Festival

preparing to pickle!

I adore the old player piano in the Second Wind CSA barn.

Erin & Sam from Second Wind CSA grind their own grains with this bike-powered grain mill!!

Beautiful herbs at Taliaferro Farms

Hoagie and....um...I forgot his name! at Taliaferro Farms

at Taliaferro Farms

at Taliaferro Farms

Phillies Bridge Farm Project visit

Heya food lovers!

No deliveries this week, so I can take this opportunity to get caught up on foodie photos, woo!

Here are some from a visit to Phillies Bridge Farm Project. Phillies Bridge is a wonderful organic farm in Gardiner. They offer lots of educational programs for food-loving kiddos, and are always putting on harvest festivals and educational and cooking demonstrations. They are a valuable part of the Hudson Valley farming community.

tree-lined driveway, I want one of those!

a chicken pal free-ranging around the farm office

My new haircut + amaranth.

farmer Anne!

Cob oven!

compost!

this summery week to come!

Bart Colucci, who runs Meadow View Farm, and his super-seller pal, Claire. They are a great team, super fun people to buy beautiful produce from. Bart grows the miraculous raspberries mentioned below.

This week brings fun dishes with global influences:

  • Spinach-mushroom quiche: To be honest, this is actually really nice cold. I’m generally not a savory-food-cold type person, but this is an exception. Of course, it’s nice hot too. It has a lovely savory crust made from oats and sesame seeds and other lovelies.
  • Pesto pasta salad with artichoke hearts, olives, and pine nuts: my favorite pasta salad of all time! Those super lovely (and oh so pricey–but so worth it!) grilled marinated artichoke hearts that make appearances here and there, plus toasty pine nuts, fresh basil pesto, Kalamata olives, and corkscrew pasta. Just great.
  • Bibimbop (Korean rice bowl) with vegetables and homemade kimchi: A traditional Korean dish, minus the meat! Finely sliced local organic veggies quickly stir-fried with aromatics, beautifully arranged on a bed of Jasmine rice, accompanied with my homemade kimchi.
  • Corn sauté with leeks and tempeh bacon: fresh, fresh fresh. Fresh!
  • Bengali vegetables with red lentils and jasmine rice: Continuing the “hot weather = Indian food” theme…
  • Curry-scented mushrooms: Another beloved Lagusta’s Luscious dish. Mixed mushrooms sauteed with amazing sweet curry powder, freshly dug garlic, and cilantro. This is not a spicy dish.
  • Soup: Summer three sisters soup: with corn, green beans, and summer squash, the traditional Three Sisters of Mexican cooking. Maybe I’ll get all three from Three Sisters Farm at the New Paltz Farmer’s Market, just to be ultra authentic!
  • Salad dressing: Tomato vinaigrette: TOMATOES! They’re here!!

the week in photos

The first tomatoes of the year! Sungolds for the Greek salad, and man oh man are they perfection. Solid sunshine in your mouth, not to get all cheesey about it. The raspberries are for Raspberries de Pizan (and breakfast, as the missing half-pint attests.)!

Ah, the onions are growing up so fast! No longer can they be called Spring onions, and their tops are getting less and less scallion-like and more and more like compost. Time passes.

The secret to the poblano corn chowder!

Persian tempeh with pomegranate and market vegetables.

I can't think of a finer pleasure than opening up a new tub of olives.

Veggies for the Greek salad.

yellow wax beans from Meadow View Farm.

Mushrooms stuffed with mushroom-walnut pâté, in progress. The mushrooms were the only non-local produce of the whole week (they were organic dudes from PA)!

Leaving some sungolds for Christina to snack on as she does deliveries.

And that’s it! I have some pretty snapshots from a visit to Phillies Bridge Farm, where the sungold tomatoes were grown, that I’ll post soon!

this week’s menu

Hello, internet!

Here’s what’s cooking this week, along with some photos of underwater blueberries (which are not cooking. They are, in fact, inside my stomach right now.):

  • Persian tempeh with fennel, broccoli, and pomegranate: a tangy, light, lovely little dish, with red quinoa and feathery herbs.
  • Mushrooms stuffed with mushroom-walnut pâté: The pâté that all of my friends recognize from every party I’ve ever had (it’s not uncommon for me to open the door to pals coming over for dinner to hear them say, “Do you have the stuffed mushrooms??”)  This is a real big to-do to make, toasting and grinding walnuts and sesame seeds and combining them with mushrooms and sauteed onions and all kinds of special secret unsecret ingredients, but the resulting mixture is, I am told, awfully close in texture but better in flavor to the best liver pâtés. This recipe was developed by my mentor, Selma Miriam of Bloodroot restaurant in Connecticut 20 or so years ago, and it just gets better with age.
  • Fennel-olive pastries: Little phyllo triangles stuffed with, well, fennel and olives. Pop them in a toaster oven for a few minutes and dinner is on the table.
  • Greek salad with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and pickled peppers: I have not eaten a fresh tomato in 11 months. I have a few flats of Sungolds reserved for this salad, and am counting the seconds until I pick them up…
  • Mixed vegetable korma (almond cardamom sauce) with tofu and basmati rice: Indian food last week (those dosas! Did you love them?), and this week, and next week too, for a very simple reason: it’s crazy hot out. Let’s take a cue from those that live in a hot climate year round and eat spiced (and sometimes spicy, though this dish is pretty mild) dishes that engage our tastebuds and make us forget about the heat.
  • Mustard green saag: Finely chopped local organic greens cooked quickly with loads of cumin, coriander, and a touch of coconut milk and lime. Add some rice and maybe tofu, and you have a main dish on your hands.
  • Soup: Poblano corn chowder with dulse: corn chowder! Summer is here! (I guess the triple digit temperatures have already informed you of that fact, but just in case not, now you know for sure.)
  • Salad dressing: Tapenade and basil dressing: Sometimes I can’t decide if I love pesto or tapenade more. Then I make this dressing and realize I don’t have to choose. Summertime means we can have it all!

the week in photos

Cole slaw before it was cole slaw.

Cole slaw when it was cole slaw.

A weird and quite wonderful dish: citrusy mung bean salad sparked with mustard seeds and hot chile-infused vinegar-marinated cucumbers, with amaranth greens! I made the vinegar myself, from time + vinegar mother + hot peppers + tomatoes!

Not a plum: purple potatoes that are purple on the inside! Pretty rare, usually they are just purple on the outside and creamy white inside.

I used up a precious container of Bradley Farm homemade organic paprika, made from Bradley Farm organic paprika peppers, for the potato side this week. Special potatoes deserve special paprika, I figured.

Potatoes dug on Saturday, cooked on Monday. A far cry from what is labelled "new potatoes" in the supermarket, which are usually just old small creamer potatoes.

New England baked beans with zucchini ribbons.

red onions for the baked beans

Zuke ribbons for the baked beans.

baked beans!

Polenta torte in progress: polenta layers (and one duxelles layer) all ready to go...

Polenta torte: duxelles and cashew cream layer. Then came a tomato saucey layer, and a little cap of polenta before baking it to set everything nicely. I swear I took a photo of the finished dish, but where is it? Apparently it was so tasty that the camera ate it.

dosa!!

dosa! Not pictured: chickpea masala to go inside the dosas.

How did another baked beans photo slip in? This one shows the old-timey tradition of slipping in an onion poked with cloves, to add a very subtle clovey flavor.

Personally? I think it was a great week. With beautiful ingredients like these, I really don’t have to do much work. (I still manage to do a ton though, how does that always happen?)

deliciousness to come

buns of two weeks ago...

Midsummer suppers, away we go:

  • New England baked beans: Can be eaten cold—for real! Can be eaten on a sandwich, too. Or with cornbread. Or rice. Or with salad. Or all by their lonesome.
  • Or with: Cole slaw with almond mayonnaise: Hey, remember that Asian Cabbage Slaw from a few weeks ago? I noticed when I was eating my own bit of it later in the week how much it sort of compressed into the container—oops. They were filled to the top when I sent them out in the world to you, but I fear that when they arrived on your doorstep they had sunk down quite a bit. I’ll keep this in mind this week, though this is a bit more of a heartier cole slaw, since it’s made with regular cabbage and the Asian Cabbage one was made with the more tender napa variety.
  • Polenta torte with duxelles and puttanesca sauce: a sort of lasagna without the noodles, this is a baked casserole with local polenta, local mushrooms sautéed with onions until they melt into the Frenchy French paste called duxelles, and a zesty puttanesca sauce. Also I think there is a cashewy cream layer somewhere in there…and maybe even a few greens. It’s a great big slosh of big flavors, and I bet you’ll like it.
  • Braised fingerling potato coins with creamy greens: Oh, first week of fingerlings! So intensely creamy, they basically melt when you look at them. (And are also terrifyingly finger-shaped!)
  • Potato chickpea masala with rava dosas: I haven’t made these dosas in forever…exciting! (Sort of scary!) I don’t know why there are two potato dishes this week. Why do things like this happen? So weird, I cross-check my menus for so many things: balanced colors, flavors, protein/carb ratio, seasonality, so much more. But sometimes I just get excited about, say, what my December menu-planning self hopes will be one of the first weeks of local potatoes that I sort of go insane. So I’ll see what’s at the markets tomorrow and the “Potato chickpea masala” might become summer squash chickpea masala or something-else-delicious chickpea masala.
  • Split mung bean, coconut, and cucumber salad with mustard seeds: first week of local cukes! This is a super fresh salad to be eaten ASAP straight from the fridge.
  • Soup: Spicy peanut soup with mustard greens: everybody’s favorite, seriously. A bit peppery, very rich and savory and bursting with loud flavor.
  • Salad dressing: Fresh Italian dressing: Totally my attempt to recreate that packet of weird processed Italian dressing seasonings that usually comes with a free cruet that you mix with vinegar and oil up to those designated lines and shake shake shake. Honestly, I think I nailed it. Only, you know: with local, fresh, organic, unprocessed ingredients!

As usual, just drop me a line to place an order: lagusta@lagustasluscious.com.

the week in photos

IT WAS HOT. That’s the first thing. Though, to be honest, the a/c in the kitchen works pretty well, making the kitchen rather a more pleasant place to be than my 90 degree bedroom (plus three  hot cats!), so I wasn’t exactly running home at night.

Speaking of heat, something I’ve been thinking about: are you wondering why I don’t make more salads and raw things during these hot months? There are good reasons! Not even one of which has to do with a fervent desire to transcend the salad-y reputation of vegan chefs!

First of all, I’d say that 80% of my clients work in offices, which are notoriously freezing. Second, raw foods just don’t travel as well or hold up as well. Third, if I delivered you a cooler full of lettuce and shaved fennel I really wouldn’t feel like I was doing my job of nourishing you–salads are lovely and I personally eat giant ones every day, but no matter how hot it is, we still need some heartier meals for proper nourishment and fulfillment. And finally: I’m leaving the raw veggies part of your diet up to you! Each week I try to include between one and three cold dishes, either lettucey salads or cooked or raw cold vegetable salads (not including the optional salad mix and salad dressing), but beyond that I figure you’re eating plenty of juicy local veggies and fruits, and depend on me for the heartier, more labor-intensive meals. Make sense? I hope so.

OK, let’s get to the photos. As usual, immediately after putting a particularly photogenic dish away I remembered I hadn’t taken photos of it. Do you think this says something about living in the moment, how I never seem to remember to take photos of the prettiest dishes? Why do I always remember to take photos of raw produce? I think because I’m continually in awe of what farmers do with their medium, the earth, and find a little routine what I turn their gems into. Or something.

yumyumyumyum

Sauteed pattypan squash with a saucy mixture of coconut milk, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, lime juice, and wild lime leaves for the red rice dish

Bhutanese red rice with coconut lemongrass sauce, baby vegetables and purple basil!

Bouillabaisse in progress (hey, that sort of rhymed!): saffron and orange strips in a homemade fennel stock, awaiting their pals artichoke hearts, chickpeas, leeks, fennel seeds, and more. Oh--the artichokes are already in there--there they are on the right. I bet that means the chickpeas are hanging out in the bottom, too. That's some really nice saffron, isn't it? Do you know how you can tell? It's dark, dark orange. Cheaper saffron is more yellowy, and the cheapest is super yellowy, because it's cut with turmeric. I don't care if it is the most expensive spice on earth--no cheatin' saffron in my kitchen!

Rouille sauce for the bouillabaisse

Rouille sauce for the bouillabaisse

The only time all year I make a dish featuring sea vegetables! Yep, I use gorgeous kombu in all my stocks and broths, and my puttanesca has sneaky sea veggies to give it a fishy flavor, and my Caesar salad has nori for the same reason, but here dulse and wakame are the stars: sea vegetable salad with roasty toasty sesame oil, sesame seeds, scallions, grated carrots, Hawaiian pink sea salt, lemon, the whole shebang. And mighty tasty, too. And! local(ish) wild-harvested sea vegetables, from Maine!

It's basil season!