June 19, 2011

Eggplant Bacon & Collard Wraps

 I made some bacon this weekend, out of eggplant.  While watching my new friend, Desirée's, raw foods class she mentioned that she made bacon with eggplant.  I needed to know about that.  It wasn't hard to find a nice recipe online.  I used this one from Raw & Simple, but now that I've done it once, I can see endless variations.  I found it pretty good, but I think I may have overdone it a bit on the dash of cayenne.  At first when I took it out of the dehydrator, I found it a bit too spicy, but as it cooled the flavor mellowed a bit.  I like them.  You couldn't get this past a meat eater as a 'bacon' substitute, but I find this a great sweet/salty snack, the maple flavor combined with the smoked paprika give it that bacony kind of flavor.  I've planted nine eggplants in the garden.  Hopefully I'll have a lot to test out. I probably could have left it in the dehydrator a little longer.  They are a little leathery.  But, when I turned them over this morning, they were so delicate, the fan was blowing them off the tray so I took them out.  I'll like them though.  I must, I've been munching them all day.  I have to save a couple to share at work tomorrow. 

I served them with some of the cashew ricotta I made for the vegetable wraps this weekend, grated carrots, fresh mixed sprouts, and some fresh vegan herb foccacia bread. Kinda of a bacon, cheeze, and greens, sandwich.

The Collard Wraps

This combines some great recipes from the Vegan Fusion Cuisine cookbook: An Almond/Basil Paté, Cashew Ricotta Cheeze, with fresh avocado, grated carrots, a mixture of different sprouts, rolled in large fresh collard greens and served with a Cucumber mint sauce.  All of the herbs used in this dish were picked from our garden this morning.  They kind of resemble sushi rolls.

 Collard Wraps with Cucumber Mint Sauce

I've rolled enough of these to share with some friends and feed us for a couple meals.  

This was Scott's father's day dinner.  Afterwards we had some of the dairy free chocolate mousse, made with fresh ground almond butter. This time I used organic chocolate extract instead of a vanilla bean for a real chocolaty flavor.

Spelt Berry and Black Rice Risotto

These are the first carrots of the season from Mike & Ruth's Organic Farm, Willow Grove Gardens.  I just couldn't resist these characters.  They probably grew in some hard soil.  I saw nothing but personality.  They became an important part of our Spelt Berry and Black Rice Risotto.

It's starting to look like summer on the farmer's tables. We're starting to get some vegetables more and more each weekend at the market.  I got some great beets this weekend, which I roasted and tossed with some honey, fresh orange juice, and a bit of ginger.  I tossed in some pine nuts I had soaked and dehydrated last week. I don't think we got a picture of that yet.  We'll probably get one when one of us has lunch this week.

I also picked up a couple more Marigolds, and Celosia flowers for the garden.

Spelt Berries, Black Rice, and Fresh Vegetable Risotto

The carrots were a wonderful addition to this original concoction.  I'm still not sure whether it's stew or risotto.  But, it's more like a risotto, so I'm, sticking with that for now. I didn't know what I was going to make, I just wanted some wheat berries.  I have some sprouted already, but I wanted some cooked berries this week too. I set two cups of spelt berries to soak early Saturday morning, they were ready to cook by the time I got home from the farmer's market.

I cut up a couple fresh Walla Walla onions, some fresh garlic tops, a shallot, a red bell pepper, and the fresh carrots I just picked up.  Sautéed all of them together in some avocado oil, until the onions were just tender  I got the cold pressed avocado oil on a trip through the liquidation store on Friday.  I have found an occasional trip through one of those local stores, saves some money on the cooking supplies. I have to go when I have some time to walk slowly through the isles. Nothing is ever the same or in the same place.  It's like a treasure hunt.

While the vegetables were sautéeing, I added a dash of sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, a couple sprigs of thyme and some fresh rosemary.  Then added the soaked and drained spelt berries.   I let them brown just a couple minutes before adding four cups of low sodium organic vegetable broth.  I added about a cup of Forbidden black rice and two yellow zucchini squash, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks.  I brough this all to a gentle boil and then simmered for about 45 minutes.

June 4, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend on the Oregon Coast

Sun, Sand, Bare Feet, What a Treat!
We had an amazing four day weekend on the Oregon Coast.  Took an extra day for Memorial Day weekend and we cruised down the Oregon Coast.  Left Friday night and camped a little south of Newport, Oregon in our Subaru.  Then we moved very slowly down the coast stopping at art galleries and the beach often getting lots of photography practice.  So slowly, it took us six hours to drive the 124 miles to Bandon, Oregon.  We checked out the Wild Animal Safari park and walked, pet, and talked to many little animals. Spent three nights at a nice place where we could see the ocean at all times.  The sun came out a few times and it's been a rare sight for us as it's been raining almost every day since February.  What a joy it was to sit on warm sand in the sun on the coast.  On the way home, we drove the up the coast, took the mountain route through Vernonia and then the back way to Rainier.  We made it all the way home without hitting a major highway once.

We found a cute little natural grocery store and deli in Bandon, Mother's Natural Grocery and Deli.  We stocked up on a few items we like, had a wonderful lunch of vegan enchiladas and bought some freshly made vegetarian lasagna and ravioli for our dinner.  We also enjoyed some fresh vegan apricot pie. We didn't have a kitchen in our room, but we did have a refrigerator and a microwave. We brought a small cutting board and a good knife. Had no problem creating a little kitchen in that hotel room.

There was a community art project in Bandon celebrating the year of the rabbit on the coast.  Paintings submitted by school children and local artists were displayed on the dock.  There were hundreds of awesome paintings all along the walls of the boardwalk. 

One of my favorite stops was at the Art 101 gallery, which exhibits the works of the Washed Ashore Project

The Washed Ashore community project aims to educate and create awareness about marine debris and plastic pollution through art.

Community members are working together to clean-up our beaches and process the debris into art supplies to construct giant sculptures of the marine creatures most affected by plastic pollution. This has resulted in thousands of pounds of debris cleaned up from Oregon beaches and an educational touring art exhibit to showcase the sculptures. If I lived close by, I would so be there volunteering and helping with this wonderful project.

This weekend we have summer!  The sun came out to play yesterday and it's expected to stay for a few days, it supposed to get into the 80's this weekend.  That means we'll get more of the garden planted.  We worked for about three hours yesterday getting some more plants in the ground and the corn finished.  We planted some corn seedlings before we left and they made it through the weekend.  I was a little nervous as we had to plant corn three times last year.  Last night I planted three more rows of corn seeds, a few more cucumbers, broccoli, acorn squash, 8 ball zucchinis, and a few more peppers.  I'll have a garden update soon.