Friday, July 30, 2010

Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Cucumber Salad

The camera is back and so am I... yeah!

And didn't I tell you my salad looked great!?

Now the story behind the recipe… I had company coming over for dinner and I wanted a quick, light salad that wasn’t leafy. I had read about combining cantaloupe with cucumber for summer salads, and I had both on hand, plus a kiwi! I put this combination together (very quickly) and served it with dinner. My daughter wasn’t impressed, but I really liked it and so did our friends. I’ll definitely serve it again (when she’s not around). 

So now you have to make it and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your ideas!!

Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Cucumber Salad

Serves 4

1/2 cantaloupe, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 English cucumber, peeled,seeded & cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1/8 C fresh lime juice
2T orange juice
pinch of salt

Toss the ingredients together and chill at least 1/2 hour. Then, just before serving, stir to coat with the dressing. Serve as is, or with salad greens.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Stuffed Artichoke Hors d'oeuvre

Before my switch to a plant-based diet I use to love making hors d'oeuvres. I had a long list of favorites. I would get excited about buying the ingredients, making the recipes and sharing them with family and friends. But since I no longer eat meat or cheese (the usual suspects in those recipes), I’ve had trouble finding appetizers that EVERYONE will enjoy.

Well… I’ve come up with a winner. It's elegant and delicious, easy and fun to make, and it may become my “go to” recipe. You'll have to try it and tell me what you think!

1 can of artichoke hearts
2 T olive oil
2 T onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1/2 C. packed baby spinach leaves, chop finely
6 T diced oyster mushrooms
1/8 t sea salt
3 T panko bread crumbs
fresh lemon

Drain the can of artichoke hearts and cut them in half. Scoop out the center of each half and mince the center leaves that you've removed. Set aside. Dry the in-tack artichoke hearts with a paper towel so little moisture is left.

In a saute pan, add the oil and heat to medium low. To that, add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the spinach, chopped artichoke, mushrooms and sea salt and saute until the mixture is cooked down nicely (only a few minutes). Finally, add the bread crumbs and heat through.

Scoop out enough mixture to fill each half of the artichoke hearts. It will work out perfectly if you don't overfill. Set the stuffed artichoke hearts onto a baking sheet and broil until the tops are nicely browned. Squeeze lemon over the top of them when they come out.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Artichoke, Onion, and Potato Hash

Here's another winner from Guy Fieri. I changed the recipe only slightly to make it vegan. If you don't have any broth you can make it without ... just omit the vinegar and add more oil. Thanks Guy! It's delicious!

Serves 4 as a side dish


  • Salt
  • 8 medium fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cipollini onions, peeled, sliced in half along equator
  • 1 (15-ounce) jar artichokes, (not marinated), with stems, drained, roughly chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 sprigs thymes, leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup no-chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook until just tender. Drain and turn out onto a cutting board. Smash the potatoes with the side of a large knife or spatula.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the pan is very hot, but not smoking, add the cipollini onions, and cook until starting to caramelize, about 4 to 5 minutes Add in the drained artichokes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes before turning them so that they will caramelize. Add the potatoes and cook until the potatoes are starting to brown, then stir in the garlic and the thyme. Slowly pour in the no-chicken broth, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the vinegar and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Transfer to a platter and garnish with chopped parsley.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Muffaletta Salad - Vegan Style

Do you know what a muffaletta is? Well it's not vegan, that's for sure! It's a submarine-style sandwich made with a kind of bread that originated in the French Quarter of  New Orleans, Louisiana. It's usually starts with this bread and is layered with an olive salad (key ingredient), deli meats and cheese. 

Long before I began eating as a vegan, I made one of these subs and it was excellent! (if you like smoked meats topped with an olive salad that is...) But it's the olive salad that makes the sandwich. It's very different and really tasty! 

So, one day while I was cruising the internet I came across a recipe for a muffaletta salad. Reading the recipe brought back memories and I became intrigued with the idea of using the olive salad minus the meat. The base of this salad is from that recipe. I found it on the Food Network website. It's by Guy Fieri. As usual, I wasn't completely sold on the recipe as is. I thought I could improve on the dish, and I did! 

Here are the changes I made...With the dressing, I changed the quantity of a couple of the ingredients and the length of time it is blended. Then, I changed the ingredients of the salad itself so it became more of a meal. The dressing is what really makes this dish. It's wonderful, really wonderful. You have to try it. 

BTW, I took the salad to a neighbors house (with kalamata olives, not canned). She loved it, so I decided to post it. Thanks Joan!  

Ingredients for the salad dressing

  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup olive juice from can
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced black olives (I used kalamata)
  • 1/2 cup diced green olives
  • 1/2 cup diced marinated artichoke hearts, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced celery 


In a food processor or blender, combine the garlic, vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, olive juice, lemon juice, red chili flakes, pepper and all vegetables. Pulse until pureed. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and keep in refrigerator.

Salad ingredients
  • 16oz. of orzo
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 - 1 English seedless cucumber, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced on a diagonal
  • the remainder of the black olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 2-3 jars of marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Cook the orzo according to directions. Drain and coat with enough dressing to keep the pasta from sticking together and give it flavor. When the orzo is cool, add the vegetables and toss. Finally, add more dressing to taste and toss until well mixed. Refrigerate. You will end up with dressing left over, but it's great on greens and pasta!