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Avocado & Tomatoes

6 Apr

Welcome back to the vegan challenge! Before I get into the dish, I want to talk milk. Long ago I have dismissed “milk” as a bi-product evil of American food politics and I became suspicious of it. I also have dismissed soy somewhere down the line. Why do I dismiss everything? Anyway, so now I’m onto Almond Milk like everyone else. I don’t drink glass loads, I put it in my coffee and oatmeal. But I noticed the other day that my Whole Foods Almond Milk does not boast “All Natural.” I then read the ingredient list and it’s weird. What should I cream my stuff with? I’m confused. I want your suggestions here. Is there a more natural almond milk to drink? Is milk not that big of a deal? I’m not going to be a super crazy and drink raw milk, that seems extreme. But I’d love to hear your tips. Anyways, now back to vegan challenge.

I know a vegan side dish isn’t the most exciting of posts. But it’s a side dish I’ve been bringing in as my lunch/snack to work nearly every day for the last 2 weeks because it’s so delicious (and avocados have been on sale, if we’re going to be honest) and I felt bad not sharing this with my ladles. Note that when I say “lunch/snack” I mean I tend to eat a procession of snacks instead of a lunch during the day at work. But this would also be just as lovely as a salad or summer side dish. It’s also the easiest, easiest thing to make in the world. And it tastes better than you think, I promise, even if you think it’ll taste delicious, it’ll taste more delicious.

Avocados & Tomatoes

  • Put in a cup of grape tomatoes
  • Put in bite size pieces of 1/2 and avocado
  • Add a tpsn or less of olive oil
  • Add a teaspoon of sea salt (liberal with the salt!)
  • Add a teaspoon of pepper
  • Shake it around. Eat chilled.

Roasted Carrot & Tomato Soup, and Strawberry Salad

24 Aug

So I’m finally back from Colombia, and I’m not going to lie…. it was great. We landed in Bogota late on a Thursday and spent the next few days exploring the old city and getting used to the 8,000ft altitude and even went out to a nearby town to see a cathedral built into an underground salt mine (fact: I had salt in my hair when I came out… weird!). Most importantly, I quickly realized we were back in the land of jugos, or fresh fruit juices. Colombia grows a TON of fresh fruit (some of which, like the lulo, aren’t grown anywhere else in the world), and like a lot of Latin America, there’s the go to drink instead of soda. It’s generally just fresh fruit with some ice and either milk or water. And they are DELICIOUS.

We then headed a little lower to Medellin, home of artist Fernando Botero, notorious for his fat figures. Between the mountains, the lower altitude and warmer weather, this was by far our favorite city.

Then we were off to Cartagena on the Caribbean coast…. more touristy than what we’d been doing, but beautiful nonetheless. Most importantly, it served as a great jumping off point to go up to Santa Marta and visit the Tayrona National Park where you hike in through the jungle to see where the Sierra Nevada mountains meet the Caribbean Sea. Needless to say, it made for some great pictures.

After our short trip up the coast, it was back to Cartagena and then Bogota for a quick dinner with an old co-worker (thanks Julian!) and an early flight back to the US of A, where I had both foolishly and brilliantly scheduled a housewarming party two days after my arrival to force myself to finish unpacking. All I’m saying is that it worked, but the groceries I bought over the weekend were slightly bizarre (I mean, did I really need eight peaches, three pounds of strawberries and two pints of blueberries for ONE WEEK?????? And how did I end up with so many carrots and yet so few savory items?), but I did manage to pull together a rather delicious roasted carrot and tomato soup paired with a small spinach, feta and strawberry salad (with balsamic and cinnamon for dressing) for the first night of outdoor eating in my brand new back yard.

Beautiful dinner on a beautiful night, and now DC is starting to feel a little more like somewhere I live. So, without further ado…. using the new blender!

Roasted Carrot and Tomato Soup

  • Chop about 1.5 pounds of carrot, 2 pounds of tomato (I used a mix of beefsteak and plum) and four celery ribs and put them into a pyrex with six cloves of garlic, a sprinkling of olive oil and some salt and pepper.
  • Cover with tinfoil and cook at 400 for about 45 minutes until the carrot are easy to stick with a fork
  • Put a few handfuls of fresh spinach in your blender, then some roasted veggies, all of the leftover juice in the pan and a generous handful of fresh purple basil (because it’s pretty…. regular basil will also work) and blend, adding water if necessary to keep the mix going
  • Continue in batches until finished, season with salt and pepper and serve either warm or cold either plain, with greek yogurt or with feta cheese… it’s delicious all three ways

Strawberry Salad

  • Take strawberries, spinach and feta cheese and put them in a bowl. Make a dressing of olive oil with balsamic vinaigrette and cinnamon, toss and serve