Tuesday, March 27, 2012

California Chipotle Chopped Salad

With the summer weather we've had the past two weeks, I've been in the mood for summer veggies. Of course, by the time I bought the stuff to make this California Chipotle Chopped Salad, the weather turned cooler. Still...this salad is amazing! I'm usually not one to gush over salads, but this one is a winner.

The chipotle-seasoned black beans, cilantro, and avocado complement each other perfectly; the dressing is lime-y, tangy, sweet, and refreshing; the romaine, tomatoes, and red onion round are a good base; and super-nutritious quinoa is always a welcome addition. I predict this will be my go-to summer salad that I'll bring to potlucks and serve to guests on lazy summer evenings on my patio.

California Chipotle Chopped Salad
Recipe from April 2012 Fitness Magazine
Servings: 4

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large tomato chopped or cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  1. To make dressing: Puree 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, agave nectar, and lime juice in a blender.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Saute black beans, garlic, chile powder, and salt for 5 minutes. Let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, quinoa, black bean mixture, and cilantro. Toss gently with dressing to coat.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cashew Cheese & Tomato Pizza & Other Good Stuff

Happy Summer! Oh wait--it's not even Spring yet. These sunny, 70-degree days have me fooled.

I'm finished recipe testing for the third Happy Herbivore cookbook. You know when you try a recipe that's so delicious, healthy, quick and easy to make, and has such simple, wholesome ingredients that you want to exclaim, "Wow!" That's how all these recipes are. Buy this book when it comes out! I know I will.

Here's what I've been cooking in addition to testing recipes:

Tomato and Cashew Cheese Pizza on Homemade Whole Wheat Dough
I've posted a version of this before that used a sweet basil tapenade. This time I was hungry for regular old tomato and cheese pizza. I made the Cashew Cheese from Veganomicon. I love this cheese! It's supposed to be a ricotta, but I like it both in place of regular cheese, as a spread, and on sandwiches. And it's pretty easy to make. For the tomato sauce, I sauteed some garlic and onion then added some canned, diced tomatoes (I'd use fresh in the summer), basil, and oregano, and stirred everything until it was thick. I made a whole wheat pizza dough that had brown sugar in it so it was a bit sweet. I gushed over this pizza for days and savored the leftovers.

Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
My holiday cookie supply in the freezer was getting low. I waited two months after all my holiday baking before I put on my apron again and baked Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies from Veganomicon. Delicious!
Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes
I made two separate batches of Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for friends. Tasting my first spoonful of cake batter after months of not making cupcakes was heavenly. The bliss was so overwhelming I almost fainted. I think the buttercream frosting is too sweet (it makes my teeth hurt), so this time I reduced the powdered sugar. Perfect!

I also witnessed two tragedies recently.

First, the second of my 1M decorating tips, which are crucial to creating those swirling, fluffy mounds of frosting, got into a tussle with the garbage disposal. I tried to fix it, but my swirls came out wonky. I feel bad giving cupcakes with wonky swirls of frosting to friends tomorrow; I hope they'll forgive me. I'll need to make a trip to the restaurant supply store in the Strip District soon to get some replacement tips!

Second, while grocery shopping, I saw a little boy go up to the section of blueberries and eagerly reach for a container before his mother yelled at him, "Put those back! We ain't buying no blueberries!" I looked on in horror. How could a mother deny her child something so healthy? She should give him all the blueberries he wants! I debated about saying something or offering to buy him some containers of blueberries but decided against it. I think if I did, she'd have tried to kick my ass.