Farmstand Birthday Dinner

by Sherri Koehler on August 30, 2014

40 days without a post! Yikes! Let me remedy that by sharing my birthday dinner.

Really, it was the day after my birthday, because we were both too tired to make food after a picnic at the beach and a stop at a farmstand, two of my favorite things to do.

I love finding good farmstands. Usually they involve getting out of the city, although in Portland there’s a growing number of family farms setting up small stands in the city, the trip to them is usually lovely, and sometimes there’s great photography options too. Best of all, there’s the chance to possibly talk to the family and workers who actually grew the food I’m buying.

Last night, a slightly belated dinner, I made an all-grill dinner to celebrate the bounty of summer and farmstands. Mobile phone photos because we were too impatient to just eat all the yummy food! Although there isn’t an exact recipe, I’ve included notes on how each dish was made.

Here’s one of the dishes, Marinated Tofu, Cauliflower, and 3 kinds of Summer Squash (yellow & green zucchini and pale green patty-pan). Everything was chopped into largsih, but still bite-sized pieces and put into a bowl. 1/4 cup of olive oil was drizzled over along with 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, fine Alaea salt, freshly ground pepper, 4 mashed & torn up garlic cloves, and dried herbs were added. About 1/2 teaspoon of both dry basil and oregano were added along with a slightly smaller amount of dry rosemary that was lightly crushed and broken up into smaller bits. All of it was tossed together so everything was equally coated and let sit for 30 minutes.

Two kinds of roasted chilies; Sweet Banana Peppers (from the farmstand) and Padron Peppers. Christie had recently been introduced to Padron peppers roasted in some oil at a local Peruvian restaurant, Andina, during a team dinner. We found some at the market and tossed them, along with two kinds of chilies from the farmstand, in avocado oil before roasting on the grill. Once nicely grilled they went back into the bowl with the remaining oil and were lightly sprinkled with coarse sea salt.

Here’s everything going at once! I so love this new grill and this is a perfect example of why, look at all this smoky, grilled goodness!

Finally, here’s dinner all plated up. Note the pretty, orangeish pepper on the left. By time decided to cook these I’d rather forgot what kind of chilie it was. So this lovely photo is mere minutes away from my being reminded it was a Hungarian Wax Pepper after biting off about 1/3 of it at once. While a lovely, spicy taste at first, the heat rapidly progressed to burning in the ears, sinuses, and of course my tongue.

I eventually was able to cool things down enough to eat again after trying some Yumm Sauce on corn cakes. The remainder of these I plan to remove seeds, stem, and skin before blending into a paste I’ll divide up in 3s to add a little heat while cooking things like chili and dahl.

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All Fired Up!

by Sherri Koehler on July 20, 2014

I love to grill. Becoming vegan actually made me love grilling things even more. I’ve grilled all kinds of veggies, fruit, pizza, and even have made tea & wood smoked noodles with Kefir lime leaves. Yes, noodles, on a grill.

What is shocking is that for the past several years I’ve been doing all this grilling on a piece of equipment never intended for the kind of heavy use I gave it. Don’t get me wrong, the Coleman Road Trip Grill LX is an awesome grill. Perfect for taking car-camping, tail-gating, and for picnics at the park. The last time I cleaned it a bit rusted right off, so it has kind of been time to move on.

An unexpected windfall last month made up my mind to upgrade the grill just as summer really gets going in Portland. Given the amount of the windfall I couldn’t go crazy and get The Grill (something in the Weber line), but I could get a good, sturdy, serious upgrade that would let me grill All The Food at once, rather in waves as I’d been doing on the Coleman.

I choose a Char-Broil Classic 4-Burner Gas Grill with Side Burner, which is a huge improvement, as you can see.

On Monday a good friend met up with me, we went and picked up the “kit” and a blessedly short while later we were grilling up goodness!

I’m inspired to invite more people over for summer entertaining and I’m already working on a new recipe for Zaatar Grilled Tofu Cutlets with Grilled Lemon!

The grill also has a side burner, which makes it even more flexible on those rare, hot summer days. Plus in the event of a major event with the Cascadia subduction zone, we’ve got a good-sized tank of propane and a way to cook! In the meantime, potstickers on a very hot day, no heating up the kitchen.

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Jicama Crunch Salad

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This refreshing salad is packed with extra crunch from 4 crunchy veggies that are tossed with a sweet, tangy, and very slightly spicy dressing. It is the perfect kind salad to put together for a picnic. It stays crunchy and the dressing remains lightly coating everything because it doesn’t get watered down by all the […]

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Cookies: Peanut Butter Beauties

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My favorite cookies growing up were “Peanut Butter Blossoms”. My Mom found the recipe in a magazine, co-sponsored by two major brands. These cookies, sparkling a little with sugar and melty chocolate perched atop crackled peanut butter cookie, were my absolute favorite. My Mom would only make these for Christmas, during which I’d be repeatedly […]

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Creamy Cilantro Ranch Dressing

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For a few years Christie and I’ve been trying to create a vegan version of a salad dressing from Trader Joe’s she’d loved before she was vegan. We’d made some good dressings, but nothing quite right until I came up with this rich, tangy dressing. We’re so happy with this recipe that I’m delighted to […]

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Summer Cilantro Slaw

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This is one of those recipes that when I finally made what I had in mind, the dish came out exactly what I was hoping for. Crunchy and tangy with a creamy, cilantro dressing. It is great as a side salad as well as making a great topping for tostados, your favorite vegan burger, or […]

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Kale & Leek Bread Pudding

May 14, 2014
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A few years ago I was inspired to make a savory bread pudding after a neighbor gave us a day-old baguette. Since last year’s quest for the perfect quiche base, I’ve wanted to revisit this comfort food favorite and make a few changes. We love the new result and I am happy to offer this […]

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Spring Fling Quiche

May 2, 2014
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Last year I came up with a quiche recipe that highlights the delicious winter veggies we’re still enjoying in early spring. However, spring 2014 Portland  has been unseasonably, but gloriously, sunny and warm. With the appearance of fresh asparagus in the market I was inspired to make this colorful spring quiche for the So Delicious […]

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Thai Pumpkin Curry

April 25, 2014
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Only recently have I been taught by a lovely Thai friend how to make pumpkin curry. I’ve even simplified it further by employing a slow-cooker. I’ve also reduced the amount of oil and sugar my friend uses at her restaurant. We just love the results and the hardest part of making it is prepping the […]

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Chickpea Kale Soup

September 26, 2013

File under effin’ EASY! If you happen to have all the ingredients prepped, this comes together in minutes and makes for a delicious dinner. On Sunday I’d gone into a kind of Mise-en-Place Production Frenzy. Setting up the ingredients to make tofu salad, chickpea salad, split pea soup (for Christie and I), and a braised […]

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