The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes

Figgy Pudding SmoothieYield: 1 smoothie

As you have probably guessed by now, I am mad about figs. And so many generous friends and neighbors have brought me baskets and jars of them following Joe’s passing.

Tonight is our 7th annual Julia Child Birthday Bash–stay tuned for fabulous recipes and photos in the next few posts!–and I am making my Five-Minute Curried Figs Brulee, but I still have more than we will be able to enjoy this evening.

So, I made a fig smoothie today to drink on the way to yoga. Perfection!

Here’s the simple recipe:

1 cup ice

1 cup unsweetened soymilk (or your favorite plain or unsweetened non-dairy milk)

12 small fresh figs, stemmed

1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate (organic preferred)

Optional: sweetener of your choice to taste (I think it is sweet enough without adding additional sweetener)

Place all ingredients in a blender or, my preference, Nutri Bullet, and blend until very smooth.  Serve immediately.

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Peanut Butter, Granola, and Fresh Fig RicecakeYield: 2 ricecakes (recipe easily multiplies)

Still in mini-meal mode and heading out for a hike on the beautiful Noland Trail in Newport News, VA, with a couple of friends, I opted for a swig of soymilk and a grab-n-go breakfast “cake,” but no pancakes here.

I remembered that the lovely Martha Glasser had brought me a gift of some scrumptious homemade granola with pecans and dried cranberries, along with homemade flavored walnuts (slightly sweet) and pecans (rosemary-lime!), the day after Joe had passed away on July 30.

So, I spread a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter on a ricecake, sprinkled it with a couple more tablespoons of crunchy, toasty granola, and nestled 4 fresh fig halves on top for a breakfast that is beautiful, satisfying, quick and nutritious.  Use the best granola you can find or make, since there are so few ingredients in this recipe, if you can even call it that.

Enjoy until the next time, as there is sure to be more of these savory or sweet ricecake stacks on the platter!

2 ricecakes

1/4 cup peanut butter (I like crunchy)

1/4 cup granola (I used a pecan-dried cranberry)

4 fresh figs, halved lengthwise

Spread 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on each of the ricecakes.  Top each with 2 tablespoons of the granola and 4 fig halves.  Serve immediately.

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Curried Figs Brulee with PestoYield: 8 bruleed fig halves

As everyone probably knows now, when the rhythm of my life changed on July 30, so did my approach to cooking and eating.

For a week after my husband passsed away, I ate almost nothing.  But I have now segued to slightly more than nothing or what I call mini-meals.  They are gorgeous and nutritious, but they are tiny and, for folks eating normally, are perfect sides.  (These figs were today’s lunch with a peanut butter rice cake.)

Whereas, in days of old, communities rallied round those who had lost loved ones with heavy comfort foods.  In contrast, my tribe surrounded me, as I may have mentioned, with a bounty of fruits–figs and more figs–vegetables, salads, prepared vegan dishes, and vegan bakery treats that went into goodie bags for out-of-towners booked at the Westin for Joe’s (amazing) Celebration of Life.

My artist friend, Sheila Gioliti brought the biggest and the firmest figs which inspired this glorius oh-so-simple recipe.

4 large slightly firm fresh figs, stemmed and halved

2 teaspoons granualted or brown sugar (I use demerara)

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/8 teaspoon curry powder (mild or “warm”)

1/8th teaspoon smoked paprika

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon vegan pesto or chimichurri (or more to suit your taste)

Garnish: fresh basil or cilantro and pine nuts, roasted or not

Prheat broiler.  Arrange figs, cut side up, on a baking sheet.  In a small cup, whisk together sugar, salt, and curry powder.  Sprinkle on figs, dividing evenly among them.  Broil for 3 minutes or until surface of figs is slightly caramelized, but figs still hold their shape.  Top, if desired, with pesto or chimichurri and serve with fresh sprigs of basil or cilantro, and pine nuts.

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Ricecake with Hummus, Pesto, Baby Kale Salad and Fresh Figs

Yield: 4 servings

As many of you know, since July 30, I have not been cooking or eating much, though the urge is slowly coming back.

In terms of cooking, a bounty of vegan food gifts over the last two weeks made any food preparation I might do redundant.

And, in terms of eating, though I may not want much, when I do eat, I want my small meal to be beautiful, delicious, nutritious, and relatively quick and easy.  So, this simple stack gets a check in all of those boxes.

Granted, we all know, that ricecakes can be topped with darn near anything, but this is an especially good combination.  Very seasonal and satisfying.

4 ricecakes

1/2 cup hummus, homemade or prepared

1/4 cup vegan pesto, homemade or prepared

8 figs, stemmed and halved lengthwise

1/4 cup lightly dressed baby kale or spinach (I use a simple homemade vinaigrette)

4 smoked almonds

Sea salt

Spread each ricecake with 2 tablespoons hummus.  Top each with 1 tablespoon pesto and spread, leaving a border.  Divide greens among the ricecakes, and top eachwith 4 fig halves, 1 smoked almond, and a few grains of sea salt.  Serve immediately.

 

 

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White Bean-Fig GazpatchoYield: 2 servings

I deeply regret my 2 1/2 week hiatus from The Blooming Platter, and hope this is the beginning of the end of it.  As many of you know, my love, my husband of 25 years passed away from an acute coronoary on July 30 and life took on a new rhythm.

But, this past weekend, I already had a trip planned to meet my best friend from graduate school–we were both art history majors at Vanderbilt University–in Philadelphia for an “art tour.”  Joe was from Philly, so we had also planned a dinner at *Vedge (oh, wow–cannot recommend highly enough!) with his two sisters and our niece on Saturday night.  Knowing the trip would be “good medicine,” I didn’t change my plans, and I am thankful that I didn’t.

When I returned home, a friend picked me up at the airport and I invited another to stop by for dinner of chilled gazpatcho on her way home from the hospital where she had been with her mother.  Gifts of food are as much a part of death as flowers, and our friends had filled my refrigerator and freezer with a bounty of beautiful  fruit, vegetables, prepared vegan dishes and, okay, vegan cupcakes from My Vegan Sweet Tooth, a new vegan storefront bakery in town.

So, I swirled together cantaloupe, watermelon, fresh figs, an onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a half-pint of heirloom tomatoes, and some basil from my garden with cumin and smoked paprika to make the most beautiful of soups.  Then, as if to prove correct the “grieving” books and their gentle warnings of forgetfulness as part of the process, I left it on the counter in a sparkling crystal bowl in full reach of Minnie.  It got very quiet downstairs and then she came up with gazpatcho breath detectable from a foot away!

Not angry, just fearful, I first called our vet’s wife–on a Sunday–to make sure she’d survive.  And after learning that she would, I went looking for something else with which to make a cold soup.  And, though this combination of ingredients may sound a bit odd, my guest and I both thought the following combination of ingredients was delectable and I will be making it again and again.  Minne can’t say, as she didn’t get to taste this batch.

*V-Street, Vedge’s sister street food bar, specializing in flavor- and texture-forward small plates, is not to be missed either.  We ate three of our five meals at there, each one as delightful as the previous.

White Bean and Fresh Fig Gazpatcho

1 can white beans with juice

1 large tomato, cored and quartered

approximatley 8 to 10 fresh figs

2 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garnishes: vegan sour cream, a few marinated veggies (onion, tomato and cucumber in a light vinaigrette), green or purple basil, and spiced pecans (I used rosemary-lime)

Place all ingredients except garnishes in food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached.  Serve chilled, garnished as desired.

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Betsy and Joe at DinnerHello friends and supporters.

I am so sorry to have neglected TBP for the last week, but my husband of 25 years (our anniversary is September 15) passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on July 30.

You will find his obituary here with an absolute outpouring on Facebook.

Cooking–and eating, for that matter–has not been a priority, as friends have filled our home with food and love.  But I look forward to a new normal that will most certainly include more recipes, especially for heart healthy food.

Fondly,

~Betsy

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Sassy Sausage and Salsa Roll-UpsYield: 4 servings

With a couple of grilled vegan sausages left over from testing my Vegan Sausage with Curried Peach and Kale Quick Compote and my husband’s leftover tortillas from “date night” at a Mexican restaurant late yesterday evening,  the idea for these super simple sausage and tortilla rollups sprang into mind for my lunch today.

The deal was sealed by some tasty commercial pineapple salsa in the fridge which I spruced up with beautiful try-color artisinally grown tomatoes.  A dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh herbs (I chose mint to complement the pineapple salsa) was the only embellishment needed to creat a quick, lovel,y and satisfying restaurant-quality lunch (that is certainly filling enough for dinner and special enough for guests).

Ole!

4 cooked vegan sausages or hot dogs, still warm (I like to grill them on an indoor grill pan)

4-6 to 8 inch flour tortillas, barely warmed (so that they are pliable)

Optional: 4 strips of vegan cheese

1 generous tablespoon vegan butter or vegetable oil

1/2 cup salsa, prepared or homemade

Optional: Approximately 16 cherry tomatoes, halved (a tri-color blend is nice)

1/4 cup vegan sour cream

4 sprigs fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, etc.)

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high, melt butter or heat vegetable oil.  If desired, split sausages lengthwise, insert a piece of cheese, and sandwich back together.  Wrap one tortilla around each sausage and place into skillet seam-side down.  Griddle for about 1 1/2 minutes on 4 “sides” to create a golden brown crust all around.  Serve immediately topped with 2 tablespoons salsa, 8 cherry tomato halves if desired, a tablespoon of sour cream and a sprig of fresh herbs.

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Sausage with Peach and Kale Quick CompoteYield: 4 servings

Despite the fall colors in my photo and the sausage–which I often associate with cool weather–this recipe capitalizes on one of summer’s biggest boasts: peaches!

Starving after a 2 mile walk with Minnie and an hour long Pilates-Barre class (with the formidable, but lovely, Darlene Stephens at Music in Motion hear in Coastal Virginia), I wanted a quick, healty, pretty and satisfying lunch.  I don’t want much, do I?

Remembering that I had sausages in the fridge that needed used and hankering for peaches after having some of the best last week while visiting my family in Mississippi, I nipped into the grocery store, still clad in exercise attire, to pick up some baby kale and peaches, and dashed home to whip together this easy, flavorful lunch.

Recipe Note: Some vegan sausages taste like sawdust in a tube so find a good one.  I tend to like a flavored one, say Field Roast’s apple-sage.

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 vegan sausages (try one like Field Roast apple-sage)

1 medium yellow onion, sliced or diced

Sea salt

2 peaches, cut into 1/8ths and each 1/8th cut in half

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons agave

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 cups baby kale (or chopped mature kale, tough stems removed)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons coconut milk creamer

2 teaspooons Dijon or your favorite grainy mustard

Spread an indoor grill pan or small skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, preheat over medium-high, and grill or griddle sausages  for about 6 to 8 minuts or 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on 4 sides.  Remove to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.  Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Add onion, a pinch of sea salt, and saute, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.  Add peaches and continue sauteeing and stirring for about 3 minutes.  Stir in red wine vinegar, agave nectar, and curry powder until completely combined.  Add kale and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes or until kale begins to wilt, but is still bright green.  Stir in creamer and mustard until well distributed and heated through.  Serve 1/4 of compote over each sausage sprinkled with a tiny pinch of coarse sea salt.

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Banana Mocha-Cherry SipperYield: 4 snack size servings

When the temperatures rise, cool off with these sweet and refreshing shots of some of my favorite tropical flavors: banana, chococlate, coffee, and cherry.  And for adults only: a hint of Creme de Cacao.

This is my sixth and final entry in the fun “Savory, Sweet, Sippable”  Go Dairy Free and So Delicious Dairy Free  Snackable Recipe Contest to celebrate the release of the FREE Snackable eBook.  Each contestant was allowed to enter two recipes in each category, so I had fun working my way through from Savory to Sippable over the last few days.

My repertoire is a little light on beverages, so this was a fun excuse to “beef”–not!–it up.  Plus, it made for a nice little afternoon pick-me-up!

These Spiked Banana Mocha-Cherry Sippers would taste delicious drunk from a boot (!), but I love them served in little *jars (or shot glasses) on a long rectangular white ceramic plate with a summery napkin and cute paper straws (find these in the “$1” bin section of Target).

Cheers!

Vegan Spiked Banana Mocha-Cherry Sippers

1 small banana, peeled, quartered and frozen

8 ice cubes

12 maraschino cherries

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or decaffeinated coffee

2/3 cup So Delicious Chcocolate Coconut Milk

1 tablesoon Creme de Cacao (optional but delicious)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a blender container (I use the Nutri-Bullet) and blend until smooth.  Divide among 4 small glasses or* jars and serve with cute paper straws.  (*Note: many decorative glass jars like the ones pictured are NOT safe for food consumption, so read labels carefully.)

 

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Basil-Mint Peach Sipper with NapkinYield: 4 snack size servings

I confess to not eating a lot of fruit, but I do like to drink it daily in the form of juices, smoothies, and, on occasion, sangria.

The perfect opportunity to add a little somethin’-somethin’ to my repertoire of fruit-forward beverages was provided by the announcement of the  Go Dairy Free and So Delicious Dairy Free  Snackable Recipe Contest to celebrate the release of the FREE Snackable eBook.

Though this refeshing sippable snack very definitely tastes of fresh summer peaches, it is more green in color thanks to the addition of fresh basil and mint which also enhance its distincitve summery flavor profile.

Enjoy this trio of some of summer’s freshest flavors in my simple frozen snack you can slurp, er, I a mean sip through a straw!

1 large peach, cut into 8 wedges and frozen

2/3 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk

2/3 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer (or substitute more So Delicious Coconut Milk)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Stevia or other natural sweetener to taste

12 fresh basil leaves + additional for garnish

12 fresh mint leaves + additional for garnish

Place all ingredients except garnishes in a blender container (I use the Nutri-Bullet) and blend until smooth.  Divide among 4 small glasses or* jars, garnish as desired, and serve with cute paper straws.  (*Note: many decorative glass jars like the ones pictured are NOT safe for food consumption, so read labels carefully.)

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