Thanksgiving isn't the easiest day of the year to be vegan, because most of our countrymen think the best way to give thanks is by placing a giant stinking carcass on the table! But let's be honest, we actually love Thanksgiving food and also deserve to enjoy a rib-sticking assortment of Thanksgiving classics that truly inspire gratitude.
This year you can show up to your family's not-so-vegan-friendly spread and show them up with this box of scrumptious and hearty favorites!
From the Garden, a vegan personal chef service in the San Francisco Bay Area, is offering meal delivery for a Thanksgiving feast. We use all organic ingredients primarily sourced through local farms. All dishes are loaded with flavor and made with a healthy dose of love!
We have had dear friends visiting us from New York, and recently we found ourselves in a dilemma that many of us know well: after a delicious dinner, we all felt a sugar craving coming on, but we had no dessert! In New York, a deli is never more than a few minutes away and always open, but our life in the 'burbs of Berkeley doesn't make it quite that easy. COOKIES TO THE RESCUE!
Gazpacho sounds fancy and intimidating, but it is actually as easy as making a smoothie. While the classic tomato gazpacho or the herbaceous gazpacho verde are delicioso, the creamy white gazpacho has a charm of its own. Traditionally, it evolved as a way for peasants to use their leftover bread, mixed with fruits and vegetables from the fields. Blanched almonds (almonds without their skins) make it feel substantial, with a supple, creamy texture. But the body of this chilled soup is cucumber and green grapes, juicy and refreshing.
Summer Blackberries are one of life's greatest pleasures. Juicy, sweet and messy, they can dye my fingers and mouth purple with bliss because I just can't stop once I start! Squash is a fruit drink popular in the UK. It's pretty much a fruit flavored syrup mixed with sparkling water and tastes like a fruity soda made with real fruit juice. Back in the olden days, they made squash with whatever fruit was on hand, sugar to preserve it, and then medicinal herbs and spices.
The tomatoes are coming! As summer continues to heat up, the next couple months will bring us piles and piles of ripe tomatoes. The number of varieties of heirloom tomatoes is pretty staggering: there are bright yellow lemon boys, Paul Robeson black tomatoes, Cherokee purple tomatoes and pantano romanesco, a meaty Roman heirloom the color of blood. And these barely scrape the surface of different varieties.
If you're lucky enough to have tomato plants at home, and people seem to really love growing tomatoes pretty much everywhere I've been, you are now in the era of patience. In our greenhouse, we have so many tomato plants they are creating their own microclimate! I started buying tomatoes back in February, I was so excited about summer even though it was still months away. And now the vines are filled with fruit, staked and tied and growing taller by the day. But the fruit is green! Tomatoes love to ripen at the hottest time towards the end of summer, and in Northern California that means August, September, even October.
So if you're hella impatient like we are, and you feel like a special treat worthy of the old South, slice, dredge and fry up those green tomatoes.
Eat more flowers! Springtime is a perfect time to celebrate with colorful, delicate petals and flowers. We love to garnish with the tender blossoms of herbs like rosemary, sage or basil. Bright and flavorful squash blossoms are another favorite this time of year. But one edible flower is not delicate at all, it is sharp, strong and knobby: the humble yet magnificent artichoke.
I'm not going to sugar coat this: it already feels like summer in the Bay Area. It has been sunny, warm and clear most days this Spring. This year more than any other, even with the mild temperatures, I was ready for winter to be over as soon as we celebrated the new year. The short, dark days left me craving more... especially when we had a Greenhouse (or two) in our back yard waiting to come back to life as the days get longer and the sun gets brighter. Well now it has happened so fast I hardly know what to do with myself... all the seeds that I sprouted beginning in the late winter months are already bearing fruit! As far as the plants are concerned, in the hot box that is our Greenhouse, it's already summer! It is humid, hot and bursting with life.
Last Friday evening I came home from work exhausted and beyond ready for the weekend to begin. Kyle greeted me with excitement, explaining that we had our first summer strawberry harvest! The strawberries were plump, bright red and READY to be devoured. I looked down and noticed our mint was bursting out of it's pot and remembered that we had a bottle of Rosé chilling in the refrigerator. With a burst of energy that only comes when you know you're about have a cocktail from the garden, I bounded into the kitchen and whipped up a Refreshing Strawberry Spritzer! It was the perfect way to begin our Friday night and I can assure you that we'll be enjoying this light, refreshing cocktail again tonight!
Refreshing Strawberry Spritzer
Feel free to make this spritzer your own by adding as much of each ingredient as you like!
1 bottle of Rosé 1 bottle of Seltzer 3 sprigs of Fresh Mint 8 Strawberries (with the tops removed)
Method Lay out for wine glasses. In each glass slice a strawberry and tear up 3 mint leaves. Add as much wine as you think fit (we filled the glass a bit less then half) and top of with cold seltzer. Use remaining strawberries and mint as a garnish.
The short, chilly days of winter are upon us. But as the days begin to lengthen and the sun begins to shine, we can feel the promise of spring and summer on the horizon. Here in Northern California, the cold rainy winters may not be good for tomatoes and stone fruits and other summer delights, but even in the dead of winter, we can get fantastic greens. Greens seem brighter and more alert in the winter, and our bodies are even more eager for the chlorophyll and nutrients that includes! Herbs like mint and parsley are widely available year-round, and full of fresh, clean flavors. Baby wild arugula, peppery and intense, mixes nicely with the herbal notes. This recipe uses the three herbs like greens rather than seasoning, leaving the leaves whole and tossing them with whole wheat couscous for a hearty and refreshing dish. If you are as lucky as we are and you have a mom who preserves her bountiful summer crop of serrano chiles by making a flavorful sambal (chile paste), then by all means, make it as spicy as you like.
Herbed Couscous Salad Feel free to use any combination of your favorite herbs, also try substituting quinoa, millet or another grain for the couscous.
INGREDIENTS: about 4 cups cooked whole wheat couscous, chilled or at room temperature
about 1 cup packed baby arugula leaves
1 bunch mint, whole leaves removed from stems
1 bunch parsley, whole leaves removed from stems
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
salt, to taste
sambal or chile paste, 2 tablespoons or to taste
Combine couscous, arugula, mint and parsley in mixing bowl. Stir to incorporate. Whisk together all remaining ingredients to make a dressing. Stir in dressing and taste couscous for seasoning.