First off is Zesty Za'atar Pan Pizzas from the June 2010 issue of Veg News (and contributed by the super-fantastic Terry Hope Romero). J and I used to have za'atar bread at Zaytoons, this great Middle Eastern restaurant around the corner from my Brooklyn apartment. It was one of the foods I missed the most when we moved to Pittsburgh. So when I found za'atar spice at Whole Foods, I was so excited. And let me tell you, these za'atar pizzas did not disappoint.
I don't have a cast-iron skillet, so could not make cute little personal pan pizzas, just one large sheet of pizza. The pizza crust tasted great, and the kalamata olives, red olives made for very vibrant toppings. Yum! And it tasted even better the next day.
Needless to say, I will make these again.
Chili-Oil-Infused Soba Noodles from The Vegan Table was my next culinary challenge of the week. I loved how easy it was to throw the ingredients together, marinate the noodles (I substituted the soba noodles for mung bean noodles, which worked great) overnight, and toss in some grated carrots, sliced bell peppers, and scallions.
Sesame oil and chili oil make a wonderful combination. The noodles looked simple, but tasted so flavorful. J and I both agreed that this dish was another keeper.
I get kinda ambitious over the weekends. Last Sunday I got it into my head to make homemade pickles. I bought a little baggie of spice mix from the store, but decided to leave it in the cabinet for now and made Dutch Lunch Spears from The Joy of Pickling.
I purchased two and a half pounds of cucumbers from the Farmer's Market, which made two quarts of pickles. Unfortunately, I can't tell you how these taste yet, because they need to sit for at least two more DAYS!!! So in the meantime, we can admire how pretty the cucumbers, sliced onions, garlic cloves, and dill sprigs look floating about in the vinegar mixture.
UPDATE: These pickles are great! They taste slightly sweet and crisp, in no way resembling the sickly sweet stuff you can get at the grocery stores. My copy of The Joy of Pickling belongs to the library and is due back soon, so I need to get my own copy ASAP for more pickling adventures!
I'm really into quick and easy summertime meals, and Orzo Salad with Lemon, Corn, Olives, and Basil fit into this category nicely. This recipe is from Supermarket Vegan, the cookbook I decided to get after making a great strawberry cobbler (and blogged about in an earlier post). I'm so glad I did. The orzo salad had a perfect summery taste, not too heavy, the corn adding a surprisingly complimentary sweetness to the olives.
There is some talk about having a pot luck at work, and if there is one, this is the pasta salad I'll bring in. It's perfect for vegans and non-vegans alike.
And now ... what happens when you don't carefully read through a recipe. I wasn't feeling very well a few days but was intent on having homemade soup. Specifically, the Rustic Tomato Lentil Soup from How it All Vegan. I love any soup made of fresh tomatoes, and was way too excited about the box of alphabet noodles I bought from the store. So anyway -- J and I did the veggie prep together, and then, because I was going to go lie down, I gave him the recipe and told him how long the soup should simmer, when to throw in the noodles, that kind of thing. Only -- I told him to use the whole box of alphabet noodles instead of the one cup the recipe specified. And what happens when you add too many noodles to a soup?
It ceases to be soup! I heard J shouting, "All the liquid disappeared!" from the kitchen. Ack! Poor J, this was his first attempt at making soup. I hope I haven't scared him away from a second try. Not that it didn't taste good. It did, but frankly, our version was pasta with a bit of soup added to it.
And now, for an endorsement: seaweed is good for you. Everyone should eat a lot more of it. Especially when it's mixed into a great side dish like Gingered Green Beans with Hijiki, from The Kind Diet. At this point, I think I've tried half of the recipes from the KD. I loved every single one of them.
Anyway, back to the green beans. This was so good, I ate the leftovers for breakfast this morning. And I'm pretty traditional about my breakfast foods, so that tells you something.
Here's a picture of it, served with a nicely grilled soy cheese sandwich. Unfortunately, the cheese didn't melt, but it still tasted pretty good. And hey, who needs melted cheese when you have hijiki?