Saturday, April 21, 2012

Life's a Beach

Happy Saturday!

My date last night was so wonderful. We decided to go to a Thai place for sushi before the opera, and I ordered a Wakame salad and vegetable rolls with a cup of green tea. Delicious! Then we walked beside the river in downtown Tampa before watching our friends perform in Verdi's Aida. It was a really glorious production, and I'm so proud of all of my beautiful priestesses. They work so hard to fill the audience with such joy.

I got up at ten this morning because we got home so late from the opera, but I still had enough time to whip together some maple-oat cookies. I borrowed the cookie recipe from Whole Foods Market and with a little tweaking and a special frosting, I ended up with a really satisfying vegan dessert that my three non-vegan friends couldn't get enough of. 

Maple-Oat Cookies with Maple-Almond Butter Frosting

Inspired by Whole Foods Market
For the cookies:

1 cup rolled oats
scant 1/4 cup barley flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:

2 T almond butter
1 tsp maple flavoring
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2-3 T soy milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the oats in a skillet over medium heat until aromatic and golden-brown. Place all cookie ingredients and the toasted oats in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Using a tablespoon, drop rounded balls onto a baking sheet and flatten to about a 1/2 inch thickness. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
Meanwhile, combine the almond butter, half of the powdered sugar, and half of the milk. Stir to combine. Keep adding powdered sugar and milk until you reach the desired consistency. Frost cooled cookies and place in the refrigerator to help set the frosting (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from the refrigerator and dust with powdered sugar. 

Yield: 13 cookies

The pasta salad and garlic crackers were just as popular. It was so much fun eating it on the beach, until the wind and rain chased us off, that is. A word of warning, though. While eating outside is beautiful, be prepared to have a flock of seagulls hovering a foot above your head. Apparently seagulls see the joy in eating vegan food, too! 

Anyway, I'm really exhausted from all the driving today, so I'm going to go relax with one of my favorite romantic comedies. But, as promised, here's the recipes for the pasta salad and crackers:

Summer Pasta Salad

3 cups of pasta
1 zucchini
4 tomatoes
3 carrots
1 head of broccoli
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 can Hoppin' John beans
1 can black beans
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T lemon juice
salt and pepper

Fill a medium pot with water and set to boil. Chop all vegetables into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl with basil, seeds, and beans. Once the pasta is cooked, rinse with cold water, and mix in with the vegetables. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and place in the refrigerator until ready to eat 

Yield: 12 servings

Garlic Herb Crackers

1 loaf stale French bread (very economical!)
1/4 cup oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 T of herbs (I used rosemary and thyme)

Preheat an oven to 400. Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch slices, or thinner depending on the size you want your cracker to be. Brush with oil and top with garlic and herbs. Bake for ten minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

Yield: 12-20 crackers

Good friends + good food=joy

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