Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Garden and Paradigm Inspired Buffet

My favorite kind of meal is one with lots of different dishes; in other words a buffet.  I particularly like lots of salad dishes.  It can take a little while to put together multiple dishes so I often reserve this kind of kitchen session for the weekend.  The advantage however is that come weekdays the leftovers will have stocked up the fridge for lunches or even that Monday evening when, let's face it, you can't be bothered to cook after a day at work.  If you could be bothered to cook though you could even keep the momentum going by making one additional small dish each evening as the original buffet depletes. I know, I know, it doesn't always work out like that!  For instance the meal I made didn't stretch that far in to the week but it still gave us several servings for dinner and lunch on Monday.  It didn't take that long either nor was it over complicated and hardly any shopping was involved as we had an adequate supply of cupboard and fridge supplies and some tasty inspiration from the garden. 

The whole meal idea started with the discovery of a huge courgette growing in our makeshift greenhouse coupled with a peruse of one of my favorite cookery books 'Incredibly Delicious; The Vegan Paradigm'.  Not only is the book choc full of great culinary offerings but these share the pages with words of wisdom and quotes from a multitude of sources spanning history.  After a fair amount of distraction reading the quotes such as "The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men" (Leonardo Da Vinci), my eyes settled on a recipe to utilize the huge courgette.

Simple Delicious Baked Zucchini (that's courgette to us Brits!)
The courgette is cut in half and the insides scored with a fork quite deeply. A blended (or whisked) mixture of oil, water, tamari, nutritional yeast and garlic powder (I used a crushed clove instead) is poured onto the scored surface before being baked until soft and browned.  I can tell you this recipe is most definitely , as it says in the recipe title, 'simple and delicious'.

Two of the salads I made were also from 'Incredibly Delicious'.  The Tomato Sesame Salad utilised not only some of our sparse crop of tomatoes (the harvest this years has been terrible for some reason) but also some of our lettuce leaves.  It contains, in addition to the tomatoes and lettuce leaves, yellow pepper, mushrooms and sesame seeds (which I prefer toasted) in a dressing of balsamic vinegar, a spot of sweetener (I used agave), sesame oil, tamari, mustard, basil and black pepper.

The Eggless Salad also yields from the book, although I have seen a few variations on this theme recently.  It involves mashing tofu up (as the egg constituent) and mixing it with diced celery, onion (I used spring onions from our garden), tamari, vegan mayo, turmeric, nutritional yeast, mustard and tahini.  I didn't add in the oil it suggested in the recipe as I felt it unnecessary.  The recipe also called for sea salt and here I used Kala Namak instead; a salt with a distinctive eggy edge to it.  The resulting dish added an interesting texture to the meal as well as a different tasting dimension.

The polenta slices were my own 'make it up as you go along' offering.  They are a simple mix of polenta, sundried tomato (soaked beforehand), some Teese Cheddar Style Sauce, dried mixed herbs, a touch of oil and water.  This mixture was cooked up in a pan, constantly stirring for about 5 minutes before pouring into a greased baking dish to set.  You can either just eat as is or for extra crispness, bake it for about 20-25 minutes at 200 degrees C.  

The final salad is now a firm favorite of mine; You Can't Beet It Beetroot Salad.  I never tire of it and our crop of beetroots in the garden, along with a few of the spring onions, should hopefully continue to provide for this dish for a while yet.  I did add in one of our carrots this time too just because we discovered a solitary sizable one.

The meal was completed with a side offering of olives and gherkins; for a 'zingy zangy' edge!  It was really satisfying to utilize produce from the garden for this multiple dish meal.  It was also a reminder to me of what an amazing inspiration 'Incredibly Delicious' is.  I would urge you to try and grab a copy from somewhere for the full details on some of the dishes I mention here and so many more inspiring recipes and words of wisdom. It contains no photos but the recipes and words more than make up for that!


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