Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

Simple Social Kitchen Summer Vegan Picnic Recipes

Written by Molly Neuman
 Active Image                              Quick summertime gatherings to hang out with friends and eat yummy food are one of my favorite things. Here are a few recipes that are actually quite easy, many elements of which you can have ready in your fridge to put together on relatively short notice. The romesco, peanut, and limoncello sauces are great staples to have around. You might want to try making a jar of each sauce every few weeks to serve with whatever vegetables or proteins you like.                                              
 

Photos by Molly Neuman  

Quick summertime gatherings to hang out with friends and eat yummy food are one of my favorite things. Here are a few recipes that are actually quite easy, many elements of which you can have ready in your fridge to put together on relatively short notice. The romesco, peanut, and limoncello sauces are great staples to have around. You might want to try making a jar of each sauce every few weeks to serve with whatever vegetables or proteins you like.

I love working with whole ingredients and natural sweeteners whenever possible. Another tip is, most of the ingredients here can be easily swapped with something else if you prefer. I’m into cooking methods and ideas, not following recipes perfectly. I’m also into making mistakes and learning from them. So have a fun summer, cook, eat, and hang out with your friends!

Grilled Asparagus with Romesco Sauce
Shiitake Summer Rolls with Coconut Peanut Sauce
Tempeh Sandwiches on Whole Wheat Ciabatta Rolls
Berry Salad with Limoncello, Basil, and Mint

Grilled Asparagus with Romesco Sauce

Ingredients:

• 20 marcona almonds, toasted
• 20 hazelnuts, roasted and skins removed
• 1 tomato, seeded
• 4 piquillo peppers (substitute jarred or fresh roasted red peppers if you can’t find piquillos)
• 2 large garlic cloves
•1⁄4 cup sherry vinegar (white wine, red wine, or lemon juice are good substitutes)
• one slice rustic bread, toasted
•1⁄2 cup plus 4 tablespoons olive oil (more if needed)
• salt to taste
• 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
• 4 cups water
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 teaspoons salt

Directions:
1. Preheat a grill or skillet.

2. Heat oven to 400 degrees, place almonds and hazelnuts in a heavy skillet or sheet pan, and toast about five minutes or until brown. Remove skins from hazelnuts and set aside to let cool. In a food processor, add all ingredients except the oil and combine until smooth. Slowly add olive oil until a chunky paste is formed. Season to taste and set aside to serve with asparagus.

3. In a shallow pan, bring water to a boil, and add two teaspoons of salt and the asparagus. Cook for one minute, or until they’re slightly tender and the color is bright. Remove from pan into a colander and run under cold water for another minute to stop them from cooking. (You can also put them in a water/ice bath if you’d prefer.)

4. Place asparagus on a plate. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus and turn spears until they are coated. Sprinkle with salt and turn again.

5. Grill asparagus for five minutes over a hot grill. Each minute or so, roll each spear a quarter turn. Asparagus should begin to brown in spots. Remove before the tips are too well done, and set aside. These can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

Shiitake Summer Rolls with Coconut Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

•1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shoyu or tamari (natural or wheat free soy sauce)
•1/2 cup rice vinegar
•1 tablespoon honey
•1/2-1 tablespoons sriracha (Thai hot sauce)
•2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
•1 teaspoon grated garlic
•2 teaspoons sesame oil, preferably “roasted” version
•juice of 1 lime (1-1 1/2 tablespoons)
•1/2 cup coconut milk
•1/2 cup organic creamy peanut butter
•2 tablespoons olive, grapeseed, or coconut oil
•4-5 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and julienned
•2 ounces dried rice noodles or “rice threads”
•8 rice paper wrappers (8- or 6-inch size)
•1 bunch each basil and mint leaves (or whatever fresh herbs you like)
•1 small carrot, julienned

Directions:

1. In a small bowl or cup combine the shoyu, vinegar, honey, sriracha, ginger, garlic oil, juice of one lime, coconut milk, and peanut butter until well combined and smooth. Set the sauce aside.

2. In a hot skillet, place 2 tablespoons of oil, add mushrooms and cook until slightly brown, add 2 tablespoons shoyu or tamari to season, remove from heat, place in a bowl to cool and set aside.

3. Place rice noodles in a large heat-proof container. Add boiling water to cover and let stand till noodles are tender, about two minutes. Drain and set aside.

4. To make wrappers, set out a round baking dish or bowl wide enough to hold a rice wrapper. Place a cutting board or large, flat plate next to it. Fill the dish or bowl with enough comfortably hot water to submerge a wrapper. Using fingers to hold the wrapper along the edges, submerge it in the water until it begins to soften, about three to five seconds. (Wrappers continue to soften.) Remove from the water and place it flat on the board or plate, allowing the edges nearest you to hang over the front side a little. Use a dry paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

5. In the middle of the wrapper, place a few leaves of the fresh herbs, a few carrot strips, a small bunch of noodles, and a few mushrooms.

6. Lift the edge of the wrapper closest to you and fold over the filling. Fold ends over the wrapper. Continue rolling, tucking in ends. Gently press in outer edges to help seal it. Place it on a serving plate. Make remaining wraps. Rolls can be made two to three hours ahead if refrigerated and wrapped in plastic. Bring chilled rolls to room temperature before serving.

Tempeh Sandwiches on Whole Wheat Ciabatta Rolls

Ingredients:

•3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
•3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
•3/4 cup shoyu or tamari
•3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
•1 tablespoon ground cumin
•1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•2 tablespoons water
•1 pound tempeh (two 8-ounce packages, cut into 1/2 inch diagonal slices)
•5 ciabatta rolls
•fresh lettuce leaves
•tomato slices
•Dijon mustard

Directions:
1. In a sauce pot, combine the red wine vinegar, lime juice, shoyu or tamari, olive oil, cumin, cayenne pepper, and water to create a marinade. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add tempeh and let simmer for at least twenty minutes. Remove from pot and set aside on paper towels to drain and cool.

2. Preheat grill and brush lightly with grapeseed or coconut oil.

3. Place tempeh slices on grill and cook until sizzling and slightly charred, about one to two minutes per side.

4. Assemble sandwiches and serve with Dijon mustard, fresh lettuce leaves, tomato slices.

Berry Salad with Limoncello, Basil, and Mint

Ingredients:

•4 cups mixed berries (like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries)
•2 tablespoons limoncello (recipe below for homemade limoncello)
•5 roughly torn basil leaves
•5 roughly torn mint leaves

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl right before you are ready to serve.

Limoncello

Ingredients:

•15 organic lemons, zested with no white pith on the peel
•2 bottles (750 milliliters) 100-proof vodka or 1 bottle grain alcohol and one bottle vodka
•3 cups honey
•5 cups filtered water

Directions:

1. In a large glass (one gallon) jar, add one bottle of vodka and the lemon zest as it is zested. Cover the jar and let it sit at room temperature for, at least ten days and up to forty days, in a cool dark place; the longer the better. As the limoncello sits, the alcohol will slowly become more vibrantly yellow.

2. *After initial stage of infusion.* In a large saucepan, combine the honey and water; cook until thickened, approximately five to seven minutes. Let the syrup cool before adding it to the limoncello mixture. Add to the limoncello mixture from step one. Add the additional bottle of vodka. Allow to rest for another ten to forty days.

3. After the rest period, strain and bottle discarding the lemon zest. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

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