Vegan Mayonnaise

This summer I was asked to do a luncheon salad that with a side of bread, would make a lunch for 30 people, and would be suitable for all by providing variety.  Three platters were offered, and some folks ate it like salad, while others made sandwiches from them.  We have a go-to salad platter which morphs easily to suit seasonal brunches, lunches and dinners.  I planned on using fresh shrimp and grilled chicken as the proteins, with a selection of veggies & fruits to complete the platters.  Thinking that I should add in some egg slices, I remembered that one of the daughters of this family was extremely allergic to eggs.  So, that was a no go.  I checked emails, and lists but could find no reference to this allergy, however I do know that she and her wife, and their little one, would most likely be in attendance, as they had never missed one of these family events.

For the dressing I had planned on doing a Green Goddess, as well as Fresh Blueberry Dressing, and Lemon Vinaigrette.  So, having decided that egg would NOT be part of these platters, I decided to try a tip I’d read about to make a egg-free (vegan) mayonnaise (mayonnaise being a very important part of Green Goddess dressing).

Using nut milk or soy milk in place of the egg, creates an extremely luscious “mayonnaise”.  As with mayonnaise, you can be creative with the flavourings, however this is a classically flavoured version.  The soy milk has lecithin in it naturally, which is found in eggs, which is why they are able to emulsify with oil.  Nut milks usually have soy, flax or sunflower lecithin added to them.  It’s the lecithin that is required!  When baking for Vegans, or those allergic to eggs, I make a flax egg out of 1 T ground raw flax and 2½ T lukewarm water.  Simply mix them together in a small bowl, and let rest for about 10 minutes. Use in the place of an egg.  Works like a charm. Continue reading

Chickpea & Grilled Corn Chop Salad

It has been a very long time since I’ve sat down and posted to my blog. This has been a super busy year, and somehow in my brain I knew that autumn would come, and with it much needed “time”. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, boy I have I been cooking! Add in kitchen & bathroom renovations, a new puppy, and one of our wettest fall-winter-springs on record, followed by a full on drought with smokey skies, my energies have been elsewhere… I am so happy to have these breezy, cooler, clear days that late September has brought us.

When I’m doing an event with salads as part of the buffet, I love adding robust “chop” salads. They add texture, and colour to the mix. Because a spoonful goes along way, they fit onto a plate with other foods very easily.

This salad has a little heat, and lots of texture, which is so nice with a burger or chicken dinner. It also serves well as a vegetarian main course salad for those who aren’t going for the meat from the grill. Continue reading

Watermelon Caprese

IMG_0455Caprese salad is known for its display of the Italian flag’s colours, with its red tomatoes, green basil & fresh mozzarella. It’s is one of my all time favourite salads when the summer creates amazing tomatoes. We’ve been enjoying it over the last couple of summers using a buffalo Burrata instead of fresh Mozzarella.

This summer I started playing with the idea of switching out the mozzarella with another vegetable or fruit. Using thinly sliced watermelon in place of the white cheese, makes a delectable, fresh & summery salad. When a bit of Burrata is scattered over the top, it becomes a great summer version of Caprese. I use yellow or orange beefsteak type tomatoes, with dense interiors that have lots of flesh (mesocarp) with many small seed pockets. These contrast beautifully with the pink watermelon, reminding me of summer sunsets. Continue reading

Summer Bean Salad

IMG_0410We recently held our island’s annual fundraising event. Starting sometime in the early spring, I designed a menu that would happily feed most. Any one dish could be omitted, and the rest would still be a great meal. This was the easiest and most economical way to feed over 130 people regardless of most food allergies or concerns. As well, we have very limited cold storage, and as this was being held in early August, that was a key concern for the amount of food we’d be preparing. What I came up with was a menu that included five different salads, all to be served family style to tables of eight. Each was made of components that could be mixed just before service. As well as the salads, we served small appetizer plates, BBQ chicken with fresh peach salsa, fresh rolls, and Peach-Blueberry Crisp with ice cream.   It was a great meal, with a lovely mix of textures, colours and flavours. I have promised to post the recipes, so here’s the first of five. Continue reading

Farmhouse Coleslaw

IMG_5055Our summer started weeks ago; usually we have a sunny month of May, followed by a very unsettled month of June, weather-wise. But so far this June, we’ve only had sunny skies, and not a drop of rain. As a farmer, I want some rain. The perfect pattern for me is sunny warm days, cool nights, and a good rain every 10 days or so. But I don’t control the weather; no matter how many dances I do, nature comes as nature does.

These last weeks, we’ve been gathering on the front porch for a late supper, overlooking a field with three very happy, pretty horses in it, waiting to see a doe with her twin fawns.

Dinners seem to be directly related to how hard we’ve been working each day. A quick, filling meal for long, tiring days, and more inventive, complex meals when we’ve had more time to consider what’s going to be on the table. Coleslaw is a quick, filling side dish, that’s easy to prepare, and goes well with hamburgers, grilled meats, pulled pork, and other summer favourites. Continue reading