Wednesday, August 29, 2018

August Mealprep - Recipes and ideas


Polenta Crostini with Chick Pea Pesto

Here is the link to the original recipe from Forks over Knives:
We pretty much made this as per the recipe.


  • 2 (16-ounce) packages pre-cooked, tube-style polenta
  • 1 small tomato, cut into ¼-inch dice (1 cup)
  • 1 small wedge of onion, cut into ¼-inch dice (¼ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil


  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. To make Polenta Crostini, slice the polenta on the bias into ½-inch thick slices. Arrange the polenta slices on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until light brown around the edges.
3. In a bowl, mix together the tomato, onion, and basil; set aside.
4. To make Chickpea Pesto, combine the chickpeas, basil, garlic, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste into the bowl of a food processor and pulse into a smooth, spreadable texture.
5. To serve, spread pesto over each polenta slice, then top with tomato mixture. Serve immediately.
The Polenta comes in  1 lb. (16 Oz) rolls and in our neighborhood, you can find it at the new ShopRite at Bruckner Commons.
One lesson we learnt the hard way, baking the polenta slices on wax paper can cause problems. Better to use silicone liners for your baking sheets.

Main dish

Thai Zucchini Noodle Salad with Curry Lime Dressing

We made this with minor changes and it was out of this world. Personally, I like it spicy and I would make it with a whole can of the Thai Curry Paste, but the recipe provides just a hint of spice. It was not too much for anybody.

The Cashew butter came from Shoprite, and so did the Maple Syrup. Chang Li always has several flavors of Thai curry paste in stock, to take your pick.

What You'll Need

1 large carrot
4 medium zucchini
½ cup unsalted raw cashews, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped


¼ cup nut butter (I used cashew butter, but peanut or almond will work too)
3 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 Tbsp Maple syrup
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp Thai curry paste

How to Make It

  1. Spiralize the zucchini and carrot, set aside.
  2. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing until creamy. Taste and adjust if necessary. 
  3. Pour the dressing over the noodles, add all ingredients, and toss to combine thoroughly. 
  4. Serve immediately or chill for future use, 1-2 days in the refrigerator for optimal freshness. 
I can certainly testify that this salad was even better the next day.

Kale with Sweet Potato and Balsamic Vinegar

We boiled a bunch of kale (5 mins) and two Japanese Sweet Potatoes (circa 20 mins) and served it as a side dish to provide some leafy greens and some more starch.


Bonus: Corn on the Cob à la Nero Wolfe

We did not make this but it is worth having this recipe handy, for most people do not know how to properly make corn on the cob. The best recipe comes from a Nero Wolfe mystery novel, Trio for Blunt Instruments.

I simplify it a little, and of course, I leave off the butter and salt altogether.

First, you soak the corn in water and pre-heat the oven at 450F.

Roast them in an oven dish for 45 mins at 450F, and then serve by cutting off the stems just high enough so all the leaves fall loose. This way, you can easily remove the husks, and serve them piping hot one by one.
You have never had corn so good.

It does not need anything, but I like it at times with hot sauce, like Tabasco, or some such.

Interestingly, at the farmers market at Virginia Park (on Westchester Ave by Parkchester Station), they have information sheets on corn on the cob, and there, they tell you also that if you have to store it, to keep the husks on and store it in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to seven days. It stays much fresher that way.

In other words, the folks you see ripping off the husks in the store don't know how to handle corn.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

In Praise of Balsamic Vinegar

OK, how to use balsamic...

Well for breakfast, I make a porridge from steelcut oats, with fruit, with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

During the day, I snack on chopped, steamed kale, often with some cubed boiled sweet potato, and also with some balsamic vinegar.

My salad dressing is usually started with balsamic one way or another.

One of my favorite 'daily' balsamic vinegars is Colavita Organic Balsamic Vinegar and here locally, I can get it at the Key Foods on Unionport

Colavita Organic Balsamic, and Braggs oil-free salad dressing

The Balsamic was $6.39 for a 16.9 Fl. Oz. bottle, which seems reasonable to me.
They also had Braggs oil-free salad dressings, which seem worth trying. Those were $7.19 each, so that's only for Sundays and holidays ;-).

You can get really fancy with Balsamic. At the Plantstock conference last year we discovered BemasandPas,  and their infused balsamics are out of this world. This year, we were in Virginia Beach, and discovered Savor the Olive and I am still enjoying some of the vinegars we bought there. Their stuff was out of this world.

Here is a good site for balsamic vinegars in NYC: The 15 Best Places for Balsamic Vinegar in New York City

You want to visit these places after you win the lottery... top quality Balsamic vinegar can be expensive, like good wine. I sometimes find that I can double the pleasure by mixing it with a bottle of my regular Colavita Organic BV. I leave that up to everyone's personal taste. Some will think it is sacrilegious.

Whatever you do, enjoy.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Spaghetti Mission at ShopRite

Shoprite at Bruckner Commons is quite a find.

Today I went in search of a few things I can't get nearer to home, like radicchio. But the real mission was to stock up on some tomato sauce, including the Store brand, Wholesome Pantry, which offers brilliant and (nearly) oil-free spaghetti sauces in four flavors. They would not meet Plantricious standards, but close enough for a "plant strong" diet, but not for a "plant-perfect" diet for a serious heart patient - only oil-free is oil free. Muir Glen and Delallo make oil-free pasta sauces. Sometimes I can find Brad's Organic fat-free pasta sauce at Good-N-Natural. Brad's Organic has three fat-free flavors. Walnut Acres has a Low Sodium Tomato and Basil, which is very low fat also.

Pomi is also a regular in my pantry for when I want to make tomato sauce from scratch, which is really the best option. That's the way to get totally oil-free.
Meanwhile in the pasta department they have a great selection also from various vendors, but my favorite is probably Luigi Vitelli Whole Wheat pasta.
Luigi Vitelli Whole Wheat pasta
The bottom line of the whole pasta story for me is that I prefer to make pasta sauce from scratch, but you don't always have the time. The Wholesome Pantry brand is not totally perfect from a #WFPB standpoint, but close.

When I make it from scratch, I start with some onions, which I sauté with a few chilis and an jalapeno (you can leave that out, but I like it on the spicy side), first I stir-fry them dry, until the onions begin to glaze and almost stick to the pan and then I add in some crushed, chopped garlic and some ice cubes of veggie broth and fry that for another few minutes, while adding in perhaps some other cut-up veggies. At least I like some one or two carrots, and if I am making a mushroom sauce, this is when I would add them in, with some of the spices like rosemary, and/or marjoram and perhaps a bay leaf or two, three. I add in six chopped-up (pitted) dates, instead of sugar, to cut the acidity. Let it go until the veggies are cooked soft and add in a pack of Pomi chopped or strained tomatoes, or a 25 Oz can of Wholesome Pantry diced tomatoes. After a half hour of simmering slowly, take the out the bay leaves and make it smooth with an immersion blender. That's when you can add in a small (6Oz) can of tomato paste and let it go a few more minutes over low heat and voilà, you're done.

Store Brand Whole or Diced Tomatoes

Pomi is always a winner
Wholesome Pantry 4 flavors of Spaghetti Sauce

Thursday, August 2, 2018

My ideal Plant-Based Kitchen equipment listed on

I keep writing about various kitchen utensils, knives, pots and pans, etc. I finally decided to put a list of my favorites together on

I intend to keep up this list and remove things that fall out of favor for any reason.