Salad Nicoise(ish)

I was craving Isa Chandra Mosowitz’s vegan version of Salad Nicoise, but I realize I left my favourite of her cookbooks up on Denman Island. I searched her website–Post-Punk Kitchen–and, sadly, found that it wasn’t among her posted recipes, so I had to rely on my memory to recreate her masterpiece. It ended up being a delicious recreation!

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The beans are steamed and the thin-skinned potatoes are boiled. The tomatoes are very, very ripe grape tomatoes that have been on sale at Donald’s Market all week (today they were down to two packages for a dollar!!)–they are perfect at the moment…just verging on too ripe. More on Donald’s later. The “tuna” is sitting on a bed of mixed greens and consists of this recipe for baked chickpeas from Plant-Powered Kitchen. I then mashed the chickpeas (I actually did a quick grind of them in the Magic Bullet until they were granular, but not mushy) and mixed them with two sliced green onions and a a few tablespoons of this dressing (an adaptation of Moscowitz’s vegan Caesar salad dressing):

Dressing:
1/4 cup hummous

1/4 cup BTB vegetable broth (plus more for thinning)

2 teaspoons fresh grated garlic (see note)

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

2 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard

1/8 cup lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Finally, I grilled a few slices of smoked tofu and added them on the side. The small silver bowl contains Tamari, which I thought might be nice to dip the smoked tofu in, but I didn’t actually use it because the whole thing was schmecky enough! Oh and, of course, I topped the “tuna” with a little squirt of my creamy sriracha!

The focaccia on the side is dairy- and gluten-free, and from a little bakery a couple of blocks from here called Cloud 9. I noticed the bakery a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t get a chance to check it out until today. A couple of friends are allergic to wheat, and I’ve tried to make wheat-free focaccia by replacing the flour in my own recipe with spelt, which worked quite well(ish), and once with chickpea and rice flour, which was not a great success. I picked up a bag of their non-wheat flour and thought I’d try a couple of their dairy-free products since I was there. The focaccia was very nice (not as fluffy as regular focaccia, but nice all the same). I also purchased half a dozen of their piccolo buns, which turned out to be even better than the focaccia.

Okay, back to Donald’s Market: I can’t say enough great things about this fantastic little market on the New West Quay. It’s even better than my former favourite hippy food store, Edible Island, in Courtenay. Their produce is excellent, they have a crazy wide selection of hummus, bean dip, tofu, nut butters, brown rice noodles, BTB vegetarian broth pastes, matcha teas, and every other kind of hippy food you can imagine. And the prices are MUCH more reasonable than Choices or Capers in Vancouver (and even more reasonable than EI in Courtenay). Best of all: it’s a twelve-minute walk from our door.

Next Monday (three days from now), I will have been on my plant-based diet for a full month with no lapses! In the past, I’ve made it to three weeks and then baled, but I think having Donald’s within walking distance has made a huge difference because I always have lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and hummus to munch on, so I never get to the point where I’m just grabbing a hunk of cheese.  And while I’m never starving, I do eat something every few hours because while plant food is filling in the immediate, you’re generally hungry again within about three hours. I tend to wake up at 4:30AM starving, and then I fantasize about what I’m going to make for breakfast. Here’s a picture of my morning tofu scramble (before I added the tofu) from yesterday. It looked so beautiful, I had to take a picture. Oh, and it made a good three or four meals as well:

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