Spaghettini with Garlic and Tomatoes | VeganMoFo 2019 Day Nineteen

When your coworker brings in a whole pile of tomatoes, places them on the common table, and begs you and your colleagues to take them off your hands, what are you to do but indulge her?

For whatever reason, my garden refuses to produce more than one full-sized tomato at a time. Every year this happens. While I can pluck handfuls of cherry and grape tomatoes from the vine every other day, I have to wait weeks and weeks for a single slicer. So I was thrilled for this unexpected bounty (seen here next to my homegrown garlic, which is still curing (though I frequently use it in its super piquant state)).

I knew what I wanted to do with these babies, too: a super simple spaghetti with garlic-infused olive oil, tomatoes, and basil. Years ago, when I was visiting a friend in Italy (about which I produced one extremely sparse — yet comprehensive — blog post), we ate out at a restaurant in Florence and I had the most mind-blowingly delicious garlicky pasta. I’m pretty sure it didn’t have any tomatoes, just lots of quality olive oil and garlic. I’ve been chasing that dragon ever since…

…and I did not find it today. Ha.

Today’s pasta was tasty, don’t get me wrong, but it did not have the intense garlicky deliciousness I was hoping for. I tempered three cloves of my garlic in olive oil, but I should’ve used more. Always use more garlic than you think you need, right?! And I’m sure my Florentine pasta used a hell of a lot more olive oil than I do/did.

Ah well. It was still a satisfying and filling summery dish. But if you’ve got any tips for a killer spaghetti aglio e olio, hit me up!


Small-Bite Sundays: September 17, 2017

Small-Bite Sundays

Friends, apologies for the radio silence! VeganMoFo begins in October (!), and I’ve been prepping for that. Steven and I will be out of the country during the first few days, so I’ve been getting my mock ducks in a row before we leave. (That aphorism doesn’t quite hold up to veganization, does it?) I’ve also gotten back into freelancing after the summer lull, leaving me less time for blogging. Expect a little more quiet on the blog front until October, when I’ll be posting every darn day, just as I have done for the past eight MoFos. Yeehaw.

In the meantime, I’ve had a frustrating weekend. I’m 0.5 for 2 with the recipes I’ve been working on for VeganMoFo, leaving me frustrated and disappointed. Oh well. Onward!

Small bites: to read

Wow. I was unfamiliar with the Michelle Jones story until a college acquaintance shared this article on Facebook. (If you are equally unfamiliar, I really suggest reading the story — any summary I could give wouldn’t do it justice.) There’s so much to unpack here, and the question of where we as a society draw the line when it comes to redemption is something I haven’t thought much about.


A poignant read from the perspective of a physician who has to share heartbreaking, devastating news with the families of patients who pass away. What stood out to me here was how incredibly important empathy is in situations like this. It’s a core principle of my own life (or at least, I aspire for it to be), and it serves this doctor well.


As someone who grew up with Deaf family members, I really enjoyed this piece about how the sign language used by black Americans differs from that used by white Americans. In my experience, folks tend to think of “sign language” as a monolith, but it’s so very not. American Sign Language and Signed English are very different, and as this article points out, Black American Sign Language is another dialect entirely — one that’s historically been ignored and downplayed. It’s fascinating but not surprising that people who are deaf code-switch just like their hearing counterparts.

Small bites: to watch

Profanity ahead, but holy smokes — this video of an Irish family dealing with a bat in the kitchen is pure gold. Stuff like this usually doesn’t appeal to me, but I could not handle this video! And I’m glad the batty got out safe. :)

Small bites: to eat

Thes berbere-spiced jackfruit tacos feature finely chopped jackfruit, which is… an embarrassingly obvious preparation method that I somehow haven’t used! Leave it to Vegan Richa to come up with this fantastic idea.


Garden tomato haulTOMATOES FOREVER. Here is my haul from a single day this week. My cherry tomatoes just won’t stop producing, and my larger slicers are finally ripening. I think those are Mikados on the right, but I’m not entirely sure… my labeling fell by the wayside at some point this summer. Last year I had tomatoes well into October; I’m crossing my fingers for that to happen again!


Speaking of tomatoes… I saw a recipe for roasted tomato pasta recently and it has been a weeknight staple ever since (and a great way to use up my massive supply of cherry tomatoes!). You simply halve a bunch of cherry tomatoes, drizzle them with olive oil, add salt/pepper/vegan parm/nooch/whatever, and roast in a high-walled pan or casserole dish for about 20 minutes at 425˚F, until they’re juicy and falling apart and a saucy mess. In the meantime, boil pasta. When it’s done, just mix the drained pasta into the dish with the roasted tomatoes. Add more spices/nooch/vegan parm to taste and enjoy!


If you’ve got a little cash to spare, here are two crowd-funded projects that look neat. The first is a Spain-based startup that’s creating vegan “leather” bags out of biodegradable cork bark. They’re committed to sustainability, ethical production, and vegan products… the trifecta of conscious consumerism, perhaps?

The second is closer to home (for me, at least): a vegan burger joint in Baltimore. Maybe it’s just because I’m hungry for dinner right now, but their food looks great.


Let me know if you’ve read/watched/eaten anything noteworthy this week!








The Open-Faced Sandwich I Didn’t Know I Was Missing

I’ve never been a fan of mayonnaise. I’ve never been one to slather it thickly on a sandwich or sneak a spoonful of it or use it, heaven forbid, as a dip. Blech! Even recipes that rely on large amounts of it for creaminess (potato salad; slaw) make me nervous. I don’t want to taste it, I just want to use it as a glue on a sandwich or as the otherwise unnoticeable base of a salad or slaw.

But then I discovered the tomato-mayo open-faced sandwich. I could ask where it’s been all my life, but I already have the answer: in the American South, served up on a hot day, probably alongside a pitcher of sweet tea.

That’s why I — Yankee by birth, Midwesterner by college/first-job choice, Mid-Atlantic…er… by current situation — was unfamiliar with it. But man, I was missing out. Because when you take delicious, quality bread, toast it gently, spread it with mayo, heap on freshly sliced tomatoes, and sprinkle a little salt on top, you get a transcendent summer sandwich.

Now, tomato-mayo sandwich purists might balk at my usage of anything but grocery store white bread, but come on, that’s not my style. I used a white sourdough here and it was perfection. I recommend something neutral in flavor; this isn’t the place for your seven-grain swirled rye masterpiece.

In case you’ve never made one before, here is my take on this summer delight. I can’t wait till I have my own garden-fresh tomatoes to use in it. Come on, summer!

Vegan Tomato-Mayo Sandwich

Serves 1

  • 2 pieces neutral-flavored bread
  • 1-2 TB vegan mayonnaise (I like Just Mayo)
  • 1 tomato, thickly sliced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper flakes (optional; I like piment d’espelette)
  • Sprouts (optional)


Lightly toast bread. You want it just a bit crispy, but not at all blackened. Spread mayo on one side of each slice to taste, then layer on the tomato slices and sprouts (if using). Sprinkle sea salt and pepper flakes (if using) on top. Eat and enjoy.


Vegan open-faced tomato-mayo sandwich //









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Roasted Green Tomato Galette with Tofu-Walnut Ricotta (Vegan)

What’s the weather like where you are? Here in Maryland, we’re experiencing an uncanny second summer: 80˚+ temperatures in the middle of October. Heat-lover though I am, I can’t quite get behind this divergence from the natural progression of the seasons.

I’d already started preparing my garden for the winter — trimming back unruly tomato vines, pulling dead plants — when the temperature skyrocketed. But with this return of the heat, tomatoes I’d long since given up for green are getting a second chance to ripen. I’d already picked some of the larger green ones, thinking that even a week of warmth wouldn’t be adequate for those big ones. And so, here I am with  a few pounds of green tomatoes of all shapes and sizes.

After trying my hand at that Southern classic, fried green tomatoes, and finding them lackluster, I knew I couldn’t rely on traditional uses for my unripe fruit. What to do? How about a galette, where green tomato slices are roasted to tangy perfection and layered atop a creamy tofu ricotta base? Seasoned lightly and ensconced in a crunchy cornmeal-laced crust, this is the perfect way to elevate those green tomatoes to the level of their more revered ripened brethren.

This recipe requires three components and might seem time-consuming. But individually, each piece is relatively simple, and the ricotta can be made ahead and let sit overnight. The result is a flavorful yet sturdy green tomato tart that you can slice and eat like pizza — no need to dirty a fork.

Roasted Green Tomato Galette with Tofu-Walnut Ricotta / #vegan /

Roasted Green Tomato Galette with Tofu-Walnut Ricotta

Serves two as a main and four as a side


For the tomatoes

  • 12 oz. green tomatoes (about 6 small tomatoes) sliced into ~1/8″ rounds
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1-2 T balsamic vinegar (I prefer less, but you might not!)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • A few grinds black pepper

For the crust

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, chilled (refrigerate it for a few minutes before starting the recipe)
  • 1/4 cup cold water

For the tofu-walnut ricotta

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped walnuts (you can omit these if you’d like; see Notes)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 T olive oil
  • 2 tsp white or yellow miso
  • A few grinds black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

While the oven is preheating, prepare the tomatoes. In a large bowl, drizzle the sliced tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle the sugar, salt, oregano, and pepper on top and stir again to coat.

Pour the tomatoes onto the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. At the 10-minute mark, shift the tomatoes around gently.

While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the crust and the ricotta.

To make the crust:

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and oregano. Drizzle in the olive oil, and use clean hands, a fork, or a pastry cutter to work in the oil until it forms sandy  crumbs. Drizzle in the cold water and stir to combine, using your hands to knead if necessary. Work it gently until it comes together into a soft dough, but do not overwork. Form into a ball and place in the refrigerator, either wrapped in cling film or with a tea towel.

To make the tofu-walnut ricotta:

Use your hands to gently wring out any extra liquid from the tofu, then crumble it into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and use your hands, a spatula, or a wooden spoon to thoroughly combine. If possible, let sit for 30 minutes before using to let the flavors develop (though this is not necessary).

When the tomatoes are lightly browned and bubbling, remove them from the oven and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 375˚F while you prepare the tart.

On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rough circle or oval about 1/8″ thick. Transfer to a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. (This is a delicate dough, so rolling directly on parchment paper or on the sheet might make this step simpler.) Leaving a 1 1/2″ border, pile about half the ricotta in the center, then layer the tomato slices on top, overlapping slightly. Fold the edge of the dough over the filling.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, just until the crust starts to brown.

Roasted Green Tomato Galette with Tofu-Walnut Ricotta / #vegan /

  • If possible, make the ricotta the day before to let the flavors develop and to save time.
  • This recipe requires a half batch of the ricotta, so you can either halve the recipe or save the remaining ricotta for another day. (Stuffed shells, anyone?)
  • I included walnuts in the ricotta to add texture and a little extra protein. They’re not necessary, so feel free to leave them out.
  • You can use more tomatoes if you have them on hand.

Disclaimer: his post includes affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.


Raw Wednesday

I suppose it’s not technically Wednesday anymore, but better late than never, right? I meant to post earlier, but I got tied up with family and friend type activities and you know how it goes. Anyway, I’ve got a doozy of a post planned for tomorrow, so I’ll keep this one short and sweet. And that’s fitting, really, because my eats today were simple and unassuming yet undeniably satisfying.

In the spirit of Raw Wednesday, I put together a magnificent raw lunch that filled my tummy and made me smile thanks to its colorful appearance. Check it out:

Raw delight.

Lovely, no? My lunch was comprised of two dishes. First, I decided to try a recipe from Choosing Raw that I’ve had my eye on for a while now. Although I’ve never been a huge tomato soup fan, Gena’s chilled Basic Tomato Soup looked like the perfect way to use some delicious tomatoes from my dad’s garden. And it performed that function perfectly.

Avocado and tomato goodness.

Although it ended up being a little avocado heavy (and thus turned a borderline unappetizing green-brown color), the tomatoes fought back and let their garden fresh flavor shine through. The result was a delightful mix of creamy avocado and sweet tomato goodness. My only problem with the soup was the slight tangy balsamic vinegar aftertaste I noticed with each spoonful, but that’s just because I seriously dislike being able to taste or smell any type of vinegar in my food. Even though I did cut down on the amount called for in the recipe and added the smallest of splashes, I should have left it out entirely to tailor the soup to my personal tastes. Other than that, however, it was a perfect summer soup, and it paired so well with the more substantial part of my lunch.

Lovely lettuce wraps.

These lettuce wraps were filled with matchstick zucchini slices and generous scoops of the Sunflower Pate I made a few days ago, and they were fantastic! Although Romaine lettuce may not be optimal for wrapping, it was the only type we had in the house and worked fairly well. I had another helping of pate on the side with more zucchini for dipping, and I also enjoyed three delicious heirloom Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes. I love these little guys; they’re so amazingly sweet and smooth and rich. They’re truly a treasure and I love popping them in my mouth right off the vine. They complemented the meal perfectly, and I washed everything down with some Santa Cruz Mango Lemonade. It was a wonderfully refreshing lunch on a hot summer day.

Although I planned on enjoying a big ol’ massaged kale salad for dinner, my wonderful father ended up making a potato-leek-mushroom hash and I just can’t resist his cooking. There’s always tomorrow, right?