Summer un-BBQ Cooking

May 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm 16 comments

Not going to lie – after riling up elementary aged students at Field Day all day, yoga was sort of crossed off my to-do list and traded in for a yummy dinner and a jog outdoors. For years, a summer barbecue to me was more about the shish kebab than the burgers. While chicken hasn’t officially passed my lips in 4 years (I think I’m a week away from my 4 year anniversary gone veggie), I still can’t seem to pass up a good barbecue. So even though we are not allowed to have a barbecue on our wood balcony, I sometimes get a little creative and do some indoor barbecuing to get into the summer mood.

What I used:

  • 1/2 a block of re-pressed lite firm tofu, cut into 1″ squares
  • 1 green & 1 red bell pepper, cut into squares
  • 1 onion
  • Non-HFCS barbecue sauce

This is an incredibly simple and filling meal.  Ideally, you would let your tofu marinate in barbecue sauce for awhile, but I didn’t have much time for that. So I just skewered up the onions, peppers, and tofu, brushed with some barbecue sauce, and set on the grill pan for about 20 minutes, turning every 5-minutes or so until things started getting crispy.

I also threw together a quick Tri-Color Summer Salad.

  • Tri-Colored Pasta (1/2 box)
  • 1 red & 1 green bell pepper
  • pint grape tomatoes
  • 10oz can sliced olives
  • drizzle of vegan italian dressing to taste!

I realize most people tend to make this pasta leaving the grape tomatoes whole – but that’s just not my style so I split them up.  This is another easy-peasy dish that D shared his enthusiasm for.  All I did was boil two servings of tri-colored rotini, halve half a pint of grape tomatoes, slice some remnant pieces of peppers, and toss in sliced olives.  I drizzled Italian vinaigrette  atop it all to taste, and let the salad sit in the fridge for an hour. Dee-lish-us.

All together this meal took a bit of time – whipping up two meals at the same time does tend to be a bit consuming.  However, it was worth every single second.  D commented that this was the “perfect summer dinner” and went back for seconds, and thirds (especially of the pasta).  I gobbled up all my shish and kebab and am desperately sad that I did not make extra for lunch tomorrow.  C’est la vie!

And before I go back to couch time I must share the one thing that has made waking up easier this week – my awesome new best friend, Trader Joe’s Diner Blend coffee.

I’m being so serious right now. This ROCKS.  I’ve been testing and trying non-flavored coffees for a year, trying to find a not too expensive brand with just the right hint of boldness. Maxwells, Folgers, Organic, Newman’s Own, Archer Farms.  You name it, I’ve tried it.  Why do I want it to be inexpensive? Quite frankly, I can clear out a can of coffee in a week and a half, and this could be quite an expensive habit if I allow myself to fall hard for the pricier brands.  That being said, if I could find just that for a higher price, I’d probably pay it.  But fear not! This can of coffee goes for just $3.99!! And the flavor is PERFECT.  I’m talking, Sunday morning brunch at your favorite joint.  It has just the right amount of bold and sweet (just like it claims) and I  actually finish off my morning cup and wishing I had a bit more in the pot.

Double question: What’s your favorite brand of coffee?  And favorite summer meal?

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Entry filed under: dinner, tofu, vegan. Tags: , , , , , , .

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16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jessica  |  May 20, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Oh, I just started drinking Trader Joe’s coffee. I am also on the lookout for cheap, but I also want fair trade, so I get the Bolivian Blend which is whole-bean and goes for $6.99 here. I used to get fair trade Yuban from my regular grocery but they stopped selling it. I also try to have coffee only 4-5 days a week. Tough, I know, I used to drink it all day.

    Summer meal? I like seitan and veggies (onion, yellow squash, red bell pepper) in a sweet sauce. With Hawaiian bread.

    Reply
    • 2. Amanda  |  May 21, 2010 at 8:15 pm

      I know fair trade weighs heavily on my conscience. I have no idea what Hawaiian bread is and you need to fill me in! 🙂

      Reply
  • 3. Keri - I Eat Trees  |  May 20, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I’ve been wanting to do kebabs for awhile now- I need to get on that! YUM!
    My favorite summer meal is… anything and corn on the cob!
    Favorite brand of coffee = still looking.

    Reply
    • 4. Amanda  |  May 21, 2010 at 8:16 pm

      I do love some corn on the cob! I think they would go well with kebabs also!

      Reply
  • 5. Hangry Pants  |  May 20, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    It was nasty hot tonight.

    Are you a solo runner or do you like to go with people?

    Reply
  • 6. Tanya  |  May 20, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    I LOVE The Roasterie’s Voodoo blend coffee. They’re based in Kansas City. Porto Rico in Manhattan also has great coffee beans! I’m a coffee nut 🙂 I’ve had good Trader Joe’s beans too, although I don’t live anywhere near one….sniff….

    Summer meal…..that’s a tough one. Maybe veggie sushi, because it’s cold!

    Reply
    • 7. Amanda  |  May 21, 2010 at 8:22 pm

      Hmm perhaps we can arrange a coffee exchange! 😛

      Reply
  • 8. whydeprive  |  May 20, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    I haven’t found a favorite coffee yet (not on my budget at least). Ill have to remember to grab this on my next Trader Joes trip!

    Reply
  • 9. Jessi  |  May 21, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I make a lot of whole grain pasta salads in the summer…mostly with fresh veggies from the farmers market or my parents garden (cucumber, onion, tomato) and my herbs with Italian dressing or EVOO.
    My mom makes this “seafood salad” all the time with shell noodles, imitation crab meat, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, mayonnaise and old bay seasoning. I found some vegan imitation crab meat online i am thinking about ordering so that i can try it with that and vegannaise. I will totally post about it if i do!

    Reply
    • 10. Amanda  |  May 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm

      I love pasta & veggies in the summer too – heck any veggies’ll do to refresh on a warm day! I’ve never had a seafood salad pre-veg, so I wonder how it tastes?

      Reply
  • 11. Shenandoah Vegan  |  May 21, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I bought a package of those kabob skewers about ten years ago and never opened them. I think you have inspired me! The red pepper looks beautiful!

    Reply
    • 12. Amanda  |  May 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm

      Get on it Cynthia! It’s soooo easy!

      Reply
  • 13. Vegan Thyme (Kelly)  |  May 21, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    This looks so yummy! I am craving BBQ and we are in for some hot weather this weekend, so might be seeing this on our plates! Yum! *Good to know about the coffee, too–will check it out! I drink a local company coffee here in St. Louis: Thomas Coffee. I love it!

    Reply
    • 14. Amanda  |  May 21, 2010 at 8:25 pm

      All you local coffee drinkers have me thinking I need to hop the river and explore ny’s offerings a bit more. Hmm..

      Reply
  • 15. Helena .LaJaguar.  |  May 22, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Hello Amanda! ^^
    Saw your comment @ the gluttonous vegan and just came by to check your delicious recipes and say hello!
    I hope you don’t mind!
    Love the idea of a lil’ bbq, since here in Brazil, this is almost a folk tradition O-o And I’m getting bored all those parties I’m (WAS!) missing!
    Tranks a lot! I’m totally trying it!
    About the coffee, I worked at Starbucks and know almost everything about gourmet and arabica coffees and I’d love to taste this one!

    Thanks a lot! 😉
    xoxo

    Reply
    • 16. Amanda  |  May 23, 2010 at 10:19 am

      Thanks for stopping by!! 🙂 These skewers are SURE to make you enjoy vegan summers a lot more – no need to feel left out at alL!

      Reply

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