2015 Lenten Potluck #2: Mock Tuna Salad with Avocado Mayo

I was very bad Tuesday night and neglected to make my potluck dish ahead. That meant all day Wednesday I was trying to plan what to make, and how I’d make it in the very tiny window of time from the time I leave work to the time I get back to the church. I have a mere two hours, and I also needed to stop at the store! Luckily I already had a plan to use up two more avocados, so I just had to figure out what I wanted to cover in Avocado Mayo, a recipe I found at Girl Makes Food.

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I decided to do yet another version of mock tuna using chickpeas, and I even had a little bag of dried seaweed flakes from my last haul at the Asian market.

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For the mayo:
Use a fork to mash two avocados until creamy and smooth. Stir in 2 Tbsp white vinegar, juice of half a lemon, 1/8 tsp onion powder & 1/8 tsp garlic powder. Salt to taste.

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For the mock tuna:
I lightly mashed four cans of chickpeas. Of course I bought the cheapest chickpeas I could find, and they turned out to be pretty firm and didn’t mash as well as I would’ve liked. Better to go with chickpeas that are a little more tender if you can. After mashing them, season with salt and pepper (and if you like egg taste in your tuna salad, add gray salt for the sulfur taste).

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Now, depending on how fishy you want the salad, add 1/4 C to 1/2 C seaweed flakes.

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I did 1/4 C. It looked like a lot, but next time I’m upping it!

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Add avocado mayo and stir to coat.

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Add two cans of peas, drained – you can reserve a little liquid in case you want to thin down the mayo in the salad. Turn the salad very gently to incorporate the peas, you want to avoid crushing them.

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I found an antique bowl that matched the salad beautifully, it belonged to my grandmother 🙂

If I were making a smaller batch of the salad just for myself, I’d use two cans of chickpeas, one can of peas, but the same amount of mayo. I’d get it good and salty, probably use 1/4 C of seaweed flakes again (since I’d have a smaller portion of chickpeas to season), and let the salad sit over night. It should keep from browning if you cover it in plastic wrap with the plastic touching the salad. Although if it’s just for me, I don’t care if it browns a little. Just stir it up and it’s fine. On its own, the salad is both oil free & perfect for a strict fasting day, and also gluten free. Serve with pita bread for those who are gluten full.


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We had way more people than usual at Presanctified Liturgy, and way more food than usual at the potluck.

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This is just the main table with the savory food, we had another counter filled with sweet stuff.

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Mjuddara with hummus and salad is a classic Lenten meal, is it not? We also had Sloppy Joe’s made with TVP and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, and guess what? The little buns were made using my Tasty Buns recipe! They turned out beautifully, I think they were better than mine! I also tried the pumpkin bread, and a lovely bowl of magenta-colored soup (is there any vegetable more beautiful than the beet?).

I know some of you are also enjoying Lenten potlucks in your own parishes. What are you cooking?

2015 Lenten Potluck #1: Suzi's Blackened Carolina BBQ

Ah, the first Lenten potluck of the year! I was SO looking forward to it, and I even made my dish the night before instead of rushing home with 1 hour and fifteen minutes to try to whip something up. I just needed to throw it in the oven during Presanctified Liturgy. In fact, I was feeling so relieved, I decided I had time to make rolls to go with my pulled jackfruit in Caroline BBQ sauce in case anyone wanted to make a sandwich. Well, just goes to show nothing ever goes the way I plan it, but it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been… And it started out very promising. I show you:

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I started with four cans of jackfruit in brine, drained.

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I recommend draining it in a colander because next you need to squeeze out as much of the brine as possible. When you’ve finished squeezing, put the jackfruit in a bowl and begin pulling the pieces apart so it looks like pulled or shredded pork.

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For the Caroline BBQ sauce, I modified a random recipe I found googling the other night. Here’s my version:

balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, water & ketchup (homemade or store bought),

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maple syrup,

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salt, garlic powder, and a few shakes of black pepper.

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Frank’s Redhot Sauce,

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This sauce doesn’t normally call for oil, if we were using pork it would provide its own fat. But we’re using jackfruit, so I added 1 heaping Tbsp of tahini. Because of this you may need to adjust the other ingredients to cover a very mild sesame flavor (you could also add even more tahini and adjust, if you want more fat).

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Add to jackfruit.

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Stir to coat.
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On oil days I would saute onions and bell pepper to top my sandwich, but there’s a simple alternative to sauteing or frying.

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Just mix it into the jackfruit. Cover and marinate overnight.

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So even after running home and making the dough for the rolls, I *still* got back to church early. I spread the jackfruit on a parchment-covered baking tray and popped it in one of our commercial convection ovens at 350 with the fan on low, rolled my dough into cute little rolls (I’ll post that recipe next), and went over to the chapel. I have baked things during Presanctified Liturgy before. It usually works out. This time I could smell the BBQ sauce almost as soon as I stepped out of the chapel. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Then I opened the oven.

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I burned it! I should’ve known even on the low setting those ovens bake everything SO quickly! I just stood there staring at the pan for a long time before deciding to trash it and just be happy I also had the rolls. Next thing you know everyone’s coming to the hall and making comments about the wonderful smell of Carolina BBQ sauce in the air. Well, I had only dumped the charred remains back in my bowl, not in the garbage, and if you can believe it…people still wanted to eat it!

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So there it is in a little dish on the buffet table – I only put out a portion of it because I figured no one would really eat it, but the dish was empty at the end of the night. So I decided to name this dish after the person most adamant I put it out instead of trashing it 🙂

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I’m really trying to keep it light this year, so I had my guacamole and hummus with carrots (I know, I know – anathema). The beautiful medjool dates were my dessert. The soup is lentil curry with potatoes. I also tried a vegetable soup – I don’t remember exactly what was in it, but it was blended and had a great creamy texture and lovely orange hue. I had to only eat half a bowl of each because I also wanted to try the third soup, a spicy lentil chili. I was too full to try the pasta, so I’m hoping it will make another appearance. I also missed out on a salad and a couple fancy-looking breads (didn’t even have room in my tummy for one extra piece of antideron). Oh, and there was CANDY.

Next week I might just have to take only one bite of everything so I can try it all. Also trying to decide if I want to do the jackfruit again and see if I can Not burn it. I bought a bunch of other interesting ingredients from the Asian market the other day, though, so it might have to wait til next year.

Recipe Recap

    Carolina BBQ Sauce

1 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 C water
1/2 ketchup
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
a few dashes of black pepper
Frank’s Redhot Sauce to taste
1 Tbsp tahini

In a medium bowl, whisk ingredients together to combine.

    Carolina BBQ Jackfruit

4 20oz cans jackfruit in brine, drained & pulled
1 to 2 small sweet onions, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, sliced
Carolina BBQ sauce

Drain jackfruit into a colander. You may wish to give it a little squeeze to get out the excess brine before pulling – pull apart as you would pulled pork. Place jackfruit in a large bowl with sliced veggies. Add BBQ sauce, stir to coat. Allow to marinate for at least one hour, but overnight is best.

Spread in a single layer on a large parchment-covered baking tray, and bake at 350 until veggies are tender and jackfruit is browned (in a regular oven this should take 45 minutes to an hour, unless you really want it blackened!). You may want to turn it a couple times during baking. Serve with rolls to make sandwiches (Tasty Buns recipe here)

Lenten potluck with friends

Last weekend Amanda hosted a Lenten potluck, and guess what? I made vegan nachos again with my now infamous tahini nacho cheez sauce, dotted with jalapeno cashew cream.

I seriously never get tired of eating these nachos in all its many forms. But there was a lot more to eat that evening…

As you can see, we had a small feast!

Amanda made two kinds of enchiladas (gluten free), and cooked up some veggies to go with them.

The crumbles on top are a faux cheese made of tofu, it’s really good with a nice firm texture. I will have to get the recipe for all of you.

We also had vegan mac n cheese, with a nutritional yeast-based cheez, vegan mashed potatoes, Amanda’s garlicky vegan mayo, guacamole (that’s just plain old avocado there on my plate, but for the next round I had guacamole), and salsa. And

we had Hop Soda to drink, my first time trying it. It’s made in Grand Rapids, but you can also order it online.

Do you have Lenten dinners with friends to help you get through Lent??

2014 Lenten Potluck #4: vegan nachos

I’m so behind in posting about the Lenten potlucks! This is from last week. I basically used a bunch of leftover ingredients from Tuesday Taco Night to make vegan nachos since last Wednesday was a feast day (the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel) on which oil is permitted.

You’ve probably seen my nachos before, but if you haven’t, check THIS out. These nachos are topped with tomatoes, onion, bell pepper & cactus, and I added a little olive oil to the mix. Covered in my tahini nacho cheez sauce.

Lots of Lenten desserts last week.

When you can have oil on a Wednesday in Great Lent, you might as well go all out and just put out a bowl of it!

Of course I didn’t have room on my plate for everything, but along with my nachos I had baba ganouj, quinoa with mushrooms and asparagus, some sort of yummy blueberry-filled dessert thing with a nice, crispy top,

and a bowl of lentils & potatoes. You can’t see it, but underneath there’s also a scoop of rice with chickpeas. Everything was excellent. Tonight will be bittersweet…looking forward to seeing what everyone will bring, but it’s the last Lenten potluck of the year 🙁

2014 Lenten potluck #3

Well, I couldn’t make anything for last night’s potluck because I have a cold, and I didn’t think it was a good idea to handle other people’s food. With the time I saved by Not cooking, I made a grocery run…

for a few things I hope will help me get rid of this thing. I slammed the C-Boost last night, today I’ll polish off the veggie juice and my dinner will be extra garlicky (I’m sure anyone I’ll be around the next couple days will be thrilled). I had a bowl of the kimchee this morning to clear my sinuses, it worked for about 5 minutes. The avocado is…just because. Because you need to feed a cold to KILL IT.

So last night I blasted the little sucker with plenty of wonderful food from our third Lenten potluck of Great Lent.

Beautiful halva.

The potato salad was great. It had pickles in it, my favorite 🙂

Also on last night’s menu: a sweet roll, mjaddara, and you can barely see it but there were cabbage rolls with mushrooms. And a chili-like soup with sweet potato. There were vegan sloppy Joes, too, but my plate was full.

What do you all do to get rid of a cold?

Buffalo Tofu Bites

Okay, I’m back! Last night we had our first Presanctified Liturgy of Lent, followed by our first Lenten potluck of the year. I made Buffalo Tofu Bites (oil free, perfect for a strict fasting day), a snack that is much beloved by my friends at any time of the year – but especially during Lent, or on Super Bowl Sunday! Recipe below.

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I use water-packed tofu that is frozen and then thawed, giving it a meatier texture.

Last night I had to pop it in the commercial convection oven at church before I went to Liturgy. It bakes way faster, so I never know what temp to use or for how long. I ended up covering it with foil and baking it at 300 for about an hour, then ran to check on it and turn it after Communion, and popped it back in without the foil at 375 for the last 15 minutes I was in the chapel.

I was really nervous when Father decided to give a sermon at the end, but luckily the timing was perfect. It was nice and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. There have been a couple times when I came back to the kitchen to find my food shrunk down to almost nothing, or was totally blackened!

There she is. It made a little more than I could fit in the bowl, so…I ate the extras.

We also had homemade black bean burgers with avocado, all kinds of veggies, and a tahini spread. There were 3 or 4 soups, some sort of casserole with cornbread on top and kidney beans on the bottom, chips & salsa, rolls, a giant bucket of rice!

And ful mudammas with pita bread. I think that’s everything… Next time I’ll try to sneak in earlier and get more pictures!

Buffalo Tofu
2 14oz packages water-packed tofu*

*You’ll need to prep the tofu at least two days ahead. Leaving the tofu in its sealed package, freeze for one day to ensure it’s completely frozen solid. Then thaw either by leaving in the fridge (can take a couple days) or by placing tofu STILL IN SEALED PACKAGE in a sink filled with very warm water. It can still take a couple hours to thaw in the water, and you will have to add hot water a few times during the process.
Once thawed, press tofu between two plates to get excess liquid out. Tear tofu into bite-size chunks.

Tahini Buffalo Sauce
1/2 C tahini
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp garlic powder, or to taste
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, to taste
1 tsp turmeric for color
optional: 2 tsp nutritional yeast

Combine all sauce ingredients, then thin it down with water until it’s soupy, stirring the water in a little at a time.

Add tofu to sauce and toss to coat. Let marinate for 2 hours to two days.

Preheat oven to 400.
Cover a baking tray with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Spread tofu over tray in single layer and bake 45 minutes, or until tofu is nicely browned. Gently turn the tofu halfway through.

We often eat these Buffalo Tofu Bites on their own, but you can also serve them with celery sticks and your favorite vegan ranch or bleu cheese dressing.

2013 Lenten potluck #2: Potato Cakes & Gluten Free Cookies

I just got home from Presanctified Liturgy and the Lenten potluck that follows, and I thought I would post a little something now instead of saving it all for tomorrow. Tonight I brought potato cakes, gluten free peanut butter cookies, and some leftover spice cake from my grandma (we froze it after my mom’s birthday party). Here’s what I did for the potato cakes:

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Preheat the oven to 425. 5 lbs of Klondike Rose potatoes, washed. I poked them all over with a fork.

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I’m not sure how I long I baked them, at least 30 minutes, maybe closer to 45. I just keep an eye on them and give them a little squeeze (with an oven mitt on) to see if they’re done. Once they’re cool enough to handle, the skin practically peels right off in your hands – it’s okay if you don’t get all of it. At least I think so.

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I mashed them up, although not completely smooth, and added a few tablespoons of tahini. I also added a bit of salt, and garlic powder.

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Mix it all in. Might not hurt to use a handmixer, but I just stirred and stirred and turned and stirred with a spoon. Line a baking dish or two with parchment paper, or just grease them.

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Get a spoonful of the mixture…

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get your hands dirty…

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and make a little round cake. And then another.

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And then a few more.

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Keep going!!!

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I covered mine in foil and threw them in the huge convection oven at church during the Liturgy for not quite an hour at 275. Then I rushed over to the kitchen, took the foil off and turned the heat up to 350 and baked for another 5 to 10 minutes.

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I made 35, but I would’ve gotten around 40 or so if I hadn’t run out of room in the pans (and run out of time!).

Now, would you like to see the rest of the potluck food? Good. Because I actually remembered to take pictures this time.

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Lots of healthy, fresh fruit. You can also see my cookies and my grandma’s spice cake.

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Soup, hummus, bread & crackers, pecans that looked like they had some kind of glaze on them, and I believe the covered dish is shrimp jambalaya.

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Yep, you can see the label on it : ) It’s one of the staple items at the potlucks. And this is Nadira’s soup, it was REALLY good! I don’t know how she made it so creamy, and there were big chunks of potato and carrot.

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I’ve never seen so many soups at the potluck before. People had to take multiple bowls at once, but it was still impossible to get some of everything.

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I tried, though. The chili with avocado was excellent, and I’m always a fan of the classic Ants on a Log. I went back and got another soup with beans, chickpeas and mushrooms that was really good. I wanted to try all the rest, but I was full and did not want to commit one of the Seven Deadly Sins while at a Lenten potluck. Looking forward to next week, though!

Lenten banana oatmeal treats

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I forgot to take a picture of all the potluck food last night, and I forgot to take a picture of my plate until after I started eating! There were so many good things, though. I’ll post the picture I did get, along with pictures of what I brought, probably tomorrow night. Well, for now I do have pictures of one other thing I made – these 2 ingredient “cookies” I found over at The Burlap Bag. I say “cookies” because, in my very humble opinion, they didn’t really have the right texture. But…they were really good. And way better than I thought they could possibly be without sugar! Preheat your oven to 350.

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Two bananas.

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1 C quick cooking oatmeal. You could stop there, but…

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Optional: chocolate chips. I also added a pinch of salt. You know about me and salt.

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On a greased baking sheet, I got 15 smallish cookies out of this recipe. Bake for 15 minutes.

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They were very soft, I’m not just sure what they were like. I wonder, though, how you can ever go wrong with bananas and chocolate. I forgot to put them out with the other potluck items, but still they were found and eaten – all but a few, which someone took home before I had a chance to grab them. Success. Thank you, Burlap Bag!!