Sweet and Spicy Tomato and Kidney Bean Salad

One of the best things about not eating meat is that you can make meals without having to actually cook anything. Just cut, combine and stir. Whether you're in a hurry, feeling lazy or just want that fresh crunch, a plant based diet gives you the freedom to cook without literally cooking. 

Especially as the weather gets warmer, it's convenient to just cut and combine. It's also surprisingly tasty to keep those fresh ingredients in their natural state. 

The textures and flavors are vibrant and exciting. 

A little salt, a little acid, some  fat, a spice or two and you're all set with a delicious meal. 

1 can dark red kidney beans
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 poblano pepper, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 long hot pepper, diced
1 serrano, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbls olive oil
2 1/2 tsps salt
1 1/2 tsps crushed pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. 

That's it. You're done. Enjoy your not so hard work.

Shallot, Garlic, Jalapeno Jam (Vegan)

Shallots... the British seem to love them. I've always thought of them as overpriced onions. But inspired by MasterChef Pro UK I decided to give them another go.

A little googling turned up a distinct theme for shallot based sauces. They mostly were red wine and balsamic based. So I caved to peer pressure and did the same. Of course I had to add a little garlic and jalapeno. I could not resist.

I also kept it vegan. No butter. No cream. No cheese. Personal preference.

I also reduced mine much further than a typical sauce to wind up with more of a shallot jam.

As you can see by the picture I used it on a sandwich.

One. Of. My. Favorite. Sandwiches. Of. All. Time.

More on the sandwich itself at another time.

3 medium shallots minced, peels  and ends reserved
3 cloves garlic minced, peel reserved
1 small jalapeno minced, ribs reserved
1/2 cup broth from peels/ribs (recipe is below)
2-3 cups Red wine
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
salt and pepper

Add 1 tsp of olive to a 10 inch fry pan and heat it on medium high heat. Add shallots. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir to coat in the oil. Continue stirring and cooking until shallots are translucent and tender. Keep cooking, stirring often until shallots have lightly caramelized. Approximately 10 minutes.

Add garlic and jalapeno. Continue stirring and cooking to soften those as well. Being careful to make sure nothing burns.

Add enough red wine to fill the pan 3/4 of the way. Stir to combine and deglaze. Simmer on medium until reduced by half. Add vinegar and broth. Stir to combine and continue simmer over medium heat until further reduced to a very thick sauce consistency. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve warm immediately or remove to a storage container and let cool  Store at room temp to maintain a similar thickness or store in the fridge to thicken even further.

Broth Recipe
Add peels/ends from garlic, shallots to 1 cup water. Add jalapeno ribs. Add peels/ends from one small red onion. Add 1 tsp each salt and pepper. Simmer for at least 15 minutes. You'll need to strain the liquid to remove alll the peels/end/ribs. The liquid that remains after straining is the broth called for in the shallot jam recipe.