Cucumber, Corn and Tomato Salsa

My co-worker gave me some cucumbers she and her husband had grown in their garden. I wanted to use them right away as they were so fresh. This is a variation on a classic cucumber and tomato salad. I added charred corn for sweetness and smokiness. I also added poblano and jalapeno for spice. 

2 small or 1 medium cucumber, diced
2 ears corn
3 vine tomatoes, diced
1 poblano, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbls apple cider vinegar
2 tbls olive oil
2 tsps dry dill
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsps salt

I wasn't about to turn on the broiler to cook the corn. It's been in the 90's here. Instead, I used the same technique often used to char bell pepper. Put the shucked ears directly over a gas flame on the stovetop. If you don't have a gas stovetop you can broil them or use an outdoor grill. 

The corn will pop and make a bit of a mess on your cooktop, but it's worth it. 

Char the corn evenly all around. Allow to cool and them cut the kernels off the cob. 

Stir together all i…

Coconut Lime Curry Vegan Mac and Cheese

I wanted to make a vegan coconut lime curry. Which I did. It was a good broth/sauce that had a bit of heat. I didn't take a picture of it by itself. But it was good. But there are lots of recipes and pics of such sauces on the internet. Did we really need another? Yes, no, maybe so. Doesn't matter. What I've created is a totally new take on vegan mac and cheese.

Using the coconut lime curry sauce and adding to it barley and lentils turned the whole thing into a rich, creamy, cheesy vegan dream.

I know, everyone says that about their vegan mac and cheese, but in this case it's actually true.

Though technically not mac and not cheese. But when I ate it felt like that was just what I was eating. The trick is that the starches from the barley and lentils thickened up the coconut curry sauce in such a perfect way.

1 can coconut milk
2 cups water
1/4 cup vodka
2 tbls white vinegar
3 cloves garlic
1/2 a medium white onion
2 poblano peppers
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 a habernero pepper

2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 tsps turmeric
1 tsp ginger
2 tsps paprika
2 tsps cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp basil
1 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup dry pearl barley
1/2 cup dry lentils
1-3 cups more water
1 lime

Start by adding the all the ingredients in the first list to a large sauce pot. Also add all the spices except the cayenne.

Simmer, covered over low for 15 minutes to steep all the flavors. Taste the broth. It's already really good, right! You could use it as is as a great sauce over rice and beans or tofu. But if you want that creamy, cheesy deliciousness you crave, you'll have to go a few steps further.

Add barley and lentils and 1 cup more water. Simmer over medium, still with the lid on, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding water 1 cup at a time until lentils and barley are almost, but not quite tender. Always making sure to keep everything moist by adding more water as needed.

When the lentils and barley are almost tender you want there to still be a good amount of sauce in the pot. Everything should be loose, not too thick yet. If not, add another 1/2 cup of water. Turn off heat. Add zest and juice from lime and the cayenne. Recover. Let stand for 5 more minutes.

At this point, give it a few more good stirs and your vegan mac and cheese should be rich and creamy and ready to eat.