This week’s blog post comes from Joseph Shuldiner, graphic designer, photographer, writer, and cook with a passion for gourmet plant-based recipes, D.I.Y. cuisine, and locally sourced ingredients. His talents all come together in his beautiful new book Pure Vegan, which celebrates the vegan lifestyle with an inclusive and flexible philosophy. Joseph’s approach to vegan cooking and eating has none of the austerity or deprivation found elsewhere, so it’s fitting that his selected recipe celebrates one of life’s greatest indulgences—relaxing on a gorgeous beach far away from the cares of daily life.
Committed or aspiring vegan? Striving to add more vegetables to your diet? Looking to capture the flavors of summer? All are welcome! Leave a comment to be eligible to win a copy of Pure Vegan (offer valid in the US and Canada only).
Summer has crept up on me, and suddenly I’m experiencing that unprepared feeling of having no getaway plans. Were I to venture out from my kitchen at this very moment, if only in my mind, I would be someplace away from my cellphone’s ringtone and email’s siren call. Being a California boy, I’m pretty sure that would be Mexico’s Pacific Coast. My fantasy definitely involves a beach situation—sand, salty sea air, slushy, ice-cold drinks and a beach chair.
Well, snap out of it. I’ve got things to do and deadlines to meet so that leaves me with a proxy scenario—a deck chair in my backyard and a chilled bowl of ceviche will have to suffice. Ceviche, traditionally a beachside seafood cocktail “cooked” with fresh lime juice, can easily be transformed into a virtual vegan beach vacation.
A trip to your local market—a farmers’ market, if you’re lucky enough to have one—is all you need to create a vegan ceviche. Here in California, I recently opened my own certified farmers’ market and have some of the best Southern California farmers selling there. My pals Shu and Debby Takikawa grow organic potatoes with silky-thin peels that melt in your mouth on their farm “The Garden Of…” Jack Motter, from Ellwood Canyon Farms, grows Persian cucumbers that don’t have a hint of bitterness and Teddy Bliss brings avocados from his parents’ grove in Carpinteria, a town known not only for its annual avocado festival, but its calm beaches.
My recipe suggests new potatoes, peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, cilantro, olives and a ripe avocado, but I admit that sometimes in a moment of spontaneity, I employ the “kitchen sink” method of substitution. I open my refrigerator’s produce bin and then just start chopping away. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that without fresh lime juice, it just wouldn’t be the same, but lemons will work in a pinch.
I guess next to a beach vacation, a meal that evokes the fields and groves of farmers’ early summer crop is the next best thing.
Ceviche de Vegan
4 ounces new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup green olives, pitted and halved
1 cup small cherry tomatoes, halved, or 10 ounces sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and coarsely chopped
1 to 2 Persian cucumbers, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1/2 cup). If Persian cucumbers aren’t available, substitute a hothouse variety
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan and add cold water to cover by 2 inches. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the potatoes give easily when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 8 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them; they should still be firm enough to hold their shape well.
In a large bowl, combine the warm potatoes with the jalapeño, bell peppers, onion, garlic, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, and cilantro.
In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir until well mixed. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and stir gently until all of the vegetables are evenly coated, being careful not to break up the cubes of potato. Add the avocado and stir gently to combine. Serve right away at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to 3 days and bring to room temperature before serving.
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