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August 2005
Too Hot to Handle
Recipes by Joshua Ploeg

On these hot August nights, many of us “urban critters” would probably prefer to go into our dens and hibernate rather than sweat over a hot stove to make dinner. This is especially true if you lack an air-conditioned habitat. Never fear, the following recipes use pre-cooked ingredients and no stove at all. This should satisfy a party of four hungry individuals, just be sure to make enough skewers.

1 Bunch Romaine Lettuce, chopped
2 Cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 C. Radishes, chopped
1 Small Red Onion, thinly sliced
2 Medium Tomatoes, diced
1 Small Bunch Flat Leafed Parsley, chopped
1 Small Bunch Mint, chopped
1 C. Pita Bread Chips
2 to 3 t. Red Wine Vinegar
1 T. Lemon Juice
1⁄4 C. Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 t. Sumac Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Mix together vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, sumac, salt and pepper and allow to sit for several minutes.

2. In a salad bowl, toss dressing with all ingredients except pita bread chips. Adjust seasonings to taste.

3. Sprinkle pita chips on top and toss quickly.

Serve very soon thereafter.

Easy Summer Foul
1 C. Garbanzo Beans, cooked
1 C. Fava or Butter Beans, cooked
1⁄2 C. Pickled Artichoke Hearts
1⁄2 to 3⁄4 C. Veggie Broth or Bean Broth
1⁄2 C. Olive Oil
1⁄4 C. Lemon Juice
4 Garlic Cloves, coarsely chopped
1 Small White Onion, coarsely chopped
1 Small Red Chili, halved
Salt, Pepper and Cinnamon to taste
Handful of Fresh Parsley, Oregano or Marjoram and Dill

1. Puree all ingredients in a food processor, adding more liquid if necessary. Adjust seasonings to taste.

2. Drizzle with some olive oil and garnish with chopped herbs, minced white onion and pine nuts, if desired.

3. Serve this with flatbread or pita.

Summer Melon Skewers
For each skewer:
1 Wedge of Cantaloupe
1 Wedge of Honeydew Melon or Watermelon
2 Vegan ‘Lunchmeat’ slices
2 Large Pitted Olives (stuffed olives are great for this)
2 Roasted Red or Yellow Pepper Strips
2 Large Basil Leaves
2 Cherry Tomatoes
4 Large Seedless Grapes
Tasty Marinade

Mix the following ingredients to taste:
Wine Vinegar
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Fines Herbs
Lemon Juice

1. Marinate ‘lunchmeat’ slices and melon for half an hour in the refrigerator.

2. Prepare your kebabs. Place two grapes on your skewer, sliding them down almost to the base. Next wrap the cantaloupe wedge in a vegan ‘lunchmeat’ slice and a basil leaf and slide it onto the skewer, followed by an olive wrapped in roasted pepper strip, a cherry tomato, another olive in roasted pepper strip, the other cherry tomato, then the piece of honeydew wrapped in the same fashion as the cantaloupe wedge, and finally the last two grapes.

3. Serve with the following dipping sauces and some flatbread or pita.

Pomegranate Savory Dip
Mix to taste pomegranate concentrate, olive oil, tamari, lemon juice and some sweetener. It will not take very much pomegranate to make this strong. You may add fruit juice to thin it out if necessary (orange works well).

Vegan Yogurt Sauce
Blend together 1 C. vegan sour cream with juice of 1 lemon, 2 minced garlic cloves, a handful of chopped herbs (a mix of dill, mint and flat leafed parsley), and a few T. of olive oil. Salt to taste and adjust seasonings, thin out with soy milk if need be. This is also good with the bean and artichoke puree. This will be, as they say in California, hella sour.

Finest Figs

1 Pint Fresh Figs
1/3 C. Sweet Wine
1/3 C. Date Sugar
2 T. Mint, minced
1⁄4 C. Balsamic Vinegar

1. Blend wine, sugar, mint and vinegar. Adjust seasonings to taste and set aside.

2. Split the figs and marinate with the sauce for a short while.

3. Serve on small dessert plates. Your lovely garnishes can be ribbons of lemon and orange peel with mint sprigs.

For a nice beverage to go with it all, may I suggest a sparkling mineral water spritzer with orange-tangerine juice, using frozen grapes instead of ice cubes! Garnish with citrus wedges.

Have a great time with these recipes and please enjoy the rest of your summer.

Recipe of the month, tour information and occasional diatribe: Contact Joshua at His cookbooks are available at



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