Tomato and White Bean Salad

I’ve been waiting for months to make this salad again. Waiting for fresh tomatoes and sweet onions from the garden, basil from the pot on my front step…finally I couldn’t wait any longer. If I waited for my own tomatoes it would be late August before this came to be so we made do. Bob bought some unbelievable cherry tomatoes…so pretty!

These are not from my garden!

But this onion did come from our backyard. The first year growing them and we lucked out. They are very mild and perfect for eating in salad. (Try a slice of sharp cheddar cheese with a small slice of mild onion on top. It’s one of the best flavour combos).

I think this photo is really cool. Love Instagram! Doesn’t this kind of look like it belongs in a film noir or something?

This salad should work as a main source of protein for the vegan/vegetarians and as a really great side dish for the carnivores. On its own with some bread (or not), it makes a perfect lunch, outside, feet up, with a good book. It doesn’t really work for Evan, who hasn’t decided he’s going to try fresh tomato, nor beans, let alone all mixed up in the same bowl! Plus there are “bits of green” in it, which crosses it off his list immediately. So we ate this salad with some flank steak and quinoa. Bob The Veg ate the quinoa and salad, Selective Evan had quinoa and steak and I happily enjoyed all three. One meal, three ways.

Tomato and White Bean Salad
We were in a hurry when I made this salad and completely forgot to make a vinaigrette but it didn’t need it in the end. If you want one, drizzle some olive oil and vinegar. Use a mild vinegar like champagne vinegar or rice vinegar.

1 can small white beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered or larger tomato diced small
1/2 cup diced mild onion
1/2 cup basil, sliced in ribbons
coarse salt and pepper to taste

Wacky Cake (Eggless Chocolate Cake)

Just when I finished congratulating myself for not gaining any weight over the holidays we had a belated birthday dinner a few nights ago for my brother and Evan and there are were two different kinds of ice cream in the freezer along with some leftover holiday chocolate. Oh well. I went for a run today (the fact that I even mentioned it gives you a clue as to how novel that is). Does it still count if I only really ran for about 5 minutes before I needed to walk? Probably better than just wearing my workout gear around the house all day, right? Good thing I work from home.

Wacky cake, if you didn’t know, is an old recipe…believed to be from WWII when ingredients like eggs and milk were rationed. ┬áBut since eggs and milk are common allergens, it works well for the allergic set too. Cakes without eggs can tend to be crumbly so I use milk (usually 1% because we have it around but it would probably be even better with whole milk) and melted butter instead of the vegetable oil from the original recipe as I think it makes it a bit more substantial.

It doesn’t rise too much so it’s better as a layer cake if it’s for a birthday. (And mine sunk in the middle but my oven is old and doesn’t heat evenly). If it was to be brought to someone else’s place I’d have doubled the recipe to make two full layers. But since any leftovers would be hanging out in our kitchen (not for long I might add), I decided to use loaf pans, split the single recipe batter in half and make an oblong layer cake instead. It still tastes good even if it’s a different shape!

There are many variations of this recipe on the internet and I have no idea where I found the one I’ve adapted. Lots of them say to make 3 separate wells in the dry ingredients and pour the vanilla, water (milk) and oil (melted butter) in each but you don’t need to do that. Just mix the dry, mix the wet, pour wet into dry. Couldn’t be easier.

Eggless Chocolate Cake

1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350

Sift all dry ingredients together and stir to blend well. I used the whisk attachment on my mixer so I’d have my hands free to get the wet ingredients together but you can use a fork or a hand whisk. In a 2 cup measure, melt the butter and then add the milk, vanilla and vinegar to it and stir well. The milk will start to curdle a bit but you want that. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. (Over-mixing doesn’t hurt this cake and I think it even helps). Pour into an 8″ pan (round or square) and bake for 35-40 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you want this to be vegan, substitute vegetable oil for the melted butter and use 1 c. water instead of milk.