I love an excuse to have DH fire up the ol’ grill. Yeah, he’s in charge of the fire around here. That grill freaks me out because it’s so old.

So, what do vegans eat on July 4th? Here’s my menu:

  • Sandwiches with portobello caps marinated and grilled with lettuce and my own dehydrated tomatoes, reconstituted of course.
  • Sicilian potato salad, grilled instead of fried.
  • Corn on the cob smeared with Earth Balance and sprinkled with salt and smoked paprika.
  • Asparagus spears with garlic salt.
  • Strawberries on vanilla Trader Joe’s soy ice cream.

I’ll provide recipes below for the sandwiches and potato salad but I’m assuming you can figure out how to grill corn on the cop and asparagus spears on your own.

Portobello cap sandwiches.

  • 2 large portobello caps
  • Make the marinade from page 112 of the Veganomicon cookbook. You may also mix a little olive oil, soy sauce, tarragon and balsamic to use as a marinade and you’ll be just fine. Either one will work.
  • 1/2 cup reconstituted dried tomatoes.
  • lettuce and maybe onion slices
  • various condiments, I like Vegenaise@ mayo and an earthy mustard
  • gnarly bread or buns
  1. Marinate the caps for 30 minutes then grill on medium, turning gently as they may stick to the grill.
  2. While those are marinating, reconstitute the dried tomatoes. You may reconstitute by boiling a half cup of water, put it in a small ceramic bowl with the dried tomatoes and cover quickly with a saucer. Let sit for at least 20 minutes, drain and use. I save the water and use it in another recipe.
  3. Preheat the grill for 15 minutes. Scrape the grill grate with a wire brush to clean after preheating. Oiling the grate with a paper towel and olive oil will help keep the mushroom caps from sticking.
  4. Grill on medium, or use the high rack on the grill, for 10 minutes per side. Time this with your other goodies so you know what goes on the grill first.
  5. Pile everything on your bread slices or bun and serve. Makes 2 sandwiches.

Since fresh tomatoes generally not in season on July 4th, I use dried tomatoes from my own garden. I cannot stress enough how much more flavor you can get from drying tomatoes. Think if it like the difference between a raisin and a grape.

Snarky’s take on Sicilian potato salad.

There are a lot of Sicilian potato salad recipes on the internet, some with green beans, some with olives and capers. It runs the gamut. My own take on this salad uses the huge batch of garlic scapes I harvested from my community garden plot. Most people make pesto from scapes but I thought I’d try using them here.

  • 10 medium red potatoes, cubed but not skinned*
  • 15 to 20 garlic scapes, cut into 1.5 to 2 inch lengths
  • 1/2 cups of chopped olives, I like kalamata but you could also try green, or a mixture
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 6-8 sprigs of fresh oregano or other herbs from your garden or windowsill, a sprinkle of dried herbs will do in a pinch
  1. Toss the potatoes, scapes and olives in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar.
  3. Pour the oil and vinegar in the large bowl and toss everything to coat. At this point, you can divvy them up in individually size foil serving packets or put it in the fridge until you’re ready.
  4. When ready to grill, divvy up the mixture into 6-8 foils packs. Top each serving with a sprig of fresh oregano and close the foil. Don’t put too many potato cubes in a single pack as it will take longer to grill.
  5. Grill for 20 to 25 minutes on high or the lower rack of the grill. Time will ultimately depend on your grill.
  6. Check for tenderness and serve.
After grilling. But be sure to watch carefully. A tad too long and your scapes will be black.

*I buy organic potatoes so that I don’t have to peel them. I like the skin for vitamins and fiber. Remember, potatoes are ranked number 9 on the Dirty Dozen list of produce with the most pesticides so if you’re going to buy them, buy organic. The Environmental Working Group checks produce each year to see how the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists are changing. They also have an iPhone app you can download to make shopping easier.

Thoughts on freedom for Independence Day.

This quote from Rhea Parsons pretty much sums it up for me: “Wishing independence, freedom and justice for every living being today and always.”

And here is a heartwarming story of 9 beagles (freegles) who are celebrating their new-found freedom today. This is a 3-tissue story so don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Only 75,000 dogs to go.

UPDATE—A note about salt:

I purposely left salt out of the potato recipe because I usually salt potatoes after cooking since they seem to absorb so much. In fact, potatoes are so good as making salt just disappear, you can use them to deal with things like overly salted soups and stews. Just toss a potato or two in and voila, not so salty.