Saturday, August 31, 2013

Chincoteague Island, Virginia


Chincoteague Island is located on Virginia's Eastern Shore which is also known as the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland and Virginia).  We purchased a home here a while ago and try to get there as often as we can. Chincoteague Island was voted the #1 family beach town by AOL at one time.  Most of the homes on the island are vacation homes, however there are quite a number of local folks who live there year round.  The ocean is beautiful and not commercial in any way.  Just the beach and lifeguards. No boardwalk with neon signs here. There are scooters that you can rent if you chose not to drive on the island and there are plenty of those on the road in the summer.  The center of town is Main Street where there are family owned seafood restaurants and also some nice shops and a movie theater.  It only has one movie playing at a time. There are not many of those type movies theaters around anymore!  If you are an ice cream lover there are 3 ice cream parlors.  One is a beautiful old fashioned one. There's also a bakery with fresh donuts every morning. About a half hour away are tour boats that will take you to visit nearby Smith or Tangier Islands.  Also about one hour away is Ocean City, Maryland.

 Assateague and Chincoteague Islands are mostly known for their beautiful ponies that live a tranquil, quiet life.  The most popular time of year to visit Chincoteague Island is the last week of July when the ponies make their annual swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island. Mind you it is a very short swim and the local cowboys make sure that none are injured or in danger.  Being the animal lover that I am I would never write about this or promote this event if it endangered the ponies in any way.  The herd is taken care of very well during their time on Assateague Island with many of them living out their lives there.  It is a natural and beautiful setting.  Anyhow, the ponies swim to Chincoteague Island  to keep the herd at a number that can be managed.  The ponies are auctioned off to many people whose dream has been to own one of these ponies.  Several every year are donated back to the island and those are sold at at some of the highest bids. As high as $17,500.00  All monies raised are given to the local volunteer fire department of the island, who also maintain and care for the ponies. I don't have any pics of the pony swim itself this year since a sudden thunderstorm came over us and we ran for cover.  Hope you enjoy the pics and you may want to keep this Chincoteague Island in mind for a family vacation.  It is a wonderful getaway!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Black-Eyed Susan Salad

This is a great recipe that I found in a magazine called Cooperative Living.  A definite for summer. I love these kinds of salads as a side dish with just about anything.  I think the only thing I would change would be adding a pasta.  Maybe a tricolor pasta or perhaps a bow tie pasta.  Either way this salad is a keeper and hope you enjoy it.

15 oz can of black-eyed peas, drained
10 oz package of frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 T chopped pimento
2 T minced onion (I used a red onion)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 T white sugar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Combine the black-eyed peas, corn, pimento and onion in a mixing bowl and set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt and pepper.  Slowly whisk in the vegetable oil until the dressing emulsifies.  Stir the dressing into the vegetables until evenly coated.
Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sweet Chili Lime Tofu

At the moment this is my very favorite tofu recipe.  Since I still haven't cooked all that many dishes with tofu that is subject to change. However, even ordering tofu in restaurants hasn't changed my opinion. This sauce is sweet with just a touch of tang to it.  Plus it looks so pretty too. Nice and brown with a glaze...oh delicious!  I have to admit that my transition into eating a vegan diet has not been as easy as some people make it seem. I find it really, really hard to eat 100% vegan while on vacation.  While most restaurants certainly have vegetarian dishes (forget vegan, that's almost impossible) most of those dishes are bland and as expensive as ordering seafood or meat.  I find my best bet is to search out Asian and Oriental restaurants. Always something delicious there.

Anyhow, back to this dish.....I made basmati rice with this and another time I made quinoa.  Both are equally good.  Personally, I liked this better with rice.  Also some broccoli and corn mixed together.  Good combo.  Hope that if you are thinking of cooking up some tofu you try this.  I really, really think you will like it!!  I found the original recipe here.  The site also has a great step by step guide into making this...so it's really idiot proof.  Thank God!

Sweet Chili Lime Sauce
3 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs reduced sodium sauce
1 3/4 Tbs fresh lime juice
Zest of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 clove of fresh garlic, pressed, or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

Whisk all ingredients together until sugar and salt has dissolved.  Drain tofu and cut into small triangles.  Start by slicing the tofu into 8 rectangles, then cut each rectangle in two so you have two squares. Then cut square from corner to corner to then have two triangles. (See here for step by step instructions).

Heat a 10 in well seasoned cast iron skillet or non stick skillet over medium heat. I love my cast iron skillet for this. It works perfectly!  You should be able to fit all the tofu triangles in a skillet this size.  Heat about 5 minutes per side till nice and brown and a little crisp.  After about 10 minutes turn heat up slightly to medium high and add sauce.  This should bubble nicely.  Cook until it forms a glaze.  When a glaze forms turn off heat and pour into dish.  All the tofu should be completely covered in this glaze.  I enjoyed this over a bed of rice.