Thursday, June 20, 2013

vampires modernes

I am still posting really old things from a few weeks ago (yikes!) but now that classes are over, I can finally catch myself up. 

I try not to freak out when I plan food for road trips. It's quite obvious (or it should be) that I am obsessed with planning, especially when related to food. Here are things I try to consider when packing food for trips:

-How long is the trip? - You need to consider just how much food you need to have handy. Also make sure to pack plenty of water!
-What needs to be used soon? - Look in your fridge: what food will go bad while you're out of town? Use whatever you would be throwing away a few days later. 
-What's quick and uses less dishes? - No one wants to be stuck doing dishes right before they leave town. If you really want to be ahead, make your meals the day before, so all you're doing the day of is packing them up or assembling them. Also be sure to pick something that doesn't take a lot of time because you will need this time to pack (because I am a late packer!).

This brings me to my #1 choice for roadtrips: wraps. Sandwiches can be a little messy but wraps hold themselves together, especially when foil is involved. I chose these chickpea salad wraps from Heidi's 2nd cookbook because they're filling, flavorful and have vegetables! Make these for your next roadtrip //Dinner du Jour (originally Heidi Swanson)

How to make a really good pina colada:
-Buy this stuff and this rum
-Follow directions on the bottle of coconut cream
-Be amazed and how delicious and easy that was!

I found Pimm's at an ABC Superstore at the beach...so Pimm's o'clock obviously!

The sound view from our beach house

I remember this being one of the first dishes I made a couple of years ago, when I actually started cooking. This meal is easy to pull together, filling, and amazing doused in hot sauce and nutritional yeast (like most things). I always try to encourage myself to try different dishes from the food I love (Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese, etc.) and expand my horizons a bit. Start with this recipe for polenta rancheros with cumin seeds and black beans! //Vegetarian 'Ventures

After being at the beach for almost a week and indulging in snacks and blended cocktails, we needed a detox...a detox with lots of vegetables. I found this delicious, easy salad recipe with yellow squash, swiss chard, and chickpeas with a basil dressing. It sounds boring but trust me, this is just what we both needed. Just a bowl of vegetables with beans. It's really crazy how much better we felt after eating this for a few days. //In Pursuit of More

Remember what I was saying above about expanding horizons? This is another one of those dishes. Stir-fried black rice with ginger fried tofu and kale. I really loved this with sriracha on top, but I can never gauge my relationship with fresh ginger. It's hard for me to find a balance with what is enough or too much ginger. If you're not a huge fan of ginger, I would reduce it just a little bit. But this meal is still really good! It's always nice to branch out and use different grains other than plain rice or quinoa. //Whole Living

One thing that has changed around here lately is the ridiculous amount of smoothies we've been making. Maybe it's the weather or the strep I was dealing with for a few days, but I find myself making them more than a few times a week. This one is one of my favorites and I really hope you will try it! Don't let lime juice with almond milk scare you; it works fine!

-1 C almond/coconut/vegan milk
-juice of 1 lime
-1 heaping cup of frozen strawberries
-1 frozen banana

Blend + serve, adding more milk as needed. Top with coconut flakes! //Noms For the Poor

No matter how sick I am or what it is, I will only eat soup. The thought of eating canned soup all week while I had strep made me feel even worse. So with joint effort, Mike and I pulled this soup together so neither one of us would have to eat processed crap. My mom has made this soup before and I love it because of how comforting it is. It's incredibly easy but it's delicious and filling. It only has a few basic ingredients like stock, carrots, a TON of celery (hence the title of chunky celery soup), potatoes, wild rice, onions and garlic. That's really it. Eat it with toasted, vegan buttered bread if you can chew stuff like that while sick. I ate this for days and never tired of it. //101 Cookbooks

By the looks of this post, I have been cooking my way down memory lane lately! I remember this being one of the first dishes I made in my apartment. Yeah, I get nostalgic about this kind of stuff. I've posted this before, so if you haven't made it by now...do it. I am obsessed with squash and zucchini so this recipe is obviously a favorite. Coriander spiced chickpeas, tomatoes, zucchini, lots of garlic and red onions. I could eat this for days. This pairs perfectly with white jasmine rice. //Martha Stewart

Monday, June 10, 2013

une ├ętoile filante

Wow. So I am really behind on my food blogging posts. Between taking trips out of town, summer classes, and a recent case of strep throat, things have been a *little* crazy. One good, new thing is that I now work at a gluten-free and vegan bakery! I am really excited to get more experience baking and to work in a bakery setting. So let's catch things up a bit!

I would really like to do a post about how to grocery shop with food restrictions. While I can't have gluten, wheat, or dairy and I don't eat meat, Mike has dietary restrictions as well due to gout. So, while my restrictions knock out big things like bread, pasta, chicken, cheese, etc., he has a similar long list of restrictions. These restrictions are things that are high in uric acids, such as: lentils, avocados, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, etc. It kills me that he can't eat so many good vegetables and things like lentils. So I try to always make things with vegetables he can eat. But while he's away...I binge on mushrooms, lentils, spinach, asparagus, etc. I made this fierce French lentil salad with oven-roasted tomatoes, almonds and a simple vinegar dressing. I love nothing more than lentil salads, or in any form. This salad is filling and easy to pull together! And it's from one of my favorite blogs //in pursuit of more

My first Negroni cocktail//Gin, Campari + Vermouth with orange

I made this as a belated Cinco de Mayo dinner. Tofu migas, which is tofu cooked with onions, peppers, jalapenos and corn tortilla strips & drunken beans, which are pintos cooked in onions, peppers, and GF beer. Absolutely delicious and simple! Comes from one of my favorite Happy Herbivore cookbooks //happy herbivore abroad

I made cupcakes for a wedding! They were somewhat of a hit, only because they were placed away from the other desserts. But still delicious and surprisingly easy for making 50+ of them! These are toasted coconut cupcakes stuffed with lemon curd and a vanilla buttercream, topped with toasted coconut. So delicious! //foodess

I don't improvise many meals because I am really nervous about screwing something up because I didn't follow a recipe...BUT, this was an improvised three-ingredient meal! This usually happens when I am lazy, broke, and don't feel like doing much. It actually ended up being very simple! "Recipe" below:

-1 tube of Italian herb polenta (the prepared kind), sliced into 1" thick rounds
-1 block of Twin Oaks Italian Herb Tofu (it's pre-seasoned and full of protein!) sliced into 1" thick squares
-1 jar or at least 2-3 cups of marinara sauce
- fresh torn basil and nutritional yeast (optional)

Spray a grill pan or non-stick skillet if you don't have a grill pan with oil. Place polenta on your pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden. Flip and cook the same amount on the other side. The polenta will turn golden and firm up. Remove the polenta to a plate. 

Spray pan with more oil and place tofu in pan. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side, flipping once, until firm and golden brown. Heat marinara sauce over the stove or in microwave. 

To assemble: Place one polenta round on a plate. Top with 2 squares of Italian tofu. Spoon marinara sauce on top. Sprinkle with basil and nutritonal yeast/cheese if you can eat it. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Enjoy!

I am always looking to try non-dairy substitutes for things. Although I never ate sour cream when I wasn't restricted, this cashew sour cream is seriously to die for. I made this black bean potato nacho plate, which uses mexican baked potato wedges instead of corn chips! It's such a creative idea and delicious because everyone knows fries are my weakness. This meal can come together in less than 30 and is incredibly healthy, especially topped with avocado and cashew sour cream! This is from one of my favorite blogs (whose cookbook I can't wait for!) //oh she glows

When the word "quick" appears in a recipe title, I automatically jump for it. Some nights I am pressed for  time, and others I'm not. This quick curry tofu with sauteed kale comes together in minutes and is absolutely delicious. Something about spicy kale with sriracha drizzled curry tofu and quinoa (which I added Earth Balance to) is amazing //vegan yack attack

So it may be obvious that I am obsessed with chickpeas...like, really obsessed. I eat them at least every week if not more than that. And they are incredibly versatile! They make hummus, falafel, flour, salads, soups, stews, burgers, etc. It's ridiculous! I just love beans in general. They are full of protein, easy to cook, so damn cheap to buy in bulk and so versatile. This chickpea salad is a new favorite around here. Chickpeas are cooked with cumin seeds, tons of garlic, tons of lemon juice and zest, and then tossed with cool cucumbers. Trust me that this is the chickpea salad of your dreams. Take it on a picnic and call it a day (then thank me for showing you this beauty) //The Kitchn

Another great quick weeknight recipe from Oh She Glows! Crispy breaded tofu strips (that are somewhat reminiscent of chicken fingers) and baked sweet potato fries! This dinner comes together so easily and would be perfect with a side of steamed kale. The sweet potato fries are spiced with cumin and cinnamon, which surprisingly go very well together! //Oh She Glows

Here's the really big news...Mike made me dinner. (?!!) I know. Not that he never makes dinner for me, but this time he kind of tweaked the recipe to his own liking...and it was to die for. I can't really express how good it was. It's basically quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, green onions, and a TON of lime juice/zest. Doused in Franks red hot, I was talking about this for days. Recipe below: 

-zest and juice of 2 limes (zest them first!)
-3 T olive oil
-salt + pepper
-1 C dry quinoa, rinsed
-2 C water
-1 can black beans
-2-3 medium tomatoes, diced or a big can of diced tomatoes
-4 scallions chopped
-1/4 C cilantro
-hot sauce (optional but you seriously must)

Cook the quinoa: Bring 2 C water to a boil. Add quinoa. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook 15 mins, turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Whisk lime juice and zest, oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper together in a large bowl.

Heat tomatoes in a large skillet on medium for a few minutes, heating them and letting them boil a little bit. Add beans and scallions, cooking a few more minutes to  heat and mix. Remove from heat and toss in bowl with dressing and quinoa. DOUSE in hot sauce. That's an order.

Another improvised recipe: pasta with garlicky kale marinara + garlic bread

-GF pasta (1 box)
-28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
-a ton of minced garlic
-a ton of red pepper flakes
-some red wine (for sauce and for you)
-nutritonal yeast
-kale, chopped + de-stemmed
-GF bread
-Earth balance
-optional add-ins: chopped roasted red peppers, capers, fresh basil

Cook your pasta according to box directions. Heat a shallow pan over medium. Add some oil, then add garlic. Cook until fragrant. In the last few seconds of cooking, add a pinch of red pepper flakes and stir. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer until bubbles form. Let this cook 10-15 minutes until thickened. You can stir in more Italian herbs, thyme, some red wine (a big glug), salt, pepper, etc. Cook until it's the right consistency to your liking. 

When the pasta is almost done cooking, add kale to the pasta water. Cook until pasta is done and kale is blanched. Drain them together and toss with amazing pasta sauce that you just made. Top with nooch or cheese if you're cool and not lactose intolerant!

For garlic bread: This is not the "correct" way to make garlic bread but whatever. Preheat your oven to 400. I take GF bread, butter Earth Balance on both sides, stuff garlic and Italian herbs inside, then sandwich the pieces together. Wrap this in foil to cover and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, checking every so often to make sure it isn't burnt. Ta-da! 

Makeshift fruit salad: chop fresh local peaches, hand-picked strawberries from your generous dad + toss with fresh mint, fresh basil, and a touch of agave. Damn good.

Minestrone is definitely in my top list of things I love cooking. While it was a favorite of mine growing up, I've found that nothing truly beats homemade minestrone. There are so many variations on this soup that I never get tired of it. This one includes swiss chard (leaves AND stems), chickpeas, GF shell pasta, parsley, carrots, tomatoes, red pepper flakes and it comes together so beautifully. I am still drooling over it. I also can't believe how well this photo came out considering there's no filter. It makes me want to write a cookbook, really badly. Please do yourself a favor and make this soup. I LOVE swiss chard from the bottom of my heart and this soup makes it shine //Foodess

Two words: Creamsicle. Mimosa. 
Two more words: Holy. Shit. 
A suggestion: Make this immediately //How Sweet Eats