Friday, May 30, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

I'm not sure why, but when I get new kitchen appliances, it usually takes me a few months to use them. I received a lovely waffle iron for Christmas, but I didn't use it until this past weekend! I don't think I've ever had homemade waffles before (not from a restaurant), so these were a real treat. I had a few recipes picked out, but I settled on this one because the ingredients are very basic for a GF vegan recipe. 

As you can see, they turned out great! The best part is that they really don't take very long to make, which is always a plus for breakfast. These turned out super fluffy and delicious, but didn't reheat so well the next day. For serving (shown in the first picture) I made some cinnamon rum fried bananas and maple syrup. 

We went to Clayton this past weekend and our dinners were filled with delicious vegetables and herbs from the garden! These are farmer's market vegetables to be roasted on trays with fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary), smashed garlic cloves, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and some pepperoncinis (and their juices). So delicious! 

After having to kick out one of my "go to" places for a decent meal, I've been searching around for somewhere that won't kill me when I don't feel like cooking. I happened to find not one, but two places last week in the same day. This delicious tuna steak Niçoise is from Liberty Oak, which is downtown. They were very careful to prepare my food properly and I was fine afterwards. This same day, I also went to Fuji Sushi where I tried ikura for the first time. I would normally never want to try roe, but I am hooked. It makes a great substitute for soy sauce too, since almost every sushi place in Greensboro doesn't have GF soy sauce. I also tried yellowtail, which was alright. I was feeling pretty adventurous, I guess you could say! For Memorial Day, my family grilled some salmon and tuna steaks, so I think I'm "fished out" for a while, but I definitely want to start cooking it more. And maybe make some ikura topped deviled eggs while I'm at it...

I love recipes that have different variations on it, like miso soup or this: mejadra or mujaddara (depending on how you spell it). The best part about mujaddara? It's a fast, simple, and delicious meal that is satisfying on any night. I have made the second linked recipe, which is a lot more simple but topped with a spiced yogurt. This one is chock full of crunchy coriander seeds, allspice and cinnamon, and other warm spices. Squeeze lemon juice on top with extra fried onions, and you're good to go. This definitely would've been better with some vegan yogurt, but it was still satisfying (and it makes a TON of food). I actually used the onion part of the recipe from the second one since it's not deep fried, but use whichever one you want!

It's smoothie season! Especially when I have fresh herbs and local produce on a regular basis. Smoothies are a great lunch option when you're busy or not feeling so great. This recipe has: strawberries (local), basil (from the garden), frozen banana, kale (local), peanut butter, hemp seeds, lemon juice, and almond milk.  It may sound like an odd combination but it was actually really good. Hopefully I'll be posting more smoothies around here now!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Strawberry Vodka Smash

Mike's mom gave me some huge sprigs of mint from her garden that weren't exactly "edible", but perfect for making mint simple syrup. The great thing about this syrup is that it takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish, and it keeps 2 weeks in the fridge! I also got a new bucket of local strawberries yesterday from my parents, so I obviously put two and two together for this delicious summer cocktail! Expect to see more cocktail recipes around here now!

Strawberry Vodka Smash
makes 1 cocktail
  • 1/4 cup of (local) strawberries, tops removed and halved
  • 1/2 - 3/4 oz mint simple syrup
  • 1 oz vodka (Tito's is GF)
  • ice
  • tonic water
  • fresh mint sprigs (optional)
  1. Place strawberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Use a muddler, or the top of a wooden spoon (and some elbow grease), and mash berries until almost pureed. 
  2. Add mint syrup and vodka. Shake vigorously. 
  3. Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour strawberry mix over ice.
  4. Top with tonic water and optional torn fresh mint sprigs.
  5. Stir and enjoy!

Looking for delicious strawberries in the Triad area? My family has been going to Bernie's Berries for as long as I can remember and I highly recommend them. I've never had tastier strawberries in my life. Plus you can pick them yourself, if you want!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fresh Basil Scrambled Eggs & Zucchini-Potato Hash

I can finally check something off my bucket list: we have an herb garden going! Yesterday we ventured to the Raleigh farmer's market to buy some herbs (and produce, of course). We are now growing: globe basil, Thai basil, fennel, Italian oregano, mint, silver thyme, lettuce and banana peppers. I am beyond excited to see how they do over the summer. I will be adding dill and maybe some French (Provence) lavender to the mix if these turn out well. I'd also like to do some more peppers, if possible. Anyways, I'm thrilled, and this morning I woke up craving a typical summer breakfast for me: something with fresh herbs and farmer's market produce. So here are two recipes I created this morning that you can enjoy all summer long!

Fresh Basil Scrambled Eggs
  • 2-4 fresh eggs 
  • 1 TBS almond milk 
  • 1-2 TBS fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • salt + pepper
  • 2-3 tsp vegan (or regular) butter
  1. Preheat a skillet on medium heat. Add a small pat of vegan/regular butter and wait for it to melt.
  2. In a bowl, beat the eggs with almond milk, a pinch of salt, pepper and basil until smooth. I usually do two eggs per person. 
  3. When the butter is melted, add the eggs and a teaspoon of butter. Scramble, using a spatula, for another minute or two. 
  4. Add another teaspoon of butter and scramble some more, until cooked to your desired consistency. The butter makes the eggs super fluffy and adds a little decadence! 

Zucchini + Potato Hash
  • 1-3 large Russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small zucchinis, diced
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced,
  • 1 TBS olive oil, divided 
  • salt + pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  1. In a pot big enough to fit the potatoes with some room, place the potatoes inside and add enough water to cover by an inch or more. Set to boil on the stove. When boiling, turn down slightly and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. It should pierce easily with a fork. When tender, drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat a large skillet on medium heat. Add 1/2 TBS olive oil, then potatoes and a pinch of salt. Saute, until starting to get crispy, about 6 minutes. 
  3. Add the zucchini, paprika, cumin, another pinch of salt and another 1/2 TBS olive oil. Turn the heat up to med-hi to sear. Stir, and cook about 5-6 minutes, until everything is starting to sear and cook through. There should be little black marks under everything and the zucchini should be tender.
  4. In the last two minutes of cooking, add the garlic and stir. Adjust seasoning to your liking and serve!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

Sorry for such a delay! Summer classes have started and I've been running around lately. Anyways, this Greek chopped salad is incredible. It was so easy, delicious and refreshing! Adding pepperoncinis and kalamata olives made it especially tasty. For a bulkier salad, add some cold cooked quinoa and baked tofu with Greek seasoning.

When I convert baking recipes, sometimes I'm afraid they won't turn out right. Surprisingly enough, this has only happened once when I added too much salt to a blueberry scone recipe. These little beauties are PB&J potato chip thumbprint cookies that are GF and dairy-free. This is also the first dessert I've ever made with peanut butter, which is crazy! These turned out wonderful and everyone who tasted them, loved them. I'm still daydreaming about them! I'm proud to say these were also made with some homemade strawberry jam from my neighbor.

This is the second time I've made this easy spicy Asian tofu because it goes well with everything! I usually stick to Isa's two-ingredient broiled sesame tofu, but sometimes I find myself craving something more. So we had this tofu with chili-ginger stir-fried pak choi + broccoli and brown rice. I've never heard of pak choi before, but I bought some that was grown at Guilford College at a little store up the street from me. They are a very basic Asian green that is related to bok choy, hence the name. You could easily substitute spinach or kale in place of the pak choi greens. 

Here's a typical weekend breakfast for us: salsa scrambled eggs, buttered toast and oven-broiled grapefruit! So easy, filling, and delicious.

Nothing makes me happier than making a dish with a bunch of spices and colorful vegetables! I've been eyeing this recipe for cumin-spiced chickpeas + vegetables for a while now, and I'm so glad I made it! This is more of a stew, but it's really easy to pull together even with a long-ish ingredient list. The result was warm, comforting, and slightly spicy. This would be perfect topped with harissa paste, as the recipe suggests, but I sprinkled in some dried harissa powder instead.

My basil is still growing strong (yay!) so I've been trying to use it in recipes every week. I decided to use it for Angela's tomato basil cream pasta in her cookbook, which has been amazing so far! The recipe I've linked is an old one of hers, that's not the same in her book, but it's very similar. The flavor was great and the her title "luxurious" describes it perfectly. It's an easy meal for any weeknight, but feels fancy enough for a special dinner date. I topped mine with extra basil (of course) and nutritional yeast. Pair with a bottle of your favorite red wine, and you're good to go! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

Let me say this: I have hated pickles most of my life. Just the thought of them was enough to make me sick. But now, if I can find just the right kind, I love them. I guess I can chalk this up to my latest love affair with briny, fermented foods. While these pickles are a little expensive, they're well worth it if you can splurge on accoutrements for burgers (or snacking). They also make whiskey sour, extra spicy, and IPA brined pickles. Unlike pickles, I've loved mustard for as long as I can remember. Now that I'm older, I prefer spicier, brinier mustard varieties. Lusty monk is made in Asheville, so it's local, and there are tons of whole mustard seeds in just one jar. So be prepared to feel the burn! I can't wait to put both of these jars on everything. Last night I had leftover veggie burgers with pickles and mustard, and it was heavenly.

I probably sound like a broken record by now, but I am seriously loving red cabbage with Asian flavors. This recipe comes from Isa Does It and it consists of a sesame Asian slaw, quinoa, edamame and sesame broiled tofu. Alright, maybe I'm a little obsessed with this combo lately. I added some cooked quinoa for extra protein, which worked great here. I'm definitely going to double the ginger miso dressing next time because it's so delicious! I can't wait to try red cabbage in different ways this summer.

I used to LOVE getting black bean nachos at Mexican restaurants. Honestly, I sometimes wish I could go to a Mexican restaurant for a big plate of nachos, guacamole, and maybe a margarita. Sadly, this isn't possible for me, but these vegan breakfast nachos definitely make it a little easier! These are topped with roasted potatoes, black beans, scrambled tofu, chopped tomatoes, guacamole, cilantro, and chili lime cholula. I wanted to make the queso but I am out of miso paste right now. These nachos are incredible, which is an understatement, and they would be perfect for a Friday night in! We ate ours with a mix of Kraken, lime and hot ginger ale to make for a perfect meal.

Now that is sort of "officially" summer, I've been craving fresh basil like crazy! I finally bought a little "pre-planted" basil pot to grow in my windowsill. I used it on Friday to make this creamy vegan garlic lover's pasta with tomatoes and GF pasta. I love that this pasta doesn't use soaked cashews, but it's still super creamy and quick to make! I didn't roast my tomatoes in order to make this dish a little quicker, and it was still delicious. 

This isn't food related, but I just had to share: my first knitted scarf! I've been working on it on and off for almost a year, but I finally finished it the other day! It's made from about 1 and a half standard balls of purple yarn. This is the first thing I've ever knitted, so I'm pretty proud of myself! I can't wait to try other projects this summer. It's hard for me to knit during the school year, but hopefully I can find more time this coming semester!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

This is maybe my favorite vegan mac + cheeze recipe that is SO easy and delicious. We added steamed mustard greens for sustenance. This is the second time I've made this recipe.

I had some pretty bad allergies for most of this week, so I whipped up some AMAZING coconut chana saag from Isa Does It. I can honestly say I've never made a bad recipe from her before, and this is possibly the best Indian food I've ever made. The fennel seeds give a nice anise flavor to the dish, and jasmine rice and cilantro are essential for this meal to be complete. It's also fairly easy for a weeknight Indian dish!

I posted my favorite recipe for miso ramen soup this week, that always makes me feel better! I'm convinced the combo of miso, raw garlic and ginger cured me.

My favorite gluten-free beer is finally out! It has a short season of only a couple of months, but it's so good. It's made with strawberries, sorghum and buckwheat honey.

 I was in Raleigh all weekend, so I made some vegan burgers from the Oh She Glows cookbook. I couldn't find the recipe from the book online, but this is the recipe she made before publishing her book and they're pretty similar. They're made from black beans, sunflower seeds, flax, GF breadcrumbs, carrots and more! They're a little time consuming because of the long ingredient list, but they're delicious, healthy and full of flavor! Veggie burgers are great for traveling because all you have to do is heat it up, add toppings, and eat with a side! My friend Piper made us a delicious saute with Farmers market zucchini, onions, bell peppers, carrots and Greek oregano. 

 So Piper made some amazing "braised" red cabbage this weekend with smashed garlic. And being the weirdo I am, I had this for breakfast with some pan-sauteed quinoa and an egg. I made this recipe again as soon as I got home again, so maybe I will post it if any of you are interested! I'm always looking for easy ways to use up leftover red cabbage. 

I was in Raleigh for Piper's bridal shower this weekend, so I made one of my favorite desserts: pink lemonade bars! They are GF/dairy-free but no one could tell :) And they're perfect for the warm weather.