Sunday, January 31, 2010

amazing green lentil soup

This recipe comes straight to you through me from Deborah Madison's Kitchen, Vegetable Soups cookbook. I only changed one thing.

I'll let Matthew (boyfriend) be the critique.
"Look, here's the deal. Most people set off to make lentil soup with the grandest of intentions, and end up with quite mundane results. However, this recipe succeeds in both areas that a good lentil soup needs to. It is simplistic and cheep, while obtaining deliciousness."

Cheep is correct.. the only ingredient I didn't have on hand was the cilantro. $1.89 for eight servings of soup is pretty nice. Who doesn't want to make this soup now?

1 1/4 cup lentils (brown, green, black, or a mixture), soaked for 1 hour or longer
2 large cloves of garlic, pounded with 1 tsp salt
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
4 parsley branches and 4 cilantro branches tied together
2-4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 tsp ground cumin
6 chard leaves, finely chopped (I used kale here, it's just what I had)
1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
yogurt, about 1 tbsp per serving, or lemon juice to taste (I used lemon juice, obviously)

makes a generous 2 quarts, (serves 8 cup size servings)

1.Drain the lentils, and put them in a soup pot with 5 cups of water, the garlic, salt, bay leaves, and parsley/cilantro bundle. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Taste to be sure. Remove the bay leaves and herb bundle.
2. Once the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and the cumin and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it starts to brown. 15-20 minutes. Then add to the simmering lentils.
3. When you're ready to serve, simmer the chard (kale) in a little water until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add it with any juices to the soup along with the chopped cilantro. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Serve with a spoonful of yogurt in each bowl. Or, if you're not using yogurt, squeeze a little lemon juice into the soup before serving to bring up the acidity and brighten the flavors.


roasted garlic olive tapenade

Yes. Another olive tapenade. This one is quite different than the previous ones. It is a lot more refreshing tasting..and sharp.. if that makes any sense.

1 can of ripe black olives, drained
1 bulb of garlic, roasted
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried savory
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 big shakes of shallot salt (one of my new yummy seasonings from a spice shop. my version of being in a candy shop)

1. roast the garlic. here's how, just in case. this takes about 40 minutes, and will make your kitchen smell amazing.
2. add the dried spices to the olive oil, and let them sit while the garlic is roasting
3. add all the ingredients to a food processor/blender and wa-la!
4. I enjoyed this with some gluten-free, vegan crackers.. and if there were any left I would eat it on pretty much everything else.

rosemary roasted pepitas

I set out to make a pumpkin pie version of the cake you've been seeing over and over.. and I used sweet rice flour instead of regular brown rice flour - and it ended up being more of a bread pudding than a cake. My guests liked it - but I don't think you'll be seeing it on the blog. So, anyway - I had a pumpkin.. and here's what I did with the seeds.

I followed the Nourishing Gourmet's recipe, and they were simply fantastic. Thanks Kimi!

Oven! 350.

And I quote:
"2 cups of pumpkin seeds (or nut/seed of choice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced [I had to used dry]
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Plenty of freshly ground pepper"

Wash your pumpkin seeds and dry them as well as you can.. if you're using them straight from their source. Otherwise mix all the ingredients together in a bowl or simply on a large sheet pan, until everything is evenly coated.

Place them in the oven and check them every 5 minutes to stir them up.. This should not take longer than 15 minutes at 350 degrees. I took mine out, spread them on a plate covered in paper towels to soak up some of the oil and let them cool.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

sorry, i've been eating without blogging.

1. hot cocoa made with: coconut milk, cocoa powder, some enjoy life chocolate chips, cinnamon, and a pinch of cayenne powder.
2. lunch: wild caught cod baked in a little olive oil and lemon juice, with a LOT of fresh minced garlic on top.
3 & 4. dinner: pan seared scallops, with sauteéd mushrooms and garlic, with kelly's homemade red sauce, on top of brown rice linguine. And a side of steamed broccoli.
5. The cake again.. but this time.. with:

probably more than 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
a heaping 1/2 cup honey..(totally change-able based on desired sweet level. We enjoy a level 5 in these parts) (vegans.. you know what to do)
2 tbsp ground flax seed with 6 tbsp warm water
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
4 carrots, grated
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg


Sunday, January 17, 2010

apple walnut cake

I would enter this cake into a contest. It's perfect. It's fluffy, it holds together, it's not too sweet, it's totally healthy - even for someone who is staying away from eggs, dairy, gluten, and processed sugar. And I have my boyfriend to thank.. because it was he who created the recipe. It's the second time we've made it now - and we've got all the kinks worked out, so you won't be mad at me when you try to make it at home. ;)
Oven! 350. And grease a 9x13 baking dish with coconut oil.

3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
a scant 1/2 cup honey..(totally change-able based on desired sweet level. We enjoy a level 5 in these parts) (vegans.. you know what to do)
2 tbsp ground flax seed with 6 tbsp warm water
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 apples, finely diced (we use fuji)

In a big bowl mix the flours, salt, and baking soda. In another biggish bowl mix the melted coconut oil, vanilla, honey, and flax seed goo. (I usually wait a few minutes for the flax/water mixture to congeal, then I pour out the leftover water.. it probably doesn't make a difference.. but it's what I do.) Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix it 200 times around with a fork. Lastly, fold in the chopped walnuts and apples.
Pour the batter into the greased dish and bake in a preheated oven for about 30 mintues. LET IT COOL. Then enjoy :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

cashew butter cookies (gluten free & vegan)

I'm going over to my neighbor's home (Luke and Natalie's) for dinner tonight - and all I have to prepare is dessert! It's so lovely.. if felt like I had all this time to just relax and make dessert.. but now of course, I'm blogging and with only 30 minutes before I have to leave - I haven't even showered. Yes. It's dinner time and I still haven't showered.

This recipe was inspired by Cupcake Punk's cookies.. I didn't have to go buy any ingredients for these.. I just happened to have everything already.. so - don't be afraid to substitute ingredients for things you already have!

Oven! 350.
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (a short tsp)
1 tbsp apple sauce
5 BIG dates, pitted (or a couple more if they're a normal size)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup cashew butter
3 tbsp nut milk (I used hemp)
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
nuts for garnish (I used walnuts)

1. In a big bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a food processor, blend the rest of the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
3. Then add the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix again.
4. On a non-stick baking sheet, or on parchment paper place 1 1/2 inch balls of dough.
5. In the middle of each one, push in the (insert favorite nut here), and bake for 12-15 minutes depending on the oven.
6. Remove and LET COOL.. otherwise they'll fall apart. Basically, you're waiting for the coconut oil to harden back up.. because there is no gluten in these cookies.. they're pretty fragile until they've cooled for a little bit. I'm not talking hours - but if you can wait 20-30 minutes you'll be much happier.

Makes about 15 cookies.

Oh! And I forgot to mention.. these cookies taste freaking awesome.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

everything biscuits

I had a long list of things to do.. as usual, but wasn't inspired to do any of them. Maybe because it's a single digit outside. It's warmer in my freezer. I felt antsy to eat something new.. and all I have in my fridge is chicken broth, zucchini, parsley (that I always forget to add to the chicken broth), and friend's leftover booze from New Years Eve. So... the time for experimentation was upon me - and I got started.

Makes 2 dozen biscuits.

Oven! 325.
2 cups gf flour
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 big onion, diced
4 big pinches of dried dill (add whatever herbs are your favorite! And don't be shy with the amount!)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup + 3 tbsp grape seed oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt (I think they need more salt... I'd add another 1/2 tsp)

Step 1. Mix flour, seeds, onion, spices.
Step 2. Then add oil, mix. Then lemon juice and water, mix. At this point it will be a sticky mess.
Step 3. Once combined, add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt and fold over and over until one big ball of dough. Add more flour if you just can't stand how sticky it is.
Step 4. Put some extra flour on a side dish.. this is for your hands, so you can handle the dough.
Make balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.. then flatten the balls on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, with your floured fingers. They should be between 2 and 3 inches across.
Step 5. Bake at 325 for 35 minutes. Everyone's oven is different.. unless you have an oven thermometer, so check them and put them back, close to the heat if you want them to be darker, crispier biscuits.
Step 6. Enjoy your vegan, gluten free biscuits!

Leave 'em in 5 more minutes, or move them to the rack closer to the heat source for a crispier outside.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I recently had my first LÄRABAR. I'm not sure why it took so long for me to eat one.. they are a great healthy treat, even for me, in the granola bar section of any grocery store. Not even too too expensive. Anyway, after reading the super short list of ingredients on each flavor of LÄRABAR I thought I should make my own.

All you need for this is a food processor or blender and:
5 dates
3 handfuls of almonds
1 cup of shredded coconut
1 handful of raisins
1 ripe banana
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie blend
1/4 tsp almond extract

Blend until it sticks into one fully blended ball. oh yeah.. Oven! 200. (or 118 if you want it raw)
Put a sheet of parchment paper over a baking sheet, so the bottom doesn't cook too fast.
Spread the mixture over the parchment. I used a wet spatula to get an even 1/2" thick slab.
Bake for about 30 minutes, then cool and cut into squares.
These are great for a healthy little dessert, or for a boost-of-energy snack.

You can go to the LÄRABAR website and try to recreate their different bars.. or mix and match and make a new flavor of your own! Other ingredients they use a lot, that you can experiment with are:
orange peel/juice concentrate
coconut oil
cocoa powder
lemon or lime juice concentrate

quinoa stuffed acorn squash

So many posts in one day! And there's more to come! I served quinoa stuffed acorn squash for dinner tonight. A friend was on her way out of town, and neither of us felt like we had ingredients worthy of a dinner party nor did we want to shop for any - but we pulled it off. With her squash and quinoa, and my onion, spices, and broccoli.. we enjoyed a delicious dinner for 4.

Step 1. the bowl.
Oven! 350.
2 acorn squash (or 1/2 per person)

Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, put face down in a baking pan, poke with a fork, cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

Step 2. the stuffing.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed (pre-soaked is best)
2 tbsp olive oil (may need more)
1 med size red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cups water
1/2 cup broccoli florets
salt to taste

Use fine mesh filter to rinse the quinoa with cold water. (Quinoa is coated with a natural substance called saponin that protects the grain by repelling insects and birds. Rinsing the quinoa is important to avoid a raw or bitter taste. You can tell if there is saponin by the production of a soapy looking "suds" when the seeds are swished in water.)

Heat oil in a heavy saucepan. Saute the onions and garlic for four to five minutes.
Next add the grated ginger and quinoa. Cook for one minute stirring constantly until a fine, white spiral appears around each seed. Then stir in the turmeric, coriander, and cinnamon and cook for another minute. You can add the salt here, or at the end.. or not at all, and allow people to add their own amounts at the table.
Finally, add the water, bring it to a boil, then add the broccoli, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Scoop the quinoa into the acorn squash bowl and enjoy!

chicken soup and hanukkah gifts

Thank you Emily for the awesome engraved cutting board, which you will be seeing over and over in posts from now on.. and thank you to my aunt Allie for the cute new soup bowl :) They knew just what I wanted!

Lately, I've been eating A LOT of chicken soup.. but there are so many different versions; I can never get tired of it - and certainly neither does my digestive system. Today's version consisted of:

2 cloves of garlic
1 shallot
1/2 a red bell pepper

In a big iron pan, I
sauteed the veggies while thawing out one serving of chicken broth from the freezer. After 8 minutes or so, once the veggies were giving off the right aroma, I added the chicken broth and let it simmer together for a few more minutes.

Done. The most nourishing meal in 10 minutes. I'll remember that next time I complain about picking bones out of an 18 hour chicken broth.

"crookies".. my new mistake/invention

Sorry for abandoning you for the last couple weeks.. I've been on winter vacation, and you'd think I'd be posting more - but I've been travelling and pretty much just remaking and enjoying recipes I've already posted.

Anyway, I thought it would be better to call this cookie and cracker combo "crookies" rather than "crackies." But if you prefer the later, please call them by whatever you wish. :)

"Crookies" are basically semi-sweet cookies.. so they can be used like crackers. I used less sweetener than the recipe said - and now it is a multifunctional treat! I just ate half of the batch by spreading either honey, jam, or sliced bananas on top.. I guess you can turn any cookie into a "crookie" this way.

This particular "crookie" was inspired by a recipe from Can Eat!'s sesame and ginger cookies.
Follow that recipe if cookies are what you want. Or follow this one for your very first "crookie."

Oven! 350.
1 1/2 cups hazelnut meal (or almond flour)
1/4 cup honey (add more if desired)
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
4 tbsp water

Mix the nut meal, ginger, and baking powder, then add the honey and tahini, and lastly add the water. Scoop out onto a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes depending on the size of your oven. I just realized that my oven is really small.. so it probably takes less time for me.

Makes 12-14 "crookies"
Serve with any jam, honey, fruit topping, or dip them in tea.. or for you who can handle dairy.. I'm sure a fruit mixed into creamed cheese would be delightful.