Saturday, May 30, 2009

super easy apple pie, thats also totally vegan

Last week we were having some friends over for a backyard BBQ, and I was trying to figure out something to make for dessert. Katie and I are by no means bakers, and really don't eat that many sweets, but when I saw a pie crust in the freezer and a mound of apples in our basket, I was reminded of a comment meave left us a few weeks ago that said "make a pie!" With people coming over within an hour (one of them being vegan), I challenged myself to make it easy, vegan, and tasty. Luckily it worked!

1 ready made pie crust (we used the 365 brand whole wheat)
7 medium apples, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons of Earth Balance

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, and place oven rack in the middle or lower third of the oven. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. If you are not very fast at peeling and slicing the apples toss the sliced pieces in a bowl with 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to prevent browning. Layer apples inside pie shell, making sure to leave as little empty space as possible. Sprinkle dry ingredients over the apples, shaking the pie tin to let the goodness get the whole way to the bottom. Dot the top of the pie with Earth Balance, and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool and set on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before serving. Yep, its that quick and easy!

stuffed peppers

These are from the same BBQ as the pie above. My friend and coworker Eli, who just joined FFTY, looked at me and said "Peppers! What am I going to do with all those freaking peppers?!". So this one is for him!

6 medium to large sweet gypsy peppers, tops cut off, ribs and seed removed
1 cup long grain white rice
3 chipotle peppers in sauce, finely chopped
1/2 package soy veggie taco meat
3 carrots, 1/4" dice
1 small onion, 1/4" dice
1 Tbsp canola oil
cooking spray
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook rice in a rice cooker with 2 cups of water. (Don't have a rice cooker? Use and extra 1/2 cup of water in a covered pot on medium low heat. Better yet, use left over rice from last nights Chinese take out!) In a large saute pan over medium heat, sweat onions and carrots for 5 to 7 minutes in canola oil, until onions are translucent. Add rice, soy taco meat, and chipotles and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until flavors are incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff peppers and place on aluminum foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Season the outside of the peppers with salt and pepper and wrap them tightly in the foil, making a little pouch. Place on a hot grill and cook for 8 minutes on each side, flipping once. If you do not have a grill, or don't want to go outside, bake them in a 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes. This recipe leaves a good deal of left over filling to make burritos or tacos another day. Or if you have more peppers- stuff them all!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

baked shells with dandelion greens

I was at our friend Nicole's house the other night having some beers on the porch and her roommate Amanda was cooking away in the kitchen. She was making baked rigatoni, and it smelled amazing! I realized that we had some heirloom tomatoes, and some dandelion greens, and thought; we are going to make a baked pasta too! Katie and I grabbed some ingredients and got down to work. Since we were going to make our own tomato sauce, and were pretty hungry, we used a short cut and blended the sauce early to decrease the cooking time.

3 large heirloom tomatoes, seeded, and cut into 1/2" chunks
1 bunch of dandelion greens, roughly chopped
4 Tbsp double concentrate tomato paste
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
12 oz ricotta cheese, divided
pinch of chili flakes
2 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
1 lb whole wheat pasta shells, cooked to package instructions

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, sweat the onions until translucent in the olive oil, about 7-8 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic and some salt and pepper, and continue cooking for 8-10 more minutes until tomatoes are softened. Add the dandelion greens, and allow to wilt for 2-3 minutes. With an immersion blender, thoroughly process the tomato, onion, greens and garlic mixture. Mix in the tomato paste, Italian seasoning, chili flakes, and any salt and pepper you wish to add, and simmer covered for 15 minutes. This is a good time to start cooking your pasta, and preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Now slowly incorporate half of the ricotta cheese into the tomato sauce. Spray a baking dish (at least 9"x9") with cooking spray and add strained pasta and sauce, and mix well. Spoon dollops of the remaining ricotta on top, then cover with slices of mozzarella. Cover and bake for 12 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5-6 minutes until the mozzarella is melted, and starts to color just slightly. Remove from oven, garnish with chopped parsley, and feast!

weekly delivery 05/27

This week we received:

1 head green leaf lettuce
1 bunch fresh rosemary
7 gypsy sweet peppers
1 bunch Nantes carrots
1 pint strawberries

1 yellow seeded melon
1 bunch dandelion greens
3 Braeburn apples
2 white spring onions
3 heirloom tomato

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

black bean and tofu tacos

Tacos are quick and easy. You can make them with just about anything you have in the fridge. I came home from work, and was super psyched about firing up the grill and making some grilled tofu tacos with the salsa Katie had made two days before. So I had a few beers while I was getting everything prepped and ready to go, and I forgot to check one thing. The charcoal. Turns out someone else in the building had used all our charcoal the night before (not that we would mind, we are pretty communal with backyard property in our building), but with a decent buzz and an empty stomach I had to think of a plan B, so here it is! This recipe made enough for 6 tacos.

about 6 Tbsp leftover sweet pepper salsa
1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 ears of cooked corn, kernels taken off the cob (we used leftovers from a BBQ, if you want to use frozen corn, it would be 1 1/2 cups, defrosted)
2 chipotle peppers in sauce, chopped finely (optional)
1 block of super firm tofu, cut into cubes
1/2 onion, diced
greens of 1 green onion, sliced for garnish
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut and drain tofu on a paper towel, while it drains, prep everything else. Marinate tofu in a bowl with the lime juice for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the excess lime juice and sprinkle in chili powder and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat, and skewer if you are going to the grill (which I thought I was), or put on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, and place in the oven to bake for 18-20 minutes.

In a large saute pan heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add corn, black beans, chipotle peppers, and salt and pepper and cook until heated through. Garnish with green onions, and serve with tofu, salsa, and whatever else you like on tacos, on a toasted corn tortilla. Chow down, indoor style!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

sweet pepper salsa

I made this simple salsa for a BBQ. I chose to remove the seeds from the jalapeno because there were going to be some kids at the BBQ and I wanted it to be mild enough for anyone to enjoy. If you like your salsa hot, leave the seeds in!


3 heirloom tomatoes, seeds removed and finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and finely chopped
7 sweet gypsy peppers, seeds and white ribs removed and finely chopped
3 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp chili powder
salt, pepper to taste
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Just mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour so all the flavors meld together. The salt will cause the tomatoes to release a lot of moisture, so you may want to strain or pour off any excess liquid.

Friday, May 22, 2009

dandelion greens puree

This was one of those "happy accidents" we all have in the kitchen from time to time. Katie and I were really pumped about making creamed greens (a la creamed spinach), and turning up the flavor-meter by adding some of The Fatted Calf's amazing bacon (If you eat meat, and have not eaten this bacon, you have NO IDEA what you are missing. Get yourself down to the Ferry Building on Tuesday or Saturday and getchoo some.) What happened next was, OK, I messed up. When it came time to add the dairy, I went a little crazy. But, it turned out as an awesome soup, and when we added orzo, it was an excellent creamy pasta dish. On to the bacon!

5 pieces of Fatted Calf bacon
1 bunch of dandelion greens, roughly chopped, big stems discarded
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, finely shredded
3 Tbsp panko breadcrumbs, for garnish
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whole wheat orzo
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saute pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from pan, leaving bacon drippings in the pan. Chop bacon immediately and add to a small bowl with the breadcrumbs so they can pick up any excess bacon deliciousness. Add dandelion greens to the pan with the bacon drippings and saute' until wilted about 2-3 minutes. Add milk and stir. Using an immersion blender, (if you don't have one, just use a blender or a food processor ) blend until the greens are fully incorporated, about 2 minutes. Slowly stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the shredded cheese. Now, you could top this with the bacon and breadcrumb mixture and reserved cheese now and eat it as a decadent soup; or you could cook 1 cup of orzo (or any pasta for that matter) and use it as a sauce. I would suggest the latter. Top pasta and sauce with bacon, breadcrumbs, and cheese and sit down for a nice filling, rich, happy kitchen accident.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

weekly delivery 05/20

The box this week really makes me feel like we have come full circle. We have been receiving our CSA delivery from FFTY for 10 months now! That's 10 months of cooking, writing, photographing and learning! The delivery and this blog have really become a huge part of our lives and (forgive me for being mushy but...) it's so nice to have something that we both enjoy doing together.

This box marks the return of tomatoes and peppers which, in addition to making me so excited for summer, remind me of one of the very first blog entries we posted after receiving our very first delivery. Caprese skewers with melon, tomato, peppers and fresh mozzarella. We brought them to a friend's BBQ and everyone commented on how amazing the fresh produce tasted. I'm so looking forward to summer produce- tomatoes, peppers, arugula! What summer foods are you all excited for?

In the box this week:

1 bunch mixed baby lettuces
3 heirloom tomatoes
1 bunch dandelion greens
1 bunch Nantes carrots

1 pint strawberries
1 stalk rhubarb
1 bunch green onions
7 sweet gypsy peppers
1 yellow seeded melon
2 Navel oranges
1 bunch curly leaf parsely

Saturday, May 16, 2009

fava bean cakes

First time cooking with fava beans. A quick internet search let me know that they are really labor intensive. First you remove the beans from their pods, then you have to blanch & shock them to make it easier to remove the skin on the outside of the bean. Damn, I just check my browser history and from start (when I searched for fava beans) to finish (totally done cooking & photographing), this recipe took me almost 2 and a half hours! Oof, I need a nap... or a beer. Or a napbeer.

1 lb fava beans
1 lb yukon potatoes, peeled
1 onion, roughly diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp lemon juice
salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste
2 Tbsp canola oil, for frying

Get a pot of water boiling and remove all the fava beans from their pods. Blanch the fava beans for about a minute then scoop them out of the water with a slotted spoon or fine mesh strainer. Shock them in a large bowl with some ice water. I suggest a large bowl because you'll need a large bowl later to mash everything together. Also, just reheat the same pot of boiling water to boil the potatoes. Why make more dishes?

Alright, so put that pot of water back on the stove and when it's boiling again, add the potatoes. Meanwhile, get to work removing the skin from all the fava beans. I used a paring knife to help with some of the tougher skinned beans. Just make a little slice in the skin then pop the bean out. By the time I was done de-skinning the beans, the potatoes were about half way done. Heat up the olive oil in a skillet and cook the onions until they are tender and translucent.

When the potatoes and onions are both done, dump 'em in the large bowl with the fava beans, season and mash, mash, mash! When you get it to a consistency you like (I like it lumpy), add the lemon juice and flour. Give it a taste to check the seasoning, then you're ready to fry!

Heat up the canola oil in the skillet and form the bean cakes into small discs about the size of your palm. Fry them in batches, they only need about one minute per side. Place the finished cakes on a paper towel to blot excess oil. Makes 8 to 10 beans cakes. If you are making these in advance, reheat by baking them on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until they crisp up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

kale vichyssoise

Sometimes it gets hot in San Francisco, but not usually. This soup is a take on traditional vichyssoise, but could be eaten hot or cold. Just like you always pack another layer in your bag when you leave the house in S.F., having versatile food can be good too. Served cold, its refreshing, but eat it hot, and its comforting. Let me stop babbling, on to the show!

2 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 a large yellow onion, sliced
1 bunch kale, big stems removed, roughly chopped
1 Qt. veggie stock, we used the one we made at home
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Add veggie stock to a pot on medium high heat. Toss in potatoes, and onions and allow to come to a boil. When potatoes become fork tender (about 8-10 minutes) add the kale and cook for one more minute. Set aside and allow to cool for a few minutes. Using an immersion blender, or food processor puree' the soup very well, removing all chunks and lumps. While still blending, add in the cream slowly and continue to puree' until velvety. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and place in the refrigerator to cool, or you could totally just eat it right now. Toast up some crusty bread, and get down!

balsamic cremini mushrooms and shallots over polenta

I should start out by saying that I absolutely love polenta. If it's on a menu, I'm ordering it. This recipe is very loosely inspired by a dish I had at Greens. It only makes 1 or 2 servings, but since Kenny hates mushrooms, that was really all I was looking to make anyway!

6 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 Tbsp butter
1 shallot, peeled and trimmed
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
pinches of sugar and dried rosemary
1/2 cup polenta
2 cups vegetable stock
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup pecorino romano
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Add the shallots to an oven-safe ramekin. If you don't have a small oven-safe ramekin, (we don't) just make a little bowl out of tin foil. Add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and pinches of salt, pepper, sugar and dried rosemary. Bake for 15 minutes. The mushrooms should only take about ten minutes to cook, so you can prep them in the meantime. Melt the butter in a small non-stick pan, then add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt, cover and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the shallots are done, combine them with the mushrooms and be sure to pour in any of the delicious balsamic vinegar juices. Feel free to remove any stray pieces of rosemary. The shallots should be tender and the layers will naturally separate if you push down on them a bit.

To prepare the polenta, boil 2 cups of vegetable stock in a small pot, then whisk in the polenta and stir constantly until it begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream and cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Plate and pour the mushrooms and shallots over top.

Katie's reaction to "Caesar-ish" veggie salad

A g-chat from today:

kenny: blog is updated
3:10 PM me: thanks love!
(takes two minutes to read the blog)
3:13 PM kenny:yes, you ate mustard
3:14 PM and you LIKED IT
me: it's better that i was unaware because i'm sure i would have been completely disgusted
3:15 PM kenny: are you going to be able to help me finish it now?
me: i'll try
and then we are totally breaking up
3:16 PM kenny: :-(
me: haha
i'm tempted to just post this chat on the blog
kenny: go for it. MUSTARD LIKER
3:17 PM me: bastard

So folks, the moral of the story is that even if you HATE MUSTARD (which you should), you will still like the "Caesar-ish" veggie salad!

weekly delivery 05/13

This week we got:

3 Navel oranges
1 bunch broccoli
1 bunch Nantes carrots
1 bunch mixed baby lettuces

1 bunch cilantro
5 Cameo apples
1 bunch asparagus

5 Yukon potatoes
1 bunch Red Norland potatoes
1 pint strawberries

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

grilled chipotle lime tofu and "Caesar-ish" veggie salad

chipotle lime tofu:
1 block extra firm tofu, sliced width-wise into 8 equal rectangles
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp lime juice
3 cloves of peeled garlic
2 roasted red peppers
pinch of salt

Combine chipotles, lime juice, garlic, red peppers olive oil, and salt in a food processor and run until smooth. Apply to tofu and marinate overnight.

This recipe is pretty spicy, so if you don't like it quite so hot, but do love the flavor of chipotles, you can use only 1 chipotle, and substitute an extra red pepper. It will still be super tasty, and have just a little kick!

Katie went a little photo crazy last night. Check out the grill action!!!

Coat one side of the tofu and grill over hot coals. Turn 45 degrees to get nice grill marks.

Flip onto the other side to cook on the cooler side of the grill.

Spoon remaining marinade over the tofu. Cover the grill and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes.

Nothing says summer to me (Kenny) like Caesar salad. Ask anyone who knows me, and I just cannot get enough of them. I love the tang of the dressing, the nuttiness of Parmesan cheese, and the crisp texture of the lettuce and croutons. But sometimes you want other veggies, not just lettuce, so I decided to try to give my Caesar addiction a little spin, and it turned out awesome! I substituted mustard for the eggs in the dressing as an emulsifier, and used a little extra salt instead of stinking up the kitchen with anchovies. You could also use vegan parm on this to make it vegan, and it wouldn't miss a beat.

"Caesar-ish" veggie salad:
2 heads broccoli, cut into bit sized florets
about 6 to 8 small carrots, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 bunch snap peas, trimmed
2 lbs fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp grain mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Steam the potatoes for 12-14 minutes until fork tender. Meanwhile, prep your other veggies. Add the snap peas to the steamer just for a minute before your potatoes are done. Drain and allow potatoes and snap peas to cool. In a glass jar, shake together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Combine all veggies in a large bowl and pour dressing over top. Toss to coat then sprinkle on the cheese. This refreshing, slightly-acidic dish serves as the perfect accompaniment to the spicy tofu!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

asparagus quiche

Isn't quiche just the greatest ever? It's looks pretty but it's deceptively easy to make, especially if you do what we did and just buy a pre-made pie crust. If you make it for a dinner party or pot luck, it's sure to impress. And the best part: it's considered a totally appropriate food to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner! How many other foods can claim that? Not that there's anything wrong with eating pancakes for dinner. Anyway, look at that golden brown deliciousness and tell me you don't want a slice!


1 whole wheat pie shell
about 8 stalks of asparagus, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 cups cream
4 eggs
3 oz. Big Ed's raw milk cheddar, shredded
3 oz. Comte, shredded
few pinches of salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. We bought a 365 brand whole wheat pie crust which comes w/it's own (recyclable!) aluminum pie tin. So trim and chop the asparagus then dump 'em in to the pie crust. Cover with half of the cheeses. Combine cream and eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk together until fully incorporated. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. If you have white pepper, feel free to use that for color consistency. Pour mixture on top of the asparagus and cheese, then cover it all up with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 then reduce the heat to 350 and bake an additional 37-40 minutes, until the quiche is golden brown and set up. If you check on it and it's still wiggly, it's not done yet! Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before you slice and devour!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

weekly delivery 05/06

Here's what we got this week:

1 bunch mixed baby lettuces
6 Fuji apples
6 oz Crimini mushrooms
1 bunch sugar snap peas

1 bunch broccoli
1 pint strawberries
3 yellow onions

8 Valencia oranges
1 big bunch fava beans
1 bunch Nantes carrots
1 bunch kale

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

creamy chard and walnut pesto

1 bunch chard, stems removed and leaves roughly ripped
about 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated peccorino romano
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti
two eggs

Add all of the ingredients except the pasta and eggs to a food processor and blend until pesto-y. Cook your favorite pasta, and immediately toss with the pesto after cooking. You can top it with some whole walnuts and more peccorino, but we wanted to put a fried egg on it! Then again, what don't we want an egg on top of?

We had leftover pesto so the next night, I tossed it with spinach penne, sauteed zucchini and onion. Yum!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

strawberry rhubarb tart


1 sheet puff pastry
Earth Balance or butter, to coat the baking dish
2 pints strawberries, tops cut off and sliced in half lengthwise
1 stalk rhubarb, chopped into 1/2" slices
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt

Butter your baking dish and stretch the puff pastry out so that it cover the bottom and comes up about a 1/2" on the sides. Be careful not to rip any holes in the dough! Mix berries, rhubarb, sugar, salt and flour in a bowl. Place this on top of the puff pastry, and put the whole thing in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, so that the temperature of the filling and the dough will be the same. This will make for a more even bake. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the tart on the center rack and bake for 40-45 minutes. Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving as the juice from the berries and rhubarb is like molten lava. Mmmmmmm delicious molten lava. Eat it as it is, or top it with ice cream!!!

asian fusion cold noodles

Everyone has their typical go-to order from their favorite take out joint. When ordering Chinese, ours is General Tso's tofu and two orders of veggie lo mein. For Vietnamese, we get a vegetarian vermicelli bowl and lemongrass tofu. This dish is kind of a bastardized white person fusion of the two noodle dishes we love most.

We picked up some fresh lo mein noodles from the Richmond New May Wah Asian grocer on Clement. They have a really awesome selection of vegetarian food, and fresh noodles.

1 package lo mein noodles
1 head broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
1 cucumber, 1/4" sliced on the bias
4 carrots, shredded
2 to 3 inch piece daikon, shredded
2 tsp. canola oil
1 cup sweet chili sauce
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
juice from 1/2 a lemon

Combine the chili sauce, apple cider vinegar, ginger, lemon juice, and 3 Tbsp. of soy sauce and marinate the shredded daikon and carrot for 30 minutes. Blanch and shock broccoli in salted water and set aside in refrigerator. Cook lo mein noodles according to package directions, shock in cold water, toss with canola oil and remaining tablespoon of soy sauce to coat. Mix noodles, broccoli, cucumbers, and the carrot/daikon mixture together and chow down!