1 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 4 Tbsp canola oil (or less, your choice- it won't really make a difference in frying texture, only time)
2 beets, peeled, and thinly sliced
2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced 2 cups hot water, not boiling 1 cup apple cider vinegar 1/2 cup sugar 2 tsp salt
For the veggies: Put the onions and cucumbers into one bowl, and the beets into another... unless you want them all pink, then hell, just use one bowl, do less dishes. Mix the sugar and salt into the hot water, then add the vinegar, and set aside to cool. When the pickling liquid has cooled, add the liquid to the veggies, just enough to cover them, and then cover the bowls and place them in the fridge.
For the burgers: Put all ingredients (minus the oil) in a food processor or bender and blend until incorporated. Seasonally, you made need more or less flour depending on your greens, or you could even substitute gluten free flours if you so choose. When it looks like its ready to be pattied, wet your hands and get ready to rock. Put 3 Tbsp of oil into a sauce pan and add the pattied burgers, flipping after 2 minutes on each side. Put on your favorite buns, top with pickled veggies and some Wildwood Garlic Aioli, or Veganaise and some greens. Eat them up!
Got melons piling up? Yeah, so do we. I had an idea to make a melon sorbet with the honeydew but we don't have an ice cream maker. Wait a minute, ice cream has been around way longer than ice cream makers! Well, thanks to David Lebovitz, I learned how to make sorbet and ice cream with an immersion blender!
2 honeydew melons, rinds removed and cut roughly into cubes
juice from 1 orange
1/4 cup cane sugar
Boil the water in a small pot and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Set aside to chill. Use a blender or food processor to finely puree the honeydew. You made need to work in batches. The orange juice will help liquify the honeydew but won't alter the taste of the sorbet. When your melon is uniformly pureed, add the sugar syrup and pulse. Pour the mixture into a large glass baking dish. Freeze for 3 hours, until the mixture has begun to freeze around the edges. Take the dish out for the freezer and dump the mixture into a bowl and beat with an immersion blender for just a minute. You just want to break up the frozen bits, without melting the whole thing all over again. Return to the dish and freeze again. If you want very fine grained sorbet, you can repeat this process of freezing and beating once or twice more. When you are happy with the consistency, freeze overnight. Remove the dish from the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
2 leeks, white and green parts only, thinly sliced
1 cup milk (Want to use cream? go for it!)
1/2 lb frozen petite peas
4 cups vegetable stock salt, pepper to taste
Add the potatoes to a large pot of boiling, salted water, and cook until fork tender. Strain and set aside. In the same pot, over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until all the fat is rendered out and the bacon is crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside for later on a paper towel. Fight the urge to eat the bacon. Saute the leeks in the bacon fat until translucent, about 5-6 minutes. OK, eat a piece or two of the bacon. Add the potatoes, vegetable stock, and some salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook until simmering. When the soup is hot, blend ingredients together with an immersion blender, and once smooth, slowly add the milk or cream while still blending, until incorporated. When the soup is creamy and delicious, add the peas and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Taste and season again, and then top with the reserved bacon, and serve with some crusty bread.
Ingredients: no boil lasagna noodles 4 or 5 decently sized heirloom tomatoes (about 1-1/4 lb total) 3 cloves garlic 2 Tbsp olive oil 4 peppers, small dice 1-1/2 blocks extra firm tofu juice from 3 lemons 1 bunch chard, leaves roughly torn 1/2 lb Daiya vegan cheese salt and pepper to taste
We are going to start by a making a super fast sauce. Just add the tomatoes and garlic into your food processor, season with salt and pepper and blend while drizzling olive oil in until the sauce is finely pureed. Add this to a pot and cook on medium heat until the sauce reduces to about half it's volume, about 30 minutes. To make the tofu ricotta, add the tofu, lemon juice and chard leaves to the food processor and blend until smooth, seasoning with salt and pepper. To assemble to lasagna, spoon some sauce on to the bottom of a casserole dish, then add a layer of lasagna noodles, next spoon on some of the ricotta, then more noodles, a layer of peppers & cheese, and so forth until you've used everything up! Bake at 350 degrees, covered with tin foil, for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes so that the cheese on top gets nice and melty!*
* I usually find vegan cheeses repulsive. The many different textures and off-putting flavors I have experienced over the years have jaded me, and made me never want to stick anything labeled "vegan cheese" anywhere near my eating hole. But then @vegansaurus couldn't stop raving about Daiya, and we dig them, so I figured I would give it one more go around and hope not to have to hold my nose to get through dinner. To my astonishment, it's good! It melts! Wait- did you hear me? IT MELTS!!! Not the kind of melt that firms back up in 30 seconds after it loses all its moisture and turns into plastic either. It freaking melts for real and stays melted. And it tastes pretty good too! Is it cheese? No. Is it the best vegan cheese I have ever had after eating them for 13 years? DAMN STRAIGHT. So get down to Rainbow, look past the $9.99/lb. because really, it's not that expensive, and if you're vegan, it's well worth it. I want to try the cheddar flavor so I can make grilled cheese!
Ingredients: 5 peppers, thinly sliced 3 zucchini, thinly sliced 1 patty pan squash, quartered and sliced 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced 1 block super firm tofu, cut into 1" cubes 2 Tbsp. canola oil 1/4 cup soy sauce 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar 1/4 cup cold water 1 Tbsp. corn starch
Mix the chili sauce, soy sauce, and rice vinegar in a bowl and set it aside. Do the same with the cold water and corn starch. Heat your wok or a large saute' pan on high and add the canola oil. Place your tofu into the wok and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring, until browned on all sides. Add the peppers and zucchini and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes until cooked through but not mushy, we are looking for some good veggie texture in this dish. Now add in the jalepeno and the sauce mixture and toss for 2-3 minutes until everything is coated and the sauce is piping hot. Re-stir the corn starch and water, and add this into the wok. Keep stirring as the liquid comes back to a boil and starts to thicken. Let the boil roll for about one minute until everything is slathered in a thick delicious sweet and spicy sauce. Now get'cher eat on.
For the perfect brown rice: I remembered reading this in a Cooks Illustrated sometime ago (spring '08) and wanted to find it and give it a whirl. We do love our rice cooker dearly, but to be honest, sometimes the brown rice doesn't come out so well (mushy), and heck, its usually a big pain to clean up. We thought we would try something new and it worked, to perfection, with an easy clean up. It may be safe to say that this is the best brown rice I have ever had.
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups brown rice (we used short grain) 2 1/3 cups of water 1 Tbsp. Olive oil 1/3 tsp. salt
Put your oven rack in the middle of your oven and preheat it to 375 degrees. Put the brown rice in an 8"x8" Pyrex baking dish. Bring the water and oil to a boil (covered) on the stove. This part is important so you don't lose too much water due to evaporation: as soon as it reaches a boil, stir in the salt and pour over the rice. Cover with foil and place into the oven for one hour. Remove the baking dish and fluff rice with a fork. Recover and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and allow 5 more minutes to sit before serving.
Best. Brown. Rice. Evar. Sorry Mr. Rice Cooker, this is how we will be making brown rice forever, you only get to cook the white stuff.
I was going to make myself a whole tray of mushroom & onion mini quiches because I'm a glutton like that. But we had still had some peppers in the fridge, so I figured I'd be nice and make some quiches that Kenny would like as well. Last time we made quiche was awesome, but this time I wanted to make the dough from scratch and use our muffin tin to make these cutesy little mini quiches. They make great hors d'oeuvres and the possibilities for the filling are endless!
Ingredients: Crust: 2 cups all purpose flour 8 Tbsp cold butter, sliced into small pieces 3-5 Tbsp water 1 tsp salt
Add the flour, salt and butter to a food processor and pulse for a minute. Transfer to a large bowl and add 3 Tbsp water and begin to knead the dough and form into a ball. If the dough is not sticking enough, add more water one Tbsp at a time until it becomes easier. Form into a ball then put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. When your dough is set up, flour a cutting board and rolling pin, and roll out the dough. Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut circles in the dough. Press a dough circle into each well of a 12 well non-stick muffin tin, pushing the dough down to conform to the tin. Use a fork to poke holes in each mini crust.
We are going to blind bake the crusts so that they hold their shape. Rip off some squares of tin foil and press a piece into each muffin well then fill with dry rice or beans which will act as weights. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 425. Remove the tin foil and weights and return to the oven for another 10 minutes at 350. The crust should be dry and cooked through.
Mushroom filling: 1 Tbsp olive oil 4 oz white button mushrooms, quartered 1/2 onion, diced pinches of oregano thyme, salt & pepper
Pepper filling: 1 Tbsp olive oil 2 gypsy peppers, small matchstick slice 1/2 onion, diced pinches of red pepper flakes, salt & pepper
You can take care of this while you are waiting for your dough to set up & blind bake. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and simply cook the ingredients together until just before the onions start to caramelize. Remember they will cook again in the quiche, so don't over do it at this point. Set aside in two separate bowls.
Quiche filling: 2 cups heavy cream 4 eggs 1 cup parmesan cheese salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl then, add the remaining ingredients and whisk until uniformly combined. Separate into equal portions using a measuring cup and add the mushroom filling to one portion and the pepper filling to the other. Pour the mushroom and quiche filling mixture into the first 6 mini pie crusts. Pour the pepper and quiche filling mixture in to the last 6 crusts. Bake for 40 minutes, turning the tin around halfway through if your oven doesn't bake evenly. At the end of 40 minutes, the mini quiches should be puffed up and beautifully golden on top. Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing the mini quiches from the muffin tin. Use a small spoon to run along the edge and pop them out.
Ingredients: 2 apples, 1/2" dice 1 cup grapes (The grapes we had were small. If you have large ones, cut them in half.) juice of 1 orange 3 sprigs thyme, leaves taken off, no woody stems. roughly chopped. 1 lemon 2 tsp olive oil pinch of salt
I was stoked to make breakfast on Saturday morning, I even set my alarm because I couldn't wait for fruit salad and poached eggs. Then the thunder happened! It was awesome. I kind of thought that there was going to be a giant earthquake, but with one look out the window I saw the pouring rain and heard some more claps of thunder and knew that my roof had no chance of falling on my head anytime soon. I was pumped. I love thunderstorms, and I love breakfast, what better way to spend the morning. Then another BANG from the sky, and the power went out. It only lasted an hour, which in my experience with other public utility fixings in SF, was super fast. So we got down to business. I won't go into detail about the eggs, because we do them so often, but let's get into this salad.
Juice half of your lemon into a bowl. Add 2 cups of cold water, and start cutting your apples. Toss the apples into the lemon water, and they won't get all brown and mushy, even if you have to walk away for 10 or 15 minutes or more. Once they are done and your grapes are free of pesky little vine tips, it's time to make the dressing. Juice the orange and the other half of lemon into a small container or bowl, be careful not to get any seeds in there! Add a pinch of salt, the thyme and olive oil, and stir or shake until the oil is incorporated into the dressing. Drain the apples, add the grapes, toss with the dressing and nom it up! It's sweet, it's savory, and good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, dunch, linner, or a light late night snack.
Ingredients: 1.5 lbs heirloom tomatoes (or other ripe tomatoes), roughly chopped and seeded (or 2 28 oz cans of canned tomatoes, drained) 3 roasted red peppers, seeded and roughly chopped 1/2 bunch chard, thick stems discarded and cut in a chiffonade 4 cups vegetable stock 1 onion, 1/2" dice 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped 1 sprig rosemary 4 sprigs thyme 2 Tbsp olive oil 2 Tbsp double concentrate tomato paste salt & pepper of course!
In an effort not to get off topic later in this post, I am going to start, well- off topic. I have read on some message boards that people really like to save their veggie scraps (stems of greens/beets, broccoli, pepper ends, etc.) for later use in making stocks. Please don't torture yourself or your loved ones by doing such a silly thing. These can be used in so many other ways; broccoli stems can be peeled and shredded in slaws, pepper ends can merely be trimmed and used in the recipe you are making or a later one, and stems of greens while good in longer cooked dishes, can and should just be composted if you aren't going to use them. Putting these things into stocks, especially cruciferousveggies and green trimmings, will only do one thing- make your stock bitter. Not to mention the discoloration that would make it less appetizing. (If you really like bitter, dark stock then please, by all means, go ahead and continue.) Traditional vegetable stock has been made the same way for ages, and I am sure that many before us had ventured to add some extras into it, only to return to the simplicity that is as the French would say the "mirepoix". Two parts of one of the members of the Allium family (onions, leeks, etc.), one part carrot, and one part celery. It just makes perfect stock, and I would like to think that if it isn't broken, we shouldn't try to fix it. In this case, the case of taste, it's good to let history and past mistakes tell us what to do.
On to the soup!
In a large soup pot over medium heat, saute the onions until translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and continue to cook an additional 3 minutes. Toss in the tomatoes, red peppers, and herbs (Whoa Kenny! Toss them in whole, and don't remove the tomato skin? Totes, we want to make this soup fast, so we will strain it all out later.) and cook, stirring until the tomatoes soften, about 12-14 minutes. Add the stock, pop on a lid, and go read a book for 15 minutes. When the soup starts to boil, adjust the heat to low and allow to simmer, covered for an additional 20 minutes.
Now it's time to get down to business. Remove the sprigs of herbs and use your immersion blender to blend the soup until all the chunks are removed. You will notice that it's a little thick, and if you are really hungry, or like the soup just like that- go ahead and skip this next step. Turn off the heat and using a fine mesh strainer or a chinois (I hate those things, sorry, one tried to kill me once) strain the soup into another bowl, using a spoon to help you along. Compost the leftover chunky bits that are clouding your strainer and continue until all the soup has been strained. Place the soup back into the pot, and return the heat to low. The soup will still be pretty hot, so getting it back to a simmer won't take to long. When it reaches a simmer, add the chard and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the chard is just cooked through, but still has a little bite to it. Spoon into a big bowl, grab some bread, get in your Slanket, and turn on the tube; it's time to get comfy and relax.
Ingredients: 1 lb whole wheat pasta shells 1 pint fire roasted cherry tomatoes (see below) 2 cups remaining zucchini, onion, bell pepper and garlic mix from yesterday (see below) 1 cup grated parmesean 2 cups Italian shredded cheese blend
I am not really a fan of raw tomatoes. Every chance I get I will cook them just so I don't have to even think about making anything that contains an uncooked tomato. One of my favorite ways is to fire or oven roast them with olive oil and balsamic. Its a great topping for salads, pastas, chicken or fish. So yesterday while we were grilling I took a pint of cherry tomatoes from the box and put them in a foil pouch with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, and some salt and pepper. After we had finished our grilling and were eating, I popped them on to the hot side of the grill and cooked them covered for 15 minutes (The same can be accomplished in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, but although while really delicious, they will lack the smokey flavor- which you might not want anyway, your choice.).
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a sauce pan, heat the tomatoes, and veggie mixture over medium heat. Once it is hot, about 9-10 minutes, stir in the parmesan. Cook the pasta according to package directions, but take it out about 1 minute before its supposed to be al dente, cause this is still going to cook in the oven for a few minutes. Combine the pasta and tomato/veggie goodness in a baking dish and top with shredded cheese. Since both the pasta and the veggies are warm, we can bake this uncovered for a short amount of time. Place it on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes, until the cheese gets melty and starts to turn golden brown. Now hold everyone back from digging in before you serve, because that dish is gonna be hot. This was an awesome fast and easy meal that gave us some tasty lunches in the days to follow. Not too bad what a little planning ahead can do eh?
Ingredients: 4 large ROUND heirloom tomatoes 1 large red bell pepper, 1/4" dice 1 large zucchini, 1/4" dice 1/2 white onion, 1/4" dice 3 Tbsp parsley, roughly torn or chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup Italian cheese blend 3/4 cup breadcrumbs 1 Tbsp fresh Italian herbs (or 1.5 tsp dried)
This dinner is a multi-tasker. You will end up with way more stuffing than you need, but fear not (and look above) because it works into a second equally awesome recipe.
Chop all your veggies first. That way while you cook them, you can be hollowing out the tomatoes. If you are getting heirlooms, make sure to use the roundest ones you have. The weird, bulbous tomatoes are a pain to stuff. Not using heirlooms? Well the odds are that years of cross breading and hybridization have yielded you a nice, round tomato. Congrats. (It just won't taste quite as good.)
The way I clean them is simple. Cut off the top down past where the vine attaches, and squeeze all the tomato goo into the compost. Run your knife around the outer meat, cutting all the ribs, but being careful not to poke through the bottom. Next just grab a spoon, retrace the same cut you just did, only putting some pressure on the bottom rib of the tomato, and POW!, it should pop right out.
Heat a large skillet to medium and add your oil. Toss in the onions and allow to sweat until translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic and peppers and continue to cook until the peppers are softened, another 6-7 minutes. Now throw in your herbs, the zucchini, and some salt and pepper. Let this cook for a good 9-10 minutes until the zucchini is cooked through. Transfer 2 cups of this mixture to a small bowl with a slotted spoon, pressing as much liquid as you can back into the skillet. (We don't want soggy tomatoes, now do we?) Add the breadcrumbs and parsley to the mixture in the bowl, stir, taste and adjust the salt and pepper. Your tomatoes should be completely hollowed out, with no seeds, liquid, or ribs inside. Stuff the mixture into the tomatoes, and top them with cheese. You can wrap them together if you like, or like we did in little individual foil pouches (if you are going to do them in the oven you could just just a sprayed Pyrex dish) making sure to spray the foil with cooking spray before inserting the goods. Just don't cover the tops, we aren't looking to lose any cheese here.
Place them on the cold side of the grill and pop the cover on, cook for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted, and the stuffing is piping hot. Proceed to shove in face.
Well, we had planned to make something entirely different with this cantaloupe and some fresh mozzarella, but unfortunately the teeny tiny fresh mozz balls we bought at Safeway just happened to have been opened before we bought them (we didn't check, dummies) and so Katie had to roam the neighborhood for a substitute and this is all she could find. Fortunately for us (and the BBQ we were having in mere moments) it tasted wonderful. The sweetness of the melon, mixed with the olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper, and the freshness and texture of the mozzarella made for one heck of a salad. This is super in a pinch and so, so easy. What a happy accident!
Ingredients: 1 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, 1/2" dice 12 oz marinated fresh mozzarella boccocini salt and pepper to taste
You can cut the melon ahead of time, but I wouldn't toss it with the marinated mozzarella or seasonings until about 15 minutes before you serve it. I would fear that the salt (which is one of the reasons its so good) might leech out too much moisture from the melon. It's just as simple as mix, toss, and eat! We took this down in minutes!