January 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
When I set forth to make this wrap, I combined a hodgepodge of recipes and aimed to make a falafel-like ball with crunch and Mediterranean flavor. Instead of relying on dried coriander and cumin to amp up the taste, I wanted to use garden-fresh cilantro and scallion. I wanted to see what would happen when I incorporated a whole grain into the mix (quinoa) and fresh vegetables (spinach) for nutrients and eye-popping color.
Before supper one night, I happened upon Green Kitchen Stories saffron-falafel recipe. I liked their idea of using flappy cabbage leaves as a wrap (a pita would be good, too) and tahini as the base for a bright dressing. I experimented with a few simple four-ingredient tahini dressings. The one below was my favorite.
Ingredients for the Chickpea-Quinoa Balls:
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked
2 cups spinach, fresh
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup scallion
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon flax meal
4 tablespoons brown rice flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1-2 tablespoons water (if necessary to thin)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees on convection (or 400, standard). In a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until pureed. The mixture should be sticky, but not so sticky that it doesn’t hold a form or stay together. (In the event that there is too much liquid, add extra brown rice flour, a little bit at a time. If too dry, add water a tablespoon at a time.) Scoop into balls, uniform in size, and bake for 20 minutes. Flip over and bake an additional 15 minutes.
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
generous pinch sea salt, pepper
2 tablespoons water, to thin
Whisk together and drizzle on top of wrap.
Diet Notes: gluten-free, vegan, nut-free
March 30, 2011 § Leave a Comment
If I were cast away to a deserted island and had to choose two foods (heaven forbid) to consume until the rescue mission, I think I’d eat my mom’s sourdough beer bread and pesto for the rest of my days. Today, I’m going to talk about the later.
Typically my mom whips up gigantic, 9 cup batches of basil pesto a few times each summer, harvested straight from the prolific plants we tend in the backyard. We recently planted this year’s spring garden — (take a peek at our garden overhaul) — and our basil plants are spindly and puny. We’re about a month away from our first summer harvest and winter’s stockpile of frozen pestos has reached a distressingly low count. I’ve been craving the taste of olive oil and herbs, Parmesan cheese and garlic and last week, my mom reminded me of an old favorite — a pesto we used to make so often it rivaled basil pesto. Bring in a new herb: CILANTRO! (I’m so sorry if you’re a cilantro-hater. If you are, try parsley!)
Cilantro pesto is finger-lickin’ good. As a matter of fact, I ate a couple finger-fulls of cilantro pesto, right out of the food processor before I took this photograph. But when you marry this green, speckled slurry with noodles, tender winter greens and a handful of heirloom tomatoes (or if you live in a frostier neck of the woods and can’t find tomatoes locally — skip them for now), this dish is downright delicious. Feel free to use any kind of pasta you like. Lately I’ve been cooking with brown rice noodles (gluten-free and they taste just like whole wheat pasta), so that’s what I suggested on the ingredient list below.
Ingredients for Pasta Salad:
5 cups brown rice noodles, dry
pasta cooking water
6 cups winter greens (arugula, rainbow chard, spinach, etc.)
1/2 cup baby onion/scallion, chopped
1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup cilantro pesto (recipe below)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Ingredients for Cilantro Pesto:
1 bunch cilantro
1-2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. Reduce heat to a simmer, salt the water and add pasta and cook according to instructions.
2. Meanwhile, combine all pesto ingredients, minus the olive oil, in a blender or food processor. Blend until finely chopped. Slowly add olive oil and continue blending. Taste and add additional olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. In a large skillet, saute scallion/baby onion until wilted and slightly brown (about 7 minutes). Add winter greens, reduce the heat to medium-low and put a lid on top of the pot. Steam until bright green and wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove lid. Add cherry tomatoes and cook until heated through (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat.
4. When pasta has finished cooking, using a slotted spoon, scoop pasta into the sauteed vegetables, reserving the pasta water. Add cilantro pesto to the pasta and stir, adding a ladle of pasta water to the dish as necessary to create a light sauce. Garnish with Parmesan cheese. Eat warm or at room temperature.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free
October 11, 2010 § 1 Comment
With subtle hints of autumn floating through my open windows, with cool winds swirling through the rest of the Lower-48, and frosty gales sweeping through the northern-most countrysides (it’s 24 degrees at my aunt’s house in Alaska!), it seems appropriate to post a hearty, comforting, chalk-full-of-good-stuff fennel-tomato-squash-peas-beans-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-stew. This recipe is tweaked from Saveur. While the majority of the recipe follows standard soup guidelines — saute vegetables in shifts, add water and seasonings, boil, simmer, re-season — the beginning of this recipe is slightly different:
Instead of sauteing an onion with soup aromatics, we pulverize the onion along with garlic, a little olive oil and a handful of herbs and then saute in an un-seasoned pot (no olive oil glug at the bottom) until all the water evaporates — all this before adding the next shift of vegetables. This technique creates a thicker broth and richer flavor. This soup is marvelously flexible. If you don’t have butternut squash, cubed sweet potatoes make an excellent replacement. Add a few cups of cheesy tortellini to the mixture; try cannelini beans instead of garbanzos for a creamier texture.
Start-to-finish, this soup can be ready in a half hour. However, I recommend prepping this soup at least 12 hours before serving (overnight is ideal). Let the pot hang-out, untouched, on the back-burner after it’s cooked, allowing the flavors to meld. When it comes time to eat, reheat, doll out ladles of stew into separate bowls and sprinkle a generous amount of fresh Parmesan cheese on top. Very good paired with crusty sourdough bread, dredged in butter and roasted garlic.
One final note: I prefer the taste of roasted butternut squash over boiled. Prior to making soups that feature butternut or acorn squash, I often roast the squash chunks in olive oil and sage leaves and then add the cooked squash to the stew toward the end of the cooking process. However, if you’d prefer to forgo that step — and it will still taste marvelous if you do — skip the roasting and add the raw squash when adding carrots and fennel.
2 cups cubed butternut squash
olive oil, sea salt, pepper
8-12 sage leaves
1 yellow onion, large
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup basil, loosely packed
1 tablespoon + olive oil
5-6 medium carrots, chopped
2 heads fennel, sliced
1 + 1/2 cups whole plum tomatoes + juice, roughly chopped
2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked*
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
few handfuls spinach or arugula, optional
Parmesan cheese rind
1 -2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
sea salt, pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated, for topping
*For those following a strict SCD diet: Swap garbanzo beans with dry white beans, lentils or black beans after 1+ month symptom-free. Soak dry beans 24 hours before cooking to remove excess starches.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cubed butternut squash with a coating of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and sage leaves. Roast for 20 minutes, until softened. (You can do this the night before or day-of.)
2. In a Cuisinart or blender, pulverize onion, garlic, basil and 1 tablespoon + of olive oil. When the onion reaches the consistency of a slightly-chunky, translucent chutney, stop blending. In a large pot, pour onion mixture and heat on medium high until all water evaporates (approximately 5 minutes).
3. Meanwhile, chop carrots and fennel. (If you choose to forgo roasting the butternut squash, chop squash now.) Add carrots and fennel (squash, optional) to pot when onions begin to turn brown. If the bottom of the pot looks a little dry, add a few drips of olive oil or a splash of water. Saute until slightly-crisp, about 7-8 minutes.
4. Add 4 cups of water, plum tomatoes and juice and 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans. Add Parmesan rind and simmer for 15-20 minutes. When carrots and fennel are al dente, add peas, roasted squash and a few handfuls of spinach or arugula to the pot and stir. Add 1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, sea salt and pepper to taste. Cook 1-2 minutes and remove from heat. Let sit, preferably for 12+ hours, lid on. Before serving, reheat and remove Parmesan cheese rind. Garnish each bowl with a generous handful of fresh, grated Parmesan cheese.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free, SCD-safe (see asterisk)
August 19, 2010 § 3 Comments
Last night I pulled into the driveway, eased my accordian-legs out of the car and began to unload: I yanked out my sleeping bag, a bathing suit, a suitcase full of tangled clothes and a freezer bag full of road snacks, trailing beach sand and Redwood twigs across the floor. A week and a half ago, I headed westbound toward California where I spent the next 10 days hop-scotching across the state. I took a dizzying drive up Route 1 where I photographed my first glimpse of Elephant Seals. I baked a nectarine and peach crisp in an old gas oven in the middle of the Redwoods. I ate Bibimbop out of granite bowls in Oakland, sipped coffee at the famous Tartine Bakery in San Francisco (and spent hours in this marvelous bookstore) and caught up with new friends from Guatemala and old friends from early college days. I also visited a gaggle of cousins, aunts and uncles and on my last night, I read poetry and ate chocolate truffles with my great aunt at the end of a warm, Pasadena day.
It’s been a marvelous close to a summer teeming with new experiences and ideas. And like all good things, I’m left feeling bittersweet: a bit glum at Summer’s end, and, at the same time, a bit renewed with the smell of freshly sharpened pencils in the air. Time to get back in the saddle and get back to work at the university.
Fortunately, I ate my way through California with gusto (I may have discovered the most delicious blueberry muffin on the West Coast). But I’m excited to re-tie my cooking apron and use up the last of my summertime garden vegetables.
I made this recipe just before I left for California. It calls for asparagus and spinach — two vegetables I had frozen from a springtime harvest. The lemons, basil and onion came from the garden. This recipe is a breeze to throw together and packs a delicious punch from the citrus and cheese. I enjoyed it best heated, just a smidgen.
1.5 cups pasta, uncooked*
1 large onion (about 2.5 cups chopped)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cups asparagus, chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped and cooked (about 6 cups raw)
2 cups cannellini beans
juice of 1 lemon (approximately 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup basil, loosely packed, ripped
sea salt, pepper
*For gluten-sensitive, choose brown-rice or quinoa pasta.
1. Heat a pot of water on the stove with a generous pinch of sea salt. When boiling, add pasta, lower heat slightly and cook until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, chop onion horizontally in long, thin strips. Heat a large skillet on the stove and begin to saute the onions until crisp and brown (about 7 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. While onion is sauteing rinse and chop asparagus and spinach. After onion has browned, add asparagus and cook until bright green (approximately 3 minutes) and then add cooked spinach and cook until heated through (approximately 1 minute). Alternatively, if using raw spinach, add at the same time as asparagus.
3. Toss asparagus and spinach with feta cheese. When pasta is cooked, don’t drain the pasta water! *The reserved water can help loosen the pasta if the pasta clumps with the vegetables.* Scoop pasta out of the water with a slotted spoon and toss with vegetables. Squeeze lemon juice, add beans and toss. Taste and season to preference. If necessary, add a spoonful of reserved pasta water at a time to help loosen the pasta salad. Serve at any heat or chilled — slightly warm is my favorite.
Diet Notes: gluten-free (see asterisk), nut-free
July 11, 2010 § Leave a Comment
A couple of weeks ago, my aunt Kathi had a few friends come over for a meal on a rainy day. In her kitchen she had a small butternut squash, spinach and other ingredients on hand, so she combined 3 recipes into one and came up with this killer lasagna. Kathi often experiments with vegan meals, and while this one isn´t strictly dairy-free, you´ll notice that the amount of cheese is quite minimal. She also noted that she, like me, can´t stand to dirty every pot in the kitchen, so she combined her steps in the simplest way, to ease cooking and clean up. I cannot wait to try this recipe when I get back to my kitchen and when butternut squash start popping out of my garden! Bon Appetit!
2 cups butternut squash, chopped in bite-sized pieces
2 cups portobello mushroom
1 cup crimini mushrooms
2 cups fresh spinach
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ small onion
lots of garlic
1 small, green zucchini
½ red pepper
½ green pepper
3 cups lactose free milk
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
pepper/nutmeg/salt to taste
½ cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup mozzarella cheese
3 oz goat cheese (1/4 of 11 oz tube)
12 lasagna noodles
Step 1: Roast veggies
Place cut butternut squash, portabella mushrooms, sliced green zucchini and garlic (4 cloves or so) into roasting pan, rubbed with just a touch of olive oil, and bake for about 30 minutes in 375 oven. While roasting, take sun-dried tomatoes, raisins and walnuts and soak in 1 cup of water. When veggies are cooked and slightly crisp, drain tomato & raisin mixture and combine with roasted vegetables.
Step 2: Make white sauce and sauté the rest of the veggies
Next, take a pan (that will be used later for the white sauce) and add washed spinach (with a bit of water), onions and crimini mushrooms. Sauté in the water for about 7 minutes, until vegetables soften and become aromatic. Remove veggies and add to mixture of roasted vegetables. To create the sauce or roux, add 2 tablespoons of butter to the now-empty pan and melt on medium heat. Mix in the flour, seasonings and the Parmesan cheese (reserving about 1 tablespoon of Parmesan for the top for later), and add the milk slowly, so it won’t lump up. Keep stirring until all lumps are gone. Add goat cheese and mozzarella into this white sauce – reserve just a touch of mozzarella for the top.
Step 3: Make noodles and combine
Boil noodles according to packaging instructions and layer them into a pan, 4 across. Split the veggie mixture into 3rds. Put some of the white/cheese sauce onto the noodles followed by a third of the veggies. Repeat these steps for the second layer. On top of the third and final layer, sprinkle a touch of parmesan and mozzarella.
Cover with foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for one hour. Let sit before eating; if necessary, reheat for a meal later in the day.
April 26, 2010 § 3 Comments
Yesterday afternoon was the pits. It lasted forever and was filled with doll-drum to-do’s like picking up dog mess and dragging giant, fallen palm fronds from one end of the house to the other. Suffice it to say, around the dinner-hour, I was a grouch. I opened up the fridge and freezer and momentarily debated dishing myself a bowl of soy milk ice cream + peanut butter (dinner of champions!). But I was too grumpy for ice cream. I hemmed and hawed and poked around in the back of the fridge. Low and behold, I found two smallish heads of fennel that I’d purchased two weeks ago at the farmers’ market. I could roast them Mollie-Katzen style, I thought, as I stared at them, side-by-side on the counter sending faint anise-scented puffs into the air. But last night, roasting anything – fennel or otherwise – seemed too hands-off. I find that one of the few fool-proof ways of staving off a rotten mood (or curing one that’s starting to plummet) is to fog up my glasses over a big, steaming pot.
Rolling through my mental recipe Rolodex, I then recalled a winning Molly Wizenberg recipe from her book, “A Homemade Life” – a terrific read, FYI, especially the googly-eyed parts where she meets her future husband, Brandon. As I recalled her ingredient list – yellow onion, check! plum tomatoes, check! – I grabbed my biggest pot. An hour-and-a-half later, mood already improved, I sat down to a bowl of warm, tomato soup and a wedge of toasted sourdough bread shmeared with a pat of herbed butter, and guys, I felt like a million bucks. My dad – lover of grilled cheese and tomato soup – claims this is his “favorite soup ever!” I’ve tweaked Molly’s recipe a bit – I added greens, more herbs and pesto – but the gist is the same and the inspiration is all from her.
One final note about the recipe: The soup’s flavor improves with time. If you can, make it a day in advance. Alternatively, make it an hour-and-a-half before you’d like to eat – it’ll be ready in an hour and you can let it sit for the final half-hour to let the flavors meld.
8 cups plum tomatoes (or two 28-oz cans, unsalted)*
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 medium-sized fennel
2-4 cups leafy greens (beet greens, spinach, kale, collard greens, etc.)
2 tablespoons each: fresh basil, oregano & parsley
sea salt, pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
3-4 tablespoons pesto
*If following the SCD diet, use fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes from Italy, with only “tomatoes” on the label.
1. In a large pot, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil on medium-high heat. Cook onions with a pinch of sea salt until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut fennel into quarters and dice. Add chopped fennel to onion along with roughly-chopped garlic. Cook an additional 5-7 minutes until the fennel starts turning translucent.
2. Break plum tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and add to pot with canned liquid. Fill one of the containers with water and add to the pot. Bring to a boil; lower to a simmer and cook for an additional 45 minutes with the lid off.
3. When the broth looks thicker, the soup will be nearly done (and if you taste it, the tinned-tomato taste will be gone and it will be replaced by a full-bodied, slightly anise-flavored broth). Add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar. Add between 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. sea salt and several shakes of pepper. Taste the broth. If necessary, add an additional 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar (that’s what I do). Then, add leafy greens and cook for a few more minutes at a moderate simmer. Stir in herbs.
4. Remove from heat and, if time allows, let sit for 15-30 minutes with the lid on. The flavors will develop and get richer and the soup will still be piping hot. Alternatively, make the day before and reheat – the leftovers are even tastier! Serve with a drizzle of fruity olive oil on top or a dollop of pesto and, if you have it, toasted wedges of sourdough bread and butter (herbed butter, with minced garlic, rosemary and oregano is killer!).
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, SCD-safe (see asterisk)
November 13, 2009 § Leave a Comment
My mom’s go-to lunch usually involves half a box of spinach, a big chunk of mild cheese and a little pat of butter. Together, the two of us can polish off a pound of leafy greens in a couple days. We both love spinach (I love rainbow chard and collard greens, too) and we cook them in slightly different ways. I like my greens with a lot of garlic and lemon juice and plenty of aged, sharp cheese.
Tonight I filled up a bag of spinach from the farmers’ market and decided to whip up this dish as a supper “side.” While this dish can definitely stand-alone, it is also one of my favorite starting-points for other recipes. Use this recipe to bulk up a soup, add inside of a sandwich (very good!), stuff into an omelette or frittata or mix with beans (lentils or cannellini beans go nicely).
Ingredients (for one):
3 large handfuls of greens (spinach, rainbow chard, collard greens, etc.)
juice of half a lemon
4 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
slivers of Parmesan cheese*
sea salt, pepper
*If following a vegan diet, omit cheese. It’s still very flavorful.
This plate of greens will shrink to a one-size portion in a matter of minutes.
1. Thoroughly wash all greens and leave damp. The water will help the vegetables steam. If using a heavier green like collards or rainbow chard, remove thick part of the stem and rib and reserve for a soup for another day.
2. Heat olive oil in pan on medium. Saute chopped garlic, stirring constantly. When garlic begins to turn golden and is aromatic, add ripped greens.
3. Cover with a lid for 1-2 minutes until leaves are bright green and wilted. Remove lid. Add lemon juice and stir. Serve immediately, garnished with slivers of Parmesan cheese (you can use a carrot peeler to do this).
Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan (see asterisk)
May 4, 2009 § Leave a Comment
This is hardly a recipe, but it’s a fool-proof way to get me to eat scrambled eggs.
Ingredients (serves two):
* Don’t shy away from this recipe because you have to dirty a food processor. Making parsley/cilantro pesto takes fewer than 2 minutes. Don’t skimp on the Parmesan, nuts, and olive oil; just blend until the pesto becomes a slightly lighter shade of green.
1. Slice veggies and have everything ready. Whisk the egg with a quarter cup of your preferred pesto. Set aside.
2. In a large sauce-pan, heat a tablespoon (or so) of olive oil on medium-high. When hot, add onion and saute until it turns translucent and starts getting crispy around the edges (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, steam asparagus pieces for about 3 minutes until it turns bright green. When cooked, add to the onions.
3. Stir in the spinach and cook about 30 seconds until slightly wilted. Pour in the pesto-ed egg mixture and cook until set. Serve immediately.
Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free
December 27, 2008 § Leave a Comment
With these ten ingredients and about 15 minutes prep-time, this recipe is the key to a scrumptious brunch. I love all kinds of vegetarian quiches, but this recipe is hands down the best quiche I’ve ever had.
Quiche is such a versatile meal that you can serve with loads of different side dishes, plus you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Today I made a light brunch for my family. I served this quiche with a side of Mustard Roasted Potatoes and grapefruit. But next time I think I’ll serve it with some Fluffy Pumpkin Muffins or Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Load because I just found a huge can of pumpkin puree in our pantry! I also really enjoy serving quiche with a large casserole pan of Fall Roasted Veggies (and root veggies are still in season). And, if you live in the southwest and are lucky enough to have citrus in season during these winter months, serve with a tall glass of freshly squeezed OJ!
2 cups cottage cheese (full fat or 2%)
1 cup Jarlsberg cheese, grated
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup jack cheese, grated
6 scallions, chopped
1.5 cups spinach, cooked
2 cloves garlic
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a skillet, heat a little olive oil and add scallions. Saute until the white part becomes slightly translucent. Add spinach and garlic and cook an additional minute until heated through. Meanwhile, prepare egg and cheese mixture.
3. Add spinach + scallion mixture into the egg mixture.
4. Grease a 10” quiche pan and add batter.
5. Bake approximately 50-55 minutes, or until center of quiche is firm. I haven’t had a problem with this quiche bubbling over, but just in case, I always stick a large baking sheet on a lower level on the oven so if the egg mixture does boil over, it won’t land on the bottom of the oven.
Diet Notes: Nut-free, gluten-free