Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rain Equals Cookies

The wedding and honeymoon were quite successful. I don't think I would change a thing (other than the dress malfunction). Trying to find jobs and working occasional shifts at the East West Cafe has kept me busy and though we still cook daily, I haven't been finding the time nor motivation to post our treats. Anyhoodles... heres a new one from the 'babycakes' cookbook, which was a wedding gift from my dear friend Misha. I renamed these cookies to suit myself..... they are...

.... I Have A Really Good Feeling About Whats Happening In This Bowl Cookies...

1 c. coconut oil
1 & 1/4 c. organic sugar
1/3 c. apple sauce (I used Nana Mae's from Sebastopol)
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs vanilla extract (It's a lot I know, but just trust me)
1 & 1/2 c. Bob's Redmill gluten free baking flour
1/4 flax meal
1 tsp baking soda
1 & 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 c. chocolate chips (enjoy life are the best!)

Preheat the ol' oven to 325 degrees, and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl mix the oil, sugar, applesauce, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. In a second bowl mix the flour, flax meal, xanthan gum and baking soda. Slowly blend the dry mixture into the wet mixture, once completely mixed add the chocolate chips and fold in. Form small balls and place an inch apart on the baking sheet, gently press the top of the ball down to flatten.

Bake for 9 minutes, then rotate the cookie sheet 180 degrees, then bake another 5 minutes. There will most likely be over half of the dough left in the bowl, just cover and refrigerate, then you can make fresh cookies throughout the next few days, my mama taught me that trick.

So tasty, mmmm. I brought a couple of cookies to my papa and Weston who are working down the street, they loved them, big thumbs up, thank you Misha and thank you 'babycakes!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

French Cooking and Greg Brown Singing

I am amazed and inspired by my parents garden. It's full of wonderful veggies and every time we head over there I come home with fresh flavorful goodness. Looking at our booty the other night I decided we had the makings for ratatouille, to be quite honest I had never heard of this dish until i saw the cartoon 'Ratatouille'. It's a great movie about a rat that loves to cook. Anyway Ratatouille is a French stewed vegetable dish that uses an abundant array of veggies that I personally adore. I didn't have an onion so I just used what I had and went with it, it turned out fantastical! All the veggies minus the garlic are from my parents grand garden and so....

This shall be deemed

My Parents Are Unbelievably Amazing Ratatouille!

1 medium Rosa Bianca eggplant quartered and sliced
1 medium zucchini halved and thickly sliced
1 large heirloom tomato cubed
2 small cloves garlic minced
1 heaping tsp thyme
1 heaping tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbs olive oil

On medium heat, heat the oil and garlic in a pan, add the eggplant and zucchini, stirring often till veggies begin softening. Add the tomatoes and the herbs, stir. Cover for 5 minutes letting flavors meld and veggies cook. Remove from heat, and eat!

On a different note, I wanted to share the lyrics to a Greg Brown song that inspired this blog title. I love Greg Brown he's a seriously talented poet. I hope you like it.

Lyrics to Steady Love :
She wants your passion, your caress
She wants your hands on her and a soulful kiss
But she's lookin' for more than just that, son
Gotta be somethin' under all the good times and fun

Oh steady love, steady love
When the chips are down
The kind she can be sure of
Oh steady love

She might like flowers, might like a poem
Might like it better if you were home
And cooked with her and did a little dance
Where the kitchen is happy, love has a chance

Oh steady love, steady love
When the chips are down
The kind she can be sure of
Oh steady love

She's seen the cool boys hangin' around
With their sad dark eyes they never settle down
They might've written books or made CDs for the shelves
But they mostly just think about themselves

She wants steady love, steady love
When the chips are down
The kind she can be sure of
Oh steady love

When the kids are cryin' and the bills are due
And you wonder what you have gotten into
And you think the whole deal is not to be
Give her steady love, you'll find out how hot a woman can be

Steady love, steady love
When the chips are down
The kind she can be sure of
Oh steady love

I've heard men say, "Well look at that
She's such a babe, he's kinda dull, a little fat"
He must know something about kind and fair
When she needs somebody, the man is there

He gives her steady love, steady love
When the chips are down
The kind she can be sure of
Oh steady love

Mmmm, steady love
When the chips are down
The kind she can be sure of
Oh steady love

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hankering Answered

Today at the grocery store I purchased a jar of kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish. It is fermented and a little like sour kraut except it's spicy. There are many different recipes for kimchi and a wide variety of vegetables that are used. The most common ones that I've seen are Napa cabbage and daikon radish. It's pretty tasty if you like a bit of spice and that fermented flavor.
Thinking about said jar of kimchi on the walk to pick up Brian's suit from the dry cleaners I got a hankering for Bi Bim Bop. A delectable Korean dish that I got introduced to by a friend who used to live in Korea and makes his own homemade kimchi that is way better than any other I've tried. Anyhow, Bi Bim Bop is another traditional Korean dish that literally translates to "mixed rice". When the Korean BBQ was still on 4th street I used to frequent there with some friends and get a sizzling bowl of Bi Bim Bop.
This said what I made tonight was nothing like traditional Bi Bim Bop, served in a hot stone bowl, chili sauce, with multiple side dishes including cucumbers, seaweed, radish..ect... and all that Korean flare. If there's a Korean restaurant in your town I suggest giving it a try, as long as they are MSG free.
What I made tonight I shall call....

... Nat Bim Bop (serves 2)

2 c. cooked arborio rice
1 c. steamed bok choy
1/2 cup steamed burdock root
2 cloves garlic steamed and minced
small handful pea shoots
2 peeled and sliced lemon cucumbers
1/2 avocado sliced
2 Tbs chopped parsley
2 over medium eggs
4 Tbs kimchi

Divide the ingredients in half and arrange in bowls or on plates. Place the hot egg on the top and dive in. If you want to add some extra spunk add a hot sauce of your choosing. We added salt and fresh ground pepper it twas tasty. It also helps that the cucumbers were grown in my ma and pa's garden, extra love.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Love Me Some Cali Cooking!

Several months have past since I last posted a kitchen wonder. Many brilliant and delectable food items have been created over said months, but alas between moving from West Virginia back to California and planning Brian and my wedding I have been unable to post them. Today I have a simple yet wonderful summer meal. The other night I felt in the mood for sandwiches, a rare desire on my part but I went with it. The sandwich we created was so amazing that we made another for lunch today.
There is a local bakery called Grindstone Bakery that makes mouth watering organic, gluten free, vegan quinoa ciabatta bread. It's a tad expensive but once in while we feel the need to splurge on them. They became the base for the sandwich, I'm calling it.....

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore's Magic Sandwich

The amount of ingredients vary as to how many sandwiches you are making and how overflowing you like them. All ingredients are organic.

shitake mushrooms, red onion, and purple bell pepper sauteed in olive oil till soft.
thickly sliced heirloom tomato
thinly sliced lemon cucumber
thickly sliced avocado
sunflower sprouts
chopped up basil leaves
sour kraut

before piling on the veggies..... spread a honey mustard sauce onto your bread.

Honey Mustard Sauce or Dressing

1 Tbs organic mustard
1 Tbs local honey
1/2 -1.5 Tbs olive oil (depending on how thick you want it)
1/4-1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
dash of salt
dash of cayenne pepper

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yummy Yummy Yummy I got Love in My Tummy

All I can say is wow.

It's too late for dark chocolate, but c'est la vie bars

1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup lightly toasted walnuts

Melt your chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small pan on low heat, stir constantly to avoid burning. Once completely melted remove from heat, stir in walnuts, vanilla, and salt. Pour into parchment lined round baking pan and spread to an even thickness about 1/2 inch. Place in the fridge and let cool completely. Once hardened cut into slices and enjoy! So easy, so amazing, I could eat way to much of these!(Especially since Brian isn't partial to nuts... they're all mine...) Thanks again to Flying Apron for your amazing recipes!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Buns and Burgers: Animal free style.

Brian smiles in anticipation of the magnificent meal we created! I marinated portabella mushrooms in toasted sesame oil, agave nectar and freshly minced ginger. Brian made Chebe buns, which were way tasty. We baked the mushrooms for 15 minutes, added some avocado, organic greens, sweet pea sprouts, baby dill pickles, and some of Brian's homemade BBQ sauce and ...viola!!
I didn't even know I could like BBQ sauce, but this was really tasty, I'll have to ask him for the recipe and add it to this post. Yummy, yeah for spring greens!
And so allergy season is at its worst here, literally it's really bad this year. So I've been keeping us pumped full of nettle tea, local honey, and lots of herbs. I recently made energy balls with ginseng and maca, I also made an iron tonic elixir and every other day make a powerful liver tonic tea. We are staying healthy, though the allergies have crept in a bit, a little sneezing, a little coughing, but we keep up with the neti pot and facial steams. I am so happy it's spring!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"cooked with her and did a little dance" -Greg Brown

Some fabulous treats from your chefs Natalie and Brian! Yesterday I made a soup that is the soup of endless possibilities, in other words I call it....

..... Oh... There Are So Many Veggies In The Fridge Soup

For this soup you will need a variety of vegetables, whatever you may have on hand that is needing to be used up. I'll give you a rough list of what I used in our delicious soup!

1 large leek
2 purple potatoes
1 yam
1 large beet
1/2 red onion
3 broccoli stalks, peeled
2 carrots
2 small parsnips
4 leaves of collard greens
(All above veggies should be chopped)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground yellow mustard
2 tsp granulated kelp
2 Tbs dried nettles

Basically from here you can just throw it all in a pot, fill with water till almost covering all the vegetables. Personally I sauteed the garlic, onion, and ginger first, then added the rest of the vegetables, continued sauteeing for 5 or so minutes and then covered with water. I added the seasonings about half way through the cooking. I probably let it simmer for 20 minutes, then blended the entire soup in a blender, returned to the pot and let simmer for 5-10 more minutes. It was fantastic and rich with vitamins and minerals.
Serve with the bread of your choice!! Yeah

And tonight I found that the abundance of green beans in the fridge and that acorn squash were pleading to be consumed. I found a recipe for Asian green beans that sounded good, but since I lacked most of the ingriedients I went ahead and made it up, it turned out rather well.
Here goes

Why Is There Soy In Everything Green Beans

3 Tbs toasted sesame oil
2 tsp wild onions (ramps) minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 and 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbs ume plum vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
4 c. Aprox. trimmed green beans
1 large carrot, diagonally sliced
1/2 c. toasted cashews

Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the ramps, garlic and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, add the ginger, maple syrup, and the vinegar, turn off the heat. While the garlic concoction is starting to heat, put the beans and carrots in a steamer. Steam till al dente. Remove from steamer and place in a bowl. Pour the garlic concoction over the beans and carrots, mix, and top with toasted cashews.

It turned out very nice and we ate it with steamed acorn squash, and red and white quinoa. Nutritious and delicious!!

On to desert.....
Brian made some vegan, gluten free, soy free, donuts. Oh me oh my!
He used the plain chebe bread mix, which is basically tapioca flour and tapioca starch, he followed their basic recipe adding agave nectar and his trade secret that I am currently giving away (with his permission of course)... nutmeg!
Fried those puppies up in a little palm oil, I like it! Keep on cooking friends! Keep those kitchens happy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

DreaMy EgGlets

Here's a shot of those avocado chipotle deviled eggs! Ooooheee!

BuNnieS and thEir egGs

Crazy winter has left the premises and spring came in the room like a good dance with an old friend. It is glorious here! The birds are singing, Morgantown is turning green again, daffodils are popping up everywhere. I never really appreciated spring to this extent, it's different when winter is so bleak, grey and white, and cold, not a green leaf to be seen. Anyhow, it's beautiful I ate breakfast outside in the sunshine, I want to live outside all summer.

I have been a serious slacker with my blogging, but oh well, I want to tell you about Easter.
Parker, Brian's nephew and his folks were down here on Sunday, the weather was beautiful, a perfect Easter day. Brian and I made our traditional Easter pancakes (this was the 3rd year, so it's tradition now). Then we got into dying some eggs. First let me tell you about Binion eggs, they come from a local woman and we sell them at the co-op. They are already colorful, green, blue, pink, brown, beautiful eggs! Aren't they? The pale ones in the picture are actually baby blue, so sweet.
We also bought some white eggs from the co-op and died them using our friend Susan's ideas, we used turmeric, red cabbage, yellow onion skin, beets, blueberries, and boysenberries. First Brian coated the hard boiled eggs with apple cider vinegar so the dye would stay better, then we mashed up blueberries, grated beets, boiled turmeric, steamed cabbage leaf ect...ect.
This is our outcome, I'll never do it any other way!
Parker got one of those egg dying kits, and the eggs came out super vibrant and neon, but quite toxic, not something you'd want to eat. I didn't even want to put the shells in my compost so I took the shells off before I composted them.

Which are your favorites? Yesterday I made avocado chipotle deviled eggs, they rocked. It's quite easy to do. Take 6 hard boiled eggs, half them and put the yolks in a bowl. Mash up one ripe avocado into the bowl, add a 1/4 tsp salt and a 1/4 tsp dried chipotle pepper. Plop heaping spoon fulls back into the cradle of the egg whites, and eat! Yummy!
We had our friend Ash over for dinner last night, we made that some curry dahl and those chick pea pancakes, it was quite good. Soon I will blog about the raw chocolate avocado pie I made, it was probably one of the best things I've ever eaten!
Enjoy the spring!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gnocchi Time!

Last night we had a guest cook, good company. Our friend Darien came over to experiment with some gluten free gnocchi. We used yet another Flying Apron recipe, that alas we had to alter. I thought that I had buckwheat flour a plenty, but the majority of my stock was infested with little moths of some sort. They were deceased, and now they found a semi final resting place in our compost pile. Darien picked up a buckwheat flour mix at Kroger, but it had soy in it, and Brian cannot do soy. So.... we did a combo of buckwheat flour and some Bob's Redmill gluten free baking mix. Here we go..... I'll call this...

Farewell Friend Gnocchi

5 small to medium sized russet potatoes
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
3/4 c. buckwheat flour
1/2 c. Bob's Redmill gluten free baking mix (or just use all buckwheat flour)
1/4 c water

Peel and steam potatoes till soft. Mash in bowl, add olive oil, salt and nutmeg... keep mashing.
Slowly add the flour, once it's incorporated add the water, and kneed dough till fully combined. You can add more water to achieve a nice consistency. Liberally flour your work surface using brown rice flour. Divide the dough into 6 portions, roll each portion into a 1/2 inch thick rope. Slice each rope into 1 inch segments and press the top of each segment with a fork. Transfer pieces to a floured plate.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, place an oiled baking sheet in the oven. Place one layer of gnocchi in a steamer and steam about 10 minutes, remove from steamer and place on oiled baking sheet in the warm oven. Repeat this step until all the gnocchi are in the oven. Leave in oven for 6-8 minutes, remove and cover with your sauce of choice, we made a pesto of sorts that was amazing! I'll call it...

If The Garden Could Sing Pistou

3/4 c fresh basil
1/2 c. fresh Italian parsley
2 Tbs fresh thyme
1 Tbs fresh Rosemary
1 Tbs fresh oregano
1 large clove of garlic peeled
1/2 c olive oil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
sea salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender, puree, add more olive oil if needed. This is a mouth watering sauce, I highly recommend trying it, even with regular pasta and veggies it would be grand.

For dessert we made a Mexican chocolate cake with chocolate ganache icing, it was yummy, but thats a story for a different day. Well good times, good friends and another successful meal!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One Day We Will Have Goats And Chickens

It's hard to believe it's still snowing, I'll tell you one thing I am going to take spring very seriously, hiking, adventuring, dancing in Pittsburgh. All this sitting around is nice but I can't wait to play in the woods, I guess if we had a more snow worthy vehicle we'd be out there in all weather, but alas Pam can't hang with ice and such, vespa isn't even an option, and I don't really feel comfortable taking the Karmaan Ghia out either. So it's feet.
Well, we have been cooking like crazy... making all sorts of gluten free breads, cookies, and delicious meals! The recipe I share today was given to me by Gale, the mother of my co-worker Darien. It's for the most amazing granola I've ever had, I'm not exaggerating, it is so good, and so easy, if you can make a cup of tea, chances are you can make this.

My man doesn't like nuts, too bad Granola

4 cup oats (I used gluten free oats)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dried coconut
Mix above ingredients in a large bowl.

1/2 cup safflower oil
1/2 cup honey

Heat Oil and honey until warm
add tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix dry and wet ingredients together. Spread onto cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes, remove from oven and stir it up. Bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and return to large bowl. Let it cool, stirring occasionally. Once it is cool you can add your choice of dried fruits, about 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups in all. I added chopped dates, currants and montmorency cherries, a fabulous combination! I am storing mine in a big zip lock bag, though I wish I had a big yellow container like the one Grandma Ann has always stored her homemade granola in.

While I'm at it I'll share yet another recipe worth trying, this is a Flying Apron recipe, slightly altered.

Who Wouldn't Like A Scone For Dessert Scones

2 3/4 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbs garbanzo bean flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup safflower oil
1 cup sucanat sugar
1 cup rice milk
3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Combine brown rice flour, garbanzo flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Stir. In another large bowl use your hand beater to blend the sucanat and the oil. Slowly add the flour mixture to the oil mixture, alternating with adding the rice milk. Once well mixed, refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours, I did 6.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a floured (rice flour) surface kneed the blueberries into the dough. Once the blueberries are evenly distributed, shape the dough into a 2 inch think disk. Cut the disk into 8 peices. Place evenly on a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes until the tops are slightly browned and a bit firm to the touch. It took my oven about 35 minutes. These scones are soooo good, we ate them for dessert and Brian had another for breakfast. They were actually super easy too, just mix the dough at night, then pop them in the oven in the morning for hot fresh scones!

Friday, February 19, 2010

StOrmY CoOkInG

Coconut curry with mushrooms, broccoli, yam, potato, carrot, onion and garlic rocked our world tonight. Paired with a giant organic salad with fresh greens, pea shoots, avocado and pears! I don't feel in the mood for writing recipes, I didn't pay all that close of attention when I added the goods to my cauldron.
Brian and I were talking about cooking fears the other day, perhaps not fear but just general aversion to cooking. I think that when people start to look at food as something that they have to do, another chore, it really takes something out of the experience. It's also a task that very often gets placed on one person in a home, thus causing a bit of resentment I imagine. It would be different if someones passion for cooking overruled any resentment or if one person worked full time and the other stayed home. But in a dynamic like ours, and like so many households it just doesn't make sense for one person to have the responsibility of feeding. Brian and I both work, we both are gone most of the day and when we get ready for dinner it's a shared desire. The fact that both of us put the energy and thought into creating meals and nourishing ourselves makes us happy and makes our mealtime a thing to look forward to, not another chore to be completed with grumpy faces.
That is my rant for the night, thank you.
p.s I am maybe getting a little tired of the snow.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

WilL You bE My VaLenTine?

It's Valentine's Day, and I have slacked in updating the past weeks fabulous meals. We had a noteworthy improv chili one night, and Brian made a fabulous baba ganoush on Thursday evening, fresh eggplant, tahini and garlic, sooooo good! Anyhow, I'll let you in on the amazing Valentines dinner we just had, really so good, so much love. We paired chickpea pancakes with a split pea dahl dish that we borrowed and altered from Flying Apron's cookbook, a true party of flavors.

Valentine's Day Dahl

5 c. organic vegetable broth
1 and 1/2 c. split peas
1 yellow onion diced
1 yam diced
1 russet potato diced
1 carrot diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
3 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 and 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger root
sea salt to taste

In a large soup pot heat veggie broth and split peas. Bring to boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Add yam, potato, onion, garlic, carrot and can of tomatoes, return to boil. Reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. While dahl is simmering, in a skillet on medium heat, heat oil and add mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, ginger, curry powder, cayenne and turmeric. When seeds begin to pop remove from heat and add to dahl, stir. Let simmer for 3-5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, have your partner in kitchen crime start the chickpea flat breads.

Heavenly flat bread

2 Cups chickpea flour
1 + 1/4 to 2 cups H2o
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cumin seeds
a little olive oil for frying

Sift flour, salt, baking powder and cumin seeds in large bowl. Pour the water in the mixture and stir while pouring. Stir to remove any lumps and continue adding water until you have a consistency similar to chocolate syrup. (err on the thick side)
Heat oil in skillet, medium heat, add a healthy Tbs of the batter to the pan. When small holes start appearing on top it's time to flip! Once the other side is cooked place in a warm oven. Serve warm with any soup or bean dish. I can't begin to tell you how awesome this dinner was! Brian ranked it in our top 6 meals we've made yet, and that is something, we've made some mouth watering meals.
For dessert we will have a very special Diana DeLuca chocolate cake, with some of my own modifications, as usual. With a frosting that has yet to be determined.
Dancing in the kitchen, tonight it was to groovy blues jams playing on my lap top. Brian is sporting a vintage sheer cream colored apron that Candi bought me when I was home for Christmas!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

We have been snowed in for two days now, we are trying to entertain ourselves indoors, which means, internet, cooking, movies, and cleaning. Yesterday we played outside a bit, but with over a foot of snow and snow still falling it didn't make for the best play day. I really wish we had a hill that was good for sledding. A giant tree fell over onto our neighbors back porch yesterday. It took out the whole porch and part of the roof. It was pretty scary.
Anyhow, I baked ginger cookies, and they were awesome.

Shoveling snow ginger cookies

2 1/8 c brown rice flour
3/4 c garbanzo bean flour
1/2 Ts baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 Tbs cocoa powder
3/4 c. coconut oil melted
3/4 c organic sugar
1/2 c. molasses
1/2 Tbs fresh grated ginger root
1/2 c. hemp milk
1/2 c. chopped candied ginger plus whole pieces for garnishing

preheat oven to 360 degrees. Combine dry ingredients, minus sugar in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients including sugar in a medium bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mix thoroughly. Place pingpong sized balls on cookie sheet, press down slightly and top with a chunk of crystallized ginger. Bake about 15 minutes... so yummy. Enjoy with loved ones, or even by yourself.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I wish we lived in the tropics mango salsa/tacos

Special guest blogger tonight, Mr. Brian Eberly!

Hi everybody, if you were all thinking that I do not do any cooking, you're mistaken. Tonight, Nat worked late and she wasn't feeling all that great, so I took it upon myself to create a marvelous meal. Since we had a mango in the house, I decided to make one of my specialties....mango salsa.

I-wish-we-lived-in-the-tropics mango salsa.

1 Mango (I used a direct trade organic mango)
1 kiwi
half clove of garlic
half a lime
sea salt

Sqeeze the lime juice into a bowl, mince the garlic and let it soak in the lime juice while you move on to chopping. Dice the mango and kiwi into tiny pieces. Mix with the lime juice/garlic and salt to taste. Your are all set to enjoy. You can add chopped onions, cilantro or papaya, you can also use a blender if you like smoother salsa(i did tonight).

Try it with chips or fish tacos.

You can't exactly eat just salsa, so for the rest of the meal, we had refried bean from scratch, arborio rice, sprouted corn tortillas and homemade guacamole. Pile it high.

You CaN't Go wRonG With nuTmEg

Last night I attempted my first quiche. Being that I made up the recipe, I was pretty pleased with the results. I used a blue cornmeal, pine nut pie crust recipe that I didn't follow close enough, the crust ended up.... too crumbly. It had amazing flavor, but I don't think I'll share that recipe until its perfected on our part. As far as the quiche itself goes, I'll tell you what I did.

The Final Five Quiche

4 local eggs
1/2 c. hemp milk
1 c. loosely chopped water cress
1 small red onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
3 small red potatoes sliced
2/3 c. crumbled chevre
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1 tsp sea salt
olive oil for sauteeing
Prepared pie shell of some sort

Sautee onion, garlic, and potatoes in olive oil. 10 or so minutes until softened. In large bowl scramble eggs, add the remainder of the ingredients. Pour into prepared pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, ours took around 60, but I would check it at 45. Just make sure the center doesn't jiggle when you wiggle the pan. When you wiggle it shouldn't jiggle! I like that!

As both Brian and I were home yesterday and snow makes me want hot cocoa, I made us a couple of mugs. I really love the size and shape of the Campbell's soup mugs for cocoa, and I guess they are cute even though Campbell's soup is gross. So here's the way I do it...

Fit for Adama Cocoa

Enough hemp milk to fill both mugs
1 heaping Tbs 100% cocoa powder
1 and 1/2 Tbs Agave nectar or maple syrup
1/8 tsp ground chipotle pepper
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
Fresh ground nutmeg to sprinkle on top

Whisk all ingredients (minus the nutmeg) in a pot on med heat, whisk frequently, until hot. Pour into mugs, add nutmeg, and savor!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

ApRicot cOokies, aNd EggpLant PiZzA

That was the most salivating dinner ever! Really, you have to try it! It all starts with a homemade pizza crust of your choice, we used the plain Chebe, surprised? We shall call it...

... Eggplant, Chevre, and Garlic Dream Pizza

1 homemade crust of your choice
2 tsp tarragon, mixed into pizza dough

1/2 large eggplant, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic minced
3 small leaves red chard, sliced thinly
3 Tbs goat cheese chevre
3 Tbs olive oil

Make pizza dough. Your baking time and temperature may very depending on what dough you use. Brush the dough with olive oil, and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, grill the eggplant slices in olive oil. When dough is ready, add eggplant, garlic and chard. Bake 10 more minutes. Sprinkle with chevre, bake 3 more minutes. Remove from the oven, slice and serve!!
The best pizza ever! If you are like my mama and despise goat cheese, just sub it with some soft lightly flavored cheese. So yummy, we ate the whole thing..... Brian's mom helped.

So for dessert, we made the Flying Apron Apricot Thumb print Cookies. I alter the recipe, as always, and will give you my altered version. I also usually cut this recipe in half.

2 and 3/4 cups brown rice flour
1 and 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbs garbanzo bean flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp blood orange zest
1 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup organic sucanat sugar
1 cup hemp milk
Apricot puree (recipe follows)

Apricot Puree
1 and 1/2 cups dried apricots
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sucanat sugar

To make the puree. Steam the apricots for 5-10 minutes, till soft. put in blender with vanilla, lemon juice, sucanat and 1/4 cup of the water from steaming. Blend till a thick jam like paste.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and zest in large bowl. In a small bowl blend sugar and coconut oil. Add sugar mix, small amounts at a time to flour mix, alternate adding with hemp milk, till well blended. I put the dough in the fridge for 5 minutes so it firms up. Take dough out of fridge, form into 1" balls, lightly flatten. Let someone you love place the thumb prints into the balls. Fill the thumb prints with the apricots puree. Bake about 14 minutes. Yummy!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I love soup!

It's a tolerable 33 degrees tonight! Still chilly, and definitely a cozy stay at home evening. I almost blogged earlier this morning about a fabulous gluten free, vegan pancake breakfast, the pancakes were rich with protein and omegas from hemp seed and flax seed. With coconut oil in place of butter and real grade B, West Virginia maple syrup, oh my, delectable! But alas I did not, next time. This evening I will share with you a fabulous creation called....

Honey's Working on the Ghia, Carrot, Apple and Celery Soup

2 large carrots
1/2 red onion
3 apples peeled,cored, and sliced(I used Fuji, we'll see how it turns out)
6 stalks celery, + a bit of the green tops for garnish
1 tsp minced ginger
3 pieces crystallized ginger, about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 tsp cumin
salt to taste
dash of pepper
1 cube vegetarian bouillon
about 4 cups of water
1/2 Tbs olive oil, optional

In a large soup pot, dissolve the bouillon cube in 4 cups water on medium heat. Add the celery, onion, carrots, fresh and crystallized ginger, salt, cumin and pepper. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the apple, let simmer 10 minutes. Blend entire soup in blender or food processor. Place soup back in the pot, and you can add a dash of olive oil if you like. Let simmer 5 more minutes. O.K, soup's on, I've got to holler at Brian in the garage and we shall see how this turned out!

It turned out very good, I do say so myself! Brian was pleased as well, it's so rewarding making up recipes and having them turn out. The bowls and plates (from more chebe bread sticks) were licked clean and as we gathered up the dishes to clean Brian asked me, "What's for dessert?" He's such a little bugger, though it is a good question. Dessert.... we can have left over coconut milk pumpkin pie, ooh so yummy, or make something new. My buddy Misha just started a cooking blog, she's been doing chef stuff for years and her skills far surpass mine. Anyways she made these beautiful apple tart thingys, that I may have to try. There is a beautiful black kitten craving my attention and I must go pet her little back. Ciao!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow and Taxes

It's 3:22 p.m in Morgantown, a whopping 19 degrees and snowing. Brrrr! Both Brian and I have the day off so it's a nice day to be cozy indoors. He did spend a few hours working on the Kharman Ghia, which is running wonderfully, insured, registered and waiting to pass the unforgiving WV inspection. Meanwhile, I made hand made paper with recycled paper from work and red onion peel, nice. When Brian came back indoors I heated up last nights left overs and realized that I forgot to share dinner with you last night so I'll share it with you now. I got a bit crafty throwing something together.
I call this...

My Sweetie is Doing my Taxes Soup
(This makes enough for 4, or for lunch the next day)

2 red potatoes diced
1/2 red onion diced
5-6 stalks celery chopped
2 carrots chopped
3 leaves red chard chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 can organic aduki beans
1 cube organic vegetarian bouillon (I used the Rapunzel brand)
2 Tbs olive oil for sauteing
Salt to taste
5 cups H2o

Heat oil in skillet or wok, add onion, garlic and ginger, sautee for 5 minutes, add potato, carrot, and celery, sautee 5 more minutes. Meanwhile in a large soup pot on medium heat, dissolve bouillon cube in 5 cups water. Add the sauteed veggies to the soup pot. Let simmer 10 minutes. Add the aduki beans, thyme, rosemary, chard, salt and the tomatoes, stir. Let simmer 25 minutes or until potatoes are softened, stirring occasionally.

Super nutritious and warming in the tummy. We ate it with chebe focaccia bread, so good! I went to take a photo but alas the camera had been mis placed while being put in a "safe place" away from the kitten. Isn't that such a funny feeling, putting something somewhere for safe keeping and not recalling where it is? Brian still hasn't found his riding gloves that he hid somewhere when we first moved here.

I hope you are all enjoying the day and the weather isn't too demanding of you, at least the weather here demands that I stay inside and make hot cocoa, really it's telling me that right now and I must go make a pot of cocoa!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rosemary inspiration

It's a call for something warm in the tummy at a freezing 22 degrees Fahrenheit night here in Morgantown, WV. Brrrr. Despite the fact that we received our co-op CSA (community supported agriculture) bounty today, I felt pretty uninspired to make dinner when I walked in the door at 7:45 pm tonight. Well, that aside we must eat and we must eat well, smiley face.
We grabbed some veggies and started chopping, stir frying and cooking some grain. Tonights grain was teff, it's a tiny grain from Africa that is packed full of vitamins, protein and nutrients. It has a very pleasant very nutty flavor, I highly recommend giving it a whirl. Don't let the gelatinous feature scare you, it's quite tasty. I found a site with some teff info for you. http://chetday.com/teff.html

I'm calling this dish.....

Eggplant and Rosemary in love

1 eggplant, quartered and sliced
2 russet potatoes, quartered and sliced
1/2 yellow onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
3 leaves of rainbow chard chopped
1 Tbs rosemary
2 Tbs olive oil
sea salt to taste
dash of ume plum vinegar

1 cup cooked teff grain

Heat olive oil in your wok, on med heat. Add garlic, onion, and rosemary. Cook about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, eggplant and salt, cook till soft, 10 -15 (I check periodically). Add the chard and a dash of ume plum vinegar. Cook till chard has wilted and veggies are thoroughly softened and voila!
Serve with cooked teff and drizzle a high quality olive oil on top (I've been using a Greek olive oil called Theros, it is mouth watering). Delicious, quick and worth a try!

I love experimenting with grains. I've actually only had teff three times, the first time it lacked luster with whatever it was I cooked it with. I had it for breakfast with two over medium eggs and avocado the other day, and that was quite a treat. I'm am currently trying to get Brian to be a dear and make some dessert from our fabulous Flying Apron's cookbook.... but his Star Wars book has pulled him in again and my pleas may be a lost cause. I'll let you know if something gets baking! Yeah for food!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Split Pea Soup On A Wednesday Night

Love happens in the kitchen, this is something I believe. The inspiration for taking up this blog is to express the joy my fiance Brian and I feel when we create meals together. Greg Brown sang, "When the kitchen is happy, love stands a chance." Oh so true Greg, oh so true.

We cook all of our meals, literally we have eaten out at a restaurant 3 times in the past 10 months. Even while we road tripped across the country, we cooked on our Coleman everyday.
I look forward to our meals when I wake in the morning and when I come home from work. We have our standard fixes but are always creating new things. Culinary life is endless for us, even though we are "mostly" vegan, gluten free, soy free, and almost 100% organic. I say mostly vegan because we eat local, organic happy chicken eggs and once in a blue moon we eat goat dairy, and in an even bluer moon we have fish.
Tonight was another late meal. I didn't get off work until 7:30 so dinner started as soon as we got home. It was split pea soup and an amazing recipe at that! Brian cut the onions, bless his heart, they blind me, and we busied ourselves creating a feast for two. I'll share the recipe if you want to give it a go.

Stay Together Split Pea Soup

3 Tbs olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups dried split peas
5 cups water
juice of one lemon
smoked paprika for garnish
olive oil for garnish
lemon zest for garnish

Heat the oil in a large soup pot, add the onion, carrot, garlic and bay leaves. Sautee until soft. Add salt, pepper, peas and water. Bring to boil, lower heat, let simmer while stirring often. 40 minutes. Put 1/2 the soup in a blender, blend, return to soup pot,
add the lemon juice. Cook for 10 more minutes.
Serve drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with smoked paprika and lemon zest.

Tonight I only had 1 and 3/4 cups of split peas so I added 1/4 cup of red lentils, a nice addition. We also forgot to get a lemon at the co-op and made due without it.... though I prefer it with the tart sweetness of lemon juice, and the lemon zest really adds flavor!

Oh my goodness, that is gooooood!!!
I spilled some on the rim of my bowl... oops. The bread sticks are a new discovery from a brand called Chebe. They are pretty quick and have good texture and flavor for a gluten free mix. They are mostly tapioca flour and sadly not organic, but that's where the "almost 100% organic" comes to play.
Brian and I spend some serious time in the kitchen, so aside from the actual cooking there is tons of kisses, song singing, and kitchen floor dances, those I love, I even lead sometimes. Life is good, eat well and take care of your body, it's the only one you'll get!