Mole Roasted Cauliflower & Sweet Potatoes

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Mole Roasted Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes

Continuing the countdown to Cinco de Mayo, I had Gazpacho on my mind for today. It’s one of my favorite dishes, very refreshing and satisfying, but you really want something paired with it to make a full dinner.

There was a half head of cauliflower in my fridge that needed using, so I went on a recipe hunt and was happy to find this mole cauliflower recipe shared in 2010 by The Kitchen Operas (which was adapted from one shared by Gluten-Free Girl in 2005…so my evolution is at least the third generation). True mole is very labor intensive to make, so I’m excited to have a quick version of that wonderful flavor profile to whip up any night of the week.

Mole Roasted Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Ingredients

Ingredients

  • Half head of cauliflower, cut into medium florets
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into medium chunks
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • .5 tsp sea salt or garlic salt (I used Libertine’s Dynamic Duo)
  • .25 cups grape seed oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients and mix into the oil
  3. Pour over cauliflower and sweet potato in a large bowl and stir until the vegetables are coated
  4. Spread evenly in a large roasting pan or cooking sheet lined with tin foil
  5. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, flipping at least once, until they are cooked to your liking

Note on the spiciness: I would call the heat level on this “medium-hot” so adjust the red pepper flakes to your preference – although the gazpacho was the perfect balance for this little kick this had.

If you pick up this recipe and move it forward again, please let me know!

Advertisements

Fiesta Salad

Tags

, , , , , ,

Fiesta Salad

Continuing our countdown to Cinco de Mayo, here’s an easy and delicious vegetable  bean salad. It’s finished with yesterday’s Cumin Lime Dressing, which contributes a bright flavor to underscore the freshness of this dish.

I brought a bowl of this to an alumnae potluck last weekend, and waited until the last minute to toss in the cilantro so the green would stay vibrant. A beautiful addition to any table, this can be served as-is for a side dish, over spinach as an entrée salad, or as part of a taco salad with Vegan Taco Meat.

Fiesta Salad Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 batch of Cumin Lime Dressing (limes, vinegar, oil, cumin, s&p)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in quarters or smaller
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 green onions, minced to half way into green
  • 2 large ears of corn
  • .5 cups chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Make the dressing and let sit for flavors to marry.
  2. Lightly cook the corn to develop sweetness. I microwaved but might be better to boil and blanch. Don’t cook to the extent that you would eat corn on the cob – maybe half that much. When it cools, cut the kernels off with a sharp knife.
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix in the dressing, starting with half and adding to your taste.

Substitutions

  • Kidney beans for either garbanzo or black beans
  • A quarter finely diced sweet or red onion for green onions
  • Cherry tomatoes for grape tomatoes (or diced Romas)
  • Store-bought cumin lime or lime cilantro dressing

Cumin Lime Dressing

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Cumin Lime Dressing Ingredients

This is an easy dressing that pairs especially well with Mexican food…because we’re gearing up for Cinco de Mayo! I’ll have a Fiesta Salad recipe that uses this dressing to share with you tomorrow, but it’s also great on a regular green salad.

Ingredients

  • Juice of 4 to 6 limes
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced finely
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • .5 cups light olive oil (I’m using half EVOO and half grape seed oil)
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • .5 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • .5 tsp sea salt

Combine all ingredients and mix/blend well. Adjust any ingredients as necessary to achieve a good balance – start with 4 limes and work up to 6, etc.

You may have noticed that my salt in this photo is a beautiful purple color. That’s because it’s the Trifecta Blend from Libertine and includes Alaea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt, Hiwa Kai Black Hawaiian Sea Salt, and Himalayan Pink Salt. All three have different essential trace minerals which are thought to help with chronic ailments from inflammation to depression. Plus it’s pretty, which is said to be good for your eyes ; )

Smoky Cauliflower Steak

Tags

, , , , ,

Cauliflower Steak

Last night I used the other half – the middle half – of the cauliflower head that went into cauliflower curry earlier in the week. I had saved these two vertical slices from the middle to try vegan cauliflower steaks, something I first saw on Working Class Foodies (new fav, you must watch them all). I pan fried them this time, but am looking forward to putting them on the grill when we fire it up for the season.

Cauliflower steaks look very dramatic and have a satisfying, filling texture. On their own they do not have a strong flavor, giving you the opportunity to season them however you like. Since I’m so excited about grilling season, I went with a smoky profile for this incredibly easy dish.

I had some alder wood smoked sea salt that I found in the bulk section of Town & Country market on Bainbridge Island. If your local grocery isn’t quite so comprehensive (they have an entire floor of bulk foods), you can order it from Libertine Tacoma and get the most delightful packaging at the same time. And trust me: this is not the only recipe you’ll use it in…

Ingredients

  • 2 vertical slices from the middle of a cauliflower head, .75 inches wide
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • .5 tsp smoked paprika
  • .5 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • .5 tsp alder wood smoked sea salt

Instructions

  1. Mix the spices and oil into a marinade and spread over both sides of your cauliflower steaks. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 300°.
  3. Pan fry over medium heat, about 5 minutes per side, until you get some lovely brown caramelization (but not burning).
  4. If you have a pan that can transfer into the oven, pop it right in for another 10 minutes to finish cooking through, flipping once. Transfer to a casserole or baking sheet if your pan isn’t oven-ready.
  5. Serve immediately.

Frequently you’ll see people serve cauliflower steaks with a cauliflower puree or mashed cauliflower on the side to use the remainder of the head. Something to try next time as I’m getting to know this beautiful and nutritionally dense vegetable.

What’s your favorite cauliflower recipe? I’d love to try it!

My Favorite Natural Cold Remedies

Tags

,

I woke up this morning with a terrible sore throat, the kind that signals a week or more of misery as the first symptom of a common-but-nasty cold. But over the years I’ve found a handful of home remedies that are truly effective, at least for me. So this evening I’m feeling much better – not 100% but also not in the sorry state that sore throat was foreshadowing.

I hope this post finds you well. But if you’re experiencing the unfortunate early symptoms for a cold, I hope these home remedies will ease your suffering and speed your recovery as they did for me.

Oil of Oregano: My friend shared this with me last year – I’d never heard of it before but it’s amazing…and quite an experience. You can find it at grocery stores like Whole Foods or Metropolitan Market (a local chain here in the Seattle area). The one I have is Origanum vulgare in extra virgin olive oil standardized to 70% carvacrol. It comes in tiny bottles of .5 fluid ounces with a dropper top. Put 4 to 6 drops on your tongue and swallow, every 4 hours throughout the day. It burns. Do this in private as you will likely make some noises you won’t be proud of.

Echinacea & Licorice Tea: Most people, I think, have heard of Echinacea – it gives a short-term boost to the immune system, to be used at the very beginning of a cold and only for a couple days. I prefer to take mine as tea so I’m also getting lots of fluids. I mix it with licorice tea for the throat-coating effect and also because licorice is a natural sweetener. You can add a third bag of regular tea like Earl Grey for flavor. I make a big pot and drink all day.

Fenugreek Tea: Fenugreek seed is an ingredient in Indian cuisine like curry and can also be sprouted for salads, etc. It’s said to support lactation, relieve arthritis and increase libido. But my parents always gave it to me when I had a cough so to me it’s a respiratory savior. You can sometimes find it in teabags but I just put fenugreek seeds directly into boiling water and strain them out before drinking. I am prone to bronchial infections which inevitably require antibiotics, so I use this when a cold is threatening to settle in my chest as a preventative measure. It’s also helpful to suppress an existing cough, like the kind that can keep you up all night, when mixed with lemon juice and honey. Fair warning: you may smell like fenugreek for several days after drinking.

Exercise: If I can, I try to do a lighter version of my regular routine when I’m feeling under the weather – at least some cardio and stretching. The goal is to sweat and support the circulation of the lymphatic system, which doesn’t have anything like a heart pumping fluids around so requires body movement. Jumping on a trampoline is supposed to be especially effective for lymph flow.

Bourbon, Lemon and Honey: And finally, my very favorite cold remedy of all…booze. Starting sometime in the afternoon, I add a second glass right alongside my steady dose of herbal tea. That glass has the juice of one lemon, an equal part of bourbon, and a teaspoon or so of honey mixed in well. The trick is taking tiny little sips and letting them coat my throat (and only refilling once). This also supports my other favorite home remedy: a really good night sleep.

Of course it goes without saying that I’m not a doctor and none of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA. I would love to hear your success stories with home remedies. Please share and be healthy!

Cauliflower Curry

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Cauliflower Curry

Since I tried fennel for the first time in February (now one of my favorite dishes) I’ve been wondering what else in the produce section has been missing from my life. Last night’s experiment: cauliflower.

Why have I been overlooking it? Maybe it’s because we’ve been so conditioned to avoid white foods. But cauliflower is the exception to that rule. In fact, it’s packed with nutrients: vitamin C and folate for immune defense, phytonutrients to fight cancer, and heart-healthy benefits to boot.

It’s also quite satisfying, with a dense texture that fills you up like bread or meat would. All that to say, I’ll be working cauliflower into my cooking more often moving forward. Here’s how I prepared it last night (the flavor was even better for lunch today!).

Cauliflower Curry Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Indian curry paste
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into half-inch pieces
  • 10 brussel sprouts, cleaned and quartered
  • 2 roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 can (14 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock, plus more as needed

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium in a large stew pot.
  2. Sautee onions for 1 minute.
  3. Add curry paste and tomatoes, stirring until incorporated and tomatoes get smashed.
  4. Add sweet potatoes and water or stock, simmering for 5 minutes covered.
  5. Add cauliflower and salt, simmer for another 5 minutes covered. Add a little more water/stock if necessary to keep ingredients simmering and not sticking to bottom.
  6. Add brussel sprouts and garbanzo beans, simmer covered for 5 to 10 minutes until all ingredients are tender but still holding their shape.
  7. Serve over basmati rice.

Substitutions

  • Frozen peas instead of brussel sprouts
  • Carrots instead of sweet potatoes
  • Lentils instead of basmati rice

Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes & Broccoli

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Quinoa with Sweet Potato and Broccoli

I’ve recently started cooking a few cups of quinoa to keep in my refrigerator for use in salads, etc., throughout the week. It’s an easy way to make a salad more filling and add protein – plus it soaks up all the dressing at the bottom. Yum.

Quinoa holds up better if made a little dry – instead of a 2:1 ratio of water to grain per the instructions, I’ll usually use 3.5 cups of water with 2 cups of grain.

In addition to salads, this recipe below is an excellent way to use quinoa. It’s similar to a stir fry but different enough to be a new trick up your sleeve. Most of all, you have to love the flavor complexity and nutritional credentials this dish packs into just one bowl.

Quinoa with Sweet Potato and Broccoli Ingredients

I found the original recipe online, here’s my adaptation:

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups broccoli or broccolini florets
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • .5 cups whole raw almonds
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 3 tbsp grape seed oil
  • 2 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Sriracha

Instructions

  1. Mix the Bragg’s, sesame oil and Sriracha into a dressing and pour over the quinoa. Toss in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, cook the sweet potato cubes in enough water to barely cover. Check regularly, remove from heat and drain when they begin to soften. Maybe 10 minutes.
  3. In a large nonstick pan over medium heat, sauté the onions, garlic and almonds in grape seed oil for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and partially-cooked sweet potatoes and sauté all for another 5 minutes. Don’t overcook – you want the broccoli to stay vibrant green and the sweet potatoes to keep their shape.
  4. Transfer vegetables into bowl with flavored quinoa and toss all ingredients together.

Herb Garden

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Herb Garden Before and After

Last weekend I was finally confident enough with the Seattle weather going forward to plant my herb garden – one of my favorite moments every year! It’s a milestone marking the season and also a shift in how I’ll be cooking for the next six months.

This year I had the wisdom/humility to admit that “do it yourself” does not mean “do it alone.” Based on the inconsistent performance I’ve had in the past, I could use some professional help to get the most out of my little cluster of pots. So I went to see the good people at Swansons Nursery north of Ballard.

As an aside, I brought along my five-year-old African Violet, which they repotted, split off a pup, and taught me how to properly water. Evidently it’s a miracle this little guy has survived, but I’m glad because he was a gift from one of my favorite clients and always reminds me of her.

Here are the herbs I picked up, some of the ways I’m looking forward to using them, and any nuggets of advice I might have:

Herb Garden

Thyme: This is sharing the large pot with oregano and sage, because all three will do well on the same watering schedule. The variety I picked is Narrow French Leaf and should be quite flavorful. I use fresh thyme in risottos, savory egg dishes, and minestrone soup.

Sage: The garden expert steered me to a variety called Berggarten which has very large leaves. His sage advice (har har) was to fry whole leaves and eat them like potato chips. Sounds amazing! I love to use fresh sage with walnuts and a pinch of red pepper flakes in olive oil on butternut squash raviolis.

Oregano: I chose the most pungent – Greek Oregano. I’ll use it in pasta dishes like “cold” spaghetti and Italian soups like cioppino. So in one pot I have the European Union of edible herbs: French Thyme, German Sage and Greek Oregano. What could go wrong?

Fennel: This is my first year growing fennel. I even cooked with it for the first time only this year. If all goes according to plan, I’ll use the fronds as garnish and in salads throughout the summer, then dig up the bulb at the end of the season and use it for Fennel Lentil & Sausage.

Anise: Also a new one for me. I’m planning to use the leaves as garnish and in salads. We shall see!

Rosemary: I usually plant rosemary, but this year I don’t need to because there are nice shrubs of the stuff growing around my building. Rosemary is quite easy to maintain, doing fine with inconsistent sunlight and watering. I’ve even had some survive a winter of total neglect, though it got woody. The only bad luck I’ve had with rosemary is the ones grown to look like a Christmas tree that you see during the holidays. It’s a shame, because they are so cute and I’ve given them as gifts, but they always die and usually very quickly.

Mint: Let’s be honest, this is for Mojitos. I even cut to the chase and bought one called Mojito Mint, which is Cuban and on the sweet end of the spectrum. I might find other uses for it, but they will probably all be alcoholic. Mint is quite aggressive so it should be potted alone and harvested often. Cheers!

Basil: This is the one yet to be planted. It’s more fragile than the other herbs and should not be outside if the temperature ever drops below 50. I’ll need to be patient until sometime in May, but it’s worth the wait because I love fresh basil in spinach salads and caprese salad.

Herb Garden

Regarding soil for all the herbs, they recommended just a standard organic potting soil. Because one of my pots still has soil from last year, I only needed one cubic foot. You can also buy herb food which has a 5-1-5 formula to enhance the natural oils for better flavor but suppress flowering. I’m waiting to see if I’ll need it.

Cacao Banana Pancakes

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Cacao Banana Pancakes

Ah, raw cacao powder. Adding this antioxidant-rich and nutrient-dense super food into regular pancakes takes an average weekend breakfast to fancy and healthy new heights. Put some banana slices in there too and people will wonder what you’re celebrating. Or up to. The answer, of course, is awesomeness.

Cacao Banana Pancake Ingredients

Ingredients

  • .5 cups white flour
  • .25 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • .5 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp grape seed oil + more for pan
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large or 2 small bananas, sliced into thin rounds

Instructions

  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients.
  2. Mix together all the wet ingredients and beat until egg is consistent.
  3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until fully incorporated.
  4. Heat a pan over medium and spread a thin coat of oil on the bottom.
  5. Spoon a half cup or less of batter into pan and top with several banana slices.
  6. Flip when bubbles dot the top. The second side will cook in a fraction of the time.
  7. Serve immediately, banana-side up, with natural maple syrup if you like.

Cacao Banana Pancake with Extra Bananas

This recipe is not very sweet – best for dark chocolate lovers. Easy to adjust for any palate: increase the sugar by one or two teaspoons and/or decrease the cacao powder by same.

Vegetarian Taco Pie

Tags

, , , , , ,

Vegetarian Taco Pie

Since I had a pie crust in the freezer and some vegan taco meat from earlier in the week, I made an Entirely From-Scratch Vegetarian Taco Pie. Homemade salsa, fresh guacamole, even the vegetable stock for the seitan was homemade. Not only could you taste the love, you could hear the mix tape that it made for you playing in the background.

If I don’t have vegan taco meat already made next time, I’ll try substituting refried beans and Spanish rice, which will cut down significantly on the prep time. I might work in some tomatoes, but I digress. What I’m trying to say is, taco pie, I love you, and I’m looking forward to a lifetime together.

Vegetarian Taco Pie Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 9” Pie Crust
  • 1.5 cups Vegan Taco Meat (or bean substitute)
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheese (recommend sharp cheddar)
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 4-6 Garlic Cloves, diced
  • 1 cup Mushrooms, sliced
  • .5 tsp Cumin Powder
  • .5 tsp Paprika
  • .5 tsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tbsp Grape Seed Oil
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa

Vegetarian Taco Pie Layers

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Prep crust in a 9” pie dish. Not a bad idea to pre-bake it for a few minutes, but I didn’t and it was fine.
  3. In a pan, heat the oil over medium and add the powdered spices for a few minutes to season the oil. Then add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Finally, add the mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  4. Layer ingredients in the pie crust: taco meat first, then mushroom and onion mix, topped with cheese.
  5. Bake for 30-45 minutes until crust and cheese are golden brown.
  6. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and fresh guacamole (I just mush up an avocado with a couple sprinkles of chili powder and garlic salt).

Vegetarian Taco Pie