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Archive for the ‘American’ Category

A Little Sumpin Pumpkin

In American, Breakfast, Fruit, Nuts, Oats, Quick Meal, Shopping, Vegetables, Vegetarian on October 24, 2013 at 4:16 pm

The past month or so has been super busy.  We’ve been prepping to sell our place, and needless to say I never want to step foot into Lowes, Target, or Ikea ever again.  Aside from the obviously dos during this process, there were some unexpected don’ts.  I won’t bore you with those details, but basically I’ve been living in a beautiful showroom and not allowed to use or touch anything for fear of making dirt or imperfections, especially in the kitchen.  With the process having moved along, I am finally getting back into some normalcy.

This past weekend I finally made it to the farmers market to do a pretty decent shopping.  Prior weekends I either couldn’t make it because of household duties, or I would just pick up a few necessities if I happen to be passing by.  I was happy with my bounty, but not happy with the crowds of people.  I don’t know if it’s just the time of year, or if my neighborhood is really overpopulated, but it was so frustrating to navigate through the half block stretch.  But I digress.

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Although the majority were green, I managed to diversify the rainbow of produce.  Clockwise from top left:

  • Red (really purple) cabbage
  • Yellow and purple beans
  • Chocolate mint (my new best thing!)
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Kale
  • Some new leafy green I forgot the name of
  • Heirloom cherry/grape tomatoes
  • Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
  • Honey crisp apples
  • Fennel
  • Broccoli
  • Rainbow chard
  • Sweet potatoes (not pictured)

I originally wanted a butternut squash, but every one was huge, like 5+ lbs.  Hence, my newest squash – the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin.

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So named for it’s skin’s resemblance to cheese rinds, this pumpkin is grown to make pies.   I’m not really a pie baking kind of gal, but I wanted to do something with this thing.  Before deciding what to make, I figured I should at least go through the process of roasting and pureeing.  Hey, at least this is good practice for making baby food.

Cut in half, before scooping out the seeds.

Cut in half, before scooping out the seeds.

It was pretty easy.  I preheated the oven to 400.  Then cut the pumpkin in half, scooped out the seeds, and placed the flesh in a roasting pan with an inch of water.  An hour later it was done.

After roasting and scooping out the flesh.

After roasting and scooping out the flesh.

Once it was cool enough to handle, I scooped out the flesh into my blender, then blended for a minute.  This 3.5ish lb pumpkin yielded 3.5ish cups puree.

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It took me 2 days to decide what to make first.  I was inspired by my local bakery to make muffins, only not the kind that are essentially un-iced cakes the size of a human head.  Now that it’s Fall, they have been in full pumpkin mode, and pumpkin muffins are no exception.  After many trips to this cafe for breakfast (just to avoid making a mess in the kitchen), I have to admit there were a couple of times I purchased such muffins and tried to only eat half, knowing very well the damage heading my way – white flour, white sugar, butter and/or oil, etc.  Hence, my attempt to remedy myself with some whole grain breakfast appropriate muffins.

I searched the interwebs for some recipes, and finally settled on one with some substitutions and additions.  You could easily make these vegan by using banana instead of egg, and nondairy milk/yogurt instead of buttermilk.  I happened to have Greek yogurt, so that’s what I used.  You can check out the original recipe here, but just to clarify anything in bold was not the original recipe/ingredient.

Whole Wheat and Oat Maple Walnut Pumpkin Muffins

Adapted from Kitchen Treaty

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats + 2 tablespoons for topping
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 oz nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
 It’s pretty simple.  Oven at 400.  Mix wet and dry separately.
Dry

Dry

Wet

Wet

Add wet to dry just to incorporate.  Then mix in the nuts (that was my own little addition).

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Spoon the mixture into some 3 oz muffin tins with some paper muffin cups in there.  This recipe makes 12 of them.  Sprinkle the top with some oats, then bake for 15-20 minutes.  The original recipe said 15, but mine were still wet.

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Let them cool for 10-20 minutes, and then enjoy with a cup of joe or tea.
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These were pretty good.  Not as moist as a cake version, but what do you expect from something made from whole wheat, oats, and mashed fruit/veggies?  Normally, I have no issues subbing in apple sauce for oil.  However, if I make these again I might try to follow the original recipe’s oil suggestion.  I will say though that I totally dig my addition of walnuts, and the caramelization produced by the maple syrup was a nice touch.  Overall, these are a much better quick option than anything I’d find at a bakery.
I still have 2 and 1/2(ish) cups left of puree, so I either need to make something in the next day, or freeze it for a rainy day.  While I’d love me some pumpkin ravioli, there’s also about 6 weeks until Rocco starts solids, so I may just save a lil sumpin pumpkin for my little pumpkin.
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Slow as Molasses

In American, Breakfast, Fruit, Nuts, Oats, Saving Money, Vegan on April 12, 2013 at 2:55 pm

When I posted last time about all my new recipes, I emptily promised to reveal and detail the winner the following week.  Well, let’s just say a week is apparently equal to nearly 2 months in the energy level of a pregnant lady.  It takes me a lot longer to do simple tasks, such as walk to the subway or go grocery shopping, so please bare with me.

The recipe with the highest votes was unsurprisingly the truffled mac ‘n cheese.  I have to say I am slightly disappointed, only because that is the least wholesome dish I offered in the poll.  Regardless, I will at least give you a snapshot of the story behind the glory.

Maybe 5 or so years ago, I was watching Barefoot Contessa, which you may or may not know features Ina Garten, the poster child for Hamptons culinary indulgences.  Don’t believe me?  She is basically the Yankee version of Paul Dean.  I’m surprised she hasn’t announced any critical medical problems herself.  Anyway, on that particular episode she had whipped up some of said truffled mac ‘n cheese.  I was mesmerized, and of course made it for my hubby (then bf).  It was a winner.  Since then, I only make it for special occasions.  Most recently, this included a potluck Superbowl party.  I’m not going to go into too many details, so here’s a link to the recipe.  I followed it to a T.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/truffled-mac-and-cheese-recipe/index.html

Here are some pictures.

Shredded Cheddar and Gruyer

Shredded Cheddar and Gruyer

Sauteed Mushrooms

Sauteed Mushrooms

Truffle Butter

Truffle Butter

Bechamel

Bechamel

Pasta, Sauce, Cheese, and Mushrooms

Pasta, Sauce, Cheese, and Mushrooms

Breadcrumb ingredients

Breadcrumb ingredients

Assembled

Assembled

In other news, I’ve been refining my diet even more since switching from an OB to a Birthing Center midwifery practice.  The former gave me no nutritional information other than avoiding undercooked animal products.  The latter sat with me for 30 minutes reviewing my diet, and suggesting what nutrients to increase.  The biggie was iron.  There’s a big misconception that as a vegetarian you are at an iron disadvantage.  When we went over a list of foods to eat, I would say 90% on the print out were plant based.  These foods include leafy greens, whole grains, legumes (beans, lentils), nuts, dried fruits, and blackstrap molasses.  She said that molasses is great to use in baking instead of brown sugar (which I’ve done in the past), but also to add to cereal, yogurt, beans, you name it.  One tbsp has 20% daily value of both iron and calcium.  Mind you, pregnant women need double the iron, but still.  Even 10% from switching a tbsp of sweetener for the molasses goes a long way.

There was one recipe I had in my archives that I found a few years ago on a blog for granola bars.  Oats, dried fruit, almond butter, almonds, seeds.  All tons of iron.  I decided to swap out the brown sugar and replace it with molasses to boost the iron factor even more.  I had intended on making these for 2 straight weeks, but I either was missing an ingredient, or once I bought it was too tired to assemble and prepare.  Let me tell you, once I finally got my act together I was happy to have them lying around when I was in a pinch for a snack.

Almond Fig Granola Bars
Adapted from In Praise of Leftovers

1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 c. chopped raw almonds
1/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
1 Tb. flaxseeds
1 Tb. sesame seeds
1 c. unsweetened crisped brown rice cereal
1/3 c. dried tart cherries
2/3 c. dried figs, coarsely chopped
1/4 c. creamy almond butter
1/4 c. blackstrap molasses
3 Tb. brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt

I followed the directions accordingly, just with my substitutions: brown rice cereal instead of kashi, cherries instead of cranberries, blackstrap molasses for brown sugar, and brown rice syrup for honey.  The last bit makes this recipe vegan, for all my vegan friends.

Oven preheating to 350, I spread the oats, almonds, and all the seeds on a tray for toasting for 8 minutes.

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While toasting, I combined the rice cereal in fruits in a bowl.

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Once the toasting items were done, I combined all the dry ingredients and prepped wet to simmer in a saucepan for 5 minutes: almond butter, molasses, brown rice syrup, vanilla, and salt.

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Then when the goop was done, I poured it over all the dry ingredients, and pressed the mixture into a pan.

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After 30ish minutes in the fridge, I cut mixture into 12 bars, and placed each one into an individual ziplock.  Those packages were placed in an airtight container.

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And voila!  Protein, fiber, calcium, and iron.  I may be slow as molasses, but my metabolism sure isn’t thanks to these bars.

I’m Over It(?)

In American, Bread, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Lentils, Nuts, Pasta, Quick Meal, Quinoa, Seitan, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian on February 20, 2013 at 1:04 pm

A little less light-hearted than usual, but here’s a bit of what’s been going on.  Don’t worry, I’ll still have some photos to make you drool :).

I’ve always loved food.  Throughout my adolescent and adult years, there has been a constant battle between enjoying food and being mindful of nutrition and health.  Although it became easier as I grew older and more knowledgeable, that inner struggle was always there.  Sometimes to the point of obsession and compulsion.

Being the over analytical nut that I am, I’ve gone through different phases of nutritional “rightness”, ensuring my due diligence by checking labels, measuring, logging, etc.  I’ve even developed predictive models in Excel.  My analyses have gone so far that I can piece together meals and daily meal plans to get the most bang (filling/satiating) for my caloric buck.   These endeavors, however, are extremely masochistic.  No matter how hard I try to just relax about my diet, I will drive myself crazy with some new form of food obsession.

Everyone thinks that being pregnant is a great excuse to let yourself go and eat what you want.  Yeah, right.  Not according to every piece of pregnancy literature.  Experts recommend only adding 300 extra calories a day to your diet, along with making sure you get 4 calcium servings, tons of protein, and various vegetables as sources of necessary vitamins – just to name a few of the “dos.”  The don’ts are even longer.  So I stopped the caffeine, really committed to excluding chemicals, hydrogenated oils, HFCS, GMOs, etc.  I’ve turned down so many offers of candies, cookies, and packaged products because they don’t fit my new “diet.”  I forced myself to drink milk, and stuff my face with a variety of veggies, lest I endure my self-inflicted guilt.

All of this “dedication” (read: obsession) had helped me in the first 5 months to first drop 5 lbs and then only gain 6 back.  Compared to the average gain of 13 lbs by that point (and what woman doesn’t compare herself to others?), I became worried.  Even with the occasional ice cream or cookies, I was not gaining weight.  While this is a goal most women strive for, it’s not super when you have a living being growing inside of you.  So now, I have to try to eat more.  If you thought it was difficult counting calories, measuring foods, or leaving food on your plate, try purposefully eating a lot of healthy food.  My mind is so conditioned to abide by that bang for your buck mentality, I find it exhausting to think of more things to eat.  Almost every day, I think to myself or say to Nick “I’m so over it [thinking about food],”  and I am about 95% committed to that statement.  Because really, who am I kidding?

I’ve been eating a lot of avocado, nuts, and cheeses to aid in my healthy weight gain.  I also eat whole eggs instead of whites.  And sometimes I eat french fries.

Whole Wheat with avocado, mixed greens, and provolone.  Newest sandwich obsession. Also great with fried egg.

Whole Wheat with avocado, mixed greens, and provolone. Newest sandwich obsession. Also great with fried egg.

It’s been 3 weeks of these practices, and 4 lbs have been added to my total gain.  Unless you catch me from the side, I still don’t look pregnant, but I’ve finally succumbed to wearing maternity jeans.

As for “liking to cook”, I still do!  When I have the energy :).  I may be using more fats, but I guarantee everything is wholesome real food.  There are some new recipes to report!   However, by the time I’ve finished cooking and cleaning, my energy levels are usually maxed out with no reserves for blogging.  I’ve been getting a lot of advice, mostly to let others help out more.  That’s where you, my lovely readers come in handy.  I’m posting some photos below of a few recipes, and I’ll let you vote which to write about next.  And remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

Eggplant, Peppers, and Onions Hero

Eggplant, Peppers, and Onions Hero

 

3 Lentil and Quinoa Stew

3 Lentil and Quinoa Stew

 

Marinated Beet Salad with Arugula, Sunflower Seeds, and Homemade Paneer (Indian Cheese)

Marinated Beet Salad with Arugula, Sunflower Seeds, and Homemade Paneer (Indian Cheese)

 

Truffle Mac 'N Cheese (Warning: not healthy AT ALL, but will win you friends and get you laid)

Truffle Mac ‘N Cheese (Warning: not healthy AT ALL, but will win you friends and get you laid)

 

Whole Wheat Peanut Sesame Noodles (Served with Gingered Chicken and Garlic Broccoli)

Whole Wheat Peanut Sesame Noodles (Served with Gingered Chicken and Garlic Broccoli)

 

Twist on an American Classic:  Seitan or Chicken Noodle Casserole

Twist on an American Classic: Seitan or Chicken Noodle Casserole

 

Cast your votes, and I’ll post the most popular recipe next week.

Thanksgiving 2012

In American, Beans, Dessert, Fruit, Holiday, Vegan, Vegetables on December 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Although I haven’t been cooking as much lately, I managed to conjure up a few new dishes for Thanksgiving week.  To contribute to the family meal, I made both a main dish and a dessert.  I find it’s always challenging as a vegetarian to eat during this holiday (unless you are fortunate enough to attend a non-turkey table).  As a result, I try to bring a dish that will not only supply me with protein and/or veggies and/or whole grains, but will also provide the other guests with a new delicious combination of flavors and textures.

The past couple of year the New York Times has posted a gallery of vegetarian and vegan recipes to make for Thanksgiving.  Aside from a tofu/tempeh concoction, or a huge lentil soup, there were mostly veggie and grain sides.  I found one recipe for a Cajun cornbread casserole that had a filling of red beans and veggies, and is topped with a ground cornmeal crust.  Back when I ate meat, I would make something similar using chicken instead of beans, but either way they are both delicious and hearty.

Cajun Cornbread Casserole

Adapted from Everyday Happy Herbivore

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (commercial blend, or make your own)
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 to 2 tablespoons raw sugar (optional)
3/4 cup nondairy milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

Since I was making this at my in-laws, I had to pre-measure the cornbread ingredients.  The other ingredients were prepared on site.  First I chopped all the veggies.  Then I sauteed in a pan with water and the juice of the canned tomatoes.

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After a few minutes, I turned off the heat, added the tomatoes, beans, and seasoning.  Then I layered the filling into a pie dish.

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Just before hitting the oven, I mixed wet and dry cornbread ingredients.  Then I baked at 400 for 35-40 minutes.

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Leftovers, since I forgot to take pics day of.

I thought the casserole was really delicious.  The only qualm I had with it was that it didn’t really match the traditional flavors of stuffing, mash, and turkey/gravy.  It did, however, taste amazing with cranberry sauce.

For dessert, I made the pumpkin brownie from last year.  Earlier in the week, I made some amazing blueberry brownies from Veganomicon, but I didn’t bring those to dinner.  Half were in my belly, the other half pawned off on my coworkers.  I didn’t eat the entire half at once, just a brownie or two (or 4) each day.  It was a nice treat to have lying around.  I’ve been better lately about the quality of ingredients I’m consuming, so I actually eat fewer treats, sweets, and packaged products.  Especially with chocolate, since the majority of products not certified organic contain GMO soy (in soy lecithin), as well as HFCS, hydrogenated oils, or “natural flavors and colors”.

This recipe is also a great use-up for extra blueberries in the summer.  Although if you’re like me, you couldn’t bare to spare a single berry!  I made a slight variation by subbing unsweetened applesauce for half the oil.  I didn’t notice a difference, so hooray!

Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownies

Adapted from Veganomicon

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
10 ounces blueberry preserves (spreadable fruit, smooth, no whole blueberries)
1/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberriesIMG_0364

I combined the blueberry preserves, almond milk, sugar, canola oil and extracts with my handheld mixer.

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Then I sifted in the flour, sugar, baking power/soda and salt.
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After feverishly mixing the wet and dry, the batter was ready for some melted chocolate chips.

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Mmmm, fudgy batter.  But oh wait, I still had to add more choc chips and blueberries.
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I spread the batter out in a 9 x 13 tin.
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While I let these babies bake at 325 for 45 mins, I had plenty of time to lick the bowl.  Bonus, no raw eggs so no problem!  Then it was time to take them out, and set to cool.
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Here’s one lonely brownie on a plate.  Don’t worry, it wasn’t lonely for long :).
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They were so moist and decadent.  I’d definitely recommend whipping up a batch if you want to impress someone.  Or just stuff your face with fudgy goodness.  Just another great thing for which to be thankful.

Eat to Live vs. Live to Eat

In American, Challenge, Fruit, Nuts, Quick Meal, Salad, Shopping, Vegan, Vegetables on September 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Having a summer full of vacations has pulled me in polar opposite directions with my diet.  It seems that every vacation activity is planned around feedings, and the highlights of the trip are the bleu cheese stuffed olives or truffled mashed potatoes.  A whole afternoon can be spent chopping fruit for sangria, and this is considered quality relaxation time spent with my family.  Then reality hits upon crossing the threshold of my apartment:  I can’t continue to have martinis, beer, and sangria everyday, nor end every meal with a bowl of molten chocolate cake.  I do begin to crave my normal routine of salads, veggies, and the like, but I also suffer from indulgence withdrawal.  Yes, enjoying delicacies are some of the most precious moments in life, but living to a healthy old age is more of a priority in my book.  So what am I to do to achieve a balance between the two?  Eating to live, instead of living to eat.  Easier said than done, especially for this foodie.

Farmer’s market taters and tomaters.

Does anybody else every have an experience where they learn something new, and then all of the sudden that new thing is everywhere?  That’s how I feel about Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live.  I remember coming across his diet philosophy on another food blog (I can’t remember which, since I tend to read 30 posts in a row on a new blog I discover), and then many times after seeing him on talk shows and PBS.  According to Dr. Fuhrman, the key to living a long, healthy, and disease-free life is to adapt a plant-based diet (ideally vegan) that focuses on 6 required food groups a day.  He created an acronym to remember these categories: “G-BOMBS”

  • Greens (Kale, collards, bok choy, spinach, etc) – 1 lb raw and 1 lb steamed
  • Berries – 1 cup
  • Onions (red, white, scallion, garlic, etc) – 1/2 cup
  • Mushrooms – 1 tbsp
  • Beans (beans, lentils, peas) – 1 cup
  • Seeds (seeds and nuts – chia, flax, almond, cashew, etc) – 1 oz

Additionally, you can eat other non-starch veggies, and should have about a cup a day of whole grains (oats, quinoa, rice, etc).  Mind you, all of this information I’ve gathered without reading the book, but it’s on my to-read list for sure.  Regardless, I really like his philosophy.  I basically eat this way anyway, but I really had to up my veggie intake to meet the greens requirement.  Do you know how much a lb of greens is?  A lot.  Basically, 2 huge salads a day.  And that’s just the raw requirement.

Inspired by this eat to live mentality, I made a trip to the farmer’s market a few weeks ago in between 2 vacations.  I kid you not when I tell you I spent 60 dollars.  The mushrooms were pricy, and cukes/tomatoes/zucchini were on major sale, so I really took advantage of the plethora of options.  Besides, 60 bux for 2 people’s grocery budget is pretty low, especially for organics.

Not even half of my bounty.

About 20% of the zucchini.

Not included in the pictures above are chives, shallots, mushrooms, lettuce, kale, cauliflower, basil, and cucumbers.  I made lots of salads and had veggies juithies every day.  I made a really delicious dressing, but didn’t take any pictures.  Kind of a take of Green Goddess dressing, only non-dairy.

Green Tahini Dressing

1/2 bunch chives
3 cloves garlic
1 carrot
2 tbsp tahini paste
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
salt and pepper to taste

I blended everything in my Vitamix, which was really quick.   This dressing lasted me about 5-6 salads worth, and sometimes I squeezed a lil lemon juice to freshen it up.  It’s REALLY oniony and garlicky, so just be forewarned, but it’s super delicious.

With all the zucchini and tomatoes (including heirloom!) I opted to do a raw dinner one night.  I had this huge bunch of basil, so what else to make with it except pesto? It wasn’t a traditional version with tons of oil or parm.  Just basil, pine nuts, and 1 tbsp evoo.

Instead of wheat pasta, I used my veggie peeler to peel some zucchini ribbons, and topped the dish with sliced heirloom tomato, salt, and pepper.

Those are some of the raw veggie ideas.  I’ll talk about some cooked ideas in my next post.  In the meantime, I am still readjusting to this new philosophy, so I’ll be coming up with some new kinds of recipes.  Pretty soon, by eating to live, living to eat will be in pursuit of the former.  That’s what I call a win-win.

An Ode to Candle 79

In American, Beans, Indian, Moroccan, Rice, Vegan, Vegetables on July 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm

To some people, the word “vegan” conjures up feelings of hate, resentment, or misunderstanding.  Or as friends have said to me “being vegan is just weird.”  And you know what?  I was probably guilty of harboring those sentiments myself before adapting a vegan diet 2ish years ago.  I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon it, but back in September of 2010 I came across some of Alicia Silverstone’s recipes from her book The Kind Diet.  Peaking my interest, I checked the book out of the library, and read it cover-to-cover in one day.  Not sequentially, mind you; the pictures and recipes were scanned first.  However, reading all the information about health, environment, animal humanity, and overall well-being that can be attained through a plant-based diet, I just decided to go cold turkey.  Mid-day, Tuesday, October 5th (isn’t it weird that I remember that?).  At the time, I was still dating Nick, and he had been away on a business trip back when he was traveling a lot as a consultant.  I remember being so afraid to tell him my decision, and approached him like I was about to tell him I’m dying of some incurable disease.  To my surprise, he didn’t make fun of me or tell me I was crazy (although I’m sure he thought it).  He was happy to support me in every way, as long as he could still eat his meat and cheese.

Within days, I felt great!  I had tons of energy, no stomach issues, and kept my weight pretty low – eating mostly carbs mind you! (Spoiler alert – none of this is true anymore, as I developed soy intolerance and had to reintroduce dairy back into my life).  I was following a lot of the recipes in The Kind Diet, as well as checking out some other vegan cook books from the library.  However, as even the most seasoned chef knows, cooking every meal for yourself is hard.  And exhausting.  And sometimes boring.  Eating out is challenging enough if you have any dietary restrictions, but I swear if you say to a server “I’m vegan” there will probably be twice as much butter on your sandwich.  On the flip side, I would search high and low for vegan restaurants that had something for my meat-eating husband to enjoy, and he found himself eating the only non-seitan or tofu dish available.  He’d go because he loves me, but he never truly enjoyed it (the same way I’ll go to a steak house to please him and be left to eat mushrooms and steamed broccoli).  But I think I’ve finally find the one:  Candle 79.  I went there with a friend, and I ordered the Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Cake.  As soon as I tasted it, I said, “OMG, Nick would love this.”

My friend had ordered some special with seitan in it, which I would try a different time.

There was even chocolate molten cake.  Our favorite.

Those all look like dishes you could order at any gourmet restaurant.  I have yet to bring Nick there, as it’s all the way on the Upper East side, and he generally doesn’t go above 14th street.  In order to convince him, I decided to try and recreate the chickpea cake.  My brother-in-law got me the Candle 79 Cookbook for xmas this past year, and I finally put it to good use last night!  I’m not sure if the recipe in the book is 100% like the one used in the restaurant, but it was pretty darn close!  That orange sauce is an apricot chutney.  I’m not sure what the green sauce is, but the recipe in the book called for a roasted red pepper curry.  I didn’t have red peppers on hand, so I decided to adapt a recipe from The Kind Diet called Eggplant Chana Masala.  Basically, just like chana masala, but with eggplant in it (duh).  My version deconstructs the masala by placing the Candle Cake on the eggplant.

Some of the ingredients and both cook books.

Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Cake

Adapted from Candle 79 Cookbook

1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 tsp EVOO
1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas (about 1 can)
1/4 cup reserved chickpea liquid, or vegetable broth
2 tbsp flour (I used chickpea flour)
1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Nonstick olive oil spray

Apricot Chutney

Adapted from Candle 79 Cookbook

1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp EVOO
1.5 cups fresh apricots, chopped (about 4)
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp agave nectar
1/4 cup water

Eggplant Masala

Adapted from The Kind Diet

2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp EVOO
1 tbsp each cumin, curry powder, garam masala, and amchor powder (or lemon juice)
1 small eggplant (about 1.5 lbs), chopped into 1/4″ cubes
1 28-oz can tomatoes
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
Salt to taste

I didn’t cook these components in the order listed;  I started with chutney, then eggplant, and then cakes.  The chutney was really simple!  I sauteed the onion for a few minutes, and then added the apricots and garam masala (the recipe calls for fresh ginger, which I didn’t have).

Another minute later, I added everything else to simmer while everything else cooked.  In the end, it turned into this amazing jam-like syrup.

Next was the eggplant.  I like eggplant really well done, hence the tiny chop.  I sauteed the onion (both white and the green ones from my share) with all the spices.  I had actually only started with about 1 tsp each (as the recipe said), but it needed more flavor as I kept adding the other ingredients.  The onions took about 5 minutes

I added the eggplant, sauteing another 5 or so minutes until it was more tender and I could scrape off most of the brown bits.

I then added the tomatoes, broth, and salt.  After reaching a boil, I covered the pot and lowered to medium heat.  The dish needed about 40 minutes to reach the consistency I liked.

While the chutney and masala simmered, I worked on the cakes.  The recipe starts with dry peas, but you could use canned peas if you like.  I had planned on cooking a bunch of chickpeas anyway, so I had started that pot before the chutney.  I used about 1 3/4 cups worth for the patties.  I also sauteed the onion and celery for 5 minutes with a tsp of EVOO. I blended the peas in the food processor, and then combined the veggies, peas, and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

Using a spoon, I mixed everything up to create the batter.

I divided the batter into 4 patties, and sauteed in a nonstick pan with EVOO spray for 4 minutes each side.  I probably could have used the several tbsps of oil the recipe called for, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

My spatula was running through the dishwasher, so the patties kind of fell apart while flipping.

I served Nick his chickpea cake over the eggplant and some brown rice.

Mine was sans rice.

Even with my adaptations, I thought the cake was spot on.  Nick really liked the cake and chutney, but wasn’t a huge fan of the eggplant.  Next time I’ll try to make that red pepper sauce.  Or I could make a reservation at Candle 79.

How to Tickle Your Pickle, and Some Single-Entendre Ideas

In American, CSA, Meat and Pultry, Quick Meal, Rice, Salad, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Pickling is all the rage in the CSA lovers’ world (as you can see from this link party).  Two weeks ago, I got some kohlrabi in my share, so I opted to try my first pickling experiment.  Here’s the before.

And here’s the after.  Pinkish water.  Garlicky goodness.  Perfect to perk up a sandwich or pair with something more rich, say a bacon cheeseburger.

Speaking of burgers, I did a good job last week keeping Nick away from meat to make up for all the grilling last weekend.  Lots of salads, beans, and chicken breast.  One night, I went out to dinner with a friend visiting from out of town, so I left him to his own devices.  What did he make: TJs shepherd’s pie.  He brought up how he missed the days when I’d made my mom’s recipe, and it sort of broke my heart.  I know he likes all the foods I make, but he truly enjoys meat and more indulgent recipes.  Last night, I surprised him with some ground sirloin and decided to make him some burgers (the rest of the meat will be saved for the shepherd’s pie).  Luckily, I had lots of fresh veggies from Saturday to balance the meat out.

I decided to make two “salads” – grilled corn and heirloom tomato, and dill cucumber salad.  Only this time, I had extra cucumbers to make the latter.  I figured some for tonight, the rest will “pickle” and be enjoyed throughout the week.  I used a lot of vinegar this time (about 2 cups), and doubled all the other ingredients.  They marinated for 2 hrs or so before dinner.

Since this was the first distribution with corn, I was careful to inspect each cob before I dropped it in my bag.  The reason being worms.  Last year, I would get so many worms in the corn, which is symptomatic of organic corn.  The farmer explained the only way to minimize worms is to drop oil into each one, which would take him 3 staff members 2 full days.  Needless to say, this practice is not utilized.  Anyway, when I do get to enjoy sweet corn, I generally eat it raw.  It is so crunchy, sweet, and fresh.  Other times, I grill the corn (although usually these recipes are developed from leftover grilled corn) and combine it with cilantro, lime, black beans, tomato, and avocado.  This time, I put together a version I saw on “The Biggest Loser”.  That show is definitely another one of my guilty pleasures.  One particular episode, Bob (one of the trainers) invited his team to his house, announcing he is Vegan and had some foods for them to try.  He posted the recipe on his blog:

http://www.mytrainerbob.com/blog/the-rest-of-the-vegan-recipes-from-this-weeks-biggest-loser

I saw some beautiful small heirloom tomatoes at the health food store, so I figured they were perfect for this recipe.

Here’s my version:

Grilled Corn and Heirloom Tomato SaladAdapted from Brooke Larson

3 ears sweet corn, grilled
1 pint heirloom tomatoes (or 2-3 medium sized ones)
2 tsp EVOO
1 tbsp aged balsamic
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp salt
5-10 fresh basil leaves

I don’t have access to my grill this summer, due to construction on the roof forcing all items inside.  Thus, I “grilled” this corn directly on my stove top range.

I don’t like them too well done, just with a little bit of blackenedness.

When they’re cool enough to handle, I slice off the kernels, and reserve them in a bowl to be mixed with the tomatoes.

I saw a really efficient way to slice cherry/grape tomatoes on Rachael Ray.  You use two circular lids from pint containers, wedge the fruit in between, and then slice your knife through.  It worked really well.

After slicing.

I let the tomatoes chill in the fridge with the corn, oil, salt, and fennel.  I topped the salad with the balsamic and basil when it was time to serve.  Nick had his ground sirloin burger on a potato bun with wild mushroom brie, tomato, and red onion.  Corn salad and tons of cucumbers on the side.

I was lazy for myself, so I took the easy road and made a Dr. Praeger’s Bombay style veggie burger with some lowfat cheese “protein style”, a.k.a. wrapped in lettuce.

I generally prefer to make my own veggies burgers, but sometimes you gotta take the easy way out.  These patties are pretty tasty and you can see the veggies chunks in there.  I am not really a fan of the other varieties, especially after having stayed at a Fire Island house last summer where the “house mother” was the Doctor’s real life daughter.  The freezer was stuffed to the brim with boxed veggie creations.  I’d add more about that, but you know that saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”

Nick and I both really enjoyed our dinner.  I had leftovers for lunch today with some brown rice, beets, and some lentils.

Rice/lentils buried under cukes.

Nick went back for thirds of the pickled cucumbers after eating 2 burgers; he wasn’t as big of a fan of the corn, preferring the Mexican version more.  But when you’re in a pickle, you do what you gotta do.

Why I’m the Worst Photographer. Ever.

In American, Beans, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Chinese, CSA, Dessert, Fish, Greek, Italian, Meat and Pultry, Oats, Pasta, Quick Meal, Rice, Salad, Shopping, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I’m a pretty awful photographer, both in skill and frequency.  Until I started this blog, my camera was used maybe 1-2 times a year on a vacation or for a grandparent’s birthday.  Even when I do take some photos of my food, I never edit them, nor organize them, because I just get too frustrated trying to learn the programs on my Mac Book.  I just don’t have it in me to constantly snap photos, which is really such a shame.    There have been plenty of missed opportunities to capture both amazing and ordinary moments in my life.  I’m not talking about kissy faces, popping bottles, or a circle of friends’ shoes.  Just the simple pleasures, like walking around my neighborhood or documenting my restaurant experiences.  A whole fun-filled weekend will pass, and I’ll have nothing to show for it.  That’s how I feel about this past weekend.  A picture is worth a thousand words, so looks like I have a lot of writing ahead of me….

Filling in the gaps with some CSA goodies.

Saturday was CSA distribution.  It was also my volunteer week.  There are two options: man the stand from 9-12ish during distribution, or drive the leftovers to a local church.  Since I have a car, this was definitely the better option.  I had planned on getting there at 10 to pick up my share to bring home, clean up, etc. before the drive.  However, my morning run took longer than anticipated.  Turns out, I didn’t have enough time, so I quickly made an oatmeal pancake when I got home, showered, and shoved my produce in the fridge.

As somewhat of a reward for volunteering, you can take a few extra items.  I grabbed some extra zucchini, cucumbers, and berries.  The original share included:

  • 1 head lettuce
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 bunch beets
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 huge stalks dill
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 5 small or 1 large zucchini
  • 3 sweet corn
  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 1 quart sugar plums
  • 12 peaches

This is the first time all season I felt a real value in the fruit share.  Don’t get me wrong, I love 3 pints of blueberries, but it’s nice to have some variety.    Since I had a fun filled weekend, I neglected my “put everything right away” rule and got around to cleaning up on Monday.

From left: Lettuce packed and washed, beets and greens separated, fruit in a bowl to ripen, cucumbers sliced and “pickling”, zucchini and cucumber cleaned, onions sliced, leftover dill cleaned

I froze most of the blueberries for smoothies, and half the peaches and plums as well.

But this was on Monday.  All weekend I had so much fun, mostly with my husband.  It was nice to have a summer weekend without appointments, social obligations, trips, or chores.  Like I said, reflecting back in my head I wish I had more photos to show you.  Perhaps I can borrow some from restaurant and shopping sites to give you a better picture.   Pun intended.

Friday

A newish restaurant opened in Park Slope near my office.  I’ve passed by it a couple of times on the rare occasions I take the subway to/from work and never thought anything of it.  Whenever I’d catch a glimpse of food, it was usually noodles or dumplings, so I just assumed it was East Asian, although the name was Talde.  Turns out, it was opened by former Top Cheftestant Dale Talde and is super popular.  I mentioned the place to my husband and in-laws, and we decided to get there at 5 on Friday to give it a try.  We sat at the bar for a few minutes to have a drink; I shared an Obama Punch with my F-I-L, and it was super yummy.  Then 15 minutes later we sat to eat.  The vacancy gap between 5:15 and 5:30 PM is non-existent.

Photo of Hawaiian Bread Buns from http://taldebrooklyn.com/food-photos/

I had heard a lot about the Hawaiian bread buns, so I got an order of the market veggie version (it was marinated shitaki mushroom).  It was so flavorful, even my meat-eating companions loved it.  They shared a wonton soup.  For my main, I got some chilled soba noodles and a side of green beans.  Both really full of umami.  Everyone else got the fried chicken, ribs, and shrimp fried rice to share.

For dessert, we shared Halo Halo, which was a mixture of ice, bubble tea, fruit, coconut milk, and captain crunch.  It was good, but I think I prefer chocolate cake more :).

Overall, I really great dining experience.  It was a nice change from our typical repertoire of Mexican, Italian, or bar appetizers.

Saturday

When my husband suggests a day of shopping, I never turn it down.  Hence my household negligence this Saturday.  After dropping off the veggies to charity, I went with Nick to get bagels for lunch, and then we were off to SoHo.  Nick’s initial goal was to get some new casual sneakers.  What he ended up getting was 3 pairs of work pants, 2 pairs of jeans, and a partridge in a pear tree.  I got 2 new dresses to wear for weddings and special occasions, one of which is for an upcoming event this Saturday.  It is super bodycon and has cutouts, so I haven’t eaten since Sunday.  Just kidding.

The next thing we knew, it was 7:30 and we were starving.  I mentioned another restaurant I’d been meaning to try in Chinatown called The Fat Radish, and figured it may be plausable to get a seat on a Summer Saturday.  Luckily, we were able to sit at the bar, which was actually kind of nice and intimate.  I say that because the seating there is comprised of a few long communal tables, whereas the bar has 6 seats.  Also, our bartender made awesome drinks and was really friendly.  I got seared tuna and the fat radish plate, which is basically a bed of rice topped with whatever veggies are at the markets that week and prepared in super flavorful ways.  Way up my alley.  Nick got crab gratin and the burger with truffle duck fat fries.  Way up his alley.

The mirror “board” where specials and fat radish plate are listed. From their site: http://snapwidget.com/view/?id=220874731547124849_54018704#.UA7Ga6Ahgeo

From there, we walked over to Little Italy to get some gelato from this placed called La Cremeria.  It’s the closest, most authentic Italian style gelato I’ve had this side of the Atlantic.  Mind you, I live in a heavily Italian neighborhood.  I got pistacchio and delirium, which was butter cookie flavor with chocolate chunks.  Nick got his usual combo of cioccolato and nocciola (chocolate and hazelnut).  And then we waddled to the subway to head home.

Sunday

I rose bright and early to bike over to TriBeCa to support a newly certified yoga teacher married to a childhood friend of Nick.  It was an intimate class, and I felt great all day after.  I only had 2 anxiety attacks on the bike ride back over the Brooklyn Bridge.  Next time, I’ll go out of my way to take the Manhattan Bridge.  When I got back, I showered and got all purty looking to get brunch.  I went with Nick to one of our usual spots, Prime Meats.  This is comical for 2 reasons: 1) a vegetarian loving brunch at a place with “meats” in the title, and 2) it is owned by the same people as Frankies 457, a restaurant I despise.  I know I digress, but I will take this one small opportunity to vent.  I don’t know why Frankies gets so much hype.  There is always a wait, and the food is AWFUL.  All these Manhattanites swear by it, saying how it’s better than all the other authentic Italian joints in the hood.  BS.  And the people who work there are so rude and elitist.  Now, I generally have a 3-strikes-you’re-out rule with restaurants; Frankies definitely struck out looking.  Backwards K style.  The pasta and gnocchi are watery with little bits of low-flavor sauce, the drinks are overpriced and weak, and the waitstaff refuses to acknowledge any complaints.  It’s really such a shame, because they’d be getting a lot more of my business.

Anyway, back to Prime Meats.  When they first opened, I was skeptical about going, primarily because of my Frankies experiences.  I was also slightly turned off by the forced dress code of suspenders and mandatory mustachery for all male staff.  However, their brunch is excellent.  They make excellent coffee, never burn their eggs, and their bread products are to die for (that’s coming from someone who usually has oats for breakfast).  They used to be a little bit more flexible with their menu, but the chef has made some stricter rules for substitutions.  You’d think that would keep me away, but I’ve found my new love:  Their avocado sandwich.  Multigrain bread with avocado, lettuce, sprouts, shallots, and spicy mayo.  They will happily keep the mayo on the side for me, and I can also add an egg to the sandwich.  Perfect.  And again, another example of the missing shutterbug gene.

The rest of the day, we just relaxed.  I took a nap and watched Game Change on cable.  Nick got busy cleaning up his mancave.  Then I made a simple dinner of dill pasta salad and a garden salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pepper, avocado, and chickpeas.  A simple end to a wonderfully eventful weekend.

Super long post.  Next time, I’ll save a few thousand words by using my camera.

Oat Say-What-A?

In American, Breakfast, Fruit, Oats, Saving Money, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 23, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I have oats for breakfast at least 5 times a week (hopefully 7 if I’m a good girl).  Whether it’s a quick bowl of rolled oats, muesli with yogurt, or the slow cooked steel cut variety, my days always go way better when I start off with these grains.  Paired with some eggs [whites] or milk, the complex carb/protein combo keeps me fullest the longest without feeling sickly stuffed or greasy (as I would with an egg/cheese sammie or breakfast burrito).  When I’m in a real pinch for time, I’ll blend some oats with egg whites, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and cinnamon, and make some pancakes.  However, I ideally like to eat the grain as minimally processed as possible.  Hence, the oat frittata.

That’s right, a frittata.  You know, the omelet’s fancy cousin.  I first saw this idea on a daytime talk show, and I’ve been hooked since.  The basic recipe is 1/2 cup oats, 2-4 egg whites, 1/2 cup berries.  This is exactly what I had been eating, only it required one pan and 1 plate.  Genius.

Berry Oat Frittata

Serves 1

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
3 egg whites
2 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup blueberries OR 1 cup strawberries, OR  half and half

I use a nonstick pan and nonstick canola oil spray, but you could use a griddle if you have one.  I combine all the ingredients in a bowl just to mix everything together, and then pour everything into the pan on medium high heat.

I cover the pan with a lid so that the steam can cook through the mixture.  After about 2 minutes, I flip it over to cook on the other side.

Just another minute, and this baby is done.  How simple is that?  It’s also extremely nutritious, and a great way to introduce oats into your diet if you fear the usual goopy suspect served to you as a child.  If you can tolerate more sugar in the morning, top with some maple syrup or jam, but you don’t really need it.  If I’m really craving a little extra kick, I spread a teaspoon of raw almond butter on top.  Yum.  But the fun doesn’t end there.

Did you know oats can be prepared and enjoyed with savory flavors instead of sweet?  Take the basic oat frittata recipe I just explained for example.  Egg frittatas are generally filled with veggies, cheeses, and savory meats, so why not translate those flavors to the oat version?

Cumin Spiced Kale, Zucchini, and Oat Frittata

Serves 1

2-3 kale leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
Non-stick olive oil spray
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3 egg whites
2 tbsp 1% milk
Cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste

First, chop up all those veggies so you can begin to sauté them with the nonstick spray.

While they sauté, combine all the other ingredients in a bowl.

After the veggies have cooked for about 2 minutes, top them off with a couple more sprays and then the egg/oat mixture.

The rest of the process is the same as the berry version.  I actually made this for lunch last week and topped it with salsa.  It was super good.

You could add any fillings you like really!  Let’s say you want an Italian version – tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella would be perfect!  Go Greek with Feta, dill, and sun dried tomato.  Or make it American with bacon and American cheese[like product].  Any way you serve it, you’re doing your body and heart good by increasing your oat consumption.  Who knows, the cholesterol lowering properties may even wipe out all that extra bacon and cheese.

Why are Men Obsessed with Grilling?

In American, Beans, Flexitarian, Italian, Lentils, Meat and Pultry, Pasta, Quinoa, Salad, Shopping, Vegetables on July 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Now that it’s summer time, the cavemen in all our guys materialize with slabs of flesh over charcoal or propane powered grills.  I really don’t understand this obsession with fire cooked meat, but it probably stems from our evolution from hunter-gatherer.  This past weekend, I took a lovely  beach trip to Fire Island with my husband and another couple.  In preparation of the trip, we went through a shopping list of what we’d bring with us to the beach cottage.  Let’s just say in this group, I’d definitely be the gatherer.  Their list included steak, chicken, sausage, burgers, etc.  Mine included pepper, zucchini, broccoli, and other veggies, as well as fruit, cheese, eggs, and milk.  I created a “menu plan” of some sort to figure out what to make as the veggie side to the meat at every meal.  This is really important, because having to drag extra weight through the dunes to our rental was not an option.  I don’t have many photos, because I tried to avoid my phone and purse as much as possible.  Here’s a recap:

Friday Dinner:

Burgers (I had a veggie burger)
Grilled veggies – zucchini, eggplant, pepper, mushroom.  I used some of the leftovers for an omelet the next day.

Saturday Lunch:

Sausage (I had chickpeas with feta and quinoa)
Israeli Salad – cucumber, tomato, pepper, red onion, lemon juice.  I actually got a picture of that…

I love Israeli salad in the summer!  It’s mostly water, so it’s super refreshing and hydrating on a hot summer day.

Saturday Dinner:

Steak (I had a homemade black bean patty)
Broccoli and green beans in garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes.  We actually made them on the grill in a vegetable basket, and they came out really well!

We ended up going out for lunch on Sunday, so I had some lettuce and peppers left over to take home. Otherwise, we pretty much used up everything (except the family pack of 6 lbs of chicken).  On Monday, I definitely wanted to make something non-grilled at home for dinner, so I used the leftover peppers to make a roasted pasta sauce.  The peppers were on sale at Fairway – 3 1-lb bags for 5 dollars!  Pretty good deal.

Roasted Pepper and Garlic Sauce

3 colored bell peppers
1 head garlic
1 tsp EVOO
1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
Crushed red pepper, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper to taste (I used a lot of red and black pepper)

I learned how to make this from watching my dad as a youngin.  I’ve made my own personal touches, but it’s pretty simple.  I turned the broiler on and lined a baking sheet with foil.  I placed the peppers directly under the fire.  I also sliced off the top of a head of garlic, dabbed a bit of oil, and covered it in foil to roast with the peppers.

Every 5-8 minutes, I rotated the peppers to evenly char them.

After removing from the oven, I placed the peppers on a cutting board to cool, and returned the garlic to continue roasting while I removed some of the pepper skins.  You don’t have to remove everything, just anything that is super black.

Then, I sliced the peppers in half and used a towel to remove the seeds.  Then I chopped them up.  So pretty and colorful!

I removed the garlic from the oven to cool.  Roasting garlic turns it sweet and soft.  Really delicious all on its own.

I opened up a can of San Marzano tomatoes.  The D.O.P. kind are the best for a sauce.

In a large pot, I emptied the can of tomatoes, and started to break them up with a wooden spoon.

You can make it as chunky or thin as you’d like.  I like a little bit of chunk.

Then I added the peppers and began to squeeze out the cloves of garlic.  It was still hot, so quite difficult.

Once all the garlic was added, I mixed in the spices.  I like it spicy, so I probably used 1-2 tsp of red pepper flakes.

I lowered the pot to simmer, and prepared some chicken for Nick.  I used the same spices as the sauce, but added some tomato paste and EVOO to create a rub.

I sauteed the chicken in a non-stick pan for about 7 minutes each side, then deglazed with some marsala wine.  At the same time, I was boiling pasta water and simmering lentils.  What a busy kitchen.

I was making pink lentils for myself, to serve as a base for the sauce.  I didn’t want to eat the pasta (or at least not too much of it), so I figured mashed lentils was kind of like having polenta.  Nick had his pasta (whole wheat elbow macarani) with sauce, grated truffle pecorino cheese, and his chicken on the side.


I had my bed of lentils, a couple of elbows, and tons of sauce with a sprinkle of cheese.  Mixed together, it reminded me a lot of polenta.

With that, I am left with 2 hearts of romaine, and 6 apricots from the beach shopping trip.  Looks like it’s time for me to go gather again.