Showing posts with label vegetarian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetarian. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage and Hazelnuts

In the Christmas movie The Family Man, Jack, played by Nicholas Cage, gets a glimpse of the life he rejected. On Christmas Eve, he is transported from his investment banking, Ferrari-driving, single malt Scotch drinking life in New York City to his college girlfriend, the family he never had, and a broken minivan in suburban New Jersey.

New Jersey, Kate.

Every time I watch the movie, I'm know I'm supposed to think about how rich the simple life is with dirty diapers and barking dogs and friends who wear bowling shirts.

I don't.

I imagine life in a high rise, attending the opera, wearing black dresses that aren't made of jersey knit, and drinking wine that isn't sold by the glass. I am a bad person. 

During his glimpse at what his life could have looked like, Jack takes his wife, played by Tea Leoni, to dinner in the city. As he brings a bite of food to his lips, he closes his eyes and says, "God, I miss that taste!"

That is how I feel about this pasta, especially these roasted butternut squash ravioli with sage, toasted hazelnuts, and nutty brown butter. After five years of being gluten free I have missed the taste of fresh pasta. Last month, I developed a recipe for homemade gluten-free, paleo pasta that fulfills all of my pasta lusts. It is tender, chewy, and perfectly delicate. 

That said, it is temperamental. (Read: I pay the swear jar at least a dollar before I even get started.) But, I try to remind myself that making fresh pasta, even with wheat flour, requires patience and sensitivity. You can't rush the process. It is a labor of love

But once I take that first bite, I realize it is worth every ounce of effort. Hence, I've made the recipe at least once a week in the month since developing it. Tonight, I'm using this pasta dough to make celeraic and chevre fennel agnolotti with brown butter parsley pesto and shiitakes from Local Milk Blog.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage and Hazelnuts 

Serves 4
1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeds and strings removed
1 teaspoon roasted garlic
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper  

Pasta Dough 
3/4 cup tapioca starch (100 grams), plus more for dusting 
3/4 cup almond flour (90 grams)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
3 large eggs, divided

3 tablespoons ghee  
1 sprig fresh sage, minced
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts

1. To make the filling, preheat the oven to 400F. Place the butternut squash in a roasting dish. Roast uncovered for 1 hour, or until the flesh is tender. 

2. When it is cool enough to handle, scoop the butternut squash flesh into a small mixing bowl. You should have about 2 cups.

3. Stir in the roasted garlic and cinnamon and season with salt and pepper. Set the filling aside. You can complete this step a day ahead of time if you wish. 

Pasta Dough
1. To make the pasta dough, Mix the tapioca starch, almond flour, sea salt, and guar gum in a small mixing bowl. 

2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add 2 eggs. Use a spatula to stir it around, slowly incorporating the flours until the dough comes together into a ball. Place the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and dust lightly with tapioca starch.

3.  Divide the dough into four to six pieces and cover all but one with a towel or plastic so that they do not dry out. Knead one of the dough pieces with your hand and flatten until it is about 1/4-inch thick.

4. Set the pasta maker to the first setting, #1, which is the widest. Run the dough through the machine twice. If it tears, fold it back onto itself and run it through again. If it sticks, dust lightly with tapioca starch.

5. Set the pasta maker to the next setting, #2, and run the pasta dough through it twice. Reduce the setting again to #3 and run the dough through twice. You can stop at this setting for a slightly thicker noodle, or drop the setting to #4 and run it through twice more.

6. Make two pieces of dough into sheets and lay them side by side on the parchment paper.

7. Scoop the filling onto the dough by the tablespoon, spacing apart by about 1 1/2 inches between each bit of filling.

8. Whisk the remaining egg. Brush the egg lightly along the sheet of pasta with the filling. Carefully place the top sheet of pasta over the filling and press gently in between each lump of filling, then press along all other sides trying to prevent any air bubbles from remaining in each ravioli.

9. Use a sharp knife, pasta cutter, or ravioli stamp to cut each ravioli. Add the scraps to the remaining dough.

10. Repeat with the remaining filling and dough.

 To Cook and Serve
 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the ravioli for 7 to 9 minutes. 

2. During the last 2 minutes of the ravioli cooking time, heat the ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sage and hazelnuts and cook until fragrant.

3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked ravioli to the skillet and brown gently in the ghee. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Gluten-Free, Paleo Fresh Pasta

Since going gluten-free five years ago, I've missed the taste of fresh pasta, its perfect texture readily absorbing the flavors of heirloom tomato sauce, roasted garlic alfredo, or carbonara. After several unsuccessful attempts to make gluten-free pasta at home, I finally admitted defeat and sold my pasta machine. When I went paleo about three years ago, pasta of any sort became a distant memory. 

Recently I tried Cappello's gluten-free, grain-free pasta, and instantly fell in love with the tender, chewy texture. I did not fall in love with the price. At $11 a pop, it was a splurge - certainly not something I could put on our weekly menu. That was a bummer, because with Rich being pescatarian and me paleo, it's tough to find healthy meals that satisfy both of our dietary preferences without resorting to salmon every night.

I am thrilled to say, that is about to change. Pasta is back on the menu!

I created a gluten-free paleo pasta recipe that is easy to work with and tastes amazing. The ingredients are similar to Cappello's, but theirs is made "primarily with almond flour and cage-free eggs" according to their website whereas mine has a more traditional ratio of flours to eggs, with nearly equal parts tapioca starch and almond flour.

It make delicious lasagna noodles, fettucine, and ravioli. I've already made this recipe three times, including a Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli with Ghee, Sage, and Toasted Oregon Hazelnuts (recipe to come).

You can make this recipe with a rolling pin and parchment paper. That is what I did to test the recipe before investing in another pasta maker (this is my third). The simple machine makes the task easier and yields a thinner noodle that holds up better to cooking. I bought mine at World Market for less than $40.

Tips for Making Homemade Gluten-Free Pasta:

  • Humidity affects the dough. If you're making it on a rainy day or you live in an environment with high humidity, you may need to add just a touch more tapioca flour. 
  • Unlike pasta dough made with gluten, this dough does not tolerate stretching. It should not be draped over a dowel to dry and should be carefully hand-fed into the pasta maker. Actually, this reality makes working with the dough using a rolling pin easier. 
  • Be patient. The first time you make the dough, you may find it temperamental. Make sure you have enough time and energy to focus. (Definitely don't drag out your SLR camera on the first try!)  

Gluten-Free, Paleo Fresh Pasta Recipe

Yields 2 servings

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tapioca starch (50 grams), plus more for dusting 
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour (45 grams)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon guar gum
1 large egg

1. Mix the tapioca starch, almond flour, sea salt, and guar gum in a small mixing bowl.

2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg. Use a spatula to stir it around, slowly incorporating the flours until the dough comes together into a ball. Place the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and dust lightly with tapioca starch.

 3. Divide the dough into four to six pieces and cover all but one with a towel or plastic so that they do not dry out. Flatten one of the dough pieces with your hand or a rolling pin until it is about 1/4-inch thick.

4. Set the pasta maker to the first setting, #1, which is the widest. Run the dough through the machine twice. If it tears, fold it back onto itself and run it through again. If it sticks, dust lightly with tapioca starch.

5. Set the pasta maker to the next setting, #2, and run the pasta dough through it twice. Reduce the setting again to #3 and run the dough through twice. You can stop at this setting for a slightly thicker noodle, or drop the setting to #4 and run it through twice more. That is the setting I used in the photographs here.

6. Dust the pasta sheet with tapioca starch. This will help prevent the noodles from sticking to one another once they are cut. 

7. Attach the fettucine attachment to the pasta maker and re-attach the hand crank to the attachment. Carefully feed the flattened dough through to cut the sheet into individual noodles.

8. Lay the pasta onto the parchment sheet and allow to rest while you repeat steps 4 through 7 with the remaining dough. Be careful not to incorporate too much tapioca starch into the dough as you process it.

9. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Carefully slide the noodles from the parchment paper into the boiling water and quickly stir with a pasta spoon. Set a timer for 90 seconds. Stir once or twice if the noodles are sticking to one another or to the bottom of the pot.

10. Drain in a colander and transfer the noodles to the sauce or serving dish.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Friday night is pizza night at our house and every week when I enjoy a gooey, delicious slice of this cauliflower pizza crust, I kick myself for not posting the recipe. (I took the photos a couple months ago!) Last week, however, I kicked myself for not making it. It's a little time consuming to prepare the cauliflower, so I thought I'd try another primal/paleo-friendly recipe online. Boy was that a mistake! I have never eaten cardboard, but now I know what it tastes like.

So, finally, here's the best grain-free pizza crusts I've ever had. Even Rich likes it, and he's usually impossible to please with gluten-free baking. Two final selling points: You can eat it with your hands. And, you can sneak a few veggies into your (or your kids') dinner.

1 head cauliflower, rinsed
1 teaspoon minced fresh herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, and basil
1 garlic clove, minced 1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 eggs
Pinch sea salt
1/2 cup almond flour

Using the grater attachment on your food processor (or a cheese grater if you have some time on your hands) and grate the cauliflower. Microwave for 6 minutes, stirring halfway through. Allow to rest for about 20 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
Preheat the oven to 450F. 
Use a cheesecloth or clean cloth napkin, to squeeze all of the excess moisture from the cooked cauliflower. Don't do this too soon, or you'll burn yourself. Trust me. When you've squeezed out all of the excess moisture, dump the cauliflower into a mixing bowl. Add the herbs, garlic, parmesan, eggs, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the almond flour and stir until just combined. You may want to use your hands.
Line a pizza pan with parchment paper. Form the dough into a ball and place in the center of the pan. Use your hands to press it out to the edges of the pan.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the top of the crust is slightly browned.

Top with marinara sauce, cheese, and whatever other goodies you have in mind. Bake until the cheese is just beginning to brown. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Savory I'itoi Onion Tart

The i'itoi onion is not native to Arizona, having hitched a ride to the so-called new world with Jesuit missionaries in the late 17th century. Nevertheless, we have adopted it as our own, and no one more so than the folks at Crooked Sky Farms, who possess an evangelical zeal about this amazing little onion. It multiplies rapidly, from one small bulb to as many as 140 in just one season. And, it grows about 11 months out of the year here. That's a big deal in a place with an annual rainfall of about eight inches. 

So, when Frank at Crooked Sky sent me home with a huge bunch of these onions, I was eager to see whether their flavor equaled their agricultural chops. They're somewhere between shallots and scallions, however, their green tops are more fibrous than scallions'. They stood up well to a brief saute and baking in this simple supper or brunch tart. 

serves four

olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small bunch i'itoi onions

4 large, cage-free eggs
1 pint organic half and half 
4 ounces grated hard cheese, such as asiago, romano and parmigiano reggiano 
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

prepared 10" tart shell, blind baked 

Remove the top half of the onions and split them lengthwise. Saute them for about two to four minutes in olive oil and butter. Remove them to the tart shell.

In a large measuring cup, whisk the eggs until smooth, then add the half and half and grated cheese. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Pour the mixture over the onions in the tart shell and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and mostly set. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes before serving. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Chilaquiles Verdes

I am embarrassed to admit how many times I have ordered the Chilaquiles Verdes at Gallo Blanco around the corner from where I live. Stephen, a server there, knows the truth. Lots. Each time I order it, I casually ask the servers about its preparation. "Sooo, what kinds of peppers do you use in the salsa verde?" I kept asking until I had a good approximation of how they prepared it. After several weeks, I had built it up so much in my mind, I was afraid I would be disappointed. But no. It is absolutely amazing! I know you'll love it.

serves four

12 tostadas*
16 ounces queso fresco
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2 scallions, roughly chopped
8 fresh eggs
8 ounces roasted chicken or turkey, roughly chopped (optional)

Salsa Verde
1 Poblano pepper
2 Anaheim peppers
1 Jalapeno pepper
1 tablespoon oil
3 cloves garlic
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
sea salt

*You can either buy tostadas in the Mexican foods section of your grocery store or make your own by frying fresh corn tortillas in about 1 inch of 375 degree oil for about 2 minutes, then draining on a cooling rack. 

Halve the peppers and remove the ribs and seeds. Coat the skin side with oil using a paper towel and place them on a pan under your broiler until they are charred and blistered. Remove to a separate container and cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. Allow to steam for at least ten minutes.

When cool enough to handle, remove the skins and discard. Place the peppers and all of the remaining salsa ingredients into a blender and pulse until somewhat smooth. Season to taste with sea salt.

Combine the queso fresco with the cilantro and scallions.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place four tostadas on a large cookie sheet. Top each with a spoon full of salsa verde and spread it to the edges. Top with about 2 ounces of queso fresco. Top with another tostada, salsa and queso fresco. Reserve the third tostada. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese softens.

While they're baking, fry the eggs to your liking. I prefer over easy because that tends to yield a nice runny yolk without under cooking the whites. And a runny yolk is key to this dish. I'm supposed to tell you that eating raw or under cooked eggs is dangerous, so I will. But, what can I say, I like to live dangerously.

Remove each stack to a plate and top with the remaining tostada, a generous scoop of salsa verde and two fried eggs. Enjoy immediately.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Purslane Salad with Lemon and Parsley Vinaigrette

On Saturday, we wandered to the downtown Phoenix farmer's market where Brad sampled nearly everything, homemade granola, scones, cookies, even dog treats if I would have let him. We walked past several produce stands, many run by large, established farms. But we were hoping to support an immigrant or refugee farming cooperative. That's when we met Jawn from Golo Family Organic Farms.

Her beauty spilled out like grace all over us as she explained how she ended up in Phoenix as a farmer. 
"I lived in a refugee camp in West Africa for 15 years, until America came and rescued me," she said. "God rescued me."

In the camp, she taught others to support themselves through batik and screen printing using classic African designs. She farmed. And, she waited. Eventually, the United States stepped in. "Nothing happens without America," Jawn says. "Other countries would wait until the US walked into a refugee camp and said, 'Yes, we'll take you, and you, and you'."

She sees farming as her way of giving back. 

I looked through her produce. Although it was still early morning as far as I was concerned, most of her supply had already been purchased.

"What's this?" I asked, holding up what looked like a bunch of weeds. 

Purslane, or Mexican spinach, she informed me. I tasted it. It had a soft, lemony tang, with the texture you would imagine of biting into a succulent. 

I came home and Googled purslane recipes. Most were for salads, though some suggested stir frying it into eggs. However, cooking had the possibility of bringing out a dreaded okra-like slime, so I opted for a raw preparation. If you can get your hands on this ubiquitous weed, I highly recommend it. It's much more interesting than lettuce, with a satisfying crunch and a delicious flavor.  

serves four

1 bunch purslane, rinsed and roughly chopped (rough stems removed)
1 avocado, diced
1 plum tomato, diced

1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon parsley, minced
generous pinch sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toss the vegetables together in a large salad bowl. Whisk together the vinaigrette and season to taste with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Pour over the salad. You can wait to serve this for up to half an hour if you wish; it doesn't wilt as quickly as does lettuce or spinach.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tempeh Tacos

Rarely do I promise that something tastes just like meat. Usually, plant foods taste deliciously like themselves. Cilantro tastes like cilantro. Fresh guacamole tastes like guacamole. And so on. And that's a good thing. 

However, sometimes you want a meal that feels a little more substantive. In these tacos, crumbled tempeh seasoned with cumin, smoked paprika and sauteed onions resembles ground beef, particularly because it's snuggled under all of the usual taco fixings: shredded lettuce, fresh guacamole, cilantro and roasted tomato salsa. 

serves four

Fresh Guacamole
2 fresh, ripe avocados, pitted and diced
1 lime, juiced
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh serrano pepper, minced
Mash all of the ingredients until well combined. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Quick Roasted Tomato Salsa
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
pinch sea salt
Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until everything is well combined, but not completely pureed.

Tempeh Taco Filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup yellow onions, minced
1 package tempeh, crumbled
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion until fragrant and golden. Add the tempeh and brown well. Add the cumin, paprika and ketchup and toss to coat. Remove from heat.

To serve
1 package corn tortillas
2 cups shredded lettuce
small handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

I really don't have to tell you how to assemble tacos. So I won't. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Raw Vegan Apple Tart

It doesn't get anymore autumnal than this, except perhaps walking through an orchard and eating rotting apples off the ground. But, um, gross, who wants to do that? Yeah, me neither. In celebration of October, I created this raw, vegan apple tart recipe. 

It's not unlike other raw, vegan apple dishes, but I am a sucker for contrasting flavors and textures, so my crust is a little more dry and salty than others I've seen. 

Happy fall, friends! 

yields one 10" tart

1 cup walnuts
3/4 cup dates
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3-4 organic apples (I enjoy Pink Lady and Gala)
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon

To make the crust, pulse the walnuts and sea salt in a food processor until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the dates and pulse until thoroughly combined. Dump the mixture into your tart pan and spread evenly along the bottom and up the sides. Use a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper to press the mixture until firm. 

Slice the apples thinly and toss with the agave and maple syrup -- I used Trader Joes' Agave and Maple Syrup blend -- then the cinnamon.

Arrange artfully in the tart pan. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

P.S. I won't tell anyone if you want to eat it for breakfast! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Falafel With Hummus & Grape Tomato Taboule

I always know I have stumbled upon a good recipe when it makes my menu week after week. The forthcoming is a dish my friend Elizabeth brought me after I gave birth to Cole. It's one of those recipes you can make ahead of time -- as is the custom with baby meals -- and then cook when you're ready to serve.

Don't worry too much about the dried chickpeas. They sound like a hassle, but really, they take about as much time to prepare as opening a can.

serves four

1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
1/2 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 bunch cilantro
2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves only
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper
olive oil, for frying

1 recipe tomato taboule
prepared hummus

Soak the chickpeas in a generous amount of cold water at least six hours, or as long as overnight in the refrigerator. Rinse and drain when ready to assemble.

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you can reach in -- no, not with the motor running, silly -- and form a ball with your hands.

Set the mixture aside in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook, at least half an hour.

Meanwhile, assemble the tomato taboule. It's really more of a tomato and parsley garnish -- especially because I leave out couscous when I'm cooking for myself -- but who cares? The taste is spot on. Adjust the ratios as you see fit. This is really so not like me to post such a vague recipe, but I suspect you behave in your kitchen as I do in mine, especially at lunch time; impeccable flavors with minimal fuss = win.

To cook the falafel, heat about 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick wide skillet over medium heat. Form the falafel into patties and sear on each side for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown. You may wish to do this in batches. Remove to a separate plate.

Serve the falafel with hummus and tomato taboule.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lemony Mint & Artichoke Pasta

Tonight Rich is shooting Phoenix Fashion Week in Scottsdale, so I'm dining alone. Table for one? I still do not understand how someone could opt for yogurt for dinner when they're eating alone. Where's the fun in that? I used to eat the same thing every time Rich worked in the evenings: pan-seared New York steak with thyme and Cabernet reduction, over arugula with Gorgonzola and roasted red peppers. Yum.

However, these days I'm growing more and more uncomfortable eating factory-farmed animal products. Plus it's Vegan Month of Food, so for now, I'm eating vegan. And few vegan dishes taste as good with as few ingredients as my lemony mint and and artichoke pasta. It's almost as simple as eating yogurt out of the cup, but so, so much better. Enjoy!

serves one

4 ounces pasta, cooked al dente in salted water (I used TJ's gluten-free corn pasta)
1, 15-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and quartered
4 leaves fresh mint, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Toss all of the ingredients together and serve immediately. I told you it was easy!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Curry

I'm kicking off Vegan Month of Food, or VeganMoFo, with this gorgeous and simple fall dish. I love the event of eating -- the ceremony, the conversation, the wine -- and I look forward to a candlelit dinner with my husband all day. Sometimes vegan food can look like just a pile of this on top of a pile of that. But this month, I'm celebrating fancy pants vegan cuisine, the kind of food that is not only good for you and good for the planet, but looks stunning and makes your mouth water all day long. So, check in with me and see what's in store all month!  

serves four

olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 head cauliflower, broken into small chunks
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion until fragrant and golden. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. 

Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender. Correct the seasonings. 

Serve with steamed jasmine brown rice. See, I told you it was simple! Here's how it looks deconstructed, or how it will look if you're not trying to take gorgeous pictures for your blog. Still looks pretty good, right?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Espinacas con Garbanzos

There is no such thing as too much smoked paprika. You either agree with me or you haven't tasted it. Or you're doing it wrong; like my friend Kyle says, "The last time I smoked paprika, I tried to eat some guy's face." 

A far better application for this quintessential Spanish spice is in the vegan classic espinacas con garbanzos.  Translated: spinach and garbanzo beans. It sounds so much more exotic in Spanish, doesn't it? It combines smoked paprika with two other classic elements of the regional cuisine: red wine vinegar and cumin. 

We eat espinacas con garbanzos here almost weekly over a bed of quinoa and with a glass of Rioja or Tempranillo. It's simple, vegan comfort food, so good you won't be hungry for flesh at all. 

serves 2-4 

extra virgin olive oil
2 bunches fresh spinach, thoroughly rinsed and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon red chili flake 
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
2 plum tomatoes, diced 
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 cups cooked quinoa 

Heat a two-count of olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chili and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and cover the pan with a lid, stirring infrequently until the greens are wilted. 

Add the chickpeas, vinegar, and spices and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat. Toss in the plum tomatoes and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Serve over quinoa. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Vegan Baja Bowl

So there's a series of videos on YouTube the titles of which I feel I should not mention because, well, this is a family-friendly blog. Anyway, one of them depicts things people say to vegans and captures public perception of vegans and vegetarians perfectly. 

What do you eat? No seriously, what do you eat? 

What about protein?

So, like, if you were on a deserted island and there was only meat to eat...

Well, you still eat eggs at least, right? 

This is one of several posts in response to the question of what vegans eat. 

serves four

2 cups brown rice
2 15-ounce cans kidney beans
pinch of each, cumin, smoked paprika, coriander  
6 ripe tomatoes, diced and seeded
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
1 large sprig mint, leaves only, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 green chile, minced
2 limes, juiced
pinch sugar
1 avocado, pitted and diced 
kosher salt

Bring a pot of 4 1/2 cups water with a generous pinch of salt to a boil. Rinse the brown rice, add to the boiling water, cover and simmer until al dente. 

Rinse and drain the kidney beans and place in a small saucepan over low heat with the spices until heated through. Squeeze the juice of half of a lime over the beans to finish. 

Make the pico de gallo by combining the tomatoes, herbs, shallots and chile. Squeeze in the remaining lime juice and season to taste with salt and a pinch of sugar. 

To serve, place a generous scoop of brown rice into a bowl. Top with beans, pico de gallo and avocado. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Eggplant Involtini

"We are really lacking in hero movies," Rich said as he came into the kitchen tonight. "We just watched Charlie Wilson's War, otherwise I think I could I could really live vicariously through Phillip Seymore Hoffman right now," he added.

After a particularly challenging day, one in which we both wanted to jump into a boxing ring just take the evening off, dinner was the last thing on my mind.

I sat down at my computer at 8:00 with a glass of wine and still only vague plans for dinner. My aunt messaged me asking if I had any recipes for cabbage rolls. Suddenly it hit me: eggplant involtini. I messaged her back. Pinenuts. Feta. Mint. Raisins. Garlic. Wrap it up in whatever you like.

Within minutes, I had whisked all of the ingredients out of the fridge, fried up the eggplant, mixed together the filling, and tossed it into the oven. Vegetarian comfort food never came together so fast. If only life worked out that way.

serves two-four
adapted from Nigella Lawson's Eggplant Involtini recipe

2-4 eggplants, sliced lengthwise

8 ounces feta cheese
1/4 cup mint, roughly chopped
1/4 cup pinenuts
1/4 cup currants or raisins, soaked in hot water then drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 slice Udi's gluten-free bread, toasted and roughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup tomato passata

1 cup olive oil

Parmesan cheese, grated

Fry the eggplant slices in olive oil until soft. Remove to a plate to cool.

Whisk together the feta, mint, pinenuts, currants, garlic and bread crumbs. Season to taste.

Wrap the filling in the eggplant slices and nestle down into a baking dish. Top with tomato passata and freshly grated Parmesan.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rustic Mushroom Soup with Dumplings

This is the official launch of Pamela's Modern Family Table, a blog devoted to gluten-free, vegetarian cuisine. Welcome all two of my followers! 

In anticipation of this new venture, I wrote a little poem, borrowing irreverently from the nursery rhyme: Jack Sprat could eat no fat; his wife could eat no lean. And so between them both they licked the platter clean. So it goes. As Rich eats no meat and I eat no wheat, I thought I was rather clever reappropriating it. 

He said I should never let my poem see the light of day.  And that's why you and I can both be grateful for my husband. You'll never have to hear my horrid poetry. Fortunately, he is more encouraging about my cooking. 

I love vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, but the problem I find with almost all of them is that they rely quite heavily on wheat. No wonder T. Colin Campbell of the acclaimed China Study says he felt awful upon commencing a vegan diet, all the wheat! More on why I don't like the grain in future posts.  

To kick off the new project, try my rendition of the River Cottage Veg Everyday Mushroom Stoup. You can make the soup and dumplings ahead of time and refrigerate both--separately of course--until about half an hour before you’re ready to serve. Just heat the soup to a simmer and proceed as usual.

serves 2-4

1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter, or Earth Balance Natural Spread
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 cups vegetable broth
1 sprig rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Dumplings
1 sprig thyme, leaves only
1 stalk sage, leaves only, minced
2/3 cup cold butter, diced, or Earth Balance Natural Spread 
2 cups gluten-free, self-rising flour (or thoroughly sift together 2 cups gluten-free flour, ½ teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons baking powder)
1/3-1/2 cup cold water
Pour very hot water over the dried porcinis until they’re just covered. Set aside.

Melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat in a large stock pot. Add the onions and a pinch of sea salt. Sweat for 10 to 15 minutes until translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 5 minutes.
Turn up the heat and add the fresh mushrooms and brown for about 2 minutes.

Remove the soaked porcinis to a strainer. Pour the soaking liquid through a coffee filter, reserving it. Give the mushrooms a quick rinse in warm water to remove any residual dirt. You don’t want any sand in your soup! Add the porcinis, garlic, the soaking liquid, herbs and the vegetable broth to the soup. Simmer over medium low heat for about half an hour.

Meanwhile, whiz together the herbs, butter and flour in a food processor until rough and crumbly. Remove the blade and sprinkle in enough cold water just to bind. Gently form the dough into about 16 small balls, being careful not to press too tightly. They will expand when cooked.

Place all of the dumplings in the soup, cover with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until fluffy and cooked through. Ladle dumplings into soup bowls and cover with remaining liquid. 
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