Sunday, September 25, 2016

Baked Spinach Rice

This weekend was another busy one, and we decided to make a last minute menu switch to try out this baked spinach rice that L and I had seen in a NY Times recipe.

The dish was rather easy to put together, with only a bit of busy prep work. The end result was a savory, rich, full-of-flavor rice gratin with a crispy, crusty top and a creamy layer buried underneath.

We had an afternoon full of junk-food post Jimmy Fund Walk, so we enjoyed this rice with a large salad and homemade dressings. But, this would be a perfect fall or winter side to fish or chicken. And, a perfect Thanksgiving side that could easily be prepped ahead of time. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tomatillo Salsa and Best Sandwich Ever!

We got a few tomatillos in our farm share the other week. I've been staring at them, wondering when and how to use them. Tonight I decided it was their time, and threw them into a blender with cilantro, salt, and a small amount of water. The result was a fresh and delicious tomatillo salsa! I actually had mine as a salad dressing on farm share greens, and it couldn't have been better!

To complement this delicious discovery, I also used my incredible sourdough pumpernickel rye bread in vegetarian reuben sandwiches. I've already raved about the bread, but this was pure amazingness. D is in total agreement, and only made a few snide comments about corned beef;)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sourdough Pumpernickel Rye Pain de Mie

It is here in this recipe that many amazing worlds combine to form one of the most perfect breads! Sourdough. Rye. Pumpernickel. All baked perfectly in a pain de mie pan! OMG! This is heaven!

I recently aggressively grew and fed my starter. As part of this process, I was looking up recipes that use sourdough bread, and I stumbled across this blog post. I used the suggestions for adding sourdough starter, and subtracting liquid and flour, while using the sandwich rye recipe. I didn't have pickle juice, so I just used extra warm water in it's place, and I have to say that I don't think anything is lacking.

This bread is phenomenal. Perfectly crispy on the outside, sliceable for sandwiches, begging for some Swiss cheese and Russian dressing, and perfectly squared. We all know how much I LOVE breads, and this is basically D's dream come to life. Yum!

Chia Maple Peanut Butter

Anyone who reads here knows that my Vitamix blender really has changed my life, and entered into my kitchen world with a blast! When I was first given the appliance for my birthday last year, I thought it was the ultimate luxury item for my kitchen, and was somewhat skeptical that it would get a ton of use. Skeptical no more! This kitchen powerhouse is used virtually daily, often multiple times per day, and it's sheer love.

A couple of weeks ago, after some extensive on-line research, I decided to bite-the-bullet and purchase a smaller container for my blender. Although the low-profile 64oz container that came with my blender is wonderful for most of my uses (smoothies, sauces, dressings, etc), I felt like some of the smaller jobs (mainly small quantity sauces, especially those utilizing nuts and nut butters) were somewhat difficult to perfect in the large container simply due to size. I purchased the 32 oz dry container, and again my life is improved! These smaller jobs have been a cinch. The sauces have been impeccable, and the nut butters are out of this world!

See the picture here of this incredibly smooth and spreadable peanut butter???? You can almost see it dripping down the size of the mason jar. This is pure heaven. And, the best part of it is that it keeps this smooth and spreadable for weeks in the refrigerator! It's mind-boggling....even D agrees (and it can be hard to get him this jazzed up about nut butters!). Today's beauty was simply 1 1/2 c peanut butter, a tbs of maple syrup, and 2 tbs of chia seeds. I blended it for about 2 minutes, starting on low-speed, but spending most of the blending time on high-speed (which helps to release the nut oils and make this butter so buttery!). Happy mouths and bellies abound!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sweet Potato and Zucchini Noodles with Cashew Sauce and Herbs

Let me start this post by saying that this meal was BEYOND my new favorite. These sweet potato and zucchini noodles with cashew sauce literally blew my mind! The entire meal came together in about 15 minutes (after doing the prep of the spiralizing and the cashew soaking), and the results were tasty beyond whatever you can possibly imagine.  I followed the recipe, but also added one spiralized large zucchini. We topped ours with basil from our yard, and fresh chives. Ms. L was totally into the sauce, and is requesting it again tomorrow for lunch. Recipes like these ones can get me on board with the whole vegan thing, and this will be showing up again around here!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Shrimp Curry with Cauliflower and Chickpeas

Today was very rainy, and it felt like the perfect day to make a warm meal full of rich flavors. I had seen a recipe for shrimp curry with cauliflower and chickpeas, and it seemed perfect for this evening. Although the simmering time for the curry was not short, the actual preparation of this meal was quick and painless. I didn't have fish sauce, so I just skipped that, and no one minded. I was heavy-handed with the red curry paste, and very generous with lime juice at the end. No cabbage lying about, so shredded carrots took its place. We enjoyed the curry on top of brown basmati rice. Yum, yum, yum!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Raw Chocolate Cream Pie Revisited

Crust
1 c hazelnuts
1/2 c pecans
1/2 c walnuts
1/2 c pre-soaked dates
1/2 c pre-soaked dried figs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt

Pudding
2 1/2 avocados
1 banana
1/2 c raw cacao powder
1/2 c maple syrup
1/3 c peanuts
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbs coconut oil
Flaky sea salt, like Maldon

Place the crust ingredients into a high-powdered blender, and blend until a sticky and somewhat smooth dough forms. Press into a pie plate.
Once the crust is prepared, place the pudding ingredients into the high-speed blender, and blend until very smooth.
Spread pudding into the crust, and sprinkle with the flaky sea salt. Chill or freeze, and enjoy!

J has been asking me to make the salted chocolate peanut butter pie for a while now. He loves to have a frozen slice, even for breakfast (which I'm ok with because it's chalk full of deliciousness and healthy foods, but it feels dangerous!). Today I finally had the 10 free minutes that it takes (because college football season is back, folks), and this latest version is new and incredibly improved!

The addition of the banana added sweetness, while removing some of the maple syrup, and there was no need for the full amount of coconut oil either. Why add peanut butter when you have plain peanuts? The result got resounding applause, and both kids are so happy this raw pie is back in the house!

If the Vitamix hadn't changed my life already, I recently splurged and purchased the smaller dry container for use of smaller jobs, mostly involving nut-based sauces and dressings, and nut butters. The smaller size really allows for easier blending. I even tested it out with homemade peanut butter, and WOW! what an amazing difference. Having the larger 64 oz and the smaller 32 oz containers really help me to make the most out of this incredible machine.