Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Vegan, soy-free rhubarb crisp

I’ve made this rhubarb crisp a few times and am always surprised how delicious it is. I have heard rhubarb can be a tad bitter but this recipe makes it shine. You could also trying adding strawberries or blueberries if you like but the flavor here is abundant as is.

Note: double this recipe if you want two crisps. Also, this is soy-free and vegan. You would never be able to tell.

Crust/topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup oats (quick-cook or old-fashioned is fine)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Filling:

  • 4 cups diced rhubarb (about 4 rhubarb stalks)
  • 1 cup sugar (beet sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together the crust/topping ingredients. Then divide and press half of the crumbly mixture into a greased 9-inch square baking pan. Cover with diced rhubarb. In a small saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, water, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. It takes about 10 minutes, but goes from thin to thick right near the end. Pour over the rhubarb evenly and then top with remaining crumb topping. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes. Cut in squares and serve warm either plain or with ice cream (try Turtle Mountain Coconut milk ice cream to keep it vegan).

Feeds about eight hungry people.

Quinoa-Stuffed Summer Squash

Remember that time I made a blog about food and sustainability and then left it high and dry? Sorry about that. I am working on finding my blog-groove and since this site surprisingly is still getting hits (thank you, restaurant reviews) and I don’t intend to stop photographing food and cooking with local ingredients any time soon, I think it makes sense to keep it going. Further, I’ll be posting a brief synopsis of the meal + the ingredients and what I paid for them over at my other blog Talking on Common Ground. Because I like to show evidence of how cooking locally and eating sustainably is practical. Other stipulations: I have the attention span of a 5-year-old and the free-time of…well…a 22-year-old, so I’ll never post a recipe that takes longer than an hour to make (minus slow cooker deals) or has more than 10 ingredients. So that’s the story.

First up, a recipe I made with my roommate Hilary a few weeks back that I never got around to posting. It was adapted from the cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance, which was a stuffed pepper recipe, but since that day I had gone to the farmers market and come home with about 10 squashes (that the farmer had just given me for free!) Hil and I decided to make stuffed summer squash.

Quinoa-Stuffed Summer Squash

1. Saute 3 diced medium onions and 3 cloves of garlic, minced in 2 T. olive oil. Feel free to throw in mushroom or diced bell pepper if that suits your fancy. Saute for 5 minutes. Then add 1 T. chile powder and salt to taste (1 tsp.)

2. Then, add 1/2 c. quinoa, 1 c. tomato sauce, /4 c. water. Turn the heat down slightly and let it all simmer covered for 20-30 minutes.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Cut the squash in half, then do a criss-cross pattern over the seeds part and take all that out and set aside.

4. Parboil the squash for about 5 minutes so they cook a bit and retain their color/nutrients.

5. When the onion-quinoa mixture is done and the squashes are parboiled, add the squash “meat” to the quinoa and carefully without burning yourself, stuff them with the quinoa. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes!

Vegan! Soy-free! Local! Full of nutrition, tasty and filling!

Sweet and soy grilled salmon & flowers to make my apartment a home

Well, now I have tons of stuff to blab about. I am debating if I should break all of this up into separate posts? Yes, yes I should.

OK. Now. I do want to talk a bit about what’s the deal with how I changed my blog theme (and ask for your opinion, although it’s not done yet so I guess that doesn’t matter…) and announce that I did indeed graduate last weekend and I managed not to trip across the stage or forget to bring my name card or some other Kelly-like embarrassing thing, in addition to lots of other mushy crap about how much I love everyone who’s been reading my silly blog over the past semester and told me how much they enjoy it. I also want to talk about where this blog is going now that my independent study is over (I got an A, in case you were wondering, and even though it’s “over” I am thinking I may following in Jacquie’s footsteps and try to print up my most relevant posts up and bind them together. I might be good to show future potential employers, no? I can’t quit you, blog!)

Anyhow, all of that can wait because I made this delicious salmon dinner for a friend and I Thursday and holy crap. Ah-mazing.

Let’s discuss.

I decided I wanted to go all out and get that most sustainable salmon available at Whole Foods (Wild King Alaskan, $24/lb.), which in my humble opinion, tastes the absolute best. I ended up buying two 1-inch (at the thickest) fillets for $17.

Here’s what I did.

Sweet & Soy Grilled Salmon with Avocado, Capers, and Red Onion

Combine in a bowl the following:

  • 1/4 c. olive oil (exact amounts don’t really mater, you might need more if you are marinating larger fillets)
  • a few T. of soy sauce (I don’t know how much, I just poured the rest of the bottle in)
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • a dash or seven of garlic powder, depending on how much you love garlic

Yeah so swirl all that stuff around and plop your salmon fillets in and if you are super fancy and have a brush, coat them with the marinade. Then cover the bowl and pop in the refrigerator. Mine marinated for about 7 hours, but I am sure you could do for much less time, probably even 3-4 hours would suffice.

Then, slice up some avocado and some red onion and tomatoes (if you want) and drain some capers. Whatever you love on salad. You could also do a couple hard-boiled eggs using Jaden’s method (from the Steamy Kitchen) that makes the egg somewhere in between soft-and hard-boiled. I opted to leave the egg out. I initially was going to use Jaden’s recipe for a grilled salmon sandwich but then decided to use a marinade for the salmon…and then never actually made the dressing and I also made a salad instead of a sandwich…so really my dinner ended up totally different and I’m not sure why I am even referencing that recipe aside from the fact that it made me think to use capers, which I never have cooked with before.

By the way, I should also mention that my parents got me three new K. Sabatier knives as a graduation present, and they are fantastic. I have never had nice knives and it feels so nice to be able to actually slice through food without applying pressure. Fabulous. (When you begin asking for things like food processors and knives for presents, does that make you officially old? Yikes.)

I also bought myself a new eco-friendly skilet at Target the other day, which made me laugh because I never would have thought that a skillet could be not eco-friendly but hey, I guess that’s just the direction we are heading and I dig this pan a lot. I made eggs the next morning without a speck of cooking spray and it just slid around the pan like in an infomerical, it was hilarious.

Back to the salmon. You then heat up a skillet to medium-high and set your fillets on it. I ended up grilling the salmon for about 3 minutes each side, but it obviously will depend on how thick your fillet is.

Yes, mom, that’s a band-aid on my thumb. Yes, it’s from the knife. Yes, I will be more careful next time. Yes, I know those knives “could CUT OFF my finger.”

Definitely don’t overcook the fillet. If you have any feeling it might be done, take it off and take a good look at the center–with salmon you don’t really want the rare-ness you might go for with a tuna steak, but it should still be rather pink. Also, about halfway through cooking, throw your onion slices and capers in with the skillet (I much prefer grilled onion over raw.)

Once everything is ready, you plate it all up and voila! We found the salad didn’t really need “dressing” especially if you let the salmon marinate for as long as I did, because it was sooooo juicy and the onions had collected that marinade as well. But do what you like. I suppose you could do a drizzle of honey-dijon or some such over the lettuce if you prefer.

By the way, we drank a Pinot Noir with dinner which was a great pair. Pinot Noir’s are a bit more smooth and sweet, which went well with the hints of brown sugar sweetness in the salmon. (This is me trying to sounds like a foodie. Or a wino that doesn’t know wine, either/or.)

That meal tasted like you would pay at least $25 for it in a restaurant (maybe even more because of the fact that it was Alaskan King salmon, which is the priciest.) But when it came down to it, not including the wine, it  cost about half that to buy all the ingredients. And it was so so worth it. It just melted in your mouth. The best part, for me, is you could almost feel good about eating it knowing that it didn’t have the added dyes and hadn’t been raised in a confined space being fed tons of antibiotics, etc. I’ll spare the nasty details for here.

OK. So not to be all jumbly, but I do want to give you a glimpse into last weekend, in a post later on today or tomorrow in case anyone cares (I’m mainly thinking of relatives…)

…and next up, what I am looking forward to doing today (and hopefully for the rest of my life!)…Yoga! =)

It feels good to be back.

Fun with food processor-ing

Woo! So, this is the final homestretch for school. I have one more final paper for *this* class that I am going to finish up tonight and get turned in and then, I’m done! It’a going to be hard to put all I have learned from this blog into a 2-page paper. How am I going to do that? Wish me luck!

I took this weekend off, quite literally–I slept until 4:30 on Sunday. Who does that? Consequently, I was awake rather late playing with my food processor. And I may have proud mother syndrome but I am going to say, she’s the best, ever. Literally, the best hummus I have ever had. The best almond butter I’ve ever had. Not the best cookies I have ever had–but that’s only because I should have added the chips last…and then would have retained the chip-ness. Instead I got CHOCOLATE COOKIES. Yummy but not what I intended. Also, I made them vegan! Yeah! I have a problem eating regular chocolate because of the dairy content. So these ones didn’t give me…issues.

Jen thinks I could land a husband with this hummus.

“Recipe” – Yummus Hummus

  • 1 can of chickpeas (15 oz.)
  • juice of 2 smallish lemons (keep seeds out!…obviously!)
  • like a couple tsp. of olive oil
  • a couple dashes of salt
  • 1 1/2 T. sesame tahini
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic depending on how much you love garlic and the size of the clove

Put it all in a food processor, zooshzoosh… and you’re done!

OK, I bought all of this because it was on sale 4/$9. and it will last me lunches for a couple weeks.

Dinner! Hummus on a pita with tofurkey = the best.

Chocolate chips that don’t make me feel sick! Yay!

Vegan CHOCOLATE (chip?) and peanut butter cookies

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • cinnamon, a hefty dash or five
  • vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/3 c. white sugar
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 Earth Balance butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 T. peanut butter because I wanted to get rid of it so I had a jar to store my almond butter in

Basically you put the dry stuff in the food processor with the dough attachment, and in a separate bowl mix the softened butter with the sugar. Add the vanilla last. If you want them to look like mine, put the chips in at the beginning, but if you want them to come out like real chocolate chip cookies, put the in at the end.

This literally was just almonds (one lb. bag for $4.49 at Whole Foods made enough to fill an old PB jar. Meaning making almond butter at home is cost-effective. AND SO MUCH FUN. TRY IT. )

Another amazing thing I did over the weekend: bought a new computer! My old one has been kernel panicking lately (just turns off sporadically), so I decided to splurge and spend some hard-earned babysitting dough.

OK enough messing around. Off to write my paper!

PS: Got any great food processor ideas? Drop me a line 🙂

Happy Earth Day! Happy Birthday!

This week is like woah. Really busy.

But look what I made for breakfast this morning, the first time I could sleep in for ages (9am=sleeping in).

It’s eggbeaters over a grilled portabella mushroom with onion and micro-baked red potato. (Everything’s from the Dupont market, of course, except the eggs…)

Monday I caught up with my independent study professor and we decided how I shall be wrapping up this semester, and he also told me about this awesome school/farm in Pennsylvania that we may try to visit in the next week or two. Then Monday night was the talk with William McDonough. Tuesday was finishing up a presentation on the Green Movement in Iran (not related to the environment really, but green nonetheless) as well as another presentation for PR portfolio. Wednesday was my last day of classes, final presentation to the Arlington Academy of Hope, and final presentation of my group’s non-violence project to our class.

And today is Earth Day!

Which means there’s lots going on as well, and for the next few days, too. Tonight, Lester Brown is speaking on campus, but it’s also my friend’s birthday dinner. I hate having to pick between things but I really would love to see him speak so I think I’ll end up going. Also, tomorrow is my birthday and Brad‘s birthday so the three of us can have a collective birthday bash out on the town.

Friday evening is also the release party for AmLit, the literary mag on my campus. I got a photo in this year so I’m going to check that out, they always do a beautiful job with the magazine.

Saturday there’s a brunch reception I’m going to for a mentoring program I was a part of this semester. My mentor can’t make it because her life is quite possibly busier than mine, and she lives in New York City so it’s even harder. (I think the brunch will be a good networking opportunity anyway.) But I told her I would make a trip up one weekend soon or she can come down another time. She does public relations for LUSH, which is basically my new favorite cosmetics brand. Their soaps and shampoos make my bathroom smell heavenly.

Sunday, there is the Climate Change Rally on the mall which I would really love to check out. It is supposed to rain though, which kind of sucks :/. Some of my favorites will be there though (The Roots, Passion Pit, Joss Stone, others). So I will keep my fingers crossed for good weather but might still brave a little rain…Also Sunday, my Environment & Development professor Eve Bratman is throwing us a farewell BBQ/party with various awesome people in the field. She is bummed about the possible weather because she had plans to take us on a walking tour around the area (she lives on a HOUSE BOAT in southwest D.C.–how hilarious and great is that?). But she is awesome, she does worm composting and I’m really crossing my fingers the meteorologists are wrong because this is/was going to be a really fun day.

What I am saying is, pray or do whatever it is and hope for no rain!

Then next week, as schoolwork goes, I am sort of busy, but not totally in over my head. Luckily, I have professors who believe that we should actually prove how hard we can work and how well we can think, instead of how well we can memorize, so they have assigned us at-home final exams. My Environment & Development exam is timed so I have to study leading up to that. My Non-violence paper is due Wednesday but shouldn’t be too hard and we are having a dinner party at the professors house where we will turn those in. He is Palestinian so I imagine the food will be totally new to me, and I’m excited. And then just finishing up with my paper for this class! And then graduating May 8th!

Soon after I will probably figure out how to transform this site, moving into my non-student life. But more on that later.

Phew. So much to think about but trying to stay in this moment as well.

Hope everyone’s having a great Earth Day…Doing anything special for the occasion? Or do you try to do a little something every day? =)

Portabella Mushroom Burger with Kale Chips

OK. Sorry for you mushroom haters out there. You are seriously missing out. The dinner I made tonight is literally as good if not better than what you would pay $15-20 for at a restaurant. Seriously.

This dinner is for a balsamic grilled portabella sandwich with kale chips.

I’ll do a step by step for the meal in case anyone wants to recreate because it is that good.

  1. Preheat oven to 365 degrees. I just like that number. Take stems off kale (you don’t have to be that picky about this, but if they are super thick, pull those stems out.) Rub olive oil (the more expensive the better they will taste) onto the the kale leaves, sprinkle with salt/pepper, laying them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  2. Break stem off of the portabella mushroom. Place into a bowl (underside up) and pour in enough balsamic vinegar to soak all the ribs of the mushroom. Then pour about half that much olive oil. The exact amount doesn’t really matter. The ratio for me was about 2 parts balsamic for 1 part olive oil. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper. This only needs to sit for about 3-5 minutes. (Later on, you can save the extra dressing for a salad–it’s not like it’s been in meat.)
  3. While it sits, put the kale in the oven. The kale chips will take about 10 minutes in the oven.
  4. Then, put the burger on the grill (I used the George Foreman). Let it grill for about 5 minutes. Then top with some lovely thick slices of red onion. Let that grill for an extra 3 minutes.
  5. Right after you top the mushroom with the onion, hollow out your bun (if necessary). The baker suggested I do this to make the burger sit better in the bun. It worked well. Toast the bun.
  6. Now, the kale should be ready to come out, so take it out. And turn off the grill, as the burger/onion should be done.
  7. Lastly, dress the bun/burger however you want. I put a dab of mayo on one side and about a tablespoon or two of the pineapple salsa I showed last post on the other side.

This dinner was fabulous, if I do say so myself. This dinner made me think, hey, I can cook. Usually I cook things and it’s…fine…but there is some caveat like I should have added a little something different, or I overcooked something, or whatever. This dinner is clearly either foolproof–or I am getting better at cooking.

Those fancy organic, locally picked ‘bellas cost $2.50 a piece, but when you take the time to prepare them and enjoy different flavors, it’s so worth it. I would rather spend $5 on two burgers that taste like that, than $5 on a box of four frozen bocaburgers that taste like crap. Also, this meal took 10 ingredients, and I cooked it, ate it, and cleaned up in one hour. Plus, there’s lots of protein in the mushroom and lots of vitamins in the kale.

Now that I am all energized–time to write a paper on urban planning and land use! Woo!

Meal Planning For Idiots (Like Me)

Christie over at Honoring Health did a much better job of offering tips about this. I am just going to show you pictures of how I went about planning.

Essentially my thought process went:

  1. I’m going to the farmer’s market.
  2. Ooo. Portabella mushrooms! I haven’t made those in a while. Or ever.
  3. I bought 2 of those.
  4. I bought 2 rosemary buns because that’s what the baker suggested when I asked what was good for a burger bun.
  5. I also bought 2 jars of apple butter, not because I needed 2 jars, but because they were only $2.95, which is about half the price apple butter usually costs.
  6. I also bought red onion, because that goes perfectly on a mushroom burger.
  7. I also bought spinach. Because I like spinach.
  8. I also bought kale because kale chips + portabella mushroom burgers sounds like a dream.
  9. I also bought chimichurri because I tasted it and it was fantastic. And could be wonderful on a ‘bella burger.
  10. I also bought pineapple-sweet onion salsa for the same reason, and because if you bought 2 sauces, the price for each went down.
  11. I also bought sunglasses ($3), which were without a doubt made in a sweatshop in China. Eh. No one’s perfect. And I needed new sunnies. [By the way: Here’s a good joke. What’s worse–selling Chinese sweatshop sunglasses at a farmer’s market OR selling Dole bananas at one (as the AU farmer’s market was doing last Wednesday.) SIGH.]
  12. Get home, make a list of everything I have. Which reminded me I still had veggies in my fridge from last week.
  13. Figure out what I could do with everything.
  14. Take photos of everything.
  15. (If you aren’t a blogger, feel free to skip step 14.)

Is anyone else disappointed at the farmers’ market lately? I know, I know. I am supposed to embrace the seasonality. But it’s a rough time of year because things like carrots are gone, and apples are slowly turning expensive and not as delicious—and there’s still no berries or tomatoes or any of that summertime stuff. Because, well, it’s not summer…yet.

I like to call it…in-betweasons.

OK. PHOTOS.

Who would win in a boxing match: honey or agave?

I hated this cottage cheese. End up tossing it all. Blech. Is organic cottage cheese always..gross?

You haven’t had yogurt ’til you’ve had Greek yogurt.

QUESTION OF THE DAY. YOU MUST ANSWER. I have to make a big important decision. Mom says she wants to buy me a birthday gift and I’m not one to turn down gifts. I told her a blender would be  nice, or a food processor. Jacquie suggested that I get a handheld mixer…and another friend told me I should get a Vita-Mix. Which would be great if my mom wanted to spend approximately 600 dollars so I could make a smoothie once a week.  Anyone have a suggestion for a blender/food processor combo? What do you have? One of each would be OK, as long as they are good quality and the total combined price is less than $200-ish.

QUESTION OF THE DAY #2: What’s your take on mushrooms? Because apparently everyone in my apartment HATES mushrooms (You guys are crazy) and it would be NICE to eat with someone else. Sigh. I suppose I could just make one tonight, one tomorrow.  I’m currently begging for a friend. New low? This is literally the only part that sucks about being single–not having a dining partner!

OK. End post. Happy Monday, all!