Tuesday, June 30, 2009

No Rhyming Chocolate-Orange Cookies

Is a recipe in progress. I made a couple batches on Friday and as I
still have a remaining orange I'll try my hand again at it tomorrow.

Chocolate and orange are such a beautiful combination.
I love those chocolate oranges you can get at Christmas time,
I wonder if the dark chocolate ones have dairy milk or if they
are vegan... I haven't had one for years.

These cookies are reminiscent of that. At first you just think you're
eating a regular chocolate chip cookie, then a swift wave of citrus
comes in and is tied together by a rich dark chocolate bite.

These are so good, I may have to save them for my book...
or bribery.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Latté Art

Alright, I've totally got to get my hands on this little skill.
I went shopping and with my Mom and her friends yesterday
on the west side of the Island and on the way back we stopped
for a little perk at the Kona Mountain Coffee Co.

I got a Soy Latté and lookee see? I haven't seen anyone do
this for a while and I want to learn!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Childhood Lentil Soup

One of the things we ate most often when
I was growing up was definitely lentil soup.
I remember my Mom would have it stewing
away all day in the crockpot for when my Papa
would get home from work. It was so comforting
topped with those round crackers...

Well I was on a mission to recreate it last night.
My Mom told me the original recipe was in
Laurel's Kitchen, but I didn't check-- I just went
for it. Talk about flash back to 1980s LA for me.
Whewee. I served it up with some of the
mountains of focaccia I had baked over the weekend.

This soup is so easy and so economical,
I expect to be making it alot more when I move again!

Classic Lentil Soup or what I like to call 'Dirty Lentil Soup'

1/2 cup uncooked lentils, any colour
3 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced (don't you dare peel them!)
1 onion chopped
2 bay leaves
4 cups+ vegetable broth or water

Clean and sort through your lentils, remember this isn't
stone soup. Cook in enough broth or water to cover for about
20 minutes. Add all the vegetables and simmer for 20 more minutes.
Add some salt and pepper to taste and simmer until the last of the
vegetables are tender.

yes. That is it. Just watch out for the bay leaves.
My family always left them in as a little joke to look out for when
eating, just to see if you were actually paying attention to your food.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Playdough Pasta!?

I've been craving gnocchi for a while and finally I broke down
and made some. Alright, when am I ever known to follow the
original instructions or recipes &c &c &c.
I had tried to make some sweet potato gnocchi a long long
time ago and it came out terrible. However, that was most
likely due to the fact that I tried to use yellow Okinawa
potatoes, which are much more dry than the typical sweet
potatoes that you and I eat at thanksgiving.

It was also one of the first times I made gnocchi from
scratch, so I worked and worked and finally conquered the
basic gnocchi magic. Now I felt ready to experiment again.
Hey, we're just adding a root vegetable right? Potatoes?
Well why not try another lovely root.

Beets certainly got me through my lunches at school this
past semester. I was always making my purple root salad.
Ah, the best. I think I may have to make some more soon!

Anyway, beets were the choice and here were the results...

Playdough Pasta

1 1/3 cup pastry flour
1 cup of beet puree
a pinch of each salt and pepper
Combine just short of all the
flour with beets and salt and
pepper in a food processor or
a large bowl. Process or mix
with a knife until dough is formed.
Add the remaining bit of flour
and a little more if needed.

Toss it out on to a floured counter
top and knead it until it appears

This is the best part and totally surprised me.
The dough looks like a giant lump of bright pink
playdough! Ha ha, I was giggling the whole time
I was kneading away. Who says we can't play
with our food! I demand to know!

Now, let it rest. Seriously, allowing the dough to
rest at this point will yield a smoother pasta in the
end, but if you're in a big freakin hurry than don't
worry about it. But if you are, you probably
shouldn't be trying to make pasta from scratch.

Now here is the tricky part. Making gnocchi
is a kind of art. Split up the dough into however many sections. Roll those pieces out into
1/2-1 inch ropes. Cut ropes in to little pieces about 3/4" thick. Take a fork and roll the little pieces against the fork to make ridges that will hold in some of the sauce. Keep practicing it
took me forever to get the hang of it, but now its a piece of cake...

Now gnocchi is just the shape that I chose. You may follow
any pasta making technique you want and turn this into some
beet linguini or angel hair, whatever!

While this is all going on, have a large
pot of salted water boiling on the stove.
When your gnocchi is prepped go ahead
and drop them in. Give them a little stir
to make sure they don't stick to the bottom
or each other.

Keep it boiling and cook the little guys until
they are tender the whole way through. They
will rise to the top when they are pretty much done.

Remove and place in a baking pan in a warm oven until all are cooked. Toss with your
favorite sauce. Here I used Lindsey Wagner's Orange-Apple Tomato Sauce from
High Road to Health. Absolutely delish.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Flirting with Focaccia

Focaccia or olive oil bread is pretty much a staple in our house.
Focaccia and wheat bread are two of the things I remember my
papa baking since I was little. Even when we make pizza we
don't typically use regular pizza dough, we use focaccia dough
and it is down right fantastic. This Italian bread is close to
pizza though and often topped with all sorts of goodies.
I see onion, garlic, cheese most often.

There was a bakery not too long ago where I live that went out
of business and they had a line of different focaccias, yet they
were always doughy and gooey and you could never eat them
immediately. I would have to go home and rebake them before
they were normal focaccia texture.

This weekend I spent sometime flirting with our focaccia recipe
and I ended up splitting up each batch in to two little loaves
so I could have even more of a variety and here is what I came up with.

Flirty Focaccia

2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
pinch sugar
2 1/2 cups flour (I split bread flour and whole wheat, but its up to you)

special add-ins (measured per half batch)
3 cloves of soft roasted garlic
with 1/2 cup diced black olives and 3 tablespoons of rosemary
6 re-hydrated or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

dissolve yeast in warm water. Add salt, oil, and sugar.
Slowly add in flour until just manageable. Dump out on to
a floured surface to knead. Knead dough at least five minutes,
until it develops an elastic-y feel. Now it should be soft and springy
yet heavy enough to hit someone one pretty good in the face.

Split! Divide into two smaller loaves (entirely optional)
add the garlic &c and knead a little longer, working in
until your loaves look nice and smooth. Nice buns.

Place in a bowl with a little more olive oil. Roll it around
a bit so it is coated well. Set aside in a warm spot to rise.
This will take about an hour or so, let it double. Go read a book.

Once your dough has doubled in size, punch it down.
Thats right, give it a good one. Then transfer to a pan or
whatever you're going to bake it on and flatten it out.
Drizzle on some more olive oil and cut some lines across.
Sprinkle gener
ously with sea salt and let rise again about 45 mins.

If adding toppings now if you wish.... tomatoes, basil, olives?
Bake for 20 minutes at 450F, keep an eye on it because we don't
want it getting too jaw breakingly crunchy.

This is a great recipe to double, triple, or quadruple. It freezes well
and like I said works great as a pizza crust. Sigh* Perfect Sandwich bread.

Friday, June 19, 2009

a little preview

So, I've been housesitting the past few weeks and I've spent
most of my time there in the kitchen, as usual.

Here is a little peek of what I've been cooking, some I will
post with recipes and others you'll just get to look at.
Sorry! But I need to keep somethings secret for the book.
Oops, it slipped. Yeah, I'm working on a children's vegan
cookbook. Shh, its just between you and me.
But to tell you the truth, I need recipe testers and
guinea pigs like the dickens, anyone game?

Papaya Sorbet
Classic Panini
Braised Kale and Pasta
Crafty Vegan Mac and Cheat
Cranky Papa's Crowned Carrot Cake

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bringing back floats

I really miss old school drinks like floats,
malts, shirley temples, roy rogers, &c &c
Why are our classics being replaced by
these stranger and stranger concoctions?
I'll have to write more later on the contents
of these beverages, but most of it is a
mystery to me.

Its been ages since I had a big name soda.
A couple times a year I'll grab a hansens
'natural' pop or a bottle of ginger beer.
Its always fun to go and scope out whats new
on the pop shelves though. Its like a rainbow
of artificial colors with the most wild names.
Can you imagine having that job? The creator
of soda pop names : "Black Lightening"
"Electric Splash"--- See! I can do it! I'm hired.
Actually, I'm gonna take a break instead with
this vegan version of a classic.
My little brother and I broke out a can of root beer
and cherry soda pop, a few scoops of Rice Dream Vanilla
Ice Cream and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sweet Apple Salad

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away,
than this salad with its delicious greens
and it's sweet-tangy little twist will keep
away a whole detachment of doctors.

This salad is so refreshing we had to
go eat out doors to round off the whole experience.

Apple of My Eye Salad

The salad is comprised of mixed greens (include arugula- my new best friend)
Cherry tomatoes, diced carrots, sweet peppers, raisins and sliced apples

To keep the apples from yellowing from oxidation you can toss them in some
citrus juice ahead of time

Apple of My Eye Dressing

1 cup of apple cider or 100 per cent apple juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
about 4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh dill
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

whisk all ingredients together and drizzle over salad fixin's

Friday, June 12, 2009

a sneak peek...

So I'm working on something for children... I can't really say
more than that right now, but I made a few really rough sketches
today. Here they are!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Creamy Avocado Dressing

This creamy dressing is so versatile and can be used in wraps, salads,
pitas and more. It is simple and tangy and has a great color.
Add some cilantro to your greens and get a nice south of the border taste.

Creamy Avocado Dressing

1 medium avocado
3/4 cup soygurt
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
3 tablespoons of water
1/4 tsp sea salt

combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and
blend until smooth.... and thats it.

Shredded Vegetable Fritters

I don't go for frying things very often, trust me. Yet, when I do it better
damn well be good. These tasty little fellas contains carrots, sweet
potatoes, bell peppers, and onion, which makes them especially high
in beta carotenes and anti-oxidants.

You can flatten these more and make them into little burger patties
with maybe a chutney or a salsa. But for last night I just served
them hot with some mashed potatoes, a gorgeous salad, and
my unwavering wittiness.

Shredded Vegetable Fritters


2 large carrots, grated
1 large sweet potato, grated
1 medium-small onion, minced
1 small red and green bell pepper, minced
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper or to taste

Precook the onion in a small pan over medium heat in a
tablespoon of water until translucent. I precooked
the onions so they would not become over powering
in the fritters later, but this is not entirely necessary.

Combine the carrots and sweet potato and squeeze out
excess juice. This can be done through a colander or
wrapping in a clean cloth (cheese or muslin) and squeezing.
Transfer to a large bowl and mix with cooked onion,
peppers, flour and salt/pepper and mix well.

At this time you can be heating a non-stick pan
with some cooking oil to fry these little suckers.
Scoop about a 1/4 cup and shape in to a disc/ball.
When the oil is hot enough plop it in there and cook
until that side is browned 7 minutes on medium-high
heat, then flip. When cooked remove and place on
paper towels to drain. You can keep in a heated oven
until all are cooked.

Yields: about 20 fritters and some very happy folks