Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Grilled Veggie Sandwich with Kale Pesto

Summer Grilled Veggie Sandwich with Kale Basil Pesto
I’m a huge fan of bread stuffed with all kinds of goodness and the sloppier the tastier, and that includes pitas and bean burgers. Now that it’s summer and farmer’s markets are abundant with local vegetables, the temptation to overbuy gets me every time. But I admit I never let them sit too long to spoil, that means eating lots of salad, using them in juices, grilling them for side dishes and using them in sandwiches, which lately seems to be my favorite. If you have an outdoor grill it takes very little effort, and on a warm summer day being outside flipping veggies while sipping on a glass of wine sounds quite perfect. For the sandwich I made a chunky pesto to slather inside, stacked the veggies and finished with balsamic vinegar. The veggies I used below are just a suggestion to the many possible variations and if you haven’t tried grilled radicchio give it a try, it’s a bitter leaf but once cooked with oil and sea salt the bitterness smoothes out and with the vegetables that sweeten when cooked, it’s a nice balance.

So here’s what I did with my sandwich and I used more veggies than needed for left overs so I’m not going to give out measurements here.

Ingredients for Sandwich
Fresh bread sliced

1.Graffiti eggplant or other, make sure they are small, slice them very thin under a ¼ inch, lightly oil one side and add a sprinkle of sea salt.

2. Zucchini sliced under ¼ inch, lightly oil one side and season with sea salt

3. ½ radicchio sliced into sections keeping the leaves attached at the core, look at image,
lightly oil all sides and  sprinkle with sea salt

4. Large sweet onion sliced into rounds ¼ inch thick

Balsamic vinegar to finish

Method for Veggies
1. Fire up the grill until hot at high heat, turn down the heat to medium

2. Add all the veggies oil side on the grill, the eggplant takes a little longer and will look dry but they soften as they cool, taste for doneness.

3. The radicchio cooks in just a couple of minutes – about one minute per side, don’t walk away or they will burn, a little burnt on edges is fine.

Garlic Rubbed Bread
Using a mortar pestle 
Add clove of garlic
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
large pinch sea salt

Method Garlic Bread
Using a mortar pestle, Mash the garlic in the oil and sea salt and lightly coat each side of the bread, grill until toasted on both sides

Kale Basil Pesto with Walnuts
4 cups kale -  I used curly
Small handful fresh basil
½ cup raw walnuts
4 sun dried tomatoes minced – optional but good
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt more if needed
Sprinkle cayenne pepper, or a little cracked red pepper

Note about pesto:  Many recipes I see use about ¼ cup oil or more, I use very little for a chunkier pesto, if you want less chunky add additional 1 tbsp of oil until you reach desired consistency, I wouldn’t go over ¼ cup.  If using for pasta then of course you will want it runnier.

Method Pesto
Add the kale and basil to processor and pulse until chopped, add all other ingredients and blend until small chunky bits form, taste for seasoning.

Assemble Sandwich
Spread pesto on bread, top with eggplant, zucchini, onion, sprinkle of balsamic vinegar and finish with radicchio. Slice sandwich in half


Friday, July 18, 2014

Kale Quinoa Salad with Edamame and Pistachio Mint Dressing

Kale Quinoa Salad with Edamame and Pistachio Mint Dressing
It never ceases to amaze me how much I love salad and how much can be done to make them special. This is an all green salad with edamame and other lovely ingredients, but what I love most is the pistachio mint dressing and how well it compliments and how the mint adds such a fresh taste. Adding the quinoa makes it a meal on it’s own. When assembling the salad I like them to look beautiful so I don’t always mix everything together and instead place all the ingredients on top of the leaves, it’s quite nice when serving them this way, makes for a pretty bowl, but you decide.


Creamy Pistachio Mint Dressing
Serves 2
½ cup toasted pistachio
½  cup water and add 2 tbsp more if needed
1 tsp minced mint
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Fresh ground black pepper

Note: my pistachios were toasted and salted when purchased if yours are not salted add salt to your dressing to your desired taste.

Combine all dressing ingredients in high powered blender until creamy

This dressing would make a great dip, or used for a creamy topping to savory crepes

Salad Ingredients
Quinoa cooked and cooled – you decide how much to cook I like left overs
Curly kale remove the stems
Fresh parsley large handful chopped
1 Tbsp fresh mint minced
1 Avocado cubed – half for each person
¾ cup edamame shelled - frozen is fine but thaw in warm water
Pinches Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper

Method for Salad
Note: I like my kale leaves firm if you like it softer massage the cut kale before adding other ingredients.

1. Cooking quinoa: I always make more for left over, be sure to rinse the quinoa well,
one part quinoa to two parts water, add to a medium pot bring to a boil and simmer on very low heat covered for about 17 minutes, remove from heat and fluff with fork keep covered an additional 10-15 minutes, the quinoa will fluff even more. Add as much quinoa as you like to salad I used about ½ cup per serving.

2. Cut the kale into small pieces and add to a large bowl along with parsley and fresh mint, toss in some of the dressing and mix well, now add the quinoa, give it a toss, top with avocado, edamame, a drizzle of more dressing and season with additional salt and black pepper


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chocolate Cherry Ancho Cake with Maple Salted Pecans

I made a quick banana soft serve to go with my slice as pictured here

Chocolate Cherry Ancho Cake with Maple Salted Pecans
I’m a huge fan of spicy food and lately I’ve seen hot pepper flavors such as chipotle, chili, and cayenne used in chocolate, so for those of you who enjoy chocolate cake and spice will love this bold and adventurous combination using ancho powder topped with seasonal cherries. When coming up with this recipe my goal was to “explore” something special with flavors reminiscent of an exotic destination. There’s an element of surprise balanced by the sweetness, fruit and crunchy nuts, and most importantly, it’s very moist. The cake is wonderful on it’s own or served with your favorite ice cream or coconut whip cream.

Ancho powder is a moderately spiced and sweet dried chile with rich flavor.

Thanks to So Delicious for including me in their "Save Summer" theme, I’ve enjoyed coming up with recipes using their non dairy milk and look forward to sharing another recipe next month!
Hope everyone is having a lovely summer!

Use smaller 6 cup bundt cake pan not the large one – serves 7
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup spelt
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 ½  tsp baking powder
¾  tsp baking soda
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ancho powder
1 ½ tsp fine ground coffee
1/3 cup unrefined fine brown sugar – grind it if course. Or evaporated cane juice
1 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage – So Delicious
1 tsp apple cider vinegar 
1/3 cup mashed ripe banana about one banana, use liquid measuring cup to measure
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/3 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Notes: the cake is spicy but balanced with the other flavors if you want less spice use
 ¼ tsp instead of ½ tsp

Notes: read recipe first. Use a whisk to loosen the flour before measuring, dip your measuring cup in the flour and scrape off excess with back of knife, do not spoon flour into measuring cup, this will result in inaccurate measurements. Use a liquid measuring cup for liquids.

Method for Cake
Pre Heat oven to 350 with rack in the middle.

1. Lightly oil the bundt pan

2. Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside.

3. Use a whisk and in a large bowl sift the whole wheat pastry flour, spelt, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, cinnamon, ancho powder, ground coffee, and sugar, once passed through stir it again.

4. In a medium bowl combine the mashed banana, maple syrup, olive oil and vanilla extract and mix well, add the milk and vinegar and mix very well, now add the wet to the flour and using a whisk mix until just combined, do not over mix, quickly add to the bundt pan and bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees, when done let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire wrack, after 10 minutes carefully flip the cake out of pan and continue to cool on rack before adding the ganache.

Roasted Cherries
Will be extra for additional topping
1.5 cups pitted cherries sliced in half
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roast at 400 for 10 minutes

Salted Pecans with Ancho and Maple Syrup
Will be extra f or additional topping
1 cup pecans lightly chopped
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
¼ tsp plus pinch more sea salt
Pinch ancho powder

Method for Pecans
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat
bake for 10 minutes at 325

Chocolate Ganache
3.5 oz 60-70% chocolate chopped
½ cup So Delicious milk
1tsp pure maple syrup
Pinch ancho powder
pinch sea salt

Method Chocolate
1. Chop the chocolate and add it to small stainless steel bowl

2. Heat the milk until bubbly hot and pour it over the chocolate, stir the chocolate until melted then add the maple syrup, ancho powder and sea salt and mix well.

3. Drizzle the chocolate on the cake on all sides and especially near the opening at top so the cherries and nuts can stick to it.

4. Now add the roasted cherries and pecans to the top of the cake.

Serve with additional ganache, cherries and nuts or with a side of your favorite ice cream, or coconut whip cream!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Coffee Coconut Chocolate Banana Shake

Coffee Coconut Chocolate Banana Shake
Super excited to share this thick and delicious naturally sweet shake, It’s a perfect afternoon treat or dessert, though in honesty, I had it for breakfast and why not!  For anyone who enjoys coffee, you’ll love this, so ditch that place where you go for brewed shakes and cold cappuccino and try this at home. It may be your new favorite cold one.

Prepare the night before serves one – double for two
Freeze 1 banana peeled and slice
Brewed coffee in ice cube trays about 4 cubes
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 medjool dates pitted
1 tbsp coconut butter
1/2 cup coconut milk beverage – I used So Delicious
Pinch cinnamon

Notes: the shake is very thick if your blender can’t handle it add a little bit more milk until it moves around a bit.
Combine in high powdered blender such as Vitamix and top with your favorite nuts, I used sliced almonds!

Enjoy! XO

inspiration to use coffee by Tammi a GMO Free Girl

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Peach and Ginger Galette

Peach & Ginger Galette
There was a time when I never baked, in fact, I was afraid of it because all of my previous attempts failed miserably. Everything was always just wrong and it wasn’t until 3 years ago I decided to try again. I started with muffins, cookies, the occasional loaf cake and with good results, enough to motivate me to continue baking. I credit the achievement to following good and well written recipes, and over time the chemistry of it started to sink in, and still there is much to know, but with practice comes confidence and success. Crust especially was not one I ever made, it always sounded so complicated and when I became vegan the idea of using shortening and vegan butter didn’t appeal to me, but I soon discovered from a wonderful pastry chef that excellent crust can be successfully made using just good olive oil! My first attempt at making crust was 1.5 years ago, I was slow and careful but learning, now making crust quite often, I whip it up in no time, and what I’m trying to say is, YOU can too!
This summer I’ve gone wild making galette both savory and sweet. I also made my first pot pie with crust which I will share later this summer, but for now, it’s my peach pie! Just a heads up that it’s slightly more time consuming to prepare because of the peeling process and removing the pit, unlike a berry pie, but if you love peaches then it’s worth a try!
Be sure to read all the instructions before beginning the recipe

Note about measuring flour:  Use a whisk and stir the settled flour to loosen it, add your measuring cup to the flour and wipe off excess, do not spoon flour into your measuring cup it’s not how I measure flour and will be inaccurate.

Note about measuring liquid: Use a liquid measuring cup not a dry one
Crust adapted by vegan pastry chef Fran Costigan

¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat
¾ cup spelt
3 tbsp unrefined brown sugar
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¾  tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
½ cup So Delicious milk unsweetened coconut or cashew – ice  cold – I used 5- tbsp
¾ tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp almond extract or more vanilla

Method for Crust
1. Sift the flour, sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, baking powder over a large bowl. Once passed, mix well with wire whisk.

2. Slowly drizzle the cold oil over the flour using a rubber spatula and gently stir scooping from underneath, little stone like shapes will form do not break these up they are help to create a flaky crust

3. Mix the coconut milk, almond and vanilla extract. Drizzle 3 tbsp of the mixture over the flour mixture and stir gently keeping the pebbly form which will increase in size, add more liquid as needed 1Tbsp at a time tossing gently until dough holds together, (you may not use all of the ½ cup and that’s ok,) turn the dough out onto a large piece of parchment paper and cover with another piece on top, using a roller to press a 10 inch wide round and work quickly, the dough when flattened should look marbleized, place on baking sheet with the parchment and chill in the fridge for 45 minutes to allow gluten to relax,

Meanwhile make the filling

Pre heat oven to 400 rack in the middle

Peach Filling
9 medium peaches peeled and sliced thin
one lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup unrefined fine brown sugar grind in spice grinder if too course
1 tsp ground powder ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp arrowroot

1. In a large bowl combine the sliced peaches with lemon juice and lemon zest and set aside.
2. In another small bowl combine the sugar, ginger, cinnamon and arrowroot, combine well and add to the peaches, stir to coat very well and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

This Step after Filling is made
Roll out the dough in between two pieces of parchment paper – do not add flour – roll to 12 inches in diameter,
Flip the parchment along with dough over to loosen the dough from the paper this will help lift the edges of the dough over the peaches without sticking.  Place the dough along with parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Add the peaches to the center of the dough leaving behind most of the juices -  allow a couple of inches all around of free space. Begin lifting the dough carefully up towards the center of the peaches and continue working around until all sides are up. Be sure to over lap the dough as you lift, this helps hold the shape, once it’s all up and the shape is secure you can add a bit of the reserved juices.

Baste the galette with melted coconut oil or
In small bowl combine
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp pure maple syrup

Place in the oven and bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes. The crust should be golden

Top with ice cream, or coconut whip cream and pecans


And below is Strawberry Fennel Orange to try!
Lots of fresh strawberries sliced into rounds about 4 cups
½ tsp ground fennel
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup unrefined brown sugar such as muscobado
2 tbsp arrowroot  - do not use cornstarch
Pinch sea salt
Zest of one organic orange


Wash and pat dry the strawberries, remove the green leaves and slice each strawberry into 3 rounds, place in a large bowl add the orange zest and toss lightly. In another bowl combine the fennel, cinnamon, sugar, arrowroot and sea salt and add this to the strawberries, gently stirring until all the strawberries are coated. Let sit for 15 minutes, there will be a lot of juice be sure to drain it before adding to crust, you can then add it after the crust is pulled up over the strawberries.