Chilled Beet Salad

We left for Washington State on July 5th; just shy of a year ago.  It has been a bittersweet experience.  We miss our friends so incredibly much, and think of them daily.  Their companionship, conversation, laughter, shoulder to cry on, ideas to bounce back and forth, and their genuineness is something that cannot be replaced.

Our recent journey back to CA was incredible.  This recipe makes me think of one of my besties, Brianne Wells.  It was at her house, prior to her son’s birthday party, that I was asked to prepare this.  I love everything about it.  Thank you Brianne for this recipe.

I will miss gathering this year, as we have done for the last 14 years or so, to celebrate our favorite holiday alongside you and your family.  Cheers!  I’ll be eating this beet salad on Saturday, and be thinking of you guys.

Ingredients:

6 large beets or 5 1/2 cups of medium diced beets

1 cup dill pickles, mince

1/2 cup “mayo”

1/4 cup pickle juice

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. dried dill

1 tsp. sea salt or to taste

dash ground black pepper

Directions:

Steam diced beets until tender. Set aside and allow to cool.  In a mixing bowl, prepare “dressing” by combining pickles, mayo, pickle juice, garlic, dill, sea salt, and black pepper.  Whisk well.  Add the dressing to the steamed beets, and mix well.  Allow to chill for two hours.

 

 

 

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Blueberry Bundt Cake

 A plethora of summer fruit at my fingertips lead me down this path…. Blueberry Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon for blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup palm shortening
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. flax meal
  • 8 Tbsp. almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream
  • 2 cups organic blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and salt; set aside.

  2. In a mixing bowl, cream shortening, flax meal, sour cream, almond extract, and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Fold wet into dry.

  3. In a bowl, toss blueberries with remaining teaspoon flour; gently fold into batter. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan or a Bundt pan with cooking spray. Spread batter in prepared pan.

  4. Bake bundt cake at 350 for 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, top side up. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Lentil Chili

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The cornbread was gone before I could even snap a photo.  So you only get the recipe for the lentil chili that was the perfect accompaniment. It was the main reason I made the cornbread in the first place anyways. Hearty, with abundant flavor, and kid friendly (it won’t burn your ass coming out the other end due to it being too spicy) If you’re not a pansy like me, who sweats just from eating mustard (yep, total white girl), then by all means kick it up a notch and add some damn diced jalepeno to this betsy.

Ingredients:

1 bay leaf

1 16 oz. bag of lentils

2  Tbsp. olive oil

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

1 jar bruschetta sauce from Trader Joe’s

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes – Trader Joe’s

1/2 white onion or vidalia onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

3 boullion cubes  added to 32 oz. water or 32 oz. vegetable stock

4 tsp. chili powder

sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a large pot, heat 1 Tbsp. oil along with lentils and stir frequently for 1-2 minutes. Add broth or water w/bouillon cubes and bring to boil, then allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. While you are bringing the lentils/broth to boil, begin sautéing chopped onions, red bell peppers, and garlic for 5 minutes in a skillet along with the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil. I like to sauté them and then add to the lentil/broth mix for extra flavor.  After adding the sautéed mix to the lentil/broth combo, add the can of fire roasted tomatoes, jar of bruschetta, and chili powder. When the lentils are tender (approximately 30 minutes), add the chopped cilantro and adjust with sea salt and pepper.

Delicious alongside cornbread smothered with earth balance and a smidgen of honey.

Potato Salad

A brief photo of what is left of the potato salad.  It went quick. I guess that’s a good thing.

The weather was a warm 72 degrees, allowing us to bbq on the open fire pit, and enjoy summer style foods, and bask in the warmth in our bathing suits. It’s been a year since we’ve been in our CA wear. Felt great.

Ingredients:

3 large russet potatoes, large diced

1/2 cup mayo (Just Mayo: vegan substitute)

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 Tbsp. dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 + 1/8 cup diced pickles

2 Tbsp. pickle juice

2 tsp. dried dill

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. tumeric

2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. onion powder

Directions:

Boil a large pot of water, then allow to simmer with the diced potatoes until al dente. While potatoes are cooking, prep the “dressing”.  Combine the “mayo”, red onion, dijon, garlic, pickles, pickle juice, dill, paprika, turmeric, sea salt and onion powder. Set aside. When potatoes are done cooking, drain and run cold water on them to stop cooking.  Place in a large bowl and throughly coat with the “dressing” mixture.  Best served chilled.  Adjust sea salt to your liking.

 

 

Udon Noodle Salad garnished with Thai Basil alongside Tempeh-Veggie Wraps with Peanut Dipping Sauce

It started with craving tempeh. The end.

Udon Noodle Salad with Thai Basil

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. mirin

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice

1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

9.5 ounce bag of udon noodles

1/2 cup Thai basil, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup fresh spinach or collard greens, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Combine soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, lime juice, and ginger(dressing) . Mix together and set aside. In a pot of boiling water, cook noodles until al dente; about 8 minutes.  Drain well.  Add dressing to the noodles and then stir in the basil and spinach. Serve hot or cold.

Tempeh Veggie Wraps

Ingredients: (makes 10-12 wraps)

Tempeh Marinade:

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 cup filtered water

3 cloves chopped garlic

1 Tbsp. minced ginger

1  8-oz bag of tempeh.

Directions: Add soy sauce, filtered water, garlic, and ginger to a bowl and whisk.  Slice the tempeh into strips and place in a sauté pan. Pour mixture over the tempeh and simmer for 20-25 minutes on low.  Set aside.

Wrap Fillings:

1 Pack of rice wraps

1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced

1/4 green cabbage, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

12 stalks of asparagus, pre-steamed al dente

10-12 leaves of romaine

10-12 leaves of spinach

3 Tbsp. minced mint

Directions:

Place a bowl of warm water on a prep table.  Make sure there is enough room for rolling and keeping finished wraps apart from one another (they will stick together).  Soak 1 rice wrap in the warm water for 5 seconds until pliable.  Then layer with 2 strips of prepared tempeh, green and red cabbage, red bell, a stalk of asparagus, and one each of the romaine and spinach. Sprinkle with mint. Place all the ingredients into the middle of the rice wrap circle.  Fold both ends inward on top of pile of ingredients, and then roll from one side to the other. Set aside. They will be wet and not easy to work with at first, but they will dry up and stay rolled as they sit.  Complete with remaining ingredients the same as you completed the first. Serve alongside Peanut Dipping Sauce. Made to enjoy cold.

Peanut Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. chopped peanuts or peanut butter

2 Tbsp. honey

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk until thoroughly blended.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Crepes with Orange-Cashew Creme

My family and I love waffles, pancakes, and crepes. I don’t make any of them often, as I see them more as a treat. But oh my goodness, when I do make them, they are so dang tasty. Typically a weekend morning splurge, we change-up the components on these bad boys to make them extra special.

This weekend we enjoyed some that I’d like to share with you. They are vanilla bean crepes; lovingly speckled with fresh vanilla bean and filled with home-blended cashew creme with a splash of orange extract. It’s almost like taking in the scent of budding flowers on afternoon day, while lying in tall green grass with the sun kissing your winter skin. It’s the simple things in life that need not be taken for granted.

Ingredients:

Batter: 

1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 cup organic cane sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. ground flax meal

4 Tbsp. expeller pressed safflower oil

2 1/2- 2 3/4 cups of almond milk, adjust if you need it thinner (I light mine a bit on the thicker side)

1/2 of 1 vanilla bean, scraped

1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon scented vanilla extract (by Edwin and Lesha)

Cashew Creme:

2 cups of roasted cashews

1/2 cup of filtered water

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 Tbsp. organic brown sugar

1/4 tsp. of orange extract

pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees for holding prepared crepes until you are ready to fill.

For the batter: Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk thoroughly (flour, baking powder, sea salt, sugar, and flax meal) Add wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk well (safflower oil, almond milk, vanilla bean, and cinnamon-vanilla extract).  Combine dry to wet and mix well.

For the cashew creme: Add  all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Set creme aside in a bowl.

To prepare the crepes: In a crepe pan, heat a small amount of safflower oil, and then place 1/4 cup of batter into heated pan.  Swirl into a circle and prepare the same way you would a pancake. Make sure one side is cooked before flipping to the other. Place on a cookie sheet in the warmed oven until you are ready to fill.  When you are done preparing the crepes, take each one and place 1 Tbsp. of cashew creme on half of the crepe and then fold in half, or roll.  It’s all up to you how you’d like to display or eat them. We like them folded two ways, and garnished with fresh fruit.

 

Black Bean Mushroom Burgers with Cilantro Aioli

My kids fought over who got the last burger. THAT is a good sign. This was an attempt on my part to create a gluten-free burger that was satisfying, full of flavor, and a great source of fiber/protein.  Cost effective, and easy to prepare, this recipe is definitely a keeper.

Ingredients (yield: 6 burgers)

Burger:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup diced leeks

1/2 cup diced crimini mushrooms

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds coarsely chopped

1 Tbsp. garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans

2 Tbsp. flax meal

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. chili powder

1/8 tsp. cinnamon powder

Breading:

3 Tbsp. ancient grains GF flour

1 Tbsp. organic cornmeal

1 tsp. sea salt

Cilantro Aioli:

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 clove of garlic

4 Tbsp. mayo substitute (Just Mayo)

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup filtered water

1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds

1 pinch of sea salt

1/8 tsp. jalapeno pepper hot sauce

Directions: 

Burgers: In olive oil, sauté leeks, mushrooms, and garlic for 7-10 minutes. Add pumpkin seeds, and cooked black beans, sauté for 5 more minutes. Add flax meal, cumin, paprika, sea salt, chili powder, and cinnamon.  Saute for 5 more minutes.  While still warm, mash well with a potato masher, then set aside while preparing breading and aioli.

Breading: Combine ancient grains, cornmeal, and sea salt onto a platter.  Mix well.  Form burgers mixture into circular patties (about 2 inch L x 2 inch W x 1/2 H) Bread each side of burger with the platter mixture.  Lay on parchment and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours+ prior to grilling.

Cilantro Aioli: This is not a traditional aioli. There are no eggs in this combination.  To prepare this mixture, you can place all the ingredients into a bowl and emulsify until pureed.

To Grill Burgers: When you’re ready to grill the burgers, heat olive oil in a pan and carefully grill on each side until darkened.  They are gluten-free, so handle with care. I served mine with avocado, butter lettuce, grilled pineapple, grilled red bell peppers/red onions, and cilantro aioli on a sourdough baguette. Sourdough, from research, is better for digestion. Some gluten-free folks believe it is okay to consume because of the fermentation that occurs when preparing. If you are incredibly gluten-free sensitive, and prefer not to take a chance, I know Udi’s make’s decent burger buns.