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Monday, October 29, 2012

pumpkin carve-off 2012


this weekend came in with a lion's roar, full speed and with the flurry of activity only double booking can cause.
for a moment's peace dw + i sat down friday night and debated what to create with our pumpkin,
bottom line, i wanted a hello kitty, dw wanted bowser.
he carved the thing up
and so we now have have bowser gracing our sofa table.
it kinda glares at me, taunting me that it would beat up a hello kitty pumpkin anyway,
as well as hopefully any other carved pumpkin in the contest.

and to that, i say, COME AT ME, BRO.
please head over to Movita Beaucoup and vote for my pumpkin.

tauntaun + bowser

this is also my contribution to the Food Matters Project, a weekly reminder that we are a perishable item and we need to eat accordingly. we draw our inspiration from Mark Bittman's cookbook of the same name. this week was sponsored by Sandra of Meadowsknits. if you'd like to join in the fun, invest in the cookbook & check out the schedule for what recipe is hot for the week.

Monday, October 22, 2012

butternut squash + almond muffins with toasted walnuts

butternut squash muffins

my beloved & i are in the south right now, ensconced in the warm arms of family. a much needed respite from urban living, we're enjoying a slower pace, strolling among tall, golden ginkgos, and looking up at skies so blue it looks fake. our hearts beat with content, our steps much lighter, we read books and conversation flows easily, while a cool breeze swirls around us.

this is my contribution for this week's the food matters project, hosted by Erin of the Goodness Life.

butternut squash + almond muffins topped with toasted walnuts
slightly adapted from Roost
makes 12 muffins

2 cups almond flour (not meal)
healthy pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
healthy dash of cinnamon
2 eggs
1/4 - 1/3 cup honey, depending on how sweet you want it
1 cup of pureed roasted (cooked) butternut squash
walnuts, rough chopped

preheat oven to 350F
in a bowl mix all the ingredients (save the walnuts for garnish/topping)
scoop mixture into muffin molds
top with chopped walnuts

bake for 30 minutes

these beauties are super moist, store in covered in fridge. best slightly warmed with a cup of coffee

Thursday, October 18, 2012

autumn apple crisps

apple chips

the month has come and somehow is almost over. i know i talk about the season, the weather, the time passing often, but it's only because it is such a part of my everyday. and what has become part of my every october is apple picking. this year was slightly different in that i kept a lid on exactly how many we picked, the kind we picked, all with the thought in mind that we're travelling this week and like i said before, i'm kinda over the fruit.

so there we were on sunday, a blustery morning but sunny, me fighting with the wind and dw ahead of me. we're with friends, i'm trying to keep my potty mouth on the DL and all i really want to do is quality check every single pomme that is placed in the basket - i only want the small cute ones, firm to the touch, shiny to the eye, because unless they're camera worthy, they're not worthy. {because, all of sudden i was the walking editor for Vogue Apples or something...)

apple chips 2

the inevitable question is asked: whatever will i do with these gems? somehow saying that i wish to chuck them at people doesn't seem friendly so i simply say chips and call it a day. i had vague notions of sprinkling cinnamon or something on them but what ends up happening is we slice them with a mandolin, slap them on baking sheets and set them in the oven at the lowest possible temperature. the first night we didn't use parchment paper and the slices stuck like glue to the sheets. we also kinda sorta forgot about them & almost went to bed with the oven still on. the most recent batch tho? i jacked up the temp 50 degrees higher, flipped them when it struck my fancy and the end result was chewy and crispy and all sorts of naturally sweet.

this is the most lazy "recipe" ever.

autumn apple crisps

apple, we used ONE out of the bunch we picked, sliced thin as possible. place on parchment papered baking/cookie sheets. line them up, militant style, and bake on the lowest setting possible, or maybe 50F hotter.
optional: sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar, cloves, nutmeg...
bake for 2 hours, or until crispy golden, all the moisture heated away, flip halfway thru but it's not necessary.

previous apple recipes:

apple chips 4

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tofu + Kale Balls with Pasta

pasta + tofu balls

these days coming home is a dark affair, gone are the days when the rooms were well lit and warmed by the setting sun. instead, there is a disquiet quality to the air, almost resentful. when we arrive home, what i like to do is make a mad dash to our tiny kitchen, throw the light switch on to dispel the mood a little. then, dw + i, side by side, start dinner preparations, maybe laugh in low, post-dusk voices, sharing tidbits of our day to each other, all the while our respective chores are done without much thought, in unison. a dish hand dried, a pot brought to boil, csa loot being divvied up for the evening's meal.

this dish is a typical weeknight meal. pasta + protein. it's versatile because you can use any greens you have on hand, i happened to use kale, but spinach, chard, beet greens or even just parsley would work well. we don't eat much meat at home but always have tofu on hand. because tofu can be rather bland you want to be generous with the seasoning, especially if the sauce is a simple garlic + olive oil dressing. i did not keep track of measurements so what i have here is more of a guideline, and use what you have on hand or is seasonal.

once the rush & hub is done, the abode is much lighter, friendlier and the night beckons warmly for cozy in front of the tv snuggling, making the season much more bearable. life is so much better on a full stomach, yes?

this is my contribution for this week's The Food Matters Project, hosted by Matt + Claire.

Tofu + kale balls and pasta

Tofu + Kale Balls with Pasta

1 container of firm tofu
kale, as little or as much as you want, rough chopped. i usually use the entire bunch of kale
2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
2 shallots or a small onion, diced
very generous sprinkling of salt/pepper for taste
red pepper flakes
handful bread or panko crumbs
olive oil to quick fry the balls and cook up the vegs

optional fillings: finely shredded carrots, cheese, nutritional yeast, the sky is pretty much the limit.

pasta, like spaghetti, prepared according to package instructions
olive oil
1 garlic clove minced

for the tofu, squeeze as much water out of it as possible. what i do is wrap the block in a kitchen towel and press a heavy pan on it for about an hour or so.

meanwhile, in a pan, heat up some olive oil. when hot add in the onions/shallots and garlic. saute until fragrant and translucent, anywhere from 3-8 minutes. add in kale (or whatever greens) and ensure the oily mixture coats the bunch thoroughly. season generously. set aside to cool.

bring a pot of water to boil.

in a mixing bowl crumble the tofu. add in the sauteed veggies, mix well. if it cool enough, use your hands. at your discretion add in the crumbs, a little at a time until you're able to shape the mixture into balls. fry them up in a bit of oil until you get a nice browning on the edges.

cook up the spaghetti. in the same saute pan toss the pasta in warmed olive oil + minced garlic. when you plate the pasta, add in the tofu balls.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

harvest carrot cake ~ vegan

harvest carrot cake 3

outside the trees are damp, they cling to that cold, moldy sheen that is so reminiscent of autumn. you know what i mean. inside, we are doing our various daily tasks: in the kitchen, i'm washing the dishes and dw is at the stove making our breakfast. it's a usual suspect of a day, mundane in its ordinariness, but still special in that we are spending it together. it's october, which means we're folding & putting away our summer garb and we're incorporating the long sleeve shirts, cowls and knee high socks back into our wardrobe. i might even pick up my crochet hooks! (when i find them...)

we're also thinking about stews, baked goods and possibly apple picking. i've been reluctant to do much with these fruits; i started seeing posts about them as early as august! i'm already kinda over them. however, i can't seem to get enough of squash, beets and get this: carrots. i've said it before, i don't like the stuff but again, i found myself with another 5lb bag of it and well, cake + proper icing seemed like a good idea.

harvest cake

in vain i have tried, for days, to come up with the proper words to tell you how good this cake is. it's not possible. it's difficult to convey exactly how one is bland without the other, the other is cloying without one, but. But together, it's indescribably good.

there i said it. twas good. i'm already thinking about making it again, cupcake versions for ease of freezing options. snap. what has this world come to?

recipe collage

before i get to the dairy-free cream cheese frosting, i will tell you that i don't know if squeezing the water from the grated carrots was the way to go or if i should've just let them be. either way, the cakes came out dense and moist and absolutely delicious. i actually made one cupcake from the batter and then divvied it up between the two pans.

cream cheese frosting

1 cup soy margarine, softened
12 oz vegan cream cheese, i used tofutti, softened
5 cups sifted powdered sugar

with a mixer, beat everything together until smooth, going cup by cup.

assemble/decorate cake as desired. i went simple and garnished with fresh figs and pistachios

both recipes adapted from Sticky Fingers' Sweets by Doron Petersan, published by Avery, a member of Penguin Group USA, reprinted with permission.

other carrot concoctions:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

coconut rice + mango tart

rice + mango tart
coconut rice + mango tart

i spend an alarming amount of time thinking about what to feed dw. does that seem weird to you? well, i suppose it's odd to obsess about a grown man's eating habits but let me explain: i enjoy feeding this man. he will eat pretty much anything i put in front of him: some random concoction of ingredients i've thrown together, a meal i've slaved over, all the while with a grateful heart and words of encouragement. there is no dish too garbage looking that i cook up that he would not at least try to eat.

i say it often, he is too good to me, for me, and i have every intention of keeping him.

lately i've been fretting over our breakfasts. i daydream about what i can bake up sunday night or monday morning that will last us the week, goods that won't spoil or get boring. i've had some successes, and the cooling temps have me craving to be in the kitchen, with the oven on.

this past weekend i asked some friends what i should bake for the week, only to realize, with abject horror, that i did not have all the necessary ingredients. instead, i had pantry staples for dessert, and so, dessert for breakfast this week!

i followed leela's filling recipe for Mango & Rice tart but made up a coconut + almond crust, to keep it gluten free. just a tip about coconut cream: i didn't have any handy so i used a can of whole fat coconut milk and reduced it down a smidge, until it was thicker. keep in fridge, covered, but best eaten at room temperature. use only ripe mangos. leela's recipe called for 3 mangos, i only had 2 which was barely enough. 

sweet treat

coconut + almond flour crust
makes one 11" tart crust

1 cup almond flour (not meal)
1 cup coconut flour (more as needed)
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 TBL sugar (or honey)

preheat oven to 400F.

in a food processor, add all ingredients and mix until a loose dough forms. dump into tart pan and press down evenly. it won't roll out like a normal pie crust, coat fingers/hands with some coconut flour to keep it from sticking to you and be patient. press down and up the sides as best you can.

prick bottom of tart with fork and bake in oven for about 12 minutes, until golden brown. allow to cool completely.

continue with filling recipe as dictated.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Grilled Vegan Cheese + Tomato Sandwich

vegan grilled cheese

when i was in 4th grade (i told you, it was a pivotal year for me) i read a book called Harriet the Spy. somehow i had managed to land myself in the Advanced Reading Group and this was the first chapter book we were assigned to read, on our own. i don't remember how i did in the class, i can't recall if we had deep discussions about the plot, but thus began my love affair of reading beyond chapters assigned and not paying any mind to the rules of book clubs.

the protagonist, Harriet, had many quirks, some of which i picked up on: she wrote in a journal, everyday. i did too, and if you count this here space, i still do. she watched people, after all, Harriet was training to be a spy. as a shy kid, i observed situations and people, and today, all i do is judge people i still enjoy being an observer. most importantly about Harriet is that she only ate tomato sandwiches for lunch. i went thru a phase where that was all i ate too. i don't have that proclivity any longer, especially since i do prefer to eat my tomatoes in season now, but recently, i found that old book in some boxes and i wanted to recreate some of that childhood nostalgia.

i made vegan cheese, a surprisingly unintimidating process and with it, dw made us grilled vegan cheese + tomato sandwiches on gluten-free bread. he slathered on tomato paste for added depth and we shared a bowl of butternut squash soup.

i'm so pleased to say that grilled cheese sandwiches can now return to my diet.

a side note, anyone who knows me in real life has heard me exclaim "jesus wept!" when i'm exasperated. it was from this book that i picked up that random saying. it's amazing how one little book had such an impact in my life.

what about you, any books that have touched you?

this is my contribution for this week's The Food Matters Project, hosted by
Jessica of Cheese Please.