Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Karina trades in Peeps for Roasted Squash Filo Rolls!

I could easily spend Easter Sundays longing for the days when my parents scattered tie-dyed eggs and chocolate bunnies throughout the house, but then I would be missing any twenty-something's greatest excuse to have a mimosa-centered morning-time party with all of my favorite San Francisco pals.

I walked down to the local market early in the morning before our guests arrived and found some gorgeous, organic squashes that I just had to get. I immediately came home and popped on the oven at 400* so I could begin roasting the squash, some yellow bell peppers and onions in some olive oil and garlic to eventually make a puree filing for the filo dough I had also bought and set out for the occasion.

Once the squash, peppers, and onions were cooked and soft (after 30 minutes or so) I threw them in my trusty food processor, and added 1/2 can organic garbanzo beans, 2 tbls tahini, several cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, curry, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, paprika and a splash of OJ and blended until nice and smooth.

Basically a roasted squash & yellow pepper hummus- SO DELICIOUS!

I layered my filo dough sheets and coated them lightly with olive oil, then spread a generous helping of squash puree. I lined up two columns of fresh sliced apples and strips of my favorite vegan field-roast sausages (the apple-sage flavor!).

I rolled them up like giant sushi rolls and added another light coating of olive oil on the outside before putting them on my greased cookie sheet and sending them into the hot oven.

I cooked each tray at 400* for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown,flaky and cooked through. They were so much bigger and crumbly than I had expected!

I sliced them up into inch-thick pieces, topped with fresh spinach, and luckily snapped a quick picture before they were completely devoured!

I also made an egg souffle and piles of french toast with a vegan mango-strawberry compote, but with all the guests arriving and the starting of the mimosa's, I failed to document them!

Not a bad way to get over childhood nostalgia!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ariel's making ... a garden salad

the garden is alive and happy and wild with leafy greens this time of year! we had friends over for a japanese feast this past weekend and i was in charge of the salad. just before people came over, i went out to the garden and harvested some miner's lettuce, baby chard and some fragrant wild onion flowers.

then i toasted some organic sesame seeds 'til they were golden brown and starting to pop.

for the dressing i wanted to have some asian flavors, so i mixed organic soy sauce, organic toasted sesame oil, organic lemon juice, some organic extra virgin olive oil ... and of course, some fresh minced organic garlic!

i tossed it all together just as our guests arrived -- it was very delish and couldn't have been fresher!

i love having fresh spring greens!



Friday, April 23, 2010

We Haight Cookbooks About Campfires...

Ariel was thoughtful enough to have a birthday recently and give us the much needed excuse to visit California's own Big Sur to celebrate. Being the ever-so organized celebration planner, she assigned all of us eager campers a meal to prepare for the group.

I had on my shoulders the important task of Day one's lunch. Since I had had a crazy work week, I frantically scoped my fridge for ideas the night before and saw that I had a lot of left over produce that I needed to use before we took off. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make kitchen-sink veggie burgers with any and everything ingredient I needed to get rid of. I sauteed onions, garlic, kale, basil, bell pepper, beet stems, apple, and asparagus and spiced and flavored with the usual suspects: salt, pepper, cayenne, curry, cinnamon, paprika, lemon, brags and agave.

I put this saute in the food processor for a few spins (enough to blend but not puree entirely to a mushy paste). I added in some fresh carrots and cashews. I threw in some cooked brown rice,
quinoa, and buckwheat soba noodles I had as leftovers from several different meals over the previous week. I also used a cup or so of rolled oats to help thicken the texture. I did some additional spicing, formed into patties, and threw in the fridge to set up overnight.
In the morning I ran to the store in a frenzy to buy buns before Ariel and Sam picked me up for the journey, and panicked when they only had whole-wheat hot dog buns! I quickly re-formed my burgers into dogs and cooked them up in in a hot skillet with olive oil for a few minutes on each side until they were cooked through and almost starting to blacken in the outside.

They weren't the most solid, held-together veggie dogs I've made, but I tucked them into the buns for safety and the taste more than made up for any messiness

I had also whipped up a large batch of fresh garlicy hummus as a dog topper. (Because there is nothing more bonding for a camping group than raging garlic breath...)

It was definitely the perfect nourishment we needed to hike Big Sur all afternoon!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

ariel's making ... bread and rice pudding

craving dessert peeps! time to make some!

we had some leftover bread that chef sam had made earlier in the week and also some leftover brown rice from dinner. ok -- how about bread AND rice pudding!? random right? let's see how it goes!

you'll need:

stale organic bread
1 to 2 cups cooked organic brown rice
4 organic eggs
2 cups organic milk
3/4 c. organic sugar
2 T. organic cinnamon
1/2 c. organic raisins

layer your sliced bread in a baking pan. fill in gaps with rice. mix in some raisins. beat the eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon.

pour the mixture on top and let it sit in the fridge for about 1/2 an hour. if there's not liquid on the top when you take it out of the fridge, add a little more milk and eggs mixture. this sitting time will let the stale bread get moist and soak in the egg and milk.

bake at 400* for about 20-30 minutes, or until the eggs are set and it's a golden brown on top.

dessert is served! enjoy!



Monday, April 19, 2010

Karina makes garden lasagna!

A few weeks ago I invited my friend Aaron over for dinner and since I had never cooked for him before, I felt the need to push myself and create something new and really delicious. I was craving something warm and indulgent but didn't want the stomach ache and heaviness to come with it, so I went to the store and bought my bag fill of fresh, organic produce.

I decided to pull out the old casserole dish and make a vegan lasagna using only vegetables in place of noodles.

First I sliced red cabbage, yellow and orange peppers, and onions into thin stripes and set aside. I remembered when I made veggie dogs at my sister's down in Santa Cruz and had baked chard leafs in the oven until they became crispy and stiff to use as wraps, so I decided I would do the same thing and layer them as a type of lasagna noodle.

To do this I washed and dried my lovely chard leafs, and coated the with a mixture of olive oil, brags, lemon salt, pepper and cayenne. I baked them at 400* for probably 5 or 10 minutes on each side until they almost started to blacken a little.

I spread a layer of crispy chard leafs, then vegan almond "mozzarella" cheese, my fresh stripes of veggies, cut up kale, and then my vegan tomato cashew sauce and continued to layer.

For the sauce I soaked cashews, added 2 tbl tahini, 3 gloves of garlic, 1 can organic tomato paste, water for a smooth texture, fresh basil, oregano, lemon, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. YUM!

I baked this all at 400* for probably 25 minutes or so until it was cooked through and melted into a creamy hot lasagna-like dream!

I made a fresh salad or heirloom carrots and tomatoes, tossed with lemon, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, agave, salt and pepper. Vegan and gluten-free lasagna definitely never tasted so good!

Friday, April 9, 2010

ariel's making ... scallops with mushrooms

when karina and i were in bi-rite last week, i got some scallops too! i love love love love scallops -- they're so flavorful and creamy and all around amazing! i didn't want to do much to them, so i decided to go super simple with just some garlic and mushrooms.

to make these you'll need:

8 scallops
6 organic mushrooms
2 cloves organic garlic, minced
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 organic lemon
1 sprig organic parsley

seafood is rather tricky these days ... our waters are being way over fished and you also have to be really careful about what you eat since our oceans are (sadly) very polluted these days. to learn about what are sustainable options when it comes to seafood ... check out this site.

first i heated the oil in the pan and added the garlic and mushrooms. i sauteed them for about 5 minutes until they were nicely browned. then i removed them and placed my precious scallops on the hot pan. ok -- these babies only need a few minutes! don't over cook them! 2-3 minutes on each side until they're seared -- and they're done! i plated them with the mushrooms and added a little lemon and parsley on top. ta-da!

we were celebrating chef sam finishing a big presentation that afternoon ... and these scallops were perfect for our celebratory feast! and sooo yummy!

happy searing darlings! (remember: only 2 minutes on each side!)



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

ariel's ... checking out edible art

i covered an edible art contest at omnivores books last week. it was amazing! check out more photos and my write-up about the event HERE!

enjoy the eye candy!



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Karina lost a bet and scallops were met...

A few weeks back my co-worker Jeff and I were suffering through a terribly slow start to our Friday night dinner shift and to keep ourselves motivated, we challenged each other to a serving contest. The first one to sell every dessert on our menu was entitled to a home-made dinner slaved over by the other. I like to think I had it in the bag, but my loyal obsession to one particular dessert was my big downfall and I ended up selling primarily that one over and over as always. Needless to say, I was due in the kitchen.

I found some beautiful organic pesto at a local market, and had a half a head of purple cabbage left over, so I decided to make a pesto and substitute strips of cabbage for noodles. In a food processor, I mixed about 1 1/2 cups washed basil, a cup of cashews, several cloves of garlic, some fresh ginger, salt, olive oil, cayenne and lemon juice. I like my pesto really spicy, so I always add a lot of garlic (no surprise there) but you can definitely tone it down with less. Traditionally pesto has parmesan cheese as well but Jeff and I both tend to stay away from dairy.

I also found some gorgeous scallops while shopping with Ariel, so I decided to make a type of salsa to go on top of them. Since I already had green and purple planned on my plate with the pesto dish, I wanted to find red and yellow produce to use. I was thinking I was going to find strawberries or something to mix with the yellow bell pepper I picked, until I saw a beautiful stem of rhubarb calling my name. I have never cooked much with rhubarb, so I decided this was the perfect chance to start.

I chopped up the rhubarb, bell pepper, garlic and ginger and mixed it with fresh lemon, salt, olive oil, braggs, cinnamon, and agave. I made this salsa hours beforehand so it could soak in the liquids and the tartness of the rhubard would mellow out. It had a sweet, almost pickled flavor by mealtime and Jeff and myself had to stop ourselves from eating it by the spoonful!

Next, I had been craving cooked cauliflower so I bought a lovely head of it and searched for something sweet and orange to add to the growing palate of colors. Thank heavens for kumquat season! I boiled the cauliflower until it was slightly soft and when it was drained and cooled, I began sauteing it with onions, garlic and the sliced kumquats. I added my usual assortment of spices and agave to balance the sweetness and acidity. I simmered this all for quite sometime to make sure the bitterness of the kumquat skins would soften and the cauliflower would be as juicy and flavorful as possible.

Lastly, I moved to the precious sea scallops. I had never cooked scallops on my own before, but I knew that you don't have to do much to them at all. In fact, it would be a crime to mask their natural, succulent flavor with too much spicing or altering. All you need is a really hot pan, butter (or in my case olive oil), maybe a sprinkle of salt any cayenne, and a minute or two on each side until they are golden brown and juicy! I squeezed a slice of lemon over them and flames came up at least 2 feet which added a lot of unexpected excitement to the moment!

Yes, my co-worker was very lucky indeed that I love our restaurant's raw-banana cashew cheesecake so much....

Sunday, April 4, 2010

ariel's making ... caraway shitake tofu burgers

since our "b for burgers" episode, i've been wanting to make tofu burgers. we were having my parents over for dinner so i thought i'd try whipping up a batch.

for these burgers you'll need:

1/2 lb. organic firm tofu
1/2 organic onion, finely chopped
5 organic shitake mushrooms, finely chopped after soaking for about 1 hour, 'til soft
1/2 c. organic rolled oats
1/2 c. organic whole wheat flour
1 T. organic caraway seeds
1 c. water (use the water from the soaked shitakes for extra flavor!)

dice your tofu into small pieces and then mash 'em up. add everything else and mix with your hands. you may need more or less water than i suggested. try forming it into patties as you go -- and eventually you'll get the right texture so that they stay together.

heat some organic extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan at medium heat and cook the patties 'til they're golden brown.

this recipe makes about 10 nice sized small patties.

i made some oven baked fries and a green salad and my parents brought over some lima beans and a slaw salad -- and boy did we have a feast!

happy easter everyone!