Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Karina's Thanksgiving Plate...

2010 marked a special Thanksgiving, as it was the first that I got to spend it with my parents in probably 8 years. My sister offered her new house in Santa Cruz as a gathering spot for friends and family who could make it, and I was relieved to find out I only had to come up with a few side dishes and a dessert to bring down.

Everyone prizes their helping of meat on Thanksgiving, so I tried to come up with some special veggie substite that would prevent my plate or palate from feeling left out of the festivities. My mother doesn't touch soy and I wanted something everyone could eat, so I decided to start from scratch, and improvise some "beet balls"...

I started by soaking a bunch of raw cashews overnight, and boiling 6 beets until soft and cooked. The next morning, I sauteed an onion and a half, all of the beet stems and leafs, a pack of crimini mushrooms, some garlic, and a left over vegan field roast sausage (soy free) in some olive oil and spiced it with sea salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon and curry.

I drained and pressed all of the sauteed veggies with paper towels to pull out any remaining moisture, and put everything in the food processor. I pureed it all until it was well blended (with all of the big chunks gone.)

I added some cumin and more curry...

It was too soft and wet, so I added a cup or two of rolled oats. I also added some agave and chili powder...

When I was satisfied with the flavoring, I chopped up a carton of whole wheat graham crackers and a cup of raw almonds in the food processor, and made a crust for my beet balls to make them crunchy. I formed small balls and dipped them each in a dish of hemp milk and egg, and rolled them generously in my graham almond crust mix to get a good coating.

I packed them up uncooked and took them to Santa Cruz.

Once we were half an hour before eating time, I heated a few spoonfuls of organic coconut oil until melted and extremely hot, and lightly fried each of my beet balls until brownish/black and crunchy on the outside.

I let them cool on a paper toll to soak up the oil, and served them warm.
AHHHHHH- these were amazing! I'm kinda obsessed. Everyone was both highly amused and blown away with them. Its a good thing too, because we were eating leftover beet balls for three days!

I also wanted to get some greens in there, so I decided to recreate a pear and kale dish I had made only a week or two before. I rinsed my fresh organic kale and steamed it until soft. I drained this and packed it up for the trip down to Santa Cruz...

I always stare at special mushroom selections at the local market, but rarely indulge in them because of the higher price. If there is any occasion to go big, this was certainly one of them, so I purchased this lovely bundle of organic brown beech mushrooms.

I sauteed an onion, my mushrooms, chopped garlic, four sliced anjou pears, and fresh rosemary and sage from my sister's garden in some olive oil. I spiced with some salt and lemon. I simmered all of this until soft, well cooked and juicy.

I added the kale, warmed it all up, and added agave, cinnamon, more lemon, and cayenne.
Kale in perfection.

My sister made a vegan candied ginger yam mash...

...Rosemary and garlic mashed potatoes (that Annie whipped up!) in both a creamy and buttery version for the family, and a rice milk and earth balance version especially for me...

And our family's Tday staple of cranberry salad jello mold with a side of mayo (yep, I said it).

Alia's friend Ginger made a potato yam cranberry medley that was heavenly...

And this vegan corn bread stuffing that I couldn't stop inhaling...

Alia got an all organic, locally raised turkey that she named Eda. As in Eda-ble. Clever. So clever, in fact that I had my first bite in Turkey in years!

This was only my first plate full...

Val and Annie getting ready...

Mom and Dad...

And of course, the pinata. What Thanksgiving is complete without a donkey pinata filled with organic skin product samples? No one I care to be at, that's for sure....

After stuffing ourselves to the brim with helping after helping, (not to mention the several bottles of wine that seemed to disappear) the brave souls still standing ventured on to dessert. My sister made an amazing vegan pumpkin ginger pie that I somehow didn't get a picture of, and I made the above Spicy Apple Carrot cake. I will feature that in my next post as I think this one has had enough to digest already!

Monday, November 15, 2010

ariel's making ... kale and satsuma salad

oh kale -- you love to take over my fridge this time of year! but time to do something different with you! i decided to try kale and citrus salad -- and it was da' bomb!

you'll need:

1 big-oo bunch of organic kale, washed and steamed for about 10 minutes

3 organic satsumas

for the dressing:

3 T. organic extra virgin olive oil

2 T. organic apple cider vinegar

1/2 t. chopped fresh organic ginger

2 cloves chopped organic garlic

1 T. organic honey

1 T. organic chili sauce

pepper and salt to taste

mix -- toss -- consume! YUM!

happy summer-in-november day to you all!



Friday, November 12, 2010

Karina's Falafel Pizza Pie

I love pizza, but rarely part take in it or its cherished convenience due to the fact that I avoid dairy, meat, and when I can- white bread. When I want pizza, it usually means I must find the time to start from scratch and do it myself...

I also love
Mediterranean food. I love falafel, and hummus, and pomegranate seeds- I love it all. I am lucky enough to have a Israeli best friend who can cook as well as her genius and talented mother, and they have both shared with me incredible flavors and recipes I might not be so exposed to otherwise.

A few weeks back I decided to get creative, and combine these two loves by making my very own- Falafel Pizza.

My favorite pizza dough is made with cornmeal, so I looked up a few recipes and started with this one I found on Martha Stewart's website:

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2/3 cups warm water
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface (I used organic whole wheat instead)
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal, plus more for pizza peel or baking sheet
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl

  • I added some extra spices- (cayenne, curry, cinnamon and thyme) for a little extra subtle flavor in the crust.

  • In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water. Let stand until yeast is dissolved and mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Combine flour, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and add the yeast mixture and oil. Slowly stir ingredients with a wooden spoon just until dough starts to come together. Turn out dough on a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Divide dough into four 4-ounce balls. Place balls in a shallow oiled bowl, turning to coat with oil; cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

  • The next steps of the borrowed recipe called for a pizza stone to bake on, but instead I just spread my dough out in a few baking pans once it had sat and risen for an hour. I used my finger tips and palms and worked the dough until it spread out fully in each dish bottom. I preheated the oven at 500* and set my ready crusts aside for the toppings.

    I thought the most appropriate sauce for this blending of cuisines might be a nice garlicy pesto. In my food processor, I threw in a few cups of washed fresh basil, a handful of pine nuts, several garlic cloves, sea salt, lemon, and olive oil. As usual, I "guestimated" all of the proportions until I had the most desirable consistency and taste possible.

    I could seriously eat this pesto with a spoon. Wait- I did....

    I had a bunch of fresh zucchinis and carrots, so I had the idea to shred them in the food processor and spread them over the entire pizza almost as a cheese replacement...

    I would love to try making falafel from scratch one day soon, but on this occasion I had just purchased an organic falafel mix that you add water to, and fry them in a pan in some light oil.

    I followed the directions (plus added in some extra cayenne for more spice in the mix) and fried each one on each side until brown and almost crispy on the outside...

    I coated each of my crusts with a nice thick spread of pesto, sprinkled on a generous layer shredded zucchini/carrot, tossed on some halved cherry tomatoes, and broke apart bits of falafel to top them off..

    While they were baking for about 8-10 minutes at 500*, I prepared an Israeli-style salad by finely chopping up onion, cucumber, tomatoes, and pomegranate seeds and mixing it with olive oil, sea salt and lemon. When I was visiting in Israel last summer, we literally had a salad similar to this with every meal.

    Once my steaming pizzas came out and cooled for a few minutes, I spooned out dollops of fresh hummus I had made on top, and lastly sprinkled the pies with fresh pomegranate seeds.

    If the marrying of these two dishes couldn't bring about world peace, I know not what else could.

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    ariel makes ... a squash pie for suzy's party

    suzy q threw a lovely wine tasting party this weekend and for the occasion, i threw together a squash pie. i forgot to take photos of my cooking process and all that remained at the end of the night was this lonely piece and people asking me for the recipe ... so here it is.

    somehow this recipe made hella pie filling ... i ended up making three pies ... so use less if you don't want so many pies.
    for three pies (no crust ... that's just too much work!) you'll need:
    1 organic butternut squash, baked
    2 organic delicata squash, baked
    1 can organic evaporated milk
    5 free-range organic eggs
    1 huge T. organic cinnamon
    1 1/2 c. organic sugar

    once the squash is baked and soft (i like to cut them in half, de-seed and bake on a cookie sheet with a litte water, cut side down), spoon it into a blender ... and then just add everything else. pour into greased pie pans (i used coco butter to grease the pans, but olive oil or butter would work great too). bake for about an hour at 350* or until a little golden on top and not liquidy anymore.

    add a room full of beautiful friends, several bottles of red wine ... and you've got the perfect fall party.

    props to liz for guessing all the wines correctly ... that was amazing!
    happy sunday darlings!