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Midnight snack

9 Sep

Just a quick post today. I’ve got all these tomatoes to use up (what a problem to have, right?) so I started eating them as a late night snack.  Just a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar (I’ve got this bottle of aged balsamic that’s great for drizzling!), salt, pepper, and some ripped up basil leaves. If I were smart I’d have also made some of the mozzarella from Artisan Vegan Cheese for a caprese salad! These tomatoes are so good they can hold their own though, so NBD.

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MoFo #19: Chard-guacamole Quesadillas & Applejack Toddies

20 Oct

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You guys, I am so incredibly pleased with myself tonight. I mean, I just followed a recipe, but DAMN. If it were possible to marry a food, I would marry the heck out of these puppies.

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Tonight’s appetizer comes from The Inspired Vegan (see, I told you it would pop up again!). I’ve made these before and thought they were delicious but do you ever have those nights where a certain food really hits the spot like nothing else? That was me tonight. These are like the perfect healthy vegan quesadilla — rich, spicy guacamole and sweet & tangy chard smooshed inside a nutty whole wheat tortilla. Wowzers.

You start off by blanching a bunch of finely chopped chard. And then this….
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….becomes this. In addition to just draining the chard, I hand squeezed a lot of the liquid out because it helps in the sautéing step that comes next. I don’t think I’ll ever not be amazed by how much greens cook down!

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After the chard has cooled, you saute it with some garlic, currants (I used chopped raisins), and orange juice. I’ve made this greens recipe a lot just as a side dish, too. It’s a nice light way to cook up collards or chard.

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The mix goes into a tortilla along with some spicy guacamole and you pan fry them together for a few minutes so the tortilla gets nice and crispy. Then fold it in half, and you’re good to go!

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So these are great by themselves but I strongly recommend a little cashew crema on the side (my recipe comes from Viva Vegan). The rich and tangy cream is a great complement!

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That drink you see on the right is the second half of tonight’s post and is another Bryant Terry creation, this time from Vegan Soul Kitchen. It’s pretty much the perfect fall cocktail, drawing its flavor from cinnamon and apple brandy. The cinnamon stick is steeped in boiling water for a minutes, then you add apple jack, agave nectar, a little lemon juice, and some apple juice (I used cider!). I’m usually not a big fan of warm cocktails because the evaporating alcohol always burns my nose, but this was so tasty I’m willing to overlook that! I bought applejack specifically for this recipe but had decided to try it on its own first to get a good idea of the flavor. Blech — I am definitely not a brandy girl! It was way too strong and I couldn’t really appreciate the apple undertones. Mixed with juice and a cinnamon infusion, it was just right!

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Alright, that’s it for me tonight! I’m off to get my daily dose of snuggles from this guy! 🙂

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MoFo #5: Drinks and Snacks — No-knead bread, spinach artichoke dip, and a pom cosmo

5 Oct

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Happy Friday, everyone! I can’t wait for the weekend to start — tomorrow we’re rafting on the American River and tomorrow night we’re staying at Farm Sanctuary‘s country cabin, followed by a tour of the farm on Sunday. Squee!! I can’t wait!

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In the meantime, I’m celebrating the start of the weekend with snacks and alcohol! I brought this warm spinach-artichoke dip to a vegan meetup a few weeks ago and it was so good and easy that I had to make it again. And, going along with my theme, it’s the perfect comfort food for a crisp fall evening (except it’s hot here — d’oh!).  I used to love spinach dip in my dairy-eating days but it was one of those things I could only take a few bites of before overloading on the richness (or, if you’re like me, you’d devour the entire bowl against your better judgement and then feel sick the rest of the day!). This recipe from Chloe Coscarelli’s new cookbook Chloe’s Kitchen is much less rich than its dairy counterpart, but is still creamy and bursting with flavor. The dip is super fresh, calling for fresh wilted baby spinach and sauteed onions and garlic. Soft tofu (I used silken) gives it a lovely creaminess and nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor. I’m not the biggest fan of nooch, so I only used 1/8 cup while the recipe calls for 1/2 cup and it was still very cheesy. Some red chile flakes sauteed with the onions and garlic add a subtle kick that I loved.

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Here it is fresh out of the oven. I’m so pleased with how it came out!  Mr. Chickpea said it could use more spinach.  I tolerate no criticism in my kitchen, so of course I’m ignoring him (but secretly agree that it would be tasty).

Of course, you need something to eat this stuff on, so I decided to finally see what all the fuss was about with this “no-knead bread recipe”. I’ve been hearing a lot about this recipe since it was posted on the New York Times and I think I’ve been forwarded the recipe by several friends. I spotted a whole-wheat version in my copy of World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan and decided to give it a try. First of all, let me say I’ve loved everything I’ve made from this book and I love bread, so I figured it couldn’t come out too bad. Um, it was amazing. The recipe is super simple and the bread looks like what you’d get at a fancy restaurant. It was literally as simple as stirring flour into a mix (the chemist in me almost wrote “an aqueous solution of”. Ha ha!) of water, yeast, oil, and salt and then letting it rise overnight. The next day you divide the dough into quarters, fold the dough over a few times, plop it in a pan to rise an hour, and then bake. That’s it and you get this:

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Isn’t it beautiful??? The crust is crunchy and the inside is so soft and moist. Yum yum yum. And it’s almost half whole wheat flour, so you’re getting some added nutrition and fiber as well. The only thing I would say about this recipe is that it’s huge. It makes 4 loaves of bread, which I didn’t notice until I had already made my yeast solution — seriously, it calls for 8 cups of AP flour and 5 cups of whole wheat flour. I had to break out my big daddy mixing bowl to fit everything! I only noticed after putting it together that there is also a 2-loaf recipe. Whoops! At least you can keep the extra dough in your fridge for 2 weeks!

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And finally, a drinkie from Celebrate Vegan. I feel like a bit of a cliche, but cosmopolitans are probably my favorite drink or at least are a close second to vodka tonics. I really like tartness in drinks, so pomegranate cosmos are great for someone like me. The recipe is pretty much the same as a normal cosmo — vodka, Cointreau, lime, and fruit juice. I like to add extra pomegranate juice to mine so the flavor really shines through, and throw in a few pomegranate seeds for garnish.  It doesn’t look like much in the pic but it was tasty!  Along with the last of the tomatoes from our garden, we had a delicious Friday treat!

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Well, that’s it for today! Have a great weekend!