Saturday, August 14, 2010

Our Trip to Portland, Part II

Here is the most amazing open faced sandwich EVER! When we first got in from the airport, we went straight to my Juju's house. She uses a lot of dairy and meat in everything she cooks, so I offered to cook for her instead....but I really wanted to make something she would find satisfying and filling. I thought open faced sandwiches with sauteed and grilled veggies would probably do the trick, and these were one of the best meals I have ever made, although they were hard to eat. 

Below are photos of what was in the sandwich. We took white button mushrooms, two entire garlics, scallions, and white onions and caramelized all of them in a cast iron pan with olive oil. In a separate pan, we fried up eggplants. After they were fried, the eggplants went in baking dish with  roasted red peppers and sundried tomatoes. We also pan fried a basil polenta. 
In a blender, we put 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 cup basil, 1 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper and blended until it turned into this green puree (below). This topped the sandwiches with the olive tapenade you see above it. All of these things were stacked on top of a fresh baked olive boulle we got from this little organic co-op my grandmother frequents. 


After dinner we watched Avatar, which my Juju reported "blew her brain out." I know the first time I saw it I was pretty impressed too. :) Ha ha. At one point, a fly was bothering us so she manned all of us with our very own fly swatters. Of course Jay ended up killing it with his bare hands. 

Later that night, Jay was blown away when he spotted a pull up bar in Juju's kitchen. It is really really difficult for anyone to do a pull up but especially women because of our lack of upper body strength, so for him to see one in my grandmothers house was kind of a shock. 

Jay: "Juju, is that a pull up bar?" 
Juju:  "Oh! Well why of course! I love using that! Is that strange for me to have that?"
Jay: "Uh...I guess not. You usually just see those in guys dorm rooms next to a six pack...can you actually do a pull up?"
Juju: "Oh no, I just like to hang off of it like this and really stretch my back out"

She is definitely my kin.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Finally....Our trip to Portland Part I: Pizza Night

I finished my boards and PASSED (yay!), so all I have is one project to finish and I am DONE with school! For those of you who don't know, I have been working on my Masters in Nursing and because of a grant and a move I was attempting to finish the degree in one year even though it was a three year program...while working full time. :( It was a really stressful year and my hair is turning white...but my mom says that is genetics not stress. I'm not so sure.

Anyhow, in July we went to Portland, Oregon to visit family and had the BEST time!!! We also had lots of fantastic vegan treats!

My family has pizza night quite often, and so I had to make a vegan pizza for myself (and my sister who ponders veganism) but everyone ate this pizza. We rolled out this thin crust and put a little tomato sauce and tons of garlic on it and then baked it. While it was baking I pan fried asparagus, kalamata olives, onions, eggplant, garlic, and mushrooms in a pan. In another pan I fried Gardein Chk'n in olive oil with tons of garlic, lemon juice, and cayenne. When the pizza was done, we added the toppings and ate it! This was by far, the best pizza I have ever had! Here is another picture of it:

After that first pizza went so well, my fam agreed to a vegan pizza night with the help of my step-mom who is my ultimate supporter in veganism :) Unfortunately, I made the first pizza too spicy for her to eat because I didn't know she didn't have the iron stomach (sorry Vikki!) Anyhow, with this being my time to shine I had to impress. My sisters and I went to Whole Foods and picked up lots of yummies! 

You cannot get my dad out of the kitchen. He loves cooking and told me my mom (they are divorced now, but friendly) was the inspiration for his love of good food. She was my inspiration also! Anyhow, I could not get him away from the pizzas and at one point he attempted to pull some cheese out of the fridge...but I apprehended it. I had to show him that truly good food is not dependent on meat and cheese!

This was our first garlic-ky pizza. It had olive oil and garlic on the crust and then was baked. While baking we pan fried garlic, kalamata olives, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, and asparagus. It was very very yummy.

I do not know where I got the above inspiration, but this was a baked crust with a fig and olive spread topped with pan fried apples. It was really really great. My dad decided he needed whipped cream for his, but I reminded him that this was vegan pizza night, and so he used the coconut bliss ice cream I bought for him. This ice cream is really the best. It has only five ingredients, and this particular brand is chocolate peanut butter. It is made of coconut cream and holy god if you like coconut you will love this ice cream. Anyhow, as strange as it sounds, it was fantastic on this pizza.

These were the last two pizzas we made. Both had garlic and tomato sauce and the one on the left had garlic spinach, the right had artichoke hearts and asparagus. So yum!

This is Silo and Jay. Silo is a "navy cat" because he has seven toes on each paw and I guess the ships used to breed cats with this many toes so they would be superb mousers. Silo is a great mouser and a very active, male cat and so Jay and him got along very well...especially since they have that navy thing in common. Dad has never met Jay's parents and is convinced the Navy bred him in a test tube as some sort of super warrior and so maybe Silo and Jay have more in common than I know.
Anyhow, we had a wonderful, wonderful time in Portland. It is so beautiful and everyone is so friendly there! My next post will have pics of our trip to my Juju's house and the BEST OPEN FACED SANDWICH EVER so stay tuned!!! :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Be Right Back! :)

So....I have been terrible about posting lately! I just turned in my thesis a few weeks ago and have my boards in two weeks, and I am still working on my preceptorship while maintaining full time hours at work. When my boards are over, I will most definitely be posting a ton! I promise! I have eaten so many wonderful things and our trip to Portland yielded TONS of amazing food pictures and recipes, so stay tuned!
I can't wait to share our yummy new recipes with you! :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Spicy Beet, Shallot, and Carmelized Onion Patties with Lemon-Tahini-Avocado Remoulade

OMG this was by far the most amazing thing I have ever made!!!! Alicia Silverstone's website, had a rendition of these a few weeks back, and they looked amazing. I did change the recipe she had quite a bit, but they were really really really good!

When I told Jay we were having beet patties he responded that he would just have some broccoli. Ha ha. He did not end up eating broccoli (hehe) and he confirmed that the beet dish was one of his favorite meals ever! He is even taking some of them to the squadron for his lunch! Oh GOD THEY WERE SO GOOD! I cannot rave enough about these. Here are some more photos of these wonderful goodies.

This was how I made them: I grated three beets (raw and peeled) into a large bowl and mixed an equivalent amount of already cooked brown rice in with them. I added sea salt, vegan Worcestershire, cayenne, paprika, and a ton of garlic. I sauteed a ton of garlic, shallots, and a vidalia onion until they were all carmelized (took about 15 minutes) in olive oil and then added those to the beet mixture.  I then added about 1 cup of tiny bread crumbs.  I then formed them into patties and fried them until almost burnt (very crispy) on each side. On top, I made a sort of avocado remoulade which consisted of lemon juice, avocado, cayenne, salt, tahini, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and soy sauce. The tangy fresh cool taste of the remoulade went so so so well with the crispy, warm, dense, deep flavors in the beet patty. I served them on a very vinegar-y salad.

:) Even if you don't like beets I think you would really like these patties, they were so so wonderful and actually very healthy (except for the whole frying part! You could always bake them!) An excellent way to get in a very healthy veggie!

Here is the link to the original recipe on the kind life:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mr. Caterpillar and Spicy Mint Lettuce Wraps

Last night I made these yummy lettuce wraps. They had onions, scallions, garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms diced very small and sauteed in olive oil, then add brown rice, sriacha sauce, soy sauce, and crushed fresh mint. We wrapped them in these big pieces of lettuce, and they were one of our MOST FAVORITE meals ever!!!!!!!

On another note, this lil caterpillar has been gorging himself on my herb garden. Today, after he ate almost all of my parsley, I decided to move him somewhere else in the yard....and after putting him on about five shrubs I decided I should just put him back where he liked to be, on my parsley.

And here is the parsley plant he ate.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Chocolate Covered Coconut Thai Fried Bananas

Today we are having a neighborhood block party and everyone is supposed to bring a dish. I have chosen to somewhat invent a dish with the extra bananas we had in the house. 

 To make these, I chopped up a banana into about five sections. I then rolled them in ener-g egg replacer, but you could use a mixture of pureed banana and soymilk too. They just need to get into something sticky. Then, after they had their sticky bath I rolled them in a mixture of coconut, coconut flour, crushed graham crackers, and a small amount of rolled oats. Then, I deep fried them in vegetable oil (but they would have been great fried in coconut oil too!). I put them on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil. In a sauce pan I mixed a bag of dark chocolate (milk free) with a little soymilk, and then dripped the chocolate all over the top of these nanners. Then, we chilled them in the fridge.

As I looked upon my yummies my Emergency Room Nurse kicked in and I thought it was a bad idea to have coconut in something that didn't look like it had coconut in it...since a lot of kids are allergic to it. So, I sprinkled it on the top of them while they chilled. :) Its a win-win situation because both Jay and I love coconut!

And these are those babies!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I have always had trouble cooking with wine, since I love using it but hate to waste an entire bottle when all I need is a few Tablespoons. :( Wine can only last about 7 days before it gets sweet and icky. SO...the other day I was lamenting over a great bottle of wine I had used to cook with that was now going bad on our counter, when I thought....I'll just freeze it into cubes! Then, whenever I want a little wine, I can pop out a few cubes and keep the rest waiting for me! I am sure this is not a novel idea...but you can do it with pretty much any liquid or sauce you want to use in the future. You can freeze pesto, homemade BBQ sauce, etc. I used our frozen wine cubes in this marinara I made.

Marinara is something so simple to make it is ridiculous to ever get it out of a jar. If you want to use your own tomatoes, just boil them and then immediately put them in an ice bath to get their little skins off...or you can used canned tomatoes. Either way, put the tomatoes (chopped or crushed up) into a saute pan with their juice and add whatever else you think is yummy. This batch of marinara had brown sugar, sea salt, red wine, fresh garlic, and a variety of herbs I chopped up out of my garden today. I think I picked basil, oregano, and rosemary. I also added olive oil to this batch. I let it simmer for about an hour while I made the flat bread to go with it.

The flat bread was a beer/brown sugar flat bread with olive oil, sea salt, basil, oregano, rosemary, green olives and kalamata olives on top. It was really really great:

This was pre-baking.

After its visit in the oven.

The flat bread recipe is below:

2 tsp of pizza yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup beer
2 Tbs brown sugar

Let the above ingredients sit in a bowl for about 10 minutes
Add 1 Tbs sea salt.
Slowly add in 4 cups of flour and 1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Let this mixture sit for about 1 hour with a warm towel over the top, in a warm place.

After 1 hour, spread the dough out on a long cookie pan, and bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees. Pull the dough out, and spread your toppings on (we used green and kalamata olives, olive oil, nutritional yeast, corn meal, and a bunch of fresh herbs with a ton of garlic and sea salt). Cook for another 15 minutes.

We had a TON of leftover flat bread, so Jay used it to make himself a sandwich using a jalepeno sauce and white bean hummus with basil. :)

In other news, we took Lulu to get her nails trimmed yesterday and had a terrible experience that ended with me prying some old bats hands off my dog and Lulu victoriously not getting any of her nails trimmed. :( Here is Lulu after her total win:

...and the two of them. Gloaters.