Tag Archives: gluten-free

Che Pizza!

I had two cornmeal crusts hanging out in the fridge asking to be used.  There’s a sun-dried tomato tapenade at a restaurant I love in town, and I really wanted to try something like it as a pizza base.  This was my lunch/ the boy’s dinner later that night!  I made up a recipe for pizza sauce that was unlike anything I’ve ever had – and really good.

Sundried Tomato Pesto Sauce

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 jar of sundried tomatoes packaged in olive oil
  • 1 large bunch of basil leaves, with the stems trimmed off
  • 1/4 C pine nuts

Directions

  • Put everything into a blender and blend until everything is incorporated and smooth.  Facile.

On top of the sauce, I put a basic “cheeze” sauce involving nutritional yeast, flour, corn starch, mustard, and water.  Next time, I’ll add more liquid because it thickened up quite a bit.  However, after it was in the oven for a while it had a really nice cheesy texture.  I sliced up a tomato to put on top and popped everything into an oven set at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.  It was really satisfying with the crunchy cornmeal holding all the gooiness together.  It’s a bit unconventional, but tossing an apron in the face of authority is always a good time.

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She’s Such a Tart

In the midst of a week break from travelling, I was graciously put up by my boyfriend’s parents in their New York apartment.  I was given free reign in the kitchen!  I ate gloriously!  One of my favorite things (that I actually managed to get pictures of) that I made was a raw fruit tart/pie.  I got the idea somewhere on the internet, but I essentially tossed a bunch of stuff together.  Hopefully I can remember how all this went down.

Raw Fruit Tart

Recipe

Ingredients

1 8 inch pie pan

2 C almonds

1 C chopped medjool dates

2 mangoes

1/4 C coconut flakes

About 2 C halved strawberries – enough to cover the top of the tart

Directions

  • Blend the almonds and the dates together a handful at a time in a chopper – I used some sort of crazy Cuisinart chopping device I found lurking in a cabinet.
  • Press almond/date mixture down into the pie pan, making sure to cover the sides of the pan.
  • Peel, chop, and blend mangoes until they have an even consistency.
  • Stir coconut flakes into mango.
  • Scoop mango mixture into your pie crust, spreading it out evenly with a spatula.
  • Place sliced strawberries (or any fruit of your choosing) decoratively over the tart.
  • Chill the tart in a refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. Best served chillllled out.

After much struggle with grinding almonds and dates together – this was the end result.  Hooray!  It was delicious, and I didn’t have to feel bad about eating it for breakfast the next day.  Yessss.  I also managed to make an AMAZING pasta-less lasagna (casserole?) with eggplant, spinach, and mushrooms.  I made the dish twice and didn’t get a good photo of it either time – thanks night time photography.  However, check out this dip I made for some crusty olive bread:

That’s some roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, and pepper – I let it marinate in its own sauciness before serving it and it was gooood.

You Can Get Anything You Want at CoulditbeSeitan’s Restaurant

Wow! Arlo Guthrie wrote a song about me! Amazing that he would have the foresight in ’65 to know how rad my vegan cooking would be in 2008. A true visionary, that guy.

Oh, you didn’t know? Hmm.

So I recently found myself engrossed in Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, a bio of Alice and the restaurant by Thomas McNamee. I haven’t ventured to the restaurant myself, but I love how adamant she is about having fresh, local ingredients. I’d take a just-picked Californian apple over the Chilean imports Trader Joes is messing around with any day. I hit up the Hollywood Farmers Market every Sunday, but last week I wanted to have people over to celebrate local California produce and share in some unadorned, unfancy, unpretentious, un-not-delicious vegan recipes.

The most unpretentious part of the meal – thanks to Dawn and Jesse.

The meal started out with a salad of lettuce, beets, and oranges. I sprinkled cumin over the beets because there’s something I really like about that combination. I tried a dish a few months ago in Ojai that was basically a big pile of cumin-y beets and I’ve just been mainlining the stuff ever since. The salad was served with and olive oil and vinegar dressing.

For the main dish, I made the Chickpea Cutlets from VCON, which I will now and forever refer to as “Ole Faithful.”

Every time I make these they are gobbled up. I served them with a Garlic Faux Aioli. Speaking of that, get pumped for a:

Recipe!

Ingredients

1 package Silken tofu – Mori Nu style

3 cloves of garlic

2 T mustard

1 T apple cider vinegar

Directions

  • Blend it all together in a blender and then let it chill out in the fridge. Put it on your food. Cooking is harrrd.

‘Tis the season for some beautiful asparagus, so I roasted it all up with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and let it bask in its own heavenly glow.

CHECK OUT how pretty these potatoes are. Seriously. I am in love with purple potatoes. I also roasted these with rosemary, salt, and olive oil. I don’t have any post-roast pictures because it was dark outside by the time everyone arrived and my camera’s flash HATES food. Hates it.

And for dessert?

This was the easiest and most rewarding dinner I’ve made in a while. Everyone gobbled it up happily and hung around my living room playing fictionary into the wee hours of the night. My favorite kind of night: great friends, great food, and extra fancy pink wines.

Come On Baby Light My Fire Curry Tofu Scramble

Ever since my last (obnoxiously difficult)* bike ride to India Sweets and Spices, I have been jonesing for Indian food on the daily.  The problem with my style when it comes to cooking Indian, is that I haphazardly toss in every spice in my kitchen without regard to measurements.  Ok, it’s not really a problem until the time comes to write down my ‘recipe.’  Unless you count, “Ummm throw in some like coriander.  Like a little. And then a little more until it smells real nice,” as a recipe – then I think we’re all at a loss here.  So I’m going to do my best to explain what happened on my spicy Indian tofu morning adventure as coherently as possible.

Recipe

Ingredients

1 block extra-firm silken tofu

1 T canola oil

1 large white onion, chopped int 1/2 in pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t ginger, minced

1/2 C brocolli

1/2 C frozen peas

1 pre-grilled red pepper

2 T curry powder

1 T garam masala

1 t cumin

1/2 t cayenne pepper

2 T soy sauce

1 t turmeric

Directions

  • Get out your big ole favorite skillet and heat the oil.  Add onion, and toss until coated.
  • Throw in your garlic and ginger too.  Continue to heat onion, ginger, and garlic on a medium-high flame until onion appears slightly transluscent.  Don’t burn this stuff because burnt garlic is nasty.
  • Add brocolli, peas, and peppers to the pan and toss until everything is slightly glistening from the oil.  Sautee veggies for about 2 minutes.
  • Crumble the tofu into the pan, and stir until the tofu crumbles are incorporated into the vegetables.
  • Add the curry powder, garam masala, cumin, soy sauce, cayenne, and turmeric, tossing to cover everything in the pan.
  • Sautee for another 3 minutes or so, until the tofu just begins to get a hint of a toasty color.
  • Serve that mess up with some roti! Or a dosa – even better.  Mmmm.  Someone make me a masala dosa.  NOW.

* Los Angeles, WTF.  Seriously, where are your bike lanes?  Why do all the sidewalks on Los Feliz Blvd. end abruptly with a foot-and-a-half drop-off?  Why do you hate happiness so much?  I get that a 35 MPH zone really means drive as fast as you can possibly go, but damn.  Chill out, people in cars.  We’re all trying to get to the same Indian grocer in the sky.

I’ve Died and Gone to Asia

Those of you who don’t know me also do not know that I spent three months in China last summer. Those of you who do know me, know that it was CRAZY! I traveled between three cities, Kunming, Dali, and Tengchong, in the Yunnan province. The culinary experiences I had there ranged from incredible to downright horrifying. I wont go into too much detail about my travels here, because that would require pages and pages of pictures and I’m not sure how much you want to know about people eating dog. Yeah, really.

SO. Quick overview:

Kunming is a huge city with a population of 5 million and is known as “The City of Eternal Spring” because of its beautiful weather year-round. I managed to fare pretty well in Kunming because they have a strong tourist industry going and an entire street near Yunnan University dedicated to “Westerners.” Though I’m not sure what everything was cooked in, I at least experienced a lot of wonderful vegetarian food and was introduced to lotus root, spicy fried basil, Puerh tea, and a truly bizarre apple-vinegar drink. On the other hand, there was a Wal-Mart (!?!?!) that sold live turtles and frogs in the grocery section. Gotta love cultural differences!

Hm. Back to the lotus root. The other week I decided to venture down to my local huge Asian Market, Mitsuwa, to see what was cookin’. I was so happy with what I found there, and managed to bring home a huge haul (see below) including sliced lotus root! I tried to recreate a dish I had in a tiny cafe in Kunming. This time I also used black fungus, but I’m leaving it out of the recipe because I ended up throwing it out. There was something really … earthy … going on with that fungus.

Stir-Fried Lotus Root

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Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 lb sliced lotus root

1 small onion cut into 1/4 in slices

2 T sesame seed oil

2 t minced ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 t brown sugar

2 t soy sauce

Pinch of pepper

1/4 C vegetable stock

Directions

  • Preheat a wok on medium-high heat, then add the oil to coat wok.
  • Add salt, ginger, and garlic and sautee until fragrant.
  • Add onions and stir-fry until they start to become translucent.
  • Add lotus root and stir-fry for another 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle in sugar, pepper, and soy sauce and toss to coat.
  • Pour in the vegetable stock and stir to de-glaze the wok. Cover wok and let simmer for 5 more minutes.

On to the next city!
Dali is truly an experience. The “Ancient City” is a walled section of the city that is full of cafes, bars, fascinating people, and lots and lots of weed.

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Just sayin’. There are little old women dressed in traditional Bai, Naxi, etc., garb who come up to you in the street with postcards in hand. They point to the postcards, as though trying to show you something important, and then whisper in your ear:

“Smoke-a ganja?”

Every day in Dali is an adventure. On one side of the Ancient City are the Cangshan mountains, and on the other side is Erhai Lake – the second largest lake in China. The landscape is unbelievably gorgeous. Oh, did I mention it’s a veggie paradise?

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I was able to have wonderful tofu hot-pots, huge plates of stir-fried eggplant, and I even had some vegan apple pie one day – thanks to a crew of dread-lock bearing jugglers who opened the Rainbow Cafe! My absolute favorite food, however, was Baba. I have not been able to find a recipe for this stuff, and I’m pretty sure it’s not vegan but it was wonderful. Baba is a bready street food, much like paratha, that is stuffed with either a savory or a sweet filling. Being a psycho for sugar, I would always get the sweet variety that was filled with red azuki beans. The whole thing was about the size of an open hand, and it was warm and pan fried to a crispy golden flaky gaaaaaah. Only gutteral noises could describe this pastry.

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So about these azuki beans – they were everywhere! My boyfriend came to visit me and every time he tried to eat one of his beloved ice-cream-popsicle-on-a-stick things, it was full of BEANS. He was not such a fan, but I am! I bought some azuki beans at the market, and last night I got to cookin’. I have a pre-packaged red bean dessert to try out, so I wanted to make something savory. Of course, I headed straight for Veganomicon and the Acorn Squash, Pear, and Adzuki Bean Soup with Sauteed Shiitakes.

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I threw a few of my own spins on the recipe because I had:

Kabocha Squash

No Pears

TONS of azuki beans

Dried shiitake (every time I type this I feel like I’m saying something dirty, thanks to the PPK Boards.)

So what I eventually got was sort of a combination of my favorite Chinese foods: hot pot and azuki beans! It was more of a stew than a soup since I tossed in so many veggies. Fond memories of this picnic our friends Ping and Mae in Dali gave us spring to mind:

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I’ll spare you any discussion of the food in Tengchong because it involved a lot of soup full of bugs and going to bed with a growling stomach. Need a cleansing retreat? Tengchong would be a great place to fast!

Gluten Free Cornbread Y’all

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I checked out Veganomicon’s recipe for cornbread the other night for a dinner party, and I must say – as a Southern girl at heart, it wasn’t quiiiiite there. I think all it’ll take is adding a little more fat in the form of oil or margarine because the bread was just a bit dry for my taste. Next time I think I’ll add the corn kernels to add some interest. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free AP Flour simply because I have it and needed to do something with it, and everyone raved about how good it was. In fact, the comment that makes me beam with pride and just a hint of self-righteousness was exclaimed throughout the night:

“I can’t believe this is vegan!”

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Saved by the Bell Pepper Curry

I have about five trillion (rough estimate) posts that need to happen stat, but I’m a lazy chick. What can I say? What I can say is:

Here’s a recipe for some curry when you’ve got a veggie drawer full of items threatening impending squishiness and imminent doom. Thus, “Saved by the Bell Pepper” Curry is born. Have a heart guys. Save your miscellanious veggies from the compost.

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Recipe

Ingredients

1 can of coconut milk ( I use light coconut milk because that’s how I roll)

2 T yellow curry paste

1 T soy sauce

2 T brown sugar

1/3 C veggie broth

Use whichever veggies you have laying around but I used:

1 red bell pepper

1 Japanese eggplant

1/4 cup bamboo shoots

1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms

1 cup kale

4 oz. tofu cut into cubes

1/4 cup basil

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, simmer the coconut milk with yellow curry paste over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add soy sauce, brown sugar, eggplant, bell pepper, bamboo shoots and mushrooms and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add kale and tofu and simmer 5 more minutes.
  • Finally, stir in the basil until wilted.

It’s that easy and I’m obsessed.

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And Jessie Spano says “Don’t take pills?”