We have a lot to talk about, readers!
1. I’m making Thanksgiving dinner this year; cue the insanity. And the groans about eating “bird food”.
2. I’m published! Over 40 of my photos are in this book. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
3. I tried 3 different “stuffing” recipes before settling on this one, which I plan to cook for turkey day. It really does taste like stuffing, minus the bread and turkey guts, which y’all know I’m not woman enough to handle.
Wild rice stuffing with caramelized onions, apples, and mushrooms, serves 8-10, adapted from this recipe
-1 stick vegan butter
-4 medium sweet onions
-16 oz. crimini mushrooms
-3 T fresh thyme
-1/2 t salt
-1/2 t pepper
-2 T fresh sage
-5 cups vegetable broth
-2 1/2 cups wild rice blend (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
-1 1/2 cups dried apples, coarsely chopped
-3/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley
It’s like 8 days until Thanksgiving, so let’s get started. First thing: Preheat the oven to 350.
Chop up your herbs (thyme, sage, parsley – we’re one short of a Simon & Garfunkel song; who’s with me?)
Springtime is just a great time for those of us that hate pants. Seriously, who came up with the idea to wear straightjackets on our legs?! It’s torture. Unfortunately, for about 8 months out of the year the city of Chicago tries to make me a more flexible person by essentially requiring I wear pants everywhere. This makes me crabby. Kind of like when a social situation calls for drinking beer (I’m not a fan). Worst thing ever: drinking a beer in pants. Kill me now.
Luckily, it’s getting warmer here in Chicago, which means I wear skirts exclusively, AND during lunch I can walk the 3/4 mile to my favorite lunch place, Native Foods. I almost always get the Yo Amigo Taco Salad, which is amazing. If the worst thing ever is drinking a beer in jeans, then this salad is drinking a margarita in a skirt.
Yo Amigo Taco Salad Copycat, serves 2
-1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-2 cloves garlic
-1/2 cup cashews
-1 T taco seasoning
-1 T olive oil
-1 head romaine, roughly chopped
-1/2 c salsa (I love Pioneer Woman salsa!)
-1 scallion, chopped
-1/2 cup corn tortilla chips, crushed
-3/4 cup vegan mayo (I used Nasoya since they sent me some to try!)
-3 chipotle chilis in adobe sauce
-2 cloves garlic
-1/4 c loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
-1/2 t salt
-1/4 t pepper
First the dressing: Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
For the salad, first we need to make the taco “meat”. Add your chickpeas, cashews, taco seasoning, and garlic cloves to a food processor and process about 15-20 seconds. Drizzle oil through the top spout to keep everything moving.
It will look like this when you are done.
For DR-Dad’s birthday, we went a silent retreat. Luckily, he wasn’t offended that I volunteered to spend time with him as long as he didn’t talk. (Kidding!)
We really did go on a silent retreat though. It was only one day, thankfully, because DR-Dad doesn’t exactly have a career as a monk ahead of him. At one point, he ran around the room shouting “I just LOVE these socks!!!” Yep, that happened. At a silent retreat. Anyone who hadn’t grown up with this man might have been embarrassed.
One great thing came out of the retreat though (besides quality time, of course). This stew. It was served at lunch, and the woman who ran the retreat was kind enough to give me the recipe. It is the perfect fall sunday dinner. I’m packing up the leftovers now for lunch.
Weekend Vegetable Stew, adapted from Veggiyana Cookbook
-8 cups vegetable broth
-2 cups water
-1/2 cup pearled barley
-1/2 yellow split peas
-1/4 cup white beans (I used baby lima beans)
-1/2 cup dried mushrooms (I used shitake, but any will work!)
-1 T thyme
-1 t cumin
-1/2 t coriander
-1 t marjoram
-2 t salt, divided
-1 T celery seeds
-1 bay leaf
-3 medium carrots
-2 roma tomatoes
-1 cup frozen corn kernels
-1 cup frozen peas
-6 kale and/or swiss chard leaves (I used a combination)
-1/2 cup canned pumpkin
-1/4 t paprika
-1/2 t pepper
In a big ol’ pot, add your water and broth, split peas, barley, beans, mushrooms, thyme, cumin, coriander, marjoram, 1 t salt, celery seeds, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for an hour.
Ok folks, confession time: This is my third copycat recipe from the Whole Foods salad bar (see also Detox Salad and Orange Cranberry Cous Cous). WF keeps their recipes reeeeal close to their heart. I got the hairy eyeball from the produce guy when he saw me taking a picture of the ingredient card for the Chipotle Potato Salad (see below). But don’t worry, I’m still gonna post my copycat recipe here because I’m just a gangsta, I suppose.
Since we’re on the topic: Anyone else have a crush on Avon Barksdale? No? …Then I guess it’s just me and a bunch of dead chicks who can’t keep secrets.
This recipe is kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure. Remember those? I always felt the need to read through every possible option in those books. That might explain why I have made this recipe a few times, varying the method each time.
1. Potatoes: I used these little red and blue cuties from my CSA, but any small potatoes will work.
2. Boil vs. Roast: Huz and I decided that roasting wins (I tried both), but if it’s just too hot outside for you to turn on your oven (I feel you), then boiling works just fine.
3. Heat: If you use the whole can of chipotle peppers + seeds, then you are a brave little grasshopper. I modified a bit – I used all the adobo sauce from the can but only about 2/3 of the peppers.
Chipotle Roasted Blue Potato Salad, makes about 6 servings
-about 2 pounds potatoes
-2 T olive oil
-1/4 cup chopped red onion
-1/4 cup chopped green onion (about 3)
-1 clove garlic
-1/4 c chopped cilantro
-1 can (7.5 oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
-1 T fresh lime juice
-1/3 cup canola oil mayonnaise
-salt & pepper to taste
Let’s do this:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut your potatoes up into cubes, toss in olive oil and spread on a baking sheet (line baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat for easiest removal). Bake for about 25 minutes, stirring once to ensure even baking.
Note I only used about 2/3 of the peppers, but if you think you can handle it, use ‘em all, because you are tough like that.
When the potatoes are out of the oven and have cooled a bit, add them to a large bowl and add the other ingredients: onions, garlic, cilantro, peppers, leftover adobo sauce, lime juice, and mayo. Salt and pepper to taste.
It has been an exciting week over here at DR: DR-Sis got engaged! Rest assured: I am going to DIY the sh*t out of this wedding!!! What’s that, DR-Sis? You don’t need my help? Well, maybe you should have gone through with that whole divorcing-the-family plot you had when you were 17. Because this. is. happening. Yaaaay!
Pinterest is going to show up at this wedding and then duck out in shame when it sees the wedding-cake-with-cupcakes-inside-served-in-mason-jars-with-cream-cheese-and-crushed-oreos*-hand-tied-with-twine-and-small-handles-for-carrying-home <hits three-pointer at buzzer>. Betcha never thought of that, Pinterest!!!
Yes, that sound you hear is DR-Sis eloping.
Anywhoo, this recipe is for DR-Sis, since she can’t eat gluten. Reality check: DR-Sis never cooks and the rest of you will just order real pizza. I guess this recipe is for me.
*why does every recipe on pinterest involve cream cheese and/or oreos? just me?
Portabella mushroom pizzas, serves 2, adapted from BodyrockTV
-1/2 white onion
-2 T olive oil
-4 cloves garlic
-about 1/4 cup fresh basil
-juice from 1/2 lemon
-3 or 4 of the biggest portabella mushrooms you can find
-about 1 cup mozzarella cheese (I tried the Diaya brand this time and it was pretty good!)
-salt & pepper to taste
First, the pre-work: Chop up your white onion, tomatoes, and basil. Mince the garlic. Slice the leek into thin coins (I only use the white and light green portions).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake for about 12 minutes, then change oven temp to broil and cook for 1-2 additional minutes (keep an eye on them so they don’t burn – this is just to get the cheese browned a little). Note: I baked my pizzas on a cookie rack on top of my cookie sheet. This keeps them from sticking and also drains out some of the excess moisture from the mushrooms. If you don’t have a rack, don’t sweat it – just use some parchment paper or spray the cookie sheet with a little oil to keep from sticking.
I need to start this post by thanking everyone for the birthday wishes. That was certainly a crazy day, but I think it was the best birthday I have ever had. Waaaay better than the year I had my party at Funway and a giant squirrel on roller skates force fed me ice cream while I had brainfreeze. Also, I had a perm.
Anyway, I can’t believe I almost didn’t blog about it – I’m really glad I did because so many of you wrote me with acts of kindness that you had done that day. It’s like November 2nd became random act of kindness day, which was truly the best gift ever.
Back to the present. I went a liiiittle bit cookoo at the last farmer’s market. It was our last one! In an apparent effort to have farmer’s market dinners for the rest of the year, I went long on veggies. Like, super long. I do this kind of thing of all the time. Witness the last time I wanted everyone else to have fun; I “went long” on wine. But that is another story.
I had to find a recipe to use up all of my veggies before they went bad, so I found this recipe in Whole Living and adapted it to include a couple additional veggies that I lugged home from the market.
Butt-load of veggies with lentils, serves a small army.
-1 bunch carrots
-1 small bunch celery
-1 acorn squash
-1 red onion
-about 4 cups brussels sprouts
-2 large golden beets
-5 T olive oil
-1/2 c french green lentils
-1 head garlic (optional)
-4 t apple cider vinegar
-1 t mustard
Let’s do this:
Heat oven to 425. Start prepping your veggies: cut onion into wedges, half carrots lengthwise, slice squash and beets (see picture below), cut brussels sprouts in half, slice your celery, cut off the top of your garlic.
Arrange veggies on baking sheets and spray or drizzle 2 T of olive oil. If you are roasting garlic, pour about a teaspoon of oil over the exposed cloves. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning veggies once.
While veggies are roasting, cut your shallot in half and place lentils and shallot in a saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for about 20-25 minutes. Drain the lentils, and throw out the shallot. Remove the garlic cloves from their steamy little pods and add to the lentils.
To make the dressing: Combine vinegar, mustard, and 3 T of olive oil in a small food processor or blender for about a minute until combined (if you don’t feel like getting your blender out, then just whisk together in a small bowl). Toss dressing with the lentils and top with your veggies.
Hey nerds, guess who’s got two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn’t overeaten once today? This moi. We’re about to change that. (thanks, Liz Lemon!)
If shaved asparagus pizza was my spring/early summer pizza, then this recipe is my late summer/early fall pizza: Fig, peach, and caramelized onion. This pizza would make a great appetizer or flat bread if you are entertaining and can get your hands on some fresh figs and the last late summer peaches (I bet pears would work too!).
I just can’t seem to get enough figs, so fall must officially be here. Someone bring me some butternut squash soup and a pumpkin spice latte, stat! Now, where is my cuddly sweater and tall Frye boots? Oh yeah, I don’t own any. Guess I’ll just have to double up on pumpkin spice lattes to stay excited about fall.
Fig, peach, and caramelized onion pizza, makes one pizza (serves about 2, depending on how thick your crust is!)
3-4 fresh figs
1 small peach
1/2 small red onion
1 cup goat cheese crumbles (other cheeses will work well – ricotta would be great!)
2 T fresh thyme
pizza crust or pizza dough (I usually use trader joe’s dough, but this was on sale at Whole Foods, so I rolled with it)
2 T olive oil
1-2 T honey (optional)
Let’s do this:
Prep: Preheat oven according to your pizza crust instructions (400 degrees for me). Cut up your onion into strips. Get 1 T of your olive oil heating in a pan and add the onions to carmelize them. While your onions are cooking, chop up your thyme. Slice the peach and figs into thin slices and set aside.
Roll out your dough and brush on the remaining 1 T olive oil all the way to the crust.
Add the caramelized onions, cheese, fig and peach slices, and sprinkle the thyme over the top.
Cook according to your pizza dough directions. It took my pizza about 12 minutes to cook. Then I turned the oven on broil and carmelized the peaches and figs for about a minute.
Remove from the oven and drizzle with a little honey. Enjoy with the last little bit of summer sunshine (sadness).