Tag Archives: Garlic

Comfort food salad: Pasta, tomato, corn, and avocado salad with vegan creamy garlic dressing

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Some signs you are not woman enough for the TV series you are currently watching:

  1. Counting down episodes in the same manner one counts down miles in a marathon (“16 down, 10 more to go – you can do this!”)
  2. “Ok, let’s get this over with”, said with a hearty neck roll and shoulder shrug, translates to: time to watch the next episode.
  3. Pausing the show regularly to take deep breaths with your head in your hands, and let your heart rate fall out of the heart-attack zone.
  4. Monitoring the time elapsed on the DVD player and breathing a sigh of relief when you realize there are only a few minutes left. What could possibly happen in 5 minutes?
  5. Any neighbor looking in your windows would assume you actually had a good reason to celebrate given the number of high fives exchanged in celebration of reaching the end of an episode without a brain aneurysm.

In case you are wondering, it’s Breaking Bad. And I have a problem in which I internalize the plight of characters.

***Speaking of getting out of your comfort zone, I need to give a huge shout out to my friend and hero Maureen, who recently quit her day job to pursue her passion full-time. Maureen is an amazing Pilates instructor and wellness coach, which all of Chicago now knows since she was on NBC 5 news!!! Check out her segment, and hit a girl up if you are looking to make a change to your health and wellness. Trust me, peeps: girl knows her fitness, and she’s not the kind of person who is going to send you off with a prescription for protein powder and egg whites at every meal. She’s all about holistic health and wellness. Plus, I just love Maureen more than margaritas.****

We’re talking a lot about comfort here, so let me introduce my comfort food salad. Kind of an oxymoron, I know, but I’ll explain. When I worked overseas, on my first day of work a coworker took me to a salad shop where I learned my first Swedish word: pastasallad. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a green salad with pasta on it. Naturally, I ordered this for lunch for the next 4 weeks since it was one of 3 words I knew. Picture me strolling the city streets exclaiming “Hej” (hi), “Tak!” (thank you), and “pastasallad!”. I was popular.

Comfort food salad: Pasta, corn, & tomato salad with vegan creamy garlic dressing, serves 2
-1 head romaine
-1 cup dry pasta (I used shells, but any kind will work)
-1 ear corn
-1 cucumber
-1/2 avocado
-1 cup cherry tomatoes
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Let’s do this:

Start by making your pasta according to the package directions. Once it’s done, let it cool down a bit.

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While pasta is cooking, cut up your other salad toppings. I stand my raw corn on one of the long ends in a bowl and use a knife to remove the kernels (you can also cook the corn if you prefer, but I like the crunch of raw). Cut up your tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, and cut the romaine into bite-size pieces.
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When pasta is cooled, add the romaine, then pasta, and remaining ingredients. Top with your favorite dressing – I like a creamy garlic (4th Swedish word learned: vitlok) with this salad.
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Vegan Creamy Garlic Dressing, Adapted from the Chicago Diner recipe found here, makes about 1 1/2 cups
-4 garlic cloves
-1 t olive oil
-salt & pepper to taste
-2 t lemon juice
-1 cup dairy-free milk (I used flax milk, but any unsweetened milk, like soy or almond, will work)
-2/3 cup Vegenaise (any mayo will work, but may not be vegan, if you care)
-2 T fresh parsley
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Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover your garlic cloves in a 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
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Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until cloves are golden brown.
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Combine the milk and lemon juice and stir. Let sit for about 2 minutes. Milk will get a little lumpy, but that is ok – this makes a vegan “buttermilk”. If you prefer, substitute 1 cup buttermilk for the lemon/milk combination.

When the garlic is done, transfer the milk/lemon juice mixture and the garlic into a blender and process until garlic is smooth. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the Vegenaise, parsley, and more salt & pepper to taste.

Off to bite the last of my nails off – finishing season 4 of Breaking Bad!!!

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Portabella mushroom pizzas

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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
-1 leek
-4 tomatoes
-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

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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).

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat up the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion.
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Cook the onion until soft (looks like this):
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Add the garlic, leek, and tomatoes.
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Saute for about 5 minutes, or until leek and tomatoes are soft.
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Add the lemon juice, basil, and salt & pepper to the skillet. Give it a stir and remove from  heat.
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Twist the stems off of your mushrooms and fill each mushroom with the onion/leek/tomato mixture.
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Top each ‘shroom with about 1/4 cup of cheese.
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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.

Remove from oven and top with a little extra basil and salt & pepper. Pizza time!
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Fall veggie & lentil overload

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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.

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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 shallot
-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.

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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.

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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.

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Most hilarious search terms and Roasted Garlic & Carrot Hummus

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Whenever I need a quick pick-me-up, I glance through the google search terms that lead people to this blog. There are some real gems in there. For example:

fat belly sew     (hmmm… I guess they get my fish costume?)
mouse poop in quinoa      (huh!?!?)
ironic mattress      (huh?!?!)
how many calories are in a piece of toast
panty shelf      (guessing they end up at my PANTRY shelf – big difference)

Good times. I’m sorry I can’t help the gal who found mouse poop in her quinoa. That’s rough.

In other news, we’ve been getting tons carrots and garlic from our CSA. I was inspired by this recipe, which I found after googling how to get mouse poop out of my garlic and carrots. Just kidding.

Roasted Garlic & Carrot Hummus, makes about 4 cups
-1 bunch carrots
-1 head garlic
-about 1/2 cup olive oil
-1 can chickpeas
-2 T tahini
-1 T cumin
-1 T corriander
-juice of one lemon
-salt & pepper

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Prep: Preheat oven to 375. Wash and cut your carrots so they are about the same size. Cut the top off your garlic head so the tops of the cloves are exposed. Drain and rinse chickpeas.

Let’s do this:
Line up your carrots on a cookie sheet with your garlic. Drizzle some of the olive oil over the garlic cloves. Drizzle (or spray, if you have an olive oil mister) olive oil on the carrots. Reserve the remaining olive oil for the hummus.

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Roast for about 30 minutes or until carrots and garlic are tender. Add carrots and garlic to a food processor and process until smooth.

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Add chickpeas, tahini, spices, and lemon juice to food processor. Drizzle in olive oil until desired consistency is reached, then season with salt & pepper.

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Sprinkle with a little extra cumin and serve!

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