Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lemon Cilantro Hummus

Ok, again, I'm really bad about this, but I ate all the hummus before getting a picture. And it was literally 3 BIG meals worth of hummus! I ate it for dinner the night I made it, lunch and then dinner the next day! I mean, I used pretzels and cucumbers for dipping, but considering the hummus was my main meal, I guess it's not too bad, right? ;)

Anyway, at the request of many people, I decided that this one had to be added to my blog! I love, love, LOVE easy and delicious recipes with few ingredients. This is just about as simple as it gets. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Lemon Cilantro Hummus

2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
(I use organic, because hey, it's still really cheap. ;) )
1/2 a large bunch of cilantro

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 salt (or to taste)

1/2 small fresh jalapeno, chopped

all the juice from 1 large lemon

1/4 cup water

Optional: 1/4 cup tahini. I say optional because I didn't have it this past time, and it was absolutely delicious without it. Not to mention lower in calories by far. The only drawback is that you don't get the good fats from the tahini. So just choose whichever suits you!

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until desired consistency. I like mine super smooth, so it takes a while. But chunky might also be nice. Taste after pulsing it a while and see how you like it! Add salt if necessary. You will need to play around a bit with the seasonings to see what you like more of. These are kind of base ingredients. I adore the lemon cilantro combination, and to me, it needs no adornment. :)


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vegan Pesto

This recipe came to me one day as I was contemplating an extreme desire for pesto. Alas, I didn't have any parmesan cheese, and I wanted to see what I could do with a new thing I've been using: Nutritional yeast. It's widely available these days, and it is truly a healthy and wonderful alternative to a lot of great cheeses- especialy the salty ones! So this may not be exactly like the pesto you've had that is non-vegan, but this is healthy, and it serves as a great reminder to always keep your culinary imagination open!

Vegan pesto:

1 tbsp (or more) of Nutritional yeast

1-2 cups of fresh basil, packed a bit

1/4 cup olive oil, or whatever you need to make the consistency right!

3 tbsp nuts of your choice (pecan, walnut, pine nut..)

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Put it all in a food processor and pulse until the consistency is just right! Add more olive oil as necessary. Or, if you're old fashioned, use the Italian knife known as a mezzaluna (half moon) to cut the basil, nuts, yeast, and other ingredients until the consistency is right. Add it to olive oil. I've done both methods, and while the texture is great from the mezzaluna method, the amount of time it takes is just generally not worth the effort! :)


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Piña Colada squash muffins

So I kind of have a summer squash issue around here.. we have entirely too much of it for us to possibly use! So I decided to get creative, and here's what I came up with. After reading tons of zucchini bread recipes, I made this recipe out of what I had around the house, and it worked beautifully! Don't be afraid of cooking and baking, because if you read enough recipes, you're likely going to do just fine. Mod this recipe as you see fit. For my purposes, and for what I had around the house, it was perfect. :)

Piña Colada squash muffins with a coconut lime yogurt glaze:

2 cups self rising flour
1.5 cups shredded summer squash, any color
1 heaping cup sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
2 tbsp lime juice
2 oz vanilla greek yogurt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup buttermilk (or make your own with an acid and milk)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugar until combined, then add in buttermilk, yogurt,lime juice, squash, eggs, and salt, and mix with a spoon until well combined. Then add the flour slowly until incorporated without lumps. Batter should be pretty soft. Don't bother straining the squash. Grease your muffin tin (makes 18, so I used two) and ladle the mixture 3/4 of the way up. Mine filled all the spots perfectly. I think I just got lucky with this one..

This part isn't so much tricky, as it is probably just a new concept to most folks. We are energy saving folks around here; Well, money, energy, everything saving folks, that is.. and I recently read that you can get your oven up to heat, and if you have to cook the thing you are cooking for 20 minutes or less, you can turn it off right when you put it in the oven! I was amazed, intrigued, and of course, I had to try it. It works like a charm. So I used it here. Basically, you put your muffins in, set your timer for 15 minutes. Once the timer goes off and you make your way over to the oven, you'll just turn your oven off. I then set the timer for another 10 minutes, left the oven light on to check them, and walked away. When that timer went off, I finally opened my oven to check them with a toothpick, and they were PERFECTLY done! Talk about energy savings! Plus it didn't heat up my house as much. :) Awesome tip for summer baking.

While they were in the oven, though, I made this simple glaze:

Coconut rum yogurt glaze:

1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup warmed honey
6 oz greek yogurt (I used plain, but I like a tart glaze)
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp any rum (spiced is nice)

Toast the coconut on medium heat until it starts to turn golden, then take it off immediately! Mix it together with all the other ingredients until it's nice and smooth! I put about a tablespoon on top of each of my muffins, and then I licked the bowl. Hey, don't judge me.. You can do whatever you want with your leftovers.. But I suggest enjoying it. :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Icelandic Pauses

Figured I'd bring back the poetry a bit with this one. It's also a throwback to the trip we took to Iceland last March. Everywhere I go makes an impression onto who I am becoming. Iceland is no exception.

Icelandic Pauses

I remember that night
when we landed
It was snowing like hell
You tried to pull those heavy bags,
all of them
for me
But you couldn't do it
The sidewalks were wet and icy

I remember staring out the window
into sheer nothingness
coated in a sheet of ice and snow
I remember that corrugated yellow tin building
It was so Scandinavian, so foreign
that I felt released,
tangibly intrepid

I remember the smell of sulphur
in hot showers and instant coffee
and a little box of sugar cubes in the
clear Ikea cabinets
I remember eating hamburgers and quick oats
with cinnamon and sugar
but I don't remember minding

I remember Emiliana Torrini,
the soundtrack to our trip across the moon
and other places
The black beaches near the white mountains
and I remember feeling overwhelmed
With the starkness
wanting to sink into those empty stretches of beach
and emerge when you can surf at midnight
Who would ever find me there?

I remember feeling the
Reykjavik winter winds on my face
when I looked to the sky to see stars
and instead saw the Northern Lights
I remember politics with Icelanders
and skyr and cheap cookies,
hot cocoa when it was most needed
in my life

I remember dancing in our apartment, drinking
Icelandic vodka, classy stuff,
making love on the sofa
All these things I remember
as clear as glacial ice
as clear as the nearly frozen water
that we snorkeled in
in that continental divide

We are one
you and I
and you knew from the start
we'd be nomads

Friday, July 6, 2012

The buns to end all buns

Grandiose, isn't it? These wonderful little jewels are worthy of the title and the effort it takes to make them as well. I'm a thrifty person. Ok, ok, I'm cheap. I'm okay with that. These are cheaper and tastier than what you can buy at the grocery store, plus who wouldn't be impressed when you tell them you MADE the buns?! Nobody, that's who. Anyway, you will always find that there are never enough of these in your life, so go ahead and double the recipe, freeze the dough or already baked buns, because you'll want them again.

There are only a couple tricks to these that I can think of adding here; one of which is to microwave the milk/butter (or whatever vegan alternatives you choose) in the microwave in order to get them up to temp. Start with 45 seconds or so, and then work your way up until it feels like bath water to the touch. Somewhere around 10

0 degrees. Sure, you could heat it on the stove, but it would take longer that way. Save yourself the time, and use the microwave. Another trick I use, because I'm kind of a perfectionist, is to weigh out the dough, divide it by 8 or 10 or however many buns you want to make (8-10 works for one batch) That way you get evenly sized buns and you don't have to guess about it. If you don't have a kitchen scale, no worries- Just eyeball it. And then on top I like to dust it with a little flour and a sprinkle of thyme for a beautiful rustic look. The buns in the photo are before I started doing that, so they have the more typical glazed egg-wash look. I prefer the other method, having tried both.

Here's recipe! Feel free to vegan-ize it and let me know how that goes! Should be pretty easy to just swap out the standard ingredients with vegan ones, but hey, I'm no expert!


1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 cup skim milk
1 egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (sub some wheat flour here, it works beautifully. If you do use wheat though, try using honey instead of sugar, as they work well together.)

1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
sesame seeds (optional topping)
a little white flour and a sprinkle of thyme

Set a side a *large* bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
In a bowl, combine the sugar, salt and yeast.
In a smaller bowl, microwave the milk for 30 seconds at a time until it is about 100°F or feels like bath water.
Slowly whisk in the milk to the sugar, salt and yeast and stir until the yeast and sugar are basically dissolved (a couple of seconds).
Add the egg, butter and 1 cup of the flour and stir until there are no clumps.
Slowly add in the remaining 2 1/2 cups of flour until the dough is covered enough to start kneading with your flour covered hands or feel free to use a stand mixer!
Knead for about 3 minutes.
Transfer the dough into the bowl that you set aside earlier. Please don't try using a small bowl. It will overflow insanely if you let it.. =/
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours until it has doubled in size.
Punch the dough down, reshape into a ball, recover, and let it rise again for another 1 hour, until it has doubled in size again.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Weigh the dough and then divide and shape into balls, letting them rise while the oven is preheating.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on how browned you like them. Enjoy with the sweet potato burgers that I'll be posting next time around! :)