Quinoa + Cauliflower Kosheri

Here's a weird one for you.  I had never used the middle eastern herb and spice blend za'atar before and was surprised by it's herbal earthiness.  It's the main flavor in this dish which I'm loosely calling a Quinoa Kosheri.  Kosheri is an vegetarian Egyptian dish made of grains and lentils.  

Roasted cauliflower is tossed with cooked quinoa, lentils, brown onions and a long chile pepper for a spicy healthy vegetarian, gluten free dinner.  

Serves 4.

Quinoa + Cauliflower Kosheri

1 tablespoon olive oil

s + p

zest of half a lemon

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces

1/3 cup red quinoa  (any color is ok)

1/2 cup green lentils

1 yellow onion, halved, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon za'atar

1 long hot chile pepper, thinly sliced

lemon juice, to taste

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon zest.  Arrange on baking tray.  Roast 20 minutes, toss and roast 15 minutes more or until cauliflower is tender. 

Combine quinoa with 2/3 cup water.  Boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until water has evaporated and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. 

Combine lentils in a pot of water. Boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until lentils are tender but not falling apart.  Strain.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Once hot, add onions, cook until nicely browned.  Stir occasionally to prevent burning and promote even cooking.  Stir in garlic. Cook about 1 minutes, stirring.  Stir in za'atar, chile pepper, cooked cauliflower, cooked quinoa and cooked lentils.  Cook until hot throughout.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Garnish with chopped cilantro. 

Easy Oatmeal

My quest for an easy and delicious breakfast continues.  I really like oatmeal but require many toppings and really don't like rummaging about my kitchen cupboards for said toppings. Yesterday, I was still buzzing mid afternoon from my mid morning coffee and itching for something to do in the kitchen.  It was too early to make dinner so I decided to work on breakfast.  

I like this oatmeal because I can take it to work or the studio in the morning, fill it with hot, boiling water, put the lid on and within a few minutes have breakfast.  And oatmeal fills me up for hours, which makes for a less hangry me later on in the day. 

Easy Oatmeal

1/3 cup quick oats

1/4 teaspoon chia seeds (or flax, hemp hearts...)

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon chopped pecans 

2 teaspoons dried cranberries

dash cinnamon

pinch salt

2/3 cups boiling water

Place oats, seeds, sugar, nuts, cranberries, cinnamon and salt in jar.  Add boiling water, let sit for 2 minutes.  Or add room temperature water and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.  

Zucchini Pizzas

It's not pizza, but it is a gluten free, vegetable thing that will remind you of pizza.  This is perfect if you have any zucchini-zillas growing in your garden.  The wider the zucchini, the better.  I think this would also be great using portobello mushroom caps instead.  (Or in addition, you could mix and match your veggies!)

Serves 2-4.

Zucchini Pizza Bites

1 large, mega zucchini, cut into 3/4" slices

 olive oil

s + p

1 cup tomato sauce

1 - 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Toppings:  olives, onion, pepperoni...

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Brush both sides of zucchini slices with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Arrange on baking tray.  Place in oven and cook 12 minutes.  

Remove from oven and top with sauce, cheese and desired toppings.  Return to oven and bake 10 minutes more.  

Vegan Bowl + Dill Mustard Sauce

Vegan bowls!  I love these.  Perfect for lunch because it has a little bit of everything.  This one has flavors of dill, mustard and caraway seed.  This recipe came about after visiting the Ithaca Farmer's Market and tasting several sauerkrauts by Crooked Carrot.  They make raw, live culture products using local produce.  I picked up their Original Kraut and immediately began working on a 'bowl' recipe suitable for this pristine, classic sauerkraut.  And here you have it.  

Also, if you haven't had tempeh - try it!  It has a firm chewy texture and an earthy taste.  It's made of fermented soy beans and has more protein and fiber than tofu.  

Serves 4.

Tempeh Vegan Bowl + Dill Mustard Sauce

for the bowl

1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

8oz tempeh

4 large handfuls of chopped kale

small splash olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

pinch red chile flakes

lemon juice, to taste

1 cup quinoa

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

3 carrots, peeled into ribbons

1 cup sauerkraut

for the sauce

2 teaspoon olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

s + p

fresh dill, finely chopped

Cook the tempeh: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice tempeh into 1/4 inch slices and drizzle with tamari.  Arrange on tray and bake 8 minutes or until golden brown.  

Cook kale:  Add about 1/4 cup water to a large saute pan.  Bring to a boil.  Add kale.  Cover and cook until kale wilts, about 1 minute.  Drain.  Return to medium high heat.  Push kale to one side of pan.  On the bare side, heat splash olive oil with minced garlic and chile flakes.  Cook until garlic softens and toss with kale.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  

Cook quinoa:  Combine quinoa and 2 cups of water in a small sauce pan.  Cover, bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is soft.  Stir in poppy seeds.  

Cook mustard dill sauce:  In a saute pan, over medium heat, warm olive oil.  Add shallots and caraway seeds.  Saute until shallots are soft and mixture is fragrant.  Turn up heat to high and add stock.  Boil until liquid is reduced by half.  Remove from heat and stir in mustard.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Liberally, toss with quinoa and stir in as much dill as you like.  Save extra sauce of drizzling over finished bowls.  

Assemble the bowls:  Spoon dressed quinoa into bowl. Top with sautéed kale, tempeh, raw carrot ribbons and sauerkraut.  Drizzle with extra mustard sauce if you like. 



Kale Sprouts / Kalettes

Kalettes.  Have you hear of them?  They're a new vegetable: a hybrid of brussels sprouts and kale.  That's just what they taste like.  Nutty with a vegetal sweetness.  Also called Kale Sprouts.

Tomato vinegar can be hard to find but I strongly suggest you find some.  I ordered a bottle from amazon and I use it on lots of things.  It makes a great vinaigrette or adds an tomato punch of acid to any dish.  

To toast the sesame seeds:  place pan over high heat.  Add sesame seeds.  Toast until light golden brown, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.  Takes 1-2 minutes.

Makes 2 large servings. 

Sautéed Kale Sprouts 

1/2 tablespoon neutral high heat oil

6oz kale sprouts, halved lengthwise

1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

1 tablespoon tomato vinegar

black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

Heat a 10 inch saute pan over medium high heat.  Once hot, add oil, tilting pan to coat with oil. Add kale sprouts and saute 3 (al dente) to 5 (softer) minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir together soy sauce and tomato vinegar.  Remove kale pan from heat and carefully pour in soy/vinegar.  It will bubble and sizzle.  Toss kale sprouts to coat evenly.  Transfer to serving plate and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.  


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Yum!  Pretty simple to make and so many possible applications like snacking with veggie sticks or crackers, hummus and vegetable wraps, smeared on toast or tossed with pasta... you have some options.  I'm going to use it as a cheese substitute of vegan quesadillas - i'll let you know how it goes.  

I prefer to use dried beans when I have the forethought (although, I almost never do.)  3/4 cup dried chickpeas ends up being about 1 1/2 cup cooked which is equal to one 14oz tin of chickpeas.  If you use canned chickpeas, just drain and rinse them.  

Makes about 2 cups.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

3/4 cup dried chickpeas or 1 14oz tin chickpeas

1 red bell pepper

1/4 cup tahini

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon cumin

1 garlic clove, peeled

juice of 1 lemon


dash olive oil

Place dried beans in a bowl, cover with 3 inches of water.  Let soak 8 hours.  Drain water.  Place chickpeas in a pot, cover with plenty of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, simmer until chickpeas are tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Strain.  

Roast red pepper by placing it directly on a gas burner set on high.  Rotate occasionally to cook each side.  Once all of pepper is charred black and flaky with the pepper itself softened, remove from flame.  Immediately place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand about 10 minutes or more.  Remove charred skin, stem and seeds.  

Place cooked chickpeas, roasted red pepper, tahini, parsley, cumin, garlic clove, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Process to desired consistency, adding olive oil to loosen things up as needed.  Season with more salt and lemon juice, to taste. 

Siracha Honey Roasted Cashews

I'm nuts for these!  (Haha - sorry.)  Sweet, spicy, salty.  The perfect snack that couldn't be easier and quicker to make.  Just toss the nuts with the marinade ingredients, pop them in the oven and try not to eat the entire tray while they're cooling.  For only a hint of spice, use 3 teaspoons of siracha.  

Siracha Honey Roasted Cashews

2 tablespoons honey

5 teaspoons siracha

1 teaspoon grape seed oil

1 teaspoon tamari

10 oz raw cashews


Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Whisk together honey, siracha, oil and tamari.  Toss with cashews until evenly coated.  Arrange on a parchment paper or silpat lined tray.  Roast 5 minutes, stir nuts, roast 5 minutes more.  Remove from oven and cool.  


Healthy Vegan Dinner Bowl

We weren't totally sure what to call these but they are vegan, full of healthy things and served in a bowl.  Lately I've been eating a lot of kale, lentils and whole grains.  I decided to mix things up with some roasted beets, crunchy raw carrots, sunflower seeds and a citrusy vinaigrette.  I think these would also be good with a splash of rice vinegar and tamari if you're not in the mood to make a vinaigrette.   

Serves 4. 

Healthy Vegan Dinner Bowl + Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

for the bowls

1 cup brown lentils

2 cloves garlic, smashed

2 bay leaves

1 cup farro (or freekeh)

2 red beets

1 tablespoon white vinegar 

1 bunch kale

3 carrots, cut into matchsticks

sunflower seeds

for the vinaigrette

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

6 tablespoons oil (your choice olive, canola, grape seed)

s + p

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Remove stems and wash beets.  (Greens can be washed, chopped and steamed with the kale.)  Place beets in oven proof dish, cover with foil and roast 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.  Remove from oven.  Carefully, rub off skin and chop.  Toss with a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper.  

Cook farro or freekeh in a pot of salted water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 35 minutes or until soft.  Drain, set aside. 

Bring a pot of water with the smashed garlic cloves and bay leaves to a boil.  Add lentils, return to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until lentils are soft, about 20 minutes.  Drain well. Discard garlic ad bay leaves.  Season with salt and pepper, set aside. 

Steam or saute kale. Season with s +p.  

For the vinaigrette,  whisk together lemon juice and red wine vinegar.  Slowly whisk in oil.  Add herbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Assemble the bowls!  It's not as pretty, but I think the best way to form bowls is to toss some of the farro, beets, lentils, kale, carrots, sunflower seeds and as much of the vinaigrette as needed.  Otherwise, layer farro, lentils, kale, beets, carrots, seeds and drizzle with vinaigrette.  







Chocolate Socca

A socca is a thin pancake crepe type thing from italy, made from chickpea flour, olive oil and water.  Easy, dairy and gluten free.  I decided to make a slightly sweet chocolate socca that could be eaten for breakfast or dessert.  I don't have a name for it yet.  Suggestions?  

These aren't very sweet.  You can add more sugar if you like but I think these are really all about the fillings.  Fruit and plain yogurt (pictured) if you're being good.  Whipped cream, chocolate shavings and nutella if you're being bad.  It really depends if you're having these as dessert or breakfast.  I suspect nutella, banana, strawberries and whipped cream would be a winning combination.    

Makes 4.

Chocolate Socca 

1/2 cup chickpea flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon agave

1/2 cup water

pinch salt

Whisk together all ingredients.   Set aside for a few minutes while you get your fillings together.  Heat a lightly oiled 8 inch non stick skillet over medium low heat.  Pour 1/4 of the batter onto skillet, tilting skillet so batter evenly coats the surface.  Cook about 3 minutes on each side. Turn down heat as needed.  Repeat 3 more times with remaining batter.  Serve warm with fillings.  

Some filling ideas:  jam, chocolate syrup, fresh fruit, stewed fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, nutella, whipped cream, yogurt, banana...



Basic Indian Curry

I love curry when it's cold.  Warm, aromatic and full of flavorful spices:  it really is the best thing.  Here's a simple one you can whip up for a delicious vegetarian dinner on the fly.  

Garam masala is an indian spice blend.  I use one from Simply Organics brand.  It's a blend of peppers, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves...  

Ghee is a nutty, aromatic clarified butter commonly used in indian cooking.  It's great for cooking because of its high smoke point and buttery taste.  It can be found in well stocked grocery stores or substituted with a high heat oil.  

serves 2.

Basic Indian Curry

 bit of ghee or splash high heat oil, like grape seed, safflower, canola

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, peeled, minced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted

2 teaspoons garam masala

1/4 cup water

1 14 oz tin chickpeas, drained, rinsed

10 oz diced, canned tomatoes

salt, to taste

lime juice, to taste

Heat a saute pan over medium to medium high heat.  Add oil.  Add onion and saute until browned.  Add ginger, garlic, toasted cumin seeds and garam masala.  Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add water and cook off.  Add chickpeas and tomatoes.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Season with salt and lime before serving.  


Buttermilk Cornbread Pancakes

Oh, pancakes.  Nothing says 'it's the weekend' more strongly than homemade pancakes.  Made these last sunday and happily drowned them in maple syrup.  Cam ate his topped with two sunny eggs.  He's so sensible.  

Makes 6 pancakes.   

Cornbread Pancakes

1 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch salt

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

high heat oil, as needed for cooking

Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Whisk in egg and buttermilk until just combined and flour is hydrated.   

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat.  Oil surface if necessary.  Pour 1/2 cup ladlefuls of batter onto the hot skillet.  Leave enough room for flipping.  When the edges bubble, flip.  Cook until the bottom side is light brown.  

Serve warm with maple syrup and butter.   

Orzo Salad

Fall Orzo Salad

1 1/2 cups whole wheat orzo

splash olive oil

1 shallot, thinly sliced

6 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 fennel, thinly sliced

8 oz Brussels sprouts, leaves separated, cores discarded

1 tablespoon butter

juice of half a lemon

2 tablespoons chopped parsley 

s + p

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

grated parmesan cheese

Boil orzo until al dente.  Drain, rinse, toss with a tiny bit of oil.  

Heat a large pan over medium heat.  Add oil.  When oil is warm, add shallots.  Cook until soft, stirring, about 2 minutes.  Add fennel and mushrooms.  Cook, stirring, about a 5 minutes.  Fennel should be crisp tender.  Add sprout leaves, cook until warmed and softened.  Stir in orzo and butter.  Add lemon juice, parsley, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.  Serve warm.  


Salad + Plums + Honey Cumin Vinaigrette

I don't eat enough salad.  I try, but I just don't.  So, I've been trying to make ones at home full of things I like to eat to entice myself to eat more greens.  

This, seasonal late summer/early fall salad, is one of them.  Fresh, sweet stone fruit and roasted carrots.  The honey cumin vinaigrette ties everything together.  

Serves 2.

Salad with Plums + Honey Cumin Vinaigrette

For the salad:

3 carrots, peeled, chopped

splash olive oil

s + p

1 plum, pitted, sliced

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

3 - 4 cups baby greens mix

For the vinaigrette:

1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

squeeze lemon juice, to taste

s + p

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss chopped carrots in olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Spread out on pan and roast in oven about 20 minutes, tossing once if desired.  Set aside.

Make vinaigrette by first toasting cumin seeds.  Place in a pan over medium high heat, shaking pan frequently, until fragrant.  Grind toasted seeds in a spice or coffee grinder to a fine powder. 

In a small bowl, whisk ground cumin seeds, honey and vinegar together.  Whisk in oil.  Season with lemon juice and salt until balanced and doesn't taste overpoweringly of olive oil.  

Toss greens, carrots, plums and red onion slices with vinaigrette.  Serve immediately.  







Green Beans with Olives + Almonds

I have a go to method for making green bean sides:  blanche, shock, dry and saute in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes.  Season with s + p.  It's simple and goes with a lot of main courses.  

I decided to shake things up a bit and try something new.  This follows the same method but with new, more unusual ingredients.  Enjoy!

Castelvetrano olives are sicilian olives with a beautiful green color, mildly brined, buttery flavor.  I have had a hard time finding them pitted, so you'll probably have to remove the pits yourself.  The flesh on these likes to hold onto the pit so you're best bet is to just slice it off on each side.  

Serves 2-3.

Green Beans with Olives + Almonds

3/4 lb green beans, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

10 castelvetrano olives, pits removed

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

s + p

Boil a pot of water, add a pinch of salt to season.  Add green beans, blanch about 60 to 90 seconds, until crisp tender.  Transfer green beans to ice bath to shock.  Once cold, dry green beans.  

Heat a 10" pan over medium heat.  Once hot, add olive oil, when oil is hot, add beans.  Cook until hot, stirring and moving beans around pan.  Remove from heat and toss with sherry vinegar.  Set aside. Salt lightly and pepper.  

Return pan to medium heat, adding a small amount of oil if needed.  Add almonds and olives, cook, stirring until warm, about 2 minutes.  Toss with green beans.  



Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Hey there, vegetarians.  I have a stuffed red pepper recipe for you.  These are a healthy take on the classic with red quinoa for rice and lots of veggies.  

Serves 2 - 4.

Kale + Mushroom Stuffed Red Peppers

1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped

1/2 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, leaves chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

s + p

2 oz feta, chopped

5 basil leaves, chopped

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 tin diced tomatoes

2 red bell peppers, seeded, halved lengthwise

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a small pot, bring 1 cup water and quinoa to a boil, cover.  Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes or until water has evaporated.  Fluff with fork, set aside.  

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add garlic and mushrooms.  Sauté 3 minutes more.  Add kale and red pepper flakes.  Cook 1 minutes, stirring.  Remove from heat.  

Stir in quinoa, salt, pepper, feta, basil and lemon.  

Evenly spoon into red pepper halves.  Arrange on lined baking sheet and cover well with foil.  

Bake 30 minutes.  


Cauliflower 'Mac' + Cheese

There's no pasta, but it's a healthier alternative to the baked classic.  If you use a wheat free flour it's a gluten free dinner.  Be the most popular at your next potluck picnic!  

For this I prefer 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and a 1/2 cup of Monterey jack cheese.  When it comes to melting, there's strength in numbers.  

Serves 2-3

Cauliflower 'mac' + Cheese

1 head cauliflower, trimmed, chopped into bite sized pieces

2 tablespoons butter

1 shallot, diced

2 tablespoons flour of your choice, a.p. or chickpea, rice...

1/8 cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

s + p

1/4 cup fat free milk

splash white wine

1 cup grated melting cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan.  Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add chopped cauliflower, blanche 4 minutes.  Drain, shock with cold water to stop cauliflower from cooking.  Drain and dry.  

Wipe out pot and return it to the stove top.  Heat butter oven medium heat.  Once butter is melted, add shallot, cook until clear and soft, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  

In a small bowl, stir flour, cayenne, mustard powder, salt and pepper.  Add to to the pot, stirring to coat the cooking shallot.  Slowly, whisk in the milk.  Stir until lump free and add the splash of white wine.  Cook until thick.  Add all but one tablespoon cheese and cauliflower.  Stir until cauliflower is well coated in thick cheesey goo.  

Transfer prepared loaf pan.  Top with remaining cheese.  Bake 20 minutes.  



Lemon Miso Soup

A very satisfying soup.  A combination of a vegetable noodle and a miso soup.  

Substitute a quinoa pasta to make this a gluten free meal.  I think this would also be great with barley or farro.  

Serves 2.  

Lemon Miso Soup

1/2 cup uncooked pasta, small size like tubettini, ditalini or acini de pepe

olive oil

1 shallot, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

red chile flakes or long red pepper, seeded, sliced into rings

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 carrot, peeled, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

3/4 cup snow peas or green beans, chopped

4 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon white miso

juice of half of a lemon juice

s + white pepper

Cook pasta al dente.  Drain, rinse, drain.  Set aside.

In a pot, heat a drizzle of oilve oil over medium heat.  Add shallot, cook 3 minutes.  Add garlic, chile flakes or slices, carrot and celery.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring.  Add stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, carrots and vegetables will be crisp tender.  Add mushrooms.  Cook 5 minutes.   Add snow peas or green beans and pasta.

 Stir miso paste with a ladleful of soup to make a slurry.   Stir into soup.  Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. 


Sesame Crusted Baked Tofu + Dipping Sauce


Crispy and nutty bite size tofu snacks.  Best part is that they're baked, not fried.  Would be a great as part of a dim sum style dinner.  

makes 16 pieces.  

Sesame Crusted Baked Tofu + Dipping Sauce

1 block extra firm tofu

1 cup lite coconut milk

s + p

3/4 cup black and white sesame seeds

for the sauce

2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sambal oelek

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Drain tofu and place on a towel.  Place something heavy on top of tofu block, like a fry pan with a tin can of something in it, to press any water out of it.  This will help make it crispy.  While tofu is draining, heat oven to 500 degrees.  Line a pan with parchment paper, set aside.  

Place coconut milk in a shallow bowl, next to a shallow bowl of sesame seeds.  Slice tofu into 16 squares and season with salt and pepper.   One by one dip each square in coconut milk and then coat with sesame seeds.  Arrange on parchment paper lined pan and bake 6 minutes.  Flip tofu squares and bake 4 minutes more.  

Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, sambal oelok and sesame oil together.  Serve on the side of squares.

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers + Pickled Jalapeno Poppers


Vegetarian burgers with a mexican vibe.  Great chopped up over  a salad, or in a wrap or served as a burger.  Pickling the jalapenos mellows their spiciness, so does stuffing them with cheese.  Worth making even on their own as snacks or working into a grilled cheese sandwich.  Just a thought.  

makes about 8-10 burgers

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers + Cheese Stuffed Pickled Jalapenos

for the burgers

1 tin black beans, drained, rinsed

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 shallot, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 a red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

3 cilantro sprigs, chopped

1 tablespoon flaw seeds, ground

1 egg

juice of 1/2 a lime

for the jalapenos

6 jalapenos

1/2 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

monterey jack cheese, about 2 ounces

Mash beans.  Set aside.  Cook quinoa, add to beans.

In a skillet, heat olive oil and cook shallots 2 minutes.  Add garlic, bell pepper and corn.  Cook 2 minutes more. Add to back beans.   Add cumin, paprika, oregano, cilantro, flax seeds, egg and lime juice.  Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.   Portion with a 1/4 cup.  Cook 5 minutes on each side in an oiled pan over medium heat.  

We served as burgers with cheese stuffed pickled jalapenos.  Slice a capital T shape in each jalapeno and remove seeds.  Place in a small pot with water, vinegar, salt, sugar and peppercorns.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes.  When ready to use, remove from pickling liquid, stuff with a rectangular slice of cheese.  Heat a pan on the stove over medium heat.  Cook jalapenos in pan, flipping as needed.  They will be a toasty color and the cheese will be melted.  


Grilled Portobellos + Creole Tomato Sauce


There's a restaurant in Ithaca, New York called Maxie's Supper Club that I am obsessed with.  Their margaritas come in pint glasses and there are things like tasso gravy and mighty mighty gumbo on the menu.  They also have chicken fried tuesdays.  (And who doesn't need a little fried chicken on a tuesday?)  

I'm getting carried away.  The reason I bring up my beloved Maxie's is that they have something on the menu that is grilled portobellos with creole tomato sauce.  While I've never seen or ordered it I've haven't stopped thinking how good it sounds.  Cam and I decided to give it a go.

We had sauce leftover and ate it over roasted spaghetti squash.   

(If you are vegetarian, omit worcestershire sauce.  It contains anchovies.)

Serves 4. 

Grilled Portobellos + Creole Tomato Sauce

splash olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

4 cloves garlic, diced

2 green onions, diced, white and green separated  

1 28 oz tin tomatoes

3 bay leaves

4 thyme sprigs, stems discarded

s + p

splash worcestershire sauce 

1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

pinch sugar

8 portobello mushroom caps, cleaned, stems removed

In a medium pot, on medium high heat, cook onion in splash of oil until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add bell pepper, celery, garlic, green onion whites and thyme, cook, stirring, 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, bay, thyme leaves, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with sugar, salt and pepper.  Stir in parsley.  

While sauce is simmering, cook mushrooms on medium high heat in a grill pan on the stove.  About 5 minutes on each side.  Mushrooms can also be roasted in 425 degree oven, loosely covered with foil for 35 minutes.  

Once mushrooms are done, top with warm tomato sauce.  Garnish with green onion greens.  We served ours with kale sauted with garlic.  yum.