Sunday, April 13, 2014

Biscuit Fritata with Hollandaise, Feta and Capers

My boyfriend loves breakfast, especially decadent ones I make on the weekends. He also is a classically trained chef in the French style. I am a home cook, self-taught, and overwhelmingly ignorant of most things French other than quiche or aioli. Since he loves Hollandaise sauce, I decided to concoct a special brunch meal and try my hand at this elusive sauce.

I'm happy to report it was delicious!

Happily my beau was able to give me pointers so that the sauce came out beautifully, and it was the first time we cooked together, without anyone getting hurt. You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen!

This is not something you're going to whip together in a few minutes. However, it was well worth the hour it took from start to finish. We were very happy with our Saturday morning meal!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chocolate Covered Carrot Cake Balls

Aaahhh, I know that when you saw the title of this post you thought, "complicatedddd!" And then you saw the photo and thought, "whatttt?" Let me set your mind at ease. These are easy, addictive, and healthy!

Yes, healthy.

Really. They're raw, so there's no sugar or flours. And if you have not tasted raw desserts, don't go turning your nose up just yet.

Raw treats are some of the best desserts out there, super decadent tasting but actually healthy for you, like raw vegetable healthy for you! This one is made with grated carrots and apples, held together with a little almond butter and dipped in liquid coconut oil mixed with raw cacao powder. The trick is to freeze the balls before giving them a chocolate bath, which creates the amazing chocolate shell on the outside. Trust me on this one, kids big and small (and over 25!) will love these!

Chocolate Covered Carrot Cake Balls (based on this recipe)

1 large carrot, grated
1 large green or other tart apple, cored and grated
1 tablespoon raisins
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg (or 2-3 swipes on a microplaner with whole nutmeg)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 tablespoons maple syrup, divided (or raw honey if you want all of your ingredients to be raw)
2 tablespoons almond butter (can substitute other nut butter)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (place in metal dish and place dish in hot water to liquefy oil)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons raw cacao powder

Combine carrot and apple and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, and drain off. Combine drained carrot apple mixture with almond butter, raisins, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Mix well and taste for seasonings, adding more spices to taste. Using tablespoon as measure, make balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet and place in freezer for at least 2 hours. When balls are frozen, make chocolate coating by combining liquid coconut oil, vanilla, 2 tablespoons vanilla and cacao powder. Make sure all powder is mixed in well. Roll balls in chocolate and set on plate. Chocolate coating should harden immediately. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Artichoke Bread at Closet Cooking
Garlic Parmesan Tempeh Wings at Keeping It Kind
Gluten Free Multigrain Pancakes at Holy Cow

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Broccoli Fritters with Aioli

Broccoli is a vegetable much beloved by my family. There was a period when we actually ate it every day and still wanted more! But in the past couple of years shiny new things like kale and brussels sprouts have tempted us away. But the other day I was lured back to my old friend, and boy was it tasty!

Fritters are hard not to love but these broccoli and cheese ones were super delicious! I topped them with some leftover aioli which was the perfect match for my palate, but you could with hot sauce, salsa or sour cream.

A note of caution: don't over cook the broccoli. Do follow the fool-proof method listed below even if you believe that steaming it is better; it invariably gets too mushy because the pieces continue to cook after they are removed from the steam.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fully Loaded Nachos

Nachos - one of those dishes you only get at a restaurant? Think again my friends! Nachos are easy peasy at home, it's just all about the fixin's...and lots of cheese!!!

The trick to great nachos at home is more cheese than you want to admit to putting in a dish, but I believe it is counter balanced by the "salad" on top. So think of this as a once in a while indulgence, not a dish to put in your bi-weekly rotation.

As with any dish, the better your ingredients, the better the end result. Do buy high quality tortilla chips - thin, organic - not rounds that are more salt than corn. Fresh avocados, tomatoes, cilantro and red onions are also on my must list. This is one of the few dishes that I reach for canned black olives and not the more pungent kalamata or briny green olives. If you like spice, get some pickled jalapeno slices and serve them on the side if all your eaters don't want some fire in their mouth. Personalize it, they're your nachos!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Oyster Mushroom Po'Boy Sandwich

Oyster mushrooms are one of those exotic fungi that I usually toss together with other plebian mushrooms because I don't know anything else to do with them. All that changes with this po'boy - crispy oven toasted mushrooms with lettuce and a spicy aioli sauce. I may never be the same again!

Growing like shingles from a main stem, oyster mushrooms are gorgeous to look at and even more delicious to eat. Sure you can toss them in a stir-fry, but this recipe looks decadent and really isn't, as long as you don't bathe the bread in the aioli!

While this version is vegetarian, using cheese and eggs in the batter and breading, you can easily veganize it by using nutritional yeast in the breading instead of Asiago cheese and egg replacer or a slurry of ground flax seeds for the eggs. Vegan aioli is easy to duplicate if you add pressed garlic to vegannaise. I added a few drops of my favorite hot sauce but that's up to you.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sweet Potato Latkes

Sweet potatoes are one of those powerhouse vegetables that I am often stumped about how to incorporate into a dish. There's sweet potato fries - oven baked to goodness - but my attempts have been less than encouraging. And sweet potato stew with peanut butter and cilantro inspired by African nut stews are also good. But I finally found my favorite (and quickest!) way to prepare sweet potatoes, latkes.

Latkes are simply potato pancakes - grated potatoes with some added flavors, pan fried to crisp golden deliciousness! While I love latkes made with russet potatoes, sweet potato latkes are even better because you don't have to squeeze the moisture out of them as is necessary with latkes made with russets. Whoo hoo for simple!

In this version I added some feta cheese, capers and parsley and the were quite a hit with adults and teenagers alike. But you can make them sweeter - diced apple, chopped walnuts, chevre - would make a great combo as well. Be creative!