Friday, January 29, 2010

Make time

This post is all about making time to cook yourself a good meal.
I went to yoga after work (what a workout!- don't let anyone tell you otherwise.) I didn't get home until almost 8. I know how tempting it is to stop at the store for a frozen pizza, or hop through the Taco bell drive thru for a bean burrito and cheesy gordita crunch (I may have eaten one or two of those in my day) However, with about 15 minutes worth of effort and 10 minutes of mental planning, I had a much healthier dinner for myself and was plopped in front of the TV by 8:30.
This stuffed mushroom is Mediterranean inspired, served over a bed of sautéed rainbow chard and spinach. Tonight was my first experience with rainbow chard and I loved it.
This mushroom comes together quickly because all the ingredients are precooked in the skillet and meld in the oven. Make time to cook for yourself- your body will thank you.

Mediterranean Stuffed Mushroom with sautéed greens
serves 2

2 large portobello mushrooms (destemed, and gills scooped off with a spoon)
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 scallions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 small jar of artichoke hearts
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, in oil, drained
6-8 olives, chopped: your choice
2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary- and any other seasonings you like!
olive oil
2 tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs- I prefer panko

Sautéed greens
1 bunch rainbow chard
1 bunch spinach
2 garlic cloves, chopped
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 400.
For the mushrooms- drizzle each side with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, set in a small casserole dish.
Drizzle olive oil in a skillet. Saute pepper, garlic and onion until tender. Turn off heat. Add cream cheese, artichokes, olives and sun dried tomatoes. Season with herbs and salt and pepper- this is all eye balled.

Place mixture in mushroom. Top each with 1 tablespoon bread crumbs. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes, until mushroom is tender and all stuffing is combined.

While the mushrooms cook, place 1 tablespoon water in preused skillet. Add greens. After about 2 minutes, add garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until greens are soft, but not mush.

Put greens on plate and top with mushroom.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In love with Barefoot.

No not bare feet... bare foot. Those of you who know me really well know that I cannot stand feet- period. Sick. Ugh. Yuck. In fact, in my last week's yoga class the teacher made us high five feet with the person next to us, while we were in this crazy position, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack and die.

As much as I hate bare feet, I absolutely love bare foot...Barefoot Contessa that is. Her recipes are classy and simple, her house in The Hamptons is gorgeous and her little gray-haired husband is adorable. They are quite squeal worthy when in an episode together. I've been quire obsessed with reruns of her show, as of late, and wanted to attempt her lemon yogurt cake, since my uncle is coming to dinner tonight. Lemon does not scream winter (and my picky sister likes it in nothing except lemonade) so I decided winter mandarin oranges made a better choice. I modified almost every single ingredient in the recipe, but the foundation is there and the result was incredibly tasty. The cake is baked in a loaf pan, cooled slightly, drizzled with a juice and topped with a glaze. That sounds excessive, but I cut the sugar down and those last two steps keep the cake moist, so do it!! I made some mini muffins, for taste testers last night; try those too.

Orange Yogurt Cake with Glaze (adapted from BFC Lemon Yogurt Cake)
1 1/2 cups garbanzo bean or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vanilla coconut milk YOGURT (you could use soy or rice milk too)
3/4 cup, plus 1/4 cup natural sugar
3 tablespoons of flax, 9 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons grated mandarin orange zest (about 3)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (you can use all applesauce, no oil, if you want, but I was worried about a chewy cake.)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed mandarin orange juice

For the glaze:
1/2 cup natural confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed mandarin orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan. (MAKE SURE TO LINE AND COAT THE PAN- or you will scrub that pan all night and I will be forced to say I told you so!)

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 3/4 cup sugar, the flax and water, zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the applesauce and oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup juice and remaining sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, prick lots of holes with a toothpick and pour the orange-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and juice and pour over the cake. Add more juice, or water if it's too thick.
Serve with fresh berries and/or coconut milk ice cream.

Delicious pita, not peta.

Whenever I tell people I'm vegan I imagine their heads swimming with ideas about me throwing paint on fur coats and standing at the corner of a McDonalds with huge posters of massacred pigs, wearing, of course, a PETA shirt, or sticker, etc. I promise, I find PETA just as annoying as you do. I appreciate their cause, but when you do things like scold the president for killing a fly, you further alienate yourself from a country that does not understand you, just saying.
In any case, I love the other pita: with hummus, eggplant spread, plain, as sandwich bread, baked as a get the idea.
I recently discovered a blog, peobably my new fav ( and felt inspired by their pita bread recipe.
I copied the recipe line for line, except two things: I used active yeast and I added garlic salt instead of regular salt. The pita is light in flavor (that's a sweet way of saying bland), as it should be, but to up the flavor, I think next time I'll add a teaspoon of garlic powder, in addition to the regular salt. I also want to try this with cinnamon and bake them into cinnamon sugar chips.
Now, my pitas do not look as pretty as the ones on the noveleats website, but who cares what they look like when you're stuffing it in your mouth 5 minutes before class starts?

Get the recipe here.
If you're using active yeast, follow these directions.