About Lisa Dawn

wife. mom. vegan. yogi.

Book Report: Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (That Happens To Be Vegan) + Bonus Recipe

HG_Smith _ Daughters - A Cookbook (That Happens to Be Vegan)_CVR_9781743792070.jpg

Have you heard of the restaurant in Australia called Smith and Daughter’s? It’s on my radar but I am not going down under any time soon. Luckily, the two women behind the joint, Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse, have written a pretty amazing cookbook called Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (that happens to be vegan), so no traveling is necessary! From the actual book itself – the cover design, the photo on the inside cover of a full box of vegetables, the black edged pages, the bookmark, and the empty vegetable box on the back inside cover – to the recipes and the stories, it literally makes me want to cook everything in it!

These ladies are edgy, smart and successful. They have a great story about how they met and opened a restaurant together. There is a heavy Spanish influence because one of the authors, the chef, Shannon Martinez has Spanish blood. She has recreated a lot of her Grandmother’s recipes, which really speaks to me, as I love to veganize family favorites too. The essence of this book is down to earth and real.

Besides the recipes, the list of “23 Tips and Facts About This Book” is my favorite part. I love #2 being my favorite: “Don’t follow the recipes too carefully.” It’s like these gals are speaking to me – they are so chill about their recipes. They go on to say things like: we believe in you, sub anything for something in a recipe or leave it out if you don’t have it, the recipes are for regular cooks. and don’t be scared in the kitchen. It makes me willing to open a can of chipotles in adobo. More on that in a minute.

The first recipe I made was The Best Tofu Scramble because I’ve been making tofu scramble since the day I turned vegan and was wondering, could it get better? Well, it can! Shannon’s secret sauce turns the texture of the tofu into something akin to soft scrambled eggs. Brilliant!

IMG_6603

Next I made the Pan con Tomate (Catalan Tomato Bread) which apparently is Shannon’s favorite way to eat toast and may be mine now too. It is literally just grated tomato, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar (a big fave in this book), and parsley.

IMG_6802.jpg

I don’t often make salads from cookbooks, because, well salad. But this one was calling my name and it did not disappoint. It is the Artichoke & Chickpea Salad which has artichoke hearts and roasted Jerusalem artichokes, chickpeas, almonds and capers tossed with arugula and a lemon cumin vinaigrette. This one is going into the regular rotation.

IMG_6647

I also made the Mexican Rice. Because, well, rice, peas, onions and jalapeños. Event though the recipe called for whole tomatoes, I used tomato paste and it came out brilliantly – hearty and delicious. Even better reheated the next day!

IMG_6902.jpg

And the most ridiculous dish that I would have never made in a million years but did because this book made me feel like I could, the Sopa Seca (Peruvian Pasta Bake). The scary ingredient for me is chipotles in adobo. I have probably seen recipes that called for it in the past but I must have turned the page super fast. As far as I know, I have never eaten chipotles in adobo, and I certainly haven’t bought any. But guess what? I love them! They are smoky, sweet and a little spicy. OMG! I am now trying to figure out everything I can put them in. Here is a picture of the Sopa Seca. Lucky for you, I got permission to reprint the recipe. See below…

IMG_6876.jpg

Anyway, there are still a lot of recipes I have to try like the Black Olive & Dark Chocolate Tapenade, the Albondigas, the Paella, the Chickpea Stew, the Brazilian Slaw, and the Spanish Potato Salad. I have been reading a lot of cookbooks lately, but this one that I will be cooking from a lot going forward. Mostly because the authors are saucy, creative and make really cool vegan food.

SOPA SECA
Peruvian Pasta Bake

This amazing Peruvian pasta dish has been the most misunderstood item on the Smith & Daughters menu. The staff still beg us to bring it back. If you don’t think of it as spaghetti bolognese, or anything Italian and pasta-y that you’re used to, you’re in for a real treat. It’s totally delicious, spicy and unusual. Make it! See for yourself!

Serves 4–6

60 ml (2 fl oz / 1/4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) angel hair pasta, broken into 10 cm (4 in) pieces
1 1/2 onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
4 chipotles in adobo
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) tinned whole tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 fresh bay leaves
500 ml (17 fl oz / 2 cups) vegan chicken stock
400 g (14 oz) tinned black beans (or use whatever beans you have)
Coriander Cashew Cream, to serve
handful chopped coriander leaves, to serve

Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). Lightly grease a 30 cm x 20 cm (12 in x 8 in) ovenproof dish with olive oil.

Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add the pasta and fry for 2–3 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

Place the onion, garlic, chipotles, tomatoes, ground coriander and oregano in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a pan with the bay leaves and cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Stir in the stock, fried pasta and beans, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, breaking up the pasta with a spoon, for about 5 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves, then transfer the mixture to the prepared ovenproof dish and cover loosely with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Serve, drizzled with coriander cashew cream and coriander leaves scattered over the top.

Smith & Daughters_Sopa Seca.jpg

Recipe excerpted with permission from Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (that happens to be vegan) by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse, published by Hardie Grant Books March 2017, RRP $35.00 hardcover. Photograph credit: Bonnie Savage

Taco Tuesday: Potatoes & Spinach

IMG_6690.jpg

I always make tacos on Tuesdays. (a) Because it is fun to say and (b) because they are easy to make. Today’s edition is a family fave and super simple – potatoes and spinach drowned in cashew sour crema and guacamole. I like a few shakes of cumin here for flavor, but nothing too heavy. Go crazy and add taco seasoning if you are in the mood! Oh, and a sprinkle of scallions on top because I put them on everything!

I am itching to make my own tortillas. I have masa harina and a tortilla press. But I am still in the “mulling it over in my mind” stage. I know that once I start, I won’t be able to stop, but for now, I use the cleanest corn tortillas I can find. I like the ones with only the basic ingredients: corn, lime and salt.

Makes 6 tacos

6 corn tortillas
1 Russet potato
1/2 small onion
1 bunch spinach (cleaned well!)
Cumin, a few shakes
1 teaspoon of sunflower oil
Cashew sour crema, recipe follows
Guacamole
2 scallions, for garnish

Peel and dice the potato. Place into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until you can just pierce the potatoes with a fork, aka al dente.

In the meantime, dice the onion and either oil or water sauté until it is translucent. Give it a few shakes of cumin. Add the spinach and mix it around until it is wilted.

When the potatoes are ready, drain them and place them right back in the pot to steam off for a minute or two.

Move the onions and spinach to the edges of the pan and place a teaspoon of oil in the center. Add the potatoes and toss around to coat. Cook until the edges start to take on some color.

Char (or heat up) your tortillas. Place a good heaping of the potato mixture on the tortilla. Top with guacamole, cashew crema and scallions. Enjoy!

Cashew Sour Crema
1/2 cup cashews
3/4 cup filtered water
The juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt, a pinch

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix. Blend until creamy. There will be more than you need. It will keep in the refrigerator for a week or so!

Book Report: Vegan Goodness + Bonus Recipe for The Holy Shit Cake!

Vegan Goodness_cover_FINAL_300dpi.jpg

Did that title get your attention? I’ll get to the Holy Shit Cake in a few minutes. But first, let me introduce you to Vegan Goodness by Jessica Prescott. She is the creator of the blog Wholy Goodness and the writer of this new cookbook.

I love finding new cookbooks but I am not always inspired to make more than one or two recipes. But I am going to say that I think it is a wonderful addition to the vegan world of cookbooks. There are about 60 recipes and they are simple and creative with beautiful photographs. There are some ideas in this book that I have never thought of – like the nut roast – but also some that I have – like tabbouleh and ginger turmeric tonic. When I find a book that has familiar recipes, I know I am in the right place.

I love that Jessica wrote and photographed this book while she was pregnant – creating a book while creating a vegan baby! Jessica talks about her veganism and her journey in the introduction, then outlines a shopping list with basic and “weird” ingredients like nooch (but if you are vegan, not so weird!) There is a section about kitchen equipment and some tips and tricks, the number one being to “slow down!”

The food in this book is hearty and rustic, nothing too fancy, which is just fine by me. I have made a bunch of recipes and they have all been successful! The first one I made was the Tabbouleh from the Quick Eats section. I happened to have everything on hand and ready to go so it was a simple matter of chopping. I made it with a mix of quinoa and millet plus pine nuts, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, chickpeas, mint and parsley.

IMG_6613.jpg

Next, from the Slow Suppers section, I made the Nut Roast. It is savory, nutty and all around delicious. My apartment smelled so good while it was cooking, I literally couldn’t wait for it to come out of the oven. It’s got cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts and sesame seeds plus red onions, garlic, zucchini, parsley and thyme! Not for someone with nut allergies, that is for sure, but for us (and my friend with whom I shared it), delicious.

IMG_6808.jpg

Lastly, I made the Holy Shit Cake from the Sweet Treats Section. Jessica named this cake based on the reactions of everyone who eats it and I would agree. It is not too sweet and could be gluten-free if you need it to be.

IMG_6851.jpg

IMG_6867.jpg

And luckily, I got permission to reprint the recipe from the publisher if you want to try it! There are more recipes I am excited to try including the Pea and Potato Dumplings, the Tangy Berry Tarts, and the Watermelon Limeade. I am highly recommending this book!

HOLY SHIT CAKE

MAKES 1 x 18 CM (7 IN) OR 1 x 23 CM (9 IN) ROUND CAKE

This is a recipe from my mum that I have veganised. I renamed it Holy Shit Cake because that is what people say when they first bite into it. If you don’t have a food processor you can use pre-ground nuts. The texture will be a little different, but still really yummy.

For the salted caramel:
400 ml (13 fl oz) tin coconut milk
10 Medjool dates, pits removed and finely chopped
a pinch of sea salt

For the cake:
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds or chia seeds
140 g (5 oz / 1 cup) almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts or a mix of all three, plus a handful extra, roughly chopped, for the top
40 g (1 1/2 oz / 1/4 cup) sesame seeds (optional)
150 g (5 oz / 1 1/2 cups) rolled (porridge) oats or rice flakes
90 g (3 1/4 oz / 1 cup) desiccated coconut
110 g (3 3/4 oz / 1/2 cup) granulated (raw) brown sugar (demerara)
3 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour or buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
a pinch of sea salt
100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz / 1/3 cup) coconut oil, melted

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF/Gas 4).

To make the caramel, put the coconut milk in a small saucepan. Add the chopped dates to the pan and bring to the boil, then allow to simmer, whisking occasionally to help the dates break down. When the caramel is thick and smooth, remove from the heat, add the salt and set aside.

To make the cake, blend the flaxseeds or chia seeds with 120 ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) of water and set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients, except the coconut oil, in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are roughly chopped. Now add the flaxseeds or chia seeds and the coconut oil and blitz until thoroughly combined.

Press two-thirds of the mixture into a lined springform cake tin. Smooth the surface using the back of a wet spoon. Pour the salted caramel into the cake pan over the cake mix, using a rubber spatula so you don’t miss any salted caramel goodness. Sprinkle the remaining cake mix over the caramel. Top with a handful of roughly chopped nuts.

Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool in the tin for another 30 minutes before serving with some coconut cream or Banana Ice Cream.

CH-CH-CH-CH-CHANGES!

You can use psyllium husk instead of flax or chia seeds, but add it with the dry ingredients and then add the water with the coconut oil. Don’t combine the psyllium husk with water and allow it to thicken as it will go reeeeally thick if you do this. If you are gluten-free, use gluten-free oats or rice flakes.

Vegan Goodness_Holy Shit Cake.jpg

Recipe excerpted with permission from Vegan Goodness by Jessica Prescott, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $24.99 hardcover. Photography credit: Jessica Prescott

Tamari-Agave-Glazed Tofu with Braised Baby Bok Choy over Rice

IMG_6696.jpg

This meal started with a beautiful box of baby bok choy I found at the local market. How to prep them? I love roasting bok choy with a little oil and salt (see below), but I also love braising them. What to serve them with? I asked Google and found this Martha Stewart recipe. All I had to do was swap out the main protein for tofu! Everything else stayed the same.

Note: We like white rice. I know, I know, brown rice is healthier, blah blah blah. But we are vegan and so I figure that a little white rice in the scheme of things is fine!

Serves 3

1 box of extra firm tofu, pressed
3 tablespoons tamari
3 tablespoons agave
The juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoon sunflower oil
3 scallions, for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish
White rice, about 1 cup (uncooked)
Baby bok choy, a dozen (a little water, a dash of tamari, a shake of garlic powder)

Get the rice going. Thinly slice the scallions. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the tofu into 8 pieces.

Whisk together the tamari, agave, lime juice, and oil. Organize the tofu on the baking tray and gently pour the marinade over the tofu. Sort of brush it around to get the marinade on both sides.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Leave the bok choy in tact but clean very well – in between the leaves and close to the stem. Add to a pan with sides and add water, just about 1/4 the way up the pan. Add a few dashes of tamari and a shake or two of garlic powder. Braise on medium heat, covered, until the bok choy are wilting and the white part looks soft.

To serve, place the tofu on top of the rice. Arrange the bok choy on the side of the plate. Sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

IMG_6691.jpg

Look at those beautiful baby bok choys! Braise them as above or roast them. Brush with sunflower oil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and roast in a 350 oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

IMG_6781.jpg

Nutty Parm v2

IMG_4720.jpg

I absolutely love this vegan parmesan substitute. We lovingly call it sprinkle cheese in my house but it is simply almond flour aka almond meal, nutritional yeast, salt and onion powder. In my original version, I toasted nuts – cashews, Brazil nuts and pine nuts – and then tossed them into the food processor with the rest of the ingredients. But almond flour is so much better because the texture is fine and fluffy. Plus, there is no processing. Just toast and store. That’s it!

Note: I usually make the entire bag of flour which is double this recipe and then store it in jars in the refrigerator.

2 cups almond flour/meal
2/3 cup nutritional yeast (nooch)
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons onion powder

Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the almond flour/meal on a big sheet tray, being sure it is all in one layer. Place into the oven and toast until golden. This can range based on your oven. It usually takes 15 minutes in mine.

When the almond meal has cooled, pour it into a big mixing bowl. Add the nooch, salt, and onion powder and mix well.

Place into storage containers and use whenever you want a noochy, cheesy topping. We love it sprinkled over steamed broccoli, roasted cauliflower, popcorn, pasta and salads. Enjoy!

Passover: Matzo Apple Pudding

IMG_6673.jpg

My mother veganized one of my favorite Passover dishes from growing up: matza apple pudding. Also known as kugel, this sweet matzo dish is the perfect side dish for a Passover seder. I love topping it with a little horseradish!

We have a big seder so my mother doubles her recipe and uses an 11″ baking dish. She was so proud of herself (and I was so honored that she did this for me) that she took this picture right when it came out of the oven. I wanted to share it here. But that’s a lot of matzo apple pudding, enough for 8 to 10 people. For a single recipe, use a 9″ round pie plate or brownie pan.

You can use any variety of apples you like to eat but I like honey crisp, gala and granny smith. A combo works too!

4 sheets of matzo
4 apples
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup melted vegan butter, or more if necessary
1/4 cup vegan sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt, a pinch

Crumble the matzo in a strainer over a bowl. Wet the matzo with warm water and press to drain the water out, essentially making the matzo soggy, but not dripping wet.

Peel and core the apples. Drop one apple into the food processor and process.

Chop the other apples into a medium to large dice.

In a big bowl, mix the matzo, apples, walnuts and raisins. Add the melted butter, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Mix until everything is well incorporated. If it seems dry, add more melted butter.

Grease the baking dish and turn out the pudding. Top with a few dots of butter (not melted.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the top starts to brown. Enjoy!

Cooking the Blog: Birthday Dinner 2017: Pistachio Crusted Tofu with Mixed Mashed Potatoes & Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

IMG_6418.jpg

I am loving looking back on my old posts and seeing how my vegan cooking journey began and how far I have come. When I made my own birthday dinner six years ago, I was so proud of myself for breading tofu! And the concept of mixing Russets and sweet potatoes, an idea from a woman who taught me a few things about how to cook vegan, was mind blowing.

Back then, I breaded the tofu with cornstarch, rice milk and cornmeal. I don’t do that anymore. I never have cornstarch in the house because my niece is allergic. Nor do I have rice milk. I used to add whole pistachios to Brussels sprouts, which I simply halved. Eventually I started shredding Brussels sprouts because I like them better that way when I make them on the stovetop and whole pistachios don’t make sense. And back in the day, I used soy creamer and Earth Balance for the mashed potatoes and added chives to the potatoes.

Today, I grind up the pistachios into a meal, mix them with homemade breadcrumbs and use that as my breading. I make my own butter and plant milk for the potatoes. And I sprinkle the whole plate with the chives. This updated version is in the rotation in my house quite frequently but I am particularly nostalgic when I make it on my birthday.

As I was back then, I am still totally obsessed with getting a beautiful, healthy and easy meal on the table in 30 minutes. The key is organization. Peel and get the potatoes boiling. As they are cooking, slice the shallots and get them going. Shred the Brussels sprouts and have them ready. Then bread the tofu and finish cooking each element. Everything should be ready at the same time.

A few notes…

I used to press the tofu on a towel lined plate with a heavy can on top but I got a tofu press which makes life a lot easier. I take the tofu out of the package and press it while it sits in the press in the refrigerator for a few days until I am ready to use it.

I process 1/2 cup ground pistachios and mix with 1/2 cup homemade breadcrumbs. I use whatever I need for this meal and then keep it in a jar in the refrigerator for whenever I want to make this dish again.

Serves 2

Pistachio Crusted Tofu
1/2 package firm tofu
1 tablespoon chickpea/fava flour *
1 tablespoon chickpea/fava flour + 1/4 cup cashew milk
Ground pistachios + breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons sunflower oil
Chives, for garnish

I like to use either chickpea flour or chickpea/fava bean flour from Bob’s Red Mill.

Set up a breading station. (I love these stainless steel breading trays!) Add 1 tablespoon flour to one tray. In another, whisk together the flour and plant milk. Add the ground pistachios/breadcrumb mixture into the third tray.

Cut the tofu into four pieces. Dredge it in the flour, then into the wet mixture, then into the breading mixture. Set onto a plate. Repeat with the rest of the tofu.

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet and when shimmering, add the tofu. Cook for a few minutes until the first side is browning. Flip very carefully and cook the second side for another minute or two.

Mixed Mashed Potatoes
1 russet potato
1 sweet potato
1/2 cup plant milk
1 tablespoon vegan butter
Salt, a few pinches

Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and return to the pot. Add plant milk, butter and salt and mash. Add more butter or milk for desired consistency.

Brussels Sprouts and Shallots
1 dozen Brussels sprouts
1 big shallot
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon sunflower oil
Salt, a pinch

Thinly slice the shallot and add to a skillet with the oil. Turn the heat on low and let the shallots cook until just softening. Press the garlic over the shallots and cook for a minute.

Shred the Brussels sprouts by hand or in the food processor. Add to the skillet with the shallots and garlic and cook for a minute or two, until the Brussels are bright green.

To plate up the dinner, place a pile of mashed potatoes on a plate. Top with the Brussels sprouts and tofu. Sprinkle with freshly cut chives. Enjoy!

IMG_6421.jpg

It’s My 6-year Blogiversary & Toasted Sunflower Seed Quinoa Salad

IMG_5962.jpg

Today is my 6-year blogiversary! I have been sharing my own creations, veganizing my mother’s recipes, recipes I find in the Times and all over the internet, making and reposting other vegan cook’s recipes if I love them, talking about my vegan journey, reviewing vegan products I love (aka Taste Tests!) and reviewing cookbooks (aka Book Reports!) for 6 years. Wow!

It has been a fun ride. I have met tons of great people, coached people on their transition to a vegan lifestyle, and taught people how to cook. I graduated from eCornell with a certificate in plant based nutrition and from two courses at Rouxbe.com.

I have certainly developed my own style of cooking, but, as I have learned over the years, cooking is an art, not a science. In fact, I have gotten really good at reading other people’s recipes and knowing whether or not they are going to work for me based on ingredient list and the instructions as written. Even when I follow my own recipes, I am always tweaking them or making adjustments.

Here is a little video that aired on PBS on my birthday last year starring the famous chef Jacques Pepin. He says that following a recipe can lead to disaster. Watch!

I have posted over 1,000 times in these 6 years. That is a lot of recipes and meal ideas, but I have my favorites like tempeh meatballs, tomato sauce, gnocchisalad dressing, citrus tofu, chocolate pudding, and pasta a million different ways. And anything that I can make myself, I make. I’m talking bread, roasted peppers, mustard, ketchup, bread crumbs, plant milks, nut butters and tahini, and even ice cream!

What will this year bring? Blue Plate Specials, because there is always a new way to serve tofu and tempeh with a vegetable and a starch or grain. Plenty of cookbook reviews (with bonus recipes and sometimes giveaways) because there are a lot of new books coming out. And new (old) recipes. I am going back to the beginning to recook the blog. It will be fun to see what I was making over the years, what I was thinking or doing that day, and would I even want to make whatever I posted again! Of course, I will be writing and posting all about it here and on Instagram so be sure to follow me over there too.

Oh, and speaking of Instagram, I have gotten involved in a vegan cook along! It is so much fun to cook from the same book as other people from around the country and see what they have to say about the recipes and outcomes. And, it is a great way to connect into the vast, global vegan community.

To celebrate this milestone, I am eating a bowl of gnocchi and sauce, and posting this amazing toasted sunflower seed quinoa salad. I have been making forever and it is one of my all time faves. When I made it this week, I realized I never posted it on the blog, so I saved it for today.

Here is the story. When we first moved into our house, we started going to the local organic health food store. The owner encouraged me from the the minute she met me to make my own food and get creative. She answered all of my questions and taught me so much like how to make beans from scratch and how to make great veggie burgers. I post this salad in her honor and hope to inspire others the way she inspired me.

Toasted Sunflower Seed Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 big leek
2 carrots
1 stalk of celery
1 clove of garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil, to finish (optional)
Fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the sunflower seeds on a baking tray and toast for 10 to 15 minutes, until brown and fragrant. Set aside.

Cook the quinoa according to the package. (You can do this ahead of time.)

Clean the leek well. Then, cut it in half and half again. Then finely slice it. Drop it into a pan with sides. Peel and dice the carrot. Add to the pan. Dice the celery and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Water or oil sauté until the vegetables are fragrant and soft.

Toss the quinoa with the vegetables and add the sunflower seeds.

If you would like to, finish with a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve warm or chill and serve later. Enjoy!

Portobello Fajitas!

IMG_5778.jpg

These fajitas are inspired by Salud Vegan Mexican. My version is a simple sauté – onions, peppers and portobellos – no spices, just good old char from the pan. The lime, avocado, pico and charred tortillas are the perfect accompaniments to make these fajitas taste exactly how they should taste. If you would like some added flavor, toss a few teaspoons of DIY taco seasoning (or any flavors you like) in with the onions and peppers as you sauté them.

Serves 2

2 big portobellos
1 small onion
1/2 red pepper
1/2 orange pepper
1 avocado, on the side
1/2 lime, quartered
4 tortillas

Destem the portobellos and remove the gills. Slice the long way.

Slice the onion and peppers into long pieces, about the same size.

Add the onions and peppers to a pan and water or oil sauté until the edges are starting to brown. The char is great for this recipe.

Move the onions and peppers to the side and add the mushrooms. Cook until softening, a few minutes.

Char the tortillas on an open flame or heat in the oven.

Serve with pico de gallo, a sliced avocado and quartered limes. Enjoy!

Pico de gallo (make more or less, to your taste/needs)
1/4 of a small onion
1 small Roma tomato
1/2 jalapeño
A few sprigs of cilantro
The juice of 1/2 lime, more to taste
Salt, a pinch

Finely dice the onion. Add to a small bowl. Cut the tomato and in half and use a spoon to clean out the inside. Finely dice the tomato. Add to the bowl. Slice the jalapeño in half and remove the seeds. Finely dice the jalapeño. Add to the bowl. Chop a few sprigs of cilantro and squeeze the lime juice over the mixture. Mix and add a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust.qw

Update: How to Make Bread

IMG_5974.jpg

I love making bread. I wrote about it over a year ago in a post called “How to Make Bread.” I follow the Jim Lahey no knead method. Because there is no need to knead!

I’ve been making 2 loaves every weekend, but it turns out my son does not like the crusty crust that you get when using the Dutch oven. But this past Christmas, my sister-in-law gave me this awesome silicone bread maker from Lekue and voila! I can now make sandwich style bread or “square(ish) bread” as my son likes to call it.

I follow the same method but it is even easier now! I don’t have to use the bannetons for the second rise, I just do that in the Lekue! So I am reposting the method so you can see how much easier it is. Also, I do think it is worth it to invest in a kitchen scale. I like this one. It comes in a few different colors! Mine is red. But, I have added the measurements as per the original Mark Bittman article about Jim Lahey’s method in case you decide not to.

Note: The maximum temperature for the Lekue is 400.

Recipe (for one loaf)
400 – 415 grams organic bread flour (3 cups)
8 grams instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons, which is 1 packet even though the original recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon but I don’t think it is enough)
8 grams salt (1 1/4 teaspoon)
300 – 315 grams of cold filtered water (1 5/8 cups)

Weigh the flour. It doesn’t have to be exact, exact. Anything in the range is fine.

Add the yeast and then zero out the scale. Add the salt.

Mix the flour, yeast and salt with a fork to combine. Place the bowl back on the scale and zero it out. Slowly pour the water straight in the bowl. It doesn’t have to be exact, but better less than more. You can always add a tablespoon at a time if it is too dry.

If measuring, measure the flour, yeast and salt into a bowl. Mix with a fork to combine. Then add the water.

Mix with a spoonula or wooden spoon until everything is combined. It is going to look scraggly but that is ok. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise overnight.

Flour your hands and pull the dough out of the bowl. Form it into a ball and rop it into the Lekue. Latch the top and cover with a kitchen towel. Let it rise for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400. Place the Lekue into the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

When it is done, drop it out onto a cooling rack. Wait a few hours, it is best to wait at least 8 hours, and slice the bread using a serrated knife.

Store in BPA free plastic storage bags in the refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy!