Friday, December 14, 2012

coconut apple muffins.

and after a 3-month hiatus, we're back! starting with more muffins!

coconut apple muffins
from vegan cupcakes take over the world (thanks, molly!)

2/3 cup almond milk
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 apples, cored and chopped

preheat oven to 325F.

mix the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl. let sit for a few minutes until it curdles. beat in the agave, vanilla, and almond extract.

sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. mix until smooth.

add in the apple chunks and mix just enough to combine.

fill silicon muffin cups 2/3 of the way full. bake about 22 minutes until a tester comes out clean. let cool for at least an hour before devouring.

Monday, September 10, 2012

fig and plum muffins.

i used to call autumn my favorite season. i've always loved the hints of red and gold on the trees, unpacking my sweaters and boots, pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, the knowledge that thanksgiving and christmas are right around the corner. while i'm still a big fan of the season, i have to admit that california - with its incredible produce selection the last few months - has made me a summer convert. 

in particular, the abundance of plums, peaches, nectarines, pluots, apriums, and my newest addiction - figs - have opened my eyes and belly to the pleasures of summer fruit in all its hybrid forms. every sunday trip to the farmer's market has left me stuffed and satisfied from too many samples and lugging a big tote bag of fruit home. guess who's not complaining.

these muffins are a final ode to summer. (can we also talk about the fact that i'm finally posting another muffin recipe?!). i like them with as many figs and plums as you can pack in, but feel free to substitute in any other summer fruit (and whatever nuts) you deem fit.
fig and plum muffins

3 plums, pitted and diced

5 fresh black mission figs, quartered
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup water

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

preheat the oven to 350°. grab some silicone muffin cups or grease a muffin tin.

combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl. in a small bowl, mix together water, oil, vanilla, and vinegar. add wet to dry, and stir to combine. add in the figs and plums and give a couple more stirs to make sure they are distributed in the batter.

scoop into muffin cups. bake on the center rack for 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out squeaky clean. cool em off, if you can bear it, for 15 minutes. enjoy with an iced chai.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

soba noodles with mango and aubergine.

i swear: this delectable noodle stir fry tastes better than the above photo suggests. like, way better. in fact, it was so delicious that i consciously forewent any attempt at a successful photo shoot in favor of getting to the dinner table quicker.

the recipe comes from yotam ottolenghi's most recent cookbook, plenty. one year ago, i made a resolution that i was only allowed to purchase a new cookbook once i'd made at least three recipes from my most recently acquired cookbook. well, with three recipes checked off from neelam batra's 1,000 indian recipes, i rushed to barnes and nobles to pick up my reserved copy of ottolenghi's newest work of genius. and i have to say that i have not been disappointed. i've made well over three recipes from it in the past few months and have about fifteen more bookmarked. 

this particular recipe packs in a unique bunch of flavors. i'm generally not a huge fan of fruit in my main course, but a ripe mango does wonders here. it's a salty, sweet, tangy dish that works well as either a main or side. it also tastes just as good, if not better, the next day.
ottolenghi’s soba noodles with mango and eggplant
from plenty

1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 fresh red chile, finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 cup sunflower oil
2 medium eggplants, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 packet soba noodles
8 ounces pan-fried tofu, cut into tiny cubes
1 large ripe mango, diced
1 2/3 cup basil leaves, chopped (if you can get some use Thai basil, but much less of it)
2 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
In a small saucepan gently warm the vinegar, sugar and salt for up to 1 minute, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, chile and sesame oil. Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice.
Heat up the sunflower oil in a large pan and shallow-fry the eggplant in three or four batches. Once golden brown remove to a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave there to drain.
Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally. They should take 5 to 8 minutes to become tender but still al dente. Drain and rise well under running cold water. Shake off as much of the excess water as possible, then leave to dry on a dish towel.
In a mixing bowl toss the noodles with the dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion. You can now leave this aside for 1 to 2 hours. When ready to serve add the rest of the herbs and mix well, then pile on a plate or in a bowl.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

incredible raw corn salad.

three days ago, i discovered that you could eat corn raw. i can't quite explain how that bit of dining know-how slipped by, but i'd always assumed for whatever reason that corn had to be cooked to be digestible and/or tasty. turns out, i was (luckily!) wrong on both fronts. 

in my quest to find a refreshing summery, do-ahead side dish, the first place i looked was - obviously - heidi swanson's blog, 101 cookbooks. both her orzo super salad and summer squash pasta have become kitchen staples, and i was feeling like it was time to add another recipe to the repertoire. 

hello corn salad. 

minimalists like myself will appreciate this salad's short ingredient list and omission of any actual cooking. just shuck, chop, whisk, and toss. the dressing is sweet but slightly tangy, and the nuts and raw corn kernels deliver a crunch that is truly delightful. so far, i've eaten this salad by itself, on a chip, in a wrap, with some panfried tofu, and atop some greens. so... it's versatile. i threw in fresh chives for some herbiness, and i bet cilantro and pine nuts would be fantastic additions or substitutions as well. 

incredible raw corn salad

(almost) straight from 101 cookbooks

6 ears of corn

1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup chives, minced
1/6 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup toasted pepitas
(pumpkin seeds)
3/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

shuck the corn and cut the kernels from the cobs. place the kernels in a medium serving bowl with the shallot.

make the dressing by combining the lemon juice, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. gradually add the oil and whisk mightily until the dressing comes together. taste to check that the dressing is on the sweet side and not too tangy – adjust levels of lemon juice, oil, sugar, or salt as needed.

toast your seeds in a dry pan if you’ve yet, and just before serving, add the seeds to the bowl of corn. toss once, and then add the dressing. toss again to make sure everything is well coated.

you can gobble this up immediately or put in the fridge to hang for a few hours if you’ve prepared it ahead of time. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

ratatouille in four steps!

i've been waiting months to share this recipe. as a compulsive consumer of tomatoes in the summer and a huge fan of one pot dinners, i've made my fair share of ratatouilles in the past few months. and this is, by far, one of the simplest, tastiest recipes i've come across. the ingredient list is minimal, but taking the time to cook the vegetables slowly in a dutch oven gives the dish ample time to absorb all the herbs and let the flavors build.

the original recipe comes from molly katzen's the new moosewood cookbook, which i used as inspiration but made some changes to. whatever herbs you chose is up for grabs, but i recommend fresh over dried. i also used canned tomatoes in this particular version to simplify the process even further, but you should definitely definitely definitely substitute in fresh tomatoes if you can get your hands on them (should still be possible!). i particularly love buying colorful heirloom tomatoes that can be cooked down into a bright yellow or orange sauce! if you're feeling adventurous, feel free to add in other spices at whim: i've recently starting throwing in a little ground cumin and curry at the end for kick.

“purple” ratatouille
adapted from molly katzen’s the new moosewood cookbook
** purple because of the purple garlic and purple basil :)

3 tbsp olive oil
2 spring onions, chopped (stems and all!)
5 small zucchini, cubed
1 large eggplant, cubed
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
½ cup chopped fresh purple basil
1 tbsp each: fresh oregano, thyme, parsley, and marjoram
1 ½ 14.5 oz can of stewed, chopped tomatoes
½ cup sundried tomatoes, reconstituted in warm water and chopped finely
2 tsp. salt
a few big grinds black pepper

1. heat the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven. add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

2. add eggplant, herbs, and salt, and stir. cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the eggplant is soft.

3. add the zucchini, sundried tomatoes, and canned tomatoes. mix well. grind in the pepper. cover and continue to cook on low heat until all the vegetables are tender (15-30 minutes or so). stir occasionally to make sure it is not sticking on the bottom. remove the bay leaf and add more salt or herbs to taste.

4. serve with polenta or couscous and a hunk of ciabatta for soaking up the juices!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

strawberry coconut cake.

in case it wasn't already obvious, operation "update the blog more often" has taken a hit the past month. i divide the blame equally between 1) my computer crashing and 2) my laziness skyrocketing. 
excuses aside, i'm excited to share this simple loaf/muffin recipe with you guys. back in may, i took a group of grad students strawberry picking. it was delightful. i did, however, return home with about two pounds of strawberries and a slight tinge of panic: how does one person use up two pounds of strawberries up before they go bad?! the answer: cake. well, more accurately, cakes. lots of cakes. this recipe was one of the best, if only because it can handle a ton of strawberries without falling apart. it's also delicious. substitute the egg out for some chia seeds and it's vegan. 
strawberry coconut cake.
adapted from smitten kitchen

3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon rum

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup soy vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1-2 cups sliced strawberries

preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

in a large bowl, beat together the brown sugar, vegetable oil, egg, vanilla and rum.

combine the flours, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and give a stir. add the dry ingredients to the wet with the yogurt. stir with a spatula until just combined.

add in strawberries and coconut.

grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. spoon in the batter. bake in preheated oven for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

early summer panzanella.

this panzanella is exactly what spring's transition to summer calls for: a final chance to make use of those last bright green asparagus spears and a perfect potluck contribution. start by purchasing one too many baguettes. let the bread sit out overnight, uncovered. in the morning you'll have no other choice but to saw your bread knife through it and turn it into crusty, garlicky croutons. 

i love the mix of textures in this salad, from the soft chard leaves to the crunchy edamame and salty almonds. it makes a great main course for two or a side dish for four. you can also easily liven up any leftovers the next day by tossing in a few extra handfuls of uncooked spinach or other salad greens.

early summer panzanella
a muffins on sunday original

for the croutons:
4 cups day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

4 cloves garlic, minced
a couple of pinches salt
a couple of grinds pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
10 yellow cherry tomatoes, halved

for the salad:
4 green onions, white and green parts, roughly chopped

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2 inch segments

6 baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch chard of your choice, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh edamame

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

for the grand finale:
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup marcona almonds, toasted

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

start by making the croutons. preheat the oven to 350F. in a large bowl, toss the bread cubes and halved tomatoes with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice. they should be slightly browned around the edges but still soft (for soaking up juices!), and the tomatoes should be a little wrinkled. set aside to cool. once cool, place in a large serving bowl.

ohop the onions, asparagus, and mushrooms and place in a small bowl. stem and all, chop the chard very finely and set aside.

in a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. toss in the onions, asparagus, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt. give a quick toss and let them sear on one side for 1 minute. give another toss. when they are looking almost done, add in the chard, a handful at a time. when that’s all just cooked down, throw in the edamame and one generous pinch of salt. toss to combine, then pour the contents into the serving bowl with the bread.

add in the finely chopped herbs and toasted almonds. toss to combine, and let cool for about a half hour before serving. right before serving, drizzle in a little balsamic vinegar, and give it a quick stir to coat. enjoy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

vegan chocolate cake.

summer is here: buy a bundt pan, brew some coffee, and make this chocolate cake!

vegan chocolate cake

makes 1 9-inch chocolate bundt cake

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm coffee
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
small handful of chocolate chunks (optional)
powdered sugar, for dusting

place rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

grease a 9-inch bundt pan. set aside.

in a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. in a small bowl, whisk together the coffee, oil, and vanilla.

add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until just combined.  throw in the chocolate chunks .

pour the batter into the prepared pan. bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting and letting cool completely. dust with powdered sugar and serve.