I’m usually not a huge salad eater, preferring my vegetables cooked up and served warm. But after the first month of winter I start craving craving fresh uncooked greens like there’s no tomorrow. It happens every year around the same time, and this year is no different. It started a couple weeks ago when I ordered a salad at a restaurant. It was a vegan restaurant. There’s really no excuse for this. I mean the salad was good, just so far off my typical ordering M.O. Well one thing led to another, and I’ve found myself buying greens and making salads. And you’re welcome, because this easy salad was born.…
You know those theoretical questions that ask you what cuisine you’d choose if you could only eat one for the rest of your life? They’re along the lines of “what 3 things would you bring to a desert island-“type questions. Mostly I eschew these types of questions, because what crazy dystopian world would have to live in to only be able to experience one culture, one cuisine, or ONLY THREE THINGS EVER??? But, it’s possible, that if I had to choose (and I’m not choosing), it might be Mexican food. Then again, it might be Italian food (could I live without pizza? … I’m not sure Mexican pizza would count in this dystopia). But one thing is true, I could not give up beans….
In high school I used to eat breadsticks for lunch multiple times a week. I know, I was pretty much living the dream life. These days my bread consumption had shifted to the morning, as I’m usually enjoying slices of homemade bread or a toasted bagel with a cheesy spread for breakfast. But that doesn’t mean I ever stopped loving breadsticks, I just got more practical about my consumption. I’ll regularly make a batch of breadsticks when I’m making pizza, my typical pizza dough recipe makes 3 balls of dough, and I’ll turn one of those into breadsticks instead of pizza. When it comes to making pizza I’m pretty adamant about making slow rise dough, because the flavor, texture, everything is better. But sometimes, even I’ll admit, that you shouldn’t let stubbornness hold you back from enjoying last minute cravings for breadsticks….
Have you heard? Roasted cauliflower is the new Brussels sprouts! Well, I just made that up and there’s certainly enough room in my heart (and stomach) for both, but I’m definitely going through a big cauliflower phase right now (aka my entire life). Recently I was craving some mustard roasted veggies but there were no Brussels sprouts in the fridge (THE HORROR!), and so I made the easy swap for cauliflower. Turns out switching one brassica for another was the best decision we could have made, as mustard roasted cauliflower is the best roasted cauliflower and our current favorite way to consume the veggie. Did you know the mustard plant is also a brassica? It’s really no surprise that both cauliflower and brussels sprouts (and cabbage and turnips and more) taste great with prepared mustard. And when topped with a roasted and toasted creamy muhammara-inspired sauce it reaches the next level in vegetable eating. …
Eggplant seems to be a bit of a polarizing vegetable, which I sort of understand, as I’ve had some pretty mediocre and well, less than good, eggplant before. But when it’s cooked well, it is the perfect vehicle for flavor, and one of my favorite vegetables. It acts as a sponge, soaking up marinades and oil (because, let’s be real here, fats carry a lot of flavor). It can be roasted whole and mashed for soft and buttery texture, such as in mediterranean baba ganoush or an Indian baingan bharta. Or thinly sliced and fried for a crispy eggplant bacon sort of effect. The way eggplant is prepared in this dish leaves it tender but chewy and holding its shape. It soaks up a curry wet rub as it roasts under the broiler, then sits in a flavorful marinade, absorbing the salty, smokey, umami-rich flavors….
I’m sharing another Afghan recipe today, for delicious stuffed bread. Bolani is an Afghan stuffed flatbread, not too different from the Indian stuffed parathas I grew up with. Except that parathas have layers of fat worked into the dough, and while you can stuff the breads whatever veggie or lentil filling you desire, the most popular fillings vary between the two cuisines. The two most popular bolani fillings I’ve encountered are a mashed, spiced sweet potato filling and a peppery, oniony leek filling. While both are delicious, I especially love the bold flavor of the leek. Honestly, I would be happy to eat leek bolani as a meal on its own, well, alongside some chutney of course!…
So, I know it’s been crazy hot all over the US this past week, with the Midwest in particular experiencing record breaking heat waves, but theoretically the first day of fall was just a few days ago and we’re supposed to be settling into our sweaters and steaming mugs of pumpkin spice lattes. Well, however hot the temperature, I can’t be the only one craving creamy and comforting warm foods. And this vegan cheesy eggplant casserole is exactly what I want to be eating right now!
The eggplant is baked with two layers of creamy vegan sauces. A silky smooth sauce makes the base and coats the slices of roasted eggplant, while a luscious vegan béchamel covers the whole thing. Handfuls of scallions are sprinkled throughout the layers for an oniony bite, and as an added (and optional) indulgence crumbled cultured nut cheese is tucked into the casserole….
So, we bought a house last week! We are super excited about it. The house is in a neighborhood of DC that we love (only a few blocks away from our rental apartment), and we have a yard for the first time ever (as adults)! It’s also been an incredibly busy and stressful time, with only 4 weeks from contract to settlement. Everything has been in high gear and I’m ready for a vacation–or rather, a staycation because I never want to leave our new house! We moved on Sunday and are 98% settled in, everything is unpacked but we still have artwork to hang and a few things left to arrange. Our dog Selkie loves her yard and all the squirrel watching she can do, while our cat Minx feels like she should be allowed outside as well. As for me, I’m so excited to cook in our beautiful new kitchen! I actually baked my first 2 loaves of sourdough bread this morning, and they came out SO perfectly!
Back in June Omar and I ate out at a Kapnos, a pretty vegan-friendly, Greek restaurant in DC, where we discovered this amazing dish called favosalata. Is that not incredibly fun to say? Favosalata! It was creamy and super flavorful, despite only really being flavored with scallions, olive oil, white wine, black garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Made from yellow split peas, it was a bit reminiscent of hummus, but really only in the fact that it’s a legume purée. We really enjoyed dipping our freshly made flatbread into the flavorful bright yellow spread. It was one of the highlights of the meal for us! So much that when I was at the grocery store the following week I picked up a bag of split yellow peas to recreate it ASAP. And then they sat in my pantry for 6 weeks….
Have you ever had pickled grapes? The first time I had them was in 2013 at the Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn. They were a topping on at least one of the vegan pizzas on the menu, and while I was certainly skeptical of grapes on pizza, not to mention grapes that have been pickled, I figured, whatever I’ll try it, it’s always a good idea to expand your eating horizons. And guys they were SO good! Pickled grapes are sweet and tangy, juicy and bursting with spicy-sweet pickled flavor. Two bites into that pizza and I was glad I didn’t live in the area, or I’d be spending all my money on pizza! Though, not really, because I enjoy making my own too much ;)!
I liked the pickled grapes to the point that you’d think it would have been months not years before I got around to trying my hand at them. But, you need to take into account the fact that I don’t actually love grapes. I’m fine with them, and I’ll eat them, and I love wine–pour me some more please, but I don’t buy fresh grapes. I excuse this by telling myself grapes are essentially all sugar, but I’m pretty sure that’s a lame reason as high sugar content doesn’t stop me from eating all the mangoes I can get my hands on or from eating insane amounts of cherries in their too-short season. At least there’s a chance I’m getting some of grape’s antioxidant properties from wine? Oh well. Point is, I probably haven’t bought grapes since that time (and before), and so it quickly became out of sight out of mind….