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Currently showing posts tagged summer

  • Rosemary & Zucchini Tart

    Dishes like this, that look quite lovely but are actually so easy to make, are great for impressing guests but also impressing yourself.  I've been rethinking what goes into making a "nice" meal lately, and have been working on meals that focus on one or two ingredients, and really let them shine. Here I make a simple gluten-free rosemary crust, press it into a small baking sheet, and layer with rows of colorful zucchini and summer squash. Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, white pepper, and rosemary leaves, it really lets the fresh zucchini's taste and texture come through. What an easy dinner with a salad, or beautiful summer appetizer for a picnic or BBQ. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar after baking and serve!


    Rosemary & Zucchini Tart

    Serves 4-8 (depending on portions)

    Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients:

    Crust:
    1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free AP Flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp crushed rosemary
    1/4 cup coconut oil
    1/4 cup + 1 tsp water

    2 medium-large zucchini/summer squash (I used one green and one yellow), sliced thinly
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp white or black pepper
    1 Tbsp olive oil
    1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar


    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, lightly oil small baking sheet or pan (I used 9"x9") with a bit of oil.

    2. Combine all dry ingredients for crust in a mixing bowl and add coconut oil. Cut in using fingers or two forks until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add water in slowly, and mix until dough comes together in a ball.

    3. Gently press dough into pan, pushing from the center outwards until it's evenly pressed into all sides. Be patient, it takes a minute or so.

    4. Layer top of tart with alternating rows of zucchini and squash slices (see photos above). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bake uncovered in the oven for 15-20 minutes until crust is firm and golden brown, and zucchini slices are lightly browning and cooked through.

    5. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into squares and drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar if desired. Serve immediately, or at room temperature. Enjoy!

  • Summer Roasted Red Salsa

    Tired of buying those not very good, expensive salsas in the jar? Homemade salsa really is as simple as it gets. Quarter your vegetables and throw them on the grill or in the oven until roasted (10-15 min). Toss everything in a food processor and blend away! Sooo much better than store bought, and much, much cheaper too! For some smokey flavor I like to add in a bit of chipotle pepper or smoked paprika. You can also add some fruit to brighten it up. Mango and pineapple are both great. Simply cut them up and roast with the veggies. Makes quite a bit and keeps in the fridge for about a week. Perfect summer snack!


    Summer Roasted Red Salsa

    Serves 8-10

    Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into quarters
    4 ripe roma tomatoes, halved
    1 jalapeno (or chipotle) pepper, halved (seeds removed if you like a mild salsa)
    3 cloves of garlic, peeled
    1 Tbsp brown sugar (or agave or maple syrup)
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar or lime juice)
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped


    1. Heat oven or grill to medium high heat (if oven, 425 degrees). Prepare all veggies and lay them on aluminum foil (on top of baking tray, if you're worried about juice dripping from tomatoes). Cook undisturbed for 10-15 minutes until veggies are starting to brown.

    2. Remove from heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Add all veggies and remaining ingredients, sugar through cilantro, to bowl of food processor and process until you reach ideal salsa consistency (some like it chunkier than others). Season to taste and chill for 20-30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

  • Zucchini Polenta Fries & Zucchini Polenta Scramble

    From one simple thing can come many. This recipe is an accurate reflection of my cooking process and how I often come to the tasty recipes that I share with you all.  I'll explain my thought and action process briefly so you can understand how this recipe quickly evolved into two very different preparations. I had a bounty of farm fresh zucchini in the fridge (straight from the Port Townsend farmer's market) and wanted to turn them into a crispy zucchini fry type dish. I thought about possible binding options and decided I would combine the ease of polenta fries with freshly grated zucchini and see how they came out. I prepared polenta as I normally would, added some salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast for flavor, set it to cool, cut it into strips, and baked in the oven on an oiled baking sheet. It just barely worked. While they came out sort of fine, mid-way throught the baking I realized they weren't drying out as quickly as I had hoped and were quite mushy in the center. When I tried to flip them over (prematurely) they started to fall apart on the tray. I decided to give them a final chance and just left them in the oven to see if they crisped up on their own with extra baking time. Meanwhile, I looked at the remaining zucchini polenta fries I had left (not all would fit on baking sheet) and decided I would try to fry them. I don't often fry (mostly because it's messy), but I thought this was for a good cause, so I gave it a shot. I put some oil in a pan, gently placed the zucchini fries in, and let them get nice and golden brown. But as soon as I tried to flip them, they too fell apart. Even worse than in the oven. There was nothing left to do but give up on the pan fry idea. But wasting food isnt an option here, so I grabbed my spatula and turned them into a scramble, letting it get quite crispy and just scrambling away every few minutes. The oven baked fries actually turned out quite tasty in the end when left to bake for a little longer than I had expected, though not as pretty as I had hoped.The scramble, also delicious, was an unexpected creation. One that if I were to make again I would certainly add some sauteed onions and mushrooms. It's a lovely substitute for tofu scramble, and very filling as well. Here is the basic recipe I used to make both of these surprise creations. I hope it gives you a sense of my process, the freedom in cooking openly, and what can come of a recipe that doesnt turn out quite as you expect, if you let it just be itself. This happens to me constantly! Just remember to keep an open mind and try to envision what else can come of it. Here are my two surprisingly tasty variations.


    Zucchini Polenta Fries and Zucchini Polenta Scramble

    Serves 2-4

    Prep time: 5-10 minutes Cook time: 20-35 minutesIngredients:

    1 cup polenta
    3 cups water
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
    1 Tbsp oregano
    1 Tbsp rosemary
    1 cup grated zucchini, water squeezed out
    1 Tbsp medium-high heat oil

    Zucchini Polenta Scramble Add-ins:
    1/2 yellow onion, sliced
    1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
    1/4 cup chives or green onions, chopped


    1. Bring water to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan. Add polenta in a thin stream, stirring with a wooden spoon to incorporate. Add salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast, if using. Add grated zucchini. Keep stirring over low heat for the next few minutes as it thickens. When thick and bubbling, pour into a lightly oiled pan (anything with a lip will work; square or rectangle baking tray, even pie plate, though 9"x9" square pan works well). Smooth out and let cool for 10-15 minutes until edges pull away from sides of pan and it's cool to the touch. Gently flip out onto a cutting board, and if making fries cut into rectangular pieces roughly 3"x1" and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay fries out on lightly oiled baking sheet (or parchment paper) and bake for 10-15 minutes, then gently flip over (if too soft to flip, bake a few minutes longer) then bake an additional 15 minutes until very crispy on the outside and soft inside. You'll know they are done when you can easily lift them from the pan with no fear of breaking them. Serve with favorite condiments of choice.

    2. If making into a scramble, lightly saute onions and mushrooms in a skillet over medium heat. When browning, crumble polenta/zucchini block into pan (as you would tofu) and let cook, mostly undisturbed, for 10 minutes or so over medium heat, scrambling occassionally for even browning. When done, stir in green onions or chives if using. Serve alone or with a nice green salad. Very filling, enjoy!

  • Rainbow Eggplant Stacks

    It's nearing the end of summer here in the Pacific Northwest and eggplant, tomatoes, greens, and mushrooms are all being harvested. This morning I imagined a simple stack of rainbow goodness to harness the flavors of the season, so here it is. For as fancy as these look, they couldn't be any easier. One of those recipes which relies solely on the simplicity of the ingredients themselves. It's quite versatile and the ingredients are easily substituted. Start with a base of crispy oven baked eggplant, top with a mound of wilted greens, seared mushroom, fresh tomato, and top with another slice of eggplant. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar if you like, and serve. Rich in flavor and phytonutrients, this easy dish could easily become a new staple.


    Rainbow Eggplant Stacks

    Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free

    Serves 2-4 Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1 medium sized eggplant, sliced
    1 Tbsp potato starch (or corn starch)
    1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    1 Tbsp dried oregano
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1 Tbsp neutral oil (avocado, canola, grape seed)
    1 bunch of swiss chard (or spinach, kale, or collard greens), chopped
    1 large portobello mushroom (or as seen here, 1/2 lb chanterelle mushrooms), sliced
    1 ripe tomato, sliced
    freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
    drizzle of balsamic vinegar (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat large metal baking tray with 1 Tbsp of oil. Slice eggplant into 1/2" thick slices and place on baking sheet. Use your hands to gently coat them in oil. Sprinkle with potato starch, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and black pepper and toss to coat well. Spread into an even layer on sheet and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes, flip them over when browning on bottom and bake for another 5 minutes.

    2. While baking the eggplant, slice the mushroom(s) into 1/4" thick slices and sear in a pan until browning and crispy on both sides, flipping as needed. No oil needed, the juices from the mushrooms will prevent sticking. transfer to a small bowl.

    3. In the same pan, wilt the greens. Simply place chopped greens in pan, cover, and let cook on medium heat for 2 minutes (slightly longer for kale or collard greens) until bright green and wilted. Add water by the spoonful if needed to prevent sticking or burning. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and set aside.

    4. When eggplant is lightly browned and soft inside, remove from oven and begin making your stacks. Simply stack eggplant, a mound of greens, a slice of mushroom, a slice of tomato, and sprinkle of sea salt. Top with another eggplant round and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Repeat! Very yummy!

  • Sesame Zucchini Fritters

    These zucchini fritters are the perfect way to use the bounty of summer squash available this season. If you have a food processor they come together in no time at all and are naturally vegan and gluten-free.  Simply gather your ingredients, process, add dry ingredients, and form into balls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and pop them in the oven. Twenty minutes later crispy orbs of zucchini delight will emerge, ready to be dipped in any number of sauces or condiments. My personal favorite is a lemony avocado mayo. Simply combine 1/4 of a ripe avocado, mashed, with a few tablespoons of vegan mayo and a squeeze of lemon juice. A pinch of sea salt and pepper and you have yourself a  light summer meal or perfect party food. Enjoy!


    Sesame Zucchini Fritters

    Makes 18-20

    Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients:

    2 small-medium zucchinis
    1 small onion
    1 garlic clove
    2 Tbsp fresh parsley
    3/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1/2 cup rice flour
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    3 Tbsp flaxmeal
    3 Tbsp sesame seeds


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil baking sheet, or line with a piece of parchment paper.

    2. In a food processor, process onion, garlic, parsley and zucchini until all are a uniform size.

    3. Transfer veggies to a large bowl and add all the dry ingredients, baking powder through flax meal. Stir well.

    4. Wet your hands (mixture will be a bit sticky) and form into small golf ball sized dallops. Place on baking sheet evenly spread apart, and sprinkle the top of each with a generous amount of sesame seeds.

    5. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven, flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes until crispy and golden brown. You may have to adjust cooking time based on oven, so give them a check around 8 minutes.

    6. Serve with a simple lemony avocado mayo (see above) or any condiment of choice. Lovely on their own, as an appetizer, or atop a salad.

  • Fresh Blueberry Shortcake

    Taking advantage of the bounty of blueberries this season, I decided to create this stellar (and so easy you won't believe it) dessert. All you need are a few simple ingredients and and these little  blueberry stunners will be on the way to your table. It's best to prepare all of the ingredients, then assemble them right before serving, or let everyone create their own! This recipe is 100% vegan and gluten-free, uses minimal sugar, and really is a cinch to whip up if you have everything on hand, just make sure to chill your coconut cream ahead of time. Make these now-blueberry season will be over before we know it, don't let fresh blueberry shortcakes pass you by!


    Fresh Blueberry Shortcake

    (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-free)

    Serves 6-12, depending on serving size

    Preparation time: 20 minutes Bake time: 15 minutes

    Shortcakes:
    1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free flour blend
    1 Tbsp cornstarch
    1 Tbsp flaxmeal
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 tsp baking powder
    2 Tbsp coconut oil
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 Tbsp vanilla extract
    1 cup water

    Blueberries:
    2 pints fresh blueberries
    1-2 Tbsp maple syrup

    Coconut Cream:
    2 cans full fat coconut milk (chilled overnight in fridge)
    2 Tbsp maple syrup
    1 Tbsp vanilla extract


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners and set aside.

    2. Mix dry ingredients, gluten-free flour through baking powder in a large mixing bowl.

    3. In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil, stir in sugar, vanilla extract and water.

    4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk together.

    5. Pour batter into cupcake liners, filling halfway full. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and they pass the toothpick test. Remove from oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack while you make the blueberries and cream.

    7. Toss the blueberries with the maple syrup in a medium sized bowl.

    8. Open the chilled cans of coconut milk and pour off the liquid, reserving the thick cream. Place cream in a separate bowl and add the maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk together well.

    9. Remove shortcakes from paper liners and gently cut in half forming a top and bottom. Spoon each bottom generously with coconut cream, blueberries, and more coconut cream. Cover with shortcake top and enjoy!

  • Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta

    Here in Seattle, we wait all year for the local heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and abundance of fresh  fruit to enter the markets. And when it finally does, it's time to really take advantage! This savory, light summer fare is the perfect way to end a workday. It's fast, easy, satisfying, and can be dressed up or down depending on the day. The vegetables included are completely flexible, any of your favorites will work, so be creative with what you have on hand. This dish comes together in no time (though there are a few steps), just get all the ingredients out and follow the steps below, it should take 20-30 minutes to come together. The sunflower seed pesto is spectacular on it's own, and if you don't have time for anything else, at least make this and spread it on some toast. The light nuttiness of the sunflower seeds mixed with the punch of the fresh garlic, and the bright taste of basil is wonderful and really captures the essence of summer. As always, completely vegan, gluten and soy free. Enjoy!


    Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta

    Serves 2-4 (depending on hunger)

    1 box gluten-free pasta (I used Ancient Harvest quinoa spaghetti)

    Pesto
    1 cup basil
    1/2 c sunflower seeds
    1/4 cup olive oil
    3-4 cloves garlic
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp sugar
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

    Sauteed Veggies
    1 cup chopped broccoli
    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms (optional)

    Tomato Marinade
    1 cup sliced/diced cherry or heirloom tomatoes
    1/2 tsp sugar
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    1 tsp balsamic vinegar
    1 tsp olive oil


    1. Mix tomatoes with oil, vinegar, sugar and salt in small bowl. Set aside.

    2. Bring water to a boil for pasta. Cook pasta as directed. Drain when al dente.

    3. Sauté veggies on medium heat for 5 minutes in a bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

    4. in food processor combine sunflower seeds, garlic, basil, salt, sugar, pepper, yeast, oil and lemon juice. Process until creamy, scraping down sides as needed.

    5. Combine pesto with warm noodles, serve topped with sauteed veggies, tomato marinade, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar if desired.

  • Best Quinoa Veggie Burgers & Pumpkin Seed-Onion Cream

    If you're looking for a recipe for easy to prepare, protein packed veggie burgers that will knock your socks off everytime, then look no further. These fit the bill, and to top it off I've included a recipe for a pumpkin seed-onion cream spread that really is to die for. One of the easiet things you will ever make, and it will become a staple in your fridge for sure. The burgers are packed with high quality plant based protein from the lentils and quinoa, fiber from the veggies, and super anti-inflammatory power from the turmeric. The pumpkin seed spread is full of needed iron and zinc, and provides a healthy dose of healthy fats and protein. It's also completely raw, so it maintains all of it vital nutrients and enzymes. If you don't like the taste of a tiny bit of sweet raw onion, then feel free to leave it out, but i think it adds a wonderful flavor. The spread will keep for about a week in the fridge (if it lasts that long), and is wonderful on crackers or toast, or as a dip for sliced veggies. The possibilities go on and on. Give these a shot!


    Best Quinoa Veggie Burgers

    1/2 c quinoa, rinsed
    1/2 c red lentils, rinsed
    2 cups water
    1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    4 crimini mushrooms, chopped
    1 yellow summer squash (or zucchini), chopped
    1/2 cup corn kernels (optional)
    1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    2 Tbsp ketchup
    1 Tbsp mustard
    1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    1/3 cup rice flour (or slightly more as needed)
    1 tsp turmeric
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp salt
    freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Pumpkin Seed-Onion Cream Spread (Raw)

    1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds (will be green)
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    juice from 1 lemon
    1 Tbsp raw onion (red or sweet onion work well), chopped finely (optional, if desired)
    1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    water, as needed (1/4-1/2 cup)


    1. Prehat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil metal baking sheet with neutral oil like grapeseed, avocado, or canola.

    2. Place quinoa, lentils, and water together in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then cover pot and reduce to a simmer. Let cook undisturbed for 10-15 minutes until water has been absorbed.

    3. While quinoa-lentil mixture is cooking, saute onions, mushrooms, squash, and corn over medium heat in a bit of olive oil until tender. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

    4. When quinoa is done, add to veggies in bowl. Stir to help it cool and add rest of the ingredients. Use your hands, or a large spoon to mix it well.

    5. The mixture should hold together well when you form it into patties. If too moist or sticky add a bit of rice flour a little at a time. Gently form into palm-sized (or smaller) patties, and place on baking sheet evenly spaced apart.

    6. Bake for 7-10 minutes, then flip them over, and bake for another 7 minutes or so. They should be golden brown and crispy. (If you prefer to grill them, bake in the oven for 2-3 minutes each side, to firm them up a bit, then transfer to grill to finish cooking).

    7.For the pumpkin seed-onion cream. In a food processor, process pumpkin seeds, salt, and  nutritional yeast into very fine crumbs/powder. Add lemon juice, chopped onion, and black pepper  and process again for 10-20 seconds. Slowly drizzle in water until spread-like consistency has been reached and continue processing for another 30 seconds to 1 minute until super creamy. Store in glass jar in fridge, use anyway you like.

    8. Assemble your burgers- spreading your bun, bread, or lettuce with pumpkin seed cream, topping with a burger, and adding avocado, tomato, and fresh greens. Sprinkle with sea salt and you're done!

  • Pumpkin Seed Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

    Succulent oven roasted mushrooms, packed with nutrients and an enormous amount of vegetable magic squeezed into each cap. Rich in iron, zinc, and protein, the pumpkin seeds lend their unique power packed profile to this dish.  It's prep time (5-10 min) to "wow your friends" ratio is superb, and you will be the star of any potluck or holiday dinner you bring these to. They also make a wonderful mid-week meal, as you can play with the herbs you use, and dress them up or down as desired. Give 'em a shot!

    Pumpkin Seed Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

    Makes: 12  Prep: 5-10 minutes  Cook: 15-20 minutes


    12 crimini mushrooms

    1/4 cup yellow onion

    3 cloves garlic

    1 cup cauliflower

    1/4 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds

    1 cup fresh basil

    1 Tbsp flax meal

    1/4 cup fresh oregano (or 2 Tbsp dried)

    2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

    2 Tbsp olive oil

    1/2 tsp sea salt

    black pepper, to taste


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil baking sheet with high heat oil (avocado, grape seed, organic canola).


    2. Separate mushroom stems from caps, and place caps on baking sheet.


    3. Place mushroom stems and all other ingredients in bowl of food processor. Run until all pieces are small and uniform and mixture binds together. You may have to scrape down sides of bowl a few times.


    4. Fill each mushroom cap with a generous spoonful of the filling. Sprinkle with salt and nutritional yeast.


    5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until mushrooms have released their liquid and tops have become crispy.


    6. If desired, serve with a side of tomato salad (tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper). Enjoy!