Main Dishes, Sides

Millet Salad with Turmeric Vinaigrette

Sundays in summer last forever and not long enough. You get up. You rub your eyes, trying to get them to focus. Maybe you had one (or two) more cocktails last night than you’d originally intended to have, but it’s okay. You stumble around looking for socks because you kicked them off in your sleep –how one possesses the ability to remove socks while unconscious remains a mystery– and go on autopilot to the kitchen. Scoop coffee into the pot. Scoop an extra scoop for good luck, like you always do. You like patterns and routine in the morning. Listen to the pot gurgle and hiss and sputter and drip drip drip. Drink a mug of coffee. Drink another. Another. Realize you accidentally drank all six cups and your family will not be amused. Make another pot. Rinse a week’s worth of quinoa because you like to eat it¬†and WHO CARES if people look in the fridge and ask why you made so darn¬†much. It’s your fridge. Spill roughly 1/8 cup quinoa all over the floor and then realize the floor is the same color as the quinoa and finding seven billion grain-beads is not how you wanted to spend the morning. Sweep.

Walk to the park¬†in pjs and birkenstocks¬†¬†becuase running requires too much effort (and a shower afterwards.)¬†Wish you’d remembered to put on sunscreen. Let your mind wander a bit, because that’s okay sometimes. Find yourself smiling again. It feels nice. Notice that it’s getting late (read: 8am) and you have shit to do and people coming over. Get home. Get distracted reading Molly Yeh’s¬†grub street¬†diet. Only be sad for a few minutes that you don’t also have a chicken to share a cucumber with.

Make brunch. Notice that two bunches of swiss chard sautés down to roughly enough to feed yourself. Wash more chard. Remind yourself that everyone always says never to try out a new recipe for guests in case something goes wrong. Remember how you thought this to yourself at the grocery store the other day but then did one of these. Shrug and add more cream to the chard. Cream makes everything better.

Finish cooking with four minutes to get dressed. Drink another cup of coffee. Spend the rest of the day brunching, then having a “business meeting” (because you’re a “grownup” now,) then drink beers on the hammock outside with someone you like to sit next to. Don’t spend all night watching Friends on Netflix because you have work in the morning. And next Sunday will be here sooner than you think.

Salad (serves 3-4 as main, 6 as side)

1 cup millet
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large zucchini, diced
~10 brussels sprouts, sliced very thinly
1 can chickpeas (reserving the water to do crazy shit like this)

2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
~2 teaspoons fresh thyme
lots of freshly ground black pepper
tiny dollop maple syrup or honey
3 tablespoons olive oil

Rinse the millet well and cook according to package directions (when in doubt, go with the ol’ 1:2 grain-water ratio. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 10-15 minutes, then turn off heat and let stand for 5ish minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool.) Transfer to serving bowl. Saut√© onion in coconut oil until tender, then add to millet. Add zucchini, brussels sprouts, and chickpeas to millet. Make the vinaigrette by combining all ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl. Slowly stream in the oil, whisking constantly. Pour over millet mixture and toss well. Serve cold or at room temperature, depending on your preference!

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Carrot Salad w/ Tahini Dressing and Roasted Chickpeas (V, GF)

Can I tell you about my new all-time favorite thing? Productive¬†procrastination. AKA anything that isn’t incredibly necessary to being a functioning human, but still is very useful/important/meaningful. Taking a walk. Writing a blog post. Making cookies. Doing laundry (okay, that one might actually be a little more essential.) But I am all about it. If I¬†spend all¬†my¬†time doing what NEEDS to get done and letting the stuff that makes me feel good fall to the wayside, it always ends the same way: me lying awake at night, making lists, obsessing over all the things that still need to get done. I’ve been stuck in¬†this pattern for easily the past month. I know, a month doesn’t sound like very long at all in the grand scheme of things. And I do like being busy.¬†But recently, finding a free couple¬†hours to bake or go downtown¬†has been nearly impossible, except for the middle of the night/wee hours of the morning. And the more I do, the harder it is to turn my brain off. And as much as I like to churn out a good pan of midnight brownies, the idea of doing all those dishes after writing a paper until 10 pm is just not the dream. So while cooking might be on the back burner, I’ve really been trying to take¬†at least 20 minutes a day to breathe deeply and do some good old fashioned procrastinating. You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I’m so committed to making this happen I’ve actually started setting my alarm earlier. If I’m up earlier, I can get a little bit of homework done and still have some time to write a blog post or read a few pages of something I actually care about.¬† Let’s see if I can keep this up once we Spring forward this weekend?

So anyway, speaking of 20 minute things, this salad. As long as your oven doesn’t take 45 minutes to heat up (ahem, Smith college apartments) you have plenty of time to throw this together! It’s a large recipe, so it can either feed several people for one meal as a side dish, or one person for almost a week! It¬†lasted me for¬†quite a few¬†meals¬†(which is impressive, considering I nearly devoured the whole thing at 7 am while taking pictures…), but just remember if you’re not eating it all in one sitting, add the chickpeas and sunflower seeds right before munching¬†so they stay crunchy!

PS- the Saveur Food Blog Awards are coming up….can you think of anyone you’d like nominate?¬†Heh.

Salad (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1  garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2+ tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound carrots
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds (or pepitas)

For the chickpeas: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss chickpeas with oil, salt, and spices until coated. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast until they’re browned and crisp (about 15 minutes) tossing occasionally. Listen for the sound of them popping up out of the pan, and tent the pan with foil if need be. There are more than you need for the salad, so take this opportunity to much on a few, you know you wanna. Set aside remainder.

For the dressing: Whisk all ingredients together, adding a scant 2 tbsp of water first, then adding more as needed. Set aside.

For the salad: Grate the carrots and toss in a bowl with parsley. Add most of the dressing and coat evenly, adding more to taste. Top with sunflower seeds, a handful of crispy chickpeas, and a grind or two of pepper!

 

 

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Fresh Herb Pasta

What is it about February that makes everything so bleh? Is it because the temperature outside is in single digits every day, rendering it impossible to run (or even venture) outside? Partially. Is it because Mercury is/was in retrograde? Perhaps (everyone has definitely been acting weird enough for me to believe there’s at least some truth to all this astrology stuff. Plus it is nice to have something as large as a planet to blame). Is it because we’re all just plain sick of wearing coats? I’m sure it’s¬†at least¬†somewhat responsible for¬†why everything feels off.

I guess the one good thing about the doldrums of winter¬†is that it just feels right to spend hours in the kitchen making things. There’s no warm sunshine telling me to take a walk downtown. There’s no spring¬†breeze coming through an open bedroom window tempting me to wear sundresses¬†instead of my February usual. So my hours of free time (which, honestly, have been dwindling fast- not sure how I feel about it though) have fully become about staying in pajamas and camping out in the kitchen. Chopping sweet potatoes and cauliflower and kale, stirring bowl after bowl of cookie dough, pulverizing almonds in the food processor. It is nice, but it also¬†feels like I’m biding my time.¬†For what? Not sure.¬†I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling like this, so I thought it would be good¬†to share one of the ways I’ve been coping with this endless season: pasta making. I know, I know, not everyone is as insane as I am (i.e. finding joy in rolling dough and the like), but this is actually a really cool activity! Honestly, it’s art. I haven’t experimented with colored pasta yet, but just you wait. We’ll get there, and it will be beautiful. Just FYI, you can very easily roll pasta dough without any contraptions, but it does take a bit longer to do it all by hand. That might be a good thing though! Because as we’ve already established, winter is¬† l o n g.¬†Best thing to do is eat a giant bowl of pasta with a smile on your face. Because really,¬†is it even possible to eat this particular food and feel bummed? I think not.

Pasta (makes 3-4 entree-sized servings; from My Paris Kitchen and Smitten Kitchen with a few alterations)

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (I used thyme, chives, and parsley, but feel free to make it your own!)
2 3/4- 3 cups all-purpose flour
large pinch kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 whole eggs, at room temperature
3 egg yolks, at room temperature
sprinkling of semolina or cornmeal

Whisk together 2 3/4 cups flour, herbs, salt, and pepper. Turn out on to your counter (or preferably a counter lines with parchment paper or a Silpat to control mess). Make a deep well in the center of the mixture and add the eggs. Using a fork or your fingers, mix the eggs together within the well until combined. Begin gradually mixing in some of the flour mixture from the sides of the well.

Continue incorporating the eggs with the flour, lifting up sticky bits with a bench scraper until a shaggy dough is formed. Knead the dough until quite smooth (about 1-2 minutes), adding extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time as needed, then form into a ball and wrap in plastic. Let it rest at room temperature for about an hour (ample time to make a sauce if you’re feelin’ it).

Divide the dough into sixths and sprinkle semolina or cornmeal on a large baking sheet. By hand: roll each section of dough until it reaches about the thickness of a credit card. Let it rest for about 10 minutes to firm up, then cut into desired shape! By pasta maker: Flatten it slightly, then pass through the first setting of a pasta maker. Adjust to the next setting and repeat until you reach the thickness of a credit card. Pass dough through desired pasta shape (I went Fettucini). Lay pasta on baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out too much.

If planning to eat¬†right away, cook pasta in salted boiling water with a splash of olive oil for 2-6 minutes. If you’d like to wait a bit, transfer pasta to ziplock bags with a little extra semolina and store at room temperature for a few days and increase cooking time to 6+ minutes, tasting along the way! Toss with your favorite sauce + cheese combo. I’m a major tomato sauce fiend, but actually ate this one naked with just a little pecorino, olive oil, and pepper!

 

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Summer Rolls (V, GF)

Yes, I am aware that it is fall, but I am going to share this recipe for summer rolls anyway because I’ve recently discovered that my apartment is located above the boiler room in our little complex. The temperature outside: 42 degrees; the temperature inside: 78 degrees. So you can only imagine what this is like. It very much means if one is going to prepare dinner, that dinner should not involve the oven and very likely¬†should not involve the stove. Unless of course you’re using the stove as extra food-piling space when your work surface is covered in artfully-messy-process-shot-food-styling mess (my roommates love me, can you imagine why they wouldn’t? Whatever, I make them a lot of cookies, it can’t be that bad.) Of course, I don’t always do that. Because I’m a professional and do not currently have funfetti frosting permanently embedded in my phone case after an unfortunate dropping incident. But that’s another story for another post. So, anyway. This post is about summer rolls. In November. Which leads me to question whether I should I start titling the¬†food I make¬†according to season? Did I make autumn rolls? I feel like for something to be an “autumn roll” it would have to have squash or pumpkin or sweet potatoes in it. THOSE are fall vegetables. Maybe next time. I’m keeping this post short and sweet so I can get back to making my current dinner: a hybrid between this and this. I’ll share it here sometime if it comes out well!

Roll (makes one)

1 large rice paper roll

1/4 avocado

1/4 small cucumber

1/2 red pepper

1/2 green pepper

1/2 carrot

small handful arugula

2 mint leaves

Dressing

juice from 1/2 lime

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp rice vinegar

1/2 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp honey (or desired sweetener)

Slice all veggies super thin and set aside. Dampen a sheet of rice paper sheet (specific instructions may vary according to brand) and lay flat on a work surface. Lay the arugula and mint leaves on the paper, then arrange the veggies over the leaves in a neat line. Roll the sides of the paper towards the center, then starting from the bottom, simply roll the paper up!¬†See this¬†super helpful photo tutorial if you’re having trouble, it was a life saver for me!¬†For¬†the dressing, simply whisk all ingredients together. Slice the roll in half and dip in dressing!¬†Ps- there will probably be extra dressing; I recommend saving it for a salad tomorrow. Or get more veggies and make lots of summer rolls!

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Black Rice Pasta Salad (V, GF)

I got really into black rice pasta this summer. What started out recipe testing for variations on Pad Thai¬†turned into so much more. The texture and flavor is different from pasta, but not in the least bit unpleasant way! Basically, it’s really rad. Obviously like normal pasta it’s extremely versatile, and can be enjoyed hot or cold, but I don’t know, there’s something about one’s pasta being roughly the color of asphalt that’s very inspiring, food-wise.¬†It leads to a great many OBD’s (see definition and subsequent rant about dinner dishes¬†here). This dish is essentially a conflation of several¬†OBD’s I planned on making over a recent weekend. I started with the idea of¬†making a¬†broccoli slaw,¬†but upon realization I was lacking in mayo and plain yogurt -and had no desire to walk to the store because it was raining, even less yearning to experiment with making my own mayo- decided I would do a mustard based slaw. Then that turned into a mustard ginger¬†soy sauce. Which led me to slice in a few carrots and sesame seeds and boom! It was delicious! But a little lacking in terms of a full meal. So the perfect compliment to the flavors all up in my slaw was obviously black rice pasta! Of which I have seven -yes, seven– packets. I’m honestly not sure how or why I have so many. I think every time I go to Whole Foods I put a package¬†or two of it in my cart, forgetting about the others I still have yet to eat. But I’m not complaining.

So backing up to making the broccoli slaw. I bought my broccoli¬†at a tiny local market in town that sources a lot of local produce. So when I opened the farmer-not-machine-plastic-wrapped vegetable and began to rinse my broccoli I noticed something in the sink that was broccoli colored, but not broccoli. It was a little green bug. Here’s something about me: I don’t like bugs. I really don’t like bugs. I don’t like bugs so much that when I see one in my room I tape my windows shut, which is probably terrible because fresh air is more important than a few critters on my wall, but as I mentioned I really don’t like bugs. So imagine my reaction to the little green¬†inchworm making its home in my vegetable. Yeah.¬†My friends convinced me that this was a good thing: that the broccoli was picked and packaged and arrived at the market so recently that the little creature managed to stay alive means it’s super fresh. That it¬†means¬†the farmer who grew the vegetable very likely doesn’t use harmful pesticides in their crops. That at the very least, it’s protein, right? Um.¬†Cut to me soaking the broccoli in salt water for a while, then spritzing it all over with¬†veggie wash, then bathing it in cold water, then hot water. I mean, it WAS $4 I wasn’t going to get back. And also I’m fairly certain if I’d run back to the market hoping for a refund¬†I would’ve gotten a “who’s this city girl upset about her garden-fresh broccoli? She probably uses a lot of hand sanitizer and eats yogurt with aspartame” kind of look. ¬†I’m not that girl, I swear! I just…prefer to get my daily protein from, y’know, beans and quinoa, not multi-legged inch-long critters. Suffice it to say, this was an ordeal (read: I live in the first world with a good dose of privilege, in case you couldn’t already tell from the fact that I write a food blog and am enrolled in college). This is an example of an ordeal in my sheltered life and probably not the best thing for me to be upset about. But anyway. I ate the broccoli and lived to tell the tale. I did not get some sort of bug-to-broccoli-to-mouth illness, and if anything, now I really¬†know how to wash a vegetable.¬†This probably means I should be a farmer when I grow up, right?

PS- if you’re not into black rice pasta/can’t find it, this salad would be just as good with soba noodles, which I’ve been able to find at most grocery stores (though they’re made from buckwheat, not rice, just so we have the facts straight)! But honestly, any noodles would work in this! Pasta rocks!

Salad (serves 1 but easily doubled, tripled, etc.)

1 bundle black rice noodles (I use these)

2 c broccoli

1/2 shallot, minced

2 carrots, peeled

Dressing

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper

squeeze lime or lemon

Toasted sesame seeds

Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside. Combine the first seven ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar, give it a good shake (with the lid on!!), and set aside. Using a vegetable peeler or a mandoline slicer slice up the carrots and bottom part (stem? trunk?) of broccoli. Give the top part of the broccoli a rough chop and place in a bowl with the shallot. Add pasta and dressing, then toss everything together. Top with a squeeze of citrus and sesame seeds!

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Quinoa Tabbouleh (V, GF)

Tabbouleh is easily one of my favorite foods. It’s pretty strange, because I actually have a habit of saying of I’m not a big fan of parsley or tomatoes (ingredients that make up about 7/8 of this recipe) but there’s just something about tabbouleh. It changes singular ingredients into one wonderful magical thing. Tomatoes are no longer tomatoes. Parsley is no longer parsley. Everything is tabbouleh. Okay this is getting a little Dadaist for me so I’m just going to move on. My journey this year is to put together as many one bowl dinners as I can, in hopes of fulfilling my ultimate quest: to wash less than five dishes/silverware/cups a day. It’s not working out so well, but hey, it’s only been like a month in the land-of-no-dishwasher! I’ll get there!¬†I’ve already made a few one bowl dishes, but was so hungry I didn’t bother photographing them..oops. But in hopes of getting my readers as excited about these OBD’s -get it?- as I am, here are a few I’ve made and definitely have my stamp of approval¬†(side note- who misses How I Met Your Mother as much as I do?):

These barbeque baked lentils¬†are making me so glad I sprung for a 2-gallon mason jar’s worth of french lentils in bulk at Whole Foods.

Who says it needs to be breakfast time to eat steel cut oat and quinoa cereal? It lasts for days and is delicious hot or cold!

I don’t know if you’d call this a full OBD, but this mustardy carrot slaw was AWESOME (and got even awesomer after I diced a gala apple up in there too).

Eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce¬†(the first recipe in this big list o’ sandwiches) is all I’ve ever wanted. I didn’t have any pita, as I have yet to sneakily liberate some from a dining hall¬†acquire some in an ethically sound manner, but it was just as delicious in a bowl with sliced avocado.

And now here are some I really want to make in the near future:

This Thai sweet potato soup is making me wish it could get colder so I can eat it all.

I love romesco and I can’t believe I have yet to put it on a pizza with chickpeas and kalamata olives.¬†(Oh and also the Lunch Box Fund is super important you can read more on that too by clicking ^¬†link.)

If poutine is made with sweet potatoes and is vegan it’s healthy right? But there is a real chance I will add cheese to this when I make it. I can’t help it.

There’s literally nothing I like more than a big ass salad with kale and veggies and protein (because it’s a never ending meal and I am a notorious scarfer. Seriously. You should see me with sushi. There’s honestly no point in using a plate because it’s gone in 45 seconds).

Stay tuned for more, but in the meantime, y’all ready for some quinoa? The lighting was a dream come true for food photography..

Tabbouleh (serves 8-10 as a side, 3-4 as a main; from The Kitchn)

1 c uncooked quinoa

1/2 medium red onion, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 to 2 c minced fresh parsley

1/2 c minced fresh mint

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice + extra

1 + tbsp red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to tasta

8 oz feta (optional)

Rinse the quinoa well and place in a saucepan with 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn the heat down to medium low and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, then transfer to a glass bowl or baking tray to cool.

Meanwhile, soak the chopped onion in a bowl of cold water to lessen their bite (this is my new favorite trick because I love raw onions but they’re always a little too strong). Place the chopped tomatoes, parsley, mint, and garlic in a large bowl. When the quinoa is cool, drain the onions and add both the bowl.

In a small bowl whisk together minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour over salad and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your preferences! In my opinion, this salad only gets better as time passes; the dressing really soaks into the quinoa. Before serving, add a squeeze of fresh lemon and feta! Serve with pita or lentil chips and hummus!

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Cauliflower Chickpea Burgers w/ Lemon Mayo (V, GF)Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

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I honestly can’t believe we’re down to the last week of July. It’s shocking to think that I’ve been on summer break for almost the same amount of time that makes up a full semester of college. I guess that’s just what happens when days are filled with work¬†instead of classes and nights are accompanied not by highlighter ink and florescent lights, but gin and tonic. And fireflies. While a lot of my good friends from high school are home for the summer too, everyone is busy with their own lives. It’s an interesting change, but I can’t say I dislike sitting by myself in the backyard of my parents’ house. I would say I could do without the mosquitoes, though. This is my last real “summer break”, which is strange on a million levels. I wonder where we’ll all be next summer at this time. Knowing myself, I’ll probably be here again. No matter how hard I try, my bank account balance never seems to crawl to a large enough number¬†for me to feel confidence in leaving home for good. But hey, who knows, maybe next summer that will change! Maybe I’ll have a real job? I think I’m ready to take a break from school. Not that I’d be able to afford to put myself through grad school in the next few years anyway, but I’ve been going nonstop for sixteen years- granted, at this point I’m willing to bet a solid year of that has been spent with my BFF Netflix <3. Yes, I watch tv. Probably too much. I like it. But I’m ready to try a new kind of stress. I’m a little frustrated with living a half-adult life. This past school year was rough, for a myriad of reasons. I overbooked myself academically, and let myself take for granted some really important elements to my life. I’ve learned nothing is constant. I’ve learned that the concept of trust isn’t as black and white as I once thought. I’ve learned that friends surprise you, in good ways and bad.

Stress is an odd thing. I’ve¬†come up with an analogy to describe the¬†past ten months because I always find comparisons comforting. Bear with me. First science:¬†Pearls are formed inside the shell of some¬†mollusks as a defense mechanism against a potentially threatening irritant (sometimes sand, often¬†a¬†parasite inside the shell, or an outer attack).¬†The mollusk then creates a pearl sac to seal off the irritation. Now me: had I not been ripped apart by stress this year, I would not have made Dean’s List or been awarded a¬†prize in¬†Costume Design. I would not have worked as hard on this blog. I would¬†have lost someone important to me probably forever. Without the irritants, I would not worked as hard in defense, and likely would not have been rewarded with pearls of¬†success. The¬†victories may seem small, but they are not meaningless. I’m not a glass-half-full person, and sometimes I really like to complain, but I think I know myself better today than I ever have. Anyway, that’s the point of this rambling post. I don’t blame you if you skimmed it!

Time to switch gears. Let’s talk about veggie burgers! My mission this summer has been one thing: to perfect intriguing recipes so I can have a nice repertoire of meals next year in my apartment. I’d say I’m a vegetarian about 80% of the time. I love burgers but I really detest¬†touching raw meat. I like what I like. So wut who cares.¬†So, ta da!¬†Vegan veggie burgers!¬†Uncooked they have¬†texture¬†akin to¬†ground beef but you can remind yourself that it’s only ground chickpeas and cauliflower! In terms of taste, these bad boys are sort of like falafel crossed with crab cakes (thanks Old Bay!) I guarentee that even if you’re not a vegan you’ll go back for seconds.

Burgers (makes 4-6 patties; from The First Mess)

2 c. cauliflower florets

2 c. cooked chickpeas

1 large clove of garlic, peeled and rough chopped

1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning

1 tbsp. olive oil

squeeze of lemon juice

salt + pepper

1/4 c. chickpea flour

3 tbsp. oat flour

1/3 c. chopped chives

Place the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket over an inch of water. Once the water in the pot is simmering, steam the cauliflower until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Run some cold water over the florets. Dry them off with a towel then place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the chickpeas, garlic, Old Bay, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse the mixture until you have a mixture that clumps together, but you should still see little bits of chickpeas. Dump the chickpea and cauliflower mixture into a large bowl and stir in the flours and chopped chives until your mix is fully combined and the flour is absorbed. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Divide the mix into equal portions and form patties with your hands. Place the patties on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Let them chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Fry until one side is golden and then gently flip them over (they can be a little quick to fall apart).  Serve hot with lettuce, avocado, red onion, tomato, and of course the following mayo!

Mayo

1 cup Vegenaise or mayo

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

1 tbsp. lemon juice

dash chili powder

salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients well in a bowl and serve dolloped on burgers!

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Not-Your-Standard Tuna Salad

Since summer is now in full swing, it’s time to wake up the standard picnic basket, starting with tuna. Now, I know there is quite a bit of controversy over this particular fish, but it’s something I like to have once or twice¬†a month and I’m still alive. But maybe I already have mercury poisoning and I don’t know it (I live on the edge, obviously). We’ll just ignore that for the time being and chat about food. Okay? Good. I think standard tuna salad is kind of a¬†boring¬†menu item. It’s good, but pretty much always the same: mayo, dill, maybe some chopped onion or carrot. It’s never very interesting¬†or all that flavorful. I am here to present you with what I believe to be a revitalized¬†alternative to that grayish white salad behind the deli counter. Red cabbage adds a little bitterness and lots of crunch, apples add sweetness, grainy mustard replaces mayo in flavor twofold (maybe fivefold..it’s just so much prettier to look at!) A tip from me to you: always get tuna in olive oil. Tuna in water is boooooring. You’ll thank me later.

Tuna

1 can tuna in olive oil (or tuna fillets in olive oil and oregano if you feel like getting fancy)

1/2 red cabbage, shredded

1  tbsp. grainy mustard

1 tbsp. capers

1/3 yellow onion, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 Gala apple, sliced thin

1/2 tsp. dried dill

1/2 tsp. dried parsley

Combine all ingredients and enjoy on crackers, a sandwich, or straight out of the bowl!

 

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Quick Weeknight Dinner: Zucchini and Sundried Tomato Pasta

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Emily’s back to share a delicious and easy pasta dish- a perfect one bowl dinner!¬†

Surprise! You all didn’t know that my diet extends beyond desserts/bread, did you? Recently, I surfaced from what can only be described as a 4-month pasta coma, or a semester in Italy. I was eating pasta 5 days a week at minimum and it was awesome. You could say I learned a thing or two about eating and making good pasta. What makes Italian food so good is its simplicity. Nothing is too complicated to make and the fresh ingredients really stand out. I recommend splurging a little and using high quality pasta. With so few ingredients, the pasta is not just a vehicle for sauce, but an important part of the dish. Trust me, it makes a difference. This is a quick and easy weeknight dinner, taking around 30 minutes to throw together. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Pasta

olive oil

1/2 large onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

4 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced into half-inch pieces

1/2 c. sundried tomatoes, sliced

1/4 t. crushed red pepper

salt

pepper

1 lb. pasta of your choice (I used spinach pappardelle)

1/2 c. grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

1 t. fresh basil, julienned

Cook the pasta according to the packaging directions. You want it to be al dente, or firm to the bite. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.

Coat the bottom of a large pan with olive oil. Once the oil is hot, sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the zucchini and sundried tomatoes. Cook until the zucchini is tender. Add the crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cooked pasta directly to the pan along with the cheese and basil, using the reserved pasta water to loosen everything up. Serve with more cheese (if you think you have enough, add a little more).

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Black Bean Quinoa Burgers (GF)Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

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Homemade veggie burgers are a new adventure for me. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes all I want to do is defrost an Amy’s California Burger and call it a day, but sometimes I have free time. So I take a break from watching Orange is the New Black -yes, I’m the only person in the country who hasn’t finished watching season 2 yet, I’m trying to make¬†it last!- to cook some quinoa for these bad boys (and probably a little extra for breakfast tomorrow). Honestly, these were probably the simplest veggie burgers I’ve ever made. There’s no pureeing of tofu or pounds of veggies to chop, it’s all pretty straightforward if you can boil water and stir. This recipe does include an egg, but don’t worry, vegans, I have one for you that I’ll post soon enough! I’m also a HUGE fan of this yogurt sauce. Most yogurt sauce recipes include a lot of cilantro and cucumbers, neither of which I can say I enjoy eating large quantities. But this one has honey! And spice! I love it. I’ll probably spread it on crackers if there are leftovers (can you say 30 second lunch?). I also think this is a really great dinner party option, because the burgers literally HAVE to be prepped early. So there’s no chance at all you’ll be trying to get dressed and make cocktails and talk to your friends and set the table AND form veggie patties ten minutes before you said you’d be eating. Maybe just the first four. You’re welcome. Also fun facts- Spices and Spatulas now has a Facebook page!¬†¬†Like it if you want to¬†get notifications about new posts (and look at lots of pretty pictures of food..)

 

Burgers (from Food52 with some minor changes)

1/2 c quinoa

1 tsp olive oil

1 small red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt

2 cans (15.5 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 large egg

2/3 cups cooked corn (fresh or canned)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 cup rolled oats, ground into crumbs

 

Rinse the quinoa then place in a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 10-15 minutes (or until water has absorbed). Set aside.

Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until soft (about 5-6 minutes). Place the mixture into a large bowl and add about 1/2 cans of black beans. Using a potato masher or fork, mash all of the ingredients together until a paste forms. Stir in the remaining beans along with the tomato paste, egg, corn, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in the cooked quinoa and ground oats until combined. Form mixture into patties (you can get 6-8 meal sized burgers or 10-12 sliders). Place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Bake burgers at 400 degrees F on a parchment covered baking sheet for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for another 10 minutes.

 

Chili Yogurt Sauce

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1 tsp honey

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. sweet Thai chili sauce

 

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

 

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