Broccoli Stir-Fry (GF)(V)

brocBroccoli Stir-Fry (GF)(V)
the ingredients:

1/2 cup veggie stock
1 Tbsp tamari (you can use soy sauce if you aren’t gluten-intolerant)
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
Avocado oil (or some other high smoke-point cooking oil)
1 pound broccoli florets, rinsed, patted dry, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger

 

 

the method:

  1. Mix the stock, soy sauce, and dark sesame oil together in a small bowl, set aside.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp of avocado oil in a large, covered sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the broccoli florets, stir to coat the florets with the oil, Sauté for about a minute. Clear a space in the middle of the broccoli and add the ginger and garlic. Add a little more oil to the ginger and garlic (about a teaspoon) and sauté for half a minute, stirring just the garlic and ginger, until fragrant. Then stir the garlic and ginger in with the broccoli.
  3. Add the vegetable stock mixture to the pan. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and cover. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, until broccoli is still firm, but can be pierced with a fork. Remove from heat. Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Return pan to heat, increase heat to high and boil down the liquid until just a couple tablespoons remain. Turn off heat, return broccoli to the pan and toss with the liquid. Put into a serving bowl with some rice.

Margherita Pizza (GF)

margherita pizzaMargherita Pizza (GF)
the ingredients:

  • 1 gluten-free pizza crust (I used Udi’s, but I plan on making my own pretty soon!)
  • 1 pound (2 large) ripe summer tomatoes or 1 16-oz can whole or diced tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed basil, sliced into ribbons
  • 8 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated (you can use regular mozzarella – this is just what I had on hand)
  • Salt and pepper

 

the method:

  1. Heat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and trim away the stem area. Gently squeeze the wedges over a bowl to remove the excess juices and seeds. Combine the tomatoes with the garlic and half of the basil in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until the tomatoes break down into a sauce, scraping down the sides as needed. If desired, strain to make a thicker sauce.
  3. Spread a light layer of the sauce over one of the rounds of pizza. Top with half of the slices of mozzarella. Leave some space between the pieces of mozzarella.
  4. Bake for 7-12 minutes—exact cooking time will vary depending on your oven temperature. Pizza is finished when the crust is deep brown with charred spots and the cheese is bubbling.
  5. Sprinkle the pizza with basil as it comes out of the oven. Let it cool briefly before slicing and serving.

 

Grilled Veggie & Tofu Rice Bowl (GF)

 

tofu veggie bowlGrilled Veggie & Tofu Rice Bowl (GF)
1 1/2 cups jasmine or basmati rice
3 cups water
1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed (I made Nick’s with grilled chicken)
1/4 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
3 bell peppers, cut into fourths
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 avocados, mashed very well
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
salt + pepper, to taste
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled

the method:

  1. *At least 30 minutes before grilling, soak your skewers (if they are bamboo) in water for 30 minutes to prevent them from charring.
  2. In a large bowl combine the olive oil, garlic and hot sauce. Add the tofu and toss well. Cover and place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the meal.
  3. Make the rice. Add the water to a medium size pot. Bring to a low boil and then add the rice. Stir to combine and then place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. Allow the rice to cook ten minutes on low and then turn the heat off completely and let the rice sit on the stove, covered for another 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Note that rice can cook differently for everyone, this is just what works for me.
  4. Pre heat the grill to medium high heat.
  5. Add the bell peppers to a gallon size ziplock bag. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Seal the bag and shake well so the veggies are coated with olive oil.
  6. Remove the tofu from the fridge and skewer it.
  7. Grill the tofu for 3-4 minutes per side, gently flipping 2-3 times until cooked through and has light char marks. While the tofu is grilling grill the bell peppers for about 5 minutes flipping once or twice during cooking.
  8. Remove everything from the grill and let cool 5 minutes. Once cool slice the red peppers into strips.
  9. Add the mashed avocados to a bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, parsley, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  10. To assemble the bowls, divide the rice evenly. Top each bowl of rice with equal amounts of tofu and grilled peppers. Add a large dollop of the avocados and then add the fresh tomatoes. Sprinkle with blue cheese if desired. Serve warm.

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta (GF)

I started my 200-hour yoga certification about two weeks ago thinking I had all the time in the world. Even though we all need that extra hour every day to get things done, I decided to go after something I have been dreaming about doing for about year – and it’s the best decision I have ever made.  My days are busy, but not chaotic. I go to Ashtanga almost every day after work and spend a good portion of my weekend on the mat, as well. We are currently turning half of our guest bedroom into a mini yoga studio so I can practice when I  have to work late or can’t make it to class for some reason. I have a feeling this will look totally adorable and I will post pictures once it’s ready. 🙂

With a full-time job, a house to take care of and a hungry boyfriend to feed, these last couple of weeks have been exhausting – I don’t know how people with kids do it! Hats off to you!

So far, these yoga classes have been an amazing experience, these teachers are inspirational and have put me in positions I never even dreamed I could do. In order to keep up with the things I enjoy (like cooking), I’ve had to make some compromises. I still fully plan on cooking as much as possible, but I realized I needed to find more convenient meals in order to keep up with my routine and ensure I eat a healthy, home-cooked meal as much as possible.

Even though more of my time is being absorbed since I started certification, I surprisingly feel more balanced. This dish is one that I pinned almost a year ago when looking for quick week-day meals. It’s a one pot dish, so you know that prep and clean up will be a cinch. This dish can also be made vegan easily by omitting the parmesan or substituting it with a vegan option.

Enjoy!

One Pot Tomato Basil PastaOne Pot Tomato Basil Pasta (GF)

the ingredients:

  • 12 ounces gluten free pasta (I used Rotini)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 2 large sprigs basil, chopped
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (regular broth and NOT low sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

the method:

  1. Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil.
  2. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired .
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper , stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.

Yep, that’s it!

Vegan Rustic Pasta

A couple a years ago when I was still working as a server, one of my favorite customers had told me about a new vegan cookbook called The Kind Diet – written by Alicia Silverstone. At this time, I had been a vegetarian for a couple of years and was very interested in experimenting with vegan cuisine.  Needless to say, once my shift was over, I pedaled my way to the nearest bookstore to pick up a copy.

I knew I wasn’t ready to be fully vegan (I love cheese more than anything) but quite a few of the recipes looked lip-smacking delicious – and they were. Now, I will admit that the longest I’ve ever gone being a vegan is a little over a month – but I do like to take “vegan” weeks every now and then if I feel like I’ve over-indulged on the dairy.

So, even though I know that I could never be 100% vegan, I still refer to this book all the time for some yummy recipes. One of my favorite dishes from this book is the Rustic Pasta. It’s so tasty and hearty that even a meat-eater would approve and probably wouldn’t complain about the lack of animal product. I like serving this dish with a big fresh salad or with some veggie sausage on top.

You should also check out Alicia’s vegan website: The Kind Life.

Rustic Pasta

The ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound pasta (you can choose long or short shape)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 large onions, very thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I used more)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced or thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1/4 cup shoyu
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 5-6 tablespoon marinara sauce

The method:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook just until al dente. Drain the pasta well.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onions and cook for 7 minutes until softened. Then add the garlic and saute for 3 minutes longer. The onions should transparent and turning golden.
  3. Add the celery to the skillet and saute for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the shoyu, salt, garlic powder, then add the cabbage; saute for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Broccoli Gruyere Pasta Bake

 

I decided to forgo the gym yesterday – the weather was just so rainy that it just felt better snuggled up on the couch next to my pup Eleanor and watching the SVU Marathon that is on constant record.  I know what you’re thinking… I live in AZ – the desert – how much rain could you possibly get? Well, it wasn’t so much the rain that prevented me from journeying to LA Fitness, it was the intense dust storm and powerful winds that prevented me from even opening my front door. Basically, the weather held me hostage, which I was okay with.

So I busted out my emergency bottle of red wine and indulged in this pasta dish:

 

Broccoli Gruyere Pasta Bake

The ingredients:

  • 1 lb penne or any pasta
  • 1 red onion , roughly chopped
  • 1 lb head broccoli , stalks chopped and florets halved
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tsp French or German mustard
  • 1 cup pot half fat crème fraîche
  • 1/2 c grated mature Gruyère or cheddar
  • small handful parsley leaves, chopped
  • 4 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs (or put 1 slice crustless white bread through a food processor)
  • 1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs or thyme
  • Parmesan, optional

The method:

  1. Boil the pasta, onion and broccoli stalks in plenty of lightly salted boiling water for about 7 mins, then add the florets and cook for another 3 mins. Reserve about 1 1/2 cup of the water, then drain the pasta and vegetables.
  2. Return the reserved water to the pan and dissolve the stock cube, whisk in the mustard and crème fraîche, then season to taste. Bring to the boil. Stir in the drained pasta, vegetables and half the cheese, mixing until melted. Stir in the parsley.
  3. Heat the broiler for 3 mins. Tip the pasta and vegetables into a shallow, ovenproof dish. Mix together the remaining cheese, breadcrumbs and herbs, then scatter on top.
  4. Broil for 3-5 minutes, turning if it starts to brown. Keep watching so the top doesn’t start to burn or the cheese will toughen. Remove and leave to stand for 5 mins before serving.

Homemade Slow Cooker Spicy Marinara and Artisan Bread

One of my favorite things to come home to is a delicious supper that has been in the slow cooker all day. I decided to make Slow Cooker Spicy Marinara so I didn’t really go all out on this one, but I must say, it was one of the best marinara sauces I’ve had in a while (sorry Auntie)!  I did my own little take on this recipe from Life Currents blog, but added some crushed red pepper and a nice glug of red wine because, well…  um do you know me? I’m a firm believer in red wine really bringing out the vibrancy in a tomato sauce – and I think slow cooking the sauce for over 8 hours really allowed the flavors to develop beautifully. I’ve made a lot of pasta sauces for Nick, but I think this one was his favorite. I made a whole ton of this stuff because you can freeze it and it keeps FOREVER.

I also thought about grabbing an Italian loaf to make some homemade garlic bread – but it isn’t really totally homemade unless you make the bread too, right? It dawned on me that I had just added a 5-minute Artisan bread recipe to my Pepperplate account so I decided to try it out. I failed to get a picture of the bread itself, but in the picture below, you can see the final product – Herb and Cheese Garlic Bread (obviously not vegan, but can easily be made vegan with shredded Daiya cheese). I made a VERY small loaf so I only let it rise about an hour before tossing it in the oven and still came out delicious and golden-brown in color. I made a ton of more dough, so expect to see a picture of one these beauties in the near future.

I put together this little Italian dish for the two of us:

 

Slow Cooker Spicy Marinara

Ingredients:

Makes 13 (½ cup) servings

  • 8 cups crushed tomatoes or 2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • dash of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt, if desired
  • freshly ground pepper

The Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker. Stir well to combine. Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours. Stir the sauce and remove the bay leaves. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt and some freshly ground pepper as desired.

5 Minute Artisan Bread

Makes (4) 1lb. loaves

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt or 1 1/2 tablespoons other coarse salt
  • 6 1/2 cups flour, unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose (not strong)

The Method:

Preparing Dough for Storage:

  1. Warm the water slightly. It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature. Warm water will rise the dough to the right point for storage in about 2 hours. With cold water it will need 3-4 hours.
  2. Add the yeast to the water in a 5 quart bowl or, preferably, in a resealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container or food-grade bucket. Don’t worry about getting it all to dissolve.
  3. Mix in the flour and salt – kneading is unnecessary. Add all of the flour at once, measuring it in with dry-ingredient measuring cups, by gently scooping up the flour, then sweeping the top level with a knife or spatula. Don’t press down into the flour as you scoop or you’ll throw off the measurement. Mix with a wooden spoon, a high-capacity food processor (14 cups or larger) fitted with the dough attachment, or a heavy duty stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until the mixture is uniform. If you’re hand mixing and it becomes too difficult to incorporate all the flour with the spoon, you can reach into your mixing vessel with very wet hands and press the mixture together. Don’t knead, it isn’t necessary. You’re finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches. It takes a few minutes, and will yield a dough that is wet and loose enough to conform to the shape of its container.
  4. Allow to rise. Cover with lid (not airtight or it could explode the lid off). Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flattens on the top), approx 2 hours, depending on room temperature, and initial water temperature Longer rising times, up to 5 hours, won’t harm the result.
  5. You can use a portion of the dough any time after this period. Fully refrigerated dough is less sticky and easier to work with than dough at room temperature.

Ready to bake? Follow the instructions below:

  1. Prepare your loaf tin, tray, or whatever you’re baking it in/on. Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with four. Pull up and cut of a grapefruit-size piece of dough (c 1 lb), using a serrated knife.
  2. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all 4 sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Most of the dusting flour will fall off – that’s fine, it isn’t meant to be incorporated. The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will sort itself out during resting and baking.
  3. The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive. The entire process should take no more than 30 – 60 seconds.
  4. Rest the loaf and let it rise in the form, on the tray/pizza peel, for about 40 minutes Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise during this period. That’s fine, more rising will occur during baking.
  5. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450°F Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other shelf that won’t interfere with the rising bread.
  6. Dust and Slash. Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing knife to pass without sticking. Slash a quarter inch deep cross, diagonal lines, or tic-tac-toe pattern on top using a serrated knife.
  7. After a 20 min preheat you’re ready to bake, even though the oven thermometer won’t be at full temperature yet. Put your loaf in the oven. Pour about 1 cup of hot water (from the tap) into the broiler tray and close the oven to trap the steam.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch.
  9. Store the rest of the dough in the fridge in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next 14 days. The flavour and texture improves, becoming like sourdough. Even 24 hours of storage improves the flavour.