All in Food & Libations

superfood smoothie with seed cycling

What do you make when you want to eat veggies but don't realllllyyy want to eat veggies? When it's hot and you need something refreshing but also filling?  When you feel like you should make something healthy, but just can't put forth the effort to chop and prep or clean up after yourself? Smoothies! Smoothies are my friend and they can be yours too.  Don't think too much, just toss it all in the blender and and drink up.

nicoise salad with chickpea tuna

It's strange to think of non-tuna tuna, but OMG let go of your doubts and fears.  When I first made this recipe, Joshua and I kept looking at each other with each bite, shaking our heads in both disbelief and delight.  The chickpea tuna has a bit of crunch from the sunflower seeds, and the capers add a tuna-esque flavor without the fishiness.  Sometimes plant-based meals can leave you feeling like you didn't get enough of something...but this salad is completely satisfying.  There are plenty of fats from the olives and olive oil, and lots of protein from the sunflower seeds and chickpeas.  And, the crispy potatoes fulfill your carb craving Everything, minus the lettuce, does well served as leftovers.  You could also use the leftovers to make “tuna” salad sandwiches with smashed avocado, cuz why not???

nut & seed loaf {gf +v}

Nut & seed loaf—Bread? Check. Low-carb? Check. Vegan and gluten-free? Check, check! Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. All day. Every day. Slab a heap of nut butter on top, followed by fresh berries and a drizzle of maple syrup in the morn’.  Smash an avocado on there, finished with sea salt and fresh ground pepper in the afternoon. Use it to scoop up a big bite of saucy-deliciousness in the evening. This is your vehicle and the world is your oyster.

kale salad with cherries & walnuts

Cherries are everywhere now and they'll just as quickly disappear when their short season ends.  I bought so many at the market I've been stewing them down into sauces, blending them into smoothies and tossing them into this kale salad.

It's such a simple recipe and one that will do just fine served as leftovers.  The ripe cherries burst in your mouth and the walnuts provide a nice crunch.  Shaved grana parma will make the salad elegant for a dinner party but if you want to keep it dairy-free it’s great without it.  Make sure to give your kale a good massage with the vinaigrette, this breaks it down and yields a tender texture. If your cherry season has already ended, swap the cherries for fresh peaches.

pasta elbows with pesto and fresh tomatoes

'Tis the season for barbecues, pot lucks and social gatherings.  I'm always racking my brain for dishes that can be made ahead of time and don't necessarily need to be heated or chilled upon serving. And on such occasions, particularity when it's hot, it's best to make a dish that's simple and requires no baking.  This elbow pasta fits the bill and is oh so delicious with sweet summer tomatoes and a vibrant pesto sauce.  If you find some amazing tomatoes at the market that you can't fathom cooking, just forgo that part of the recipe and slice them up, mix them with some good olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed garlic and add them to the pasta that way.

Bon appetit!

grilled potatoes with lemon & parsley vinaigrette

Summer is in full swing here and so is the heat! I've relegated all cooking to the grill as our little kitchen gets a lot of afternoon sun and tends to collect the warm air throughout the house.  We've been making these grilled potatoes with a lemon and parsley vinaigrette, along with a giant salad every week since the heat rolled into town. The high heat of the grill gets the potatoes nice and crispy and the simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, lemon juice plus the zest, and some salt and pepper is like a bright burst of flavors in your mouth.

summer greek salad with avocado

Saddled with this sluggish motivation this week and a persistent craving for something crisp, zesty, refreshing and vibrant, came this feel-good, healthy salad full of veggie-deliciousness.   Our productivity has suffered some what since our unbelievably comfortable couch arrived this week, but it's suffered in comfort at least. I made this salad two times in the past week, and added in some grilled potatoes (more on that later). I tossed everything (potatoes included) with a lemon-parsley vinaigrette--it's like summer in your mouth! If potatoes aren't your thing (you cray-cray!) you could add a grilled protein of choice, or perhaps some pepita seeds to "beef" it up.

Bon appetit!

sheet-pan lemon & broccoli pasta

I've been meaning to put this recipe up on the blog, as it's always in my weekly rotation in some form, especially during spring and summer.  It's crunchy, tangy, savory and all together one big sheet-pan of yum! Oh, and you'll want to serve this pasta right on the pan so everyone gets equal access to that crunchy top layer. You can prepare this dish in advance and then pop it in the oven just before serving. It can be enjoyed at room temp, making it a great companion for a pot luck or BBQ.

grilled apricot & asparagus salad

After a cold winter in New York and a month of traveling, it's been nice to settle back at home for the last part of spring in Los Angeles. Mostly I've just been enjoying reconnecting with all my kitchen tools (esp. my new Vitamix that I got for Christmas but haven't had a chance to christen!!!)...and family and friends, of course!

This dish is perfect to bring to an alfresco dinner party and can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature.  The combination of texture from the raw asparagus, sweet and tart flavors from the grilled apricots and crunch of the roasted hazelnuts creates a perfectly balanced dish. Oh, and it looks pretty too!

Bon appetit

veggie chili with butternut squash

Since forever, I've been searching for a chili recipe that I more than just like. Like REALLY like. Or maybe even love.  I stopped making chili all together for a while; I just got tired of mediocre recipes...thought I might never make it again.  Over the years, after some more ups and downs, I finally found the crown jewel of ALL chili recipes (subjectively speaking of course).  For you skeptics, I don't blame you, I've been there before.  But I promise you this recipe won't disappoint!  I've been testing it on dinner guests for the last two months, watching their reactions with each chew and swallow.  Poor Joshua has probably had enough chili for a lifetime.  You can never really tell if someone likes what you cook, but after multiple requests  for this recipe--from vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and meat eaters alike--I decided it was time to share. The best part is that you can make it ahead of time.  The flavors continue to develop the longer it has to marinate in the spices.  Bon appetit!

hippie bowl with roasted veggies & turmeric sauce

When I'm feeling a lack of creativity, I throw together a "hippie bowl."  This usually consists of tossing some veggies in olive oil and salt and pepper, and popping them in the oven.  Then I choose a bean (lentils, aduzki beans, chickpeas, etc.) and some greens for a salad base (i.e. kale, arugula or spinach).  Next, I top it all of with a homemade sauce to brighten up the flavors and add moisture to the dish.  You can pretty much sub any ingredients you like into this equation: roasted veggies + beans + greens + sauce=hippie bowl.  It's hard to go wrong when you use fresh ingredients and combine different textures and flavors.

sweet potato brownies

Something has been missing 'round here and I finally figured out what it is: a touch of sweetness!  I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I do fancy baking things for others.  There's nothing like brownies made from scratch to make a place feel like home, if only to experience the sweet aroma of dark chocolate and hazelnuts permeating your space.  But who can resist a dessert made with such wonderful ingredients? Certainly no one. Not even I could keep my hands off this delicious, wholesome treat.   You don't even have to feel guilty about eating them--just dark chocolate, cocoa powder, roasted hazelnuts, almond flour, dates, a sweet potato and almond butter (mmmmmm, nut butters are my fav).  Dare I call them protein brownies??? Sure, why not...

buckwheat soba noodles with crispy tofu & veggies

I usually turn to pasta for a simple mid-week dinner, but things changed a couple weeks ago when my friend Amber came over with a soba noodle recipe from A Modern Way to Eat.  She also taught me how to knit that same evening, but I'll save that story for another time.  Anyhow, since then, I've been exploring different recipes and enjoying the fresh flavors and crisp texture unique to soba noodle dishes. Another plus is that soba noodles can be served warm or cold--meaning you can make this recipe, or any of your choosing, ahead of time.  Olympic dinner party anyone???

chichory salad with blood orange, apple & fennel

This bright, crisp salad is the perfect antidote for the gray winter months.  When the weather is as dry as it's been, I tend to crave more hydrating foods, and roasted winter vegetables just don't cut it.  I need something juicy and refreshing, albeit seasonal.  At this time of the year, there are some wonderful citrus fruits available: meyer lemons, blood oranges (and oranges all sorts), grapefruits, and other colorful fruits such as pomegranate and several apple varieties. 

wild mushroom toast

I discovered this recipe one morning with The New York Times in one hand and a bad attitude in the other...coupled by a strong desire to be glued to the couch.   The ingredients were already in my possession and I realized that I could cook dinner without ever having to leave the house. Alas mushroom toast, you became my best new friend!

Sometimes you have those days where you just. can't. do. anything.    It's too cold outside to leave the house, you slept poorly the night before, or you're simply tired from a day's work.  For whatever reason, everything not only seems hard, but is really hard. When you're feeling down or unmotivated, mushroom toast can be your best friend too.  [I hear they're also good for you...]

 

kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}

Living away from California for the time being, I've come to appreciate the availability and quality of fresh produce (not to mention the weather!) all year long, every day of the week.  The farmers' markets around Los Angeles are always stocked with a plethora of fruits, vegetables and delicious fare. While there are countless restaurants with accolades and organic markets here New York, there is an element of freshness in California cuisine that seems to effortlessly meet the needs of one's (my) vegetable intake requirements. It is so cold here it's hard not to crave hearty, warm meals that fill the belly and warm the heart. But after a few weeks it's taken a toll and I've felt the need to actively incorporate more seasonal fresh greens and produce into my diet.  Enter: kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas.

herbed white bean, kale & vegetable soup

Happy New Year!  I'm back after a three month hiatus! We've been globe-trotting, visiting family and attending weddings and such, and there just hasn't been much time for me to sit still.  Now, we are here in NYC for a while and the current snow storm has forced me to stay inside and be productive : ). In light of the cold weather, we've been craving soup (pho three times in four days!!).  Luckily, I anticipated cooking winter soups and stews, so I packed an immersion blender (a gift that keeps on giving, thank you Aunt Jane!). This soup is seriously hearty, and will leave you feeling full for hours. The best part is that It can be whipped together in under 30 minutes (me likey!!!). 

cacao & coconut energy bites

Since we left Santa Fe last week, we've been road trippin' all over the place.  We did a nine hour drive from New Mexico, up through Colorado Springs and Denver, to Scottsbluff, Nebraska, where we'll be staying in a hotel for the next couple weeks.  This past weekend we saw the evolving Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota ('cause why not?!).  We drove through the historic town of Deadwood and stayed in an off-grid house in a little town called Spearfish.  Why you ask?  Because they marketed a pizza oven on their listing and therefore we could make our traditional Sunday pizza (turned out more interesting than traditional).  Since there's not much [of anything] here in Nebraska, and I have no kitchen to cook the day away, we've committed to exploring on the weekends and staying in Airbnb's where we can prepare food for the week. The hardest part about traveling is staying on a consistent diet to avoid tummy troubles.  Because I have such a sensitive stomach, I always make sure to bring along healthy food that I can eat in a pinch.  These energy bites have fueled us through our recent travels, and I'm a little depressed that we've just finished the last of 'em.

avocado toast with walnut pesto

The last of our Santa Fe visitors have long departed and it's just me and our dogs, Billy and Lola, having dinner together in our casita while Joshua is working late tonight.  It's always a thing, being alone and wondering what to cook for dinner.  You never really want to make anything fancy, as no one's there to enjoy your carefully crafted meal.  So what's easy and equally satisfying in these situations?  O.M.G., avocado toast of course! 

almond-cashew golden milk with chai

I love collecting little cups and bowls from different places, and I recently discovered one to add to the collection at the Georgia O'Keeffe museum in downtown Santa Fe. It's handmade out of stoneware clay and has a thumb indent (hence the name "thumb-cup") so it fits perfectly in your hand. 

Along with the debut of my new favorite cup, here is a delicious, wholesome recipe for almond-cashew golden milk with chai--it's a mouthful of goodness!  It may seem a bit wintry, but it's just as tasty served cold, and oh so good you. 

My best friend Heather came to visit me this past week and we got to talking about homemade nut milk.  I reiterated how simple it is to make and promised to walk her through it.  Lately I've been into making almond-macadamia milk, but alas, I was out of macadamia nuts and Heather mentioned that they're too expensive to buy anyhow, good point.  So, improvise we did!  We ended up making a creamy almond-cashew milk, softly sweetened with a few dates.  Of course you could substitute any milk or milk alternative of your choice.