10/15/18

Vegan Split Pea Soup In A Pressure Cooker Adapted From SkinnyTaste


It finally feels like Fall, which means it's soup weather (although for me, almost any weather is soup weather). If you are like me and love split pea soup, you'll want to make my vegan version of SkinnyTaste's Split Pea Soup in a pressure cooker! I added potatoes, because that's what my mom always does, took out the meat, and added a few extra spices.

Remember when slightly over two years ago I received a PowerPressureXL to play with in my kitchen? I've loved that pressure cooker and used it often, but a few months ago noticed that the non stick coating started to come off. Luckily, the company has rebranded itself into PowerQuickPot, updated its pressure cooker model and now has a stainless steel insert! I received the new model and tested it out by making the split pea soup.

Vegan Split Pea Soup In A Pressure Cooker Adapted From SkinnyTaste

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
2 celery ribs, peeled, diced
1 large Russet potato, peeled, cubed into 3/4" pieces
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons bourbon smoked paprika
1 pound dry green split peas, washed well
1 bay leaf
6 cups water
chopped parsley for garnish

Directions
1. Set the PowerQuickPot to a saute setting. Add olive oil, allow to heat slightly, then add carrots, onion, celery and potatoes. Saute for 5 minutes.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, other than parsley, and mix to combine.
3. Set the PowerQuickPot to the bean setting. {Note, the bean setting was for 20 minutes. I used a quick release after 15 minutes.}

Adjust the seasoning and serve topped with parsley. Keep in mind the soup will thicken as it sits in the fridge.

This will be lunch today and tomorrow and the day after!

Thanks PowerQuickPot for my new pressure cooker! I'm giving the older version to a friend and sending her a link to a stainless steel insert.

Note: I received the PowerQuickPot as a gift. I'm not being paid for this post. All opinions are my own.

10/9/18

Quick & Easy: Fried Egg, Sweet Plantains & Avocado


Some meals are planned. Others are thrown together in minutes. At least that's how I cook.

Yesterday, I had a day off, lunch was put together in minutes from a bunch of random ingredients I had on hand.

Quick & Easy: Fried Egg, Sweet Plantains & Avocado

1. Defrosted cooked white beans became a white bean dip with a bit of salt, bean cooking liquid, chili powder, and fresh basil.

2. Fried egg.

3. Frozen and baked plantains from the night before were reheated in the same skillet with the fried egg.

4. Cut up tomato and avocado were sprinkled with a bit of salt.

5. Everything got a bit of a freshness kick from the lime juice.

Quick and easy!

10/2/18

Travel Tuesday: Burlington, Vermont


Earlier in September I flew to Burlington, Vermont for a mini solo vacation. I needed a break from DC, and was looking forward to a getaway full of cooler weather, new experiences, great food, and relaxation. I got it all, but the cooler weather.

This is a quick recap with some photos and a list of things I did, saw, and ate. Most of these recommendations came from my friends and social media followers, and I am here to return the favor and share them with you.

Vermont has been on my list of places to visit for a while, and I finally checked it off! The flight from DC was slightly over an hour and not too expensive. I stayed at an AirBnb close enough to the center of the city and walked to most places. Uber was my other mode of transportation and couldn't have been easier.

Food
1) Honey Road (pictured above): This was probably my favorite meal by far. I was able to get a table outside around 5 pm and had a hard time deciding which dishes to order, because I wanted all of them! I ended up ordering hummus, whipped feta, lamb meatballs, and a charred octopus. Plus a cocktail. And dessert. I did not regret a single bite.

2) Willow's Bagels: perfect late breakfast spot. This place was recommended by a receptionist at the yoga place where I dropped in for a class (which was something I've never done on a vacation: highly recommend). I really liked that the bagels were thin and extra toasted. The smoked salmon and the yellow sliced tomatoes were dreamy!


3) Hen of the Wood: start with an oyster happy hour ($1/each), then move over to the chef's table for dinner, as I did. I loved seeing how the food was being prepared. My favorite dish was the toast with hen of the wood mushrooms, bacon and an egg. Again, I had no trouble getting a seat because I was there on an early side and solo.



4) Misery Loves Company: no photos because it was getting dark when I had dinner at this must restaurant with Carey. It was a great way to end my trip: sharing dishes, wine, and dessert and chatting about food, relationships, travel, etc.

Things to do
Shelburne Farms: I Ubered there from the city and it was beyond worth it. I took the tour of the farm and learned about sustainability, sampled cheese, saw beautiful cows, and had lunch. The tour also included the beautiful inn and garden. So picturesque!

Shelburne Vineyard: a quick Uber ride from the farm, this vineyard is not to miss. Sample the wines, walk around, and enjoy the nature.


Sangha Studio: drop in for a class or two and pay what you can. The studio provides mats and blocks.

Spirit of Ethan Allen: take a cruise around the lake!

Green Mountain Railroad Dinner Train: this was the first time I've ever taken a dinner train. I was nervous about sharing a table with strangers. I then was nervous about NOT sharing a table with strangers and having an entire table to myself, but the beauty outside of the windows, the food (I was surprised at how good it was!), and the grand service, made me happy I took this adventure.

Other mentions: take a tour of Citizen Cider, catch a movie at the Merrill's Roxy Cinema, walk through the farmers market.
Happy travels everyone!

9/28/18

Weekend Breakfast: Challah French Toast And Bacon


Who is ready for the weekend!? I know I am.

I wanted to share with you an awesome, super non Kosher, breakfast I made a few weekends ago from the freezer!

Weekend Breakfast: Challah French Toast And Bacon

You see, earlier this month I made an apple and date studded round challah for Rosh Hashannah and had my friend Sarah over with her son to help me celebrate. I sent Sarah home with a chunk of challah for her husband Nick, and froze the rest after slicing it.

In my freezer, I also had individually wrapped slices of bacon. I defrosted both the challah and the bacon overnight, and made breakfast in the morning.

For the bacon, I highly recommend you bake it in the oven on a wire rack set into a baking dish. I sprinkled mine with Cajun spice mix and baked at 430F for about 10 minutes on each side.

The challah French toast is super easy: eggs whisked with a bit of half and half. Challah slices dunked and cooked for about 3-5 minutes on each side.

Have a great weekend!


PS I used Molly Yeh's recipe for the scallion challah, minus the scallions and other extra flavors. I simply added about 3/4 of an apple, diced, and 12 dates also diced.

9/17/18

Vegan Miso And Coconut Milk Red Lentils With Dinosaur Kale Recipe


In need of a quick and easy vegan comfort food recipe!? I have you covered with Vegan Miso And Coconut Milk Red Lentils With Dinosaur Kale Recipe.

Did you miss me? I had a really fun vacation in Burlington, VT and then came back and got a cold and stayed home for an entire week. Oy.

After my vacation, I wanted something healthy but still comforting (you know how hard it is to go back to normal life after so much fun and good food and sleeping in and seeing new things). I decided to use red lentils from my pantry, dinosaur kale from my refrigerator and a few extra ingredients.

I basically did very little prep and dumped everything in my pressure cooker.

Vegan Miso And Coconut Milk Red Lentils With Dinosaur Kale Recipe
Serves 4

1 1/2 cups red lentils
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 bunch dinosaur kale, ribs removed and discarded, torn into pieces
2 cups miso broth
3 garlic cloves, chopped
13.5 ounce can coconut milk
chili powder, to taste

toppings
chopped tomatoes
olive oil
lemon
yogurt, optional

1. Add all ingredients other than toppings into a pressure cooker.
2. Stir to combine.
3. Set the pressure cooker to 8 minutes on beans/lentils setting.

Serve topped with chopped tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil or a spoon of yogurt or sour cream. A squeeze of lemon juice brightens up this dish really well. Fresh herbs will be good too.

8/30/18

Cajun Spiced Cod With Charred Corn Salad


If you are looking for a healthy meal that is made in less than 20 minutes and is not only colorful, but also has a ton of flavor, make my Cajun Spiced Cod With Charred Corn Salad.

I used defrosted cod, but feel free to use fresh fish. Also, I made my own Cajun spice, but you can buy a jar in your grocery store. If your Cajun spice doesn't have salt, add it to the mix.

This recipe will transfer you to a warmer climate (oh wait...it's a thousand degrees in DC!) and make you feel like you are on vacation. Don't hesitate to have a tropical boozy drink with this dish.

Cajun Spiced Cod With Charred Corn Salad

olive oil
cod 
Cajun spice

corn, charred, kernels cut off (I charred mine directly on the flame of the gas stove, but you can use a grill or a broiler, or simply cut off the kernels and saute them in a skillet)
tomatoes, diced
avocado, diced
red onion, chopped
cilantro, chopped
jalapeno, chopped
lime juice to taste
olive oil
salt & pepper

melon slices

1) Heat olive oil in a non stick skillet. Coat cod on both sides with the Cajun spice and saute for 2-4 minutes on each side depending on the size of the fish.
2) Combine corn, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, cilantro and jalapeno in a bowl and dress with lime juice, olive oil and salt & pepper.
3) Serve the fish with a side of the charred corn salad and a few slices of melon.

8/27/18

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Meatless Monday Salad


Raise your hand if you need to reset your eating after a weekend of tater tots, cake, Mexican food, ice cream, hot dogs, and zero exercise.

Oh, is it just me!? 

I present you with Everything But The Kitchen Sink Meatless Monday Salad aka big ass salad. This salad uses leftover baked red skinned potatoes and all the summer produce you have on hand. If you happen to be a hater of mayonnaise, use olive oil, which will make this salad vegan!

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Meatless Monday Salad

baked red skinned potatoes, cubed
fresh corn kernels
tomatoes, cubed
Persian cucumbers, cubed
cilantro, chopped
pickled red onions
salt and pepper to taste
mayonnaise

The pickled red onions really make this salad! As far as how much of each ingredient to use, I say do as you wish. I had about the same amount of potatoes, corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers. If you want this to be more of a potato salad, add more potatoes!

8/22/18

Plum Almond Cake From Domenica Marchetti


Yesterday as soon as I saw Domenica Marchetti share a link to her Plum Almond Cake recipe on Leite's Culinaria, I decided that I would make it. Yes, another cake.

Miraculously, I had all the ingredients needed for the cake at home! {I did have to make my own almond flour from the slivered almonds, but that was really easy.}

Speaking of miraculous, and this has nothing really to do with the cake or the blog, but DEAR MEN: PLEASE STOP GHOSTING!!!! I suppose this also applies to women who do that. It's cowardly, unkind, and rude, and karma, hopefully will get you. I'm still waiting for that miracle of finding ♥.


Ok, back to the cake. I followed the recipe a hundred percent, and the results were stellar. My condo smelled sweet from the ripe plums, sugar, and almond extract. The cake had a tender inside and crusty outside, and took only minutes to put together. 


Above is the before photo: you add the simple batter to the spring form pan, the plop the halved plums, and top with the mixture of almonds, butter and sugar!

The photo below is the after. Please follow the instructions and allow full 20 minutes for the cake to cool. I did not, and mine broke in a few places, but still tasted awesome warm topped with sour cream!!! 


I had leftovers for breakfast with iced coffee.

Let there be cake!

8/20/18

Quick & Easy Pickled Red Onions With Sumac


One of the ingredients I always have on hand are onions. I add onions to soups, salads, thinly sliced into sandwiches, main dishes, and side dishes.

Pickled onions aren't only easy to make, but can elevate any dish and enhance its flavor.

Last weekend I made a quick batch of pickled onions without using any measurements and with an addition of sumac. It was so good and easy, I decided to make a second batch and to share the recipe with you.

Quick & Easy Pickled Red Onions With Sumac

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
juice of 1 tangerine
white vinegar
a few dashes of sumac

Place sliced onions into a small jar. Add juice of tangerine and enough white vinegar to cover. Add sumac. Add the lid. Shake. Refrigerate for at least a few hours.

I've added these onions to a pulled pork sandwich, tuna salad, and a big potato salad that I'll blog about later this week.

8/14/18

Peach Upside-Down Cake from Secrets of the Southern Table by Virginia Willis


At the beginning of this year, I decided to make more recipes that will challenge my culinary skills. This past weekend, I did just that when I baked Peach Upside-Down Cake from Secrets of the Southern Table by Virginia Willis

I've been following Virginia Willis on social media for a while, and bought a ticket to a dinner she hosted in DC as soon as I saw it announced. The dinner was part of her book tour for the newly released Secrets of the Southern Table. I received a preview copy of the book from Virginia's publishers, and as soon as I tried the Peach Upside-Down Cake at dinner, I knew I'd have to make it. 

During the dinner I also tried and loved Virginia's shrimp and grits, but the highlight of the night was hearing about the new cookbook and the stories of Southern cuisine. Virginia researched the book for a year and shares stories of farmers, makers and growers, and immigrants who have impacted the food. You'll learn that Southern cuisine is not just okra, shrimp and grits, and fried chicken. The book includes recipes for dishes such as shredded beef arepas, Mexican chocolate pudding, tomato-ginger green beans, and chicken and butterbean paella.

But let's talk about cake for now!

This was my first time making an upside-down cake, and I was nervous. Would it come out as light and flavorful as Virginia's? Will it stick to the cast iron skillet? Will my friend who came over for her belated birthday celebration like it? Well, I had nothing to worry about.




PEACH UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE from SECRETS OF THE SOUTHERN TABLE by VIRGINIA WILLIS. Copyright © 2018 by VIRGINIA WILLIS. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Peach Upside-Down Cake
Serves 10

Southern peaches are something special. The trouble is, you pretty much have to live in the South to understand what the fuss is about, because peaches bought elsewhere are most often picked green and hard before shipping. 

When ag-entrepreneur Stephen Rose moved to Nashville in the summer of 2010, he made a disheartening discovery: No one was selling fresh, flavorful peaches like the kind he’d grown up with in Peach County, Georgia. He had an idea. He and his wife bought a 1964 Jeep truck and started selling big, beautiful, juicy Georgia peaches out of their cab in Nashville. Within five weeks, the city had consumed over ten tons of their brown-bagged peaches. Now the Peach Truck Tour travels through Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania!

Pineapple upside-down cake is a Southern classic and is most often made with canned pineapple.

This version uses fresh peaches and is a vast improvement, in my opinion. You can use all-purpose flour instead of the cake flour, but the results will be a bit heavier and slightly dense.

4 medium peaches (about1½ pounds), unpeeled and cut into⅓-inch-thick wedges
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup cake flour, not self-rising
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
10 tablespoons (½ cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
2 large eggs
½ cup sour cream

Bourbon Cream (recipe follows)

1.Heat oven to 350ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. (This step helps with cleanup.)

2.Toss the peaches with the lemon juice in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

3.Cook ¼ cup of the granulated sugar over medium heat in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for 10 minutes, or until the sugar melts and turns a deep amber color. Remove from the heat. Immediately add 2 tablespoons of the butter and stir vigorously. Arrange the peach wedges in concentric circles over the sugar mixture, overlapping them as needed.

4.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining ¾ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup butter, and vanilla bean seeds on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add the sour cream and beat until blended. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until blended and stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Spoon the batter over the peaches in the skillet and spread to cover. Place the skillet on the prepared baking sheet.

5.Bake until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the skillet on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen.

6.Carefully pour out any excess liquid from the skillet into a measuring cup and set aside. (It’s okay if you don’t have any excess liquid—it all depends on how juicy your fruit is.) Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate and drizzle with any reserved liquid. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Cut into wedges using a serrated knife. Top with bourbon cream and serve immediately.

Bourbon Cream

Makes about 1 cup

½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon bourbon


1.Combine the cream and bourbon in a large bowl. Refrigerate, along with a whisk, for at least 15 minutes. Once chilled, beat the cream with the chilled whisk until it holds soft peaks, 3 to 5 minutes.



The recipe was incredibly easy to follow and filled my condo with such a sweet aroma. I used only 3 peaches and vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean. The cake had no trouble coming out of the cast iron skillet and had crispy edges, while remaining tender on the inside.

I did not have bourbon and used orange flavored vodka for the topping ;)

The only downsize of this baking project was the mess I left in my kitchen!