Organic everything but the kitchen sink cake

I really enjoy juicing.  It’s so healthy for you too.  When I do juice, often times I will save the pulp and use it later in baking.  I juiced kale, carrots, zucchini, and beets a couple of weeks ago, and (naturally) saved the pulp. I sealed it up in Zip-loc freezer bags, and defrosted a bag this morning so I could use it in my baking.   I decided to bake a carrot cake, which really became an “Everything but the kitchen sink” cake.  It is YUMMY!  In fact, I’m eating a slice even now, as I blog!

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I hate to eat alone, so, I thought I’d take a break and blog you the recipe!  If you get started, you’ll be done in an hour…

Organic Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cake

INGREDIENTS:

Coconut spray (Trader Joe’s) for greasing the pan
2 cups organic, unbleached flour
2 cups organic raw sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon celtic salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons organic pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups canola or grape-seed oil
1 pound fresh or thawed vegetable pulp (or grated carrots)
3/4 cup chopped pecans or slivered almonds
1/2 cup organic white raisins
1/2 cup organic cranraisins

LET’S GET BAKING!

Preheat your oven to 325 F.  Heavily butter/spray and flour 2 round 9-inch cake pans, tapping out the excess flour. Set aside.

Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a mixing bowl and whisk together until fully mixed.

In a smaller mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dried mixture and stir completely.

Add  the pulp (carrots), nuts, raisins and cranraisins and stir to combine.

Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans.  Bake the cakes until a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean.  It should take about 50 minutes.

Remove the cakes and cook on racks until completely cool.  Frost if you like!

THE FROSTING

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons (1 stick butter or Earth Balance), softened
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond milk

Place the cream cheese and butter in a medium-size bowl and beat with an electric mixer until very smooth and creamy.  Usually this takes about 3 minutes.  With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly add the confectioner’s sugar.  You can add less sugar to begin with.  You kind of have to watch the consistency of the frosting as you go.  Add the vanilla and beat until combined.

Once the cakes have cooled, frost the middle of the cake first, and then do the rest!

Voila!  This is a great way to sneak veggies into a kids diet, who normally will have nothing to do with them.  Just FYI!

Enjoy!

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Mixing all of the ingredients together

934888_10151655198174458_515673601_nCooling on the rack!

320829_10151655562014458_2025209430_nFrosted Yumminess!

It’s about that time…

Spring is in the air, and summer is around the corner!  That means, it’s time to get the grill out!  I absolutely love grilled veggies.  If you’re looking for a great summer pasta, that is loaded with grilled vegetables, try this:  Gemelli & Grilled Vegetables with Pesto Sauce.

Gemelli is a single “s” shaped twisted pasta, derived from the Italian word for twins. It’s not difficult to find.  Barilla makes a nice Gemelli pasta.

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So, let’s get cooking, shall we?

Gemelli & Grilled Vegetables with Pesto Sauce

Ingredients:

2 large red and yellow bell peppers

12 stalks asparagus

1 med red onion, sliced

3 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (divided)

2 tablespoons pine nuts

6 ounces (2/14 cups) gemelli or rotini pasta

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup basil leaves

1/4 cup fresh, grated Romano cheese

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper

dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes

Here we go!

Get the grill fired up!  Cut the bell peppers in half; remove the seeds.  Place asparagus and onion on a large plate, and coat with 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Grill the peppers, skin side dow on a covered grill, over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, or until the skins are blackened.  Place peppers in a plastic baggie or paper bag, and let stand for 15 minutes.  The skin should be soft enough to peel off.  Cut peppers into chunks and set aside.

Next, cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and return to the pan.  While the pasta is cooking, grill the asparagus and onion on  the covered grill over medium heat for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until tender, turning as needed.  Cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces and cut the onion into small pieces.  Add the vegetables to the pasta.

Place the pine nuts and garlic in a food processor.  Process until coarsely chopped.  Add basil and process until finely chopped.  While the processor is running add remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil until the mixture is fully blended.  Stir in cheese, salt and pepper.  Add the basil mixture and tomatoes to the pasta and toss until the pasta is fully coated.  Serve immediately!

Buon Appetito!

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Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: Portobello Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

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I’m just crazy about…

Arugula! No kidding.  I think I could eat it every day.  Even though it has a very strong flavor…I simply love it!  When I got home from work this evening, I decided to enjoy a fine wine, a variety of foreign cheeses, a Trader Joe’s “Margarita Pizza,” and salad of shaved fennel, sliced oranges and candied pecans.  It was fabulous, if I do say so myself.  But hey, don’t just take my word for it–try it, and see for yourself!

Shaved Fennel, Arugula Salad with Sliced Oranges, Candied Pecans and a Vinaigrette Dressing

INGREDIENTS:

Salad

3 tablsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tablsp. white wine vinegar

1 medium fennel bulb, rinsed, cleaned and thinly sliced

2 valencia oranges, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 cups organic baby arugula leaves

pinch celtic salt

course black pepper (optional)

Candied Pecans

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 tablsp. organic maple syrup

1/2 tsp. raw cane sugar

1/2 tsp. celtic salt

dash cayenne pepper

Here We Go!

I would suggest making the candied pecans first, especially because they need to be cooled before throwing into the salad.

To make the candied pecans, preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the pecans in a small mixing bowl with the maple syrup.  Add sugar, salt and cayenne, mix to coat.  Spread the nuts on a small baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Really watch them, because some ovens cook hotter than others, and they can quickly burn.  Cool before placing them in the salad.  Break apart and toss in the salad.

For the salad, whisk together the oil and vinegar in a salad bowl.  Place the thinly sliced fennel, red onions, orange slices and arugula into the bowl with the oil and vinegar and toss throughly.  Add salt and pepper.  Make sure the salad is completely coated with the oil and vinegar.  Add the cooled pecans and serve!

This is a fabulous salad that is especially great with cheese and crackers, wine and goat cheese pizza, even though we settled for Trader Joe’s “Margarita Pizza” tonight.  Sometimes you just have to compromise a little, ya know?  😉

Enjoy!

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Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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It was one of those evenings…

I had a really long day today, and worse still, I hadn’t eaten much, so by the time dinner time rolled around, I was ravenous! I needed to make something that didn’t take a lot of time–I don’t do hot dogs, nor do I buy frozen dinners, so…

I decided on Stuffed Tomato & Garlic Portobello Mushrooms, Kale With Roasted Pecans, Cranberries & Garlic  (V) and Sweet Potato Fries.  It was splendid, and quick and easy! 🙂

Stuffed Tomato & Garlic Portobello Mushrooms (Vegetarian)

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped

3 large leaves fresh basil, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 large portobello mushrooms, whole

1/4 cup (1-ounce) part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

3 tablespoons fresh grated romano cheese

LET’S GET COOKING!

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine tomato, cheese, olive oil, garlic, parsley, pepper and half of the balsamic vinegar (2 tablespoons) in a small bowl. Remove mushroom stems, dice and add to stuffing mixture. Continue to remove gills from underside of mushroom by using the side of a spoon and scraping them out.  Combine 1/2 teaspoon oil, lemon juice, and the rest of the balsamic vinegar in a small bowl; brush over both sides of mushroom caps. Place the mushroom caps, undersides facing down, in a large baking dish coated with cooking spray, and bake for 10 minutes. Flip mushrooms over and spoon 1/4 tomato mixture into each mushroom cap. Place back in oven and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is melted and mushrooms are tender.

Yields:  4 servings

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The stuffing

KALE WITH ROASTED PECANS & CRANBERRIES

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch organic kale, chopped (Trader Joe’s sells kale by the bag)

1/2 cup pecan halves

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 cloves pressed garlic

1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles (optional)

sea salt to taste

pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

HERE WE GO!

Place the pecans in a large skillet and roast in the pan, add the oil, cranberries, garlic, salt & pepper and kale.  Stir fry, cooking until the kale is mildly limp.  Remove from heat and place in a bowl.  Add goat cheese and stir.  Talk about fast and easy!!!

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The finished product!

Buon Appetito!

Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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Spaghetti with Red Onions?

Okay, okay… I know…red onions in spaghetti…it sounds weird, right?  Well, talk to the locals from Firenze (Florence) Italy.  This recipe is not uncommon.  I am not a big anchovy fan either, but sometimes it really enhances the taste of a dish, and it really adds to the flavor of this pasta.  Try it, you’ll like it!  🙂

Red Onion Spaghetti with Anchovy & Pecorino Cheeses

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 pound red onions, thinly sliced

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

Celtic Sea Salt (to taste)

1 pound spaghetti

1 cup Pecorino Romano Genuino cheese, finely grated

1 cup Pecorino Fiore Sardo cheese, finely grated (you will probably have to get this at a deli)

3/4 cup cold water

7 flat anchovy fillets

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper or crushed red pepper for a little extra kick

LET’S GET COOKING!

In a large skillet with lid, combine onions, 2/3 cup water, oil, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt; bring liquid to a simmer over medium heat, then cook until onions begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 25 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In the meantime, while the gravy is cooking, cook the spaghetti as directed–al dente is preferred.  In a separate bowl, mix the grated cheeses with the cold water and set it aside.
Next, add the anchovies to the simmering sauce. Cook, uncovered, stirring with a wooden spoon, until anchovies are dissolved (2-3 minutes).  Stir in the parsley and remove from 
heat. Cover sauce to keep warm.  Drain the pasta and then return it to the pot.  Add the sauce; cook over high heat, stirring, 2 minutes, then add cheese mixture, reduce heat to medium and, stirring constantly, cook 2 minutes more. Serve immediately, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and pepper.  If you want to spice it up a bit, add crushed red pepper.
I enjoy serving this with a wonderful Caprese Salad, but it’s great with any green salad of your choosing.  Pair it with a good Chardonnay, and you’ve got quite a meal.
Buon Appetito!
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Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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Sometimes you’ve just got to have a sandwich…

For the most part, I try to avoid a lot of carbs, but sometimes, you’ve just got to have a sandwich.  Years ago, I came across a recipe similar to this (this is a revision), and I just love it!  It’s spicy, healthy and so delicious!  Hope you like it too!

Avocado and Melted Swiss on Jalapeño Bread

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance

4 slices  Jalapeño Bread (Trader Joe’s often carries this)

1 cup homemade guacamole (see below)

4 med-thick slices of Swiss cheese

Lemon Pepper to taste

Sea Salt to taste

2 avocados, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup fresh salsa (I use Trader Joe’s brand)

1 cup organic spring mix (Trader Joe’s)

Guacamole 

3 avocado’s peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup finely diced red onions

1/2 cup finely diced ripe tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon lime zest

1  jalapeño pepper finely diced  (for hotter guacamole you can use habaneros or sorrano chili’s)

Pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Directions:  

In a large mixing bowl combine the avocados, lime juice and the orange juice.  Mash together with a fork for chunky guacamole or put in a food processor or electric mixer for creamier consistency.  Add the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime zest, pepper and salt, and mix well (with a spoon)

*Note:  Store any leftover guacamole in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.  If you place one of the avocado seeds in the center, it will prevent it from browning.

Here We Go!

Butter both sides of the  jalapeño bread slices and grill.  While grilling, place the Swiss cheese slices on the top of a grilled side, and cover to slightly melt.  Cut the bread slices diagonally and spread the guacamole sauce evenly over the slice with cheese. Divide the avocado slices between the two sandwiches.  Drain the salsa and put it evenly over the sandwiches.  Add the spring mix, cover with the other slice of grilled  jalapeño bread.  Place a toothpick to hold the sandwich together.

Garnish with grapes and berries.

*Note:  Smart & Final carry long sandwich toothpicks that are fabulous for thicker sandwiches.

ENJOY!!!!

Avocado & Melted Swiss  on  Jalapeño Bread

 

Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake With Ganache and Raspberry Filling

imgres-1It’s hard not to think of chocolate on Valentine’s Day… and so, I choose to embrace it!

Did you know that in Medieval times, girls ate unusual foods on St Valentine’s Day to make them dream of their future husband?  Isn’t that a hoot?  I can’t help but wonder if chocolate was in the equation…probably not.

Everybody loves chocolate, right?  For those of you making a love-filled dinner at home, may I suggest this wonderful Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake?

Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake With Ganache and Raspberry Filling

Cake Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached white flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (the better quality, the better your cake will be)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup organic canola oil (or coconut oil)
1 cup cold brewed organic coffee
1 cup cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

For the Ganache:

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
6 ounces 72% dark chocolate (I use Sharffen Berger bittersweet dark chocolate)
3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

For the Raspberry Filling

You can use raspberry jam ( about 1/2-3/4 cup)
My preference is to use fresh raspberries.

Cook  2 cups of organic fresh raspberries with 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons sugar. Puree the raspberry mixture, then if you wish, press through a sieve to remove the seeds or leave the seeds in. Return to the sauce pan. Add 2 teaspoons of arrowroot or corn starch with a little water to become liquid. Add the corn starch mixture to the raspberry mixture and heat until the raspberry mixture become thick. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

LET’S GET BAKING!

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking oil spray, then place a circle of parchment paper in each pan and spray again.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl. In another bowl, mix the oil, water, coffee and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spoon just until combined. Add the vinegar and stir just until it’s evenly distributed in the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until it springs back when lightly touched in the middle. Set aside to cool.

The Ganache

In the top part of a double boiler, place the soy milk and margarine, and heat together until the margarine melts. Add the vegan chocolate chips, continue to cook while stirring constantly until the vegan chocolate chips have melted completely and the mixture is very smooth. Use the ganache, warm, as a glaze for cakes or use as a dip or coating for fruit or nuts, or when cool, use as a filling for cakes and desserts. Store any excess in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be reheated in a double boiler as needed.

Yield: 2 Cups

Place frosting ingredients in a double broiler and heat gently and stir until the chocolate is totally melted and very smooth.  For glazing the cake, use the ganache warm.

When the cakes have cooled, put a serving plate on the pan and and carefully invert. Remove the parchment paper. Spread a small amount of raspberry filling over the top. Place a flat plate on the pan containing the second layer, invert and remove the parchment. Repeat the process with another plate so the rounded side is up.  Transfer it onto the bottom layer.

Glaze the cake completely (spreading to smooth the top) with the ganache, letting the frosting run down the sides of the cake.

For a nice touch, take several fresh, cleaned raspberries and place them on top of the cake for decoration.

Serve immediately or leave lightly covered at room temperature and serve later or the next day.

Serves 8

Enjoy!

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Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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