Still grilling in California

I’ve been enjoying the weekend immensely, and part of my joy is weather-related.  It’s been in the high 70’s the last few days in Santa Barbara, so we’re still drinking lemonade and grilling in So Cal.  After enjoying an evening hike, I made quite a feast last night.  The menu included my addictive Organic Tomato Fennel Soup, steamed artichokes with aioli dipping sauce, spinach salad with lemon garlic dressing and grilled cauliflower, which was off the charts!  In fact, I ate the leftovers for breakfast.  🙂

Grilled Lemon Parmesan Cauliflower

Ingredients:

1 large head cauliflower (sliced — I used purple and yellow cauliflower)

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cloves pressed garlic

1 tablespoons fresh basil (minced)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Sea salt & black pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Let’s Get Started!

Rinse and pat dry the cauliflower.  Separate the stem, removing outer green leaves from cauliflower.  Starting at the top head of the stalk, slice into 3/4-inch steaks. Place the sliced cauliflower onto a plate.  Mix remaining ingredients and brush oil mixture onto the sliced florets, and place them on a medium-hot grill.  Grill on both sides until browned.  Add additional Parmesan cheese until melted and browned.

*Note:  These work wonders on the George Forman grill, especially because it grills both sides at once.

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Smell and taste Harvest

Even though I live in Santa Barbara, fall is upon us.  For those of us who have experienced a “real” fall, you know how the air shifts — you can actually smell it in the air.  I can smell fall in the air today, and it excites me.  Fall time makes me want soups and stews.  Of course, I always love a good salad, but I enjoy warmer foods when the climate changes.

Today I made Organic Tomato-Fennel Soup, and it’s FABULOUS!  There’s nothing like fresh fennel and organic vine-ripened tomatoes. Couple it with a spinach salad, a slice of gluten-free sourdough bread, a glass of white wine, and you’ve got a great light meal.

So, here’s the recipe!

Organic Tomato – Fennel Soup (Vegan)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium or large fennel bulb (trimmed, cored and chopped…save the feathery leaves)

2 large garlic cloves

4 medium shallots, finely chopped

2 large parsley springs, finely chopped

2 small carrots, finely chopped

3 fresh vine-ripened organic tomatoes, diced

1 16 oz. can organic fire-roasted tomatoes, diced (Trader Joe’s)

3/4 cup organic vegetable broth (low sodium)

1 cup water

1 teaspoon Braggs seasoning salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed aniseed

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium-size stock, place the oil and the fennel, carrots, shallots, garlic, and parsley and cook over medium-low heat (stirring occasionally) until vegetables are softened, but not brown.

Add the fresh tomatoes, the vegetable broth, the fire-roasted tomatoes, the water and the seasonings.   Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes.

Either transfer the mixture to a blender or use a high-power hand blender and puree.

Serve hot garnished with chopped fennel feather leaves.

*Note:  A sprinkle of fresh grated Romano cheese is also a nice touch for non-vegans.

Buon Appetito!

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Organic Tomato – Fennel Soup

I really didn’t know what to do…

I’ve had a few long days and nights if you will.  Mostly work-related, but I’m simply exhausted.  I was up at 5:45 this morning and out the door at 6:00.  By the time I got home this evening, the last thing I wanted to do was cook. Truly, even cracking an egg seemed bothersome.  However, something happened to me as I stood in front of my refrigerator gazing inside–inspiration came!

I haven’t made this in a long time, but I decided to make my Broccoli Veggie Slaw with Pistachio Vinaigrette Dressing, Portobello Mushrooms in Wine Sauce over Brown Rice Pilaf and a large Steamed Artichoke with Aioli Dipping Sauce.

It was spectacular!

Broccoli Veggie Slaw with Pistachio Vinaigrette (V)

Ingredients:

8 ounces cherry tomatoes cut in half (I often use the multi-colored variety)
1 zucchini, sliced in thin strips (I use the Spirooli 3-in-one vegetable slicer)
1/4 cup roasted pistachios
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 bag Trader Joe’s Broccoli Slaw
Rainbow Black Pepper (to taste)
Pinch Celtic Sea Salt

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss with Pistachio Vinaigrette Dressing (below)

Pistachio Vinaigrette (V)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup pistachios, shelled, roughly chopped
1/4 shallot, diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1 sprig fresh rosemary, stem removed, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh basil, stem removed, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
Celtic Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Sauté shallot, rosemary, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, dash of sea salt and pepper into a skillet until just fragrant and onion is soft. Toss in pistachios and sauté for an additional minute. Toss ingredients into a food processor or good blender. Add remaining olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, basil and honey. In a food processor, pulse until well combined. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Thin with water if desired.

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Portobello Mushrooms in Wine Sauce (V)

1 cup of cleaned sliced Portabella mushrooms (3-4)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 medium shallots sliced thin
½ cup of red wine
2-3 tablespoons of butter (or Earth Balance)
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
Celtic Salt & Pepper to taste

In a hot sauté pan add oil and mushrooms allow to cook 2 minutes before adding the shallots and garlic. Continue to cook until mushrooms are soft; add red wine. Reduce the wine by half and stir in butter and add thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

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Brown Rice Pilaf

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance
3 tablespoons angel hair pasta pieces
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 cup long grain brown rice
2 1/2 cups water, or vegetable broth
Celtic Sea Salt & Rainbow Pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter (Earth Balance).  Add the onions and saute. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until slightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Heat the water or vegetable broth and add to rice, bringing it to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until all the water has been absorbed by the rice, about 45 minutes. Please don’t lift the lid to give a peek or stir or the rice will not cook evenly.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork, season with salt and pepper and serve.

NOW, take the Portobello Mushrooms and serve them over the Rice Pilaf, and voila!  It’s so darn good!

Steamed Artichoke with Aioli Dipping Sauce

Clean (cutting off pointed edges & stem) the artichoke and then steam in a pan of water with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt and 2 crushed cloves of garlic, until done. While steaming, make the Aioli Dipping Sauce.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup mayonnaise (Veganiese)
3-4 sun-dried tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced

Blend in food processor or blender until creamy and serve with the Artichoke.

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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: Portobello Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

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Easy as one, two, three!

Well, with Easter upon us, I’ve been in a pie baking moment.  This morning I was up at the crack of dawn, making vegan apple and mixed berry pies.  It’s going to be a LONG day!  I thought I would share my recipes with you!

Happy Easter!

Pâte Brisée (Pie Crust)

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 C flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup cold earth balance

1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water

In a food processor, combine the flour and the butter. Run it for about ten seconds, until you get a breadcrumb consistency. If the dough is still a little dry, add in a little water, a tiny splash at a time, until the dough comes together. (If you’ve added too much water, fret not, compensate with more flour.) Transfer the dough into a bowl, and chill for an hour.

Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface, and transfer  half the dough into a pie pan. Roll the remainder in a ball for the top.  Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Cover with aluminium foil, and let rest in the fridge for thirty minutes to an hour. Preheat your oven to 375°F.  Take pie shell out of the refrigerator and bake for ten minutes or until golden.  Set aside.

APPLE FILLING:

7 organic apples

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix all the above in a bowl and sit for 30 minutes.

*Note:  For a mixed berry pie substitute the apples with the following:

2 cups fresh organic raspberries

2 cups fresh organic blackberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons arrowroot

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoon red currant jelly

Combine all the berries in a large colander and gently rinse. Gently pat with paper towels to dry.  In a food processor, puree 2 1/2 cups of the mixed berries for 1 minute, until they’re fully pureed. Strain the puree into a non-stick saucepan and set aside.  Whisk together the sugar, arrowroot and salt in a small  bowl until fully mixed and pour into the puree.  Bring the puree to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wood spoon.  Once the mixture reaches the consistency of pudding, remove it from the heat.  Stir in the lemon juice and set aside to cool slightly.

While the puree is cooling, place remaining berries in a medium bowl.  Heat jelly in another saucepan over low heat until it’s fully melted.  Drizzle the melted jelly over the berries and toss gently to coat. Pour the slightly cooled puree into your cooled pie shell, and add fresh berries.

To finish the pie(s), roll out the remaining dough and gently put it over the top of the filled pie shells, pinching off the edges.  Cut a small hole in the middle of the pie and bake for another 30 minutes at 375 until lightly golden.

Voila!  These are truly great pie recipes, and relatively easy to make!

Enjoy!

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Vegan Apple Pie

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Vegan Mixed Berry Pie

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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Black Olive Pesto Pasta… Delizioso

Given my mother’s Italian heritage, pasta has always been a favorite growing up, and it’s still something I commonly make.  Here’s a great vegetarian or vegan recipe for those who enjoy the taste of black olives.

BLACK OLIVE PESTO FETTUCINE

INGREDIENTS:

1-2 red dried red chili peppers

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoons white onions, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1- 9-ounce can pitted Gyeta or Kalamata olives

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1 pound fettucini, linguini or spaghetti  (rice or quinoa options for gluten-free sensitivity)

Sea salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste (I often use Trader Joe’s rainbow pepper)

Grated zest of 1 medium lemon

4 large scallions, thinly sliced (optional)

Fresh grated parmesan (for Vegan omit this)

LET’S GET STARTED!

Set a large pot of lightly salted water with oil on high heat until it comes to a boil.

In a food processor, fitted with a steel blade, finely mince the peppers, garlic and onion.  Add the olives, the parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, brine, vinegar and oil to the mixture; pulse three to four times to coarsely chop the olives.  Set aside.

Place the fettucine in the boiling water and cook according to package directions (I prefer my pasta al dente).  Completely drain the noodles into a colander.

In a large pasta bowl, toss the pesto sauce in with the cooked fettucine.  Top with course ground pepper, lemon zest, grated parmesan cheese and sliced scallions.

Bon 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: 

TASTE…and See