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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Oh my…it was a splendid lunch

So, for the most part–about 85% of the time, I eat vegetarian or vegan.  I’m pretty committed to organic foods and sustainable living.  On occasion, I do have fish, and today was such an occasion.  Shall we talk about the splendid lunch I made?  It’s been a longer-than-long week… make that two weeks, and while roaming the isles at Trader Joe’s, inspiration hit me.  I  had bought a new candle (not at Trader Joe’s), and decided to make my famous Almond Crusted Tilapia with Fried Bananas and Coconut (yes, I’m still on a coconut kick).  To go along with my fish I made a Spinach Raspberry  Salad with Champagne Vinegar Dressing and a Boiled Artichoke with Lemon Dill Dip.

Are you drooling yet?

It really was a splendid lunch.  So, without further adieu, I would like to share my recipes with you!

Almond Crusted Tilapia with Fried Bananas and Coconut

INGREDIENTS:

3 med. size Tilapia filet
3/4 cup Almond Meal (Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup Grapeseed Oil
1/4 cup Earth Balance or Butter
2 tablespoons white wine
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
2 med-large size ripe bananas
1/4 cup silvered almonds
1/4 cup Coconut Flakes (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
Sea Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

LET’S GET COOKING!

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large non-stick skillet.  In a medium size mixing bowl, place the almond meal, Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper and mix well.  Next, take the fish filets and rinse them with water.  Place them in the bowl of almond meal, carefully turning until coated.

Put the filets carefully in the heated skillet and pan fry until browned on both side. Add the wine and simmer until evaporated.  Place on a platter.

Take the butter, and melt the butter in the skillet.  Add the bananas, almonds and coconut.  Fast fry until they are browned.

Arrange the fish on a plate putting the banana-coconut mixture on the top. You may need to add salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach Raspberry Salad 

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 bag of baby spinach
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
2 mandarin oranges peeled, separated and cut in half
1 tablespoon flaxseed
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
Place everything in a salad bowl.

DRESSING:

Juice from 1 med orange
Zest from 1 orange
1/4 cup Beaufor Champagne Vinegar
3/4  cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon fresh ginger finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon course black pepper

Whisk the above ingredients, pour over salad and toss.

Dill Dipping Sauce

(This dipping sauce can be used for a wide variety of things, but I love it with steamed artichokes!  Try it you’ll like it!)

3.4 cup Vegenaise (Mayonnaise substitute)
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Dash of cayenne pepper

Bon Appetit!

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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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Delicious, quick and easy!

Sometimes cooking can be a real pain in the _ _ _ _ especially when you’re tired, or in a hurry.  This is a great little recipe for just those moments.  It’s fast, easy and seriously tasty!  Try it–you’ll like it!!!

FRESH SPINACH AND TOMATO SALAD WITH PENNE PASTA IN A PARMESAN OLIVE OIL, LEMON-GARLIC DRESSING 

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 pound penne pasta or small rigatoni

1 bag fresh, organic baby spinach

2 large, ripe tomatoes (diced)

3 cloves fresh garlic (crushed)

3/4 cup fresh shredded or shaved parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

course black pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large fresh-squeezed lemon

3 fresh basil leaves (minced)

LET’S GET COOKING!

In a stock pot boil water to cook the pasta.  Cook according to directions (al dente).

While the pasta is cooking, put the spinach, 2 cloves crushed garlic, the parmesan cheese, and the tomatoes in a large salad bowl.    Toss.

After the pasta has cooked, drain it and let cool for 10 minutes.  If you put the HOT pasta in the spinach salad, the spinach will wilt.  Once cooled add the pasta and toss. Set aside and whip up the dressing.

THE DRESSING:

In a mixing bowl, place the olive oil, 1 clove crushed garlic, juice from the lemon, basil, salt and pepper and whisk until fully mixed.  You may want to add more salt and pepper, but keep in mind parmesan cheese is salty, so be careful adding salt. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss.

Serve with a warm slice of sour dough french bread and a glass of Chardonnay and voila!  You’re tummy will be happy!

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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Seared Salmon with Cumin Roasted Acorn Squash and Candied Pumpkin Seeds

For the most part, I eat vegan/vegetarian, however on occasion, I do have a little bit of fish.  This is a great recipe for those who enjoy less seasoning and the yummy flavor of salmon.  The acorn squash is delicious, and the combination of salmon with the squash and roasted pumpkin seeds is just incredible!

SEARED SALMON WITH CUMIN ROASTED ACORN SQUASH & CANDIED PUMPKIN SEEDS

INGREDIENTS:

1 acorn squash, cut in half and seeded

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp olive oil

1/4 tsp sea salt

fresh ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup dried organic pumpkin seeds

pinch sea salt

1 tsp organic maple syrup

olive oil spray OR rub olive oil in a non-stick skillet

2 (4 ounce) salmon filets (avoid farm raised)

LET’S GET COOKING!

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place the squash halves in a large pan cut side down and place the pan in the preheated oven. Roast for about 40 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.  Leave the oven on and place a medium skillet inside.

Carefully scoop the insides of the squash out, and discard the skins.  Put the roasted squash in a bowl with the olive oil, cumin, 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper. Mash in the same way you would mash potato’s.  Set aside.
Place the pumpkin seeds in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Watch them closely and as they begin to brown reduce the heat to medium.  Add the pinch (1/16 tsp.) of salt. Cook for about one minute more until the pumpkin seeds are browned.  Add the maple syrup and let it bubble for about ten seconds shaking the pan vigorously to coat the pumpkin seeds well. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the pumpkin seeds. Turn them out of the pan onto the wax paper to cool. Separate them from each other just after placing on the wax paper so that they won’t stick together.

Spray the pan lightly with oil  or use a paper towel and oil a non-stick pan with olive oil.  Place the salmon in the pan skin side down. Cook on med-high heat, for about 5 minutes (the skin will be getting darkened and crisp), then turn over and sear the top.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cover so that the inside of the fish cooks.  Check after about 4 minutes and cook until done.  Remove the fish and serve it on top of the pureed acorn squash.  To with the candied pumpkin seeds.

Couple this with a nice watercress and butter lettuce salad and a good white wine.—FABULOUS!

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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Once in awhile I love to make…

Vegan Soba Noodles with Spicy Peanut Chili Sauce.  For those of you who don’t know much about Soba noodles, they are native to Japan and they’re made of buckwheat flour.  Oh, and FYI–buckwheat flour is a much better alternative than wheat (buckwheat is not wheat).  So, if you have wheat allergies, soba noodles are a great idea. Check the package…if they’re made of 100% buckwheat, then they’re gluten-free.  The noodle itself is similar in thickness to spaghetti, and just like pasta they are packaged in dried form and are available at your local health food market.

This recipe is delicious, healthy and fairly easy to prepare.

Let’s Get Started!

Vegan  Soba Noodles with Spicy Peanut Chili Sauce

INGREDIENTS: (use organic when at all possible)

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fresh ginger (minced or grated)

2 – 3 tablespoons hot chili oil

1 teaspoon sugar (steevia and/or agave works too)

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1 package soba noodles (cook according to package directions, drained and rinsed)

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup roasted, chopped peanuts (for garnish)

3 green onions, thinly sliced (primarily use the dark green part for garnish)

OPTIONAL:

In a skillet fast stir fry 1/2 cup cut up broccoli

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup carrots, thinly sliced

1/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced

1 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon chili oil

(Set the veggies aside until the end)

FOR THE SAUCE:

In a food processor, blend together the peanut butter, water, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, chili oil, ginger, and sesame oil until smooth.

Pour the sauce over the cooked/drained soba noodles and add the veggies.  Garnish with green onions and chopped peanuts. With or without the veggies, this is simply fabulous!

  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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Savory Vegan Portobello Wellington with Shiitake Duxelle & Wine Reduction

With the scent of fall in the air (yes, even in Santa Barbara), I can’t help but turn to the savory side of cooking.  You know, those hearty dishes that warm our tummy and delight our palate!  I’d like to share a wonderful recipe for Vegan Portobello Wellington.  Unlike the typical “Beef Wellington,” this is stuffed with a portobello mushroom, and it’s incredibly tasty.

I came across this wonderful recipe on another blog site, and I just had to share!  Virtually Vegan Mama has some amazing recipe’s!  Check it out:

http://virtuallyveganmama.com/2011/05/portobello-wellington-vegan-dinner-party-time.html

INGREDIENTS FOR PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM, CARROTS AND POTATOES:
4 portobello mushrooms
1 sheet vegan puff pastry (your local health food store should carry this)
3 1/2 ounces of shiitake mushrooms
1 cup white button mushrooms
2 cups baby spinach
3 small shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh tarragon, stemmed
7-8 gold Yukon potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
8 ounces baby carrots
1/2 cup red wine
1 3/4 cup organic vegetable stock
3 tsp. of Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
2 tbsp. of date syrup
1/4 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
2 pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. of olive oil
LET’S GET COOKING!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
For the Red Wine Sauce: Combine 1/2 cup red wine and 1 cup vegetable stock in small saucepan. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp date syrup and set aside. Reheat on low right before serving and drizzle over portabello wellington.
To make the Duxelles: In a food processor, put the spinach, shiitake, button mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and tarragon and pulse until finely chopped.  Set aside.
Take 2 teaspoons of Earth Balance Butter to a large sauté pan and set over medium heat. Add the mushroom mixture, 1/4 cup vegetable stock and sauté for 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with a pinch of black pepper and set aside to cool.
For the Portabello Mushrooms: Gently scrap gills from Portobello mushrooms with a spoon. Place mushrooms on baking tray lined with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, set aside. Cut pastry sheet into 4 equal parts.  Using a spoon, cover each mushroom with a layer of duxelles (make sure to fill the back cavity of the mushroom with the duxelles).  Place a mushroom in center of each pastry sheet, cavity side up.  Fold the pastry around the mushrooms and enclose entirely, press down lightly with fingers to make sure it is sealed completely.  Place mushrooms, with folded side down, on baking tray lined with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat. Drizzle olive oil over the top.

Bake mushrooms in oven until pastry is golden brown for 20-25 minutes.

For the Red Wine Reduction:  Combine 1/2 cup red wine and 1 cup vegetable stock in small saucepan. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp date syrup and set aside. Reheat on low right before serving and drizzle over portabello wellington.

SIDE DISH SUGGESTIONS:
Maple Syrup Glazed Baby Carrots with Maple Syrup:
Combine 1 tbsp date syrup, vanilla and 1/3 cup vegetable stock in small bowl, stir to combine. Melt 1 tsp. Earth Balance butter to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add carrots and sauce; simmer on medium heat until carrots are cooked through about 20 minutes. Deglaze the pan with more vegetable stock if needed.
Roasted Yukon Gold Potato’s with Rosemary
Dice up 7-8 peeled potatoes and place in a bowl.  Finely chop 1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and add to the potatoes. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 40 minutes until tender and browned.
SERVE WITH A GREEN SALAD, AND SOME WHITE WINE, AND YOU HAVE A LOVELY SAVORY MEAL THAT’S PERFECT FOR HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING!
Buno 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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Vegan Samosa Quinoa Bowl

As I mentioned in my previous post, I made Indian cuisine at a Yoga event here in Santa Barbara over the weekend.  Samosa Quinoa was one of the dishes, and it was awesome.

If you’ve ever eaten at an Indian restaurant, you have probably tried—and fallen in love with — samosas. Usually served as an appetizer, these fried, jauntily triangular pastries may be filled with meat, vegetables, or both. The most popular version is the spicy potato and pea filling of aloo samosas (pronounced ah-LOO sah-MOH-sahs; aloo means potato).

In India, samosas are eaten as a light nibble enjoyed in tea parlors and coffee houses, or sold by street vendors from pushcarts. The recipe below is a variation of Samosas using Quinoa, minus the pastry.   Serve it with a soup or salad, and you have an incredible meal.

Vegan Samosa Quinoa Bowl

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium potato, finely diced
Coconut oil as needed
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
¼ onion, diced
1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to directions
2 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground mustard seed
Dash cayenne pepper
Sea salt to taste
1/3 cup frozen peas (thawed)
½ teaspoon turmeric (for color)
Olive oil (drizzled)

LET’S GET COOKING!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F., and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Melt the coconut oil, and coat the diced potatoes with the oil.  Spread on the baking sheet and roast until tender and lightly browned.

Next, heat a frying pan to medium-low, cook onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Cook quinoa with water according to package directions. Add more oil into onion pan, and then add the cooked potatoes.

Add in all of the spices except turmeric. Cook spices for a minute or so. Add into the pot of cooked quinoa.

Season with salt and turmeric, add in peas and put a lid over quinoa in order for the flavors to infuse. Drizzle olive oil and stir into the mix.

It’s Yummy!

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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