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!

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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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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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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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Fig Tart in Orange Custard

90 per cent of the time, I eat as healthy as possible, because I love the way my body feels when I eat less sugar, eat more vegetables, and don’t use dairy.  However, it’s the holidays, and we all know what that means…Sometimes, you’ve just got to splurge a little, you know? Here’s a very different, delicious tart, which showcases the beauty of the fig. It’s wonderful!

INGREDIENTS:

The Filling
16 ripe figs, using a mixed variety is fine and suggested
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup Crème fraîche
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons orange flower water
powdered sugar

The Tart
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (you can use Earth Balance)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract mixed with 2 teaspoons ice water

LET’S GET BAKING!
Making the tart first, you use a mixer with a paddle attachment or a food processor.  Blend together the flour, salt and sugar, and work in the butter until course crumbs are formed. Add the vanilla with just enough ice water for the dough to come together.  Shape this into a disk, put it in a zip-loc and chill for 15 minutes.

Next, roll the dough into a 10-inch circle and drape it over a 9-inch tart pan that has a removable rim.  Make sure you work all of the edges with your finger, so that the dough stands about 1/4 inch above the rim.  It also needs to be about 1/4 inch thick.  Prick the bottom with a fork in 6-7 places, then freeze for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

NEVER throw your scraps away.  SAVE them. Place the frozen tart shell on a sheet and bake until it’s lightly colored–check at around 15 minutes.  Prick any bubbles you see forming with a toothpick or the tip of a knife.  When finished baking, if you see any holes in the dough, you can mend them with saved extra dough.

FOR THE FILLING
Lower the oven temperature to 375.  Rinse the figs, cut off the stems, and slice them lengthwise in half. Set them cut side up on the tart shell, arranging them to perfection. Place the figs as close as you can, so that there are little (if any gaps) between the figs. Mix the egg yolk, Crème fraîche, brown sugar, and orange flower water together, then carefully pour it around (NOT ON TOP) the figs. Bake until the custard is lightly colored and set (about 30 minutes).  Remove the tart from the pan and set it on a serving plate.  Dust with powdered sugar and serve slightly warm. It’s so yummy!

Fig Tart

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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