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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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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