Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blackberry Muffins

We are in blackberry heaven this week, also known as Hornby Island, BC, Canada. The bushes grow wild by the thousands, and we're constantly searching for ways to use them. You can pick $100 worth in about 10 min. We've had blackberry cobbler, blackberry cake, blackberry muffins, blackberries on our yogurt, in our cereal, you name it. This recipe is for blackberry muffins, and it's a double batch. You can half it if you want, but you'll be sorry. You can always freeze them.

3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups sugar
12 Tbsps Earth Balance buttery spread (or 4 Tbsps butter and 8 Tbsps EB), melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray 2 standard 12-muffin pans with non-stick spray. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs, yogurt, sugar, butter and vanilla in another. Add the wet to the dry and mix together until just moist, do not overmix. Fold in the berries, batter will not be smooth. Bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool a couple minutes before removing from the pan.

Makes 24 muffins

Friday, August 13, 2010

Apricot Raspberry Pie

This is what every one should come home to on a Friday, right? My husband sure is one lucky guy, if I do say so myself. ;) This pie is insane. Really, it might be the best pie I've ever made. I get requests for it all the time. One friend even tried to get me to enter it into our local pie contest. What's great, too, is that it involves no peeling, coring, or pitting. It just happens to be such a perfect combination of flavors that one can hardly go wrong. Trust me.

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic cane sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 pounds ripe (but firm) organic apricots, cut into 1/2 in. slices
6 oz. organic raspberries
1 egg, lightly beaten for brushing crust

Preheat oven to 450F. Roll out one of your pie crust discs, fit into 9" pie pan and return to fridge. In as small bowl whisk together cornstarch, sugar, salt. In a large bowl, gently fold together the fruit with the dry ingredients. Pour into pie crust. Roll out the top crust, cover pie and slit the top 3 times. Fold the edges of the bottom crust over and press edges together with your thumbs. Brush the pie with some egg and sprinkle top with sugar. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375F and continue to bake until crust is golden brown and filling bubbly (~45min more). I always cover the edges with a piece of aluminum foil, and remove for the last 10 min. of baking so they don't burn. Cool a couple hours before serving. A shout out to Ruth Reichl, whose recipe this is based on.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Spicy Lemony Shiitake Mushrooms and Broccoli Rabe

This is a super easy side dish that pairs well with many dishes. I've also put this over rice, added tofu, and called it a meal. Talk about easy. Shiitakes contain kojic acid, which prevents the formation of melanin in skin and also has an astringent property that temporarily tightens the skin. The result is a more even and taut complexion. My dermatologist actually told me this. Many cosmetic companies are putting this stuff in their products (I actually own some, sold to me by aforementioned dermatologist). But, you can get the same benefit by eating them. I wonder how many I'd have to eat each day to notice a difference...fountain of youth?

1 pint shiitake mushrooms
1 bunch broccoli rabe
2-3 Tablespoons EVOO
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil, chili flakes and garlic in large skillet over medium high heat. When the garlic begins to get fragrant, add the broccoli rabe. Stir continuously. When the broccoli starts to wilt a little, add the mushrooms. As the mushrooms begin to soften, add the lemon juice and white wine. Saute until done. Add salt and pepper to taste. In total, you're looking at ~7-8 min.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lazy Stir Fry #1

I call this Lazy Stir Fry #1, because there are many Lazy Stir Frys in my repertoire and I'll probably share a few more down the road. One thing they all have in common is that they all do a good job cleaning out the vegetable drawer (especially handy when things aren't looking as crisp as they should.) If you find yourself at the fridge with the veggie drawer open saying, "I've got to use up these vegetables before they go bad", it's time to make stir fry. Overzealous at the farmer's market? Time to make stir fry. It hardly matters what's in there, it should work. I'll tell you what I have right now in my bin: kale, corn, celery, carrots and asparagus, and I can hardly think of another scenario where those all sound good together. I like to keep a box of extra firm tofu in the fridge and a box of Vegetarian Plus Vegan Citrus Sparerib Cutlets (Whole Foods, freezer section) in my freezer at all times so that I can throw something together when I need to clean out that veggie bin.

2-3 Tablespoons canola, grapeseed or peanut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1" pieces
handful carrots, julienned
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 handful snow peas
3-4 stalks brocolini, chopped
2 cups uncooked organic brown rice
1/2 cup cashews
1 box Vegetarian Plus Vegan Citrus Sparerib Cutlets
soy sauce to taste

Cook rice according to package instructions. Get everything washed and chopped up, cause it goes fast once you start cooking. In a small pan, heat up the cutlets. I like to cut the pieces in half once cooked. Heat oil and garlic over high heat in large wok. Put the thicker veggies in first, then add thinner ones every 30 seconds or so. (By the way, as I mentioned above, use any veggies you want, the list above is just a guideline.) Stir constantly until cooked, but still crunchy. Toss in the cashews and some soy sauce toward the end. Then, toss in the cutlets. Serve over rice.
Serves 3-4

Friday, August 6, 2010

Plum Almond Galette

One thing I love about galettes, is that it's so easy to make two, then you can take one to a party and keep one for yourself. I'm always looking for interesting ideas and found this plum version that sounded yummy. I made my usual healthier modifications, added the almonds and decided this is one of my favorite versions. The plums came from a friend's tree, and were perfectly sweet and tart.

Get the crust recipe from a previous post.

1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound plums (more or less), sliced into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
3 tablespoons organic cane sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. In a small bowl, combine flour, almonds, brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Roll out the dough. Spread filling to cover middle of dough, then top with the fruit, leaving a ~2 inch border. Fold up the edges as pictured. Sprinkle the top with sugar. Bake until golden, about 25-35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How To Live To Be 100+

I just watched this 20min video by Dan Buettner: How To Live to Be 100+. Yet another compelling argument for eating a "mostly" plant-based diet, this video shows the important, common lifestyle habits of the communities that have the most centenarians. Fascinating to watch. Most of my friends (myself included) have waiting until their mid/late thirties to have children, which means we need to live a lot longer than our parents to see our grandkids. I'm not ready to become a Seventh Day Adventist, but I could see retiring in Sardinia...

Anyway, watch the video. Put down the hamburger and make this instead. Hang out with healthy friends and family, and have a glass of Sardinian wine. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cilantro Peanut Slaw

I'm just going to go on pretending it's summer. The food I'm making is the ONLY thing summery around here: it's 55 and the fog is relentless. I got inspired by a pre-shredded package of cabbage at WF. I remembered a great slaw from Bandera restaurant that is mayo-free and packed with flavor, so I set out to copy it. If you have a peanut allergy, use pepitas and a different oil and it would be equally as good. Makes a great BBQ side dish, or toss in some tofu and make it a meal.

6 cups cabbage (I bought a mix of white, touch of purple and touch of carrots)
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup roasted peanuts

1/2 cup peanut oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
1 green onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender and grind up. Toss dressing with cabbage, onion, cilantro and peanuts.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lentil Couscous Salad with Avocado, Heirloom Tomatoes and Arugula

I was on vacation in San Diego last week, and after all the cocktails, chips and cookies, it's time to get back into healthy eating. I had a pack of Trader Joe's cooked lentils on hand and some couscous in the cabinet, and the rest just came from the bins in the fridge. Quick, easy, healthy, filling, easy cleanup: perfection.

1 cup uncooked couscous
5 Tablespoons EVOO
4 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cooked lentils
1-2 handfuls arugula
1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup feta crumbles
1 avocado, chopped

Cook couscous according to package instructions (this takes about 5 min.) Let it cool (make it ahead and put in the fridge if you wish.) Whisk together EVOO, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl. In a large salad bowl, toss couscous, lentils, avocado, tomatoes, feta and arugula with the dressing. Serve immediately, or chill and serve later.

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