Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Basic Tomato Sauce
















It turns out, sometimes I get measurements wrong.  It's been brought to my attention that I may have had too much crushed red pepper in my spaghetti with tomato sauce (oops!)  Here is the recipe, as it should be.  This basic tomato sauce is great on pasta, perfect for pizza, and can be used in any recipe that calls for tomato sauce (lasagna, baked ziti, etc.)  It only takes about 10 minutes, very easy.  Of course, you can add more crushed red pepper if you like it hot, or take some out if you aren't feeling spicy.

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
1/2 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

Combine olive oil, garlic, chili flakes and salt in large saute pan over medium/high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, stirring until oil is mixed in. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, turn off heat and stir in the lemon zest. Remove garlic cloves.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Orange Cardamom Cookies

Vegan cookies that everyone will love!

















Instead of making your run-of-the-mill sugar cookies this holiday season, try these orange cardamom beauties.  They pack a ton of flavor and will be the hit of any party.  And, they make the perfect palette for decorating!  I got this recipe from my friend Kari, who got it from her mom's adorable homemade cookbook.  A couple small changes veganized it, but no one would ever notice.  Happy Holidays!

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
2 tsp. grated orange peel
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 cup organic cane sugar
egg replacer equivalent of 1 egg
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 cups organic unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1-4 Tbsps water as needed

Icing:
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsps water

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream shortening with orange peel and cardamom.  Gradually blend in sugar. Whip the egg replacer and its water together in food processer or blender until creamy.  Add to the mixer and beat in.  Add orange juice.  In a small bowl, combine flower, baking powder and salt.  Stir into creamed mixture.  Add 1 Tbsp at a time as necessary to bring dough together if it's too crumbly.  Wrap and refrigerate dough until stiff enough to handle, at least 2 hours.  Preheat oven to 350F.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out to 1/8" think.  Cut with cookie cutters and bake on ungreased cookie sheets 8-10 minutes or until just barely browned around edges.  (If using a Silpat liner, it might take a little longer, but you will get a more even bake.)  Remove to wire racks to cool.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine powdered sugar and water; mix until smooth.  Frost cooled cookies (pour some icing on a flat plate and dip cookies) and decorate immediately.  Let dry before serving.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Butternut Squash, Crispy Sage & Goat Cheese Crostini

















With holiday parties abounding, I thought a festive, easy appetizer might be handy.  I actually made this for Thanksgiving Day.  I made the squash, sage and toast ahead of time, then assembled it last minute.  It was totally fine room temperature--no need to reheat--although if you served it straight out of the oven I'm sure it would awesome.

1 organic butternut squash OR 1 package pre-chopped (that's what I used), cut into ~1/2"-3/4" cubes
2 Tablespoons EVOO
A dash or two of as many of following as you have: ground fennel, ground corriander, ground red pepper, chili powder, cinnamon
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons non-dairy butter (or regular butter)
1 bunch fresh organic sage (stems removed), chopped
1 8oz package organic goat cheese (if you wanted to make it vegan, use vegan cream cheese)
1 organic sweet baguette

Preheat oven to 350F.  Toss the squash, the spices, salt and pepper and EVOO to coat and place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for ~30 minutes, until just done and still firm.  Set aside.  In a small saute pan, heat the butter over med-high heat until browned.  Add the sage and fry until crispy, probably just a minute.  Set aside.  Turn the oven up to broil.  Slice the baguette on the diagonal into ~1/4-1/2" think pieces and place on same baking sheet to toast in the oven.  Stand by and watch, this will be very quick and it's very easy to burn.  Flip and toast the other side.  Repeat if you have more bread.  Simply assemble by spreading the goat cheese on the bread, top with squash and a few pieces of sage.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Vegetable Rice Soup

Well, I'm 40.  I guess I need to get used to saying it.  While the last year felt like mid-life crisis craziness, it also served as a good life wake-up call:  I'm eating healthier than ever before, I'm working out more regularly, and I celebrated my birthday in a bikini in Mexico...with my husband, two kids, and 25 friends.  Pretty amazing.  So I'll keep eating my soup for dinner in hopes of 40 more bikini years. I can switch to a one-piece at 80.  ;)

My mother-in-law recently gave me a veggie soup tip, and that is to brown the onion, carrot and celery for a good 20-30 minutes before doing anything else.  It makes such a huge difference in the flavor of the broth.  You can use any veggies for this soup, really.  It's a clean out the fridge type of deal.  I don't think I've ever made the same vegetable soup twice.  But, if you really need some suggestions, here you go...

3 Tablespoons EVOO
1 large organic onion, finely chopped (use processor for speed)
3 organic celery ribs, finely chopped
3 medium organic carrots, finely chopped
4 cups organic vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 14oz can organic diced tomatoes
1 bunch organic brocolini, chopped
2 ears of organic corn, kernels removed
(other options: green beans, zucchini, kale, etc.)
1 cup organic wild rice (or brown rice, or whatever you have)
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons thyme
1 5oz bag of organic baby spinach
Salt/Pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat EVOO over medium heat.  Add onion, celery and carrots and saute for 20-30 minutes until browned but not burned.  Add in broth through thyme.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes (until rice is done).  Stir in the spinach.  Add S/P to taste.  Serve with a glass of wine and a hunk of fresh bread and I promise you won't need anything else for dinner.
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