Sweet and Savory Cauliflower Salad

I would pretty much follow Heidi from 101 Cookbooks to the end of the earth if she promised me a meal. Not one of her recipes has ever disappointed me and in fact many of them have become staples in our house. She’s always been lovely when I have reached out with various questions or thoughts. This recipe is based on her Black Pepper Cauliflower Salad, and in fact that dressing mostly identical to hers – I just changed up some technique and some of the components.

This is the gigantic cauliflower I found at the farmers’ market last weekend – next to a pepper grinder for scale. It was probably as big as my head.

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When I made it the first time, I didn’t have apples so I used dried dates and it was delicious. So I did that for awhile. Our new co-op doesn’t have dried dates in bulk, so I went hunting for other fruit and found dried figs, which sounded intriguing. And then I realized that there were baskets of fresh figs available, so I snagged one of those instead. Adding slices of one small apple makes for a nice crunch though, so I added that back in. Try any combination of fresh/dried fruit – I have a feeling you can’t go wrong.

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Sweet and Savory Cauliflower Salad with Lentils
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 pound head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Scant 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt + more for roasting
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 cup toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked if necessary
  • 10 small figs and one small apple or 10 dried dates
  • 2/3 cup chopped black olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 cup black lentils, soaked

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss cauliflower florets with oil, season with salt and roast for 40 – 45 minutes.
  3. Add lentils and 2 cups water to a pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until soft but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.
  4. While the cauliflower and lentils cook, prepare the dressing. Combine onion, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a small pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes until it reduces and becomes a bit pink from the red onion.
  5. If your sun-dried tomatoes are really dry, soak them in hot water to make them easier to work with. After they’ve softened, slice them thinly.
  6. Slice the figs and apple thinly (or quarter the dates, if using them instead.)
  7. When cauliflower is done, add to a bowl with the the fruit, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped olives, capers, and dressing. Toss to coat. Top with toasted pistachios and toss one more time.
  8. Serve over lentils.

Vegan Fig and Cheese Sandwich on Ciabatta

While we were on the road to Seattle, we stopped at Blossoming Lotus in Portland for lunch and had a vegan Brie and fig sandwich that was out of this world. I knew I had to recreate it at home. I’ve made it with both raw red onions and cooked, and both versions are good. The raw red onions add a bit of crunch, but I enjoy the sweetness and texture of the caramelized onions just a touch more.

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As far as mustards go, I used a porter based stoneground in combination with a three pepper mustard that was on the sweeter and spicier side, and it really hit the spot. Use your favorite or try some combinations.

I used vegan cheese because they were giving samples of it at the grocery store, and the Blossoming Lotus version was vegan. That said, I have no doubt this would be tasty with actual Brie as well if that’s your thing! It’s a messy sandwich to eat, that’s for sure, but man it’s delicious!

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Vegan Fig and Cheese Sandwiches
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 half red onion, sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 ciabatta rolls or a loaf of ciabatta cut into 2 sandwich size pieces
  • 4 tablespoons vegan cheese (I used the Parmela brand)
  • 6 – 8 slices of tempeh bacon
  • 4 tablespoons mustard of choice
  • 6 figs or 4 tablespoons fig jam
  • Handful of arugula

Directions

  1. Heat oil in small frying pan over medium high heat. Add red onions and salt. When onions begin to soften, turn heat down and leave them alone, allowing them to brown and caramelize.
  2. While the onions cook, spread each half of ciabatta with 1 tablespoon mustard and 1 tablespoon of vegan cheese. If using fig jam, spread that on as well.
  3. Add a layer of tempeh bacon, figs, and onions when they are done caramelizing. Top with arugula.
  4. Use a panini press or a cast iron pan on top of your sandwich in the oven to toast the sandwich.
  5. Slice and enjoy!

Jumping on the Juicing Bandwagon

I had brunch plans on Monday, which felt very luxurious and is one of the perks of being on a student schedule. But I found myself done with a pretty heavy lifting workout in the morning, and no meal on the horizon for hours.  I wanted something nutrient dense, protein filled, and light enough that I’d be hungry again a few hours later. A pretty tall order, if you ask me.

For the protein part, I threw together a protein banana soft serve that was so tasty, I know I’ll be making it on a regular basis.

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Peanut Butter Protein Soft Serve

Ingredients: 

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder of choice (I use Sun Warrior)
  • 1-3 tablespoons coconut water, depending on desired consistency
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, divided
  • Chia seeds, for topping

Method:

  1. Add frozen banana to food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Add the protein powder and pulse until incorporated.
  3. Add coconut water, and half the peanut butter and pulse until incorporated.
  4. Serve immediately, topped with chia seeds and remaining peanut butter.

I also wanted some greens. I knew I wouldn’t be getting them at brunch because I’d be facing tough decisions like an avocado and Jarlsberg scramble or cinnamon French toast. So I busted out our juicer for the first time.

I registered for a juicer because people that love juicing really LOVE it. And I’m all about jumping on the bandwagon (Alex and I get really into baseball right when the Giants are in the playoffs).  But since receiving it for our wedding, I’ve been kind of intimidated and haven’t used it. Turns out, it’s as easy as flipping a switch and shoving a lot of produce down a chute.

I did a kale, celery, ginger, carrot mixture, with a squeeze of lemon after the fact. One factor that has made me skeptical of juicing at home is that it takes a lot of produce to make a decent amount of juice. Then I remembered that I actually don’t love a huge glass of juice, especially when it’s a component of another meal. This small glass of juice was a perfect addition to a light breakfast.

Bonus: I felt like I was having a cocktail at breakfast. Upon further consideration, I’m not sure any alcohol would taste good with green juice.

I’m not going to be juicing daily, but the juicer has now taken up residence on the counter, hopefully as motivation to make a small batch a few times per week. Then my next task is to tackle using the pulp!

Are you into juicing? What’s your favorite combo? 

What To Make When Your Stove Breaks

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For the first time in a long time last week, I had a meal plan. And then our oven/stove broke. And then the new range we had delivered was also broken. So I had to get creative, because shit happens right? A girls still gotta eat.

So I took this recipe from Love and Olive Oil for sautéed persimmons and green beans, and I roasted it all up in our toaster oven instead, and it turned out so delicious, I don’t even think I’ll even try the original recipe!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced
1 pound thin green beans, ends trimmed
4 fuyu persimmons, hulled and sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 375 degrees.
  • Toss green beans and shallots with olive oil and spread on baking sheet. Roast for 12 – 15 minutes.
  • While green beans are roasting, toss persimmon slices in the same bowl, using the remnants of the oil.
  • When green beans are done, put them in a bowl and set aside.
  • Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees, and roast persimmons for 20 minutes.
  • When persimmons are done, toss with green beans and shallots and season with salt and pepper to taste.

It was great warm, and it was the perfect salad mix in the next day with some arugula!

What was your most creative moment in the kitchen? 

Tangy Roasted Vegetable Salad

Even though I roast vegetables all year round, I get particular joy out of doing it in fall. It’s dark now at 5:30 pm, and there’s just something comforting about an oven warming the house. And so many fall vegetables are perfect for roasting – potatoes! beets! fennel! cauliflower! squash! The options are  endlessly delicious.

This dish is good warm or cold (if you have any unseasonably warm day, as happens often in San Francisco), and I’m really digging the tangy saltiness of it all. I can imagine some potatoes would be delightful in the mix, and you could add chickpeas to make it a full meal. We served it along side Mark Bittman’s Curried Chickpea Salad.

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Tangy Roasted Vegetable Salad
Serves 4

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 – 2 fennel bulbs, sliced
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons capers

Creamy Tangy Cashew Dressing
Adapted from Raw-nch Dressing at Plant Powered Kitchen

  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp raw tahini
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp (scant) sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup – ¾ cup water

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toss cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and fennel with 2 tablespoons olive oil, adding more if it seems a little dry. Sprinkle with salt and roast for 40 – 50 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions and cook until just beginning to brown, 3 – 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook until caramelized, 25+ minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make dressing. Blend all dressing ingredients on high until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  • Soak sundried tomatoes in warm water for 5 – 10 minutes and slice when soft.
  • When vegetables are done, combine all vegetables, onions, capers, and sundried tomatoes in a bowl.
  • Toss with dressing and garnish with parsley to serve.

 

 

 

Fall Flavors: Lentils with Spicy Sweet Potatoes, Cabbage, and Hazelnuts

Last week after we got home from our weekend getaway, our fridge was the emptiest it had been in awhile. Sure, there were condiments. And beer. And old kombucha that I have yet to discard. But there were no vegetables, save half a head of cabbage. We mostly ate meals we’d put in the freezer before our honeymoon, or the leftovers we’d taken from our weekend away.

But one night, I was faced with having to make dinner and no leftovers to fall back on. So out came the half head of cabbage. I also dug up some wilting parsley and a variety of nuts. Hiding in the cupboard there was a lone sweet potato. Thankfully, the pantry was stocked full of spices and legumes, so I was able to toss this easy and delicious meal together.

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Lentils with Spicy Sweet Potatoes, Cabbage, and Hazelnuts
Inspired by orecchiette with squash, chiles and hazelnuts from Eats Well With Others
Serves 2

  • Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup French lentils
  • 1 – 1.5 cups water
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 medium to large sweet potato, diced
  • 1 half head cabbage, sliced
  • 1 tbsp oil of choice, divided (I used macadamia nut)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Combine lentils and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 20  – 30 minutes until lentils are tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add half the oil to the pan. Add sliced onions and cook until caramelized, 40 – 60 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, toss diced potato with almost all the remaining oil. Coat the cabbage slices with a thin layer of oil using a mister or a pastry brush.
  • Put cabbage and potatoes in the oven and roast, 30 – 40 minutes, until browned but not burnt.
  • When potatoes and onions are done, combine and toss with chile flakes.
  • Roughly chop roasted cabbage slices.
  • Divide lentils into two bowls. Top with cabbage and potato-onion mixture. Garnish with chopped toasted hazelnuts and parsley.

It sounds like a lot of steps, but it comes together quickly. I quite enjoyed it and think that similar simple meals will be becoming a regular part of our rotation. But next time I’ll plan for it!

Good-bye Summer Smoothie

Although I can’t believe it, I realize the calendar says September 10th. I’m fully aware that I’m supposed to be buying cans of pumpkin, planning my Halloween costume, planning my Thanksgiving potluck, and starting my Christmas shopping. (I like to plan ahead.)

But then I go outside to sunny blue skies; I can’t remember the last time I needed a jacket. Although it was a bit overcast this morning, and there is a fresh, fall-esque breeze blowing in my window at the moment…it’s really no more than a whisper. A gentle announcement that fall is coming soon, but it’s not quite here so go out and enjoy what’s left of summer.IMG_0947

And what says summer better than peaches and basil? At the farmer’s market on Saturday, both were still abundantly available, so I scooped some up and made this smoothie. It’s light, refreshing, and the perfect snack. Feel free to add a banana or protein powder, or both, to make it more of a meal. I’ve done that for breakfast and it tides me over for a good amount of time. Chia seeds would also make a lovely, nutrient dense, addition.

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Peach Basil Smoothie
Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups frozen peaches
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • ¾ cup coconut water
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

I’m holding on to summer as long as I can, and when fall comes I’ll hold on to that, too. Maybe I’m just not very good with change, but I like to think instead that I appreciate each season so much that I’m always a little sad to see it go.

Until next time, my friends!