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Portobello Nachos

Roasting up a bunch of goodies and serving them up right on the baking sheet together with sauce and toppings is a sure way to a fun dinner or a low-maintenance spread for last minute company. In the winter, I’ll bake an assortment of roots rubbed with plenty of spices, and slather them with herby sauce or tahini/cashew cream to go alongside some beans or grains. In the summer, it’s all about the slow-roasted tomatoes, eggplants and peppers served with some sort of bread, herbs, greens and good olive oil. Nachos definitely fall into this throw-together oven meal category, and we tend to crave them often around here, so I’m constantly thinking about ways to freshen up the format.
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Babamesco Dip

Baba ganoush + romesco = babamesco! One fine day, I had some but not all of the ingredients to make romesco, as well as a few baba-ganoush appropriate items, and I was craving some kind of powerful dip/spread/sauce. I combined the two and ended up with something really special. I’m pretty sure that everyone who sampled it loved it, and that goofy name that I threw out in the moment really stuck. I’ve had friends call me and seriously ask me when I’ll be making another batch of babamesco. Now I can’t imagine calling it by any other name. A few ways it can be used: as a dip for pita chips, sandwich spread, pizza sauce, veggie bowl component, sauce for vegetables (try it with grilled ramps or roasted cauliflower).
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Perfect Pressure Cooker Beans + Quick Marinated Beans

Fagor recently sent me their 6 quart pressure cooker, and I was very excited since I’ve never had one before and knew that it would be a very practical addition to my kitchen. Aside from stews, soups, and rich veggie broth, I was especially thrilled about the prospect of perfect home-cooked beans. I’d heard that cooking beans in a pressure cooker makes them amazingly creamy, yet firm and intact, on top of significantly speeding up the cooking process. As an example, soaked kidney beans only take 5 minutes of active cooking time in the pressure cooker. Crazy stuff!
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Quick Rhubarb Soft Serve

Have you ever heard of the quick soft serve ice cream technique, where you freeze coconut milk in ice cube trays and then blend the cubes with fruit, sweetener, etc. into into a perfectly spoonable frozen treat? It’s been on my radar for a while, but I have an ice cream maker, which I’m very faithful to, so I’ve been slow to warm up to the idea. I finally gave the whole thing a shot recently, and now I see what the big deal is about. This is entirely different from the typical ice-cream making experience. When I set out to make ice cream, I know that it will be a process, and I’m quite fond of the little bit of fuss that it takes. This soft serve is its own thing – delightfully quick and easy and with little fuss to speak of, especially if you already have the coconut ice cubes ready to go.

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Braised Leeks with Cauliflower White Bean Mash

Food magazines and online food publications are all about bright and green spring recipes right now, but I know that a lot of us are still waiting for that first asparagus to pop up, and for rhubarb to show its blush at the stores and markets. I’m checking in with one more transitional meal today, still cozy and hearty, but very vegetable-forward. There’s a step-by-step video, too :)

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No Bake Coconut Lemon Bars

I’ve been dreaming about making no-bake lemon bars for a while now and finally got around to the idea a few weeks ago. The goal was to have absolutely no oven time required for both the crust and the lemon filling, while having solid bars that stay together nicely and, of course, taste delicious. The idea to include coconut in the mix came about naturally, since I knew that I would have to use coconut milk for the creamy lemon mousse anyway. I decided to take it one step further and incorporate dried coconut flakes into the crust, and I loved the way all of the flavors came together. I’ve made these bars three times within the past couple of weeks, and each time they disappeared before I knew it. Definitely a universal crowd pleaser.

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Almost Savory Raw Chocolate

We are so excited to share our very first cooking video today! This has been a dream of ours for years now, but it has stayed on the back burner for way too long due to the laborious nature of video-making. We loved the process so much, and will have more step-by-step videos to share in the near future.

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Quick Blender Pancakes, Three Ways

So excited to share this recent discovery with you today. If you follow us on instagram, you may have seen me posting an abnormal number of pancake photos recently. That would be because I’ve been cooking some variation of blender pancakes almost every morning for the past couple of weeks. Seriously obsessed.

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Sweet Potato Toast, Two Ways

I finally got around to trying sweet potato toast this week, a concept that I’ve been seeing circulating around the internet. Our instagram post about it generated a lot of interest, so I thought I would go into more detail here today. Basically, the whole idea is replacing bread with thinly sliced, toasted sweet potato and topping it as you would any toast. I know, why mess with an already perfect concept like toast? For one, it’s great for those trying to take it easy on grains or gluten. It’s also perfect for sweet potato lovers just looking to change things up for breakfast, snack, etc. (me). It’s a fun way to eat a nutritious root vegetable, and I have a feeling that it could easily be made very kid-friendly. It is decidedly its own thing, not toast, but totally stands on its own as tasty and filling fare.
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Upside Down Citrus Polenta Cake

March is tricky. It’ll throw out a few of those luxuriously warm days in a row, which cause collective memory loss about the fact that it’s still winter, and you’ll suddenly see a few dazed people out on the street wearing shorts. And then it gets cold again, and it might even snow soon, and the warm coat you so optimistically tucked away into your closet has to come back out. By this time, you might also be really tired of root vegetables and stews, and all things earthy and hearty. I am. Thankfully, there is citrus. Bright, sweet, lush, like little suns in fruit form. I’m continually amazed by the variety of citrus fruit available at the grocery store this time of year. Based on my last scan of the citrus section, there are at least three types of oranges, the blood variety being the star, about as many kinds of grapefruits (red, pink, white), and don’t even get me started on the numerous hybrids, smooth-skinned, wrinkled and everything in between. I wanted to make a treat that really captures that brightness and abundance, so an upside down cake was in order. It looks involved to those not in the know, but it’s actually the easiest kind of cake to make.
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Sorghum Beet Risotto

I’ve been seeing a lot of ‘why not just make it with rice’ reactions to alternative grain risotto recipes. I have a few reasons. Trying to get a variety of potentially more nutritious grains into my meals is one. Making a risotto-like dish with any grain makes it taste delicious and a little more special than just a bed for the more dominant stuff on your plate. It’s also a creative challenge, and I welcome those when they occur in the kitchen. The flavor will always be a bit more new and unexpected than traditional risotto, but the creamy grain dish format will keep it in cozy territory, which is nice. Of course, no grain will quite replace starchy Arborio rice, which is what usually gives risotto that wonderfully creamy consistency. I like to incorporate blended roasted root vegetables, beans or coconut milk to achieve that sought-after texture. In this risotto, I went with coconut milk, which integrates seamlessly with the flavors of the beets, ginger, garlic and chili. Though the spicy, sweet and earthy flavors in this dish are a bit far from the classic, it’s absolutely delicious in its own right, and kind of perfect for this transitional time of year.
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Spaghetti Squash Mung Bean Lasagna

I’ve always thought of lasagna as an intimidating dish in terms of its layered preparation, though I love the flavor and find myself craving it often during the cooler months. I set out to change my outlook with this simple and nourishing spaghetti squash version that tastes every bit as comforting as the original.
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Sweet and Savory Energy Bites, What to Do with Leftover Nut Milk Pulp

Last week, I talked a little bit about my love for homemade nut milk, how it always tastes better than the store-bought kind, and how the amount of control I have over the process and ingredients makes it all worth the tiny bit of fuss. I’ve noticed that whenever I discuss making nut milk with anyone, the question of utilizing the leftover nut pulp is bound to come up. No one wants to throw it away, but not many people know what to do with it, either. I was in the same boat for years – sometimes, I would freeze the pulp for later use in place of almond flour in baked goods, which didn’t always work out because the pulp is not quite as dry as almond flour. Other times, I tried incorporating it into granola, but If I’m being honest, I often ended up throwing it away, not without some serious guilt. About a month ago, I opened up the question on instagram and got so many fascinating suggestions that went way beyond baking/granola: a base for stuffing, a thickener for smoothies, chicken feed, face scrub (!), and energy balls. I found the idea of pulp-based energy balls to be really compelling and set out to make both a sweet and a savory version. I’m really excited to share the results!
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Cauliflower Rice with Zingy White Beans and Kale

There’s something very powerful about turning a pile of vegetables into a proper meal. The satisfaction/general victorious feeling that I get from finding a place for produce in our daily meals is one of the main reasons I’m attracted to cooking with plants, besides the more obvious nourishment factor. Another powerful feeling is finding a way to whip up a solid, plant-centric meal when you seemingly have no food left in the house. For me, that usually involves surveying the bottom of my crisper and pulling heavily from my pantry. That was the case with the recipe I have for you today, which took me from panicking about not having enough groceries to being well-fed and quite satisfied. I had a head of cauliflower I’d been ignoring, kale that was getting dangerously old, a bag of random Florida citrus, and mushrooms that didn’t make it into a stew (which are also optional in this recipe). The rest of the ingredients came straight from my pantry.

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No-Recipe Healing Soup

A few years ago, I developed this soup recipe for Food & Wine, and since then, it has become a staple in our household during the winter months. The soup is all about the broth, which is based on a combination of immunity-boosting, anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, ginger, garlic, lemon and miso. Any time I feel a cold coming on or if I’m simply in need of something warming and comforting, I make a batch of this gingery, spicy, sinus-clearing soup, and it’s proven to be a lifesaver many times. I never follow the original recipe exactly, in fact I’ve developed a sort ‘no-recipe’ approach, which considers my mood and the ingredients I have on hand. Sometimes, when in a hurry, I make the broth on its own and sip on it like I would on hot tea. When looking for a more substantial soup, I add other wholesome ingredients like veggies, greens and mushrooms. Each time is a little different, but the golden broth framework ensures that the soup will be tasty and nourishing to the core every time.

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Ginger Marinated Tofu with Citrus Salsa

It may sound strange to some, but from time to time I truly crave tofu. I used to cook with it a whole lot years ago, during my discovery of vegetarian cooking. Although I’m well past that stage, I still like go back to a good, fresh slice of tofu once in a while. It’s a bit like a rare treat, since I don’t eat it often but when I do, I enjoy it immensely. My favourite way of preparing tofu has always been marinating and then lightly grilling it, which is what I do in this recipe.
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Roasted Garlic and Parsnip Hummus

If you ever do meal prep on the weekends for the week ahead, hummus is a great thing to consider including in your repertoire of preparations. It’s easy to make, keeps pretty well, and is a very useful thing to have on hand, since so many meals can be centered around it. Plop a generous dollop into your salads and grain bowls, spread onto sandwiches and flatbreads, use as a dipping component for snacks (roasted winter roots dipped in hummus is a recent favorite) – any way you use it, it’s a great, fast way to make your meal more filling and nourishing. Plus, homemade hummus tastes so much better than store-bought!

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Turmeric, Carrot and Ginger Remedy

It’s interesting how motivating the tiniest tips from people you care about or respect can be. I was recently on a short flight and read the autobiography of a certain Soviet-era singer, whose music I grew up with. It was a thin, throwaway paperback that I read back to back during the flight, but something about her positivity really made an impression on me. This singer is almost eighty years old, but looks great and has stayed incredibly active, and the book is studded with small, often old-school tips of how she believes she’s managed to keep up her health. She walks everywhere she goes, covering large distances on foot in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and her two drinks of choice are carrot juice in the morning and chamomile tea at night. Sure enough, I’ve been noticing myself drinking both of those with more frequency and taking longer walks whenever possible. And it doesn’t matter to me how silly of a motivation that was, if it helps me get from point A to point B in taking more care of myself, I’m all in.

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Whipped Chocolate Chia Pudding

Happy New Year! Checking in with a quick breakfast recipe idea that was born out of my struggle to feed my very picky eight year old a nutritious breakfast. Chia pudding used to be a staple breakfast for her, flavored differently depending on the season or what was on hand, and I felt pretty good about her starting the day with a nice portion of the Omega-3 rich seeds. Then, one day she decided that she doesn’t like the texture of chia in her pudding any longer (too crunchy! too chewy!), and getting breakfast into her before leaving for school became a monumental task. I’m sure many parents out there can sympathize with me when I say I would pay money for this picky eating stage to be over. But for now, I deal with it by identifying a food Paloma loves and then trying to mask other nutritious ingredients with it. For example, she’s crazy about tomatoes, so I make a crushed tomato-based stew with other veggies mixed in, and she tends to be ok with eating that.

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