Monday, August 20, 2012

Roasted Portabellos with Dill-Parsley Pesto

When my dad brought home a pack of huge portabello mushrooms, I knew I wanted to do something that would leave them whole in their enormous, meaty, umami-filled glory. I obviously really love mushrooms. For the sauce, I came up with a fresh, light, citrusy pesto that was a great pairing with the deep flavor of the mushrooms.

This dish would be a great side or vegetarian main dish served over a grain like rice or quinoa. You'll probably have leftover sauce, which I would serve over fish, chicken, on toasted bread, with cheese, or on pasta--so versatile!

Roasted Portabello Mushrooms with Dill-Parsley Pesto

4 large portabello mushroom caps (just over a pound)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sprigs thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 packed cups kale leaves
1/2 cup fresh dill
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
salt and pepper to taste
more lemon juice, olive oil, or water, as needed

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or aluminum foil.
2. Use a spoon to remove the gills on the mushroom caps, since they become slimy when cooked.
3. Mix the balsamic, olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then brush onto the mushroom caps. Roast the mushrooms for about 30 minutes, until they are deep brown and have cooked down slightly.
4. Meanwhile, make the pesto: Heat a small pot of water until boiling, add the kale leaves, and cook for just about 30 seconds, until the kale is bright green and tender. Squeeze the kale out and add it to a food processor with the rest of the pesto ingredients. Blend until the mixture comes together, then add more liquid as needed until the sauce reached the texture you want (mine was pretty thick).
5. Serve the roasted mushrooms topped with some pesto sauce and drizzle any pan juices from the mushrooms on top.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Roasted Chickpeas

Hi there! Did you notice the new URL? I switched to, since I won't be a teen forever! You can type in this new URL to get to my blog, but be warned that it won't work if you leave off the "www." However, if you forget, you can still type in and it will transfer you right to this site.

In other news, I finally bought a photo editing program, Lightroom! I only just installed it, but I already love it, so get ready for some better photos on the blog!

Anyways, on to the chickpeas. They become firmer and slightly crispy with a salty, spicy, warm flavor. They're great to eat just as a snack, to top off soup, or to add to a salad (I put them on a salad with roasted butternut squash, feta, and balsamic dressing and it was delicious!).

Roasted Chickpeas
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
dash of nutmeg

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients. Spread the chickpeas on the baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes. The chickpeas should be browned and slightly crispy around the edges.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Watermelon Ice

I guess I'm a little late for the party, because yesterday was National Watermelon Day! Whether you celebrated or not, you can enjoy this super simple watermelon ice any day of the year.

This is more of a method than a recipe, since you can use the same procedure with basically any amount of watermelon. The texture is almost like snow, but it tastes like pure, sweet watermelon. Plus, there's no need to add sugar (as long as you use ripe melon), so it's deliciously healthy.

Watermelon Ice

1. Cut the watermelon into small chunks and freeze on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or plastic wrap. Make sure the watermelon is completely frozen, it would be best to freeze it overnight.
2. Place the frozen watermelon in a food processor and blend until the watermelon is finely ground and has a shaved ice texture. That's all!

Tips and Notes:
  • You can add a frozen banana to the mixture for a more sorbet-like texture.
  • Add a splash of water, lime juice, or any other liquid as needed to keep the mixture blending. Also, pulse the food processor to break up large chunks.
  • Place a scoop or two of the watermelon ice in the bottom of a glass, then fill with lemonade, iced tea, or sparkling water for an icy watermelon-flavored drink.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Orange-Almond Thumbprint Cookies

After testing out a few gluten-free cookie recipes, I developed one that had great flavor and texture, and is guilt-free as well! These are not crumbly or buttery like traditional thumbprint cookies, they're more soft and chewy. Either way, they are great if you are looking for something sweet and bite-sized and delicious! Feel free to change up the jam in the center or test out other ground nuts, extracts, juices, and zests.

Orange-Almond Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup tapioca flour/starch
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
jam, for filling (I used orange marmalade and strawberry jam)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (almonds through orange zest).
3. Add the wet ingredients (juice through vanilla) and stir to combine.
4. Shape the dough into balls (mine were about 2 teaspoonfuls), then press an indent in the middle with your finger, dipping your finger in tapioca flour as you go.
5. Arrange the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet, then spoon about 1/4 teaspoon of jam into the indents.
6. Bake the cookies for about 16 minutes, until the dough is set and the bottoms of the cookies are browned.

Tips and notes:
  • If you want to make these non-gluten-free, you can try using all purpose or whole wheat flour in place of the tapioca starch, omitting the xanthan gum. I haven't tried this substitution, so I can't vouch for the results.
  • As I said in the beginning, try switching out the flavors. Here are a few I just came up with (and may need to try!):                                                                                                               
    • Apple Cinnamon: add cinnamon to the dough, use apple juice instead of the orange juice, use apple jelly
    • Chocolate Raspberry: add maybe a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the dough, fill the indents with a few chocolate chips and raspberry jam
    • Lemon: use lemon zest instead of orange zest, and replace 1 tablespoon of the orange juice with lemon juice. Add lemon extract if you have it, and fill the indents with lemon curd.