Sunday, November 17, 2013

Vegan Pumpkin Pudding

Less than two weeks until Thanksgiving! Hooray!

If you need an awesome dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan pumpkin dessert that tastes like need to make this pudding. And if you want to make it into a pumpkin pie, just add another tablespoon of cornstarch and pour it into a pre-baked pie crust before letting it set in the fridge.

Vegan Pumpkin Pudding

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 2/3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a pot, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, cornstarch, and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly whisk in the almond milk.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until very thick, whisking constantly.
  3. Divide into four ramekins or small bowls, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Simple Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

I have a super simple recipe to share with you today: roasted potatoes. It's really more of a method than a recipe, since you don't necessarily need to measure (and since I don't really know how many potatoes I used), but it's a great method, nonetheless.

I dug my teeny tiny potatoes out of the fingerling potato bin at the farmers' market, but I know that Trader Joe's sells them as well. If you can't find potatoes just tiny enough, halve some small ones or dice up larger Yukon gold potatoes. Just know that you'll really miss the pop of teeny tiny potato skins surrounding a creamy, tender center. Yum.

Simple Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

  • about 1.5 lbs baby potatoes (guesstimation)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
  • quick drizzle of olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with foil, parchment paper, or a silicon baking mat.
  2. Toss all ingredients in a bowl, then spread in a single layer on the prepared sheet pan.
  3. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the onions are caramelized and the potatoes are tender and browned. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps

During the holidays, I become obsessed with beautiful, rustic cheese plates. And my favorite accompaniment to those cheeses? These crisp crackers, especially the rosemary raisin pecan ones. They're awesomely delicious and aren't loaded with ingredients I can't pronounce. So what's the problem? They're about $7 a box at Whole Foods. Yeah. So I took matters into my own hands and created the perfect replication of these crunchy, crispy, earthy, nutty, addictive crackers!

Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy, I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup sucanat or light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring just until combined. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.
  3. Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then remove the loaf from the pan.
  4. Wrap the cooled loaf in plastic wrap or place in a tightly sealed plastic bag and freeze for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight (this makes it easier to slice thinly).
  5. With a sharp serrated knife, cut the loaf in half lengthwise, then slice as thin as you can crosswise. 
  6. Lay the slices in a single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Then flip and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until deep golden brown and crispy. Keep in mind that they will crisp up a little as they cool, so don't bake them until they're so crispy that they're burnt!

The progression of a perfect bite: rosemary raisin pecan crisp, goat cheese, cranberry apple butter, pepitas and chopped pecans.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Celery Root and Apple Soup

Happy November!

Now that it's November, it's officially socially acceptable to start planning a Thanksgiving menu and taste-testing holiday recipes, right? My goal is to create a whole bunch of Thanksgiving-friendly recipes this month, mostly side dishes or appetizers, because that's where you can get really creative! And I'm sure my heart will desire loads of holiday baked goods, so don't be surprised if pumpkin pops up again (and again, and again).

Here's one soup that would make a fantastic start to your Thanksgiving meal: Celery Root and Apple Soup. If you've never worked with celery root (aka celeriac), it can be a little intimidating. But once you get past the knotty-looking exterior, it's just like working with a peeled potato. To peel the celery root I used a peeler near the top, where the skin is a little smoother, and a paring knife near the bottom, where things get messy. Celery root has a fresh celery and fennel flavor with the texture of a turnip/potato/root vegetable, making it great for pureed soups or adding to mashed potatoes for a different take. You can also eat it raw--in class the other day we made a salad with julienned celery root and apples; that's where the flavor inspiration came from with this soup!

Celery Root and Apple Soup

(Not sure why this picture looks so blurry--click on it for a clearer view!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 fist-sized celery root bulbs, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium apples, peeled and diced (I used Macintosh)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock or broth
  • about 1 cup milk (dairy or nondairy)
  • salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg to taste
  • chopped apples, walnuts, sage, and black pepper for garnishing
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, until translucent.
  2. Add the celery root, apples, and ginger; saute 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the sage and stock or broth, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  4. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the celery root and apples are tender.
  5. Puree the soup in a blender, then stir as much or as little milk as you'd like. Keep in mind that the soup will thicken as it cools, so if you're planning on serving it the next day, wait and stir in the milk as you reheat it.

I seem to do this thing where I post a recipe and then spontaneously talk about running afterwards, so I may as well keep up with that format now...

In this week's running news...I ran the Marine Corps Marathon last Sunday! I use the word "ran" very lightly here, because I walked a good 1/3 of the race, but I finished nonetheless. 

 I won't go through the race mile by mile, because after mile 10 it would be a lot of "do I really have __ many miles left?!!) and after mile 20 it would be a lot of "@#$% my legs WON'T move," so I'll spare you the grueling details and focus on the exciting stuff. Like these parachuting Marines at the starting area! All those little tiny dots are parachuters, and they all pulled out huge American flags before they landed--so incredible!

Me at mile 20! I caught a second wind between miles 16 and 20, so I was looking great right here. Then it went downhill (NOT literally) from there.

And Finally, the finish! I don't know who had the idea of sneaking in an uphill finish, but it was not fun. After getting my bling and downing several cups of free watermelon, I was smiling again.

Thanks mom and dad for cheering me on! I loved seeing you and this awesome sign so many times, I don't think I could have done it otherwise!