The first tomato of each season I dedicate to Gramma Helen and her love of tomata sammiches. Read more about this sandwich in a previous post.
Category Archives: Less is more
I juice a few times a week. I think it is super fantastic. I actually crave kale and carrot juices sometimes, I realize this makes me a little on the odd side. I work with college students every week day in some capacity as mentor, professor, intern boss-lady, and boy-oh-boy do are they every germ-riddled. They eat like shit, never sleep, and basically act as petri dishes for cold cultures. I’m getting that spring drainage, sore throat, not sure if it is a cold or allergies or what right now and frankly who has time to be sick? So I thought I’d beat the may be cold into submission with a extra dose of vitamin C from juice, surely better than those powdered packets they sell at the drug store right? Hey, anything is worth a try. Here is what I gathered from the fridge for a yummy cold killer and soon to be be beach cocktail base (just add vodka). Cheers!
- 3-4 inches fresh ginger, peeled
- 8 minnolas, or other orange available, peeled (make ’em sweet-the rest of the ingredients are super tart)
- 4 limes, peeled
Run through your trusty Breville juicer. Drink up! I drank a glass and froze the rest into cubes for “dosing” through the week.
I totally missed the boat on posting Thanksgiving recipes this year-don’t judge me. Luckily this recipe isn’t just a “holiday” recipe so I can share with you now. It will warm you up from the inside out AND it’s a sneaky way to make veggies that sometimes get a bad rap, like brussels sprouts, into the belly of an unsuspecting friend with favorable results. I think this could be slathered on just about anything but for this recipe I chose sweet potatoes, raw cranberries (go with it okay), and brussels sprouts – I think any roasted veggie would do though, so experiment with whatever is in your pantry already.
- 1/2 C maple syrup
- 3T EVOO (about 1T per cup of veggies roasting)
- 3T Sriracha
- 1 1/2 T Braggs Aminos (or low sodium Tamari/soy sauce)
- 1T chopped garlic
- 1T minced fresh ginger
- juice and zest of 1 lime
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl and dump over veggies in a roasting pan. Roast at 400, turning every 15 minutes, until veggies are slightly charred and glazed. Serve. Put leftovers over rice or in a tortilla the next day for a quick lunch.
Don’t let your cupcakes go naked, or worse…be slathered in store bought frosting. Use your microwave to whip up a simple tasty vegan ganache. Paired with the best vegan chocolate cupcakes or drizzled you will ever eat or maybe even on PANCAKES, you will wonder why you ever shopped for frosting in the grocery store.
- 1/2 C vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 C nondairy milk of choice (I used almond milk)
- 2 T sweetener of choice (I used maple syrup)
- Add-in’s: 1 T cinnamon and/or 1 T espresso powder
Directions: In a microwave safe measuring cup, combine all ingredients except add-in’s. Microwave in increments of 20-30 seconds, until chocolate chips melt. Whisk chocolate chip mixture together until smooth and velvety, then whisk in your desired add-in’s. Refrigerate to set up. When thickened drizzle over cake of choice. I love this recipe best: Vegan Chocolate Cake.
Amazon delivered my Breville Juice Fountain yesterday and today Mr. Wonderful and I made our first juice. Last week we watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and wanted to give a juice fast a try before the holidays.
Let me first tell you how liberating making a juice is. The whole process feels good. The noise feels good. The drinking feels good. The murdering of innocent veggies, feels good!! Even the clean up even feels good! I know, I’m on some nutrient dense high or something but seriously. Good.
This first time was basically about figuring out of how to operate the thing which was surprisingly uncomplicated. Choosing the fruit/veg came via whatever was in the fridge so here is our attempt recipe:
- 3 navel oranges
- 3 bunches kale
- 5 super mini apples
- 1 C cranberries
- 12 mini carrots
Juice ingredients one at a time, greens first. DRINK!
This made about 5- 16 ounce juices which is about a one person juice fast day.
I’m a sucker for ice cream. Even in the winter. Standard operating procedure on weekends at our home is to nosh on sundaes at some point; however, due to the power outage last week, we were down all standard items less some ice cream that we bought at 1:00 am on Friday night in a fury 🙂 So what’s a girl to do? Well she makes “magic shell” from things on hand in the pantry of course. You bet. Don’t waste time, get this on some ice cream stat, yes, even in the winter.
Vegan Magic Shell
- 1/2 C vegan chocolate chips (Ghirardelli are a pantry staple of ours and accidentally vegan)
- 1 heaping T crunchy or creamy peanut butter
- 1 T coconut oil
Melt all items in a Pyrex or other microwave save dish for 30 seconds, stir until all ingredients have melted into a delicious velvety sauce. Resist urge to dump down throat, the “magic” happens when it hits the cold ice cream. Our fave is Vanilla Island by Luna & Larry.
Crockpot creamer for coffee? Relatives coming over for the holidays? I’ll try just about anything in a crockpot once. This turned out surprisingly Starbucks-esque. I omitted the cardamom and cloves I’m not a big fan of those spices.
1 can full-fat coconut milk (I used low-fat without too much of a texture problem it was obviously thinner)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- Pinch of cloves
Add all the ingredients to your slow cooker and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours. Store in fridge and add in your hot or iced coffee.
Recipe adapted from: Vegan Slow Cooking
I have a love affair with overnight oats now; however, the first time I tried them I gagged and swore them off for good. That is until I discovered I didn’t care for the soaked chia texture present in so many of the overnight oat recipes, it was NOT the actual oats that I found offensive-just the cha, cha, cha chia. I researched a bunch of recipes and discovered that not all oats are created equal and that I could have oats sans chia without any fretting. From then on, I’ve had auto ship attached to my Amazon.com order for Bob’s Red Mill Oats every 30 days (I prefer the extra thick kind) and a full stomach well past the noon hour if I eat them for breakfast. And really, isn’t that every working girl’s dream? To NOT be STARVING at lunchtime? I think so. There is nothing worse than ravenous pre-noon snacking, binge drinking coffee to fill up your belling and/or a casual noon time stuffing that will put a pooch in your pencil skirt and a frown on your face for the rest of the day. Enough about my body image issues…you are here for the food.
- 4 dates, pitted and sliced
- 1/3 C whole oats
- 2/3 C nondairy milk, I prefer almond milk (unsweetened)
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 heaping T of PB2
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1 banana, sliced just before you drop it into the oats the next day
The night before, add all ingredients but banana into a jar and place in fridge overnight. Next day, drop in sliced banana, stir and enjoy.
So I came to my own blog today to look up a recipe and realized that I haven’t blogged in nearly a MONTH. It’s been a hell of a month. Here’s what is going on:
- I am mid-semester teaching 4 classes at a local university as a visiting faculty member
- I’m providing campaign support for a person running for congress through my former full time job, as a part time consultant
- I am a full time PhD student closing in on my final year of classes about to start really caring about the dissertation process which could take YEARS to finish (OMG)
- I’m a doctoral research associate at my school discussed above part time
- I’m married. I think I’m still married to that hunk with the beagles to the left
- I’m disorganized when it comes to meal planning and can’t stand up for long periods of time because, wait for it….I tore my ACL/MCL and meniscus a month ago playing volleyball in an adult league-yes, I’m old enough to know better
In short, I have no idea if I am coming or going. My commute to and from classes for my PhD program is between an hour and hour and a half two nights a week and the reading is killing me. I often forfeit my own reading and writing to grade student work. Cooking is the last thing on my mind and I have shamefully eaten pizza and forfeited my CSA pick up more times than I can count in the last six weeks. I’ve gone through nearly all of my frozen “emergency” meals and breads I gathered through the summer and we are just closing in on fall! EEK!
So how to reclaim sanity? Some of you would say, dump some of the items above? I say, that’s not an option right now. I’m looking more for tools, tips, techniques to make my eating better, faster, pre-planned and semi-healthy. Any suggestions?
If nothing else, thanks for listening and sorry for the far and few between posts. Winter semester should be less hectic and more delicious on this blog. Excuse me, I’m off to make overnight oats for breakfast and prep the coffee that gets me though this crazy life.
Yesterday I made the tacos that I sometimes dream about in the winter, full of summer veggies practically radiating sunshine, tender-crisp, and juicy. I love tacos, but even I can’t eat them every night for leftovers, so this seemed like the perfect solution: taco soup for the freezer and rest of the week.
Cook all veggies using summer tacos recipe found here spices and all, we will add a little more flavor below due to the dilution from the water. While I was charring all the veggies, I set half of each batch into a soup pot to create taco soup for later in the week.
To that add:
- 1 tsp epazote
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1-2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp to 1T chipotle en adobo (sauce), depending on your like of heat
- 2-3 C or 1-2 cans black beans, drained
- 3 cans diced tomatoes, these can be fire roasted or normal diced tomatoes
- 2 cubes veggie boullion
- 4-6 C of water, depending on your thoughts on consistency of soup
Heat all ingredients through give it a taste and adjust the seasonings (salt for sure). Serve warm with a squeeze of lime, vegan sour cream, and tortilla chips or freeze to preserve the summer.
Growing up my family didn’t do a tremendous amount of gardening unless it was in the form of flowers, which my mother has always been extremely fond of. The landscaping of our home was meticulous. My grandma however, had a pretty good size garden which was kinda like a neighborhood garden before community gardens were all the rage. She and her neighbors would plant their favorite veggies between the sticky cherry tree and big tire swing, in front of the pine layer separating her home from the IGA, and just beyond the sandbox so that none of us would “go messin’ with it.” The garden made for two things: 1) the most amazing go-cart racing track was formed from its perimeter, and 2) the amount of tomatoes that came from it in August/September was something of the stuff legends are made.
This is the “grown up” vegan version of the tomato sandwich that we would eat nearly every day in the summer at the peak of tomato season which was comprised of gooey Wonder Bread, Miracle Whip, heavy with salt, and layered with iceberg lettuce and fresh, juicy tomatoes. So messy and heavy that you would have to eat the sandwich over the sink or end up changing your shirt after lunch.
- 2 pieces soft vegan bread, toasted lightly
- 1 medium sized ripe tomato of your choice
- 2 big knifefuls of Vegenaise, use BBQ flavor if you want it to really make it sing
- 1 handful, fresh picked greens of your choice, pictured here, arugula
To assemble: spread Vegenaise on bread, layer tomato slices with arugula, smash and enjoy over the kitchen sink.
I have no idea how I could have let this recipe go unpublished from my blog for this long. I keep a recipe blog for selfish reasons really, it keeps all my lovely meals in one place so I’m not concerned with the bookmarking madness that is my Chrome browser. So when I went searching for ‘kale salad’ in my own blog and found not one result I became really upset…at…myself. Damn it self!
This little number is a weekly dinner and lunch staple, so my apologies for letting this one slip through the cracks. I also managed to forgot it’s Vegan MoFo! The Vegan Month of Food where veg bloggers are to unite and blog DAILY about vegan noms [OMG, that won’t be a reality for me, but I will try a few times a week this month]. I VeganMoFo’d in 2010 and 2011, but must have lost my mind in 2012 where I can find no archived MoFo posts. Boo.
Luckily, my good friends at VeganGR guest blogged for me today, so I am just one day behind the daily blog for Vegan MoFo 2013. This recipe comes from Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks. I’ve taken a few liberties to veganize her dish but have stayed true to the taste. Not ready to go vegan on this…keep the cheese, and for God sake butter the bread to make breadcrumbs if you are not vegan.
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale [really any kale will work here, if you find it tough, be sure to let the lemon dressing do some work on the kale in a bag or bowl for a few hours to soften the texture – you know, if you are serving the queen or something]
- 2 thin slices country bread, or two handfuls good, homemade coarse breadcrumbs
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed and minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch
- 1/4 cup vegan parm or other salty vegan cheese [Not vegan? Hit it hard with Romano-and thank me later.]
- 1.5-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish [I go lighter on this one adjusting for the lemon juice I net, I hate an oily dressing, I prefer more juice to oil]
- Zest of one lemon
- Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Trim the bottom few inches off the kale stems and discard. Slice the kale into 3/4-inch ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place the kale in a large bowl.
- If using the bread, toast it until golden brown on both sides and dry throughout. Tear into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs, or crumbs to your liking.
- Pound or mince the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into a paste. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, EVOO, lemon juice, lemon zest, pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves). Let the salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with the bread crumbs, additional cheese, and a drizzle of oil.
- This makes the most excellent lunch for DAYS. Also tastes super yummy with some grilled tofu on the side or mixed in. The tangy dressing will more than make up for the blandness of the tofu so no need to marinate the tofu before hand. Perhaps though add a little extra salt to the tofu steaks when grilling them up to round out the taste.
- Find Heidi’s original recipe and more kale noms here: 101 Cookbooks.
- Wanna get really crazy? Try this with orange juice and orange zest.
You know you have good friends when they take a veggie gift and your smartass comment about blogging for you and actually do it. So Jon and Kolene over at VeganGR have been the recipient of some ridiculous veggies from my summer surplus…Jon, the resident chef, and Kolene, the photographer came up with Sauerkraut when faced with a do or die cabbage situation a few weeks ago. Here’s what happened, according to Jon:
Faced with an exorbitant amount of cabbage (I mean, A TON of cabbage. See previous post about Adrienne’s gift of 40lbs of veggies), there was only one choice.
Now, let’s be clear about this. I am lazy, and I hate waiting. I also have a mild fear of home fermentation. Recent attempts at rejuvelac based cheese turned into a science experiment into mold than a delicious vegan chèvre. I am determined to plod on, but until I become the king of producing lactic acid, I needed another solution.
A Google search for “quick sauerkraut” turned up far fewer hits than you’d think. This recipe looked promising, so I went with that.
I didn’t have apple cider on hand, ‘cause like, who does? So I doubled the water. To balance and bring in the sugar I think the cider was intended to, I added a little sweetness. The result was really nice, and the hit of a recent summer barbecue!
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced very thin
- 1 medium green cabbage, sliced thin
- 1 ¼ C apple cider vinegar
- 1 C water
- 1 T salt
- 1 tsp caraway seed
- 2 T sugar
- Heat oil in pan, and add onion. Cook over medium heat until onion turns translucent.
- Add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook covered over low heat for 30-45 minutes. You want the cabbage nice and tender. Keep an eye on it, you may need to add a little more water.
I have a small problem: I bite off more than I can chew. This would explain a few things: 1) my 15 lb weight gain in the last two years, 2) my zest for ordering multiple appetizers and never being able to eat an entree at a restaurant, and 3) subscribing to multiple CSA’s in the summertime and then freaking out when it gets to July/August and I have like, triple of everything.
I hate letting good food go to waste so I act as veggie broker to my friends giving them extras of my goods that Mr. Wonderful and I will just watch shrink and die in the confines of our fridge. In the case of eggplants, luckily I can broker all of them off to friends. It’s the only veggie I do not like, well, at least I thought I didn’t until my friends at VeganGR got a hold of my surplus and made eggplant into gravy!
I told Jon Dunn to write a guest post for me and then I could keep my own mouth shut up there, so here’s what he has to say:
There are lots of advantages to being friends with Adrienne and Derek. But the best is that they give us veggies. LOTS of veggies.
Seriously, Adrienne has admitted she’s been overwhelmed with the summer haul from her three (3!!) CSA shares. So, she’s been kind enough to share the wealth. The only requirement was that we blog about what we did with them.
So today, let’s talk eggplant. Adrienne is not a fan, so it was an easy decision to slough them off on us. It’s a good thing, because I can’t get enough of them! I thought I’d share with you a unique recipe I created one time that was kind of an accident.
I had an eggplant, wasn’t sure what I was making for dinner, but threw it in the oven. Then I started making other foods that were ENTIRELY unrelated to an eggplant. So here I was, with a beautiful roasted eggplant and mashed potatoes. So naturally, I made gravy.
Combined with cashews, garlic, and a bit of herbs, the eggplant comes together in a really silky smooth gravy when you blast it in a high power blender. Make sure you fully roast that nightshade. Hopefully for those of you that hate this wonder-veg, that dread of seeing the eggplant in the CSA box will vanish with this recipe!
- 2 medium eggplants
- ½ C raw cashews (these need to be soaked if you’re not using a high power blender such as a vitamix)
- 1 C water
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp salt (more to your taste)
- ½ tsp thyme
- pepper to taste
- Cut your eggplants in half lengthwise. Score the skin, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roast the eggplant in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the skin looks all nice and toasty.
- Remove eggplant from the oven and remove the skin (let that sucker cool a bit before you go burning yourself!).
- Drop all the ingredients into your blender, set it to high and let it go for a couple of minutes. You’ll know when it’s ready when it’s all silky smooth.
- Serve over mashed potatoes, baked tempeh, chicken fried tofu, or any other amazing food that begs for a nice home-style gravy.
I’m not a baker. It involves measuring, math, and patience. I’m not good at any of those things. Crisps are perfect for people who care not to measure. They are obviously a rebel dessert. It’s the end of peach season in Michigan and I could not put the siren sound of the white and flame peaches out of my head a second longer and so I bought maybe a few too many which resulted in sharing. I’m so good at sharing!
I give you a recipe for people who hate measuring (for those of you that can’t help yourself, approximate/actual measurements accompany my very scientific ones): Rustic Vegan Peach Crisp
- A dozen or so peaches, prepped in removal of skin and pit and sliced (I got 4-6 slices per half of peach-they were quite large-see very scientific here)
- 2 handfuls of brown sugar (this is roughly 1/2 C total)
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- Dash of salt
- 4 handfuls of oats (use the real kind, not the quick ones-this is roughly 1 C total)
- 1/2 stick Earth Balance, at room temperature (margarine-which is 1/4 C)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Prep peaches, if you work quickly you don’t have to bother with lemon juice to keep them from browning. Put slices into a pie pan or other small baking pan you have. I made three batches, used 2 pie pans and an 8 x 8 baker.
- Sprinkle cinnamon and salt on prepped peaches.
- In large bowl combine, oats, Earth Balance (softened) and sugar. Squish around with your hands until chunky and mixed well-this is your “crisp.”
- Put crisp onto peaches in pans, you are making a little crust to seal in the peach juices.
- Bake x 15-20 minutes, until your peaches are tender and the crisp is well, crisp.
Note: With some crisps there is a bunch of juice associated with the fruit caused by adding lemon juice, or letting it sit for too long before baking. If you hustle you won’t have to add anything to thicken the juice (as there won’t be much to thicken) and you get pure fruit flavor with nothing to get between you and immediate bliss.
Categorizing this under “breakfast” and “dessert” as I did eat it for breakfast this AM-don’t judge me.
Swiss chard is one of those greens I’m not wild about unless it is IN something else or heavily, heavily seasoned. This recipe is modified from Vegan Brunch in the spirit of curried scramble and can be customized with herbs and seasonings in just about any combination. It keeps well and tastes amazing tossed into a pita with arugula and garlic vegenaise for lunch the next day.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch swiss chard, rough stems removed, chopped well (about 4 cups)
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 pound firm or extra firm tofu
- 1 T tamari or soy sauce (use tamari if gluten free)
- 1/4 C chives, chopped
- 1/4 tsp hot curry powder
- 1/4 tsp sweet curry powder
- 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/4 tsp granulated onion
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
- several dashes fresh black pepper
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Preheat a large heavy bottomed pan over low-medium heat. Add the oil and the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. What you’re doing here is “blonding” the garlic, it’s ready when it’s turned a light amber color.
Add the chard, oregano, all spices, chives, and and turn the heat up to medium high. Saute for about 5 minutes, until chard is completely wilted/ Add splashes of water if needed to get the chard to cook down. Turn the heat off.
While the chard is cooking, prepare your frittata base. Give the tofu a squeeze over the sink to remove a little of the water. Use your hands to crumble and squeeze it in a large mixing bowl, until it has the consistency of ricotta cheese (about 3 minutes). Add the remaining ingredients to the tofu and mix well. When your chard is ready, incorporate it into the tofu. Be sure to get all of the garlic, but if there is any moisture in the pan try to avoid adding it to the tofu. Taste for salt.
Lightly grease an 8 inch pie plate and firmly press in your frittata mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, until firm lightly browned on top. Let cool for about 3 minutes, then invert onto a plate and serve.
Who can really argue with the taste of a Michigan tomato in July? I can’t. So in taking all the mystery out of this post…some nights you simply eat tomatoes for dinner. Shown below are heirloom varieties Green Zebra and Beefsteak from Good News Farm.
Slice, cube or dice. Salt and pepper to taste. Noms.
Kohlrabi has been gathering in my crisper for weeks. It was beginning to outnumber the greens, which if you are a CSA member of any kind you know that greens are prolific this time of year while we wait for all of the other delish stuff to grow-so this was becoming an emergency situation. Mr. Wonderful and I wanted a quick dinner and this fit the bill. The recipe below is for peanut kohlrabi slaw, we served this slaw over Gardein Seven Grain strips on a reduced fat flour tortilla, it was like a salad in a tortilla. Super simple, fast, and made from the stuff I found in the fridge.
Need a few more recipes for the space-aged looking veg? Check out the kohlrabi archives…yep, they exist.
- 1/2 head green or Asian cabbage (finely shredded about 1 lb)
- 2 T peanut butter (smooth)
- 1 T peanut oil
- 2 T rice wine vinegar
- 1 T soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 3 cloves clove garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp powdered ginger
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (taste)
- 2 kohlrabi (bulbs peeled and grated or Julienne 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
- 3-4 large radishes, grated or minced
- 1/4 C dry roasted peanuts (garnish)
- 1/4 C dried currants
- sesame seeds (roasted, garnish)
Make the dressing in a mason jar. Put all items but sesame seeds, peanuts, radishes, currants, kohlrabi, and cabbage into a jar, shake vigorously. Taste a few times and readjust seasoning as you wish. Toss together with all other ingredients.
Good additions would be: grated carrot, green onion, water chestnuts, crispy rice noodles, and fresh grated ginger. Adapted from Food.com.
This is my second Shit! I don’t have any…. recipe blog post. My first had to do with chili powder. My anger level seems to have risen as this title involves an actual explicative and before I was just using a mild substitute; or maybe I just REALLY wanted to make tacos tonight…I digress and give you taco seasoning for when you realize you have none. This recipe shakes out to be WAY less sodium than the packaged brands, so do yourself a favor and just make it yourself before you have a taco seasoning emergency. It takes all of about 3 minutes. I made 5x the amount (some math involved, hooray) and store it in a mason jar to keep any new emergencies at bay.
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 ancho chili powder (this is an add in for more flavor, not necessary for “normal” flavor)
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1.5 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 to 1 tsp sea salt (more or less to taste)
- 1 tsp black pepper
1. In mason jar, measure out all items listed above and give it a little shake until well mixed. If you like it spicy, add more red pepper flakes or mess around a little and try some dried chipotle pepper, etc. This is totally customizable. Adapted from allrecipes.com and many other bloggers before me.
So you went crazy this past weekend and picked a zillion berries and now you are worried that your fresh strawberries might not be so fresh by the time you want to use them? Here’s a little trick from The Canning Diva to buy you a little bit of time while you process those berries:
- Put your strawberries in a large bowl and run cold water over them.
- Add 1/4 cup of vinegar (distilled white or apple cider) to every 2 cups of water.
- Let them soak for about 5 minutes.
- Drain, rinse, and dry on a towel-lined cookie sheet.
Now get to work using the fruit of your labor in this unusual dish sure to delight at your next porch party or holiday party. In the dead of winter, if you pull out a jar of this to take for a dish to pass, you will look like a rock star. This past weekend, my friend Jen, her mom, Mrs. Jen and I went to work churning out two batches of this sweet and savory salsa. I can’t wait to try it over some vegan cream cheese on a cracker or a corn chip.
- 12 cups of bite-size chopped strawberries (about 4 quarts)
- 1/2 cup Agave Sweetener
- 5 cups of raw, unbleached sugar (if this huge amount freaks you out you can use more Agave, Stevia or Splenda, consistency will vary however-we used 3 C sugar and a mix for the rest)
- 1 1/4 cups Vidalia onions, size is your preference (mine are diced small)
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup of jalapeno (if you want more heat, keep some seeds) I remove all seeds and chop fine in my small food processor
- 4 ounces of fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3/4 cup red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped mint
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups of apple cider vinegar
Directions from the Diva: Boil sugar, vinegar and agave sweetener until sugar has dissolved. Add all onions, peppers, herbs, lime juice and spices and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and add the strawberries. Mix well.
Using a slotted spoon, hot pack salsa into pint size jars being sure to include ample liquid in each jar so long as the salsa isn’t too watery. Leave a ½” of headspace for proper processing. (I filled 7 jars with salsa and had 1 pint left over that was pure liquid. Process the liquid the same as the salsa and use it as a marinade or the base of a sweet and savory cocktail)
As always, be sure to wipe your rims with a warm cloth to remove any liquid. Seal each jar with lids and rings and process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. Processing doesn’t begin until after the water is at a rolling boil!
My friend Jen had to sell me on this idea big time as every other time I have had or used chia seeds except in a granola bar, I have come away feeling icky with bloating, and all those black seeds sticking in my teeth, gelling and [in my imagination] growing [cha, cha, cha chia]. This however, seems like an appropriate place for chia seeds-in freezer jam.
This recipe was adapted from Oh She Glows and came together in a blender, in a blink. Since this is freezer jam, pop it into a freezer safe container AFTER you let it sit for a few hours and be sure to leave plenty of headspace for the chia to work it’s magic.
- 6 C blended strawberries [AFTER blending you want 6 C which is about 12 C of whole berries]
- 3 T maple syrup (or other sweetener of your choice)
- 6-12 T water
- 3 T chia seeds
- 2-3 T lemon juice
- zest from 2 lemons
Wash, hull, blend strawberries together, stir in syrup, chia, zest, juice and 6 of the T of water. Depending on the consistency you want from the jam, add up to 6 T more water. We added all 6 as our chia were already thickening past the point we really liked it while it was sitting waiting for us to scoop it into the jars.
Ladle into freezer safe jars, allow to sit 6-8 hours before putting in the freezer to gain perfect chia thickness. Store in freezer up to 6 months. The Mountain Mama Cooks adds vanilla to hers if you would like for a more “cooked” versus raw taste. If you are a purist, Eating Bird Food always has strong chia recipes even for the chia-shy like me.
This recipe tasted like a fresh picked strawberry with a kick. I will need that come winter.
I love veggies. I mean it would be tough to be veganish and not adore vegetables (let’s just pretend that eggplant is a toxin because save eggplant, I love all veggies-I hate, no loathe, eggplant); but veggies pickled? Well that has to be about as close to bliss as one can get eating summer food straight from a jar in the off season (if mine last that long).
My day job is as project director at a public relations firm, this past winter we retained a client called The Canning Diva. She came to our first meeting with a jar of salsa and even if she walked out the door as a client tomorrow, I would remain close friends with her. She’s “good people” as my friend Josh Hiller would say. I’ve drank the Kool Aid. I now measure and use ratios in the kitchen. The Canning Diva makes canning accessible and dare I say fun. She teaches preservation methods to all from novices to seasoned veterans and everyone in between, her enthusiasm for the art of canning is frankly unmatched. I mean she is TRULY excited about preserving food as art.
About a month ago, I invited The Canning Diva to my book group (we stopped reading books like years ago) and we created all sorts of delish cocktail delights like pickled Brussels sprouts, carrots, and asparagus; a session from which all members left feeling confident, inspired, and maybe a little drunk…we had to TRY the cocktail pickles The Canning Diva brought that showed us our finished product- I mean it was absolutely necessary we know what we were getting ourselves into, right? Sidebar: do not even get my friend Julie talking about the dry wine pickled garlic cloves…she might be having a love affair with them. They are exceptional.
I held off experimenting with pickling until Michigan asparagus came into season at my fave local farm, Krupp Farms, whereupon my gal pal Jen, her mom, Mrs. Jen, and I decided to take a cloudy summer Saturday and turn in into a canning extravaganza! We canned over 140 jars of delish summer surprises in one very full day.
While my goodies sit on a shelf, waiting to “cure”, I leave you with one of my favorite things to come out of a jar since peanut butter…The Canning Diva’s Pickled Asparagus recipe. I’ll share the strawberry recipes we worked on soon too.
The Canning Diva says: a great side to a frothy beer or an excellent alternative to celery in a Bloody Mary! If you would prefer a non-alcoholic splendor, they taste excellent in a salad or an addition to a relish tray.
- 7 lbs asparagus
- 5 cups white vinegar
- 5 cups water
- ½ cup pickling or canning salt
- 6 cloves of garlic, whole
- ½ tsp dill seed
- ½ tsp mustard seed per jar
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes per jar
As usual, prepare all of your jars ahead of time and have your lids and rings setting in boiled water. If you don’t know how to do this…please, get with Diane, AKA The Canning Diva at one of her Canning 101 classes offered in GR. It will open a whole new world to you for food preserving and SAVING MONEY by preserving the summer harvest.
In a large stainless steel stock pot, combine vinegar, water and salt. Stir well and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Place a garlic clove, ½ tsp dill seeds, ½ tsp of hot pepper flakes and ½ tsp mustard seeds in each jar. Raw pack the asparagus into each jar leaving a generous ½” head space.
Ladle hot liquid into jars being sure to maintain the ½” headspace. Remove any air bubbles using your canning utensil or the handle of a wooden spoon. Adjust headspace if necessary.
Tip: If you run out of pickling liquid, use half the parts listed above, boil and fill jars accordingly. Never fill your remaining jars with just water – it will lessen the acidic level and cause food to spoil.
Using a warm wash cloth dipped in vinegar, wipe each rim and screw bands. Place lids and rings on each jar and hand tighten. Place jars in water bather and cover with water. Process the jars for 10 minutes. Remember, processing time doesn’t begin until the water is at a full rolling boil.
We canned 10 lbs of asparagus in varying sized jars from pint to half pint, so we doubled this recipe AND then needed an additional recipe of JUST pickling brine so we whipped up 3 brine recipes in all. Super simple to fix a brine error if it happens is what I’m getting at.
Full disclosure: The Canning Diva is one of my clients, I paid for a class as did a bunch of my gal pals about a month ago, then we were unleashed into the world of canning. I wrote this blog to share this info, a divine recipe, and help bring awareness to this craft during the Midwestern summer bounty, not necessarily to promote her business; however, if that also happens…AWESOME because this is a skill I should have learned a long time ago. Thanks Canning Diva!
A recipe doesn’t have to be very complex. Sometimes I just grab stuff that is either: 1) about to go bad in my fridge, 2) really fresh in my fridge, or 3) stuff that sounds good and hope it all tastes good together. This was #3 for a quick dinner and several more lunches.
Not rocket science, hell sometimes I don’t even measure…
- Everything in my fridge cut up (asparagus raw, tomato raw, english cucumber, dried cranberries, red grapes halved, a little romano cheese cut in chunks-0mit for vegans)
- 2 c cooked wheat berries
- 1/2 C apricot balsamic vinegar (or any other flavor really)
- 1/8 C evoo
- salt and pepper to taste
Tossed the dressing with the wheat berries and severed over microgreens. Tasted amazing the next day in a pita.
My first encounter with overnight oats contained chia seeds which I love in smoothies, but loathe in anything that is required to set and then eat or drink. the consistency is well, cha, cha, cha, chia…and if you are a child of the 80’s then you will know exactly what this means – gel-like, icky, sticky and gross.
This recipe and countless variations becomes breakfast at least 4 days a week. With an unlimited amount of creations you can concoct with this base, it is sure to become a morning staple in your home too. I put these oats together at night before bed, pop in the fridge, then grab while I’m running out of the house like my hair is on fire in the AM. I eat them at the office while I’m checking email and making coffee.
Overnight Oat Base:
- 1/3-1/2 C rolled oats ( I use Bob’s Red Mill, thick cut ) – not instant here – if you like it a little runny opt for less oats
- 2/3 C any non dairy milk ( my go to is unsweetened almond milk )
Typically I add:
- 2 T PB2
- 1 sliced banana ( just before I eat the oats )
My next fave is:
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 T reduced fat coconut
- 1 C sliced strawberries (just before I eat the oats)
I also really love:
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 C blueberries (just before I eat the oats)
Sometimes I even get really crazy and add:
- 2/3 C unsweetened chocolate almond milk ( instead of the unsweetened plain milk in the recipe above )
- 2 T Chocolate PB2
- 1 sliced banana
Directions: combine oats and any add in EXCEPT fruit, then pop in the fridge overnight. 6 or so hours they are ready to consume. Add fruit before eating. If you add fruit the night before the water escapes into the oats and make them watery and icky. A very technical term, icky.
Pictured below is the “really crazy” variety minus the banana. My fave jar to use is pictured. Seems to be the perfect size for 1) the spoon and eating and 2) the oats for soaking in the milk.