Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Housewarming Party!

Remember that GIANT tomato I posted a picture of?

I turned it into Bruschetta.

Lots and lots of Bruschetta. Along with the mass amount of basil and peaches from Hood River, it was probably the best bruschetta ever.

I had the opportunity to make this bruschetta (as well as hummus, pita chips, chocolate covered strawberries and guacamole) for Colin's housewarming party this past weekend!

He has done an absolutely stunning amount of work on this old house in NE Portland. It truly looks beautiful. Check out his progress (with photos!) on his blog: http://skybridged.wordpress.com/

Anyway, back to the food.

Pretty, huh?

Wait! There's more.

 The hummus and lots of fresh veggies.
 Chocolate covered strawberries (melted Trader Joe's chocolate chips with about 2 tbsp. of coconut oil in a double boiler and strawberries promptly dipped).

The real show-stopper was the Bruschetta, though. 

It was fresh, well seasoned and so darn pretty!

Told you.

It's super simple too! Best if made with locally grown veggies and fresh baked baguette bread.

Tomato-Peach Bruschetta

  • 2-3 cups diced heirloom tomato, (seeds removed)
  • 1 large peach, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced or pushed through a microplane grater
  • 1 large handful fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 large handful fresh basil, finely chopped + 20 or so whole leaves
Note: Don't worry about over-doing the fresh herbs. When in doubt, do more rather than less, especially if you have a garden full of them :0
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp high quality balsamic vinegar (I used a light balsamic, but feel free to use dark too!)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Baguette, sliced and toasted (I did mine for about 8 minutes at 350 in the oven)
  •  Toffuti (or other non-dairy) cream cheese
Mix first five ingredients together.
Stir in olive oil and balsamic and then finish with salt and pepper.

Spread cream cheese on each slice of toasted baguette.
Place a basil leaf on top of the cream cheese and then top with bruschetta mixture!

Be prepared to amaze your friends.

Thanks again to those who came out to the housewarming party!

Live long and prosper. And love your last few weeks of summery garden beauty :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Biggest Tomato I Have Ever Seen

Something has been steadily growing in my garden for the past several weeks.

I would like to call it a tomato, but really it is more of a tomato-pumpkin hybrid.

I have no idea how or why it decided to grow to such an outrageous extent; maybe it was just happy.

But in case I haven't shared with you already, may I present, the biggest tomato I have ever seen:

It's so big, I really don't even know what to do with it.

Suggestions are welcome (if I like yours, who knows, maybe you can even get in on some - it's a large enough tomato to feed a small village after all).
I mean, really. What an absurd tomato.

Live long and prosper. And go Timbers!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Simple Seasonal Quinoa Base

Quinoa is trendy for a reason. Healthy, filling, versatile, protein packed, gluten free and DELICIOUS, it is by far my favorite grain. It's a wonderful base for all kinds of other dishes and I use it so much that I am always adapting it in different ways.

This particular take on quinoa mixes it with a smorgasbord of simple, seasonal ingredients to form a beautiful base for any meal (leftovers make great lunches too!)

I like mixing veggies and herbs straight in with my grains because the mixture adds flavor, vitamins and allows you to have a bigger portion without the same caloric density :)

I used this base for some baked tofu and sauteed mushrooms and green beans, all drizzled with a simply spicy coconut sauce. It looked roughly (and darkly) like this:

(Sorry for the bad photo quality and Christmas plate - I was hungry!!)

But the point is the quinoa. See how much color and prettiness it adds? Plus it tastes delicious. If you don't believe me you should really try it out for yourself.

Seasonal Quinoa Base
  • 2 cups red quinoa
  • 2 cups water and 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 head of lettuce, chopped
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 2 large handfuls or basil, chiffonaded
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp balsamic or other vinaigrette
Bring water, broth and quinoa up to a boil.

Allow to boil for about 15 minutes, and reduce to a simmer until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is translucent and fluffy.

In a big ol bowl, combine lettuce, tomatoes and basil.

When quinoa is done cooking, toss it right into the bowl and mix it all up.

Add in nutritional yeast and balsamic and toss until combined.

Use as a side dish, base, main dish or lunch. Will stay in the fridge for up to 4 days!

Live long and prosper! And give into the trend that is quinoa!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pho Noodle Soup

Sorry for the lack of posts as of late. Law school and back to back weddings will do that to you.

I'm cooking most every night but mainly it has been repeat dishes - lots of jackfruit tacos, salad rolls, and homemade pizzas. Old news.

THIS on the other hand. This is pure gold. There is almost nothing that I love more than Pho soup. There are a couple places in Portland that offer kick ass vegan options (Pho Green Papaya in SW is awesome) but I've never been brave enough to try making it on my own.

Really, I'm still not brave enough.

I kind of cheated.

Kind of.

Pacific just released a new line of Soup Starters and, included in the mix, is this Veggie Pho Starter!

I went to two different New Seasons to find it and lemme tell you, it was SO worth it.

It's super easy - just heat the broth up in a big pan and add in your fixins! The flavors are awesome and super satisfying.

I added the following things to my version
  • Noodles
  • Tofu
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Lots o' Basil
You want to add the noodles, tofu and zucchini first as you bring the broth to a boil (I boiled it slowly over medium heat).

After about 6 or 7 minutes at a low boil, add in the broccoli, tomatoes and spinach.

Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, and then remove from the heat.

Allow the soup to cool for a few minutes and then divide into bowls, top with fresh basil and enjoy!!

A wonderful, easy and extremely healthy weeknight meal. We also cooked up some edamame beans and snacked on those. Feel free to add in Sriracha, plum sauce and soy sauce as you see fit.

Live long and prosper :) And never stop cooking!