Category Archives: Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Dip

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I have been pretty into dips lately, dips of all kind. Hummus and whole wheat flat bread has been my go-to “I just got home from work and I am hungry and need something to hold me over until dinner”/”I just got out of work and I am starving so I accidentally eat too much dip and then am not hungry for dinner” snack. Oops.  I currently have a spicy avocado hummus in my fridge that I cannot wait to dominate. But, as I am writing up this post, I also wish I had more of this roasted cauliflower dip. But alas, I don’t… because I finished this in maybe 2 sittings. Classic me.

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Cauliflower doesn’t get enough attention. Since it is white, it is often assumed that it lacks the nutritional value of its green brethren. However, it is still a cruciferous vegetable that you should consider putting into your weekly mix! Its flavor is a bit subtler, so it is easy to sneak it into more dishes. If you put broccoli into something, it immediately becomes a broccoli dish. But think of cauliflower as more of a healthy blank canvas. In this dip, roasting it intensifies its flavor a bit and is a great canvas for the bright flavors of ginger, lemon, and sesame.  The texture was that of hummus, however it tasted completely different that hummus, in the best of ways. It is also a bit lighter, so you won’t completely ruin your appetite if you have this as a pre-meal snackaroo. I can’t even handle how good this ended up being. And I kind of hate that I am not making/eating this right now.

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Roasted Cauliflower Dip

I don’t remember where I saw the inspiration for this, I think maybe in a Huffington Post e-mail?

Materials:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken down into flowerets
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly minced ginger
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • Whole wheat pita, for dipping shoveling into face
  • Salt and pepper

Methods:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Toss the cauliflower with the oil, ginger, garlic cloves, and a few shakes of salt and pepper.
  3. Spread mix onto a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes, stirring 20 minutes in.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  5. Transfer roasted cauliflower to food processor and add the tahini and lemon juice.
  6. Pulse into well combined and add salt to taste.
  7. Add the cilantro and pulse until just incorporated.
  8. Transfer to bowl and serve eat entirety of bowl with whole wheat pita bread.
  9. Enjoy!
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A pretty cloud I saw outside my window while taking these photos :-).

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Beet Pesto

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Confession: my life is more or less plagued with inside jokes surrounding beets. Most normal people have a number of beet jokes less than or equal to 1 (p<0.05). The fact that I have multiple probably tells you something about me… anyways, I digress. Wait, as I am typing this I realized I chose beets as my blog header. Blerg.

I have stuck to pretty simple things with beets: soups and roasting. But then something magical happened: I put them in my food processor with sunflower seeds, garlic, and cilantro. I had come across a recipe for beet pesto a while ago and I just couldn’t shake the image of the gorgeous magenta sauce adorning some slender noodles. Well, one evening I had diced up some beets and threw them in the oven to put on a salad… but then all of a sudden they were in my food processor! And they were being swirled around in this beautiful food ballet with sunflower seeds, garlic, vinegar, and cilantro. And it was the best thing. Ever.

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Now while making this pesto, my roommate asked me what it has to have to qualify it as a pesto? This was a great question. The Wikipedia has told me that “pesto” means “pounded,” so really any sauce that is made in that way, I suppose, is a pesto. Additionally, it seems ground up nuts/garlic are traditionally at the base of it.

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Side story: US customs almost didn’t let me back in the country coming from Italy due to a jar of pesto in my [checked] luggage. They didn’t bat an eye at the 5 kilos of Parmigiano Reggiano or 4 bottles of wine… but the pesto? Packed next to my stuffed animal? That is some fishy business.

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Enjoying parmigiano in Parma at dinner con i miei genitori italiani. Again, of no concern to the TSA.

In conclusion, a pesto is a ground sauce with a base of nuts and garlic that will get you stopped at customs. I hope this answer satisfies.

But back to something that I know will satisfy: this beet pesto. First of all, it is absolutely stunning. It has the most intense/complex/deep magenta/red color that only nature could produce, which my man made words can’t quite give justice to.  Once you have stopped admiring it, you can use it like you would use any pesto: on pasta, as a dip, as a spread on a sandwich, or really anything else you can imagine! Be creative here! All of my trials have been wildly successful. So I plead that you run to your farmers market or grocer and grab a bunch of beets and get to it!

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Beet Pesto

Inspired by A Veggie Venture

Materials:

  • 1 bunch of beets
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Wash and peel beets (save the beet tops! Sauté with a little but of garlic and olive oil) and cut into 1/2” cubes
  3. Spread out evening on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a few shakes of salt.
  4. Roast beets for about 20 minutes.
  5. Place roasted beets with all remaining ingredients but the olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth.
  6. Stream in the olive oil until it has reached the consistency you are happy with.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Enjoy!

 

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

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I know cupcakes are a bit passé, but I don’t much care. These cupcakes had to happen. And they need to happen over and over. And now they need to happen in your kitchen. And then in your mouth.

I’m going to get straight to the point today. I can’t even handle how good these cupcakes are. R described them as possibly the best thing I have ever made (although didn’t he say that about the jalapeno beer corn bread? Maybe he is just easy to please… or wants to keep me happy so I keep baking…) and N suggested that they might be the best cupcake he has ever had. I tend to agree with both of them. I don’t have much nutritional insight to offer here… since, well… these are cupcakes. They are obviously vegan, and I used olive oil and applesauce in them… and that is about as nutritionally sound as they get. Except that the salted caramel frosting is actually made with anything but. The salted caramel sauce in it used the date caramel you saw in my baked oatmeal. I. Can’t. Get. Enough. I don’t even like frosting (I almost always wipe it off of my cupcakes), and I found myself dipping into the bowl with a spoon. It’s that good.

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Here’s the skinny/fat/whatever: high quality chocolate riding the silky olive oil express straight to your mouth. You can’t necessarily taste the olive oil, but I know its in there, and it makes me happy. They are super chocolaty and every bit as light. For something as decedent as these, you almost feel lighter after eating them. I bestowed a batch on my roommates this weekend, I bestowed another batch on my lab this morning, and another batch will be presented at book club tonight (for those of you that read this before book club tonight, get pumped). Now it’s your turn to spread the love!

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Double Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes w/ Salted Caramel Frosting

Inspired by In Jennie’s Kitchen

Materials:

  • 3 oz Bittersweet Chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Scharffen Berger 62% cacao semisweet)
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 3/4 cup Hot coffee
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon All Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 6 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons Cider Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • One batch of salted caramel frosting (see below)

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line cupcake tin with 12 paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, pour the hot coffee over the chocolate and cocoa powder and mix until melted and smooth (if all of the chocolate doesn’t melt, pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds).
  3. In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda and whisk to combine.
  4. In a third bowl, combine the olive oil, apple sauce, cider vinegar, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  5. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the liquids to the chocolate and mix for about 1 minute (the color should lighten slightly as the vinegar reacts with the baking soda).
  6. Add the remaining flour and liquids and mix for an additional 2 minutes.
  7. Fill prepared cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven. Leave in the pan to cool for 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. One the cupcakes have completely cooled, swirl the salted caramel frosting (I used a wilton 35 closed star tip) on as you see fit.
    • It is also acceptable to pipe frosting directly into mouth here.
  9. Optional: drizzle on some melted chocolate and sprinkle on some flakey sea salt.
  10. Enjoy!

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Salted Caramel Frosting

Materials:

For the Caramel Sauce

  • 10 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Frosting

  • 1/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening
  • 1-2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 cup salted caramel sauce

Methods:

To Make the Caramel Sauce

  1. Place pitted dates in food processor and blend until they form a big ball.
  2. Add the milk, vanilla, and salt and process until smooth and creamy.

To Make the Frosting

  1. Bring the margarine and shortening to room temperature.
  2. Beat the margarine and shortening together in a stand up or hand mixer on high until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Reduce speed to low and slowly start adding in the sugar until desired consistency is reached (another 2 minutes).
    • It may take on the look of coarse sand when you first add the sugar, but keep beating and it will turn into fluffy frosting.
  4. Add the caramel sauce, more or less depending on more caramely you want it, and beat for an additional 2 minutes.

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Breakfast Breakdown: Caramel Apple Baked Oatmeal

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You know how pancakes are really just an excuse to have cake for breakfast? Or how a muffin is really just a slightly disheveled cupcake that forgot its hat? I often can’t tell if folks are actually fooled, or just casually ignore these excuses. But one thing I think we can all agree on is that you never eat pancakes for breakfast and then feel good about that decision a couple of hours later. Well, make excuses no more! Today I am here to tell you that you can have caramel apples for breakfast. Say whhaatttttt?

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Of course, I am going to insist that the caramel apple goodness is mixed with oatmeal and then baked first, but I promise you this is something you will thank me for. This breakfast is great for a Sunday brunch or could even be swung on a weekday I could imagine (stumble to the kitchen, throw it all in the baking dish, and then allow it to bake while you get ready and presto: you exit the shower to a warm cinnamon caramel apple towel wrapping you with delight). You get all the taste sensations of a caramel apple, but all of the healthy goodness of hearty oatmeal. The fiber rich oatmeal gets your digestive system off on the right foot and helps slowly release the natural sugars into your bloodstream to fuel you for the day.

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Oh, and speaking of sugar: there is no added sugar! Ummmm, doesn’t she know that caramel IS sugar? Not when it is made out of dates! I had bought dates to sweeten some oatmeal muffins last weekend, and in a stroke of brilliance, decided to whip up some “date caramel” to turn my apple oatmeal into caramel apple oatmeal. I can’t even handle how brilliant I am sometimes. I highly suggest putting this date caramel on… on… well, really anything! I also added some ginger and dried lemon peel to cut through the luscious caramel apple and give the dish some brightness. Top it off with warm and freshly frothed almond milk and your body will be thanking you all day long!

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Caramel Apple Baked Oatmeal

Serves 2 a Hearty Breakfast

Materials:

For the Oatmeal

  • 1 cup rolled oats (I use a nice mix of oats, barley, kamut, rye)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon dried lemon peel
  • 4 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 cup almond milk (divided into 2)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup date caramel (recipe below)

For the Date Caramel

  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Methods:

To Make the Date Caramel

  1. Place dates in food processor and process until they start to form a ball
  2. Stream in water and vanilla.
    1. You will have to stop and use a spatula to move the caramel from the sides.
    2. Process until smooth.

To Make the Oatmeal

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease small baking dish.
  2. Mix together oats, spices, flaxseed, and sunflower seeds in a medium bowl.
  3. In another bowl, mix together ½ cup almond milk, applesauce, ¼ cup caramel, and apple.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined.
  5. Pour into baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Spoon into individual bowls and top with remaining caramel sauce and almond milk.
  7. Enjoy!

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[Lentil and Chard] Soup is Delicious.

I feel like long ago, at the beginning of this blog, I had a whole post about how I didn’t really like soup. And now I feel like all I post are soups! But there is something to it, soup is SO versatile and with a little finesse it is a great go-to for a complete balanced meal. And it’s delicious. As an added bonus, soup calls for 1 pot and minimal clean up (you can clean any accessory items while the soup is simmering). Once your timer goes off, all that is left to do it sit back and enjoy said soup. Piece of cake, eh? Er…spoonful of broth? Just doesn’t have to same ring to it…

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This soup knows what’s up. I’m convinced that any human could live off of this soup alone. Swiss chard is a powerhouse of nutrition. Remember how a few posts ago I was talking about the phytonutrients in beets that gave them the awesome red color that so draws our eyes to them? Where else you have seen that color? Oh right, in the stalks of chard! Bingo. Nature has this really great way of using visual clues to tell us what to eat.  Chard is a chenopod and is in the good company of spinach, beets, and quinoa, all known for being particularly nutritious. Lentils then come in smooth it out with their friends: iron, protein, and fiber.  This is a one-stop shop for a filling, tasty, and nutritious dinner. Feel free to play with this recipe with whatever you have on hand, perhaps kale for the chard or chickpeas for the lentils? Let your pantry and taste buds decide!

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Lentil and Chard Soup

From the Artful Vegan

Materials:

For the Soup

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ¼ dry sherry
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups cooked green lentils
  • 4 cups loosely packed chopped red swiss chard
  • ¼ cup white miso

For the Garnish

  • ½ walnuts
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from 1 lemon

Methods:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned.
  3. Add spices and stir constantly for about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomatoes through lentils, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add chard and continue to simmer until chard has wilted, about 10 minute.
  6. Whisk in miso.
  7. Prepare the garnish by pulsing the walnuts, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a food processor until they are well incorporated, but the walnuts still hold some shape… we aren’t making walnut butter here!
  8. Ladle soup into bowls and top with 1 tablespoon of walnut garnish.
  9. Enjoy!

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Beet Soup (not Borscht!)

It pains me to say it, but the truth is that fall is approaching. Oh, except that I live in the Bay Area and it is fall weather. All. The. Time. Nothing like wearing a light sweater everyday of your life. But i’m not bitter, I swear… I love being cold.

Fall weather calls for fall food. Something earthy and warm, like a soup. A soup made from beets. Borscht is a little old hat, so I was excited when my mom sent me a recipe for a beet and apple soup. I just couldn’t resist the smooth bright magenta hue of the simple soup. I had one apple leftover from an apple pie I made on Sunday morning and had picked up some beets at the farm stand, so Sunday evening seemed like the perfect night for this soup.

The soup is simple and made my whole body smile. A big magenta stained smile. The color of the soup does more than please the eye, it pleases the whole body. The phytonutrients that give the root its awesome color is also a power house of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification properties for your body. Oh, and don’t be too concerned with the… uh… after math. It looked like I killed someone in my kitchen. NBD. And don’t thrown away those beet greens! They are equally nutrient packed and taste great lightly sautéed with some olive oil and garlic. 

Beet and Apple Soup
Adapted from Beet and Apple Soup
Materials: (Makes dinner for 2)
  • 3 beets
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Methods:
  1. Peel and roughly chop the beets, apple, and onion.
    • NOTE: before chopping the beets, thinly slice off about 10 thin slices to pan fry to garnish.
  2. Toss beets, apple, and onion in a stock pot with vegetable stock.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime:
    • Combine the cashew cream and horseradish.
    • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in heavy bottom skillet and pan fry beet slices for about 3 minutes on either side, until crispy.
  5. Remove soup from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minute.
  6. Transfer the soup, in 2-3 batches, to food processor, and process until smooth.
  7. Return to stove, add vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper, and heat on low for about 10 additional minutes.
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with horseradish cream and crispy beets.
  9. Enjoy!
    • Can be served hot or at room temperature, depending on how chilly of a fall day it is!

 

Boozy cupcakes

Happy Monday! As a tribute to the weekend that we are now mourning (when just mere hours ago you were sipping a craft beer chatting about who-even-cares with your besties, and now you find yourself back in your cubicle)… I bring you cupcakes! Boozey cupcakes! Who doesn’t love boozey cupcakes? The alcohol cooks off, it doesn’t taste that strongly of booze… but just knowing that it is in there makes the whole experience a little better. And hopefully it will transfer you back, even if just for a moment, to that creaky porch or crowded bar.

I know I spoke of these noble conquests of bringing you a plethora of cupcakes. And I know that I have not done that. Honestly though? These cupcakes have not stuck around long enough to photograph them. The cupcake of which of speak, that I am here to share with you, are chocolate stout cupcakes. In the spirit of being a manly cupcake, they aren’t overly sweet and are not loaded with some fluffy or frilly frosting. Nope, none of that. The chocolate and stout really take the main stage here… and trust me, you wouldn’t want it any other way. And that main stage is a cloud. A chocolatey cloud floating in a river of beer. Mmmmmm.

As an aside, you are getting this recipe now because I noticed on Saturday morning that there were still 3 cupcakes left from the batch I had made a couple of days before. I was waiting for my barley to cook and jumped at the opportunity. So there I sat, unshowered, squatting by my coffee table in front of the window with my camera in one hand and powdered sugar sifter in the other. Do you know how difficult it is to get a good shot while trying to shake the powdered sugar in one hand and snap the photo with the other? That is how eager I was to share these cupcakes with you! So go forth, my friends, and make these boozy cupcakes.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
Materials:
For the Crumb Topping
  • 1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
For the Cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour (I used half AP and half whole wheat)
  • 1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup stout
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Methods:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pan with paper liners.
To make the crumb topping…
  1. Combine the cocoa power, flour, and sugar.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the oil while tossing with a fork until crumbs form.
  3. Once all the oil has been added, toss and stir the crumbs with your fingers for about 30 seconds.
To make the cupcakes…
  1. Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the stout, sugar, oil, and vanilla to the milk and beat until foamy.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches and beat for about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour batter into liners until about 3/4 full.
  6. Gently sprinkle with crumb topping so that the crumbs rest on top.
  7. Bake for about 22 minutes.
  8. Once cooled, you can dust with powdered sugar.
  9. Enjoy!