Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gluten Free Cornbread

This month there was a recipe for blue corn bread muffins in Vegetarian Times magazine. So I was all excited to try it and went to the store to pick up blue corn meal, but they were out.  So I settled for regular corn meal, and it is still delicious.  It tastes the best warm from the oven and topped with honey.

Gluten Free Cornbread

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1/4 cup sugar (I used raw sugar because that's all I had around)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 "egg" made from egg replacer
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup rice milk
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Oil a square cake pan.
2. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl.
3. Whisk together egg and oil in separate bowl. Whisk in rice milk. Stir mixture into dry ingredients until combined. Fold in corn kernels.
4. Pour batter into cake pan and bake 30-35 minutes. To make sure it's done, stick a toothpick into the center and make sure it comes out clean. 

Parsnip and Red Lentil Soup

I am completely obsessed with parsnips and so is G. So I just used anything I can find in my cupboards and made this delicious soup.  It's a combination of the carrot parsnip bisque I make in the crock pot and my mom's red lentil soup. 

Parsnip Red Lentil Soup

3 parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cups red lentils, green lentils, or split peas, rinsed
5 cups vegetable broth, I used 1 package of Imagine No-Chicken broth (vegan/gluten free)
5 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Start with a large stock pot and heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the diced onion and parsnips and cook until soft and starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
2. Add broth, water, lentils/peas, and bay leaf. Simmer until cooked thoroughly, about 35 minutes.
3. Add in the can of crushed tomatoes, then cook an extra 5-10 minutes.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Arugula Pesto

I made this pesto a few weeks ago, but I literally have no time to blog. Yesterday I worked from 9:30 am until 9:45 pm and I went to bed an hour after that. I've also made a few other really delicious things, some with friends, some by myself that I will post links to on the bottom of this page.

But back to this pesto. I found it on Pinterest like most things in my life these days and decided that it would probably taste just as good without the cheese.  It's from the blog One Hungry Mama.

Arugula Pesto

1/2 cup almonds (I used whole even though it called for sliced, it turned out fine, use what you have)
2 cups packed fresh arugula
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Simple right?

1. Add the almonds into a food processor and roughly chop.
2. Then add in the arugula and garlic. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while it's blending. I think I used less than the recommended amount, I stopped as soon as it reached the right consistency.  I had to add the arugula in batches because I'm working with a tiny food processor.

For some color I just threw some heirloom cherry tomatoes in a frying pan with some oil until they split open and added them on top of the pasta.

I love this recipe because I crave pesto in the winter and basil only grows in the summer. Arugula is the perfect solution. Plus, pine nuts are so expensive it's nice to have a substitute.

Here are some other recipes that I have been doing lately that are definitely worth your time:
Vegetarian Pho
Refried Beans
Curried Cauliflower Soup

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pumpkin "Cheesecake"

I've been wanting to try one of these raw "cheesecakes" for awhile, and when I saw the recipe for the pumpkin one while perusing the internet, I knew it was time. I have my doubts whenever I make something gluten free, because I've tried so many things that have failed. But for how few ingredients were in this, it turned out amazing. G thinks we should call it something other than cheesecake though, he's a bit of a cheesecake snob.

The crust is literally just dates and almonds. It called for a spring form pan, and I almost bought one, but then realized, this might fail and I'd be stuck with a pan that's meant for a food I can't eat. So, I used my Pyrex pie dish and surprisingly, it didn't stick to the bottom when I cut it, it came up slices intact. One hazard of gluten free food is that it crumbles. You can almost always count on dishing yourself up something that is going to crumble on it's way to your plate, not this guy though.

The only other adjustment I made was to used canned pumpkin instead of cooking one myself. I just didn't see the need to waste all that time on dessert, this time at least.

Here's the recipe: Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake

Sorry for the small slice, I just wasn't that hungry after cooking/eating all afternoon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup

I was looking for something I could make on the weekend and take with me to work for lunch the whole week. I definitely struck gold. This coconut curry red lentil soup has been amazing and I haven't gotten sick of it yet. It is definitely being added to my list of recipes to make all the time.  It took under 30 minutes to make, I even had time to do the dishes and put away clean laundry while it was cooking. What a time saver. I also really wanted to start getting into the fall spirit. The weather is turning and I can smell fall in the air, so it's definitely soup time. 

I started it off in a dutch oven like it recommended, but then quickly realized that it wasn't going to hold all the liquid, so I switched it to my reliable soup pot.

I found this recipe on Pinterest. Here's the link: red lentil coconut soup.

I followed the recipe exactly except I left out the jalapeno seeds. I was scared, but having left them out, the soup isn't spicy at all. I also miscounted how many limes I needed for this week's menu and had already used the allotted lime for my kale chips. Sooo, I left that out, it still tastes amazing though.

I have this horrible guilt from not cooking my own chickpeas this week. Is this a form of eco-guilt? I used canned chickpeas which I should feel okay about since they were a can that was given to me by a legume-intolerant friend. Maybe it's a form of possible BPA guilt? Either way, I wish that I didn't let it bother me all the time. A little guilt is good, it helps to motivate. As much as I experience, you would think I was Catholic. I will cross my fingers that this week's chickpea guilt will pass and I can go on enjoying life. There's another chickpea recipe coming up this week though, so I won't hold my breath.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Spicy Kale Chips

It is pretty amazing that I haven't made these before. For some reason, I thought they would be a lot more labor intensive then they were, although I did have G do most of the work for me. I found this recipe through pinterest but modified it a little to make it gluten free and vegan.

Spicy Kale Chips

A bunch of Kale, as much as you want really.
2 Tbs olive oil
1Tbs siracha
1 tsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Juice from half a lime

Wash, dry and tear the kale into chip size pieces.  Mix all of the other ingredients together to make a marinade and coat all the kale evenly. Spread the kale on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

We got all of our kale from the garden, it's kind of going wild right now and really needs to get used up. We also tried using up some beet greens that were laying around, but that backfired and they stuck to the baking sheet. These turned out delicious and barely made it off the baking sheet before they were all eaten.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I haven't forgot about you!

It has been too long since I have posted a recipe on here. However, it will have to wait a little longer. This month has been crazy. I took a trip to see family and friends in NY, started a new full time job that doesn't get me home until 7:30pm, and have had friends from Germany/China visiting. So please forgive me. As soon as I settle into my new routine, I promise I will have some delicious recipes to post (I already have lots of pumpkin ones picked out). So sit back, relax, and enjoy the weather as summer tumbles gracefully into autumn.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Zucchini Soup

I've been trying really hard to use all the produce from the garden. But when all those zucchini come and become the size of a baseball bat overnight, it's hard to figure out what to do with them all. Last week I made zucchini fritters and I made a crock pot zucchini lasagna earlier this week. I finally had to leave some in the garden because I couldn't keep up with them and their crook neck counter parts that are also growing out of control.
Crook neck from our garden and one patty pan from a friend's garden.

What inspired me for this zucchini soup recipe was G's simplistic broccoli soup. He only uses boiled broccoli, the water you boil it in, and some salt. He blends it up to create a deceptively delicious soup. You would swear he used vegetable broth or something to get the different levels of flavor.  I use one humongous zucchini and one crook neck for this recipe. But after pitching the idea to G, he convinced me that since zucchini get a little less flavorful the bigger they get, that I should make this soup with a tad more ingredients. 

Zucchini Soup

1 large zucchini
1 large crook neck or other summer squash of your choosing
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 shallot, sliced
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 Tbs Bragg's liquid aminos
1 tsp tapatio or other hot sauce, plus more for garnish
1 Tbs olive oil
fresh ground black pepper

1. In a large stock pot over medium heat, add olive oil, shallot, and garlic. Cook until softened about 5 minutes.

2. While the garlic mixture is cooking, wash and quarter length wise both squash. Cut out the large seeds if using large squash because they have become too tough. Roughly chop the squash into 1 inch chunks and add to pot.

3. Add in the broth, water, Bragg's, and 1 tsp of tapatio. Cover and increase heat to medium high, letting it boil for about 30 minutes.

4. When all squash is tender, move to blender and liquefy. Be careful to hold the lid on tight with a towel, despite my best efforts some still spouted out. Taste and add salt to your liking.

5. Dish and garnish with fresh cracked black pepper and more hot sauce.

I haven't tried this dish chilled yet. But I have a feeling it will be really nice on hot days sitting in the garden. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Plum crisp

Our good friend D gave us basically a case of plums. I'm not sure what G did with his, but I made mine into an impromptu breakfast crisp. I did this all last year with whatever stone fruit I could get my hands on. I change the ingredients and amounts for the topping every time I make it, so feel free to just experiment. They all taste good no matter what you do.

Plum Crisp
Flour of your choice (I used brown rice flour)
Honey (you can also add brown sugar if you need more sweetness)
Oil of your choice

1. Slice as many plums as you want and place in baking dish.

2. In a separate bowl combine oats (as much as you think you need to top the plums), enough flour to coat the oats, and a teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Throw in a pinch of salt for good measure. Add in as much honey as you want to the dry mixture, dependent on how sweet you like it, I probably added about 1/4 cup (this would also be the time to add in the brown sugar if you're using it). Then add in enough oil to the mixture so that it gets a little clumpy and everything looks moist. I used coconut oil.

3. Pour mixture over plums and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.
I forgot to take a picture straight from the oven, so here it is almost completely eaten.

I really like letting the fruit play the main roll in this dish, the plums were sweet and tart so I didn't want to over power that with too much sugar. This is hands down my favorite summer breakfast.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Today (and a potato recipe)

The garden was so full today, just begging to be harvested.  There are a ton of squash waiting to be picked and I got some delicious cucumbers that have been going nicely on my salads.  I tried to pull up the biggest looking carrot, but it turned out to be tiny so maybe they're not ready yet. There are more beets than I know what to do with, especially because it's so hot out, there's no way I'm turning on the oven or stove long enough to cook them. But the purple potatoes! They were so amazing to upturn, cook, and eat.  I looked up a recipe for just sauteing potatoes and found quite the gem. This recipe calls for leaving the garlic skin on which after it's finished, tastes like you roasted garlic in the oven for an hour. Amazing.

(This recipe is for whatever amounts you want, so improvise!)

Simple Sauteed Garlic Potatoes

Potatoes (new, purple, red, fingerling, whatever variety strikes you)
Cloves of garlic unpeeled
Olive oil

1. Chop the potatoes into inch chunks. 
2. Pour about 3 Tbs olive oil into skillet and heat on medium. Add in potatoes in a single layer, cover and cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until they start to brown.
3. Add in garlic cloves unpeeled, turn down heat to low, and cook covered for 7-10 minutes. You can add more oil if things start to stick.
4. Remove garlic, smash, remove and discard skin, then replace garlic back with potatoes. Cook a few more minutes until everything is cooked through and browned.
5. Season with salt and pepper.

Potatoes starting to cook.

The finished product, sooo delicious.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

French Onion Soup Tartines

Yesterday our good friend gave us more plums than I can count. They reminded me that last year I used to make a breakfast stone fruit crisp almost every day for 3 weeks; that will definitely have to be reinstated. Today was the farmer's market and honestly, none of the food was calling to me. There were some purple string beans that looked interesting, but nothing that really caught my eye.  So I'm not sure what recipe I'm going to try next. We will have to wait and see.

I hope you love onions and much as I do.

This recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Times:

French Onion Soup Tartines

2 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 medium sweet onion, quartered and sliced
1 medium red onion, quartered and sliced
3 small yellow onions, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
2 Tbs dry white wine
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1/2 tsp honey
1 sprig fresh thyme
4 large slices of country bread (I used gluten free bread, toasted)

1. Heat 1Tbs oil in saucepan over medium heat. (I used my dutch oven because I needed something big to hold everything.) Add sweet onion and red onion, cover, and cook until onions begin to brown. This took me 30 minutes.

2. Heat remaining 1Tbs oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add yellow onion slices, and cook 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. Transfer to plate.

3. Add wine to sweet and red onion mixture and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in broth, honey, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Partially cover, and simmer 10 to 20 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

4. Toast the bread and top first with the onion mixture then the onion slices. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wild rice cookies

Well, I know I said I would post the wild rice cookie recipe soon, the one that was in the oven during my last post. But honestly, they weren't that good. They almost chipped my tooth the second day. I didn't really think about it, but if you leave rice out it gets hard, even if you have it in an air tight container. I froze some though, so I'll see if putting them in the oven or microwave (gasp) to thaw brings them back to a tooth friendly density. They didn't taste that bad I guess. My boyfriend and other gluten-free friend enjoyed them. I just wasn't as convinced. I feel like I rarely bake anything that comes out mediocre, so this was disappointing for me. But it's time to move on! I already have a plan for a much better cooked grain recipe, quinoa muffins. "G" my boyfriend made muffins the other day with cooked quinoa in them and I am going to fidget with the recipe to make it gf. 

I'm going to be going back to school! Not for myself though. I am going to be an aid for a child 5 hours 5 days a week and I need to bring a lunch. I haven't thought about packing lunch in many years and I think it might be fun. I used to take lentil soup all the time to school when I packed my lunch as a kid, I think I'll need to get one of those soup thermoses again. I never thought I would need one of those. Maybe I'll get one with princesses on it for the fun of it, at least one that is sparkly. What I really need is a bunch of homemade baked goods that I can throw in the freezer for those days I just don't feel like waking up early to pack my lunch.  So, that's where my mind is at these days. What's your favorite lunch box lunch?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Roasted Fennel Bulbs

This past week has been pretty hectic and trying to find time to write a post has been difficult.  I made this dinner a few days ago, but haven't had the time to share it. It has been fun though, going through the pile and looking for things that are in season to make.  Right now there are wild rice cookies in the oven that I will post another day. But today I want to tell you about the roasted fennel bulbs I made!

I've never been a huge fan of the fennel/anise flavor. So I knew this was going to be an interesting dinner and that I may need to make a second one in case this didn't taste good. But I was pleasantly surprised, this was soooo good! I think the roasting really tamed the fennel flavor and made it really enjoyable. It had almost a bok choy texture with much more flavor. With it I made a wilted beet green salad with pine nuts.  I accidentally used way too much oil with the wilted greens, so be careful with your pour. Luckily the orange segments seemed to clean the palate between bites. 

Both of these recipes are adapted from Vegetarian Times Magazine: 

Roasted Fennel

2 Tbs olive oil (I used coconut oil and it still tasted great)
4 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 medium fennel bulbs, quartered

1. Preheat oven to 350F. (They recommended almost 100 above that but I found it started to smoke and burn too quickly.) Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Blend oil, garlic, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth. Toss fennel with oil mixture.
3. Place fennel on baking sheet and roast 35 to 40 minutes.

Optional: They suggested adding in Parmesan and tossing it with the fennel before roasting. 

Wilted Beet Greens with Pine Nuts

1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced
2 Tbs olive oil
1 orange
1 bunch of beet greens, cut into 2 inch strips (I only used 1 beet from the garden for this)

1. Place pine nuts, garlic slices, shallot slices, and olive oil in small skillet, and cook over low heat 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
2. Separate orange into slices and cut into chunks. 
3. Stir in beet greens in the skillet for 1-2 minutes, until beet greens are wilted. Plate it up and top with the orange segments.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fava beans

There are buckets of fava beans growing in the garden. When we found them I instantly remembered the pages of fava bean recipes in the pile. So I collected a bunch and vaguely remembered I might need some chives for the recipe, so I took some of that too.
The fava beans doing their thing.

The way to know if fava beans are ready is pretty simple. Look for large firm pods that are heavier than they look. I had to use pruners to harvest them because just ripping them off didn't work so well and pruners were the only tool I could find for the job. The next part is a little trickier. 
Don't they look so shiny and fresh?

Fava beans have a very thick pod that rivals a pillow top mattress. Then when you think you've got the bean out, your wrong. You have to blanch them and then submerge them in ice water. Then, the skins will slide right off and you have one of the tiniest beans for how much work you put in.

The recipes I have for fava beans come from Vegetarian Times.  It's more a list of suggestions really. The first suggestion I tried was for a crudites type dip. 

Steam the beans until tender; mash together with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and cayenne pepper.  
 I am a huge fan of bitter foods, but this one was not pleasant at all. I do not recommend it.

The second suggestion I tried was:  
Simmer favas with peas, veggie stock, mint, and chives, and puree for a green soup.
This one turned out delicious! The peas with it really cuts down on the bitterness and the mint was a nice subtle addition. I used about equal amounts of favas and peas, a handful of chives, and 2 sprigs of mint. After I blended and tasted it, I decided it needed some salt. But I'll leave that up to you. I only used a half teaspoon. Another tasty way I found to enjoy it is adding some swirls of Tapatio in it.  Honestly, this recipe was more work than it was worth. Similar results could probably be had by just using peas and leaving out the favas entirely.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quinoa for breakfast

As I have been grocery shopping for this blog, I realize I need to make a grocery list. I have been relying on my memory alone and it has failed me at every trip. Maybe it's a good thing though, it has forced me to be a little more creative than I might have been otherwise. For instance, I wanted to make a fava bean soup. I forgot half of the ingredients because I had read so many fava bean recipes I got them all mixed up. So I ended up making a dip instead. (That post will come later.) So this morning I get up to make the breakfast quinoa and I forgot to buy maple syrup and I only had red quinoa in the cupboards! So I made it through with what I had and it still came out delicious. 

Hot quinoa breakfast cereal adapted from whole living magazine:

1. Bring 1 1/2 cups of hemp milk and 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer, covered, until most of the milk is absorbed, about 14 minutes. (During this step it boiled over 5 times, so keep a close eye on it.)
2. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tsp of pure maple syrup (I ended up using agave nectar), a pinch of ground cinnamon, and chopped walnuts.
3. Top with a sliced banana.

Tasting notes: I had never tried quinoa sweet like this and I loved it! Anyone that regularly eats oatmeal for breakfast would definitely benefit from switching it up with this quinoa dish. I expected it to get a little softer than it was, but the crunch of the walnuts put the slight crunch of the quinoa into perspective. All in all, I will definitely be making it again.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

wonderful slow days

It was about 2 weeks ago, but I remember it fondly because I rarely have a day off. I drove to Ballard to spend the afternoon with my friend Alison and her boxer pup Oliver. I brought over some curry paste that I got at Uwajimaya (it's one of the few that doesn't contain shrimp!) The three of us walked to the store and bought some veggies and fruit.  We made a really delicious curry, it could have used some Thai basil, but hey, hindsight is 20/20. Even though we were stuffed, I insisted we make this gluten-free blueberry crumble crisp I had read about on While she made the most delicious coffee in a melitta, I got to work on the dessert. 

Recipe: I followed the recipe exactly except divided the love between blueberries and raspberries.  It calls for virgin coconut oil, which I rarely use but have on hand. I loved the coconut oil so much I think I'm going to start using it as my main pan frying oil. I especially love that it's safe to cook at high heats. If you are trying to watch your sugar intake, honey or agave could be added in. But I haven't tried that, so no promises!

Tasting notes: While I loved the crunch of the quinoa flakes, my gluten loving friend found them a little odd. She did eat two helpings though, if that says anything. In my opinion, it is amazing. All I can say is try it for yourself.

starting out

Hi, I'm Serenity. I have lots of hobbies, but most of them revolve around cooking, baking, and clipping recipes out of magazines.  It's more like tearing them out actually, I usually like the whole page. The thought behind this blog is to finally make a dent on the ENORMOUS pile of recipes I have collected over the years. 
1 binder, 3 folders, 1 box, and some randoms.
The other catch is, I'm a gluten free vegetarian. So, I'm going to try to alter the recipes a little and see if I can make a great collection of standby dinner recipes.  Don't worry, I will always give credit where due! Most of my recipes come from Vegetarian Times, Whole Living, and Pinterest

My kitchen isn't anything special. It's just a tiny apartment kitchen with not enough storage space to hold anything. I also don't have any exceptional cooking skills besides the practice of cooking for myself all the time. So please follow me on this journey of delicious food, and most likely some awful tasting mistakes made by me!