A Heaping TBSP of Life


~ presenting a slightly currated collection of all things edible ~

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I first set out to make a chocolate chip cookie that my son could eat, I wasn’t actually looking to make it vegan, just dairy and soy free.  I cut out the butter and replaced it with a blend of Earth Balance Soy Free […]

Drunken Noodles

Drunken Noodles

I first ordered drunken noodles on a whim because I liked the name.  Once I got my plate full of sauce-y savory noodles and tasted my first bite, I was hooked.  The dish is essentially what it sounds like:  a massive plate of spiraling noodles […]

Green Ribbon Salad

Green Ribbon Salad

When the days are long and hot, and the veggies are all starting to ripen, there’s no better way to use up nature’s bounty than in massive salads.  They consist of relatively little prep time, zero oven time, and, with a little planning, can look like you went all out.

One of my favorite ways to make salads is color themed.  Take this green salad for example: Pistachios, Cucumber and Honeydew.  All different shades, all different textures, marrying together for a glorious explosion of deliciousness.  Adding the vegan ricotta on top keeps this salad light and vegan, but also adds in just a touch of richness and saltiness, how much is up to how heavy handed you go with the ricotta!  Also you don’t have to use vegan ricotta.  I wanted to make sure that our whole family could eat this, and the Kite Hill brand is AMAZING, but feel free so sub in regular ricotta.

Make sure when you are cutting the melon and cuke that you leave the slices about 1/4″ thick, or they will get limp quickly once the salad is dressed.  You want them to hold their own, and yet still be easily cut-able.  Speaking of dressing, you also want to wait to dress the salad until just before serving.  Arrange the salad and whisk up the dressing and then hold them in the fridge until just before it’s time to eat.  Then quickly pour the dressing over and ‘Ta-Da’ perfectly dressed, non wilted salad.

When making the dressing, it’s very possible that your emulsion might not turn out if you add the oil too fast (easy to do!).  For this recipe that’s actually not a big deal.  If you’re a perfectionist, go ahead and redo it, but otherwise just give it a quick whisk before serving and it will still be delicious, just not quite as thick.

 

 

Green Ribbon Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 Servings
Ingredients
Dressing
  • 3 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp Agave Nectar
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Flakes
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup Minced, Salted Pistachios
Salad
  • 1/4 small Honeydew Melon, rind and seeds removed
  • 1/2 English Cucumber
  • 4 oz Ricotta, I used a vegan variety
  • 1/4 cup Whole, Salted Pistachios
  • 1 tsp Lemon Zest
Instructions
  1. In a 2 cup measuring cup or medium glass bowl whisk the oil, agave and spices.  In another, smaller cup combine the lemon juice and vinegar.

  2. While constantly whisking the oil mixture, SLOWLY pour the acid in.  Start with just  drop at a time and then continue to increase speed until a glossy, slightly thickened emulsion forms. (You'll get a wrist work out!)

  3. Stir in the minced pistachios, cover and set in the fridge until ready to serve.

  4. Using a mandolin, cut the honeydew and cucumber int planks about 1/4 inch thick.  Gently slice the ricotta into similarly sized chunks.

  5. Arrange the salad ingredients on a platter, cuke, melon, cheese, sprinkle of pistachios and repeat until all ingredients are used, finishing with the pistachios.

  6. When ready to serve pour the dressing over the salad and sprinkle some lemon zest over the top.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Lava Cakes

The other night I had the strongest craving for chocolate.  Like I’m talking, super intense.  I didn’t just want any chocolate either, I wanted melt-in-your-mouth, ooey, gooey, sinfully delicious chocolate lava cakes! And thankfully, I have a go-to recipe that can make that exact thing, […]

Carrot-Ginger Soup

Carrot-Ginger Soup

What do you do when a bushel of carrots is on sale for $5?  Well, buy all of them of course! Which is absolutely what I did.  My motto for farmer’s marketing: stock up now, worry about how in the heck you’re going to eat […]

Blackened Corn & Pepper Salsa

Blackened Corn & Pepper Salsa

Corn was 50 cents a cob at the farmers market this weekend, so you better believe I stocked up!

My all-time favorite way to eat corn is a quick parboil in salted water, and then finishing it on the grill.  It’s fast, easy, and can be parboiled in advance so that when dinner time comes the corn can be ready in less than 20 minutes.  Add a smear of butter and a generous sprinkle of black pepper, and you’ve got late summer perfection!

Of course that’s not the only way I eat it though!  Corn is also amazing in soups, chowders, puddings, breads, salads, sauces and more! I’ve even eaten it in raviolis!  This weekend though I decided to try something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: a fresh, grilled, corn salsa.  I started by throwing a red pepper, two poblano peppers, a jalapeno, and two corn cobs directly on the grill grates (oiled first, of course!)

I let them cook over the a medium flame until the corn kernels started to blacken in places, and the peppers had lots of charred crispy spots.  Normally, after cooking like this, I’ll wrap the peppers in plastic so that I can easily slip the skins off.  This time though I let them cool without being wrapped.  This actually helped to dry them out a bit, which kept my salsa from getting soupy.  Leaving the skins on also imparted lots of delicious smoky flavor to my salsa.

Before I added any of the other ingredients to the corn, I used a potato masher to smash some of the kernels in the bowl.  I didn’t completely destroy them, but I did crush them down enough so that they released some of their starch.  This actually helps with keeping the salsa from getting watery later on, as the starch in corn is a thickener.  Some salsas are better a little soupy, this one though I was aiming for a chunky, crunchy pop with every bite.  After I finished smashing down the corn I added the rest of my veggies: a seeded tomato, an onion, some cilantro, a dash of chili powder and a squeeze of lime juice.

I call for seeding the tomato in this recipe, as the pulp in the tomato will break down quickly when exposed to acid from the lime, and can make the salsa get runny.  There are two basic ways of seeding a tomato.  The first involves cutting it into quarters, and then using a sharp knife to cut the pulp from the flesh, leaving nice, flat pieces of tomato that can then be cut into perfect squares.  This works great, but it gets rid of a lot more than just the pulp, as you also toss most of the meaty interior of the tomato!  The other way, and the one I used for this salsa (since I didn’t need perfect squares) was to cut the tomato in half at it’s equator, and then gently squeeze it.  This pushes out all the pulp, while saving all the flesh.

That’s is.  Simple, bright salsa,  full of grilled veggies and absolutely delicious, whether you’re eating it on chips, pitas – or with a spoon!

Grilled Corn & Pepper Salsa
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6 Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 Cobs Corn, shucked
  • 2 Poblano Pepper
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper
  • 1/2 small Red Onion, diced evenly
  • 1 large Tomato, seeded and diced evenly (see note above)
  • 1/3 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper
  • 1/2 small lime, juiced
Instructions
  1. Heat a grill, or a grill pan to medium high heat.  Place the corn cobs and peppers over the heat and grill, turning occasionally until corn is bright yellow and has some dark brown/blackened kernels and peppers have charred spots.

  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  After they have cooled, cut the kernels off the corn and place in a large bowl.  Cut the peppers into small squares, about 1/4" dice, you want all the pieces to be roughly the same size as the corn kernels.

  3. Smash the corn kernels with the back of a fork, or a potato masher until they are partially crushed and have released some of their juice.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir gently to combine.

  4. Refrigerate Salsa to allow flavors to meld, or serve immediately.  It's even better the second day!

Aloo Saag Curry

Aloo Saag Curry

The farmers market produce seems to come in waves around here.  Meaning, I like to buy metric tons of certain vegetables when they look good, and nothing of everything else.  Such was the case with the potatoes and tomatoes last week. There were 1/2 bushel […]

Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies

Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies

I recently read a quote in one of my cooking magazines that couldn’t have rung more true.  I don’t remember it word for word, but the general gist was, you can buy too many carrots and beets and have them get soft and wrinkly before […]

Coconut Turmeric Curry

Coconut Turmeric Curry

I’ve been all about simplicity lately.  The days are long and hot, which has had me dreading turning on the oven for more than a few minutes, and my work schedule has been crazy (I’m up to 30 hours already and it’s only Wednesday morning!!)  If it was the dead of winter, I’d probably be breaking down about now and pulling out the boxed mac ‘n’ cheese and frozen pizzas – but it’s not January, it’s July!  And that means this momma wants some garden fresh produce, cooked up delectably all without breaking a sweat!  Sounds like a tall order – and it is – but I’ve found some handy work-arounds. (which also happen to be vegan and soy free, because, well, yum.)

It all started with the July issue of Bon Appetit.  I always go through this magazine, page by page, drooling at all the gorgeous pictures and crying inside because most of the dishes are packed with meat, or exotic ingredients I can’t easily obtain (or afford).  But this month was different.  They had tomato toast, stone fruit salads, and rice noodles galore!  All of these are things that just about anyone, even lazy ole me, can get a hold of.  I got out my apron and got to cooking.

Not all of the recipes were actually vegan, or soy free, but with a few simple tweaks I’ve been feeding the whole family off of delicious, Bon Appetit inspired meals all week.  And the best part?  Minimal prep, and no oven time!  (Except for a brief stint to toast the coconut, but that’s only for 5 minutes!)  My pictures might not be quite as drool-inducing, but the recipes themselves absolutely are!

Our favorite so far has been this coconut turmeric curry.  It was lightening fast to prepare, tastes amazing, and the hubby easily adapted it for his taste by adding some shredded chicken.  Mr. William and I though ate it right up just like this!  If you like it spicy add a finely minced Thai chili to bring some heat.  Make sure you use full fat coconut milk for this so that you get the full flavor.  I also prefer the thin rice noodles (vermicelli) in this as I feel it makes the texture a bit better and the sauce has a better chance to fully coat everything.  However in a pinch you can easily sub in some rice sticks if that’s all you have.  Just leave them in the boiled water for a bit longer.

I added the whites from my bok choy to this since I had them hanging out in the fridge anyways.  Just about any mild flavored green would work great in here though, if it’s tougher, like kale or collards, throw it in with the garlic and pepper.  If it’s a milder green like spinach or chard, toss it in towards the end so that it doesn’t wilt away to nothing!  You could also add in some cubed, baked tofu to add a bit more protein and body to the dish.

Coconut Turmeric Curry
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 oz Thin Rice Noodles (vermicelli)
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 small Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Bok Choy Ends or Green Pepper, sliced on a diagonal into 1/2" pieces
  • 1" piece Ginger, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dried Chili Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Turmeric
  • 1 can Whole Fat Coconut Milk
  • 2 tsp Coconut Aminos
  • 1 Tbsp Honey (or 2 tsp Agave)
  • 1 tsp Lime Juice
  • 1/2 tsp + 1 Tbsp Lime Zest
  • 1 tsp Salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Shreds, Toasted
Instructions
  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.  Turn off the heat and drop in the vermicelli.  Cover and allow to sit for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After 4 minutes test a noodle, if necessary let them sit another minute or two, otherwise drain and run under cool water.  Set aside.

  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large, high sides skillet over medium high heat until melted.  Add the red onion and garlic and cook until they begin to become translucent and lightly browned.  Add the ginger and bok choy or peppers, turmeric and chili flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until aromatic about 1.5 - 2 minutes.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the coconut milk, honey and coconut aminos and stir until well combined.  Allow to come to a low simmer and cook for 4 - 6 minutes or until slightly thickened.

  4. Add the lime juice and 1/2 tsp zest, pepper and salt.  Taste seasoning and adjust to taste.

  5. To serve, place a scoop of noodles into a shallow bowl, cover with a ladle-full of sauce, and sprinkle with toasted coconut and lime zest.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Okay, I’m going to start this off with a disclaimer. I am pretty sure this isn’t an authentic recreation of Pad Thai. Whew. Got that out of the way. That being said, please don’t stop reading. It might not be strictly authentic, but I can […]


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