Cooking Light

spiced cashew granola cookie wedges

Remember when I made Jason the Giant Mall Cookie for his birthday?

I had a craving for one yesterday. One we could enjoy while watching [click to continue…]

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lemon poblano mac and cheese

Crazy roller coaster week, right? From Boston and Texas and MIT to a couple more ambulance rides [click to continue…]

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crispy eggplant stacks

There is a Basset Hound in our neighborhood. Jason had a Basset growing up, and being a long dog person myself, I love seeing this pup out and about. The other day, he was walking by our house and I said, “there’s the Basset – loping along…”  - Jason called him Hopalong Bassety.

I have been [click to continue…]

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I still have a bit of my slow cooker basil marinara left, and there is definitely no shortage of things I can top with this freshly fragrant sauce. In this month’s issue, Cooking Light shared their Six Ways to Use Marinara Sauce – while many look appealing, this is a list largely made up of foods my omnivorous friends would enjoy.

I have many recipes that use marinara, and I picked out six of my favorites. The Big Night Timpano (boy, was that fun!) contains egg so it is vegetarian, and the other five are vegan.

Here are my six ways to use marinara – enjoy:

basil quinoa ‘meat’ ball marinara sandwiches

 

tomato basil beanballs

 

a topping at the hot dog bar

 

Big Night timpano

 

DSC_9825

kalamata garlic bechamel lasagna

 

meat ball ‘subs’

 

What is your favorite way to use marinara?

 

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slow cooker marinara

While an anti inflammatory diet gives tomatoes the side eye, they are one of my favorites and sometimes I feel like indulging. I know – indulging? Yes. When you like marinara and the many foods that like to swim in it, this is a form of indulgence.

Don’t even get me started on summertime, when my garden has the most amazing fresh roma tomatoes. I can often be found standing in my yard, eating a tomato like an apple. Garden fresh is always the best, and [click to continue…]

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basil cardamom apple brown betty

I am once again partnering with Cooking Light and The Chew, working with recipes from the show. This time I chose a dessert from Mario Batali, and I was asked to recreate the recipe and make it my own.

Make it my own is exactly what I did.

basil cardamom apple brown betty

Using my favorite herb and spice (basil and cardamom), I made a savory biscuit that pairs well with sweet fruit. I bet adding a cheddar to those biscuits would be. even. better.

Batali’s recipe called for a very simple apple mixture. I made my apples caramely with some dates and butter. Divine.

I also switched the order of baking the biscuit pieces then tossing in melted butter – I tossed them with melted butter before I baked them. Double divine.

basil cardamom apple brown betty

basil cardamom apple brown betty

adapted from Mario Batali’s Apple Brown Betty

dairy, egg, soy, and gluten free, vegan

makes four 8 ounce ramekins

4 basil cardamom biscuits (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons butter (dairy + soy free margarine), melted
6 Medool dates, pitted
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon butter (dairy + soy free margarine)
1-2 tablespoons water as needed
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
4 large apples, cored and chopped

Melt 2 tablespoons butter. Cut biscuits into bite size pieces, toss with melted butter. Arrange in single layer on prepared (parchment / silpat) baking sheet, bake at 300 for 10-12 minutes, turning after 6.

In saucepan over medium heat, combine pitted Medjool dates with lemon juice and butter. As the dates warm, continually stir and mash into a paste, adding water by the tablespoon as needed until a smooth paste forms. Reduce heat to low, add cardamom and chopped apples, stirring to coat. 

Arrange layer of toasted biscuit pieces in bottom of ramekins. Top with Medjool apple mixture, repeat with another layer of biscuit, another layer of apple, until ramekins are full (ending with pieces of biscuit on top). Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, until top is crunchy and apple caramel is bubbly.

Serve warm with ice cream.

basil cardamom biscuits

dairy, egg, soy, and gluten free, vegan

2 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour, plus 1/3 cup more for kneading
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup cold butter (dairy and soy free)
handful fresh basil, chopped fine
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon milk (coconut in carton) 

Sift together flour, baking powder, cardamom, xanthan gum and salt. Using a pastry cutter (or fork), cut butter and basil into dry ingredients, combine until crumbly. Add milk 2 tablespoons at a time until dough comes together. On floured surface with floured hands, knead dough several minutes, until no longer sticky. 

With floured rolling pin, roll dough to 3/4 inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter (or drinking glass), cut biscuit and place on prepared (parchment / silpat) baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake at 400 degrees for 12- 15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

basil cardamom apple brown betty

Buttery salty sweet comfort food.

 

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Sweet and savory, sweet and salty, sweet and spicy.

Sweet.

Pillowy doughy… sweet.

It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Those two up there were my taste testers.

The rest magically stayed intact. You need a couple taste testers, right?

You need to eat melty cheese every day now and then.

You all know I love my vegan havarti cheese. Not only is it a deliciously flavored havarti – it is a jalapeno garlic havarti. Such a great creamy savory flavor with a slight spicy kick, and it pairs perfectly with the sweet tart apricot.

These are the easiest thing to fling together 20 minutes before guests are set to arrive – ready to take out of the oven right as they walk in the door.

apricot havarti puffs

inspired by apricot blue cheese angels

dairy and egg free, vegan

makes 16 puffs

1 package vegan puff pastry / pastry dough
1/3 cup apricot preserves (about 1 teaspoon each puff)
2-3 ounces vegan havarti cheese 

Roll out pastry sheet, cut into squares (approximately 2-3 inch square). Slice havarti into one inch pieces. Spoon preserves into middle of square, top with havarti, fold all corners of dough into middle, pinching to close. Place in mini tart molds or directly onto parchment lined baking sheet, pinched edges down. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Three ingredients, couldn’t be easier or taste more decadent.

Cheers!

 

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This weekend we saw the movie Lincoln. It was fantastic, even if it was a good fifty minutes over my ideal movie time.

I am kind of a history nerd.

Back in high school AP U.S. History class, when I wasn’t eye rolling over my boyfriend saying my new hairstyle made me look like Sigourney Weaver (he meant it as a compliment – all I could see was Alien), I was soaking up every detail about historical figures like President Lincoln.

One detail I always remember – Lincoln’s supposed great sense of humor.

This movie showcases that sense of humor and storytelling, among other things. Daniel Day-Lewis was excellent (when asked in an interview how he found Lincoln’s voice, he answered with “you don’t know what he sounded like either…”).

Seems he shares that humor.

There were several times through the movie when Jason and I turned to each other and smiled with the choices in actors – Sally Field as Mary Todd, Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens and an awesome James Spader in a delightful political operative role – I won’t say any more, but Spader has a great line when he first meets Lincoln, and Lincoln has a great response.

chocolate bourbon caramel truffles

inspired by Bourbon-Caramel Truffles

dairy, soy, and gluten free, vegan

makes 17-20 truffles 

6 large Medjool dates, pitted
3 tablespoons bourbon
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vanilla paste
5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting 

In saucepan over medium heat, combine pitted Medjool dates with bourbon. As the dates warm, continually stir with bourbon and mash into a paste, adding water by the tablespoon as needed until a smooth paste forms. Reduce heat to low, add vanilla and chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate melts to a smooth consistency.

Let chocolate date mixture cool, transfer to covered container and refrigerate several hours to overnight. Once cool, spoon small amounts and roll into balls, just under one inch in size. Roll through cocoa powder, return to refrigerator to cool.

These truffles are incredibly decadent – rich chocolate and smooth date caramel with a perfect hint of bourbon. Sometime this week I will be making somewhere around eleventeen batches of these, to include with holiday gifts and cookie plates.

…and a batch for us to enjoy at the movies.

History fan?

Last great movie you saw?

 

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