summertime

Are you guys tired of my “I love fall” talk?

I know I’ve been talking about fall a lot, and how much I am looking forward to it…  I really have enjoyed this summer – summer in Portland is generally good and this year has been perfect. We still have very warm days (yesterday’s temperature was 90!), but I am loving the cool evenings that have that smoky scent in the air. Fall is coming.

But! We are still loving summer, still loving grilling. We have enjoyed several varieties of veggie and bean based burgers this summer – and here is another.

Lentils and mushrooms make a deliciously savory and juicy burger. I may have used extra garlic. and I think I used a bit more olive oil. I definitely used a flax egg. Which resulted in a perfect burger.

I made a cheese sauce to top the burgers, following that recipe but using Jack cheese. and we used gluten free buns from this local company. We liked them, we grilled them.

The recipe I followed, from Cooking Light –> mushroom lentil burgers.

We paired these burgers with some fresh pineapple and some crunch, in the form of Plentils

Yes, I made lentil burgers and the chips we ate with them? Made of lentils. It works, right?

Well yes – yes it does. These are our new favorite chip, for real. The ‘margherita pizza’ and the sea salt are my favorite flavors, but I loved all of them. Those sea salt chips? Five ingredients total. All the flavors? Free of gluten, dairy, and all of the common allergens (as the Enjoy Life brand always is).

Your favorite chip? Are you clinging to summer or welcoming fall?

 

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cheesy hasselback tomatoes over brown butter quinoa

I have a crazy mixed emotion thing going on right now. I am loving Portland’s summer this year, it has been nearly perfect.

You might know that autumn is my favorite time of year, for several reasons. I am happily looking forward to the fall months here, something Portland also does consistently well.

However…

cheesy roasted heirloom tomatoes

I am already excited for SPRING 2013. Yes. Incredibly excited.

See, we bought the new house, moved and were very very busy this year. We moved in the spring, travel and vacations and events and moving all got in the way of a garden this year. Yeah, I toyed with the idea of a couple small pots just for fresh herbs! maybe one roma tomato! well, then I [click to continue…]

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I am going to be incredibly cliché in declaring I cannot believe Labor Day is this Monday.

Totally snuck up on me this year.

We are planning a small shindig, and I am mixing classy with lowbrow, cocktail party with casual barbeque.

We really just want a low key comfortable thing – friends over grilling and chilling. A couple friends can only come for a short time, so I decided to split it up and have a little cocktail thing beforehand. Hey, any chance I can [click to continue…]

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We have been on vacation since the 18th, enjoying a sunny road trip to California, enjoying wine in Sonoma, enjoying teaching Jason all about Instagram as I drove, enjoying pumping our own gas in another state.

We are back home, the super fun shiny red rental car is turned in. So happy to be back home, happy to pick Basil up from his vacation, happy to get back into a sortof routine.

On our way home, we stopped for lunch in Eugene, where I knew we could find a fresh juice and some plant based happiness. We went to the Morning Glory Café and were not disappointed.

We shared a huge carrot orange juice.

I chose the most awesome thing on the breakfast menu:

Happy Morning Sandwich - a fresh biscuit, split, toasted and topped with a soysage patty, spinach, tomato slices, “glorious” tofu patty, and tofu sour cream. Served with herbed glory potatoes covered with our tantric mushroom gravy and green onions.

This was very good – the biscuit was very flavorful (cannot pinpoint the flavor but as soon as I do…), the tofu sour cream was herby delicious, the tomatoes fresh and bright. Those potatoes were perfect, and that gravy, oh yum.

…and Happy Morning? I need to start naming my sandwiches cool things like this.

Cajun Tempeh Sandwich - Organic tempeh patty grilled in cajun spices, topped with grilled onions and served on toasted whole wheat bread with our jalapeno aoli, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, and shredded carrots.

Jason’s sandwich was also tasty – he watched me after I took a bite, because the heat kinda sneaks up on you.

I will keep the Morning Glory Café in mind for future trips to or through Eugene – great food, casual clean and open atmosphere, friendly staff.

A great end to our vacation!

Morning Glory Café on Urbanspoon

 

 

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Plant Based Steak Taco

I love how many of you have had your own steak dinners lately… I loved ours so much I had to make those steaks into tacos. Using the exact same recipe, I wrapped that goodness into a warmed corn tortilla and topped them with avocado. Amazing.

Plant Based Steak Tacos

 

I cannot get enough of that cheese sauce. I want to pour it over everything, and it is definitely becoming a staple in my kitchen. I’m pretty close to pouring that cheese sauce over some actual staples.

More [random, not a full day of...] eats this week include my favorite tahini toasts:

I am still loving the heirloom tomatoes, I am still loving tahini on toast.

Such a simple and satisfying snack.

Edamame from our favorite sushi place in The Bay.

We sat at the counter and talked with the chef – he made me some fantastic veggie rolls. I put away the camera and enjoyed them.

Meanwhile, studying up on some of the Calf Law:

The bears (of Calf, or California) are happier finding their own staples…

What goodness did you eat this week?

 

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Backpacking through Mexico last year, I ate all kinds of tacos. It was always easy for me to find things to eat – if the restaurant or street stand did not have a veggie taco on the menu, it was easy enough (with my limited Spanish) to have one made.

The street food was by far the best I’ve ever had, anywhere. One night we convinced a cab to drive us around until we found the cart we were looking for – then made him park the cab so we could buy him dinner!

Amazing tacos filled with fresh vegetables, with that artful flick of the pineapple from the top of the al pastor stand – caught in midair into the taco and handed over to me.

Yum.

Since that trip, I have been more adventurous and creative with my own tacos at home. No, I don’t have the vertical spit in my kitchen, and I’m not wielding my knife at the whole pineapple perched atop.

These tacos? Miso? Flavors far removed from the street food of Sayulita and San Pancho (San Francisco, Nayarit).

These tacos are what I look for, though – creative and colorful, simple and flavorful.

Seeing that it is zucchini season, that one is a given for me – I love zucchini. Onions are always good, and mushrooms – I cannot resist those baby ‘bellos.

Use your favorite vegetables – just chop/slice them all in a fairly uniform size for even cooking, and you cannot go wrong.

miso roasted vegetables

adapted from this Cooking Light recipe

dairy and gluten free, vegan

2-3 tablespoons miso paste (I used red)
1 tablespoon water
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 zucchini (depending on size), sliced in rounds
1 pint baby portobello mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1 orange bell pepper, sliced
1 sweet onion, sliced
salt + pepper 

In a small bowl, whisk together miso, water and lemon juice. Add olive oil, whisking to combine. Set aside. Chop all vegetables. Place a large piece of foil on a baking sheet, pile all vegetables in middle of foil. Gather sides and corners of foil, creating a bowl with the foil, and pour miso mixture over vegetables. Crimp foil to close, cook in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

veggie taco assembly:

corn tortillas
1 recipe easy tomato Spanish rice
miso roasted vegetables
miso sauce 

Warm the tortillas in a skillet over medium heat. Spread a layer of Spanish rice down middle of tortilla, top with miso roasted vegetables and drizzle with miso sauce.

Taco Tuesday? Taco every day.

 

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If I made these just like my dark chocolate cherry galettes, can I still call them rustic tarts?

They are basically the same thing, a free form dessert filled with goodness.

I have made a second batch of this goat cheese (recipe coming soon, I promise promise!), and I have been enjoying it with all kinds of things. The best pairing? A tangy goat cheese with a sweet cherry, enveloped into a flaky warm sugared crust.

Look at that sugar.

I spared a precious few cherries from my dwindling stash. Yes, I only have two containers in the freezer, and, well, a pretty large container of dehydrated. The summer of cherries is almost over. Only a few recipes left.

It is not an accident that I chose to make my own goat cheese during August – which is National Goat Cheese Month. We are going to be celebrating every day until September. and then some.

cherry goat cheese rustic tarts

adapted from dark chocolate cherry galettes

dairy, egg and gluten free, vegan

makes four individual galettes

40-50 fresh cherries, pitted
1/3 cup sugar, divided
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 pie crust recipe (see below)
1/4 cup olive oil 

Combine cherries with 2 tablespoons sugar and juice, stir until sugar is dissolved. Divide cherries and goat cheese among 4 pies, arrange in the center of each pie (see directions below), leaving an inch border. Fold the border of crust up around filling, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 350 for 27-32 minutes (check at 27).

easy gluten free and vegan pie crust

dairy, egg and gluten free, vegan

makes 4 individual galettes (or one single crust pie)

1 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup all purpose flour (gluten free)
1/2 cup cold butter (Earth Balance – not soy free)
1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water*

Combine flours and butter with dough cutter or fork. Add water gradually* – start with 1/4 cup and add by tablespoon after that until dough is forms. Knead and form a ball, wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Divide into four equal pieces and roll into small circles. Arrange on baking sheet lined in parchment or silpat.

I wish I could share these with each and every one of you.

 

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I am a highly animated person.

I am not a good poker player, my face generally gives away what I’m thinking or feeling.

I talk with my hands. I gesture, I draw, I point and I direct. I can tell half the story with my hands – which is good because I am also very detailed and sometimes long winded…

A friend recently challenged me to go through one day without using my hands to talk. “Try sitting on your hands” she said. “Describe something with words in place of gestures” she said.

I gave her an Elaine-style “Get Out!” shove and shook my fist at her.

No, not really (well, I may have shook my fist, I love to shake my fist!)

…and I did try.

I failed within the first few minutes when stopped in the middle of the Whole Foods parking lot to be asked directions. I saw the road they were looking for and immediately started pointing and sweeping my arms…

I’m okay with being animated, gesturing and emoting all over the place. I am colorful and I like colorful.

When I first started working with Cooking Light, I kicked my leg WAY up in the air, high above my head (this always makes Jason laugh). I have been enjoying their recipes, inspired to make them my own, gesturing wildly the whole time.

This pasta certainly brought the gestures, the smiles, the Mmm noises. Inspired by a recipe in the August issue of Cooking Light, I went in a different direction with the cream sauce, and with good results. While I was saying it will make an excellent fall and winter comfort dish, Jason declared it “light enough for summer”.

Jump, spin, fist pump, high kick.

tomato basil pasta with kalamata cream sauce

inspired by Cooking Light’s Fettuccine with Tomato-Cream Sauce

dairy, egg, soy and gluten free, vegan

serves four

1/2 pound gluten free penne pasta
salted water for boiling pasta
1 1/2 tablespoons butter (Earth Balance soy free)
1 1/2 cups almond milk (or milk of choice), divided
1 cup raw cashews
1 -2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and pepper
bunch fresh basil, rough chopped
4 roma tomatoes, rough chopped
handful (1/2 cup) kalamata olives, pitted and rough chopped, divided

In medium pot over high heat, bring salted water to boil. Add penne, boil 9-10 minutes, no longer. 

Meanwhile, over medium heat, melt butter in large pan. Add 1/2 cup milk, cashews, garlic, salt and pepper and 5 or 6 kalamata olives, stirring occasionally. While this cooks down, chop basil, tomatoes and olives.

When the pasta is cooked, remove from heat. The milk will have reduced, and can be removed from heat as well. Transfer milk-cashew mixture to blender, add remaining 1 cup milk and blend on highest speed until smooth. Pour back into pan, add penne, tomatoes, basil and kalamatas, stirring to combine. Serve and garnish with additional basil and olives.

*waves hands in air* please make this, so we can jump around and high kick together…

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