Tag Archives: vegetarian

Fermented Food=Happy Tummy

25 Oct

Dinner with the John & Charmaine at Farm Block

 

Hoooooooooly cow. So The Appleseed Collective just returned from a jaunt around Lake Michigan–straight north through the mitten, kissing the shore of Lake Superior (in both Marquette and the beautiful Keweenaw peninsula), then winding through Wisconsin, ending with an 8-hour visit to Chicago and arriving back in Ann Arbor around 5 am. ALL IN ONE DAY! Just kidding. We were gone for about 3 weeks. My apologies for the writing absence, though I hope some of the flickr photos were enjoyed. Our road diet probably differs greatly from what you might think fitting for a touring band. There are definitely groups out there that are pop-tart poppin, Big Mac sloppin, artery cloggin junk food lovers. We are very much not that. Staples of The Appleseed Collective tour pantry include: homemade granola, homemade hummus, sauerkraut, sprouted almonds, yogurt, lentils, veggies, quinoa, and nutritional yeast. Being that we are not yet world famous, we can't exactly request that gluten-free, organic, vegetarian meals be ready and waiting in our hotel rooms, so instead we find a local food co-op and cook our own meals in the homes of our gracious hosts.

We make some pretty epic breakfasts and dinners, trying to repay the generosity shown to us with delicious smells and tastes. One gets very used to eating similar things daily when on the road–the cooler holds sandwich fixings and as much fresh produce as we can stand to carry, and the granola lasted for breakfast til about 4 days from home. We found a few treats, like delicious gluten-free pizza at The Orpheum Theater/Studio Pizza in Hancock, MI, and a whiskey list beyond belief at Fitzgerald's in Eagle River, MI. The gluten-consuming part of the band fell deeply in love with Ray's Polish Fire (hot sauce from the Keweenaw) and Brandon and I found some gluten-free love in the form of chocolat/peanut butter cupcakes at Kavarna in Green Bay, WI. As I read back through this post, I think I can say with confidence that The Appleseed Collective thinks/talks about and eats food about as much or more than we play music on tour.

 

 

There are often meals that I miss while tour, and the following is one of them. The Brinery supplied TAC with a good amount of fermented magic for tour, which we proceeded to plow through since we're all totally obsessed with sauerkraut and pickled vegetables covering all other food items consumed. What we didn't have for the entirety of tour, though, was tempeh. Tempeh is one of my favorite foods. It was only introduced to me within the last year or so, and if you have not yet tried it, stop what you're doing and go get some. Okay actually don't do that yet–finish reading this post and THEN go shopping. In Ann Arbor, I am very lucky to have local tempeh handmade by the folks at The Brinery. They are fermentation WIZARDS over there. Seriously. Do you know how good fermented foods are for you? My stomach and tastebuds both cry like babies when I don't eat enough kraut. Anyways, The Brinery is knee-deep in a Kickstarter project right now, trying to raise funds to double production at their small business. This is nothing but good news, because the more money they raise, the more fermented, probiotic goodness will end up in our bellies. EXTRA BONUS, The Brinery is a local business that supports other local businesses–the cabbage and other produce that goes into The Brinery's products is supplied by nearby growers like Tantre and Frog Holler Farms. So, supporting The Brinery is supporting both your local and inner economy.

On that note, I give you the tempeh reuben.

 

Tis a thing of beauty, is it not?

 

KATIE'S TEMPEH REUBEN WITH HOMEMADE THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING

Note: Next time Brandon makes fermented ketchup and homemade mayo, those things are going in the dressing. However, we didn't have any in the fridge, so I had to go with what was there.

Thousand Island Dressing

1/2 cup ketchup1 cup mayonnaisde

1 cup sweet pickle relish (or chopped Brinery pickles of many varieties! yum)

1/4 cup champagne vinegar

salt & pepper to taste

 

Reuben

2 slices gluten-free bread (I used some tasty millet-flax bread)

1/4 lb tempeh (Brinery, duh. Get hungry)

2 slices Swiss cheese

2 slices tomato

healthy heap of sauerkraut (I used The Brinery's Juniper Orbit)

1-2 Tbsp Thousand Island dressing

 

I begin by cooking my slicing my tempeh into stackable strips and then pan-frying in butter for a few minutes on each side. It's so simple and so tasty, especially when your tempeh is fresh and locally made. Once the tempeh is cooked, remove it from the pan and add more butter. Place the two slices of bread in the pan (at a reduced heat) and place the tempeh on top of one slice. Add the Swiss cheese on top of the tempeh and cover the pan so the cheese melts and the bread browns. Once the desired amount of cheese melting has occured, remove all items from the pan. On the empty bread, spread the Thousand Island dressing. On the loaded side, add on a heap of sauerkraut and the sliced tomato. Assemble your two halves, cut in half if you so desire, and consume ravenously while taking the occasional moment to savor how awesome this gluten-free, vegetarian sandwich is. As they might say over at Audiotree, SHABOOYA!

 

 

Enjoy!

 

End of Summer (Gluten-Free) Cake (Though Cake Season Never Ends)

4 Sep

I shuddered as I wrote that doomsday-esque title; I know I have no place to announce the ends of seasons, but with the imminent approach of Harvest Gathering I feel like fall is coming, regardless of temperature. It’s getting to that wonderful part of August where the nights are cool and the days still pass the 80 degree mark; football season avoid Ann Arbor at all costs season is beginning; tomatoes are all but falling off the vine en masse. It’s time once again to embrace fresh apple cider, savory baked goods, and socks. Really cozy wool socks. I feel like I’m starting to sound like a Pure Michigan commercial. Maybe it’s the ultra-calming effects of the Blue Lotus tea Brandon just made me. ULTRA CALM. SUPER CALM. MEGA CALM! Nothing gets the blood pumping like a few phrases in all caps. I’m feeling snappy already! Perhaps just snappy enough to tell you about the awesome cake that I’ve already made twice in the last week. In two variations!

I borrowed the recipe from Karina at Gluten Free Goddess for an impromptu going-away-party-cake for Brandon’s sister, Corinna, who just moved to Connecticut to get even more awesome at being awesome. Oh gosh, Karina, Corinna…together for the first time in one sentence! Corinna has a really great band and Karina has a really great blog. Oddly enough, the post that this recipe came from begins with a letter from a “fan” full of backhanded compliments and waaay too much sass. I don’t know if I’m missing something but I can’t tell if it’s parody or not! Anyways, the cake recipe is GREAT. It’s totally a transitional cake–there’s a hint of cinnamon, cornmeal for a little texture, but based around summery strawberries. The first time I baked this with the strawberries, it was great. I opted for a pound of berries instead of the suggested pint, since it didn’t seem like the pint would at all cover the bottom of my cast-iron pan. The second time I tried the cake, it was even more impromptu and I only had peaches on hand, so they became the new base and GUESS WHAT. IT WAS STILL GREAT. SO GREAT. I topped both versions with homemade whipped cream, which was a stellar pairing. Also tasty would be some vanilla bean or cinnamon ice cream…mmm. This is a simple cake. “Rustic” seems like an appropriate adjective as chosen by Karina. I’ll let her do the talking as for the recipe (though I’ll insert my suggestions, too). Keep in mind my suggestion for more fruit! And experiment! What sort of seasonal fruits might you try with this?

iPhone for the win! Coming in handy when my camera is not around.

GLUTEN-FREE RUSTIC STRAWBERRY COBBLER CAKE

(for some reason my technology devices have decided that this section MUST be in a larger font size. I supposed it is the important part…)

The key word in this cake is rustic- due to the grainy cornmeal. I used a combo of hefty flours because I personally like a whole grain kind of feel in a cobbler cake like this.

For the strawberries:

 

1 heaping pint of fresh strawberries, washed, patted dry (I went for a pound of strawberries)

A sprinkle of lemon or lime juice

2 tablespoons organic sugar

 

Dry ingredients:

2/3 cup certified gluten-free cornmeal

1/3 cup GF buckwheat flour, GF millet flour, or brown rice flour

2/3 cup sorghum flour

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup organic light brown sugar, packed

Pinch of nutmeg- just a hint

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Wet ingredients:

1/4 cup light olive oil

1 cup hemp or rice milk, warm (milk or milk substitute of your choice! and it doesn’t actually NEED to be warm, as it turns out–I learned that due to a lazy moment)

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or light tasting rice vinegar

3 tablespoons raw organic agave nectar or honey

2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract

Egg replacer for 2 eggs- I used Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with warm water (or eggs!)

Organic raw sugar for the top, if desired (it makes a lovely crunchy top)

 

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Warm up a seasoned 10-inch skillet (or use a hefty cake pan or casserole dish). I rubbed mine with a little light olive oil (or butter). Set aside.

Stem the strawberries; cut them in half; toss them into a bowl and sprinkle with a little bit of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons organic sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine your dry ingredients: cornmeal, buckwheat and white rice flours, xanthan gum, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl combine the wet ingredients: light olive oil, hemp milk, vinegar, agave, vanilla, egg replacer (or egg). Whisk till combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and lightly mix by hand until combined- don’t over-beat (it isn’t necessary).

Drain the strawberries and pour them into the warm skillet (reserve several for the top, as I did, if you like).

Spoon the batter onto the strawberries. Place the reserved berries on top, cut side down, pressing in slightly.

Sprinkle the whole top with organic raw sugar crystals.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, depending upon your altitude and oven (here at 6,700 feet it took 47 minutes). *Mine took between 25 and 35 minutes each, here in flat ol’ Michigan*

Test for doneness by not only touching the top- it should be golden and firm- but by using a cake tester inserted into the center; it should emerge clean.

Place the skillet on a wire cooling rack to cool.

Serve slices warm or at room temperature. Wrap leftover slices in foil; bag and freeze. Thaw to room temperature or warm gently before consuming.

We enjoyed our cake with a little local hard cider!

Here’s the peach version (with blueberries on top) in case you were wondering.

 

 

Enjoy!

Bippity Boppity Bi Bim Bop

28 Aug

If you are gluten-free or have any common sense whatsoever, you know that quinoa is AWESOME (unless you can’t eat it in which case I’m sure you are still intelligent, just at a slight disadvantage in quinoa-eating competitions and similar matters). I squeem, you squeem, we all squeem for (s)quinoa. It’s a pure protein, it’s got a delicious flavor, it blends well but stays confident as a flour, it looks pretty…it’s an all-around winner. If Brandon and I are actually home for the week we probably eat it at least 2-3 times in the span of a few days. The good news is that I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to be addicted to quinoa. The bad news is that I’m addicted to quinoa. Anyways, it fits well with most anything it’s paired with, which in this case is my own version of bi bim bop. Bibimbap. B-bop. Betty boop…buhhh…whatever you want to call it. I feel slightly sacreligious calling this bi bim bop because it is not being delivered to me by my favorite Korean lady at Bell’s Diner in Ann Arbor and it’s not covered in “special Korean hot sauce” which looks exactly like ketchup but tastes like magic.

Anyways, I looked it up, and bibimbop basically suggests a dish mixed with rice. Now, if you experienced any part of my childhood, pretty much everything could hypothetically have been called bibimbop since it all got mixed together in the rice bowl. Reading that back, I feel like I am suggesting more Asian-ness than is really accurate. For goodness sake, my favorite preparation of rice included solely (lots of) butter and soy sauce. I still sometimes eat that when I need comfort food. My family called it “Katie rice” which actually is more like “it’s ok cause you’re only half Asian” rice. I infinitely digress! Bibimbop has been amazing everywhere I’ve eaten it and I have non-deliberately Americanized it for my own purposes (those purposes mostly being “I have these ingredients and I am going to mix them all together eventually but if I display them nicely and put a fried egg on top I can call them bibimbop”). Bibimbop seems like a pretty flexible concept to me. Some people put raw seafood on it, some prefer marinated beef; I like mine with a healthy dose of (Brinery) kimchi and a runny egg. Unfortunately on this day of bibimbop creation we were out of pickled foods (FOR SHAAAAME!) so while my stomach was greatly satisfied it still wept a little for its long lost best friend.

So here’s what I ended up with:

QUI-BIM-BOP (heh, sorry)

Serves 2

1 cup quinoa (in these photos, I was trying out a blend of grains including quinoas and wild rice)

2 large carrots, julienned and cooked to your preference (steamed or pan-fried…buttery carrots are always tasty)

1 cup cooked spinach (I steamed mine and then mixed it with Tamari)

2 small zucchini, cubed and cooked to your preference (pan-fried and seasoned with a little salt and pepper)

1/2 lb tempeh, cubed and cooked however you want (this would be a great use of maple/Tamari marinated tempeh–just cube some fresh tempeh and soak it in a 3:2ish mixture of Tamari to maple syrup with a clove or two of minced garlic for at least 30 min, then pan-fried)

1 cup sugar snap peas, steamed

2 large eggs, cooked to order

seasonings I would suggest you try out to taste, not necessarily all together: salt & pepper, olive oil, Tamari, Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce), rice wine vinaigrette

As I mentioned, bibimbop is a mixed rice dish. So, simply split the cooked quinoa between two bowls and top with your ingredients. I assembled mine to look nice, then covered it all in Sriracha and made a delicious mess of it. This is a perfect dish to get creative with. Instead of marinated beef or seafood, Brandon and I (naturally) opted for tempeh (yet another thing I may be addicted to…it could be worse!). I had zucchini on hand, so they went in the bowl. Mung bean sprouts or julienned cucumber would be a super fresh, crunchy addition to this meal. Other things you can sub in might be short-grain brown rice for the quinoa or kale for the spinach. The opportunities are (gluten-free and) boundless.

Enjoy!

Detox.

9 Aug

Oh my. We have just returned from over a week in northern Michigan, frolicking in both the upper and lower peninsulas. We had a lovely time playing at Sleepy Bear Music Festival in Lake Ann, enjoyed a little beach time at Lake Michigan, then made our way (barely) to Marquette, up and up all the way to the Keweenaw Peninsula for Farm Block Fest. It was a time full of ups and downs, camping and bug bites, amazing music and slightly less amazing food, totally badass storms and lots of time in the car. But we’re home now, gearing up for the BIG CD RELEASE SHOW TOMORROW AT THE ARK. Brandon and I have been eating deliciousness for the last few days, trying to shove as many vegetables into our bodies as we can to make up for the lack thereof experienced on the road (it’s hard to keep veggies fresh in your cooler for that long).

As we walked into the grocery store, wondering what to make for dinner, it suddenly smacked us right in the face:

collard green wraps.

I can’t say enough about these thangs. Really, though, the only words we seem to be able to get out while eating them are “dude…so good…” and then we both just make “mind blown” faces. We’re nerds, it’s true. In fact, the first words out of my mouth during dinner tonight were simply “I love food” (sorry for not initially acknowledging the lovely candlelit table, B).

So here’s what’s up.

COLLARD GREEN WRAPS (SHABANG!)

(Serves 2)

2 large collard green leafs

1/2 green pepper, sliced thin

1/2 small cucumber, sliced thin

a few cherry tomatoes, sliced

1/2 avocado, sliced

2 heaping Tbsp baba ghanouj or hummus

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

1/2 brick of tempeh, cut into strips and cooked

handful of pickled carrots

handful of bean sprouts

2 Tbsp crumbled feta

To prepare the collard greens, slice them in half along the stem, removing the stem and leaving yourself with two wrap bases. Spread avocado and baba ghanouj in the center of each wrap, and pile on the toppings! I listed what I used/had around, but whatever you’re interested in would surely be delicious. Vegan burritos? Falafel and tabbouleh? Collard greens are a great (and gluten-free) replacement for tortillas or pitas in a sandwich-type situation. We used tempeh and pickled carrots from The Brinery right here in Ann Arbor, our favorite fermentation location. Both mixed well with the slight bitterness of the collard greens and all the fresh vegetables offer a very satisfying (and healthy) crunch.

What will we wrap up next?

……….that joke, surely. That’s a wrap on that joke, folks. Oh gosh, I can’t stop. Someone make it stop…oh look food pictures!

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Lemon Curd-Filled Cupcakes, AKA Summer In Your Mouth

14 Jun

I’m going to stop beginning my posts by remarking how long it’s been since I posted. I think maybe I should cut myself a little slack…after all one can only be obsessed with so many things at once. I write to you now from the road, currently heading to Toronto with Orpheum Bell. We’re headed to play at a festival called North By North East (Think SXSW but with Canadian accents eh?). It’s my first show with them since my vocal cord surgery in March! That’s a whole story in itself. I could even tell you what I ate while all drugged up, totally silent, and nursing a very tender throat (non-dairy chocolate-spinach milkshakes and raw avocado/spinach/green everything soup while watching lots of movies…fun times for Brandon…). But that’s long past. What is important today is this:


Yep. Cupcakes. Cupcakes are starting to haunt my dreams. Brandon’s birthday was on Monday. I asked him if he had any preference for cupcake flavor, and he very ambivalently suggested “maybe something with chocolate…not a chocolate cupcake but like…chocolate in it…I don’t know.” I interpreted this as “I trust you darling! Make me something delicious” and went running far from chocolate chip cupcakes to the land of lemon. Inspired by some delicious lemon curd I tasted at the Portland Farmers Market, I decided to experiment with filled cupcakes, or “surprise cupcakes” as I like to call them. Perhaps you all can help me name these cupcakes. I can only think of cheesy things like “lemon clouds” or “lemon dream cupcakes” because they are so fluffy on the first bite and wonderfully smooth and tart upon reaching the surprise lemon curd in the center. Are you hungry yet? I am. I’m sitting at the border waiting to cross into Canada and all I want to do is eat a cupcake now that I’ve sat here and stared at pictures of them.

Well, dear reader, the odds of you being near your kitchen are probably pretty high, so you could be the lucky consumer of a delicious cupcake if you just follow your rumbling tummy down the rest of this page! I will warn you that these are not quick and dirty. You have to take your time and love them tenderly. So maybe have a snack and then get working on these.




LEMON ON LEMON CUPCAKE DELIGHTS (seriously, I need help with a name. Come on, people.)
*Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, altered by yours truly

So I woke up around 6 AM (naturally) on the day of Brandon’s birthday, like a kid on Christmas morning, except this time I was freakishly excited to make cupcakes. I waited til about 8 AM to appease my roommates then got to making lemon curd. It’s surprisingly easy! I will even tell you how to make it without straining it.

LEMON CURD

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temp (Please don’t microwave this. Let it sit out and soften on its own.)
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 large eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest

In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until somewhat smooth. Add in the eggs and egg yolks and beat for about a minute (this is what keeps you from straining later!). Mix in the lemon juice last. It may look a little funky, but no worries. The chunks will disappear as you cook and the butter melts.

Using a heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture on low heat until it smooths out. Increase the heat to an easy medium and stir constantly until the mixture thickens. It should reach about 170 degrees (F) but should not boil. This should take around 15 minutes. Once thickened, remove from heat and add in the lemon zest. Transfer to a covered container and let chill in the fridge for a few hours. And ta dah! You have delicious lemon curd. I made 24 cupcakes, filled them with lemon curd, and still had some curd left over.

"the fried egg"

LEMON LADY CUPCAKES (still trying with that name thing)

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 3/4 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used C4C, I was lazy today and didn’t feel like mixing my own)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs at room temperature, separated
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
zest of one lemon
4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup yogurt (I used The Greek Gods honey flavored Greek yogurt…yum)

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a bowl to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Add in 1/2 cup sugar and continue whisking until stiffer peaks form. Set aside.

In another large bowl, with your mixer on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth.
Add in 3/4 cup sugar and lemon zest and beat until fluffy.
Add the yolks, one at a time until combined. Then add the vanilla and lemon juice.
Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add 1/3 of the dry ingredients until combined. Follow with half of the yogurt, then another third of the flour mix, the second half of the yogurt, and the remaining third of the flour mix until all combined.

Mix in one third of the egg whites, and then fold the rest gently into the batter.

Fill two lined muffin tins with the batter and bake for 15-20 minutes (they should get slightly browned on top–mine were big and needed a little more time since they’re dense). Let cool slightly before removing from muffin tins, and then let cool completely on a rack.

I’m sorry I didn’t take any process pictures! I was so consumed with getting these made that I just powered through.


When the cupcakes have cooled, remove a portion of their centers, as if coring an apple. This is where your lemon curd will go (and now you can sample the cupcake goodness).
Fill a pastry bag with lemon curd, and inject the curd into the center of the cupcakes til the curd reaches the top of the cupcake (think Ho-Ho but healthier and tastier).

Now, time to decide what to top the cupcakes with! I think a meringue would be really nice, but I didn’t have time for that and instead opted for a simple buttercream frosting.

"the brain"

EASY BUTTERCREAM
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks or 1/2 lb butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
up to 4 Tbsp milk (I used flax milk)

Beat the butter using an electric mixer for a few minutes. Add the powdered sugar in a few batches until incorporated. Then add in the salt, vanilla, and 2 Tbsp milk. Beat until smooth. If the frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too stiff, add more milk!

You can pipe the frosting on or spread it, you decide! I played with a little of both. It was a little too hot outside, though, and my frosting quickly decided it no longer wanted to play. I just acquired frosting bag tips, so bear with me as I experiment.

"underwater basket weaving"

"the poodle"

These were the perfect dessert to come home to after a spicy Indian dinner with the Brandon’s family. I spelled out “happy birthday b!” in (homemade) marzipan letters and lit about 7 candles in the cupcakes, my reasoning being that that’s probably closer to Brandon’s age “on the inside.”

I hope you like these cupcakes as much as we did.

Enjoy!

 

The Most Glorious Farmers Market

4 Jun

 

So I’ve been a little behind since we arrived in Portland. This time I’ll blame it on non-stop adventuring and leaving the iPad in the hotel room safe. However, I have no shortage of things to share with you! I will dedicate this post solely to the Portland Farmers Market because it was wholly incredible. This was definitely the biggest farmers market I’ve been to, complete with any kind of artisan food product you could think of (we were introduced to drinking vinegars), gorgeous organic and local produce (the brightest, sweetest strawberries), a locally-renowned biscuit vendor, and even a few gluten-free bakery stands.

 

Brandon and I were looking for a tasty, healthy, gluten-free breakfast and after many tasty samples and laps around the market, we first stopped at Pure. They were sampling both fresh-pressed almond milk (which had a nice hint of cinnamon) and an apple-mint-kale juice. Both were delicious, but the green juice won out and we got a bottle. We’re suckers for kale at any time, and the fresh mint flavor was to die for.

 

Just a few stands away we found Eatin’ Alive, purveyors of delicious raw (vegan and gluten-free) food. They had a totally awesome custom-made bike cart made by Rejuiced Bikes which held totally awesome raw goodies like kale and beet crisps, strawberry rhubarb strudel, zucchini lasagna, and more. After sampling almost everything, we ended up with a bag of “pizza” crisps (sundried tomato, etc.), a small jar of dandelion pesto, and a “falafel” wrap (sunflower seed patties and veggies in a collard green wrap). The pizza crisps were a perfect match for the dandelion pesto–the salty, thicker crisp held up to the sweet and slightly bitter flavor of the dandelions. And the faux-falafel was impeccably light and delicious, paired with a sesame tahini dressing alongside shredded fresh vegetables. We’ll definitely be making wraps with greens when we get home, so keep an eye out for those.

 

After forcing all of our companions to sample our breakfast, we set out to see the second half of the market (it was so big we had to explore it in rounds). Aside from the sheer size of the market, the most memorable part for me is the kindness of the people working there. We talked for a while with Emma, who had recently dubbed herself the Swedish princess of cheese (she had acquired a crown of fresh flowers, been dubbed royalty by a Swedish friend, and was working at a lovely cheese stand). We also established that she and I were twins since we had matching Birkenstocks.

A side note about footwear in Portland: I had no idea I would fit in so well wearing my clogs! There must be a bit about clogs on Portlandia…there must!

 

Moving on, we quickly found Divine Pies. These gorgeous little pies are gluten and dairy free, raw, and whole food. Made with a crust of local hazlenuts, they have a selection of their own twists on classic flavors like chocolate mint cheesecake, key lime, rosewater cardamom cheesecake, and more. With the owner’s recommendation, we decided to share a strawberry pie. The filling was light and smooth, and just sweet enough with fresh Oregon strawberries. The crust, loosely made with finely blended hazlenuts, was a perfect companion for the sweet center.

 

We tried tons of tasty treats (I couldn’t resist the alliteration just now) and I had to resist buying something at every gluten-free bakery. The sheer existence of their booths was too exciting for my g-free tummy and tastebuds. The rest of the weekend continued to center around food (as is par for the course for my foodie family). I’ll save the rest of our adventures for later, though. We’re in the airport now, waiting to head to San Francisco, where the fun continues. See you later, Portland!

 

What’s In The Fridge? (Cashew Curry Tofu Edition)

31 May

So I’ve been a little behind in the last few days. This is what running around can do to you. I’m floating between Beverly Hills and Ann Arbor, crossing my fingers and hoping to all that is good in this world that my little pug brother will be okay. We just found out that he has bacterial meningitis, which means the meninges surrounding his brain and spinal cord are swollen. We’ve started treatment but nothing is certain. It breaks my heart to think that he might be in pain, so I’ve been coping by cooking (and eating), as many do. I do know that the only constant in life is change, and that change brings about growth. So here’s to changing and learning throughout your entire life. And here’s an easy and tasty dinner you could make any night of the week!

Pan-Fried Tofu with Cashew Curry Sauce (and Sautéed Vegetables with Quinoa)

The Sauce:

NOTE: I was a bad blog lady and didn’t measure while I was cooking, so the following are approximations to the best of my guessing ability. Plus you can just alter it to taste!

1/3 (heaping) cup cashews

half an onion (chopped)

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 Tbsp flax milk (or any milk-like beverage)

1 Tbsp red curry paste

1/4 tsp cayenne

1 tsp chili powder

pinch of salt

Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan and add the cashews so they brown. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the onions are translucent and the sauce smells awesome. Remove from heat. Once cooled a bit, transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth.

The Rest: 

NOTE–since this is a “what’s in the fridge?” dinner, use whatever vegetables you want!

1 package firm tofu

2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped finely

4 Tbsp tamari

2 Tbsp maple syrup

handful of green beans

half an onion (chopped)

1 portobello cap, chopped

pinch of salt and pepper

1 cup quinoa

Begin by pressing the water out of your tofu (here’s a pretty good explanation on how to do that from Veggie Belly). While you wait, prepare the marinade for the tofu.

Combine tamari, maple syrup, and garlic in a bowl. When the tofu has dried, slice it into 1/4 to 1/2″ pieces and cover with the marinade. Allow to sit while you prepare the quinoa and veggies.

just hangin out

To make the quinoa, bring 2 cups of water to a light boil. Add the quinoa, and reduce heat. Cover and allow to simmer for about 12 minutes. There should be no water left in the pot and you will have beautiful, fluffy quinoa!

quin-wow

Sauté vegetables of your choice in a little vegetable oil, beginning with the aromatics (in this case, onion). I used chopped portobello mushrooms, fresh green beans, and onion this time. I always put a little salt and pepper on my vegetables, but you could add whatever spices that tickle your fancy.

vegging out

Once your tofu has taken on some color, it’s time to throw it in a hot pan! I used my cast-iron skillet with medium-high heat.

Let the tofu brown on each side and remove it from the pan. You can drizzle the remaining marinade on the tofu before flipping it for extra taste and caramelization.

Fill bowls with quinoa, vegetables, and top with a few slices of tofu. Spoon your smooth, cashew curry sauce on top and there you have it!

This is one tasty mess of vegetarian, gluten-free delight.

Enjoy!

P.S. Brandon and I leave for Portland tomorrow, so get ready for some travel posts!

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