Jan 29

artichoke and olive pizza

It’s the last weekend in January and I’m starting to worry that we won’t see any more snow this winter. I had been so hopeful up until this morning, when I realized that February begins this Wednesday and the forecast is calling for a high of 57 degrees.

My first winter in New York City, we received just over two feet of snow during one February storm. All three area airports closed down and I spent an evening riding my snowboard across a hilly dog park in Brooklyn. Each year since we’ve seen substantial snowfall

and up until today I’d been ignoring the naysayers because I felt confident that we’d be building snowmen and making snow angels any day now.

But today I made pizza and I found myself rolling up my sleeves and opening windows to let the heat from the oven escape the apartment, when normally at this time of year I’d be welcoming the extra warmth brought on by midday baking.

I’m still hopeful, but my hope is fading.  But I can curl up with Sebastian and drink hot chocolate and pretend there’s 12″ of snow on the ground whenever I want, right?

And at least my belly is full of my new favorite pizza creation.

This pizza has an artichoke tapenade base and it is decorated with roasted red peppers, olives, more artichokes and a bit of fresh spinach. I used whole wheat pizza dough to make the crust

but you could also use a pre-made crust or a recipe if you want to roll some dough from scratch.

Artichoke and Olive Pizza

Sauce adapted from David Lebovitz

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 8 ounces jarred or frozen artichokes, drained and quartered
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Feel free to increase or decrease the amount of toppings. I used the following:
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green olives
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped artichokes
Plus one pizza crust

I used frozen artichokes for this recipe, but canned or jarred artichokes will work just as well. If you are using frozen artichokes, boil them for 3-4 minutes and then drain the water before using.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and make the sauce by taking all of your ingredients

 

and combining them in a food processor.

 

Spread the sauce on your pizza crust and brush the edges with extra virgin olive oil.

 

Add the toppings

 

and bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

 

Jan 21

buttermilk biscuit mac and cheese

This mac and cheese recipe was inspired by my great grandmother, Mildred, who passed away last week, two months shy of her 95th birthday.

My mom, my great-grandma and me on a Sunday morning, before we left on our weekly, mile-long walk along the railroad tracks to our little community church.

My Mamma (pronounced mah-maw and spelled differently amongst her grandkids) was very special to me. I was lucky to be raised by two parents, four grandparents and two great grandmothers. I also had a great grandmother and great grandfather who lived further away, but I was fortunate enough to visit with them several times throughout my childhood. I was an only child but I never felt alone, as there was always someone willing to spend time taste-testing my mud pies or watching me pretend to be a cat.

Even after my Mamma moved to a farm 130 miles away, we stayed in close contact by writing letters to one another.

We wrote letters back and forth from the time I was around 11 years old, to just a few months ago.

On the plane back to NYC after her funeral this past Tuesday, I was staring out the window at the stars, trying to think of a dish that I could make in her memory. Mamma Mildred loved sweets and she loved southern cooking. As a child, I couldn’t get enough of her baked macaroni and cheese. It was always so creamy, baked to a perfect crisp on top and oozing with goodness underneath. In my early 20s, when I was still vegetarian, I wrote and asked Mamma for her recipe. She agreed that she would give it to me the next time she saw me and, a few months later at Thanksgiving, she gave me a recipe book. When I opened the book I noticed that the pages were all blank and, I’m ashamed to say, my first thought was that in her old age, she had forgotten what I asked for and thought that I wanted a new recipe book instead. And then a piece of paper fell out, a recipe torn from the back of a Velveeta box. The “secret” baked mac and cheese recipe that she had kept to herself for all those years.

I’m going to miss her so much.

Buttermilk Biscuit Mac and Cheese
Recipe adapted from Sweet Jezebel at Food.com
Serves 12
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces whole wheat macaroni, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
  • 3 cups plain soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 3 1/2 cups Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
  • 1 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
  • 1 cup dry vegan biscuit mix*

*I used Bisquick for this recipe to save on time. For a vegan biscuit mix recipe, try this recipe using vegan shortening.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then get started making some “buttermilk.”

Pour 2 1/2 cups of the plain soy milk into a small bowl and stir in the distilled white vinegar. Set the bowl aside and allow the milk to transform while you get to work on the macaroni.

Boil the macaroni for 2 minutes less than the package directions state. Remove from heat, drain the pasta, then stir in 2 tablespoons of the Earth Balance and set aside.

Place the remaining Earth Balance, 2 cups of the “buttermilk” and 1/2 cup plain soy milk in a medium-sized pot over low-medium heat. Stir until the Earth Balance melts.

Mix in the all-purpose flour, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Increase the heat to medium and stir in 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and the ground cayenne pepper.

Continue stirring while the mixture thickens (roughly five minutes) and then remove from heat. Stir in 3 cups of Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds and the Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds.

Once the cheese starts to melt, stir in the pasta.

Pour the mixture into a greased (I used Earth Balance to cover mine) 9×13″ pan.

In a small bowl, stir together the dry biscuit mix, remaining 1/2 cup of “buttermilk,” the remaining 1/2 cup of Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds and the last of the garlic powder.

Drop spoonfuls evenly across the top of the macaroni

and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top begins to brown.

Share it with the ones you love.

Jan 12

baked root veggie crisps

I never thought I’d say it, but I’m a little bit tired of desserts right now. Just a teeny tiny bit. It must be the holiday hangover.

The holidays are great and all. I love the holidays. But I ate so much. I ate so many cakes, cookies and candy that by January 1st I was choosing bowls of vegetables over spoonfuls of frosting, and that’s very unusual for me.

You know how sometimes us ladies only zip up our skirts to within about an inch of the clasp because we’ve gained some holiday pounds and that’s as far as it will go? And then we cover it up with a long shirt so no one will realize that our skirts aren’t fully on? No? Oh yeah, me neither. Who does that? Nevermind.

Although I am burnt out on sweets, I’m not burnt out on snacks. That’s where these veggie crisps come in handy. I found this recipe on A Wee Bit of Cooking and it’s so super easy. I chose to use carrots, a turnip and a parsnip for my chips and the carrots were definitely my favorite in the end.

Baked Veggie Crisps
Recipe from A Wee Bit of Cooking

Ingredients:

  • Root vegetable(s) of your choice
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil (I used grape seed oil)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and gather up your veggies

Wash, and if necessary, peel the vegetables. Slice them into thin pieces, about 1/16″ thick, preferably with a mandoline

Lightly spray or brush each side of the vegetables with oil. The key is to apply a very small amount of oil to the vegetables, especially if you are using turnips. Use just enough to cover them and keep them from burning. Otherwise the oil will seep through so much that the vegetables never really “crisp.”

Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning once at the halfway point. Keep a close eye on the crisps, I found that some require a longer baking time than others.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt.

Allow the crisps to cool to room temperature. They’ll become more crispy as they cool.

I might like these on top of a veggie burger, too. Then again, I’m the kind of person that likes to put french fries on top of my burgers. I feel like I’m in the minority with that one.

Jan 06

happy 2012!

Happy 2012, everyone! I hope you guys have had a wonderful few weeks. Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? When I think about resolutions I feel kind of, I don’t know…meh. Imagine me shrugging and looking kind of bored, that’s how I feel about resolutions.

 

I don’t make annual resolutions, I just I try to do the same thing every single day. I spend the entire day reminding myself of all the things I have to be grateful for, no matter how small. Then I get up and do it all again the next day. It sounds so simple, yet it brings a lot of joy and peace into my life.

I’m grateful for this guy, that’s for sure.

He recently turned four years old, but he’ll always be the baby of the family (even though Court Kitty is only half his age)

I had a lot of fun over the holidays. I turned 32 and ate almost all of these caramels all by myself.

Guess what else happened on my birthday! My Teal Cat arrived!

An awesome kitty for an even more awesome cause!

A week after I turned older, Moose and I spent a few days in Kentucky. We went to a slumber party. We played in a dart tournament.

This is my last place trophy. Moose’s trophy says something about “first place” or whatever on it, I can’t remember. Whatever. It’s not important.

I got to know this pup a little better.

His name is also Moose. It can be confusing.

We shared lots of hugs and laughs with family. I’m pretty sure my little cousins are sick of me now, but hopefully they’ll get over that by late spring when we roll back into town.

While on the road from the airport to my hometown, I discovered Alternative Baking Company Cookies.

And ever since I first noticed then, I’ve been spotting them everywhere!

I feel like all vegans worldwide have been in on this secret and I am late to the party

So now I’m going to make up for it by eating every cookie in sight!

On New Year’s Day we got to snuggle these precious gals

(PS – I’m a brunette now!)

Earlier this week I was feeling kind of crappy so Moose agreed to do a wheatgrass shot with me.

Superfood!

Finally, I’m crazy ecstatic to tell you that my blueberry donut recipe photo

made it on to The Post Punk Kitchen 100 list by way of #74 Donut Pan.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz is my vegan Oprah, people! I can’t believe that I’m even on her radar! *insert happy bouncy dance here*

Go check out the list, even if you have no interest in donuts or donut pans. There are marshmallows! And pickles! And much, much more!

I hope to be back here soon to share some new eats with you. I’ve really missed you all so much. Thank you for stopping by and here’s to a beautiful 2012!

I’m going to go do one of my favorite Friday night activities – watch hockey. Can you believe that the regular NHL season is already halfway over? What’s that? You don’t care? Oh, right. I love you anyway.