Fried Guacamole! A nearly vegan adventure…


Kristina finally came home from her vacation, and I was ready with the perfect recipe…Fried Guacamole!

Having grown up watching my mom fry artichoke hearts, and create homemade mozzarella sticks, I was eager to try frying something of my own!

I found this recipe via pinterest, and of course, changed part of it!

First step, make the guacamole. I used:

  • two avocados
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • three cloves of garlic
  • some pepper
  • one lime (juiced!)
  • some salt

many traditional recipes call for onions. I do not like onions, so they were left out!

I placed the ingredients in my Ninja blender, and within minutes I had creamy guacamole. The lovely guac then goes into a container normally too large for it (it should be spread out) and then into the freezer! The goal is to have frozen cubes of guacamole.

After it is frozen (and once Kristina arrived at my apartment) the frying portion began.

In the pan put enough vegetable oil to fry something (should coat bottom of pan). In a shallow bowl, combine:

  • cup of water
  • tbs ground flax seed
  • tbs flour

**this is instead of the traditional eggs for frying. I did not have eggs in my house…and this is supposed to be vegan**

In a separate shallow bowl combine a cup of flour and some salt and pepper.

Slice the frozen guacamole in the container into bite size pieces. Each piece needs to be soaked in the water mixture (let the excessive mixture fall off) and then dredged in the flour mixture. Set this newly floured morsel on a papertowel covered plate. Repeat until all are floured. Let these pieces sit for a few minutes.

When the oil is ready (Kristina taught me a new trick! Drop some water into the oil…if it sizzles, it is ready) place a few pieces in the pan, and wait until they brown. Flip over. DO NOT BURN YOURSELF. When the pieces are sufficiently golden brown, remove from pan, place on a paper towel covered plate and put new pieces in the pan.  Once all are done, blot to remove excess oil.

These will need to cool slightly.

I ended up adding red pepper flakes, and Kristina, in the name of photography and her wanton lust for cheese, added mozzarella to the once vegan fried pieces.  I must say, her culinary genius is inspiring, even if it means adding dairy products!

 

 

 

 

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Balsamic Grilled Veggies and Quinoa


I love pinterest…in fact I might be addicted. The following recipe idea is courtesy of veggiebelly.com (link at the end of this post). As usual, I have modified the recipe to accommodate the food in my refridgerator!

Balsamic Dressing

  • 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 5 tbs olive oil
  • 5 crushed garlic cloves

Quinoa

  • I used a boxed Quinoa rice mix that had garlic and pepper seasonings
  • basil

Vegetables (all cut into bite size pieces)

  • Mushrooms
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 green pepper
  • handful of cherry tomatoes (not cut!)
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

The balsamic dressing is mixed and set to the side. Easy enough

The quinoa is cooked according to the box. Mine was from “The Near East” and took about 20 minutes.

The vegetables took some time to chop. I placed them in a very large mixing bowl and drizzled them with half of the balsamic mixture. I then placed a pot lid over the bowl and shook it to ensure that each piece was marinated. The vegetables were then placed on a tin foil lined pan and broiled in the oven for close to twenty minutes. I turned them over half way through. (Please note, times may differ based on oven, height of oven shelf, and size of vegetables)

When the veggies are cooked to satisfaction, and the quinoa has finished, add the rest of the balsamic dressing and the basil to the quinoa, and serve with a healthy topping of vegetables!

This meal is vegan and another good way to clean out the fridge! Great choice for a summer meal!

 

original recipe can be found at: http://www.veggiebelly.com/2010/07/balsamic-grilled-summer-vegetables-with-basil-quinoa-salad.html

Cleaning out the fridge with Ratatouille!

Kristina and I have been cooking a lot at my place, resulting in my refrigerator becoming the new home for a plethora of vegetables. While searching for something to eat for lunch before work, I realized that I had a wimpy looking eggplant, a few stalks of lonely asparagus, half a pepper and zucchini, neglected carrots and celery, four remaining mushrooms from the farmers market, and a sizeable portion of sauce from our pizza adventure (to be posted soon!) Then it dawned on me…these are the exact ingredients for a Ratatouille (ok, so asparagus is not in the traditional recipe but I do not discriminate!). I pulled my Dom DeLuise “Eat This..It’ll Make You Feel Better!” cook book off my shelf and started preparing the vegetables.   **His recipe is below and serves 8-10 people! I am cooking with left overs from the fridge, so my portions were significantly smaller***

Ingredients

  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped (I omitted this)
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 4 okra pods, sliced (he states that this is optional…I did not use it!)
  • 1 Green pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced (did not have one in the house!)
  • 8-10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 5 ripe tomatoes peeled and sliced, or 1 28 ox can crushed (I used homemade tomato sauce)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil

In a large skillet (this for 8-10 people, you may need two skillets!), heat olive oil and saute garlic and onions.  Lightly flour the ramining vegetables, except tomatoes, and add to skillet along with tomatoes, pepper, parsley, oregano, and basil.  COok over medium flame for 30 minutes. Stir, lower flame, and simmer for 1 hour.

Again, I am making this for lunch, so I ate after 45 minutes of cooking…So glad I decided to look for lunch an hour and a half before leaving for work!! This meal is vegan and uses all fresh ingredients…with the exception of the olive oil!

Apple Tart with Maple Syrup Balsamic Vinegar glaze

It’s official, I am utterly, totally, completely in love with and obsessed with Maple Syrup and Balsamic Vinegar, and I was explaining this love with two of my friends the other night, who were intrigued by the idea that I could make something that sounds so strange together taste good.  

I decided that I was going to prove my culinary skills and taste buds correct, and bake them a apple tart.  

I got the basic recipe and idea from here, http://serenae.com/2011/05/13/deceptive-apple-tart/ I modified it according to my own specific tastes.  

Things I did different from the basic recipe:

  • I tossed my apples in balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, sea salt and a little sugar. (I eye-balled and taste tested it)
  • I rubbed the crust in cinnamon, a little sugar and more sea salt. 
  • I stacked the apples a little bit more pie like and inorganic, beautification of the pie was the least of my concerns. (Don’t tell decorative baking artists, shushhhhh) 

Once again I was pleased with the flavors and the pie came out fantastic. My friends were pleased and I made believers out of them.  (Both of these friends I will be living with for 2 weeks until my new apartment is ready, and one of them, Mike, exclaimed that I have proved my worth) ❤ 

Once again, let me know if you have any questions about my process or fundamentals of cooking, flavours or if you just feel like talking to us lovely blog authors. Email us: artsandcraftsinthekitchen@gmail.com

Also, we have a pinterest now!! Look us up. Image

Baked Brie with a balsamic maple syrup reduction.

Baked Brie with Balsamic and Maple Syrup

Baked Brie with Balsamic and Maple Syrup Reduction

If I had to make a list of the top 10 foods that make my tummy oh so very happy, Brie would have to be at least at 4. It is so creamy and delicious all on its own, but when you get creative with it and bake it, oh glory be hallelujah.

Per usual I got off of work and headed to Jenni’s house to impart on another culinary adventure, she cooked her own thing so check out her separate post for her Broccoli and Asparagus, now if you don’t like Broccoli don’t be too scared I usually hate it but Jenni has made me at least like hers.
Now, back to my Brie, so it was quite simple and here are the steps.

1-Brie Slab or wheel. (your choice, a wheel was expensive so I went with my local grocer brand brie slab)
2 tbsp of Balsamic vinegar (honestly I eyed this, but if you aren’t comfortable with that don’t do it.)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup (yes spend the extra cash and get the real stuff, if you are using the nasty corn syrup crap, it is going to be nasty.)
1 cup of red and yellow tomatoes, baked.
half a loaf of sourdough bread, cut into pieces and baked.

The Brie needs to be baked at about 350, you could do lower it cooked quick, you want it oozy not melted so check on it after 8-10 minutes.

so I made little crustinis to put my brie and tomatoes on and drizzled the syrup and balsamic vinegar over it.

Sit back enjoy as the brie melts into your mouth.

as usual if you have any questions on how I make anything feel free to email us at artsandcraftsinthekitchen@gmail.com, or comment below.

Verdict:

Kristina: Creamy oozy and absolute perfection.

Jenni: Incredible.

ps. Jenni thought I was crazy for adding maple syrup (I did that on whim.) but, low and behold I have made a believer out of her.

Baked Broccoli and Asparagus!

Baked Broccoli and Asparagus

Baked Broccoli and Asparagus

 

I love broccoli, and jump at nearly every opportunity to incorporate it into my meals. I also really love asparagus. While Kristina was busy creating her “Baked Brie with Balsamic Maple Syrup Reduction” I went to my comfort foods. Also, Publix was having a sale on asparagus and broccoli…

I found this recipe on Pinterest a while ago…but I have changed it significantly enough that posting the original would not be a fair representation of what I cooked today!

Ingredients: (they are vague, but customizable depending on state of hunger and number of people eating!)

  • Broccoli florets (as much as you want)
  • Asparagus (cut in half…again as much as you want)
  • Olive Oil (enough to lightly coat the vegetables…a small drizzle!)
  • Garlic cloves (depends on how much you like garlic. I enjoy garlic so I use a bit more than most people. Slice the garlic into slivers)
  • Black Pepper (enough to taste)
  • Sea Salt (VERY small amount)
  • Parsley (a few shakes)

The process is extraordinarily easy.

1. First combine the ingredients in a bowl with a lid (I used a regular prep bowl and find a sauce lid that covered it)

2. Shake the contents of the bowl so that the olive oil covers everything, and the spices are thoroughly mixed.

3. Place now combined items onto a baking tray with tin foil (easy to clean up!)

4. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Broccoli should be crispy (slightly brown but not burnt!) when done.

5. Enjoy!

 

This dish has converted Kristina from having an arch-nemesis relationship with broccoli to a relatively peaceful detente with the lovely vegetable.  That is a success in my book!

 

Verdict:

Kristina: Fine, broccoli has not defeated me yet.

Jenni: I could probably eat this every day.

Corn Muffins and Jam


When we first made jam, I thought “this would be great on some corn muffins”…tonight I made that thought a reality.

As we meandered through Walmart at 11:00 at night (same trip as the post preceding this) I saw corn muffin mix on sale for 50 cents. Perfect!

After making the fruit tarts (again, please read earlier entry), I went to work making the muffins. Keeping with my vegan theme, and overcoming my lack of eggs in the kitchen, I substituted 1 tbs flax seed meal and 3 tbs of water for one egg. I also used vanilla almond milk instead of regular milk. This concoction yielded 7 muffins. Placed in the oven at 400 degrees, they were completely ready within 11 minutes.

Now the fun part.

I some how managed to have a pastry syringe in my pantry…I know, no eggs, but a pastry syringe. I filled the syringe with jam, poised it over the muffins, and pushed. The first muffin crumbled…it was the runt of the batch, so I tried again. The second and third one came out great!

Now for the ultimate test: feeding the Kristina.

Verdict:

Kristina: Tasted Good. Surprised that the flax seed worked. I couldnt even taste the almond milk.

Jenni: Success!

A semi fourth of July inspired dessert

Another day brings to you and to us, more food to make and more food to talk about. So like usual I was at work, thinking about what decadent delicacies I could devour, (do I get points for alliteration?) and I thought I want to make fruit tarts, I had made that fantastic strawberry jam the other night and I was craving making something with it.  Of course upon telling Jenni I wanted to make Fruit Tarts she said we could make them Fourth of July themed, (which is just like her and her teacher brain, and yes teachers have specially functioning brains that make them want to create holidays treats for every occasion.) (side note: as I read her this paragraph for proofing, she exclaims in a most Jenni like manner, imagine a high pitched happy voice, about a recipe for halloween themed spider sandwiches)

So, I searched the internet for a simple recipe we could put together when I got off of work at 10pm, managing to find one that pretty much kept with Jenni’s Vegan lifestyle, with the exception of butter (we couldn’t find vegan butter at Walmart at 11pm). 

We found two different recipes and ending up going with the one that Jenni found here http://serenae.com/2010/08/10/last-minute-vegan-fruit-tart/

SHORTBREAD CRUST:

  • 1/2 cup (112g) non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter, at room temperature3
  • 1/4 cup (25g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp ice water

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease the pie pan with canola oil or nondairy butter. I usedthis 9″ tart pan, but any similarly sized pie dish or square casserole dish will do. Use tartlet pans or even a muffin pan if you want to make cute little tartlets.

In a medium-sized bowl, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. (If you have an electric mixer, use it. If not, a spoon employed vigorously for several minutes is also sufficient. My mixture was creamy–rather than fluffy–and still turned out fine.)

Add the flour a third at a time and beat until the dough just comes together. If your dough, like mine, doesn’t just “come together”, stir in ice water one tablespoon at a time until the dough begins to form a loose ball. It’s okay if it’s still a little crumbly.

Press the mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan. (If you are making tartlets, be sure that you spread the dough quite thin in the tartlet pans or muffin tin, as it will puff up when baking.) Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Bake time will vary depending on your oven. Mine took about 35 minutes, so start out with 20 and check every 5-10 minutes after that. Remove from the oven and place somewhere to cool.

PASTRY CREAM (CUSTARD):

  • 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp (16g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp (32g) cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) water
  • 1 1/3 cups (315mL) nondairy milk (I used rice milk, but soy milk is obviously fine, too)
  • 2 tsp vanilla or lemon extract (I used vanilla)

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and water on high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. (Again, I just used a fork for about 4 minutes, adding the ingredients one at a time.) Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. Pour about 1/3 cup (80mL) of the hot milk into the sugar mixture and stir to thoroughly combine. This doesn’t have to be precise; just make sure the sugar mixture is a little liquid-y. Pour this sugar-milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Return to the stove and heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. This is important! Don’t stop whisking for anything, not even zombies or kittens! It will begin to thicken immediately. (They’re not kidding. It only takes about a minute or two, if that, for the cream to thicken sufficiently.)

Scrape the bottom and sides of the pan as you whisk. Cook until it begins to bubble, then whisk as vigorously as you can for 30 seconds, and remove from heat. (Mine never bubbled. If yours doesn’t either, just remove from heat when it seems about as thick as your average chocolate pudding.) Stir in the vanilla/lemon extract.

Your pie crust should be baked and ready, so go ahead and pour the cream into the crust right away, smoothing it flat with a rubber spatula or large spoon. It doesn’t have to be perfect, since the fruit will be covering it anyway. Be sure to put your fruit on top immediately, before the pastry cream sets.

If your crust isn’t ready yet, you can store the pastry cream (covered) in the fridge for up to 3 days.

TOPPING:

  • 3-4 tbsp (80g) jelly, jam or preserves (I used apricot jam. Peach is also good.)
  • 2 1/2 cups fruit, sliced (I used about 1 1/2 cups of strawberries, 1 kiwi, 7 blackberries, and a handful of blueberries)

Clever humor throughout the recipe is thanks to the original poster, I can only wish to be so witty.  Also instead of soy or rice milk we used vanilla almond milk, which was quite frankly way too sweet. We also made a strawberry glaze from my home made jam.

All in all I enjoyed the taste, the pasty came out flaky and not too sweet, the fruit was fresh and the right amount of bitter and sweet, I wasn’t the biggest of the custard (I sort of despise Almond Milk but that is what Jenni had and I wasn’t going to buy regular milk for such a small recipe).

I give it a B-

Jenni gives it an AWESOME. 

Vegan fiesta dinner

so tonight we are cooking in Jenni’s kitchen and in honor of her “at home” vegan lifestyle we made an entirely vegan meal.  On tonight’s menu: homemade limeade, fiesta salad, black bean soup and the same strawberry jam that I posted the other day.  

I was at work earlier today and I had a jonesing for some beans, yes I know I’m weird.  So I messaged Jenni and said woman, we are making Black bean soup.  Well not exactly like that but you know technicalities. 

 

Upon hearing Kristina’s request for tonight’s cooking adventure, I set off to the downstairs Publix to gather the ingredients. Since the original soup recipe called for 4 cans of black beans, and the salad and additional 2 cans, I decided to put my rice cooker to good use and use dried beans instead.

Quick note about rice cookers: They are NOT only for rice! While I have a modest rice cooker from CVS, it is a wonderful addition to my kitchen appliance family.

The general conversion for dried beans to canned is

1 cup dry = 2.5 cups cooked

1.5 cooked = 1 can.

Somewhere in there is a math problem…I ended up using 3 cups of dried beans, and ended up with more or less (ok more) what the recpies required. 

The cooked beans taste better than the canned version, contain no sodium, and are cheaper…they just take longer…about 55 minutes per patch, and my poor little rice cooker could only hold a cup and a half at a time. Thankfully this was done while Kristina was at work, so she did not have to bemoan the process.


I would not bemoan the process, thank you. I am currently sticking my tongue out at Jenni, protesting her statement of my bemoaning.  I only complained because the last time she made beans on the stove they were crunchy, BUT the rice cooker made them soft&happy and fit for my tummy. 


The beans cooked while I cleaned. Kristina showed up and we started our adventure! 

First order of business: Limeade

  • 3 limes (rolled on a flat surface first to separate the juice from the rind)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of boiling water
  • ice and water to fill ____ a container

Step 1: put 1/2 cup of water on stove to boil.

Step 2: juice limes

Step 3: place limes and some ice into carafe 

Step 4: once the water is boiling, add sugar slowly until all is dissolved

Step 5: add sugar and water mixture to carafe (I used a funnel) and fill the rest with cold water.

Step 6: shake and enjoy!

Verdict on limeade:

Kristina: Yummy!

Jenni: Even better than my homemade lemonade (which is the same thing…but with lemons)

 

So, if you lot have been following us you’ll know I posted the other day a recipe for Vegan Strawberry Jam, if not go back and check it out. :]  That is where you will find the recipe.  But, quick note instead of Chia Seeds, we used milled flax seeds, apparently they are interchangeable.  Oh and fun new tip for ya’ll, you know how pesky it is to cut the leaves off of every single strawberry before you use them? so, Jenni showed me this cool new way she found on Pinterest. So, you just take a straw any kind shall do and poke it through the bottom part up into the strawberry and push the leaves off, it takes a few stabs but IT WORKS!!! Oh holy day!!! I made all sorts of inappropriate jokes about such activities that I will spare your fragile, delicate eyes. 

and now we are back with Jenni to explain the salad and dinner, peacccce out. 


 

Soup and Salad go together. It is a simple fact of life. For tonight’s dinner we paired a festive fiesta salad with a more traditional black bean soup.

The salad is off of a pinterest link, more specifically Prevention online magazine as one of the “12 Hunger Fighting Power Salads”

Ingredients:

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 2 ‘cans’ of beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onions
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon honey or brown sugar
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • lettuce leaves
  • we added a mango!
    1. In a large bowl, combine the corn, beans, parsley, onions, vinegar, oil, lemon juice, garlic, and honey or brown sugar. Let the salad marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or in the fridge. 
    2. Arrange the lettuce leaves on the salad plates; spoon the salad over the lettuce.
    3. http://recipes.prevention.com/Recipe/black-bean-and-corn-salad.aspx

    The mangos were a wonderful addition. I even ate the onions! (I have a strong aversion to onions as my mother can tell you!)

     

    Now for the soup. Kristina sent me a soup recipe from Allrecipies.com titled “Vegan Black Bean Soup”, and as an “at home vegan” I was thrilled! (At home vegan: I am vegan when I am home. I do my best to not use any animal ingredients! I do, however, eat when others cook for me or when out with friends at a place where vegan food is hard to come by! I know many full on vegans will scoff or even be offended by my terminology…but I do not really care!)

    We ate this while waiting for the soup. 

    Kristina: Yummy in the tummy.

    Jenni: Awesome!

    Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 stalk celery, chopped
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 pinch black pepper
    • 4 cups vegetable broth
    • 4 (15 ounce) cans black beans
    • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

    We made some adjustments, using 3 small stalks of celery instead of the 1 suggested, 3 carrots instead of the two, vegetable bullion instead of broth, 2 ears of fresh cooked corn, cayenne pepper instead of chili powder, and 2 10-ounce cans of tomatoes (one with hot chiles, one medium). Oh and we put in red pepper flakes.

    First you sauté the garlic, onions, celery, and carrots in the oil for about five minutes. You then follow with the spices (1 minute), and then add the broth (or in our case, bullion and water), the corn and half of the black beans.

    This should be set to boil (we forgot this part…it still turned out alright).

    While the mixture is cooking, you blend the remaining beans and the tomatoes in a blender. I am so happy to own a NInja power blender, I seriously love that thing! Once blended, the new mixture goes into the pot of hopefully boiling liquid and vegetables and cooks. 

    The website said this should take 15 minutes…35 minutes later ours was done!

    We scooped our mixture into bowls…second injury of this blog goes to Kristina, who in her desire to taste our creation burnt her tongue. (Thats what she gets for sticking it out at me earlier)

    Verdict:

    Kristina: It is kinda spicy…

    Jenni: It isn’t very soupy…

    Dessert!

    We put the now refrigerated jam on toasted bagels, and oh goodness…soooo good…

    Verdict:

    Kristina: So good I would like to smear it on Ryan Gosling 

    Jenni: I want to make an entire blog about what I could eat this jam with…

     

    And that concludes tonight’s post! Happy Cooking!