Cooking in the New Year!

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Hello all you out there! The past year has been busy, intense, and full of good food that unfortunately went unclogged! Along with a long list of resolutions for the new year, I am going to pick up blogging again…and maybe Kristina will join me ūüôā

Last night, Josh and I decided that we wanted a dish with mushrooms and kale…we just weren’t sure what form the dish would take. Since publix was closed early for the new year, we roamed the aisles of Walmart searching for ingredients to meet our very vague culinary desires. Grabbing portobello mushrooms, a box of baby bella mushrooms, and the only fresh kale to be found (a spinach and kale duo bag) we decided to make a kale/spinach pesto to go on top of simple saut√©ed mushrooms.

Ingredients

Kale/spinach (about half of a 13 oz bag)
Garlic (Josh shares my love of excessive garlic so we put in seven cloves of garlic…between 3 to 5 would have been sufficient!)
Walnuts (a handful)
Juice of a lemon
Dried basil (1-2tbs)
Olive oil (add slowly until mixture is creamy)
Mushrooms

To make the pesto, chop garlic and first round or olive oil in the blender until the garlic is fairly demolished. Then add half of the kale, lemon, and walnuts. Blend until creamy, adding olive oil as needed. Once the first round is done, add the remaining lemon, kale, basil, and walnuts and blend. Josh removed part of the top of the blender to push around the ingredients, which worked for a little while. Unfortunately, the utensil he was using caught one of the blades in the blender and pesto was slung all around his kitchen. The biggest tragedy was that the cabinet above the blender was open and the herbs, spices, and collection of oils was painted a dark green! The ceiling was fortunately spared. I therefore advise extreme caution when experimenting with the top of the blender! (Side note…mom, I remember you telling me this would happen one day!)

While the pesto is combining, chop the mushrooms into large chunks, and sauté in olive oil. Remember, mushrooms provide their own juice when heated, so minimal olive oil is required.

Once the mushrooms are done and the pesto is to satisfaction, divide the mushrooms, top with pesto, serve and enjoy!

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Sun-dried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

This photo does not do the dish justice!

This photo does not do the dish justice!

In the spirit of placing things in my blender, placing the mixture directly on a plate, and marveling on how food could possibly taste that good, I now present you with Sun-dried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta. Christine had been scouring the internet for vegan recipes that looked good to her (her pinterest board is quickly filling up with vegan meals!) and wanted to try this dish. It looked intriguing, and we scuttled down to Publix to acquire the necessary ingredients. Similar to previous post on fresh tomato sauce, this meal is all fresh, except for the olive oil, and the oil the tomatoes are packed in!

Ingredients:

1 8oz jar of oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 package of sun-dried tomatoes (we ended up accidentally getting the smoked kind, it gave the dish an interesting kick!)
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of packed fresh basil
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs water
1/4 cup of walnuts
1 box whole wheat pasta (I am fond of the 100% wheat pasta)
Red pepper flakes (optional)

First, boil water and start to cook the pasta. This dish does not take long to make, and the pasta should be about ready when you are done!

Then, using your trusty blender, dice the garlic cloves and basil until both are thoroughly shredded. Add the tomatoes in the jar, additional oil, and water. Blend until smooth (we weren’t able to get the concoction perfectly smooth, but it was close!) Add in the walnuts, and continue to blend, until an acceptable consistency.

When the pasta is done, cover with the pesto sauce, add the packaged sun-dried tomatoes, extra basil leaves, and red pepper flakes, if desired.

This meal was fantastic! Healthy, vegan, and enough to make Christine search for more on pinterest!

Vegan Pesto Green Pizza!

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Living downtown means that pizza is a staple in my diet. With a pizza place on almost every street (and sometimes across the street from each other!), the temptation to stray from a vegan diet is strong! While I have had one of the pizzerias make me a cheese-less personal pizza, I find it much more satisfying to create my own!

Tonight’s dish was an incredible green pesto pizza. I used a recipe from pinterest, more specifically, from Eating Well. I also used a combination of recipes to create the pesto base.

Ingredients for Pizza (makes two pizzas, perfect for dinner and lunch! I guess you could also share them…)

2 pieces of whole wheat flatbread
2 cups of broccoli florets
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
7 (or so) asparagus stems
2 cloves Garlic
pesto (see recipe below)
daiya mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste

Pesto!
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cups of fresh basil
1/4 cup of sliced almonds
3 tbs of olive oil
coarse sea salt

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it extremely easy and fast to make! First, place broccoli in a pan with 1/4 cup of water and 2 sliced cloves of garlic, cover and cook until slightly tender. While the broccoli is cooking, combine the pesto ingredients (garlic, basil, almonds, olive oil, sea salt) in a blender and combine. IF your blender is like mine, in that it is totally awesome, but does not do the trick for pesto…add a little bit of water, and watch magic occur. If you add too much water, you can always add more basil to thicken the mixture.

After the pesto is formed, or in between altering consistency, throw sliced asparagus and the spinach into the pan withe broccoli, and cover. The goal is to get the asparagus slightly tender and the spinach wilty.

With the veggies on the stove…and the pesto perfect, it is time to start constructing the pizza. Using a pizza pan, or a baking sheet, cover the flat bread crusts with pesto. Once the spinach starts to wilt, drain the vegetables and divide them equally between the pizzas. Sprinkle daiya (or real) mozzarella on top. Place in oven at 450 for 10-15 minutes, depending on personal taste and how crispy you desire the crust to be.

This is probably the best pizza this side of Orlando!

Awkward Pesto

so earlier this week I went to the store with my roommate Dale, and I decided to acquire a Basil plant since quite frankly it is more cost effective. (If I don’t pull a Jenni and kill it) So, with my new plant in mind yesterday I decided to make some pesto for my pasta lunch. ¬†

Normally pesto has pine nuts and¬†parmigiana¬†cheese in it, but being the poor college student that I am do not have either one of those rather expensive ingredients on hand. In comes my improvisational cooking techniques. ¬†I couldn’t think of anything on hand to replace the pine nuts with, because while I had walnuts, that didn’t seem to appealing to me. Instead of the parmigiana cheese I used munster cheese, because why not?

I am going to attempt to write out what I put in my awkward pesto.  I have this dreadful habit of making up things that end up tasting awesome because of my clear culinary prowess (heavy sarcasm) but I never remember to write down what I do. 

so I used maybe 10 leaves of basil

4 cloves garlic

5-6 mushrooms

olive oil

about a tbsp of truffle oil

2 1/2 slices of munster cheese

little bit of red pepper flakes

 

I put it all in my ninja blender and pulsed.  Turned out surprisingly good and more then I needed for just myself, so I fed my roommate and our friend Andrew dinner that evening with the leftovers. 

 

Avocado Pasta!

Avocados, oh how I love thee! And so does our dear friend Christine! Today’s creation stems from Christine’s cravings and our trusty shared pin on Pinterest. It is healthy,¬†delicious¬†and vegan!! The original recipe can be found at http://www.flourishingfoodie.com/2012/03/creamy-avocado-pasta.html. We did not really deviate from the original recipe…it is fabulous just the way it is.

Ingredients:

2 Avocados

Olive Oil

garlic

salt and pepper

pine nuts

lemon juice

basil

tomatoes

pasta

 

While the pasta is cooking on the stove, cut up the tomatoes (we used cherry tomatoes cut in half), drizzle with olive oil, and place in the oven on broil. The goal is to get them to shrivel up! (The original wants them in the oven for an hour at 300…we simply did not have that amount of time!)

With both parts of the oven in use, it is now time to turn your attention to the avocado sauce. This is fairly simple. Peel and remove the pit from two avocados and toss them into a blender. Then add a handful of pine nuts, a few squirts of lemon juice, some olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper, and a few basil leaves. Blend. If it is not creamy enough, add more olive oil! Taste periodically, we had to add more salt and pepper to the mixture.

When the pasta is done, and the tomatoes are wilted, combine all three components and enjoy!