Sunday, June 21, 2015

Recipe ReDux: Raw Strawberry Chia Mini-Pies



So I’ve been missing for a while. In my defense, May turned out to be a…tumultuous month. There were some emotional highs and lows, there were losses that are still difficult to accept, and there were some life changes that were sad, but ultimately for the best. But, I have to tell you, despite all of that, I was relatively content. Why? Because I loved what I was doing at work. I had 6 beautiful weeks of working in Pediatrics where I got to interact with and help tiny babies and adorable children, the people who truly understand me the best, and I now know that that is where I am meant to be. What I’ve learned is that I should never underestimate the power of simply loving what you do every day.

Now I’m back in adult mode and summer is upon us. With the rising temperature, my desire to cook and bake has all but left me. I just can’t bring myself to turn on any kind of heat source. I’m in full on salad mode for my meals, but sometimes I just crave a good, homemade, baked good at the end of the day. Enter this month’s Recipe ReDux theme: Pie Love.




I decided to make my pies raw, since I made them on an especially warm and humid day. Using ingredients that I tend to always have on hand, I made a variation on my No-Bake Oatmeal "Cookies" for the crust, then blended up some strawberries to make a sort of strawberry chia seed jam filling. The result is light, refreshing, and just decadent enough to satisfy all my dessert needs. With strawberry season starting up, I’d say now is the perfect time to make these.



In retrospect, I wish I had built up the sides of the mini pies a little more to hold the strawberry filling better. So, my recommendation is to make only 8 pies, and donate the extra pie crust to building up the sides and making little pie-cups. I suppose we could call mine tarts instead. Either way, they're still delicious!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Recipe ReDux: Vegan Cheesecake


This month's Recipe ReDux theme is Spring Cleaning. It's all about using those things you find in the back of your cupboard that you've maybe been ignoring for a little too long. For me, this usually includes an insane amount of nuts and some chocolate that has "bloomed" some time ago. Well, that's a pretty good place to start, don't you think?


Another item I've had in my pantry forever and rarely use is coconut oil. I know, I know, it's a wonder ingredient that you can use anywhere, blah blah blah. But the thing is, I don't like coconut. Like, at all. So I use the oil sparingly, and occasionally I'll try it out in a recipe and the flavor is so strong and overpowering to me that I simply cannot eat it. This is not one of those recipes. This recipe hides the coconut flavor wonderfully, allowing me to slowly use up this pantry item, one spoon at a time.


Anyway, I took one of the many bags of cashews I usually have on hand, soaked them, and put them through a food processor with some maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil, and lemon juice. Then I poured the mixture over some melted then re-hardened chocolate deliciousness (you'd never know that chocolate had looked all funny just a few moments before!), stuck it in the freezer, and called it cheesecake. Surprisingly, it does feel a lot like cheesecake. Just chalk it up to the magic of cashews.


I've made this cheesecake as a single, whole pie before, as small individual sized cakes, and this time, as something in between. The cashews and chocolate make for an incredibly rich cake, so I highly recommend lightening it up with fresh strawberries. I also strongly suggest eating it in the sunshine on a warm day. But that's just me.


What's been hanging out in your pantry? 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mushroom Lentil Ragout with Grilled Polenta and Sweet Pea Pesto


I'm on vacation this week. I have been vacation-less since September, and any small break I've gotten has been for Jewish holidays, which I promise are hardly vacation. The problem is that last week was Passover, and basically everyone I know took vacation last week, leaving me out in the cold. So I'm spending my week seeing all the doctors I might possibly need to see and being outside as much as humanly possible. Oh, and I'm taking full advantage of my parents' kitchen and cooking up a storm.


But even though this vacation seems very un-vacation-y, I can still treat myself. I figured now would be the perfect time to feature a fancy, resort-like recipe. In collaboration with Wynn Las Vegas resorts, I did exactly that. You see, Wynn Las Vegas recently launched their own recipes for vegan food options in their various restaurants. I love that vegan diets are being accommodated everywhere these days, and vegans (and vegetarians) aren't constrained to the side dishes and salads. I decided to make my own spin on the Mushroom-Polenta Cake with lentil ragout and sweet pea sauce from Switch Steak. I plated it up all fancy and I pretended that I was treating myself to dinner at a resort (instead of, you know, dinner in the backyard with my dad).


Now, I have to admit, this recipe is freaking awesome. I mean, I'm not usually one to toot my own horn. I like my food, I think it's pretty tasty, and I would certainly never share a recipe that didn't work. But this recipe...Oh my. It's on the same level of my Creamy Tomato Pasta. I just can't get enough of it! It is, without a doubt, Vegas-worthy.




The mushroom and lentil ragout is hearty and filling, with just a hint of spice. The grilled polenta rounds have a subtle smoke to them. The sweet pea and mint pesto just lightens everything up and perfectly fit the beautiful spring weather yesterday. Get a little bit of everything in one bite and you will be in heaven - vacation resort heaven.




This is my Vegas recipe. What's yours?


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sweet Potato Noodles with Cauliflower and Spinach


I recently purchased a spiralizer. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s exactly what it sounds like; it makes spirals of things. And by spirals I mean long, spiraled strands. You can use it to make noodle-like strands of vegetables like zucchini, carrots, beets, rutabagas, and other harder vegetables. There are a few versions of it, and the one I got looks vaguely like a medieval torture device, but that’s totally beside the point. 


Unrelated, I was contacted by Tuttoroso asking if I was interested in helping them “Inspiralize the Spring” and promote the newly released Inspiralized Cookbook, by blogger Ali Maffucci. I can’t tell you how excited I was to 1) have an excuse to play with my spiralizer, 2) try to bring out my inner Ali (seriously, check out her site, everything looks AMAZING), and 3) help to “inspiralize” others!

Now, all of this happened right before Passover, so I knew that I wanted to create a spiralized recipe that not only helped me work through my pantry and freezer in preparation for the holiday, but also create a satisfying recipe that is totally Passover appropriate. So, I grabbed the sweet potato that I had bought the day before and went to work. I have to say, this recipe alone made my new spiralizer worth every single penny.

This dish starts with a variation of my absolute favorite tomato sauce. The sauce recipe already called for cinnamon, which makes it pair especially nicely with the sweet potatoes. Next came some (frozen) cauliflower florets, mostly because I already had them hanging around and thought they would work well in the dish. Then came the spiralized sweet potatoes, which I let cook up in the sauce where they got all coated in deliciousness. I then threw in some spinach for good measure, and later, when I reheated the leftovers, I added a handful of toasted walnuts for crunch.

What I love about this recipe is all the flavors. The sweet potato and the cinnamon-touched tomato sauce pair wonderfully together, while the spinach and cauliflower just add a little flavor to the background. The toasted walnuts that were added to my second edition are highly recommended.


Have I inspiralized your spring yet? Check out the Inspiralized blog for more vegetable noodle ideas, and enter the Inspiralize the Spring sweepstakes for your chance to win a free cookbook!


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Avocado Toast 3 ways

Guys, I think I have a problem. My avocado obsession has taken a whole new turn. Living in NYC, I’ve gotten really spoiled by the fruit and vegetable vendors on the streets. I mean, where else can you get 4 pomegranates for $5? Or 3 avocados for $4? These being two of my all time favorite foods, I’ve been buying them a lot lately, since I cannot resist that kind of deal.


As a result, I’ve been eating avocado toast pretty much every day. Now I know I’ve posted a recipe for avocado toast before, but this time I want to break it down for you. We’re going to start simple, then get fancy, then pack a powerful punch. These toasts are great for snacks, easy meals, or if you’re just feeling fancy.



My classic avocado toast is simple and delicious. Smash avocado on bread, squeeze lemon juice, sprinkle salt, and dig in! But since I’ve also been noshing on pomegranates lately (see above), I decided to incorporate those into my toasts. Add a little feta for a salty bite and the result is something that feels luxurious but takes almost no time to assemble. Finally, for days when I need a heartier meal, I like smashing my avocado with chickpeas to add some protein. Usually I leave it alone, but sometimes I’ll go all out and add toppings to make it a full blown sandwich.



Whatever way you dress up avocado toast, you really can’t go wrong. How do you like your avocado toast?


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Recipe ReDux: Peanut Butter Chocolate Mug Cake


I don't know about where you are, but it's been pretty freezing here in NYC. The other day I went to an early morning exercise class and it was NEGATIVE 15 degrees outside. It's insane.


When it gets brutally cold like this, I turn to warm drinks and comfort foods. That happens to coincide nicely with this month's Recipe ReDux theme: Chocolate Matches. My immediate instinct when it comes to mixing flavors with chocolate is chocolate with nuts, fruit, and my all time favorite, peanut butter. So why not mix up these flavors and satisfy my sweet tooth all at the same time?


Chocolate and peanut butter are a match made in heaven. I actually have yet to meet a single person who doesn't like this combo, therefore I assume this person doesn't even exist. This cake is mixed together and then "baked" in the microwave, making for a super quick dessert. I made the recipe in glass jars which both look pretty and keep the portion size in control. You could also easily dump one recipe's worth in a large mug and bake yourself a bigger cake. It's totally up to you. I find the smaller portion is perfect, especially with a scoop of ice cream on top, because this cake is dense and amazingly rich.

What do you like to pair with your chocolate?



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Recipe ReDux: Maple Chipotle Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


Happy New Year everyone! I hope you rang in 2015 in a big way. I'm starting with a bold new snack for this month's Recipe ReDux.


The first Recipe ReDux of the year is "Start Smoking in the New Year" and it's all about smokey spicy goodness. To me, the very first thing I think about when you say "smokey" is chipotle chili. It's spicy, as chili peppers usually are, but it's also distinctly smokey. It adds depth of flavor that red pepper flakes or regular chili powder often lack.


I love pairing this smokey spicy flavor with something sweet to balance it. I love using it on butternut squash or sweet potato. This time I paired it with maple syrup. I added just a touch of cumin to round out the flavor, a dash of salt, and a bit of olive oil to help it stick. Then I drenched raw pumpkin seeds with the mixture and baked it off. The result is crunchy, sweet, spicy, and smoking hot - the perfect snack.


What's your favorite smokey spicy pairing?