Spring Pea Soup With Fromage Blanc Cream

The following text and images are courtesy of Etsy. See the article in full here

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Adrianna Adarme

Story by Adrianna Adarme

Published on Apr 11, 2013 in Eatsy

acozykitchen

I went through my entire childhood being a pea-hater. My poor mother put peas in all sorts of dishes, only to be met with me sitting in my corner, picking every single one out. I was sending a very clear message to her (and anyone else that would notice) about my pea-intolerence.

Even as I became a more adventurous eater, I steered clear of peas. It wasn’t until a few springs ago when I warmed up to the idea of them being on my plate. I mean, they’re so adorable in their little pods. A few dishes later featuring perfectly cooked peas, I realized that I don’t hate peas; I actually just dislike the starchy, overcooked peas of my youth.

This soup celebrates the sweet and deliciousness of peas. The spring onion bulb and shallot are roasted, adding a wonderful hint of onion that works so nicely with the sweet peas. A few dollops of fromage blanc cream adds a touch of decadent creaminess. I can’t think of a better way to consume the season of spring.

Spring Pea Soup With Fromage Blanc Cream
Serves 4

1 shallot, peeled
1 spring onion bulb
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 pound peas (fresh or frozen)
2 cups water
1 1/4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
4 ounces fromage blanc
1/2 cup whipping cream

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the shallot, spring onion bulb and 1 tablespoon of butter in the center of a sheet of parchment paper, folding it over like a business letter and sealing it on the sides. Bake for 20-25 minutes and until the shallots are translucent and soft. Allow the shallot and onion to cool enough to touch. Using a small knife, cut off the outer layer of crispy skin around the spring onion and discard. Set the spring onion bulb and shallot aside.

2. To a medium saucepan, add the peas and water. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, until the peas are slightly softened. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, until melted. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender, and add the shallot and spring onion bulb; purée until smooth. Add the salt and adjust according to taste. Pour the puréed soup back into the saucepan and heat over medium-low to keep warm.

3. In a small saucepan over low heat, add the fromage blanc and whipping cream. Whisk the mixture together until smooth. Salt to taste. To serve, divide the soup between bowls and top each soup with a dollop of the fromage blanc cream.

All photos by Adrianna Adarme.

Sweet Asian Salad

Yummy recipe from Vegan Richa. See blog post here.

Heather’s Bitter & Sweet Asian Salad. Vegan Glutenfree Recipe

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This salad is amazingly easy to throw together and keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge, serves well hot, cold or at room temp – making it the ideal candidate for a potluck or cocktail party.
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The quinoa can easily be swapped for rice, the edamame for green peas and the purple cabbage for green cabbage. Although the purple cabbage makes this dish quite pretty.
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Gluten free, vegan & nut free – this is a dish that certainly pleases a crowd. Even the pickiest of eaters at book club went back for seconds.
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Bitter & Sweet Asian Salad
serves 6-8
you will need:
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup shelled edamame
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 medium carrot – peeled into ribbons
1 cup pineapple- cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 cup(s) shredded purple cabbage
for the dressing
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup tamari
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp organic rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp ground fresh chili paste
1 tsp of each – black & white sesame seeds
Assembly: 
In a large bowl add quinoa through cabbage – gently tossing to mix well.
In a small bowl, add all ingredients for the dressing and whisk until emulsified.
Add the dressing to the large bowl and gently mix with a rubber spatula until dressing is evenly distributed – garnish with additional sesame seeds if desired.
Serve at room temp, cold or warm – keeps in the fridge for at least 3 days.
 
Enjoy!

Homemade Gnocchi

The following text and photos are courtesy of Etsy and the article can be seen in full here.

Eatsy: How to Make Homemade Gnocchi

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goodsacozykitchen

Photo by Adrianna Adarme

Story by Adrianna Adarme

Published on May 14, 2013 in Eatsy

As a person who adores comforting and cozy food, gnocchi is high on my list. It makes for a delicious meal that’s hearty, filling and super inexpensive.

Gnocchi is far from difficult to make, but it is very touch and feel. Knead it too little and it won’t hold together; knead it too much, and you’ll end up with very gummy gnocchi. If you’ve never conquered gnocchi-making, seeing a step-by-step how-to might bring you and a delicious bowl of pillowy gnocchi a little closer.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 pounds (about 2-3) Russet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed

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Gnocchi begins by roasting starchy potatoes. In this instance, I used good ol’ Russet potatoes. They take about an hour to cook all the way through; a little slice in the top releases some of their steam so you can handle them.

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I used to make mashed potatoes by mashing them with one of those hand mashers, but ever since I started using a potato ricer, I’ll never, ever go back. A potato ricer is a dreamy kitchen tool.

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All of the potato gets scooped out and put through the ricer. It’ll come out in pretty little strings that are so very fluffy.

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Half of the flour is added to your kitchen counter or cutting board and the riced potato is poured out.

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The next step is kneading the potato and flour together. This is when it’s very much by touch. If it’s not kneaded enough, the dough won’t stick together; if it’s kneaded too much, the potato will turn into a gummy mess. I go little by little until everything starts to come together.

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After it’s kneaded a few times, the rest of the flour is added.

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A bit more kneading…

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And then the test! A small piece of gnocchi is rolled out, cut and dropped into a pot of simmering hot water.

If the gnocchi falls apart, it wasn’t kneaded enough, which is totally fine because you have the rest of the dough to correct. You know the gnocchi is perfectly kneaded when it rises to the top of the pot after a minute or so and comes out only slightly ragged around the edges. A little bit of raggedness is fine.

Then the rolling and cutting of the rest of the dough happens.

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Roll…

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…repeat…

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And cut.

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After the gnocchi is cut, you could make it right away, or you could freeze it for later. If you’d like to freeze it, transfer it to a floured, parchment-lined baking sheet and place it in the oven for 20 minutes, until the gnocchi is firm. Transfer the gnocchi to a freezer-safe plastic bag and boil when you’re ready!

Gnocchi
Serves 6

2 pounds (about 2-3) Russet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until they’re tender when poked with a fork. This should take about one hour. When the potatoes are done, immediately slice them open to let the steam out.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add a few pinches of salt. Scoop out the potato flesh and transfer it to a potato ricer or food mill. Push the potato ricer down and repeat until you’ve passed all of the potato through the ricer. Sprinkle the potatoes with the salt and adjust according to your liking.

3. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour onto your clean counter or cutting board. Knead the potatoes with it, sprinkling in the remaining 1/4 cup flour, until the dough just comes together. If it’s still pretty shaggy, add more flour one tablespoon at a time.

4. Now for the test! Pinch off a piece of dough and roll out into a tube. Cut it into a few pieces and boil it to make sure it holds its shape. If it falls apart in the water, this means you’ll knead the dough a bit more. When right, the gnocchi will float to the top and look a little ragged but hold together when ready.|

5. Roll the rest of the dough into ropes that are about 1/2-inch thick, then cut the ropes into 1/2-inch lengths. Transfer the gnocchi to a parchment-lined baking sheet, being sure the gnocchi don’t touch each other.

6. Add the gnocchi to a boiling water a few at a time. Adjust the heat so the mixture doesn’t boil too vigorously–it should be more like an aggressive simmer. When the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water, they’re done. Remove them with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer and transfer them to your sauce or to a paper towel.

All photos by Adrianna Adarme. 

Adrianna Adarme is a recipe blogger and content producer living in Los Angeles. She writes the blog A Cozy Kitchen, where she shares comforting, easy, everyday recipes from her kitchen.

Cucumber Salsa

Saw this delicious recipe on Facebook courtesy of 45 Minute Skinny.

Crisp Cucumber Salsa:
Note: 1/4 cup is only 16 calories

2 cups finely chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4-1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 c reduced-fat sour cream
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
Tortilla chips

In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and seasoned salt. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately with chips.

Sweet Potato Fries

The following text and pictures are courtesy of Will Cook for Friends. This is an excerpt  see post in full here.

Sweet Potato Fries – The Quest for Crispy (FAK Friday)

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
How To Make Perfect Sweet Potato Fries
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
  1. Preheat the oven –  I found my fries baked perfectly between 425f. – 450f.. This temperature may vary depending on your oven, and also the pans you bake your fries on. I found with a black, non-stick coated pan, 425f. was plenty hot enough. With a thicker, non-coated pan, 450f. was the right temperature. Use an oven thermometer to make sure the temperature is correct – it isn’t uncommon for an oven to be as much as 30-40 degrees off.
  2. Use the right baking sheet – I found that a heavy-bottomed baking sheet with a shinier (not coated) surface did the best job making crispy fries. If you’re using a flimsier tray, try reducing the oven temperature a little and increasing the bake time.
  3. Cut the potatoes into evenly sized fries – this way they cook at an even rate. I found that the best size was just under half an inch thick. Much thicker and they didn’t get crisp, much thinner and they burned. Peeling the potato first is up to you, but keep in mind there’s a lot of good flavor (not to mention nutrients) in the skin. I also found the skin gave a better crunch to the fries. Just be sure to wash your potato and dry it well if you plan to leave the skin on.
  4. Use enough oil – one of the main reasons to make fries in the oven instead of the fryer is because they’re so much healthier, but that doesn’t mean you can avoid the oil all together. It does mean you can use healthier oil, though, like olive oil or coconut oil. Once the fries are cut, toss them in 1-2 TBSP to coat. Be sure to grease the pan, too, to keep them from sticking (or you could use parchment paper – I found it didn’t make much difference in terms of crispiness).
  5. Seasoning – After coating the fries in oil is the perfect time to season them, because the oil will help it stick. A pinch of salt is a must, but the flavor possibilities are truly endless. If you’re in the mood for something spicy, try a bit of chili powder or cayenne pepper. Want something sweet? A dash of cinnamon goes a long way. Some of my favorites are cumin and coriander, rosemary or sage, curry powder, paprika, garlic powder, and even nutmeg. Use whatever flavors call to you!
  6. Spread the fries into an even layer – space the fries out on the baking sheet with a bit of room  between each one. If the fries are crowding the pan they’ll steam themselves and become soggy instead of crispy. If you’re making a lot of fries, use two trays, or do them in batches. (Don’t put more than two trays in the oven at once, or else the amount of steam may cause them to get soggy.)
  7. Bake in the upper 1/3rd of the oven – you want the oven to be hot, but if the fries are too close to the heating element (at the bottom of most ovens) they may get burnt. I found keeping them on the top, or second to top rack, helped tremendously.
  8.  Flip the fries every 10-15 minutes – this will help them cook evenly, and also ensure they get caramelized all ’round. The side of each fry touching the pan will have the most browning, while the side on top will have a chance to dry out and release steam. Both are important! If you’re using two trays, be sure to swap their positions in the oven at this time, too. (I found my fries took about 30-35 minutes, though your time may vary depending on your oven, baking sheet, and the thickness of your fries.)
  9. If you’re using a gas oven – depending on your oven, you may find it necessary to crack the door ever few minutes, just for a moment, to let some of the steam out. Don’t leave the door open for a long period of time, though, because you don’t want the heat to dissipate!
  10. Once the fries are out of the oven – move them immediately to a cooling rack so that air can circulate around them. Keep them spaced out in a single layer (not piled on top of each other) so that they’ll hold on to the crispy exterior.
  11. Devour immediately – it doesn’t need to be said, but fries are best eaten fresh. Fresh, and before anyone else has a chance to get to them.

9 Essential Cookbooks for the Plant-Based Athlete

Thank you No Meat Athlete for this collection of essential cookbooks for the vegetarian athlete. You can find the full article here. If you have any favorites you’d like to add to the list, please do so in the comments. I’d love to hear some recommendations.

9 Essential Cookbooks for the Plant-Based Athlete

Written by Matt Frazier

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My cookbook (and wine) shelf

When it comes to cookbooks, my wife and I are big fans of the library.

You can leaf through a normal book and get an idea of whether it’s any good, but you can’t really decide about a cookbook until you try it. So we like to borrow first, then buy if it’s great.

And so we’ve tried a bunch (well over 50, I bet) in our short three and a half years of being vegetarian. I’m always surprised at the selection of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks in most libraries, even if a lot of them are those 1980′s-style designed ones, with tons of fake meat recipes that are probably a lot worse for you than the even real thing.

(Case in point: I recently saw a recipe in this book, which my sister checked out from the library, for vegan chili cheese dogs. The recipe: get a vegan hot dog, vegan cheese, a bun, and vegan chili, and microwave them. Then assemble as you would an ordinary hot dog. This book also has a “Vegan Chopped Liver” recipe …)

Anyway, my point is that we’ve tried a ton of cookbooks, and we usually end up buying our favorites. And from this handful of favorites, we cook probably 90% of the meals we make.

Before I get to my list, let me explain the criteria.

What makes a great vegan or vegetarian cookbook for athletes?

I called this list 9 Essential Cookbooks for the Plant-Based Athlete, and here’s what I mean by that. To make my list, a vegetarian or vegan cookbook’s recipes had to be:

  • Whole-food based — more than any particular nutrient mix, this is my main criterion for healthy (see this post).
  • Not rabbit-foodish — it’s gotta be substantial, filling, satisfying food.
  • Quick — most meals shouldn’t take more than 30-40 minutes to prepare, since athletes are generally pretty busy.
  • Tasty — maybe the best athletes don’t care so much about this, but the rest of us do.
  • Varied — I wanted each book to have a lot of different types of food in it, so that you could buy just one and still have a nice mix of meals (as opposed to just vegan Indian or Italian food, for example).

So with that, here’s my list. Please note that amazon.com links are affiliate links, so No Meat Athlete will earn a small commission when you buy anything through them!

1. Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

To me, this is a classic, even if it’s only five years old. Though some of the recipes are slightly more involved than I have time for on a weeknight, most every meal in this book turns out wonderfully, and makes you feel like you did something. There’s also tons of supporting material to introduce the reader to different ingredients and techniques used in vegan cooking, making this a perfect first “serious” vegan cookbook.

See my review, along with the recipe for BBQ Black Eyed Pea Collard Rolls, here.

2. Thrive Foods, by Brendan Brazier.

Probably my favorite of all, and the one that I’d rescue from a fire if some weirdo came and lit only my cookbook shelf on fire. The reason I love Thrive Foods is because it’s the perfect balance between extremely healthy (Brendan was a pro triathlete and developed many of these recipes to fuel his career) and normal. I wouldn’t call most of this food gourmet — you can tell that health comes first in most of these recipes — but even my two-year old will eat it, and that’s saying something. And the first one-third of the book makes for interesting reading about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

See my review of Thrive Foods for more, including the delicious Shanghai Rice Bowl recipe.

3. Clean Food, by Terry Walters.

Simple, seasonal, whole ingredients are what I think of when I think of Clean Food. Though it doesn’t say so anywhere on the cover, the book is entirely vegan and mostly gluten-free, too. This is my favorite cookbook for finding what’s fresh at the farmer’s market and making it for dinner that night. (Terry is also a marathoner and triathlete, so it’s no coincidence that the food here is so perfect for athletes.)

Here’s where you can find my review of Clean Food, along with a recipe for Millet Black Bean Patties with Corn.

4. Jai Seed, by Rich Roll.

Jai Seed is a little different — partly because it’s an ebook, but not just that. There’s something else about the food that distinguishes it from that of the other cookbooks on my list. The recipes are unique and interesting, and in general, the ingredients Rich uses are fresh, often raw, superfoods that he combines in simple smoothies, salads, sauces, meals and desserts — and some they turn out to be delicious. And it never hurts to know you’re eating the same food a vegan Ultraman triathlete eats!

See my review of Jai Seed here.

5. Appetite for Reduction, by Isa Chandra Moscowitz.

Isa is the only author to appear twice on my list, but Appetite for Reduction is somewhat different from Veganomicon, so I won’t lose sleep over including both. The focus is on simplifying, so that these meals are quicker, healthier, and cheaper than those in V’con. And my friend Matt Ruscigno, a vegan Registered Dietitian and ultra-distance cyclist, contributed a nutrition primer and lots of nutrition notes throughout the book (see the protein and iron posts Matt wrote for No Meat Athlete).

PS — We made the black bean zucchini tacos a few nights ago, and they were mind-blowing.

6. 1000 Vegan Recipes, by Robin Robertson.

1000 Vegan Recipes was the first vegan cookbook I ever bought, and my gateway from vegetarianism to veganism. To be honest, I haven’t found a ton of standout recipes in this book (Mac ‘n’ Chard is one delicious exception), but the sheer number (you’ll never guess how many!) and variety of quick and simple recipes in the book makes it a go-to for so many nights when I’ve got nothing planned but need to get something on the table fast. The salads section is long and excellent, too.

7. World Vegetarian, by Madhur Jaffrey.

This is the only non-vegan cookbook on my list (many of the recipes call for yogurt or other dairy products, for which you could often substitute vegan versions). But if you don’t own an ethnic cookbook, this is the one to start with. I’m always impressed by the authenticity of these meals and the depths of unfamiliar flavors in them; this is the book that helped me fall in love with vegan cooking back when I was still stuck on the idea that cooking wasn’t as much fun when you were restricted in your choice of ingredients.

8. Supermarket Vegan, by Donna Klein.

Great book, great title, kinda dumb tagline: “225 Meat-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free Recipes for Real People in the Real World.” Okay, I got the first part from “vegan,” and exactly who counts as not a real person in the real world? Still, like I said, it’s a really great book — it selectively uses prepared ingredients from the grocery store to save a lot of time when you’re in a pinch, and most of the recipes turn out well. And for the most part, these meals are cheap, even when you’re paying for the prepared ingredients. If you find yourself time-crunched or otherwise intimidated about cooking, Supermarket Vegan is a place to start.

9. __________, by ___________. Ah, trickery. I said there were nine, and I could only think of eight that truly deserved to be on *my* list. But I’m only one guy, with one set of taste buds, so I want to hear what your favorite is! Leave it in a comment and we’ll have massive list of new books to try!

Happy cooking!

Health Benefits of Beets

Thank you Oasis Advanced Wellness for this comprehensive image of the health benefits of beets!

Beets are by far my favorite vegetable to juice. They are sweet, delicious, and dripping with nutritious goodness. I often combine them with carrots, dandelion, parsley and mint (sometimes I add an apple or two) to make a tasty and healthy drink. Please share your favorite recipes whether juiced, blended, cooked, or chopped!

Food Journal Day 16-17

Monday began with a bagel with Earth Balance spread. Not good. It continued with nothing but water till evening when I had a little bit of left over pasta my parents brought home and some tea. Also not good. Definite lack of anything with nutrients or color.

Today was much better. I began with a smoothie. A delicious combination of peaches, banana, spirulina and water. I ran out of my usual coconut milk and found a can of Goya coconut cream. I didn’t use it. NEVER buy this. It is not natural. It is the water from a coconut with enough sugar and crap added to create a sticky and disgustingly sweet syrup. Stay far, far away.

I drank my smoothie around lunch time so I skipped food until evening. My parents and I went out to a local Turkish restaurant. I had a piece of bread with baba ghanoush and a smoked eggplant dish with some spicy rice and roasted tomatoes and peppers.

Goals for tomorrow are to maintain mainly liquids except for a big salad at some point during the day. I feel the need to cleanse after so many grains.