July 23, 2012

roasted veggie wraps

Last Friday we finally caught a much-needed break from the lethargy-inducing 90+ humid weather we've been experiencing.

I could not get out of bed that day. You know what got me out of bed? I heard my husband leaving for work and I bolted up and scrambled to the top of the stairs so I could yell down for him to bring some of the giant banana-coconut cake I had just made with him to work so we wouldn't be stuck with a giant banana-coconut cake to eat between the two of us. I guess there are worse things.

Anyways, I didn't catch him. And I was too lazy to chase him. And I kind of headed back to bed. But then! He called me and told me I had to get outside because it was THE PERFECT WEATHER. 

So I got up, put on my running clothes and headed outside and he was right. Perfect weather. The run was amazing. And since I did that, I can eat more cake. That's how it works, right?

In an effort to squeeze every last drop out of The Perfect Weather Day (you never know when you'll get another one around here), we decided to have a picnic after work. And these veggie wraps were the perfect thing. Wrapped them up in foil like burritos and toted them to the park with our blankets and crosswords and cake (what else?). 

I can't stop thinking about how delicious and satisfying these were and how I can't wait to make them again. Props to Bar Louie, which is where I had a very similar wrap that inspired me to make these.

Roasted Veggie Wraps
Serves 2

1/2 of a red pepper, sliced
3-inch section of a large zucchini, julienned (or two 3-inch sections, if using a small zucchini)
1 small carrot, julienned
1/4 of a small red onion, sliced
1-2 T. olive oil
1 tsp of kosher salt, or more to taste
1/2 tsp of lemon pepper or regular fresh ground pepper, or more to taste

Wrap Ingredients
2 tortillas
Hummus (about 2-3 T.)
Pesto (about 2 T.)
1 cup spinach or arugula
Crumbled feta (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 of an avocado, sliced

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Combine the red pepper, zucchini, carrot and red onion in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Pour veggies onto prepared baking tray and distribute evenly. Roast for 12-15 minutes, tossing once or twice, until tender-crisp.

While veggies are roasting, you can start preparing your tortillas. Spread half of one side of each tortilla with hummus, and spread pesto on the other half. Coarsely chop up your spinach or arugula.

When the veggies are finished, take them out and add the chopped spinach or arugula to the baking tray and toss gently to slightly wilt the lettuce. Divide your veggies evenly onto the prepared tortillas. Add the crumbled feta and the sliced avocado on top. Roll up your wraps (aluminum foil is helpful for holding it all together). Chomp.

July 20, 2012

no-cook summer chickpea salad

Oh hey, it's me.

Truth be told, this recipe was never going to make it to the internets.
It was a salad that I threw together one night a few weeks ago when husband was gone, and I wanted something healthy and fast and super easy, probably to balance all the cookies or chocolate almonds I had eaten that day (just a guess), and girls were coming over soon to swoon with me over Jef  watch the Bachelorette.

So I made this salad. It was really good. But I didn't really think much more about it until my sister-in-law came over, starving, and finished up the rest of it, and loved it so much that she asked me for the recipe and then made it like 5 times in the next two weeks. And told me I had to post it.

So here I am. And here it is. I think it's perfect for summer. It's crunchy, light, slightly sweet, and has avocado, which automatically makes anything at least 52% better. And you really you don't have to cook a thing. If you buy those ready-to-eat edamame from Trader Joes, you literally just have to cut up a couple of veggies and stir some dressing together and shovel this into your mouth straight from the mixing bowl. I have really good manners.

(P.S. I love you, T. Thanks for liking my food.)

Summer chickpea salad
Serves  2-3
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup shelled, ready-to-eat edamame
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1 ear of corn on the cob, kernels removed
1 green onion, sliced
1/3 cup chopped tomatoes, optional (I added them mostly for color)
1/2 of an avocado
2 T. chopped cilantro

Note: If you are making this salad ahead of time, or would like to save some for the next day, I'd recommend leaving out the tomatoes and avocado until just before serving.

1 T. white wine vinegar
1 T. sugar
Juice from 1/2 lime
3 T. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

red chili flakes, optional

Combine vinegar, sugar and lime juice in a small bowl. Add olive oil slowly while whisking. Add salt and pepper and chili flakes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Combine all salad ingredients in a medium bowl and gently stir. Pour dressing over the salad and toss. Serve cool or at room temperature.

January 31, 2012

citrus salad

My fridge has been rather barren of late. Holidays and travel and work have robbed it of it's bounty and sapped me of time or energy to make stuff.

So last night when an intense chocolate craving hit, and my sad half stick of butter made it virtually impossible to bake something (excuses), rather than going to the store to get more butter (which would have been the logical thing), I drove 20 minutes each way to get my sorry self a sinfully rich chocolate/peanut butter cupcake.

It was SO worth it.

But thanks to a quick Whole Foods run for milk and bananas the other morning (which turned into a long Whole Foods run for milk, bananas, blueberries, citrus, bacon, cheese, cookies and other stuff), I found my fridge stocked with just enough good stuff to make this wonderful salad for snack today.

It's a perfect way to use those beautiful winter citruses, and I think you'll find it refreshing and incredibly energizing as I did. I felt so great afterwards that I probably would have been annoyingly upbeat to anyone who might have been around. Fortunately I was alone.

Citrus Salad
Serves 1-2

1 grapefruit
2 blood oranges
2 clementines
1/2 -1 whole avocado, depending on preference 
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Olive oil
Sea salt and Fresh ground pepper
Salad greens, optional

Section all the citrus into a bowl. (Here's a helpful tutorial if you need it.) Slice the avocado and add it to the bowl. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the fruit. Drizzle with a tablespoon or so of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss gently. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Eat as is, or serve (mostly drained) over greens (like watercress or arugula or baby greens).

I ate it first with watercress, then ended up eating the rest straight from the bowl and actually preferred it like that!

December 31, 2011

spicy tomato and spinach soup

Before we begin, I'm sorry these photos are so...rushed.

The idea to even take photos was super last minute and pretty perfunctory, because I was just trying to throw together some soup for my sick husband with whatever I had on hand, and also I was hungry. But it turned out so surprisingly delicious that I'm glad I at least have these few average photos to share with you.

It's a good healthy soup. It's warming and spicy. It's comforting when served with toasty bread or grilled cheese or these warm winter chickpeas. It's even better when you take some of said chickpeas onto a spoon and then get some soup onto that spoon too. Comfort food man.

Definitely one of favorite dinners recently though. Especially since I just covered the entire thing in parmesan cheese.

Spicy tomato and spinach soup
2-3 servings

2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. herbes de provence
1 14-oz can stewed or crushed tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
2-3 cups chopped fresh spinach
1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, and herbes de provence. Stir to combine. Add the tomatoes and the vegetable stock and stir. Add the spinach, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Stir in cream, if using. Serve sprinkled with fresh parmesan.

Add pasta or rice to the soup to turn this into a heartier soup.

I hope you have a very happy and bright new year full of love and bubbles!

December 28, 2011

peppermint mocha cupcakes

What's your favorite seasonal drink at Starbucks?
Do you have a top secret 47-word one that I should know about?

I love me some peppermint mocha. I was thinking it was my favorite. I'm not much for gingerbread or brulee. Maybe they're not sinful enough, I don't know. Then the other day as I was standing in line at the 'bucks anticipating my tasty drink, I heard someone order a salted caramel mocha. Like, not-on-the-menu-anymore-since-Fall-is-over salted caramel mocha. I had forgotten all about that guy! So now I've decided that maybe those two seasonal mochas will tie for favorite.

As you can see, I have very exciting thoughts.

On to the cupcakes! Obviously, since I make these mocha coconut cupcakes on a very regular basis, and given my aforementioned weakness for the peppermint mocha, it was only the decent thing to do to combine them into one amazing little cake.

They're rich yet refreshingly minty. Not overpoweringly minty though. Crunchy candy cane bits top the delectable mint buttercream to make your day. Zing! (I don't know if that phrase applies here)

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
Adapted from How Sweet's mocha coconut cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon mint/peppermint extract
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (I wanted to use mint chips but couldn't find them. I bet they'd be amazing in this)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with liners.
Melt butter and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, sift together, flour, cocoa, coffee, soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add milk, butter and extracts, and mix until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture. Mix until batter is smooth, then stir in sour cream. Fold in chocolate chips and mix. Using a 1/4 cup measure or an ice cream scoop, add batter to each cup to fill about 2/3 full (or a little more). Bake for 15-18 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

Minty Whipped Cream Buttercream

1 cup softened butter
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp mint/peppermint extract
2-4 T. heavy whipping cream

Cream butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add sugar gradually until a thick consistency is reached. Add salt and extracts and 2 T. of cream. Continue beating. Add more cream until desired consistency is reached, and more sugar if it is too thin. Taste and add 1/4 tsp more mint extract if it isn't minty enough for you.

Frost cupcakes. Top with crushed candy canes. Refrigerate leftover cupcakes to keep frosting fresh.