A group of folks got together to spend just under two hours with a group of kids from our fair city’s toughest neighborhood to cook together. To cook real food ~ food that needs no more than a few basic skills to make, skills like peeling, chopping, stirring, boiling, cutting, slicing, and best of all, caring. Continue reading →
Healthy, delicious, vegan, gluten-free & Italian. Need I say more? I mean, really? With so many wonderful things all packaged up into one, it might seem almost too good to be true. If I told you also, just how mind-bogglingly easy this recipe was, well you might just freak right out. Don’t do that. Instead, read on to find the recipe that could literally help you simplify your life, be healthier, all the while impressing your friends and family as well. Lofty promises I know.
I first posted a chickpea flat bread recipe back in September, fresh off our glorious family holiday in France. That recipe, as well as today’s, came directly from our time in a comfortable Provencal apartment, when on the last day there I chilled alone on the terrace with a (1/2) bottle of rose and a few of the apartment owner’s cookbooks (a most wonderful and sophisticated Australian woman).
A few hundred iphone shots later (not even kidding you) and I had what might be the best collection of authentic French and Italian recipes ever. Not to mention a never to be forgotten few quiet moments to myself in paradise.
And now I am so excited to share some of that paradise with all of you, with my surroundings slightly different of course, but you all know what I mean! Chickpea flour is fairly inexpensive and can be found in most any Asian, Indian, or health food store. So do seek it out, it will be well worth your while!
Less wheat flour based diet staples less irritants for those sensitive. Less grains in the diet can mean less trouble for the stomach, digestion, and comfy body weight. Fewer ingredients in your food means more control of what you are eating, so sourcing ingredients of quality stays paramount.
More simple recipes to prepare means more reasons to make them. More old world foods means more old world wisdom. More alternatives to bread means more ways to feel satiated, without paying a price in equilibrium.
Authentic Italian Chickpea Flat Bread:
(2.5) cups chick-pea flour (also called gram or garbanzo flour)
(3.5) cups fresh cold water
(1 tsp) salt & black pepper, or to taste
(1/4) cup extra virgin olive oil
First, prepare to be blown away in a few hours, as this recipe calls for the mixed batter to sit a little while. I’ve made this recipe now several times and have had great success with mixing it up mid-day on a weekend for cooking in time for dinner.
In a large mixing bowl, pour in the flour. Add the water gradually as you whisk the flour to keep any lumps from forming. Once all the water has been added, mix until completely smooth and add salt and pepper as desired (just not too much salt and this recipe doesn’t need much).
Let the mixture stand on the counter for 3 hours or so. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Gently skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the mixture with a slotted spoon. Prepare a large rimmed cookie sheet by pouring the olive oil onto the bottom (if you can, do not be shy or skimpy here with the olive oil, it is wonderful in this recipe).
Once the oven is hot, pour in the batter, making a layer about (1/4) inch deep. Careful, this is going to move a lot when you pick it up! Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven when done and let cool a little before cutting & serving.
Now the original recipe (to which I have made no changes to) calls for the ‘cake’ (called chick pea cake or ‘Torta Di Ceci’) to be served piping hot. It is of course, completely delicious straight out of the oven, plain or with (just a little) grated Parmesan on top.
Personally, I think it is divine smothered in the Broccoli Pesto from my last post, but it would be equally good with my favorite Kale Pesto or a tomato based chutney or even a good sharp cheese (I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t ridiculous with Gruyere). The trick here is not to double up on the beans – for balance I would avoid hummus or any other bean related dip with this one, bit that might just be me
This recipe makes a generous amount, and the good great news is it keeps incredibly well. Just cut and store in the fridge until needed. To heat, simply broil the amount you want until hot and brown. Perfect.
In addition to being amazing freshly baked, I was thrilled to learn that the textural integrity of this cake is still amazing with left overs. It is a heavenly and welcome substitute for pasta or beans in soup too and won’t dissolve or disintegrate when added to liquid and cooked. Simply cube and add to whatever liquid based sustenance you happen to have on hand.
My sustenance this weekend was just this. Hot, cozy tomato soup with cubed chickpea flat bread and a nice sprinkle of olive oil and black pepper. Perfect for a rainy winter weekend
Life really is a funny thing. As we move forward (which we inevitably have to), it is certainly impossible to know what might inspire us from day-to-day, week to week, and so on. It could be a conversation over lunch, or a person you haven’t seen for years that suddenly pops into your life. It could be a season, or the way you feel after spending quality time outdoors in the fresh air.
I know that for me, I am happiest and most inspired when I’ve got a full, balanced plate in front of me. Pardon the corny food metaphor, but it’s just so apt! Not too much, and not too little. Just the right amount. Having too much (of anything) can certainly cause a feeling of being bogged down. The goal (for me anyways) is always to find some sort of precarious balance and this week, I am finding much strength in looking at ways to further embrace the philosophy and idea behind this blog.
Less is always more (except when it isn’t). Simple & easy might rule around here for a while, as we kick off our next set of NSF cooking classes (pumped!) which are just around the corner. Stay tuned for an update on what we are doing next week as we finalize the recipes, write the ingredient lists, and round-up the best volunteers in the whole entire world (love you guys!).
Of course, we’ll also get to some really great recipes too. Lots of them, in fact! Starting with this amazing version of a popular favorite. Yes, broccoli pesto it is, and it is wonderful, especially when you see what it goes with!
Less oil-heavy sauces means fewer calories and fragmented foods. Less traditional pesto ingredients means more variety and fun ways to eat different things. Less calorie & dairy rich appetizers means lighter eats to snack on anytime, so good taste and light feelings come together.
More fiber filled broccoli means more chlorophyll and vitamins. More lemony, zesty flavor means more punchy bright taste. More pumpkin seeds & fresh herbs means more plant-based nutrition, so eating adventurously is just this good for you & healthy.
Start by putting up some water to boil in a small saucepan and steam the broccoli for 2-3 minutes until bright green and tender, but not mushy. Once cooked, remove the broccoli from the heat and set aside.
Roast the pumpkin seeds in a 350 degree oven for 2-3 minutes until turning brown and fragrant. Prepare the lemon juice, lemon zest, & fresh herbs and set aside.
Once the seeds are toasted, remove from the oven and add them directly to the blender warm with all of the prepared ingredients. The mixture might need some agitation with a spatula to get going, but should get going to a nice bit of pureeing in little time. Blend on high until well mixed and bright green.
Serve within a day or two to ensure the best color from the broccoli and the best nutritional value. Broccoli pesto will keep in the fridge for several days and is delicious served with chickpea flat bread, or as a dip for crunchy crackers.
In my next post, I’ll share with you the latest version of chickpea flat bread that has won my heart for good.
Since our return from France in August (and the recipes I brought home from Provence), I’ve had the pleasure to try a many of these, and this one is so far my favorite! So stay tuned for an easy, filling, and nutritious version of what is fast becoming a popular food here at home (and for very good reason).
Stay tuned, you’ll want to make this one, I promise! Also do let me know if you’ve got any streamlining to do as a result of a (rather) full plate, and what is your first thing to let go!
What do you do when you feel bogged down by details?
Have you tried a broccoli pesto or chickpea flat bread yet?
Have a wonderful remainder to the week my friends and thank you as always for reading, for your kind comments, and your wonderful feedback on the recipes
Holla Bloggers! Welcome to this stop on the Virtual Vegan Potluck! For occasions like this, sometimes you’ve got to whip up something special. Enter one of my all time favorite special occasion recipes. There are many amazing versions of vegan loaf recipes out there, but this one is well, special.
This is a recipe I’ve been serving up in my house for years, and whether for Thanksgiving, Easter, or just an anytime awesome vegan meal, it always gets rave reviews. After all, what’s not to love when yummy ground cashews & hearty brown rice are mixed with herbs and spices and baked to perfection? Not a whole lot, I can tell you that for sure!
I must point out that I rarely use cashews this heavily, as they can get pricey, and while a vegan’s dream ingredient for those missing the creaminess of dairy, can still be heavy-ish on the pocketbook and tummy if not used in (relative) moderation.
But with today being a special occasion, what better time could there be to make something (just a little) less ordinary, and perhaps (just a little) more delicious than usual?
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
~ Mother Teresa
Less meat-based main courses means more veggie heaven for all. Fewer fats, lower cost, and better value means more nutrition for less output. Fewer steps in a recipe means anyone can do it, and when dinner tastes this good, really, everyone should.
More tasty filling dinner ideas means you can safely (and deliciously) feed anyone. More nuts and whole grains means more plant-based satisfaction. More simple to make sauces and healthy flavor add-ins means healthy food that is flavorful, so serving up plant-based becomes ritual.
Cashew Rice Loaf & Red Pepper Cheese Sauce:
~ Adapted From the Silver Hills Cookbook
(1/3) cup short grain brown rice
(1) cup water for cooking the rice
(1) tbsp olive oil
(1) small onion, finely chopped
(1) cup finely ground raw cashews
(1) cup breadcrumbs
(1) cup soy or nut milk
(2) tbsp fresh or dried parsley
(1) tbsp soy sauce or Bragg’s
(1/2) tsp salt, or to taste
Olive oil for oiling the loaf pan
Start by combining the rice and cold water together in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and turn down to simmer with the lid on for 35-40 minutes while you prepare all the other ingredients.
While the rice cooks, chop the onion finely and heat (1) tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Saute the onion for 6-8 minutes until brown and fragrant. Once the onion is cooked, add it to a large mixing bowl that is ready and waiting to go.
In the mixing bowl, combine the cooling cooked onion with the remaining loaf ingredients. Once the rice is cooked, add it to the mixture while still warm, this will help it all to mix beautifully together. Mix everything well, and get in there with your hands to ensure it is all even.
After mixing, the mixture should be nice and moist, but not too dry. Feel free to add a few extra breadcrumbs if the mixture feels too wet, but in my experience the ratios here are perfect.
If you are subbing in gluten-free breadcrumbs, you may want to add a little more.
At this point once your loaf mixture is all mingling together, you can set the mixture aside for later and bake it when convenient.
To bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Transfer the cashew mixture to a well oiled standard loaf pan (or two smaller pans) and bake for 40 minutes, until the house is smelling wonderful and the loaf has browned on top.
Red Pepper Cheese Sauce:
(2) medium red bell peppers, seeded & chopped coarsely (you could use yellow or orange too for different color)
(1) cup cashews or cashew pieces (slightly more affordable)
(1.5) cups water
(1/4) cup olive oil
(1-1.5) tsp salt
(1) tbsp nutritional yeast
(1/4) tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic
(1/4) tsp black or white pepper
Combine all ingredients in your blender, and blend on high for at least a full minute, even longer (up to 2 minutes is good). This recipe is so easy and simple and doesn’t require any pre-soaking of nuts or roasting of peppers!
Once your mixture is well blended, transfer to a medium sauce pan and heat very gently on the stove. Cook this mixture over medium-low heat for 15 -20 minutes until heated throughout, and thick and bubbly. Make sure to stir frequently to keep the sauce from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Cooking the cashews gently thickens them while cooking the pepper and spices together. Of course, you could pre-roast the peppers, but I love the beauty and ease of this sauce – it can be whipped up in minutes spur of the moment!
Serve this for a special meal. Or serve it everyday. Turn it out onto a serving dish (wait for it to cool a minute) and garnish with fresh herbs and cooked greens.
It’s not only fabulous fresh out of the oven and smothered in gravy, but equally delicious thrown in the fridge to be enjoyed later. Crumble leftovers over green salads with tahini dressing, or add it to a vegetable saute with garlic & kale.
This dish is easy to make and always a hit for vegans and omnivores alike. Feel free to use different bread crumbs and play around with the herbs and vegetables too.
My favorite part about this recipe is it doesn’t need anything added, it’s perfect just the way it is!
It just needs good people around to eat it.
I think that could be arranged right?
Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right .
~ Henry Ford.
I think it’s safe to say that we all, at the end of the day, desire (and need) the same basic things.
Good food and good friends are just about the two best things in the world when put together, and I’m happy to have you all here to share all of this amazing food love with me!
Have you got a great vegan loaf recipe to share?
What’s your favorite special occasion meal?
Thanks for joining in today and do let us know…I am off to count the Halloween candy haul between two rain-soaked & excited eight year olds
Looking forward to perusing the fabulous offerings at the Potluck, and have a wickedly wonderful weekend everyone!
I know it’s hard when this happens, but really, I’ve got to be honest. I’ve had a challenging week.
I’m not sharing this to illicit sympathy (well, not intentionally), but in truth, I’d be lying if I tried to pretend life was all roses all the time. Of course this week has also brought it’s fair share of amazing as well.
So what to do?
Roll with it. Carry on. Be bold. Stay strong. And don’t stop (never stop).
Keep carrying on. Positively!
So really, that fender bender that will see my insurance rates go up for the next few years? I am choosing to see the positive: while my vehicle is in the body shop, I can finally have the rest of the knicks and scrapes repaired along with that crack in the wind shield that gets longer by the week….no one was hurt. Accidents happen.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
~ E.E. Cumming
My usual style is to beat myself up hard over stuff like this. After all, driving is serious business and there is nothing like a split second to change the course of your day, or if it is really not your day (and heaven forbid) your life.
As shaken as I was for the rest of that day, I know that practicing forgiveness for mistakes is as much a part of the lesson as the mistake itself.
So drive safely folks. Don’t text (I wasn’t on or near my phone when this happened). Don’t look down. Take a few extra seconds to think. And if you fail, forgive. It’s the least you can do.
And then make this salad. It will make you an instant hero, no matter what your week, or your day, has looked like. Even if you don’t like brussels sprouts, this raw combo will blow you away (and anyone else at your table too).
The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
~ John Powell
Less conventional cooked brussels sprouts means a chance to finally enjoy them. Less boredom in the salad department means more excitement and life in your salad bowl. Less cooked heavy meals means more lightness, crunch, and flavor, not to mention good health and well-being too.
More cruciferous green veggies & home-grown sprouts means more delicious, disease-fighting frugality. More high-fiber substance means more filling up on the right foods. More crisp crunchy textures means more chewing for good digestion, so eating and mindfulness are a no-brainer.
Crisp Brussels Sprout Salad w/ Apple Dijon Dressing:
(15) large brussels sprouts, washed
(1) cup fresh sprouted legumes (my fave to grow at home are mung bean or green peas)
(1/2) cup dried cranberries
(1/3) cup toasted whole pecans, crumbled
(1/2) cup Apple Dijon Dressing
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Apple Dijon Dressing:
(1/4) cup apple juice (or water will do in a pinch)
(1/2) cup apple cider vinegar
(1/2) cup good olive oil
(3) tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
(3) tbsp honey or plant-based sweetener
(1/2) tsp good sea salt
First, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a blender (or large bowl if you are using a hand blender). Blend all until a silky texture is created, just about 20-30 seconds. Transfer to a clean container or jar.
To make the salad, start by toasting the pecans either in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes or on the stove top in a dry pan for 5 minutes or so, being very careful not to burn them. Set the pecans aside.
To shred the brussels sprouts, make sure they are clean by running them quickly under cold water. With a sharp serrated knife, start with the top end of each sprout (they are cut individually) and slice the sprout in rounds as thinly as you can until you reach the thicker stem end. Use this method until all of the sprouts are shredded.
Next, add them to a large bowl and separate the rounds with your hands to free the pieces and create a slaw like mixture.
When ready to serve, combine all of the ingredients in the bowl except the pecans, and toss with the dressing, adding it to taste.
This is a nice light dressing which will pool somewhat on the bottom of the bowl once the salad is served. Don’t waste this! I suggest a few baked or steamed whole sweet potatoes to serve alongside this to soak up this delicious dressing
When ready to serve, crumble the toasted pecans over top of the salad or onto individual portions and serve right away.
Freedom lies in being bold.
~ Robert Frost
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
~ Steve Jobs
This salad tastes incredible the next day too and is wonderful served on top of cooked grains and/or other steamed vegetables.
In my next post I’ll take you through the home sprouting process step by step – sprouting legumes is really one of those easy and cheap things that brings amazing results to anyone looking for simple raw nutrition for literally pennies!
These gorgeous mung beans provide at least a few days worth of enzymes, protein, and vitality and they only took 2 days to grow right here in my sink
If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag.
~ Author Unknown
So folks, I hope you are having a fabulous October so far – it is hard to believe we are almost half way!
I am also excited to get my car fixed up. Turns out there IS an up side to everything, it just depends in which light you look at it. So whether life is actually roses all the time or not, those colored glasses we always hear so much about?
I’m keeping mine close. It’s the only way.
Have you tried brussels sprouts raw before?
If not, this is so worth a try!
It has been immediately added to our regular rotation, and even got a huge thumbs up from both the teenager and the husband. Now, that’s a win worth celebrating!
Welcome! What is In Pursuit Of More? The blog about living with (just a little) less. By going without, we can gain - by giving to those who have less. Want to make a change in your eating habits for the better? Imagine how you can turn that into something positive for those who would otherwise go hungry. Go without so others don't have to. That's living with (just a little) less.