Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dinner in a Ramekin

 One of the things I'm trying to work on in my life is to save money. As I look over my account statements I'm amazed at how much money I spend on food. What can I say, I love food. I love cooking and I love eating out... trying new places and going back to the ones I like best. So now I'm trying to do as my mom does and use up everything in the kitchen before going to the store again. After going to the gym and meeting my friend for a walk today I was starving by the time I got home. What to make... I still had some leftover tomato sauce as well as zucchini middles (these were leftover from making noodles last night.) I also had a little bit of steamed kale and green beans. I decided to make a veggie layer bake with a side salad. For the veggie bake I started by sauteing sliced zucchini with a lot of red chili flakes. I spread a layer of tomato sauce in a ramekin and added the zucchini. I sprinkled a little bit of goat milk cheddar and topped that with my next mixture of sauteed veggies which consisted of garlic, onion, and green and red bell pepper. I added half of the veggies into the ramekin and added another layer of sauce. Once I added the rest of the sauteed veggies, I sprinkled on some cheese and baked it in the oven for around seven minutes at 350 degrees.
My side salad consisted of kale, green beans, and tomato sprinkled with hemp seeds. I prepared a homemade vinaigrette of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and dijon mustard.
For throwing all these odds and ends together, it made for a very tasty dinner with no additional shopping or spending required.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dinner for One

The weather was so awesome today! On my drive to work I saw lightning and after about an hour or so of being in the kitchen I smelled wet asphalt. That by the way is my most favorite smell ever. I am so in love with the rain I should probably be living in Portland. I looked outside and sure enough it was raining! It cleared up for a little bit in the afternoon but the clouds returned and showed off a beautiful sky. I took this on my walk home from the gym.

As I walked home I thought of what I could make myself for dinner. I had leftover pizza sauce from lunch yesterday and extra zucchini I had picked up to make muffins. I also had half of a gluten free pizza crust... Sometimes you just want to make half of a pizza. I decided to make zucchini noodle pasta with green beans and kale and rosemary garlic flatbread.

 The zester I have has these little rings on the end which is perfect for making zucchini noodles. I used 1 1/2 zucchini. Once you have your noodles made, blanch them in boiling water for about a minute. Strain and rinse with cold water. Set aside until ready to mix with sauce. In my bamboo steamer, I steamed green beans and kale for a few minutes. I like my veggies to still have a little crunch. I added the greens beans first because they take longer to cook.

Now for the flatbread. I minced one clove garlic and placed in a small bowl with a little olive oil. Brush on to the pizza crust and top with rosemary and a sprinkle of salt. I used some of the course ground pink Himalayan salt. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 5-8 minutes.

While my flatbread was in the oven I finished my pasta. In a small saucepan I heated some of the leftover pizza sauce. I added the zucchini noodles, kale, greens beans and stirred gently to coat them completely. Once hot, I plated them and sprinkled with hemp seeds.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pizza Pizza

Like I have said before, Udi's makes the best gluten free pizza crust. Two crusts come per package so I will share two different pizza recipes. After adding sauce and toppings, bake according to instructions on package. I always like to bake a little longer for a really crispy crust.

The first recipe is for a vegetarian pizza. Hummus was used in place of traditional pizza sauce. I love the flavor it adds to the pizza. Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese was sprinkled on and topped with zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, and basil.

This next recipe was created today for my lunch and it's probably one of my favorites that I've made so far. Tomato sauce was used as the base and topped with goat milk cheddar. I found this cheese at Trader Joe's, it's delicious. The rest of the pizza was topped with salami, prosciutto, lots of red pepper flakes, fresh garlic, tomatoes, red bell peppers, basil, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

On my way home from work this afternoon I stopped at Finley Organic Farms. They have their little farm stand set up and you pay by the honor system. It's so nice to have places like this in town. I usually get most of my produce from them on Wednesdays at the farmers market but I didn't make it this week. The red bell peppers and tomatoes I purchased were used to top my pizza. 

The zucchini I bought was turned into gluten free zucchini carrot and raisin muffins. First time using my muffin top pan! The tops are the best part anyway.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gluten Free Granola

Yesterday was a sad day, but being in the kitchen cooking helps me take my mind off things for a bit and always makes me much happier. Before I started on dinner, I made a batch of granola. I've been craving it so much lately. The gluten free varieties are quite pricey so I thought I would make my own. I haven't had the best experience making granola in the past but I had faith that this time I would make it work. I researched for a recipe online and came across this one from David Lebovitz. I like this recipe because it calls for applesauce in place of most of the oil. Like any recipe I attempt to make, I always tweak it a bit. I also cut the quantities in half.

Gluten Free Granola

2.5 cups gluten free oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup +1/8 cup unsweetened apple sauce
 1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon yacon syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300F

- In a bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.
- Warm the applesauce in a saucepan and add the remaining wet ingredients.
- Mix the applesauce mixture in with the dry ingredients until evenly distributed.
- Spread the granola out evenly on a baking sheet.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the granola is a deep golden brown.

This batch came out great. I kept sneaking nibbles after dinner last night. I did have some for breakfast this morning with almond milk, chopped strawberries and some sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

More Experiments

More experiments in the kitchen... I can make quite the mess.

I can't believe it's already September 1st. Fall is approaching and that makes me a very happy girl. Fall and winter are my favorite! I love the cozy feeling the seasons bring and thinking back, most of my happiest times have taken place during this time of year. I think Amber was feeling a bit nostalgic too since she chose a few fall flavors for this weeks menu. Since Thursday is our slow day we got out of the kitchen pretty early this morning. On my drive home I was thinking of what I wanted to make for breakfast. Buckwheat pancakes... I always crave them. I thought I would try something new by making a carrot spice version.

As much as I love using buckwheat for my batter, I always have trouble with it when adding other ingredients. I tried making a raspberry apple variation the other day but they completely fell apart and failed as pancakes. It turned out more like porridge. 
This still needs some tweaking but for todays experiment I added 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon grape seed oil along with shredded carrot, vanilla extract, and yacon syrup to my original recipe

I made a creme top with two parts mascarpone, one part plain greek yogurt and cinnamon. A few drops of stevia were added for sweetness. I finished these off with walnuts, a drizzle of yacon syrup and some leftover shredded carrot.

I felt a bit like Joy the Baker while eating these as I stood over my counter.