Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Easy Bake Oven?

Red velvet cake (green trimmed one), for my friend Sarah's wedding
When I was little I loved to bake. And cake was one sweet thing I would gladly receive! My mom says that I was a fanatic. "If there was cake, there was Teebs... by the cake." Apparently, she says, at my uncle's wedding when I was a little girl, I just sat right next to the cake, staring at it and everyone talked about how many pieces I ate. 

Growing up, I learned how to make cakes and icing from scratch and decorate them. My mom even taught me how to make roses! Since then, I've made cakes for friends, family, and even weddings. In the Culinary Arts program I completed during high school, we did a lot of fun cake decorating. I started getting pretty creative... Senior year I made a Batman cake with an edible photo of (everyone's favorite teacher) Mr. Hansen's head. It was hilarious. Here are some cake's I've done over the years. 
Another teacher, from college
For my nephew's first birthday
My nephew's cake to actually destroy
My nephew's 2nd birthday cake
Wedding cake for a couple of my friends

My best friend Lisa's birthday
If you are interested in a cake or other yummies, contact me via facebook @Chefteebs. I also enjoy hosting and planning parties/events. 
Good night,

Chef Teebs

Oh, and yes I have tried the easy bake oven. It was a wonderful extravaganza but come on, it tasted terrible. But it was just so fun...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spring Pea-sto with Whole Wheat Orecchiette

I love the way peas pop in your mouth with pasta. Being a pesto fan I figured this recipe would have to be a winner. Which it was. I pulled out my overflowing recipe file and found two recipes for pea pestos. I used both to make one yummy one. This recipe was very quick to make! One of the recipes claimed it was a "ten minute meal." Haha. I don't tend to believe those claims. But this was very quick. 

Spring Pea-sto with Whole Wheat Orecchiette

1 10 oz. pkg frozen peas
whole wheat orecchiette (or any pasta of your choice)
3 garlic cloves
1 C. fresh basil leaves
1/2 C. nutritional yeast (or Parmigiano-reggiano cheese)
1/4 C. pine nuts, lightly toasted
leaves of 6-8 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 t. grated lemon peel
2-4 T. olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

Cook 1/2 the bag of peas on stove or microwave according to package directions, then drain well. 

Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt it, and add pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 2/3 C. pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile in a food processor, puree the cooked peas, garlic, basil, nutritional yeast, pine nuts, tarragon and lemon peel. With motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste. 
Toast pine nuts at a low heat and toss as they cook a few mins.

Put the rest of the frozen peas in a serving dish. Pour reserved water over them and stir in pea-sto. Add the pasta and toss to combine. Serve!

I served sauteed sugar snap peas on the side. I simply heated a tiny bit of vegan butter in a skillet, added the peas and tossed til crisp and lightly browned. Then sprinkled them with poppy seeds before serving. 

The dinner was fresh and delicious. I loved the mix of basil and tarragon with the peas. My mom and I agreed that you couldn't put too many peas in the pasta. We love the texture of each little pea. When I put the dinner on the table I realized how green this whole meal is in color. I usually like more mixtures of color...But I wanted to use ingredients on hand and make something pretty quick. My nephew was over today, running around and playing with his trains. He's so sweet but he sure loves the word no right now. He says it about everything. Haha. 
I hope you enjoy my version of this Pea-sto recipe.

God bless,

Chef Teebs

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Roasted Poblano Tacos (Vegan)

Summer to me means iced tea, grilling, sand, fresh tomatoes and herbs from the garden, getting some color on my pasty skin, windows down, sunglasses on, music up loud, swinging on the porch swing with friends, ... but today was a chilly day, a good day to jack up the oven and broil some peppers.. I've always wanted to make stuffed poblano peppers. I found 5 recipes in my cutouts and decided to refer to 2 and kinda make up my own. Well, I roasted the peppers in the oven and they came out so tender their flesh was coming apart and I realized i will have to chop them up instead. So here's what I ended up with:
Roasted Poblano Tacos (vegan)
     (serves 4-5) 
4 poblano peppers
1 1/2 t. coconut oil or olive oil
1/2 a bell pepper (red preferred, I used green cuz I had it)
2 ears fresh corn, kernels cut from cobs,
1/2 C. scallions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. pine nuts, toasted
1/3 C. cilantro, chopped
1/3 C. nutritional yeast (or crumbly cheese)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
sea salt & cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 lime
1/4 C. dry breadcrumbs
1/4 C. cheddar cheese (I used vegan)
1 Pkg soft corn tortillas (El Milagro is the best!)

Both recipes told me to roast the whole pepper and then cut it open/remove seeds after.. so I tried it. Big mistake. It's so much easer the way I've always done it. I explain how here

Roast peppers. (see link above)
In a skillet, heat coconut oil. Add bell peppers and cook about 3-4 mins. Add corn, scallions, and garlic and cook another 3 mins; stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in pine nuts, cilantro, & nutritional yeast. 
In a small bowl, Mash half of the black beans with a fork. Add mashed and whole beans to corn mixture. Season with salt and red pepper. 
Peel and slice and cut poblano peppers in medium sized pieces. Mix in with corn mixture and pour into a baking dish lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Squeeze lime over the top and sprinkle bread crumbs and cheese on top. Bake until cheese begins to melt, about 5-10 mins.
Prepare Tortilla shells according to package directions. Serve shells with roasted poblano taco filling.

Okay, I'm going to be honest. I was getting frustrated  and wasn't feeling too good about this recipe after the peppers were completely falling apart when I was peeling them. But it ended up being a VERY delicious recipe that I would definitely make again. It's a very flexible recipe. I would just use what I have on hand. The ingredients I would be sure to use again though is the FRESH corn and coconut oil. The flavors of both were key to this recipe. The pine nuts weren't really necessary. 
With the tacos, I served rice (mixed with cilantro and lime) and chips & salsa.YUM.

See you soon,

Chef Teebs

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Zucchini Casserole

Tomorrow is Father's Day and I have to work. So tonight I made a special dinner for him. Tons of veggies, bread & "butter" and of course dessert. Every night as we finish up dinner he asks, "That dessert ready?" I figured I better make sure to have some!
Looking over recipes

Tonight's menu looked like this:

Italian bread & vegan butter 
Sauteed spinach 
  with toasted pine nuts
Grilled veggies w/cumin
Zucchini Casserole
Maple walnut cookies  

Zucchini Casserole
2 Lbs.(about 5) zucchini, chopped (or yellow squash)
2 oz. (1/2 stick) butter, cut into cubes (i used vegan)
1/2 an onion, grated
1/2 C. bread crumbs, divided
2 T. half & half (I used coconut milk)
1 t. sugar
salt & pepper

Preheat oven 350. 
Fill a large pot with water and add squash, boil and lightly salt. Cook until fork-tender, about 8 mins. Drain. 
In a medium bowl, combine the squash, butter, onion, 1/4 C. crumbs, coconut milk, and sugar; season with salt and pepper.
Spoon into a lightly greased casserole dish (9 x 11") and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 C. crumbs. Bake until golden, about 35-40 mins.
The casserole recipe was originally from Rachel Ray, but I altered it quite a bit. I used half the amount of butter, no dairy, less onion and zucchini because I didn't have yellow squash. It was delicious! You could really taste the coconut milk, so if you aren't a fan I would recommend soy milk or creamer since it's closer to half & half in texture than rice milk. Using half an onion was plenty. I tried a new recipe for the spinach too, it was good but I wouldn't squeeze lemon over it next time. It was garlic and olive oil sauteed with spinach and topped with toasted pine nuts. I also grilled sliced russet potatoes, thinly sliced green onions, cauliflower, and a little yellow squash I had left in the fridge. I tossed them with salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, and a little cumin. 
Mom testing out potatoes..
toasted pine nuts
 You can find the recipe for the Maple Walnut Cookies on the next post. They were very very well received! 
Happy Father's Day to my dad. I've been blessed with such an amazing dad! His heart is for Jesus. He loves people and wants them to know the freedom and joy he has because he surrendered his whole life to Jesus Christ. I love him so much. He's such a servant. He's spent his life working hard to provide for his family and give us the best life he can provide, teach us the Word of God and he walks in the power of God. I will forever be thankful for such a bold, uncompromising faith that my dad has. People laugh, shake their heads, criticize, and scoff. But he has not let man's opinion change who God has called him to be. I'm so thankful. 
Happy Father's Day and bless you fathers who are willing to be servants and true examples to leave behind a legacy for your children and your children's children.
Chef Teebs

Maple Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

I love to try new cookie recipes. This one in particular was very easy and quick to make. It's from Isa Chandra's cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance. I baked the first cookie sheet of them and they came out very flat and then. So I added about 1/2 C. of oatmeal to the rest of the batter and the rest came out perfect. Now that I think of it, next time I should toast the walnuts.. hmm. Anyway, here's how I made it.
Maple Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 C. canola oil
1/3 C. pure maple syrup
2  heaping T. molasses
2 t. vanilla extract
3/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. soy milk
2 T. arrowroot or cornstarch (or 4 T. flour)
1 1/2 C. flour
3/4 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 walnuts, chopped 
1/2 C. oatmeal

Preheat oven 350.
Lightly grease cookie sheet with cookie spray.
In a large bowl, mix oil, syrup, molasses, vanilla, and sugar until well combined. The oil will separate a little but that's okay. Add the soy milk and starch and mix until dissolved and mixture resembles caramel. 
 Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and oatmeal. Mix until well combined. Fold in walnuts. Drop by Tablespoonfuls about 2" apart onto baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven, let sit for 2 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.
 Yum. Yum. These are very chewy, nutty, and rich. 

Chef Teebs
Fresh herbs.. i love summer!