Thursday, July 12, 2012

Saffron Chickpeas and Rainbow Swiss Chard with Red Quinoa

I've been really enjoying greens. I'm introducing myself to more and more slowly. I fell in love with spinach a couple years ago. Spinach salads, on a veggie sandwich, in a smoothie or juice, or sauteed with garlic,... yum yum. I really enjoy kale salads or chips, raw or cooked. I asked my mom to pick up some kale for tonight's dinner. My co-worker and friend, Tahmi, was coming for a special long-awaited dinner we had talked too long about having. I decided to make a sort-of "bowl." I used a recipe I found in Whole Living Magazine and made minor tweaks here and there. 
 My mom wasn't able to get kale, so she picked up this vibrant, gorgeous rainbow swiss chard.  It didn't taste different than regular s.c., but it sure looked striking. I am going to put the original recipe because I didn't do much different. I used a green bell pepper because I had it on hand, for example, but it would have been better with the red bell pepper that the recipe calls for. :)

Saffron Chickpeas and Bitter Greens with Quinoa

1/4 t. saffron
1 1/2 C. canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 1 can)
coarse salt
2 T. coconut oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 large red bell pepper, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
4 C. bitter greens, such as kale or dandelion, cut into 1/2" ribbons
2 1/2 C. chopped watercress
2 T. chopped fresh mint, plus leaves for garnish
1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
3 C. cooked quinoa
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 C. pumpkin seeds, toasted

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and saffron to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Add chickpeas and a pinch of salt & simmer 5 minutes more. Set aside. 
Heat oil or water in a large skillet over medium heat and cook onion, stirring until softened, about 4 minutes. Add pepper, garlic, cumin, and coriander and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes more. Stir in greens, and chickpea mixture and cook until greens are just wilted. Season with salt. Remove from heat and mix in chopped herbs. 
Divide quinoa among four bowls and top with vegetables, avocado, and seeds. Garnish with herbs. 

Tahmi loved everything. I served the dish with toasted potato rolls my dad picked up. And dessert was delicious! I made a blueberry/blackberry/raspberry/peach/mango pie from scratch. It was so tasty. She said it was the best pie she had ever had. I snuck a piece in her take-home bag. It was a lovely night with laughs and great conversation. 

The saffron chickpeas were very flavorful, the quinoa added a nice nutty crunch, and the creamy avocado brought the whole dish together like strings in a symphony. Give it a try. Throw in whatever you like. That's what is so great about a bowl. 


Chef Teebs

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Texas Chocolate Cake

This cake is absolutely delicious. It's the best chocolate sheet cake I've ever had. And my family makes it vegan! I have made this for friend's birthdays, get togethers, and perfect for a weeknight dessert. I have had several people tell me they couldn't believe how good it was and that it was vegan! And believe it or not, it's easy!

This week at my church homegroup, we had a cookout. Everyone brought something. Chips, hot dogs, veggie burgers, watermelon, fruit salad, cookies, and I brought this lovely cake. There were leftovers, so I dropped off a piece for everyone at work. They all loved it. I got the recipe from my mom. And I will pass it on to you...

Texas Chocolate Cake
      2 C. sugar
      2 C. flour
      1 stick margarine 
      3 1/2 T. cocoa powder
      1 C. water
      1/2 C. crisco
      1/2 C. buttermilk (I use soy/rice milk with 1 1/2 t. apple cider vinegar, let it sit 5 minutes before using)
      2 eggs (I use Ener-G egg replacer)
      1 t. baking soda
      1 t. vanilla extract

      1 stick margarine
      6 T. milk (or less) (I use soy/rice)
      3 1/2 T. cocoa powder
      1 1b. powdered sugar
      1/2 C. walnuts, chopped
In a bowl, mix together sugar and flour. 
In a saucepan, bring to a boil: margarine, cocoa, water and crisco. Once melted, pour over dry ingredients. Beat and then add in buttermilk, eggs, soda, and vanilla. Mix well. Pour in a greased and floured 9x13" pan. Bake 400°F for 20 minutes or until done. Allow to cool before icing.
To make frosting, in a saucepan, bring to boil: margarine, milk, and cocoa. Mix well with a whisk. Remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and walnuts. Add more soy if needed. I like to start with less and add more if needed. You shouldn't need more than 6 T. If it seems to runny, add more powdered sugar. 
Starbucks cake drop off :)

 Give it a try. Yum yum..

Chef Teebs

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Strawberry cupcakes... a pregnant Craving...

Last year I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend. The lovely gal organizing the party requested us to make cupcakes. I brought strawberry, my sister's favorite. This recipe is far from healthy and not my usual kind of cooking. You can make this as vegan as you would like or not. I'll post the original and give some variations. 
A few weeks ago at work, my co-worker said his wife hasn't stopped talking about those cupcakes ever since that party. He said she mentions them at least once a month. She's currently pregnant with her first child. I told him not to tell her but I'm going to make them and surprise her with them! 
She was very happy about them. They are pretty tasty!

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

1 pkg white cake mix*
1/3 C. oil*
3 eggs* (or Ener-G egg replacer)

1/2-3/4 pkg strawberry jello (or vegan jello)
1 pkg frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed
*or instead, you could make your favorite white cake from scratch and add in the jello and strawberries, following the directions below. Just be sure you omit the oil and eggs if you are using your own cake recipe.
Preheat oven 350°F. Mix cake mix with jello powder. Add oil and eggs. Mix well. Add berries, reserving 1/2 C. juice. Put batter in greased cupcake tins with liners or 2 prepared round 8" cake pans. Bake about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when poked through center. 
Let cupcakes cool and then ice with frosting.
1 3 oz pkg cream cheese (or vegan)
2 T. margarine 
1-2 1b. confectioners sugar
1/2 C. reserved strawberry juice
Beat cream cheese, margarine and juice well. Slowly add in confectioner's sugar until smooth and easy to spread but not too runny. 
I made this as a layered cake for my sister's bridal shower. Everyone loved it! It's such a fun, girly color. You can make this recipe as healthy as you would like to. The real strawberry slices in there really kick it up. Definitely much tastier than boxed strawberry cake mix. 

The weather here has been very hot. Our garden is springing up tomatoes, flowers, roses, and herbs. We could just use some rain. Soon I will be using these beautiful tomatoes in a tasty dish... more to come! 

Chef Teebs