Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Steamed Broccoli and Squash with Tahini Sauce

I love the feeling you have after a light healthy dinner. I was getting ready to go on a road trip and wanted to use the veggies left in the vegetable drawer. This recipe not only sounded tasty and refreshing, but would be a perfect choice considering what I had on hand. I found it in Whole Living Magazine.
Along with this dish, I prepared oatmeal knots, a delicious roll! And for dessert, I baked apples stuffed with oats, brown sugar and spices. Mmm..

Steamed Broccoli and Squash with Tahini Sauce

1/2 head broccoli florets
1 delicata squash (or any kind of squash, I used butternut and yellow)
1 C. mixed tender greens (or kale)
1 C. red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 T. red onion, diced
coarse salt & pepper
1/4 C. Tahini Sauce (recipe below)
1 T. toasted sesame seeds (I used blue poppy seeds)

Steam broccoli until bright green and tender, about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside. Steam squash until bright and tender, about 10 minutes. In a bowl, toss greens with cabbage and onion. Top with steamed vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with Tahini Sauce and sprinkle with seeds. 
Tahini Sauce (makes 1 1/4 C.)

1/2 C. tahini
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 T. olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. paprika
3/4 C. water
coarse salt

In a food processor, puree tahini, zest, juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, paprika and water, until smooth. Season with salt. Store sauce in an airtight container in the fridge up to 1 week. 

This is a very versatile recipe. You could use any vegetables, any seeds or nuts, any greens, or even add chickpeas or beans. I love how healthy this recipe is. I would definitely make it again! 

Blessings,

Chef Teebs

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Juice! Juice! Juice!

United States. Italy. UK. France... does't matter where you go, it seems everyone is juicing. 

My first fresh juice experience was at Jamba Juice. My sister was working there and she would let me have sips of her carrot/orange/lemon mixture. It was so refreshing! Simply Orange, as good as it may be, doesn't even compare to fresh juice! 

Here's a little peak at my juicing journey...

Peeling my banana friend
Paris, France...
 Venice, Italy...
Then, I gave in and bought my own...
Here's a carrot/orange/lemon juice I made the other day...
 Here's one of my favorites:
Beet/apple/carrot/lime
And lastly, here's my absolute favorite juice recipe I created...
I call it Blueberry Smack
  1 C. blueberries
  7-8 strawberries, stems removed
  2 oranges, peeled
  2-3 handfuls of baby spinach

Anyone have any fun concoctions? I'm using a cute little book I bought in Venice to record all my recipes for juicing. :)

...Til next time,

Chef Teebs

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Oatmeal Knots: Best Dinner Rolls Ever! (vegan option)

I have made these rolls several times already. I love that they are a healthier roll, high in Omega-3s and made with whole wheat flour. They have such a good taste! This time for the egg wash, I replaced the egg with soy milk powder mixed with a little water. It was just as good. 

Oatmeal Knots

1 C. regular oats
1/2 C. honey (or agave nectar for vegan)
2 T. butter
1 1/2 t. salt
2 C. boiling water
1 package dry yeast
1/3 C. warm water (100-110 degrees)
1/4 C. flaxseed meal (wheat bran or wheat germ is good too)
3 C. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour, divided
Cooking spray
1 t. water
1 large egg (or use soy milk powder + water to make wash)
1 T. regular oats
1 T. poppy seeds
1 T. sesame seeds

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl, and add 2 cups boiling water, stirring until well blended. Cool to room temperature.

 
Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add yeast mixture to oats mixture; stir well. Stir in flaxseed meal.
 
Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Gradually add 3 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour to oats mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
 
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into the dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down, and let rest for 5 minutes.
Divide dough in half; cut each half into 12 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent from drying), shape each portion into an 8-inch rope. Tie each rope into a single knot; tuck top end of rope under bottom edge of roll. Place each roll on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray; let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400°.
 
Combine 1 teaspoon water and egg in a small bowl; brush egg mixture over rolls. Combine 1 tablespoon oats, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds; sprinkle evenly over rolls. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.
This is my first time making this recipe using the soy milk powder "egg wash." I found that idea online and it didn't give measurements so I just eyeballed it. But I have wondered if Enger-G egg replacer would work. Does anyone know? Or have another suggestion? I think the soy milk powder acts more like a heavy cream when mixed with only a little water and that is why it was suggested.
Regardless, these rolls are a family favorite. It makes 24 rolls so I put the remaining ones in the freezer (in a ziplock bag) to toast in the oven for one of those nights you have no time to bake bread! They taste just as delicious. I just throw the frozen rolls on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until toasty. Mmm mmm mmm.
  
Chef Teebs

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Pesto, & Tempeh with Bulgur

Can I just be honest? Food photography in the winter is not my favorite thing. In fact it's pretty discouraging. It's so difficult to capture the right shots. So I apologize for the lame pictures. 
My mom recently went through all her recipes, to toss all the ones she knows she'll either never make again or has changed her mind about wanting to try. She let me look through the stack before she tossed them. I found this recipe she got from Heidi Swanson's blog, 101 Cookbooks. It's a fabulous blog! This recipe sounded delicious to me. It's basically filled with ingredients that I would consider some my favorites: freshly pureed pesto, juicy roasted cherry tomatoes, chopped  kale, toasted pumpkin seeds... your mouth watering yet?  The original recipe calls for quinoa. I recently used it in burritos, so I replaced the quinoa with bulgur.  
Heather's Quinoa Recipe

a splash of EVOO
a pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 shallot, minced
3 C. cooked quinoa* (or brown rice, or other grain)
1 C. corn, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 C. kale, spinach, or other hearty green, finely chopped)
2 C. extra firm nigari tofu, browned in a skillet a bit
1/3 C. pesto
1/3 C. pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/4 C. roasted cherry tomatoes** (or chopped sun-dried tomatoes)

In a big skillet or pot heat the olive oil and salt over medium heat. Stir in the shallot and cook for a minute or two. Stir in the quinoa and corn and cook until hot and sizzling. Stir in the kale and then the tofu, cooking until tofu is heated through. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the pesto and pumpkin seeds. Mix well so the pesto is spread throughout. Turn everything out onto a platter and top with the cherry tomatoes. 

Serves 4-6

*Rinse about 2 cups quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa and 4 cups water until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when you can see the curlique in each grain, and it is tender with a bit of pop to each bite. Drain any extra water and set aside

**To roast cherry tomatoes: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each tomato in half and arrange in a large oven-proof baking dish. Mix together a big splash of olive oil, a spoonful of brown sugar, and a few pinches of salt--pour this over the tomatoes. Gently toss them a bit, making sure they all get coated, finishing with each tomato facing cut-side up. Place in the oven and bake 45 minutes or so, until the tomatoes are shrunken and sweet. 
 This dish was pretty good. I think I would have liked it better if I used less bulgur. It made the pesto taste too mild and made me feel like I didn't have enough vegetables. It's a great versatile recipe. You could use pine nuts, roasted peppers, tahini dressing, or any other of your favorite ingredients or just something you have on hand. I have made some of the most interesting meals like that.

This weekend I'll be making a special birthday cake for a friend. I'm pretty excited about it. It's been a while since I've made a cute cake.

I hope you all had a happy Valentine's day!

Chef Teebs

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Eggplant Ciabatta Bread Pizza with Roasted Veggies (Vegan option)

I've been craving pizza lately. When I was in high school I really liked these french bread pizzas. They are terrible for you but I sure thought they tasted good. I've never attempted to make my own until now. I saw this recipe in Rachel Ray's magazine and I decided to revamp it, making it actually very healthy! My family has changed the way we eat quite a bit. We used to love pizza caked with cheese but when you add all these roasted veggies on top, you'd be surprised how you forget the cheese isn't even there! And of course you get the benefit of adding nutrition to your plate. These pizzas were way better than we even expected. The roasted eggplant layer added a unique (and nutritious) twist to a typical pizza. Check it out. 

Teebs' Twist on Rachel's: Eggplant Ciabatta Bread Pizza

2 small, firm eggplants
1/4 C. EVOO
salt & pepper
1 small onion (or 1/2 of a large). finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 14.5 oz. can, diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1/3 C. fresh basil leaves, torn (wash & pat dry first)
1 loaf ciabatta bread, split
1/2 C. freshly grated or shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese*
8 slices smoked mozzarella cheese*
 *instead of cheese I use nutritional yeast
A generous mixture of veggies to roast (enough to fill a baking sheet) I used a small bunch of broccoli and cauliflower, 1 zucchini, 2 yellow zucchini, 2 scallions, and 1/3 of a butternut squash. 

Preheat oven 450 degrees. Halve the eggplants lengthwise and, using a small, sharp knife, score into small crosshatch cubes, being careful not to cut through the skins. Drizzle with 3 T. EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Wash and cut any vegetables you would like on your pizzas. They do shrivel up quite a bit when roasting, so don't cut them too small. Place them all on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with a little EVOO (or coconut oil), coarse salt & pepper. Bake about 20-30 minutes, until caramelized, turning veggies halfway through. Keep an eye on them because some ovens cook quicker.

While the vegetables are roasting get the sauce ready. In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 1 T. EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt & pepper. Stir in the basil leaves until wilted. Keep warm over low heat. 

Jack the heat back up to 450 degrees! 
Scoop out the eggplant flesh and spread it on the bread. Top with the tomato mixture, roasted veggies, and lastly sprinkle nutritional yeast or cheeses (if using) on top. Place the bread pizzas on the baking sheet and toast in the oven either until cheese melts, or about 5-8 minutes. All I cared about was the bread being crisp enough. If needed, you could broil it the last few minutes if it's not getting crisp enough, but watch it so it doesn't burn! 
Cut each loaf into 4 pieces. Enjoy!
  
While making this tasty dish I listened to David Crowder Band's new cd, Give Us Rest. The vinyl is on it's way via USPS. I highly recommend the album. It's 34 tracks, very unique and includes some remakes of some of my favorite old hymns. The night ended with the usual, an episode of Andy Griffith with my parents and it was off to bed...

Good evening and goodnight.

Chef Teebs

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Spicy Skillet Potatoes with Greens

Breakfast is supposedly the most important meal of the day. Regardless, I enjoy it day or night. Sundays especially, I crave breakfast foods. A while back I found a recipe in Whole Living Magazine that sounded delicious. After church this weekend I decided it would be a perfect chance to try it out. The original recipe sounded quite plain to me. I spiced it up. 

Teebs version: Spicy Skillet Potatoes with Greens

1 1/2 lb. small yukon gold potatoes, halved
coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. kale (or spinach), stems removed and leaves torn in 2" pieces
2 T. coconut oil (or olive oil) and 1 T. (vegan)butter
3 garlic cloves, crushed and thinly sliced
1/4 of a bell pepper, chopped
1/4 of an onion, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch of curry powder
pinch of paprika
fresh parsley, chopped 

Bring potatoes to a boil in a medium saucepan. Salt water. Cook potatoes about 10 minutes, until almost tender. Drain.
Heat oil and butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions and bell pepper and cook until lightly browned and tender. 
Add potatoes and kale (or spinach). Stir in and cook about 5-7 minutes, or until potatoes are crispy. Then add any spices you would like. I used red pepper flakes, curry, sea salt, black pepper and paprika. Be creative and use what you have on hand and just have fun with it. I had fresh parsley in the fridge so I washed it, chopped it up coarsely and sprinkled it on top before serving the potatoes. Serve warm.

These potatoes would go great alongside toast, tofu scramble, or could even be eaten with dinner. You could also put hot sauce on the table for guests to use if needed. My favorite is Sriracha. What kinds do you use?

Blessings,

Chef Teebs

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Penne and Zucchini with Lime & Herbs (Vegan)

Sometimes I get lost in the array of flavors that herbs and spices add to food, forgetting the amazing health benefits. Rosemary and garlic help fight/prevent cancer cells, oregano and cinnamon are high in antioxidant activity, ginger has various benefits including relieving arthritis pain, parsley is a natural detoxifier, mint helps treat stomach aches, and tarragon has a huge amount of benefits and medicinal values. I love how God made food enjoyable and full of vast flavors. He could have easily made it just an essential part of life, like brushing your teeth and getting dressed. But instead He made it fun for us to explore with countless possibilities whether we add a new herb or spice, different cooking methods, fruits and vegetables all over the world.. it seems to be a never-ending adventure. I'm so thankful. What a loving Creator. 

I came across this recipe in Rachel Ray's magazine, which by the way, I'm loving the subscription! I really like the taste of tarragon. This recipe sounded so good to me. I don't often see recipes that have herbs, hot peppers, and lime in pastas. So here goes.

Penne and Zucchini with Lime & Herbs

salt & pepper
1 lb. penne rigate pasta
2 firm zucchini (I recommend using 3 if they're small)
about 3 T. EVOO
1 fresno chile pepper, finely chopped (I used serrano)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 limes, juiced
2 T. butter (sub vegan if desired)
1/2 C. flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 C. fresh mint, chopped
1/4 C. fresh tarragon, chopped (or 1/2 C. basil)
1 C. grated pecorino-romano cheese (I use nutritional yeast)
1/2 C. finely chopped pistachio nuts, toasted (or any kind)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 C. of the pasta cooking water.

While the pasta is working,  halve the zucchini lengthwise and scrape out the seeds (I left the seeds). Thinly slice into 1/4"x2" strips--think fat matchsticks. 

In a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Stir in the chile and garlic for a minute.  Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes.
 Add the lime juice to the zucchini and stir in the butter to melt. Add the pasta, parsley, mint, and tarragon (or basil), a handful of "cheese" and the reserved pasta cooking water. Toss for 1-2 minutes. Top with more "cheese" and the pistachios.
This recipe was fairly quick. Once you get the juicing, chopping and nuts toasted you can throw it together pretty quickly. I served this dish with a toasted whole wheat baguette. I used hazelnuts but I think pine nuts would have been even better. My family, and best friend who joined us for dinner, really enjoyed it. The herbs were pretty strong, you could cut back a little on those if you don't want it to taste too minty. The lime adds a nice zing. This recipe is a keeper, but i jotted a few notes and suggestions on it for next time.


Happy cooking to you all,

Chef Teebs