Thursday, February 15, 2007

Love is...

Spinach Pizza with Red Pepper <3s

Banana Split Pudding Brownies

I stayed home from work yesterday partly because of the weather and partly because I wasn't feeling well. My doctor thinks I have an ulcer so I've been eating some really bland food lately. Poor M has been suffering through steamed veggies and rice for too long! I had to make him something really fantastic, so I made this great pizza and his favorite brownies. Nothing says 'I love you' like some comfort food, right?

Valentine's Day is an extra special day for us. 4 years ago on February 14th, M asked me to marry him in the restaurant we had our first date at. I accepted and have been playing the happy role of fiancee ever since. We're procrastinators, so we really haven't planned anything for a wedding until the past few weeks. We're looking to get married this October. How exciting!

Now for all of my married buddies, does anyone have any helpful hints for the reception/ceremony/etc? I look to you all for guidance! :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

This is how we roll...

Last weekend was the first of what I hope will be many Boston area PPK potlucks. Our theme ingredient was the incredible, edible avocado.

The ingredient provided a unique challenge for me because aside from guacamole and salad/chili/taco/sandwich toppings, I never really do anything with avocado. I absolutely love it. The texture, the buttery richness... It's quite possibly nature's perfect 'junk' food.

After much careful deliberation, I decided to make a variation on an old recipe my mother and other family members have made for years involving spinach, Crescent rolls, and some sort of cheese. There are a thousand ways to make these and they go over wonderfully at parties. And in case you were wondering, Crescent rolls (yes the Pillsbury ones) are accidentally vegan.

Spinach Avocado Parcels

(makes tons-but the recipe can easily be halved)

2 10 oz packages of frozen spinach (I find frozen works better than fresh, but you can certainly use fresh)
2 small Hass avocados
2-3 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 container Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese (Follow Your Heart Cheese would work well in this recipe too-I just couldn't get to WF to get a package)
1-2 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or use a chili or jalapeno pepper)
4 cans Crescent rolls (be careful with the 'store brands' as they tend to contain 'natural flavors')

Thaw spinach in microwave (or on counter) and squeeze out excess water. Heat large pan and saute garlic in oil, cooking spray or water (whatever you fancy-I usually use cooking spray and a little water) over medium to high heat. When the garlic starts to get a little color, add the spices and spinach and mix well. Lower heat to medium. You may have to add some water to the pan to keep things from sticking. Scoop out and chop avocado flesh into small pieces and add to spinach mix. Mix well. Add cream cheese in batches, mixing well after each addition. I know it seems like a lot to put in, but trust me, it's delicious. You might have to add a little bit of water to get everything (especially the cheese) to combine properly. The mixture will be a little watery. Cook over medium to medium high heat until mixture starts to thicken. It will sort of look like a spinachy dip. Cook until it is thickened up (you can pick it up with a spoon and it won't slide off) and then remove from heat.


The only time consuming part of the process is the assembly.

Crescent rolls are an oddly shaped triangle, like so:

Now, I like to make bite sized little minis, but if you like you can make little personal pies, like pasties or hawt pockets and you would just use two full sized rolls. Just lay one down on your baking sheet, put some filling on (watch the narrow end) and put another roll on top and press the edges down to seal. Those are easy peasy.

The smaller version requires you to cut each crescent into two pieces. Two triangles to be specific. Since the shape is a little weird, try to cut them like this.

As you can see, you will end up with one beautiful triangle and one wonky long one. Remember, triangles deserve love too.

I drop a small bit of filling into the middle, about say a teaspoon (sometimes less). You have to be careful not to under or over fill. Then fold over your three points sort of like a little diaper. This process is much easier with the 'perfect' triangles than with the wonky ones. My advice to you is to pull up the short bottom point on a wonky before pulling over the long arms.

Bake at 350 until nice and golden. These reheat well and are always a crowd pleaser.

Here's what the finished product looks like:

Bite size


Photos courtesy of Lolo who also hosted our event. It's always nice to see how pretty my food can look if a talented photographer takes a pic!

So after making an incredible amount of these little puppies you might be left with a lot of the filling left as I was. What's a resourceful person to do? Make a casserole of course!

This was beyond easy, and brought to you by our friends at Trader Joe's (I should get paid for these endorsements, shouldn't I?).

Layered Mexican Casserole (or dip)

1 16oz can refried beans (I used spicy pinto bean)
1 small (10-12oz) jar salsa (I used TJ's Chipotle Salsa)
1 bag frozen corn (I used TJ's Super Sweet Organic Corn-it's delicious)
leftover spinach avo filling (I had about half a pan left)

Grab pan of leftover filling, drop in the whole jar of salsa and mix until well combined. In 8x8 casserole dish (this meal is screaming for some pyrex!) smooth out the can of refrieds into a nice pretty layer. Open bag of corn and make a nice layer on top of the refrieds. Then smooth the spinach salsa mixture on top and smooth out to look as pretty as possible.

I threw it in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes and reheated it at the party. It disappears quickly...

Monday, February 05, 2007

I am never too busy to eat!

Sure, sometimes I'm too busy to post, but I am never and I mean never too busy to eat. My robust form is testimony to that, so without further adieu, I will show you some of the nosh that has been gracing my chipped plates and discerning palate...

Vegan Fried Seitan cutlet sandwich (take out from Masao's Kitchen) with Millet-Cauliflower Porridge and Chickpeas with Miso Butternut sauce.

Acorn Squash stuffed with Lentils and Quinoa on a bed of steamed Collard Greens and adorned by Arame Carrot Salad and Kim chee.

Split Pea Soup, nothing fancy.

Ginger Butternut Lentil Soup from La Dolce Vegan. M took the picture next to Voluptuous Vegan because he thought that's where I got the recipe.

Spicy Black Beans served on a bed of steamed kale

A Chocolate Chip Pancake yearning to be flipped...

Leftover Spinach Avocado Corn Refried Chipotle Casserole with Spanish Rice and an Ezekiel Tortilla

Black and Green Lentil Soup with Kombu

I am nothing if not well fed! And speaking of well fed...

I am so cold I have to go snuggle a warm puppy!