Cooking Cutos with Cindy

My mom Cindy is a huge inspiration as a chef, gardener and creative being. She has been a vegetarian/pescatarian for over 40 years. She has a bountiful garden full of beautiful flowers, vegetables, herbs, garlic, apples and blueberries. She and my dad live a farm to table lifestyle. The food she must purchase, she ensures is local, organic and sustainable. I am so lucky to have grown up with her as a beautiful example of how to eat and live.

This video shows my mom making her original specialty, Cutos. Lightly fried tofu, tossed with tamari (or soy sauce) and nutritional yeast flakes. The perfect vegetarian treat to enhance any dinner. Cutos go great with brown rice and vegetable stir fry. Enjoy!

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Celebrating the Summer Solstice with a Fresh, Plant based Feast

On Saturday, the farmer’s market was full of so many fragrant, colorful fruits and vegetables. I chose to get bright yellow summer squash, basil, juicy tomatoes, fresh avocados, peaches, bloomsdale spinach and some tangy lemons. I had no idea what I was going to do with them….. but to me half the fun of being in the kitchen is creating unique and custom recipes. Letting the ingredients I have determine what make. Last night, I made a brief plan and improvised along the way.  I served:

Grilled Summer Squash with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese Drizzled with Balsamic Glaze

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Slice the Squash into thirds, the long way.

Grill on low for about 8 minutes per side. You want the squash to still be a little firm, to hold it’s shape.

While grilling, thinly slice Humboldt Fog Goat cheese.

While the squash is hot, place a healthy amount of cheese on the squash.

Let sit for 5 minutes. Drizzle balsamic glaze or reduction over the top and enjoy!

Basil Chimichurri and Avocado Quinoa

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  Add  1 Cup of rinsed Quinoa and 2 Cups of liquid into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. I use 1 Cup of water and 1 Cup of  Vegetable stock to add flavor. I also add Olive Oil and a pinch of salt. Once the water is boiling, turn to low and cover for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

In a small bowl, add 3-4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil, 1 Teaspoon of Pepper and 1/2 Teaspoon of salt. Rinse 1 1/2 Cups of Basil Leaves, chop finely and mix into sauce. Creating a fresh and delicious pestoey/chimichurri sauce.

Once Quinoa is cooked, put it in a large glass bowl and toss it with the Chimichurri Sauce. Finely chop 2 Scallions, peel and cube 2 ripe avocados. Toss together and enjoy this delicious and nutritious dish! Quinoa is a complete protein, so this can act as your main dish as well as your grain.

 Bloomsdale Spinach salad with Truffle Parmesan and Tomato

Spinach!

Wash, Slice and Half 1 large flavorful tomato. The tomato juices double as a component to the salad dressing. Rinse and rough chop about 4 Cups of Spinach. Finely slice 1/4 of a red onion. Add the juice of 1 Lemon. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the spinach. Grind about 1/2-1 teaspoon of pepper into the salad.  Give the salad a drizzle of about 2 Tablespoons of High quality olive. Toss with your hands. Add a handful of sunflower seeds and voila, your salad is ready!

Enjoy The Taste of Summer!!

The full Meal

Holy Guacamole!

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One of my favorite foods is guacamole. There is nothing better than a salty crunchy tortilla chip dipped in a bowl full of chunky, tangy, rich guacamole. My guacamole recipe has been evolving since I was a small child. My mom’s recipe called for smashed avocados mixed with several heaping spoonfuls of fresh salsa. This was one of my favorite after school snacks. In college, I began to chop onion and jalapeño and add it to this recipe. As my taste buds matured and my chopping skills improved I learned a new way to make guacamole.

I call it Chop Til You Drop Guacamole

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4 Avocados Peeled, Pitted and Halved

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Clove Garlic, Minced

1/2 Cup chopped Cilantro

1/4 Cup Chopped Red Onion

2 Medium sized tomatos, de-seeded and finely chopped

1/2-1 Jalapeño finely diced

1 Teaspoon Salt

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Place avocado halves in a medium sized bowl, pour the juice of 1 lemon over the avocado to keep fresh. Chop all the other ingredients. Place ingredients in bowl with avocados. Use a small sharp knife to slice avocados and ingredients together. This keeps the guacamole chunky and beautiful. Enjoy with chips, tacos, or just eat it with a spoon!

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Yammy Baby Kale Salad with Herb Honey Dijon Dressing

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You will need:

1 large yam (Peeled, Cubed, and Roasted with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and Rosemary- baked for 20-30 mins at 400 til soft)
2-3 Cups Baby Kale
1/2 Avocado- Cubed
1/4 dried cranberries
1/4 chopped Sweet/spicy pecans fom TJs (I use these in so many of my salads, because they add the perfect punch!)
Shaved Parmesan To taste

Massage Baby Kale with Dressing and pinch of salt and pepper. Toss together remaining ingredients.

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Serve with soup or cheese and crackers and enjoy!!

For the Dressing (Not sure about exact measurements but try the following)
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Honey
Salt and Pepper
1 Teaspoon Fresh Rosemary- finely chopped
1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme- finely chopped

Whisk Together and add olive oil or balsamic vinegar as needed to balance acidity. (I usually put mine in a mason jar and shake it up… great for storage and limited mess).

Eazy Peazy Banana Berry Smoothie

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Here is the recipe for a simple and delicious smoothie, full of protein, anti oxidant rich berries and potassium from bananas:

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1 Organic Banana

1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt

1 Cup Mixed Frozen Berries

2 Cups Coconut Water

Feel free to add frozen pineapple or mango, your favorite protein powder, or flax seeds to spice it up.

Blend until smooth and Enjoy!!!

I recommend finding some fun straws to make your smoothie fun!

 

Spicy Chili and Gluten Free Cornbread

Caliente Chili!

Delicious recipe for a hearty, spicy three bean Chili flush with vegetarian protein! I made up this recipe with the help of fellow vegetarian, my mom!

2 T Olive Oil

1 Yellow Onion, Chopped

1 Carrot, Chopped

2 Celery Stalks, Chopped

2 Bell Peppers (Red, Yellow or Orange), Chopped

3 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1 (28 oz) Can Diced Tomato

2 ears of Corn-Kernels only (or 1 can of corn)

2 Cans Black Beans

1 Can Kidney Beans

1 Can White Beans

1 T dried Oregano

1 T Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, chopped (Add more to add Heat)

2 t Ground Cumin

2 T Barbecue Sauce

1 Shot Espresso

1 1/2 T Chili Powder

1  T Salt

Heat Olive Oil in a Large pot. Sautee onion, celery, carrot, bell peppers, and garlic until soft. Add Canned tomatoes, spices, beans and corn. Simmer for at least 1 hour, chili should thicken and ingredients should cook down. Stir occasionally. Add more spice and seasoning to taste.  Serve with Pamela’s Gluten Free Cornbread (mix can be found at Whole Foods). ENJOY!!!

 

Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

My friend Jake is an excellent cook, fortunately for me he is always very considerate of my vegetarian lifestyle. This summer his specialty has been Ground Chicken Lettuce Wraps, but when I came over for dinner he made a vegetarian version, Mushroom Lettuce Wraps! So delicious and full of flavor; I had to recreate them at home. Now they have become a favorite in my home as well!

Mushrooms are a perfect substitute for meat, because they are very susceptible to flavoring and when you cook them down they have a hardy, almost meaty texture.

Remember that when cooking mushrooms, it is important to wash them well, and that the mushrooms cook down a lot! Meaning that 2 baskets of mushrooms can only feed about 2 people.

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Mushroom Lettuce Wraps A La Chef Jake 

2 Baskets of Mushrooms (Cremini, button, portabello, whatever’s clever)-finely chopped

1/4 Inch of Ginger- Grated

1 T Coconut Oil

1 Clove Garlic-minced

1/2 red or white onion- finely chopped

1/2 Can water chestnuts-chopped (Optional)

1 T Sambal (Asian Garlic-Chili sauce) (to taste, depending on desired heat level)

1 Head of Butter Lettuce

1/4 Chopped Cilantro- for condiment

1 Sliced Avocado- for condiment

In Large Skillet, Sautee Onion and garlic in 1/2 T of Coconut Oil, once soft(About 10 minutes) add rest of Coconut oil, ginger, mushrooms, water chestnuts. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until all moisture is out of mushrooms, add Sambal to taste. Let Cool, Assemble as if making a taco, where the butter lettuce leaf is the tortilla and the mushroom the filling! Add Avocado and cilantro for extra flavor.  Enjoy!