Summer time and the vegetables are going crazy! Perfect time for a Clean Eating challenge thanks to /52weeksofcooking. For the most part I try to avoid highly processed foods, including fake meats, but there is something to be said about the convenience that comes with those items. However, this week I wanted to go all out, so I decided to all incorporate elements of raw eating in my recipe which is what lead me to making a buddha bowl. A budha bowl is a (traditionally) vegan dish featuring raw fruits and veggies with a whole grain. I decided to use brown rice, but quinoa and barley were also debated.
I was lucky enough to have tomatoes from my garden, along with all the herbs, while the corn comes from the Eastern Shore. I tried to use all local ingredients but I couldn’t pass by the avocados at the store without grabbing a few. I could easily eat one, or more, of those each day – they are simply fantastic! At some point I want to try the fried egg in an avocado dish but a bit terrified of having raw egg and overcooked avocado. Anyone ever tried it before? Any tips???
In gardening news – I have no idea where I am tomato wise! Every day I go out I grab another handful and they are amazing. I’ve also harvested four jalapenos, with another 4 on the vine. However no eggplants yet – three stopped growing while a few more of showing some promise. They are a smaller variety so not expecting massive veggies but thought they would be a bit bigger than their current state. Fingers crossed the random chilly weather last week didn’t stunt them or something.
Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese
I’m thrilled that summer has finally arrived, yet sad that days are already getting shorter. It seems like winter just ended, and yet I’m already seeing stories advertising “back to school” and “fall fashions”. If it’s alright with them I’m going to stay in a firm state of denial until at least labor day – I need my long hot day of sun! Today’s recipe features my favorite summer ingredient (which won’t come as a shock to anyone): tomatoes. To say that I’m stoked about the emergence of tomatoes at the local markets doesn’t begin to cover it as few things are as awesome as a summer tomato. Since I’ve only been able to harvest a few little cherry tomatoes so far I needed to figure out a recipe where I only needed a few in order to make a big POP. As an added necessity I had half an avocado and a bit of fresh bread that needed to disappear before heading to visit family in NYC. What better way than a lazy (but delicious!) grilled cheese sandwich?!?
I served this up with some fresh coleslaw – the recipe for which is forthcoming – and it was the perfect summer dinner. Heck, this would also make the perfect summer lunch, or brunch, or linner or whatever!
In gardening news the new tally is: 41 tomatoes (only 1 is close to picking), 4 jalapenos, 7(!) fairy eggplants, and the fine beginnings of a rosemary bush. My containers might not give me the same options as my awesome box garden in VA but it’s certainly doing its best to give us in fresh veggies.
I totally blame Becca over at Amuse Your Bouche for today’s post – when I saw her cheesy toast variation the other week I got a total craving. I don’t remember the first time I had cheesy toast but I’m going to guess it was a case of my mom not having enough bread for grilled cheese sandwich and going with an open-faced variation. Also should note as this point that I’m a HUGE fan of open-face sandwiches so thanks mom 🙂 This extends as far as stripping my burgers which is why I tend to load up my cheesy toast with all sorts of goodies. I want the bread to just barely be hanging on so in part it does become a balancing act of figuring out how many toppings a piece can handle. I also used two different spreads (or smears) as I couldn’t decide which one would work best, one being vegan and one being not so vegan. That is of course assuming that vegan bread is being used, something I can assume since I made my own peasant bread using dairy-free stick “butter”.
The more I use Daiya, the more I’m starting to enjoy it in the melted form. The texture still drives me crazy when it’s raw but that all goes away once it melts. I’m also hoping to find some more varieties of cashew cheese as there are occasions where I can’t melt the cheese but would still like to have some, such as cold salads. I’m also sending this open faced cheese sandwich over to 52weeksofcooking for their historic foods challenge since this Depression Era treat has become a comfort classic over the past (almost) 100 years. Also cool to note that the original version was open-faced and it wasn’t until the 60s that the top piece was added. Important to note that the cheese on toast is historically different than an open faced cheese sandwich, something that has been around since the 15th century – the toasting makes all the difference!
In gardening news, I have a good dozen green cherry tomatoes growing and today my first little pepper joined the party. I’ve also got lots of purple flowers on my fairy eggplant but so far no lil eggplants, fingers crossed that will change. I’ve never done a container garden before so I’m looking forward to seeing how it does in comparison to my awesome box garden. I’m also hoping that the guy who bought my place appreciates the awesome box garden and is using it.
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Lentil Soup
I’ve gotten lucky again with being able to adopt an almost orphan blog from Group B of the SRC. In going through Corey’s Learning Patience – Hinz Adventures I was blown away by all the options. However I was greatly limited in time, between getting the blog on Thursday and then having a medical procedure bumped up a few days (plus bed rest) – but then I saw THE recipe. Not only did it call for ingredients already in my pantry but it allowed me to use my slow cooker, the kitchen tool that has saved me on many a day. So I got out my trusty friend and got to work on her incredible Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Lentil Soup, which tastes (and smells!) as good as it sounds! I did make a slight adjustment as I am not a fan of cooked celery, so I increased the other veggies and replaced some of the regular salt with celery salt.
I served this with some crusty whole wheat sourdough bread and a bit of leftover salad, have to sneak the greens in somehow! This soup was perfection, and it allowed me to follow doctor’s orders while making sure we had a delicious dinner. I can’t wait to try out more of Corey’s recipes, especially her most amazing cookies ever because Nutella is AMAZING!
Jamaican Jerk Curry
There are few things as challenging as a food blogger as having to cook a cuisine for a challenge that you have no familiarity with. While I’m familiar with Jamaica, the bits I know are from books and movies – which is something I need to correct. In looking for recipes I noted a fondness for peanuts and pork, two things that aren’t exactly welcome in my house. However I kept looking and googling for common ingredients, and with that decided to take the base of a few Jerk Curry recipes I found and make them vegetarian friendly. I also decided to make my own jerk seasoning, using this recipe I found on AllRecipes.com, which was easy to make and mostly required standard pantry spices.
This dish was a HUGE hit – can’t begin to explain how much my husband enjoyed it! The combination of sweet and spicy was perfection, and the rice gave just the right amount of texture to the dish. It might have a rather long ingredient list but it was totally worth it, another great find thanks to /52weeksofcooking.
More than a few years ago, my sister and I went to an Indian restaurant with my dad and enjoyed some delicious chana masala – only to find out a few hours later that the chickpeas had been presoaked in lemon juice which neither of us can handle in large amounts. Since then I’ve been more than a little scared of this delicious chickpea dish, until Joe’s cousin made a lemon-free batch last summer. That incredible dinner gave me the boost I needed to try making chana masala at home, and based on my husband’s reaction I have a feeling it will be happening pretty regularly. Not only does it come together in record time, it features ingredients that I almost always have in my pantry – making it perfect for those oh so crazy weekday nights!
I served this with some curry spinach, not quite palak but a bit more than the standard creamed spinach as well, and some brown rice. My spinach recipe still needs a bit of work but I hope to share it shortly, assuming I figure out the perfect ratio of spinach to everything else!
Red Beans and Rice
I’m a HUGE fan of one-pot wonders, mostly because I am NOT a fan of dishes – and while hubby does his part more often then not I’m the one on dish duty. Needless to say this week’s challenge (yes – posting on time!) for /52weeksofcooking was right up my alley. I actually made a few dishes for this “challenge”, mostly because this time of year I tend to rely heavily on my slow cooker and dutch oven. Any recipe that allows me to toss everything in and then forget about it for a bit of time is a winning recipe, and while this requires a bit of massages for the most part it really is a fix it and forget about it.
This dish was fantastic and much better than any boxed versions I’ve had – makes me wonder why I resorted to them in the first place. I topped mine with a bit of sour cream while Joe added cheese, lots and lots and lots of cheese. For lunch the next day I enjoyed it naked, adding a little water to the bowl before reheating. I’m not sure how traditional this dish is but it was insanely good and will probably join the monthly rotation!