The pea shoots return for pizza

I may not know a lot about gardening, but one thing is certain – I’m dreading the maturation of summer peas and their farewell to shootdom. Come back, babies!

Something like that.

Pre-baked

Cue intro: Spring’s shoots joins forces with a renewed enthusiasm for bread-making, thanks to an incredibly long-awaited purchase of a new dough hook for the old family Kitchen Aid. Much thanks to my sister for shipping it from New York.

Pea Shoot Pizza

Toppings:

  • cherry tomatoes
  • miso tofu ricotta (recipe from: Vegan with a Vengeance, plus an additional tablespoon of nutritional yeast and two tablespoons of mellow white miso]
  • sautéed pea shoots
  • minced garlic [optional]
  • par-roasted garlic cloves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • dough ball
  • coarse sea salt & Alder smoked salt

Sliced

Details:
Preheat oven to 475F. Briefly roast a head garlic, as desired, and remove before 20 minutes are up. Stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it again. Roll out your dough, thinly, and brush with olive oil. Toss the whole cherry tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and set aside. Dollop large spoonfuls of tofu ricotta on the pie. In a separate pan, and you can do this much earlier, heat the minced garlic, if using, in a teaspoon of olive oil, and saute the pea shoots until quickly wilted. Carefully dish the pea shoots until the pizza. Add the cherry tomatoes, whole cloves of roasted garlic (save any extra for another day, or smash and serve on the side), yet another drizzle of olive oil, and salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes until slight golden browning on the edges is achieved.

Baked

Finale

How this was served without Cabernet is beyond me.

catch up: weekending with chloe’s kitchen, nacho scramble & thai

Farmers market haul: rangpurs, collard raab, kale raab, brussel raab, flat leaf parsley, red beets, baby bok choi and tulips from my girlfriend.

The weekends have been treating me well: the dawn of the Spring farmers markets and seemingly endless varieties of raab and rapini, the ever-more frequent dry days, a growing trend of old fashioned cocktail bars in Portland, new cookbooks and creative supper dates with a special someone.

I’ve been making relaxed, but focused meals from Chloe’s Kitchen, May Kaidee’s Vegetarian and Vegan Cookbook, The Sexy Vegan (more on this later), Isa’s current test kitchen, and whatever else calls out with ease.

Using a little flexibility, I give you, a sort of deconstructed nacho scramble lunch.  The spicy pickled jalapeño were picked up at the Gathering Together stand at the farmers market, and the beer is Emma Amber Ale by local brewer Captured by Porches.

Vegan Mom's scrambled tofu, Ctate's queso, chips, jalapeño & fixings.

Julia's amazing plate o'scrambled fu.

Zelda, my nacho guard cat, briefly ignoring her duties

A couple of weeks ago, giant chocolate chip cookies were featured on an episode of GRIMM, (more Silas, pls!) and I made my own bloodless versions the following day:

Chocolate chip cookies, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

On the final full day of my December travels, I attended a class at May Kaidee’s Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking School on Khao San Road.  I am so glad I did – it was a definitive, education and fulfilling way to wrap up my time in Thailand. Perhaps, one day, I’ll finish my post on the matter, but for now, I can share that  every time I open this book, I find a smile on my face and fresh curry or noodles on the table. Below, I paired a test recipe from Isa Does It with vegetable-loaded fried rice and a Thai beer from Fubonn.

Test Kitchen Pad Thai (withholding cilantro) with roasted peanuts and fresh lime, soy sauce, Srichacha and Yellow Curry Fried Rice

May Kaidee's Yellow Curry Fried Rice with red bell pepper, gai lan, green cabbage and creminis

Next up, one of the dishes I’ve been trying out from The Sexy Vegan

BBQ Tofu 'Ribs', Smokey Mac & Cheese from The Sexy Vegan. Paired with sauteed collard raab.

Slow, Sunday night dinner preparation has become a positive experience on a dwelling evening. The last meal was my first from Chloe’s Kitchen.

Local pink potatoes in an ice water bath

Julia and I have spent some time thumbing through this book, deciding what to make first. There’s a lot of cashew cream, which I must avoid these days [insert tears here], and a wonder of sweets and tempeh, seitan, vegetables and salads to start with. Last night, we went with something classic:

Drive Thru Burgers with special sauce and fixins, tasty sea salt and vinegar fries with organic ketchup, sparkling wine with sliced rangpur

I baked the wholesome burgers with coconut oil spray vs. pan-frying since I had the oven warm for the fries. They were served on bread from one of my favorite neighbors, Little T, and fixed with Chloe’s special sauce, green leaf lettuce, red onion (for her! not me!), more pickled jalapeño and sliced dill pickle.

Which brings me to the following important question: Why is it so hard to find local pickles that maintain their crunch in this city?!

Drive Thru Burger on sliced baguette

In conclusion, this has been a rare Get Sconed! update that includes actual scones.

Scones with wild blueberries (organic, frozen from Whole Foods) and chocolate chips, Vegan Brunch

Inspired Vegan Dining

Meyerly Sipping Gingerly Cocktail, garnished with Thai kefir lime leaves and fresh lemon peel.

It takes a lot for a cookbook to truly hold my attention, and the stories and recipes, in addition to the soundtrack, of Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen did just that. This past January, his latest, The Inspired Vegan was released, and I’ve been captivated.  The words, the quotes, the instructions and meal components, were just that, inspired. I immediately placed a hold at my library upon its release, and after two weeks and multiple recipes on my table, I purchased my own copy.

Bryant Terry is simultaneously an activist for food justice within the culinary world – and beyond, as he is an author, chef, and parent, taking a lot of inspiration for his books from his daughter’s birth.

The human connection and understanding of what we put into our mouths, and how, and with whom, is fascinating. I may not have a space to garden of my own, but I’m anxiously awaiting my first Portland farmers market visit of the season this weekend, and returning home with a notion of that evening’s dinner unfolding in my head.

Sunday night’s dinner from The Inspired Vegan brought the following to the table:

*I subbed fresh pinto beans

Tofu in Roasted Chili Oil with Peanuts

Roasted chili oil, cooling.

Plates being set for Sunday night's dinner: tofu in roasted chili sauce with peanuts, garlic braised gai lan, pinto beans in a thick gravy with roasted garlic, short grain brown rice and tagerine & orange mimosas.

I was stoked to find so many fresh greens at the Eugene farmers market, including gai lan, which was specifically called for in a recipe.

A couple of weeks ago, I took my first leap into the book for a dinner party. My guests, some dear friends, have a variety of dining habits, and every dish included was eaten by all.

The Inspired Vegan spread with accompaniments.

On the table for this dinner:

  • Wet jollof rice with garlic parsley paste – a vibrant, perfect accompaniment
  • Funmilayo fritters [baked with coconut oil spray] with harissa – I find myself starting to praise another accompaniment, so, you get my drift. It wouldn’t stop.
  • Bright-black fingerling* potatoes
  • Chipotle & blood orange ketchup [adapted from the plum ketchup]
  • Gingered sesame brittle [I couldn’t find my candy thermometer and over-caramelized, but the final product remained intriguing]
  • fresh thyme
  • Moskarella #1  & rice crackers, a bonus from Isa’s test kitchen
  • in addition: cherry vanilla sodas with fresh blood orange and local Burnside Bourbon

*I subbed Yukon Gold potatoes

Funmilayo white bean & peanut fritters and the Wet jollof rice stew.

Bright black potatoes, etc.

In short, if you’re appreciate of creative, plant-based cuisine, pick this up.

Lemony Ricotta & Summer Squash Pizza; Pea Coconut Puree

Squash, squash y'all

When one is faced with this lengthy summer bounty, they start with the classics. They grate. They bake. They stuff. They roast. When it is warm, they carefully peel raw noodles. When there’s a breeze, they contemplate how this could extend their summer chili. They shred some more. From there, they google. With that, they stumble in love with Smitten Kitchen’s kemony zucchini goat cheese pizza.

From the moment I saw the result pop up with its enchanting image of thinly layered summer squash, I felt that much better about this weird summer. Inspired by Smitten’s design, my version changes the layout a bit, colorwise, adding a ring of black cherry cherry tomatoes, with plenty of fresh lemon juice whisked into the herbed tofu ricotta, on top of Hot Lips pizza dough ($2). It was all topped off with extra virgin olive oil and a bunch of freshly ground black pepper. As it should be.

Lemony herbed ricotta spread

Finale: Lemony Summer Squash Pizza with Tofu Ricotta, Fresh Basil & Cherry Tomatoes

This same weekend, I found myself shelling fresh peas. It was instantly therapeutic and I started thinking fresh pasta! risotto! creamy soups! puree! getting fishy!?! Blame on all the Gordon Ramsey I’ve been watching (I don’t have cable, so I make do with whatever cooking shows I can), but I took inspiration for this dish from all his bleeping scallops. My sister was quickly horrified when I told her I was making pea puree for dinner, but turned it around and approved once I assured her that was “fancy”. Er, thanks, sis! You enjoy that fettucine alfredo, I’ll break out the peas, coconut milk and fresh basil, thank you very much.

Grilled Tofu, marinated in a Citra Summer Blonde Ale & Yellow Curry sauce, fresh Pea & Coconut puree with Basil, Sesame Green Beans & Wild rice

Grilled tofu & peas: because when in doubt, play with textures and marinate in beer.

dinner dates

Truth be told, I spent a decent portion of my free time being a hermit and talking to my cats. Every now and then, I break out the Mrs. Meyer’s basil, put on a dress, warp into hostess mode with a big party, or more recently, smaller dinner parties, or frankly, pie circles (hello, test kitchen) and tell my friends to simply show up hungry. The belated Hidden Gems wrap-up is truly coming next; things like life and my jobs and commitments and pie making, simply, and pleasantly, have gotten in the way. That’s all I can handle of this ‘me, myself & my blog’ discussion, so with a deep breath, let’s move on to the photos.

Here’s what I’ve been up to, culinary wise, recently:

Berry Balsamic Pie with Olive Oil Lattice Crust. From the PPK Test Kitchen. With each crust, I get a little more confident.

Coconut Lime Cream Pie with Rad Whip (test 2). From the PPK Test Kitchen.

Grasshopper Pie and the Berry Balsamic, for a recent impromptu dinner party with friends, including my dear Vegan Moxie.

Santander salad, a test run for this weekends Spanish-themed Heartichoke dinner. Im in awe of my BFFs plating and design here.

More of this past weekends Heartichoke-orientated spread, including smoked balsamic shiitakes, vibrant saffron pickled cauliflower and carrots, grapefruit marinated olives and the third and final test batch of the smoked potato cheese in the rear- we have a winner!

Rewind a couple weeks ago - I put together a soy & gluten free vegan spread for a dinner date with a friend.

Caribbean kidney bean curry, smoked balsamic mushrooms (love.these.), my first fried plantains with coarse salt, cheesy shallot rice fritters.

For dessert: dark chocolate, agave & crushed macadamia nut pudding.

Lastly - bring on the seasonal produce! Heres my haul from this past weekends farmers market: microgreens, cornmeal, spinach, collard raab, chives, rangpur limes, tulips & purple carrots. Cause little known fact: theres a purple carrot on my foot.

And hey, if you see me around town lately, there’s probably a piece of pie in my bag, just waiting for you to inquire.

lately

I’m just going to come out and say it. Hi. My name is Jess. I have a camera and a blog and here’s the flow of what I’ve been up to lately:

Smoked Potato Cheese: Take 2, Creamy Edition. I'll post the recipe after one more test run before Heartichoke.

Have I mentioned that I'm digging my stovetop smoker? Well, I am. Smoked Cherry Tomato & Kale Raab Pesto Bruschetta

Kale Raab Bistro Chowder; Bruschetta. Bistro Chowder Recipe from Appetite for Reduction. Farewell, Soup Season.

Tofu Cube Toss with Smoked Tomatoes, Roasted Red Pepper, Maitake Mushrooms, Kalamata Olives, Collard Raab; Mac & Cheddar Teese Sauce with Miso & Collard Raab. This ain't no wimpy scramble.

Baked Saffron Rice with Roasted Peppers. The recipe will be in the Spring issue of T.O.F.U. Magazine. Zomg.

From a small dinner party: Baked Saffron Rice with Roasted Peppers, Serrano Seitan Ham over Kale, Roasted Potato Bread and Blood Orange & Grapefruit Marinated Olives, etc.

Galician Empanada Pie with Smoked Soy Curls & Serrrano Ham, Take 1. Will be working on the conrmeal crust and spice factor.

TGI Return of the FarMar & Multi-Color Carrots. There are white carrots in the empanada pie, yo.

From the PPK Test Kitchen: Cappuccino Mousse Pie with Rad Whip. I'll get the fluffin' up next time.

From the PPK Test Kitchen: Manhattan Mud Pie. Photo by Lucas DeShazer. Truly, one of the few times you'll ever see me in the backround of a photo here.

Portland Hidden Gems are up next. Really.

Pesto-stuffed Chickpea Cutlet Balls & Television

So, I’m a television fanatic. It hails back to my days of sharing a bedroom with my younger siblings and quietly watching The X-Files while sitting a foot away from the  television screen (seeing both films on opening day), and evolved into obsession via the same small television set with the first episode of Buffy during my freshman year of high school. I may have just as many memories of Xander and Willow as I do my real life friends, woops. There aren’t many shows I watch on a dedicated, weekly basis now (or that I’d admit so quickly). I still resist Hulu for the most part and can instantaneously open my out-dated rant about how the real LOST fans are those who were watching during Season 1 and went insane the rest of the week for six onwards years – and even worse, during summer hiatus – and then, the writer’s block. The suspense! The attempt at patience! The gift of a new episode!

This is pretty normal Jess-in-person ranting and it would be out-of-place on this here post if it wasn’t for the following connection – my new found-love for Bob’s Burgers. I adore Home Movies – it’s one of the few dvd sets I actually own, so I gave it this new series a chance, and I’ve been hooked since week one. It’s pretty damn nostalgic to find myself looking forward to Sunday evenings again! I’m a sucker for the parents’ sweet antics and accents, and these may be the most entertaining kids I’ve seen on television since Brendon, Melissa and Jason, of course. Back to the point – on the latest episode, a spaghetti and meatball dinner was featured, and 24 hours later, I was sitting down to this vegan version.

Bob's Burgers inspired dinner: baked pesto-stuffed chickpea cutlet balls, homemade marinara, multi-grain spaghetti, steamed kale

The chickpea cutlet recipe is from Veganomicon, no surprise. I’ve baked the dough as balls many times in the past, and I usually add marjoram and basil into the mix. This time, I flattened circles of the dough and added a small dollop of homemade raab pesto, carefully formed it back into a ball, and baked them at 400F for 20 minutes, flipped the balls, and baked an additional 15 minutes at 425F. I would declare “Bon Appetit!”, but Gene’s not here to usher us out with a dramatic keyboard solo.

P.S. Admittedly, I have gone and blogged many LOST-obsessed meals. Speaking of, Jorge Garcia making almond milk = be still, my freaking heart.

I’ll likely find myself making some Bob’s inspired veggie burgers soon!

Orecchiette con broccolini

Orecchiette con broccolini; smoked and seared tofu

I picked up a bag of Italian orecchiette last week at Barbur World Foods as part of my dramatic & ongoing hidden gem investigation with one intention – making this traditional recipe once again from The Urban Vegan. It’s a classy weeknight meal with plenty of thinly sliced garlic sauteed in olive oil (you better go high quality!), a hint of salty miso, a sprinkle of nooch, and in this case, broccolini subbing for the signature vegetable…but I don’t think my distant family in Sicily would mine that one. The nooch on the other hand, maybe.

And to channel the wonderful, birthday gal Dynise: Pair this with a tall glass of lemon water or red wine, and pretend it costs $12 at your local trattoria (even if you have a vegan trattoria down the block, like this spoiled lady).

Sunday Supper: Patak’s Madras Chickpea Curry

Patak's Madras Curry Paste

I came to the soul-tingling realization yesterday in New Seasons, that if I allow myself to buy quality curry pastes for Thai cooking, I could try the same, just once, for Indian cuisine.  Perhaps it would prove handy and delicious over lazy and under-spiced, right?

Ridiculously, I had stocked up on various curry-related spices earlier in the day, but knowing my curries never quite taste how I want them to and that I didn’t have quick access to a few unique ingredients I had yet, and intended to incorporate, I rationalized the whim and picked up a jar of Patak’s Madras Curry paste. My dedication to making nearly everything from scratch be damned, I made a satisfying and spicy Madras curry for dinner and the teaspoons stayed hidden. Plus, the sweet and golden diced potatoes helped counter the heat of the curry. I loosely followed the recipe on the back of the jar (which was a hoot to do), substituted cooked chickpeas, red pepper and carrots for beef [using extra vegetables], and pureed Muir Glen tomatoes for diced.

Madras Chickpea Curry over basmati rice

Roasted Yukon & Sweet Potatoes with sea salt, pepper & fresh parsley

So, there ya go. Sometimes I’m a little bit lazy. Or normal.

feeling fancy and feeling girly

In regards to Blog Post Title Part I

Well, I still don’t have many photos to show, but my weekend included a lot of feeling fancy – at least some contributions to it. I hid and cooked in the kitchen during the first Heartichoke, my friend’s new vegan supper club, and we pulled off five French-inspired courses & seemed to have content guests on our hands. It was a great experience; the smoke alarms didn’t go off and there’s talk of a Tapas and Basque inspired dinner this Spring.

The photos I do have, thanks to my camera’s 5 second life span, were not from the dinner, but are pretty fancy and productive for the end of a weekend:

Tuscan Braised Beans, The Urban Vegan. With the addition of gigantes beans and fresh basil. Dynise’s dishes always class it up.

First theme, continued:

Herb Crusted Tofu with Mushrooms Marsala ala The Farm Cafe in Portland, via Everyday Dish TV.  As for changes, I baked the tofu, used a mixture of maiittake and shiitake mushrooms in the sauce, and served it over braised beans and steamed baby spinach.

In regards to Blog Post Title Part II

Hey! If you’re in the Portland area tomorrow night and you’re a vegan or veg-curious female or you’ve ever met one or even if you plan on spending the rest of your life surrounded by the XY chromosome and no other, you should come show your support for Melisser Elliott, the talented author of the The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life, at everyone’s local vegan owned and operated clothing store, Herbivore. The signing party starts at 5pm.

Later this week: Thoughts on the revolutionary documentary, Forks Over Knives. Have you seen it yet?