8/31/2015

roasted heirloom tomato soup

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I kind of can't believe I haven't shared this simple soup recipe yet. As soon as our kitchen counters are covered in tomatoes, I make it nearly weekly. It only has a handful of ingredients, all magically (hmmm?) in season at the same time. And I know, soup in the summer time seems a little funny. But it's too good to hold off until a more soup-appropriate season. Besides that you won't find a good tomato in November, not even in New Jersey. And unless you're moving nearly 2,000 miles away any day now (present!), it also freezes great. Not that you'll be able to hang onto until it's snowing, but I dare you to try.



For this recipe, you'll need:

2 large shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried or fresh
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour (I use whole wheat, but any is fine)
Salt & pepper
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
2 pounds heirloom tomatoes (or your favorite variety)
1/4-1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped


Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Slice your tomatoes in half and scoop out some of the seeds. You don't have to get all of them, since keeping them a little hearty makes the soup thicker and creamier. Place on a large baking sheet cut side up and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle one tablespoon of your olive oil over the top and roast for one hour.


When your tomatoes are nearly done, place a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the rest of your olive oil, shallots and garlic and sauté for about two to three minutes. Add your oregano, a little more salt and pepper and sauté for one minute more. Use some of your stock to deglaze the bottom of the pot (just a little) and then add your flour to thicken the base. At this point you could also add a tablespoon of butter or vegan margarine for a little extra oomph, but this isn't completely necessary. It is, however, delicious, so to each their own. My own includes it.


Stir everything up and then add the rest of your vegetable stock. Bring to a gentle simmer and then add your roasted tomato halves. Simmer for about twenty minutes more. Halfway through this time, add your fresh basil (if you use dried, add it when you first add your tomatoes).

Allow to cool slightly before adding to your blender to purée until smooth. You can also use a handheld blender for this if you'd rather leave some of the texture.


Simple! So simple. And perfect with a little extra herbs on top, some shredded cheese, crusty bread, cheesy-crusty bread, avocado toast or even all on its own. It's the perfect summer lunch.

Soup there it is, you say? Well:




8/25/2015

roasted potato salad with lemon and fresh herbs

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Potato salad is pretty much a summer table staple. You can bring it to a picnic or a potluck or even brunch, because somehow potatoes are one of those things that seem to work with any meal.

Of course, I'm not talking about the gooey, traditional version laden with mayo and wilted celery. This version is a much fresher, lighter and zippier (that's real, right) that couldn't be simpler to make.


For this recipe, you'll need:

1/2-3/4 pounds small variety potatoes (I used red, but whatever your favorite kind of potato is will work - and if you can't find fingerlings or smaller, just chop up a larger variety)
1 lemon (for its juice and zest)
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Start by halving your potatoes (or if using a larger type, dicing) and placing a large bowl. Cover the potatoes with water and allow to soak for 15-20 minutes to remove some of the starchiness. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.


Drain the potatoes and then place on a large roasting pan, face down if halved, and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes under tender and the face-down side is golden brown.

While you wait, or when the potatoes are nearly done, in a large bowl, add your chopped herbs, lemon juice, lemon zest, a little additional salt and pepper and another drizzle of olive oil. Whisk together.

Now, you may be wondering: how much herbs should I be using? A bunch is a fairly relative term. Well, you're right. If I were you, I'd go a little herb-crazy. They're kind of what make this salad so spot on and summery. Of course you don't have to stick to dill, parsley and oregano. Potatoes work well with tons of herbs you'll find this time of year, so get some of your favorites and have at it.


When the potatoes come out of the oven, (carefully) scrape them into the bowl with your dressing and toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately when the salad is still warm. It works great with other summer food essentials like corn on the cob, grilled zucchini, etc.


There's more than one way to peel a potato:




8/18/2015

vegan s'mores ice cream

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Ahem.

It's been one hell of an ice cream summer. And we've still got about six weeks to go, so it's not over yet. But even in June and July, we had some pretty stellar successes. There was the vegan rocky road that changed everything, a dairy-free take on honey pistachio (ZING) and even a vegan cookie dough.

But it's not over yet. Ohhh, it's not even close to being over yet. Not until you've tried (that's right) this vegan. s'mores. ice cream.


We all had our doubts when the vegan marshmallow came to town. It's only fair to not expect it to really be the same marshmallows we had growing up, roasting over a fire during summer camp. So even though I approached these little gems with the right attitude, I had NO IDEA that it could possibly be BETTER. Good, even just as good, but better? Better? Who knew?


So after the rocky road was a smash hit, and after a few rounds of stovetop s'mores have exited our kitchen (thank you, thank you), I knew I had to take this inspiration to the freezer section. I've never really had s'mores ice cream, at least not that I can remember. And I'm figuring that if it wasn't good enough for me to remember it, it must not have been that great, right? New life philosophy, maybe. I'll see how it goes.

Anyway, armed with a singular vanilla bean, some broiled Dandie's mini-marshmallows and a half-cup of vegan Ricemellow Creme (weird, I know, but somehow magically delightful), a star of the vegan ice cream world was born.


For this recipe, you will need:

2 15-ounce cans organic coconut milk (Full fat is best!)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Ricemellow Creme (optional)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup nondairy milk
1 cup vegan mini marshmallows (Dandies is the best!)
1/2 cup vegan graham crackers, crushed or chopped


In a medium stockpot, add your coconut milk, sugar, Ricemellow Creme and vanilla bean seeds (slit length-wise and scrape the seeds out with the tip of a knife). Bring this mixture to a light simmer over medium heat, whisking vigorously to make sure the sugar is dissolved and the Ricemellow Creme is evenly incorporated.

Put a few tablespoons (two to three) of your warm mixture into a small bowl. Add your arrowroot and whisk together until completely smooth. Add the arrowroot mixture back to your base. Whisk together for about one minute more and then remove from heat.

At any point while your base is chilling, you can make your simple ganache. Place the chopped or broken chocolate in a heat safe bowl. Gently heat your milk (I used 30 second intervals in the microwave) until it is warm but not hot. Pour over your chocolate and whisk gently until the chocolate is fully melted and mixture is smooth. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.


Transfer your ice cream base to a large bowl and refrigerate for about 3-4 hours or up to overnight. Once completely chilled, it's time to churn: add to your ice cream maker of choice and follow the given instructions for your appliance. (If you're using the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment, like me, the churning will take about 15-20 minutes on a medium speed.)

While your ice cream is churning, place your marshmallows on a small baking sheet. Place under the broiler for one minute, rotating the tray halfway through, or until the tops of your marshmallows are browned but not burnt. Chop your graham crackers or place in a gallon freezer bag and slightly smash with a rolling pin or the back of a serving spoon.


Transfer your ice cream to a freezer safe container, layering your chocolate ganache, graham crackers and toasted marshmallows throughout. More your container to the very back of your freezer to harden completely. This should take about 4-6 hours, depending on the coldness of your freezer.

It's summer nights around the campfire all over again. But better. And cooolder.

Want those other recipes? I thought you might say that:



8/11/2015

corn, tomato, basil panzanella with torn rye sourdough

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Sometimes it's just too hot to turn the oven on. I don't usually bend to that rule even on the hottest summer days, but it has been H-O-T with an overdose of humidity that my hair can't handle, not for another minute.

Days like this tend to make my appetite lighter anyway, which is the perfect set-up for a dinner that doesn't take much effort and yet still captures all the peak flavors happening in NJ right now: tomatoes, sweet corn and fresh basil. It's pretty much a dream combo.


What goes perfectly with this summer bounty trifecta is some day old bread to recreate a take on the classic panzanella salad. For those of you who are new to the panzanella scene, it's originally from Tuscany and includes "chunks of soaked stale bread and tomatoes, sometimes onions and basil, dressed with olive oil and vinegar." Simple, but some of the best stuff is.


And if you want some of the very best bread in your salad (though how any of it would manage to get stale is the real question) and you're in the NJ area, you should check out sourdough master Donna Wallstin at the Moorestown Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings: you will never again see (or eat) bread the same way.


For this recipe, you will need:

1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ears fresh organic corn, cooked with kernels removed
1 cup stale rye sourdough, cubed
1 bunch fresh oregano, chopped
1 (big!) bunch fresh basil, torn
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper

A few things: any tomato variety will work, even the big ones. If you can't find any of the smaller sizes (though this time of year that should be a cinch), just dice them into bite size pieces. And if you wouldn't dare let your bread go stale? (That's right!) Just put it under the broiler for one minute per side.


Is it fine if the instructional part of this recipe is to just toss everything together in a medium-sized bowl? Because seriously, that's how simple this is. You should let it sit for a few minutes just so the crisped up bread starts to soak up the juices from the tomatoes and some of the olive oil and vinegar. But not too long that it starts to get soggy. Otherwise: dinner is served!

Want some other recipes?

8/02/2015

vegan rocky road ice cream

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If you thought vegan ice cream would be a tough adjustment, think again. And if you got on board with vegan ice cream and realized that it had the potential to be just as delicious (if not BETTER) and then you thought, "But vegan rocky road? How can that even be possible?" Well: fret not, friends. So you don't eat animal products? Why should you miss out? Dandies (the vegan marshmallow darlings of Chicago Vegan Foods) are here to save the day with a spot-on take on a traditional, delicious flavor of ice cream. Chock full of rich, chocolatey flavor, roasty almonds and sweet marshies, you'll never go back to the original stuff again.


For this recipe, you'll need:

2 15-ounce cans organic coconut milk (Full fat is best!)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot
1 cup unsalted roasted almonds, chopped
1 cup vegan mini marshmallows (Dandies makes an awesome, allergen-free, easy-to-find option!)



In a medium stockpot, add your coconut milk, sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla. Bring this mixture to a light simmer over medium heat, whisking vigorously to make sure the sugar is dissolved and the cocoa powder is evenly incorporated. (The heat should make these ingredients meld together pretty seamlessly, but it's normal to note a bit of separation.)

Put a few tablespoons (two to three) of your warm mixture into a small bowl. Add your arrowroot and whisk together until completely smooth. Add the arrowroot mixture back to your base. Whisk together for about one minute more and then remove from heat.


Transfer your ice cream base to a large bowl and refrigerate for about 3-4 hours or up to overnight. Once completely chilled, it's time to churn: add to your ice cream maker of choice and follow the given instructions for your appliance. (If you're using the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment, like me, the churning will take about 15-20 minutes on a medium speed.)



Transfer your ice cream to a freezer safe container, layering your chopped almonds and marshmallows throughout. More your container to the very back of your freezer to harden completely. This should take about 4-6 hours, depending on the coldness of your freezer.
The last step is the most important one: scoop into bowls or cones, enjoy and let your world be rocked - get it? Get ittt?

Looking for some other vegan desserts?