Thursday, October 22, 2015

Heat Advisory Fajita Bowl

Heat Advisory Fajita Bowl

4 servings as an entree, 6-8 as a side dish

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
2 cups tightly packed fresh spinach, stems removed, chopped after measuring
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced thinly
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved and sliced thinly*
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 recipe Creamy Chipotle-Lime Dressing (see recipe below)
1/3 cup pepitas
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
Avocado and chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

In a large bowl, stir together black beans and quinoa. Top with spinach but do not stir in.

In a 12 inch iron skillet or non-stick pan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onions, jalapeƱos and brown sugar and saute, stirring occasionally until onions become caramelized, about 10 minutes. Place hot onion mixture on top of spinach to wilt it slightly. While spinach is wilting, make dressing.

Add dressing and pepitas to the bowl and stir well to combine. Gently toss in cherry tomatoes. Serve over more spinach leaves if you like or just as it is in a bowl. You can serve immediately, but I recommend refrigerating for a few hours to let the flavors develop. I prefer this one room temperature. Garnish with avocado and cilantro if you like.

Creamy Chipotle-Lime Dressing

Makes about 1/2 cup

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup vegan mayo
2 chipotles in adobo sauce*
1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon granulated onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch ground coriander

Place all ingredients in small food processor or magic bullet and blend until smooth.

* If you are a little heat sensitive, halve the amount and remove seeds.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sugar and Nice and Everything Pumpkin Spice

Fall would not be fall without a barrage of pumpkin themed everything. Last night I was at the home of a dear friend of mine for her 50th birthday party. She and her husband and many of our group of friends wait all year long for the Great Pumpkin season to come. While we don't wait in the pumpkin patch for his ornageness to show up, we do anticipate with glee the arrival of winter squash and the Dali Lama of fall food season: the pumpkin.

During the party, my lovely friend Daph and I got to chatting about restaurants, food and cooking. She shares my great passion for trying new places and recipes. It has been far too long time since my foodie spirit went into hybernation. After our conversation, I felt it begin to awaken from it's deep slumber. That and the fact that by the end of next month, I will have a beautiful newly remodeled kitchen made me want to get cooking and blogging again.

At such party, my honey mentioned not so casually that he thought it would be a great idea for me to make him his favorite Banana-Pecan Pancakes for breakfast in the morning. I knew there were no bananas to be found in the house and after a late night of wine tasting, a trip to the grocery store was not sounding at all appealing. As fate would have it, I had some pumpkin puree in the pantry and these pumpkiny nutty pancakes were born.

I want to share this profound pearl of wisdom from Linus Van Pelt of the Peanuts with you: "There are three things I've learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin." Linus, thank you for sharing your wisdom, as a token of my gratitude I share this Great Pumpkin inspired recipe.

The Great Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes

Makes 12 pancakes

1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, cooled if heated or 1 tablespoon mild oil such as grapes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if you prefer toasted walnuts, feel free to toast and cool completely

In a two cup measuring cup (to save yourself an extra dirty bowl) or bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar and set aside to let curdle slightly. In another small bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices and make a well in the center.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, maple syrup, oil, vanilla extract and almond milk mixture until well combined and smooth. Pour the liquid mixture into the well in your dry ingredient and whisk with a fork. Be careful not to over mix. It's OK to have a few lumps. Fold in walnuts.

Spray a large iron skillet (or non stick skillet) with coconut oil or other neutral tasting oil. Heat over medium high heat until skillet is hot, being careful not to let it smoke. Using a 1/4 cup measure (I like to use an ice cream scoop). Drop batter onto hot pan and spread slightly using a circular motion to maintain the round shape. Cook on first side until batter starts to bubble and cakes are nicely browned. Top with a pat of Earth Balance and maple syrup. Serve immediately.

These actually freeze well. You can reheat them in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 350.