Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm Julia Child...bon appetit!!!

Ok so I'm really not Julia Child, I'm Lauren Cosentino (Hi, nice to meet you! We should hang out sometime...) But I dressed up as Ms. Child for Halloween and was channeling her all day on Saturday in preparation for our Moorhouse Halloween party. Our house was crazy with costume construction and food preparation, but the party was fantastic - we even had a sexy sax man live performance! And now, as children are running amuck feeding themselves on corn syrup and red #42, I give two much more appetizing (and real) options for your own, more sophisticated sweet tooth (or your "pretend to be more sophisticated sweet tooth"..because we all know there's a little mini trick or treater at heart...)

Pumpkin S'mores Cake
adapted from Pumpkin S'mores Cake

  • I'm not going to post the full recipe because it's really labor intensive (really needed Julia's help with this one) but here are the modifications I made...
    • I used gluten free graham crackers 
    • Substituted a homemade simple syrup for corn syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
    • Substituted soy creamer for heavy cream so it would be lactose-intolerant friendly!
Yes, it's complicated (I don't exactly have a blow torch lying around my kitchen), but it's so worth it and was completely cleaned off by the end of the night! 

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • 6 TBS Earth Balance Vegan Butter
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten free gingersnaps, crushed
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
Melt the butter in the pie plate in the microwave. In a small bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the gingersnap crumb mixture to the pie plate and, using a fork, coat completely with the butter. Using your hands, starting with the middle, press the crumb mixture outward up the sides of the pie plate. Then...

Pumpkin Cheesecake
  • 1 12oz. package silken tofu
  • 1 8 oz. container vegan cream cheese ( name)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh is better, but canned works just as well)
  • 1 cup raw turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 3 TBS almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 TBS ground cinnamon
    • you can also substitute these spices for a little over 1 TBS pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350F. Puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pour into gingersnap crust. Bake at 350F for about 50 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate. If you have leftover filling you can...

  • add 1-1 1/2 cups flour of choice, 1 cup brown sugar, and some chocolate chips to make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
  • add non-dairy milk of choice to the blender and blend to smoothie consistency for an awesome pumpkin pie smoothie (the roommates loved this!)
I don't have all the Roomie Reactions, but I know that both of these tasty morsels were GONE by the end of the night and enjoyed by veg's and non-veg's, gluten-frees and non-GF's even though Halloween is ending, I hope you still enjoy the rest of the pumpkin season and from my fluttering paper heart to yours...Bon Appetit!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

the dog ladies' night in

Yes, that's ladies. Megan and I have decided on a back-up plan for the future - if indefinite singleness is in the forecast, we will move in together and become dog ladies. Not cat ladies. Dog ladies. And tonight, we decided to stay in and make pizza. Gluten-free and vegetarian Mediterranean pizza. It's Friday night after all! No, we didn't just get paid (5 points to the first person to get the reference)...all the more reason to stay in!

I used Bob's Red Mill GF Pizza Dough mix for this recipe. I haven't ventured into making my own GF pizza dough, but it's definitely on the cooking bucket list. Bob's has a pretty good texture - soft where it needs to be soft while maintaining a crunchy edge. I added Feta cheese to our pizza, but it's completely optional. Actually I think it'd be really yummy with Daiya vegan shredded mozzerella too... Buon Appetito!

Mediterranean Pizza (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian/Vegan)
  • Bob's Red Mill GF Pizza Mix
  • 2 TBS Italian Seasoning
  • 3/4 cup plain hummus
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 Feta (or Daiya Mozzerella)
  • 1/5 block of extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 1/2 Italian eggplant
  • 1 avocado
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar 
Preheat oven to 425F. Grease baking sheet with olive oil - I used a rectangular baking sheet and spread out the dough so it covered the whole pan. Prepare pizza dough according to package directions (I chose the vegan option and did a flax "egg" instead of using two eggs), and add Italian seasoning. Press dough onto baking sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes. 

 While dough is baking, dice eggplant and set aside. Once dough is done baking, spread out hummus and garlic as the pizza sauce. Layer the spinach leaves over the hummus, then add olives and Feta. Next add diced eggplant and drizzle olive oil over the top. Finally, crumble tofu over the top. Bake pizza for 15-18 minutes or until the crust and toppings are lightly browned and crispy. 
Megan and I sliced the avocado on top after the pizza was done baking (because avocado does make everything better) and drizzled balsamic vinegar over the top. A little chardonnay and Harry Potter...molto bene, Mia Amica!

Roomie Reactions...
Megan: "Is the real life? Mmmm, it's really good..."
Jamie: "Wow, this is good...(upon learning it was gluten free crust) Really? It's really good!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

lift, tone, and burn free spiced carrot bread

I have to thank two people in this post...

  1. Lisa Maris for bringing me carrots fresh from her garden and inspiring this baking venture.
  2. The lovely Stina for waking me up from a nap with her sweet smile and Ray LaMontagne and, "I'm ready for you to wake up now. I want to play, but everyone is napping!" It was time to play, and this is the game that came out of it...

Vegan Spiced Carrot Bread
  • 3 cups almond meal/flour
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 TBS cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup raw agave syrup
  • 1/4 coconut oil
  • 3 cups fresh carrots, grated
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts
Preheat oven to 325F and line two loaf pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine almond meal/flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a smaller bowl combine mashed bananas, agave, and oil. Stir in carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Then, stir wet ingredients into dry. Pour batter into the two pans, dividing evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top of both loaves. Bake for 40 minutes. Cool to room temperature and serve...however you want! My morning is going to involve this bread warmed with some raw almond butter...mmmmmm....
The almond flour makes the bread so moist, it's insane. The original recipe also called for eggs instead of bananas, but I wanted to make it vegan and slightly healthier. Also, once the bread is baked, the taste of carrot is a lot more subtle, but just enough to notice. It's a wonderful fall baked good and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!

Roomie Reactions:
Stina- "I like how many flavors are in it - it's so full!"
Mady- "It's really moist. So yummy!"
Megan- "It's just the right amount of sweet. I don't normally like carrot cake, but this is good."
Jess- "It was super yummy! It's a healthy dessert - like a breakfast bread!"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

christening the crock pot...

It's officially time - tonight marks the season's first crock pot recipe! I love crock pot meals. I mean who doesn't? You put it in, leave it, and eat it. Done and done. So, in honor of it almost being Halloween and ignoring the fact that there were two days that were over 90F last week (which my allergies loved..blah), I am currently waiting for the first crock pot recipe of fall 2011. Are you ready for this? 3 Bean and Pumpkin Chili...

3 Bean and Pumpkin Chili

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 15oz. cans beans (I used pinto, kidney, and black)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 7oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 6oz. can tomato puree
  • 1 TBS cumin
  • 2 TBS instant coffee
  • a couple dashes of chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 TBS raw agave syrup
  • 1 TBS cocoa powder
  • 1 small pie pumpkin
In a medium saucepan, heat oil. When hot, add chopped onions and saute until translucent. Place the onions in the crock pot. Add remaining ingredients, except pie pumpkin. Stir and mix and turn on to low. Cook on low for at least 8 hours. To roast the pumpkin, preheat oven to 400F. Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds. Slice into crescents about 1 inch thick, brush with olive oil and bake on lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes. When pumpkin is done, cut into large cubes and stir into chili just before serving. Garnish with whatever the heck you want to garnish with - cheese, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, cornbread...

Roomie Reactions...
Stina: Oh my gosh Lauren your chili is so good!
Jamie: Wow..that's so good!
Sara: I hope nobody likes it - you should tell everyone that it doesn't taste good, so that there's lots of leftovers for us.

I made this for my church Life Group and the crock pot was scraped clean by the end of the night...sorry Sara, but I promise, there will be more!

Monday, October 17, 2011

a romantic dinner with Mady...

My darling room-roommate, Mady, and I hadn't had a date in awhile and it was about time to remedy the situation. So we decided to do dinner last night and after much complicated deliberation, we decided to join food forces. I had been eyeing this recipe for a Fall Harvest Salad on The Healthy Foodie (and had veggies that desperately needed to be used), so we decided to make that with some quinoa. She went on a run and I enjoyed my day of rest by starting the meal. This is definitely an adaptation of the original, and I loved the result!

The dressing is delicious. I don't even like mustard, but I honestly couldn't taste it at all. And the apple adds a nice sweet contrast to the rest of the savory veggies and dressing. Roasting the veggies with the dressing on really helps the veggies absorb all the flavors and still leaves enough in the bottom of the dish for the quinoa to soak up too...

Roasted Veggie and Quinoa Salad
(serves 2)
adapted from The Healthy Foodie- Fall Harvest Salad

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 5 white mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, peeled
  • 1 medium apple
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 1 TBS dried oregano
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 TBS white wine vinegar
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 1 TBS raw agave syrup
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
Preheat oven to 400F and chop, dice or slice your vegetables. Place them all in a shallow baking dish with the olive oil and spices (don't add the apple yet). Cover with foil and cook for 25 minutes stirring occasionally. While the veggies are cooking, pour all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix vigorously with a whisk. Once the veggies are done, take them out and add the apple, garlic, and dressing. Leave uncovered and cook for an additional 25 minutes. Meanwhile...

Bring 1 cup vegetable broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat and add 1/2 cup quinoa. Cover and let simmer for 12-15 minutes.

To Assemble: 
Divide the quinoa between two bowls/plates. Pour the veggies and extra sauce on top. Enjoy with someone you love and candles :)

Roommate Reaction:
Mady- "Oh my gosh,'re seriously amazing! This is so good. The apples are like a little sweet surprise...mmmm!"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

another misty morning...

Today's fall reminder was fog. Lovely, gray, misty, moist fog - I bet you don't hear people talk so fondly of fog very often? That's ok...poor fog needs a little love every now and then. I love these mornings at work before anyone else gets here, and I can sit quietly without hearing "I'm sexy and I know it" techno-ing in the studio. I like to bring my breakfast with me to work so I don't feel rushed as I slam it down before heading out. Today however, this oatmeal would have been much more appetizing right off of the stove rather than the lukewarm glob it is now as it sits in the tupperware on the desk....yum.

In all seriousness, it is "yum." Oatmeal is one of those breakfasts that I forget about easily, but every time I make it I'm reminded once again of the warm comfort that comes from the steaming bowl of oats fresh off the stove. And, you can mix anything in it - this morning's choice? A sort of Spicy PB&J Oatmeal. I know, it sounds weird. Especially the spicy part, right? But trust me and keep going...

The spice- go back and visit the Chai Apple Spice Breakfast Quinoa post and get out the Mohini Indian Fusions Chai Spice

The "PB"- really, it should be "AB" because I used Almond Butter instead of Peanut Butter

The "J"- chopped dates

So now that you now the lovely blend of ingredients we can move on to the assembly...

Spicy AB&J Oatmeal
(makes 1 serving)

Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and add 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 tsp. chai spice. Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add almond butter, chopped dates and flax meal. Stir occasionally for another 5 minutes (or until cooked to desired texture). Remove from heat and let stand for about 2 minutes before serving. Pour into your favorite bowl and enjoy with a warm cup of tea - a nice hot homemade chai would be delightful with this! 

Roommate Reactions: 
Mady- (as I was stirring in the almond butter) "Mmmmmmm..."
no one else was up, but I think they would have liked it...

* For another great food blog by a former Moor Girl, visit All Owls Think A Lot by Nicki Hauth...she's fantastic. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

something fishy..

Oh fishy, controversial you are! That perfume of yours is something fishy and awfully potent. Even in the most experimental kitchen of the Moor House, I must open the windows and doors when I cook you so as not to offend the lovely ladies of the house. I promise I love you, but I must are something fishy...

Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with Quinoa, Goat Cheese, Cranberries and Asparagus
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 6oz. filet fresh or frozen mahi mahi
  • 1 TBS. olive oil
  • about 2 TBS. Italian seasoning
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • a handful of asparagus spears
  • 1 oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
Cook quinoa according to package instructions or refer to my a quiet morning on the moor front post for perfectly cooked quinoa (substitute water). Meanwhile...

Preheat oven to 400F. Pat mahi mahi filet dry (if frozen, defrost first) with a paper towel. Rub seasoning on both sides of the filet. Heat oil in medium sized skillet over medium-high heat. When oil begins to sizzle, place garlic in the pan and cook for about 2 minutes (until it becomes fairly aromatic). Then, place filet and asparagus in the pan. Cook about 3 minutes each side or until the sides of the filet are browned and seared, and asparagus is just barely browned. Place the skillet in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the fish is flaky and tender (test by inserting a fork into the thickest part of the filet).

When quinoa is done cooking, scoop into bowl or plate and top with mahi mahi and asparagus. Sprinkle cranberries and goat cheese on top of this. The combination of tartness from the cranberries and goat cheese cut the rich flavor of the fish, and work well with the overall mixture of spices. the little fishy doesn't feel left out.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

not really spaghetti and meatballs..

I LOVE FALL!!! Everyone should know this by now so I'll leave it at that. Except to say that Fall = squash...lot's and lot's of squash. All shapes and sizes and varieties and colors..yum. One of my all time favorite squashes to cook with is spaghetti squash. It's really amazing. The squash itself is a bright and fresh yellow in color and oblong in shape. There are many ways to cook it, but my personal favorite is roasting in the oven drizzled with a little olive oil and some spices. The easy way? Poke some holes in it and pop it in the microwave for 8-12 minutes depending on the size...cake.

For this recipe I roasted the squash as stated above and sauteed some lentils with the same spices, garlic, onions, tomatoes, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and some vegetable broth to create a pseudo, vegan "spaghetti and meatballs." Enjoy!

Not Really Spaghetti and Meatballs
(serves 2)

Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • about 2 TBS. olive oil
  • about 3-4 tsp. total of rosemary, oregano, thyme
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
Lentil Meatball Sauce
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 3-4 tsp. total of rosemary, oregano, thyme
  • 1 TBS. nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (or whatever both you have if you are of the meat eating family)
Preheat oven to 425F.

Poke a couple of holes in the skin of the squash with a fork and microwave for about 2 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the squash in half and scrape out the pulp only (this is the part in the very middle with seeds). Place squash halves on a foil lined baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle spices and chopped garlic over the two halves. Place in oven and bake at 425F for about 45 minutes.


Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Drizzle some olive oil in the pan to keep food from sticking. Put chopped garlic in the pan and saute until golden brown. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add tomatoes, lentils, nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, and spices. Saute until tomatoes start to become soft and juicy - the whole mixture will stick together, kind of like a meat sauce. Remove from heat when done. 

When squash is done cooking, remove from oven. It will be extremely hot so wait a couple of minutes before scooping out the flesh. When slightly cooled (enough to handle) scrape out the stringy flesh with a fork onto plates. Top with lentil 'meat' sauce and Parmesan or vegan cheese of choice. Serve hot, preferably with a glass of vino... Mangia Mangia!

pictures to come