Butternut Squash, Rice, and Saffron Stew

Hearty, warming, and perfect for an Autumn evening!
Hearty, warming, and perfect for an Autumn evening!

Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend so far! We spent the weekend with family and friends, and today Warren took me for a belated birthday brunch on the Foothills Parkway. Just look at that view!
Birthday brunch with a view!
Birthday brunch with a view!

And he even poached eggs for us to bust open on top of some grilled garlic bread!
Yes, this really happened!
Yes, this really happened!

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Hot Jackfruit Open-Face Sandwich

Vegan | Dairy Free | Gluten Free Option
Vegan | Dairy Free | Gluten Free Option

Summer here. I had a birthday yesterday. It’s not unnerving, but it does feel a bit different this time around. Not good or bad, just different. That 3-5 birthday; the birthday 5 years from 4-0; the birthday where people say, “oh, you’re still so young”, but I’m actually the oldest I’ve ever been in my life.
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Gazpacho with Tomatoes, Beet Leaves, and Basil + Popsicles

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The heat. The humidity. Driving us off the front porch at 7:15 p.m. as the sun peeks over the cabin roof, the high temperatures here in East Tennessee seem perpetual. Like marionettes, the sun beckons us to ditch standing over a stove as much as possible. Knowing the glory of fall and winter will have us warming up the kitchen with pots of chili, we easily give in to the ebb of the oven.
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Tomato & Watermelon Salad with Herbed Couscous and Serrano-Mint Vinaigrette + Appalachian Grandparents

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If you’ve got some tomatoes and watermelon hanging out in the fridge, use them here. This salad is really perfect for the time of year. The lovely colors are reminiscent of a Summertime fruit salad, but looks toward cooler weather with the addition of couscous making it a bit more hearty. It’s great for reunions and picnics too. You can keep the individual components separate, and combine everything quickly when you get to your destination.
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Jackfruit Carnitas Tostada with Watermelon-Tomato Pico and Black Bean Mash

Jackfruit Carnitas Tostada
Jackfruit Carnitas Tostada

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you should be familiar with at least one meat substitute by now. Tofu has been around since BC times, but today we’ve surpassed coagulated and pressed soy milk. Tofu, tempeh, and TVP (textured vegetable protein), all derived from soy, are now found in most grocery chains as protein sources for vegans and meat-eaters alike. Seitan, made from washing away starch in wheat dough, is a gluten based alternative currently in vogue.
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Rustic Pizza Sauce

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Italy? Greece? Egypt? Just who invented Pizza?! That answer varies depending on who you ask. Pizza is a flatbread after all, and all of the possible birthplaces certainly deserve homage for their respective flatbread creations. Regardless of who topped their flatbread first, the pizza we know today originated in Naples, Italy as an inexpensive flatbread to feed the poor.
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Fried Green Tomato and Goat Cheese Napoleon with Creamy Grits, Roasted Red Pepper and Shallot Purée, Basil Oil, and Fried Basil Leaves.

FGT with grits
A smash at the box office? No. Did Fannie Flagg lead you to believe fried green tomatoes are a southern dish? Quite possibly. In 1991 Fannie Flagg’s novel, Fried Green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, was adapted for film and hit the silver screen as Fried Green Tomatoes. Let’s rewind. 100 years or so before Jessica Tandy perked up Kathy Bates, fried green tomatoes were popping up in Jewish cookbooks from the Midwest. Fast forward to the late 1940s, we watched fried green tomatoes hit their heyday. Their time in the spotlight was short lived, though. Between the late 40s and the early 90s, things were a bit hazy. They became wishy-washy and went unnoticed. They were thrust into the spotlight in the early 90s with the release of Fried Green Tomatoes, and have earned their keep on southern and eclectic restaurant menus since then.
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Fruit Salad with Indian Spices and Mint Simple Syrup

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Fruit 101: Flesh, agriculture, staple, nutritious, and raw. Oh, and forlorn fruits we like to call “vegetables”. That’s my adjunct lesson. Cut some up, toss them together, and call it a fruit salad. Label it fruit cocktail, it’s still chunks of fruit lobbed together. Even the colorful are well-worn on the inside. Luckily, we have the spice trade as a dutch uncle. He’s our one way ticket out of Sleepy town.
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