Monthly Archives: May 2010

meatless monday recipe: veggie le crunch!

image from sprouted kitchen

it’s so funny when you are totally in sync with a favorite blog. yesterday, i had such a craving for salad. tim and i have been running on empty and grabbing meals as we go and the yearning for fresh veggies became too overwhelming for both of us. we had to sit down and take the time to load up on some fresh greens and boy, was it worth it! it totally fueled our day of errands (wash the dogs, wash the cars, work on the garden, go to REI, clean the house…i’m sure i missed something!). we were filled with so much energy (and no tummy overload), it was fantastic!

planning for memorial day, i didn’t want to do the usual veggie burger thing, so i went to visit sara & hugh’s blog, sprouted kitchen to see if there were any genius ideas…and as always, i wasn’t disappointed! she, too, writes about her body telling her it’s time to load up on vegetables and so, voila! please let me introduce you to her recipe for veggie le crunch! a fresh and delicious take on lettuce wraps – filled with radishes, cucumbers and black beans and topped with a lovely avocado dressing (with a little bit of kick from our good friend cholula)! hugh’s photos are so beautiful, i might even venture out of my comfort zone and add the pineapple (i’m not a big fan of fruit in my food)…but maybe since the grill will be going for the corn and potatoes (we are having a meatless monday memorial day), i could ask tim to grill the pineapple? and i might try cilantro instead of the basil (only because it’s growing like crazy in the garden and our basil is taking its sweet time).

and on a final note, i agree with sara…dress the veggies and then put them in the lettuce leaf…sorry, hugh!

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oil and water…

as my heart breaks with each passing day over the catastrophe happening in the gulf and beyond (petroleum), i have to give thanks to the plastic pollution coalition for posting this trailer for the documentary, tapped. whether it is protesting against offshore drilling or trying to educate ourselves about the global threat that is plastic, we need to not go fetal in these trying times, but wake up and take action!

for the 50 BILLION plastic bottles americans use each year, 2.5 TONS of carbon dioxide are pumped into the environment. not to mention the oil used to make the bottles and transport the bottles. and this goes beyond bottles, according to rise above plastics, 1.5 million marine animals die each year because of plastics. as you know, modernest donates a portion of our profits to 5 gyres and surfrider – the plastic detritus in our seas is a disturbing and fatal reminder of our throwaway culture.

and so is this:seriously? “the water with all the answers”? what about answering this:  what about the planet? why jennifer aniston?

bottled water is the biggest scam. their “producers” destroy local lakes and waterways and then package and sell same water back to the residents and the country and the world. they create beautiful packaging and logos and marketing campaigns and make you want to buy something that is available naturally and for free (except for the souls who are too poor to have access to fresh drinking water). vitamin water, smart water, fiji water, dasani, aquafina…all b.s.

listen, back in the day, i, too, fell victim to the pretentiousness of bottled water. i swore by evian and volvic. i wouldn’t drink anything else. i claimed that i could taste the difference, that i was somehow more sophisticated because i drank water that was imported from france. c’est ridicule! but that was decades ago…today, people are growing more aware of the dangers of plastics, of bpa, of stupid marketing campaigns that tell you will be smarter, cooler, more beautiful if you drink their water. enough.

and if you need more reasons to stop, here are five more from the mother nature network.

and for some beautiful and motivating words written on this horrific situation, please visit my friend marie’s blog, the spirit factor.

ban the bottle. ban the bag. ban BP. get involved!

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meatless monday recipe: the perfect pizza crust at home…

image from the new york times

who doesn’t love pizza? for me, it’s an edible plate onto which i can pile a variety of wonderful flavors and ingredients. and just as mark bittman demystified making risotto at home, oliver strand now shares the secret of making a perfect pizza crust in a conventional home oven. the key to getting that delicious and golden and airy and crunchy thin crust on your pizza is to let it rise overnight. in the photo above, the pizza on the left is from newly made dough and the one of the right is made with the same dough that was aged a day.

The prolonged fermentation of an overnight rise not only develops the dough’s structure, it also enables starches to transform into flavorful sugars. The dough becomes complex and nuanced. It’s a crust you want to eat.It’s also a crust you want to admire. While a three-hour rise yields a crust that has the pasty pallor of raw flour, the caramelized sugars from an overnight rise give the cornicione, or edge, a color that goes from golden brown to the deep bronze of a ’70s tan.

this is exactly what tony mantuano of spiaggia restaurant told slash food as they discussed his (in  my opinion, unjust) elimination from top chef masters (oops! belated spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the episode!).

So what’s the key to making a good dough from scratch?

TM: Giving it time to rise. More importantly, if you have weeks in advance, making a sourdough starter. My whole effort was to get the dough made and have it rise the night before and the next day, and start rolling them out when I got to the site. Time is what’s most important when making pizza. There’s a simplicity to pizza. You’re relying on great ingredients.

personally, i don’t like a lot of red sauce on my pizzas…i love for the fresh ingredients to sing unimpeded – so this recipe from ina garten is right up my veggie alley – her white pizza with arugula features 3 cheeses (fontina, mozzarella, goat) and arugula, lemon and pepper. simple and delicious!!

image from food network

so, just like the risotto recipe, once you have mastered the perfect pizza crust, the possibilities for seasonal suppers are endless!

buon appetito!

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find your true calling like ricochet the “SURFice” dog…

a friend of mine sent me this video because she knows i love dogs. i have a soft spot in my heart for all service animals, but ricochet might take the cake!

trained from birth to devote her life as a service dog, a natural instinct that couldn’t be tamed (she loves to chase birds) prevented her from graduating. but instead of giving up on ricochet, her trainer decided to let her do what she was born to do…surf!

photo by diane edmonds

now ricochet is the queen of fundraising. and as her website says, she’s “pawing it forward”!

a valuable lesson for all of us from ricochet – try to find your true calling and let yourself be who you are meant to be in this lifetime…


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meatless monday recipe: risotto cake with crispy ramps…

image from herbivoracious

as a follow up to last week’s meatless monday post demystifying risotto, i came upon this recipe from herbivoracious for risotto cakes with crispy ramps. i am a new member of the ramp club (i saw how excited the contestants on top chef got when they were in season) and now i absolutely love them! i agree with michael, ramps have a lovely garlicky flavor that separates them from their scallion cousins – if you’ve never had a ramp, i urge you to try ’em! and because i’m such a big fan now, i’m going to take his suggestion and make a pesto from the green tops.

i seldom have leftover risotto (i usually eat it all in the restaurant), but now that mark bittman has taught me that i can make it myself, i am so excited to cook up a big batch so i can partake of this delicious meal! i’m thinking yummy mushroom risotto cakes  with the crispy ramps is next on my risotto horizon!

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meatless monday recipe: risotto so easy…

image from

i am a sucker for a good risotto…but i rarely make them at home. there has always been something intimidating about making one (maybe i’ve been traumatized by all those “hell’s kitchen” episodes). but the brilliant mark bittman has now demystified this creamy bowl of goodness. his advice? 

“please. do not let risotto scare you.”

and so, mark bittman, i shall answer your challenge and make a lovely roasted asparagus risotto for my meatless monday! as with all good recipes, once you learn the technique, you can adapt to your taste and seasonality of veggies. you can read all of mr. bittman’s tips here.

buon appetito!

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meatless monday recipe(s): quinoa salad with lime & fresh mint and make your own hummus…

image from gluten-free goddess

i am posting this recipe from gluten-free goddess for three reasons:  one, because my girlfriend marie (the inspiration for yesterday’s post and so much more!) has recently embarked on a gluten-free diet (and she already feels amazing); two, because you know i LOVE quinoa; and three, because the weather out here in l.a. is in the mid 80s and this fresh yet protein packed salad looks like the perfect idea for a light supper tomorrow night. and since karina says it will taste better the next day, i will make it this afternoon and let all those delicious flavors mix and meld together overnight. i may add some diced cucumbers (only because i have a ton in the fridge) and serve it with some sun tea…perfect!

image from novel eats

i’m posting this recipe for making your own hummus for three reasons. one, we LOVE hummus but (two) it’s kind of expensive! and three, let’s face it, my boyfriend is a strapping lad and sometimes a salad for dinner (no matter how delicious) just isn’t enough. but if i serve hummus and some baked pita bread,  i think he’ll be satisfied (fingers crossed!). i’ll add some kalamata olives to the mix to carry that mediterranean theme to its savory fullest. marie can’t have pita bread now, but maybe some lovely veggies for dipping? i also saw a few recipes online for gluten-free pita bread, but i leave that up to her!

so for now, i gotta get to soaking my chickpeas!

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