Now Selling Cookies!

   

This post is going to be a little bit different than previous posts as I’m trying something new lately. A couple of months ago I started selling my homemade cookies locally to friends and family members.  So far I have received nothing but positive feedback, so I figured it’s time to get my website updated to potentially expand my circle of clientele. 

The first month the cookie I listed for sale was my Witchcraft Cookie – so named because one of Jah’s coworkers said they were so delicious they must have been created by way of witchcraft. The jumbo sized cookies fit 6 to a box for $12 and were packed full of imported dark chocolate, toasted almonds, and marshmallow.

Witchcraft Cookies

This month were my coveted Snarkydoodles – made with browned butter and a touch of ginger. These smaller sized cookies fit 12 to a box for $10. I will be presenting a new treat for sale every month to any LOCAL people that are able to pick up their cookies from me, as I currently have no means to deliver. Unfortunately shipping is not available yet either, but hopefully I will get there eventually!

Snarkydoodles

Once I’ve completed my move into the new house (yay!) I will begin taking orders for June’s “Milford Cookies”, which contain semisweet chocolate chips, pretzel bits, and a gooey caramel interior.

All of my cookies are always baked without eggs, and unless otherwise noted will also have a vegan version available for the same price. If you find yourself in need of cookies and would like to place an order you can email me at [email protected].

 


Vegan BBQ Sliders

   

It’s summer time, which means picnics and barbecues are in full swing. These vegan sliders are perfect for all of the warm weather festivities, or even just a weekend at home when you’re craving something different. They are simple to make, portable, and will satisfy any hungry monster’s hankering for smoky goodness. 

Vegan BBQ Sliders

It looks pretty dang meaty doesn’t it? Well it’s not! And it’s not soy beef or seitan or tofu or anything else you may expect. It’s an ingredient many people have never even heard of – jackfruit! Well informed vegans may already be aware that there is a number of pulled pork style jackfruit recipes out there, but I find that type of BBQ to be too sweet. As an alternative, I made this recipe to simulate more of a brisket style of sandwich that my dad used to make when I was growing up. You can eat it on soft slider buns, stuff it into a hoagie, or even make tasty tacos out of it. The base recipe is simple and open to many delicious adaptations. So… where do you get this mysterious jackfruit? You can buy cans at your local Asian grocer, or order it from Amazon if you don’t have an Asian market available. Stock up because you’ll probably want to make these again!

Vegan BBQ Sliders

Vegan BBQ Sliders
Serves 5
Smoky, salty brisket-style vegan sliders made from jackfruit.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cans of young jackfruit (packed in brine or water, not syrup - very important)
  2. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  3. 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce (also available at the Asian market)
  4. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice (I prefer a pickle with a saltier, more acidic brine - I use Vlasic)
  6. 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (sometimes I put in another 1/2 teaspoon for extra smokiness - but start low because this stuff is potent)
  7. 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  8. 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  9. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  10. 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  11. Additional olive oil for drizzling
  12. Soft slider rolls
  13. Preferred toppings (BBQ sauce, Vegenaise, relish - whatever floats your boat!)
Instructions
  1. Drain the jackfruit and using your fingers shred the pieces into a medium sized bowl. There might be a few chunkier pieces and that's ok.
  2. Whisk together all of the remaining ingredients for the marinade. Pour over the jackfruit and let sit for 10 minutes or so.
  3. In a medium to medium-high heat skillet throw in the jackfruit. You're going to let this cook for a while to evaporate most of the liquid. You want to "dry" it out a bit. Limit stirring because a big part of the flavor comes from the sear you get from cooking on high heat. The sugars in the marinade will caramelize and create sort of a "bark" that I feel makes it taste more like authentic BBQ.
  4. Once it's cooked put a drizzle of more oil over the top just to make it a bit more rich and fatty like a nice raunchy southern sandwich should be. :) You've just cooked out a fair amount of moisture so this gives it a little more life again.
  5. Pile high on rolls and combine with whatever toppings you love.
Notes
  1. Make sure to purchase only YOUNG jackfruit in a can, unless you're lucky enough to have a market that serves pre-cut young jackfruit. Fresh and frozen jackfruit tends to be ripe - and therefore sweet, so it won't work well in this recipe.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Vegan BBQ Sliders


Homemade Limoncello

   

This blog post has been on the back burner for some time. I made it and photographed it at Christmas-time, but seeing as that was already past the point for giving away homemade goodies as holiday gifts I figured it was best to wait for the next best opportunity – summertime! 

Homemade Limoncello

Limoncello is a lemon infused liqueur from Italy, often sipped during the summer after meals as a digestif. It’s sweet, strong, and quite easy to make. The most difficult part of the process would probably be removing all the zest from the lemons, but after that it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game – which I must admit is also difficult if you’re as impatient as I am. It is a pretty unique process that yields a unique result that you’ll love to share with your friends.

Homemade Limoncello

Homemade Limoncello
A sweet, lemony liqueur popular in Italy.
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 liter grain alcohol (if Everclear isn't available in your area, see notes about using vodka)
  2. 10 lemons
  3. 5 cups water
  4. 4 cups granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. First, wash and dry your lemons. Since you're going to be using the peel exclusively, you want to make sure they don't have any residue on them. Next, peel your lemons (a vegetable peeler works perfectly for this job) - you don't want to get too much of the white pith under the peel, so try to peel as thinly as possible. Put the peels into a large glass container. Add the alcohol, making sure that it completely covers the peels. Let the mixture steep for 10 days, or up to 3 weeks.
  2. Place a colander inside of a large bowl. Pour the alcohol mixture into the colander and drain, using a wooden spoon to press out any excess liquid from the peels. Discard the peels.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the water and sugar over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then add the simple syrup to the alcohol mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Place a wire mesh strainer over a large, clean bowl and place a coffee filter inside the mesh strainer. Slowly pour the limoncello through the coffee filter. Once the amount of liquid straining through slows down considerably or stops, replace the coffee filter with a new one and continue until all of the limoncello has been filtered, replacing coffee filters as needed.
  5. Next, filter again and fill the bottles as follows: Place a funnel into the mouth of the bottle you'll use for your finished limoncello. Place a coffee filter inside the funnel, and slowly pour the limoncello through the coffee filter to fill the bottle. Seal the bottle(s) and store in the freezer indefinitely.
Yields
  1. 2 Liters
Note
  1. If you can't obtain grain alcohol where you live, you can substitute 100-proof vodka. Most vodkas are sold in 750mL bottles (versus the 1 liter of grain alcohol called for in the recipe). If this is the size you purchase, adjust the rest of your ingredients as follows: 8 lemons, 4 cups water and 3 cups sugar.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Homemade Limoncello


Avocado Salsa

   

I’m pretty excited because I inherited Jah’s old laptop and Chris got it all set up for me over the weekend. Now I’ll be able to pop into a coffee shop to write my blog posts (hopefully with a little more frequency) whenever I feel like a change of scenery. The laptop even has Photoshop installed so I can do all of my photo editing and monster doodles when I’m out as well. Today’s post of Avocado Salsa has been brought to you by welcome secondhand technology!

Avocado Salsa

Sometimes you just know when a recipe is good, and this time it was because I made it four days in a row and everyone still loved it. The first time I made this it was simply an experiment – something I needed to throw together in a very short period of time to get dinner on the table quickly. It was well received and requested for dinner again the following night. Once I decided that Avocado Salsa was worthy of its own post, I needed to make it yet another time to get photos… then the battery managed to fall out of my camera, losing most of the pics from the shoot. That of course meant I needed to make it a fourth time, to ensure I had enough shots to share with my readers. I figured I’d take the opportunity to change the mood as well, which is why this photo is dark but the ones from the second session photos are bright. I appreciate both sets in different ways.

Avocado Salsa

Each night we ate the salsa a little bit differently than the last. Day one was on vegetarian chicken fajitas, day two was dolloped over the top of black bean soup, day three was spooned over nachos with queso, and day four was rolled up into soft tacos. Then of course we’d just dip tortilla chips straight into it as well. I love it when a recipe this simple has so many uses.

Avocado Salsa

Avocado Salsa
Serves 4
A satisfying southwestern dip with avocado, cherry tomatoes, and cumin.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 20 grape tomatoes, quartered (about two handfuls)
  2. 1/4 onion, diced (raw or cooked - see notes)
  3. 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  4. 1/2 tsp olive oil
  5. 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  8. 1 avocado, diced (choose a ripe but firm avocado)
  9. 1 tablespoon lime juice (I got this much from half of a small lime)
  10. 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Instructions
  1. Combine tomato, onion, jalapeno, olive oil, salt, cumin, and garlic powder in a medium sized bowl. Stir well to combine.
  2. While the tomatoes are releasing their tasty juices, you can chop up the avocado and cilantro. Gently toss them with the tomato mixture and fresh lime juice.
Calories
  1. 83
Notes
  1. If anyone you know is susceptible to indigestion, cooking the onions first will make them very happy - plus it tastes delicious! I broil or grill my onion in the oven before dicing it up if I know I have an onion-sensitive friend eating over.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Avocado Salsa


Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad

   

So it’s been almost 3 weeks since I made my last post, but not without good reason! Of course the holidays have a way of absorbing up all of your free time, but that’s not the real excuse. I’m sure that by looking around this page a bit (at least if you’re familiar with my blog from before) you can notice that I have a new awesome site design! For Christmas my boyfriend began this project as one of his gifts to me and when I saw the preview of what was in store by the time it was done, I nearly exploded with excitement. He put a ton of his free time into seeing it through and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Once I realized the new design was incoming I really wanted to wait to make a new post. I have a few more recipes lined up as a result of the mini hiatus (including roasted cauliflower soup and limoncello), but I knew that my first post of 2014 had  to be something healthy. This is, after all, the one time of the year that the human race unanimously decides to improve their well being (at least for a couple of weeks until someone caves and shows up at the office with donuts).

Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad 

A while back someone commented on how much they enjoyed looking through my blog. She pointed out that she particularly loved the Mediterranean influence she often sees in my recipes. I thought, “Wow… I guess I do have a tendency to cook with lemon, chickpeas, parsley, etc…” And who wouldn’t? The fresh flavors so commonly associated with Mediterranean food are incredible. This salad brings some of those influences together into one filling dish for under 350 calories. There is protein. There is fiber. There is nutrient dense broccoli. It’s definitely a recipe to ring in the new year and kick start your healthier eating habits.

Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad

Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad
Serves 4
A quick, healthy lunch inspired by the fresh flavors in Mediterranean cooking.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
13 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
13 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of pre-cooked whole grain blend (I used the red quinoa and brown rice blend by Village Harvest, which is found in the freezer section)
  2. 3 cups raw broccoli, chopped
  3. 1 can chickpeas, drained
  4. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  6. 1/2 tablespoon water
  7. 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  8. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  11. 1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  12. 1/4 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Prepare grain according to package instructions. In my case I just popped it in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
  2. Place broccoli in a bowl and microwave a couple of minutes until no longer raw, but still crunchy and green. I combined my broccoli with the grain to save time while heating.
  3. Whisk together olive oil, lemon, water, and spices to form the dressing.
  4. Combine all ingredients with the dressing in a large bowl and toss well to combine.
  5. Eat slightly warm as is or transfer to the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes first (my preference).
Calories
  1. 341
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad


Roasted Root Vegetables

   

Many people are susceptible to impulse purchasing – myself included. If I walk past a sassy pair of high heels I will make a mental note of their appeal and move on. If I’m in the electronics department and I see an immersion blender that I’ve been needing since mine broke, I will pass by and wait to do some review comparisons and price checking online. If a game on my Steam wishlist goes on sale then I… ok well I might buy that. The one thing I can’t resist though? Well, apparently it’s a bundle of beautiful, vibrant, purple  baby carrots (and all of the additional veggies to accompany them into the oven).

 

Roasted Root Vegetables

I just don’t know if there is a better way to prepare vegetables than roasting them. The caramelization of those natural sugars and the ease of preparation? It’s hard not to love it. For this meal I used baby purple carrots, parsnips, yellow and purple baby potatoes, parsley root, garlic, onion, and fresh rosemary. You can use whatever root veggies you can get your hands on, whether it’s layer of simple russet potatoes or a spectrum of multicolored carrots arranged in a heart on your roasting pan. I can’t resist going the colorful route myself. I swear that pretty food tastes better.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted Root Vegetables
Serves 4
An easy, rustic side dish that works for a weeknight dinner or holiday table.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
34 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
34 min
Ingredients
  1. 9-10 young purple carrots
  2. 12-15 fingerling potatoes (I used yellow and purple)
  3. 2 parsley root
  4. 1 parsnip
  5. 1 red onion
  6. 3 cloves of garlic
  7. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare your veggies for roasting by chopping them all at a roughly uniform size. It’s important to have them similar in size so that they finish cooking through around the same time. I left my carrots and most of my fingerling potatoes whole. The larger potatoes I split in half. I quartered the parsley root lengthwise and sliced the parsnip into thick disks so that they could be differentiated from one another on the plate. The onion I simply cut into large chunks and split apart the segments with my fingers. The garlic cloves were cut into quarters. I also cut my rosemary sprigs in half.
  3. Toss everything in the olive oil, salt, and pepper. I find that using my hands works best for this and I also do it right on the pan on a sheet of parchment paper.
  4. Layer the veggies evenly on the parchment lining baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes and then test for doneness with a fork. If they need a little more time, just pop them in for another 10 minutes or so. The smaller your veggies are chopped, the less total time they will take to roast.
Calories
  1. 159
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Roasted Root Vegetables


Savory Vegan Gravy

   

Gravy is one of my favorite types of sauces; I smother just about everything on my plate with the stuff when I can get away with it. Even my favorite breakfast is fresh buttermilk biscuits under a blanket of piping hot cream gravy. That’s why it’s so confusing that I so rarely cook my own gravy on Thanksgiving day. I guess it’s just because I already have so much on my to-do list that I figure I will save myself a little bit of time by picking up a tub of vegetarian gravy from the grocery store. You know what though? It almost always disappoints. The quality of the other food at the table tends to outshine the hint of bitterness I feel for not having made the gravy from scratch… but not this year!

Savory Vegan Gravy

Whenever I was writing up this recipe I had some serious internal conflict as to whether or not I wanted to put “vegan” in the title. On one hand I’m excited to let vegans know that they can have gravy so good they’ll want to pour a bowl of it and eat it like soup. On the other hand… well, I want the non-vegans to know that they will want to do the same thing. The word vegan can be a little intimidating to some folks, especially when dealing with traditional meat centric recipes – but it shouldn’t be! This gravy is good. It’s damn good – and I think that anyone at your table (vegetarian or not) will absolutely love it.

Savory Vegan Gravy

First can I just tell you that this gravy is made with two heads of garlic? You heard right. Not two cloves… two heads of garlic. That alone should assure you that this recipe is not messing around when it comes to flavor. I know that plenty of people don’t want to put their pan drippings to waste, so if you aren’t a vegetarian you can certainly substitute them in place of the oil while making your roux. Vegetarians could also use butter instead of oil if that’s what they like. In either case I wouldn’t recommend removing the nutritional yeast from the recipe. It’s an unfamiliar ingredient to some, but don’t let the off-putting name deter you from giving it a try. It’s generally fortified with B12, is a good source of protein, is naturally fat and sodium free – but none of that stuff would really matter if it didn’t taste good, would it? Don’t worry – it does! Most people liken the flavor to that of a mild, nutty parmesan cheese. It has a lot of uses, but in this recipe it slightly thickens the sauce while enhancing its savory flavors. If you decide to go without, I would probably double the roux and allow your gravy to reduce for longer. I’ve never done this myself though, so if you try it be sure to let me know how it goes!

Savory Vegan Gravy

Savory Vegan Gravy
Serves 8
An intensely flavorful garlic-based gravy that vegans and non-vegans alike will love.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups good quality vegetable stock
  2. 2 garlic heads, whole and unpeeled
  3. 1/2 yellow onion, cut into chunks
  4. 1 carrot, quartered
  5. 1 celery stalk, quartered
  6. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon fresh sage
  8. 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  11. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  12. 2 tablespoons flour
  13. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan add vegetable stock, whole garlic heads, onion, carrot, celery, pepper, sage, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes.
  2. Strain the stock, reserving only the garlic heads. Set the garlic aside to cool and place the stock back on the stove to stay warm.
  3. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves out into the warm stock. I like to mash them with my fingers as I do this so they are broken up in the gravy. Whisk in the nutritional yeast and additional fresh thyme.
  4. In a high sided skillet heat olive oil. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Allow it to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the paste is lightly browned.
  5. Slowly pour the stock into your flour paste, whisking until well combined. Allow to simmer over medium low heat for 12-15 minutes or until gravy reaches the desired thickness (I would usually make mine a little thicker than shown in the photos, but I was too excited to eat and I couldn’t wait!) Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Makes about 2 cups.
Calories
  1. 70
Adapted from Passionate Vegetarian
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
 

Savory Vegan Gravy

 


Autumn Minestrone

   

Few dishes are more comforting than a piping hot bowl of soup during the chilly months. I love making soups and stews; not only are they almost completely foolproof, they are also easily customizable. Whatever leftover veggies are in the fridge can be tossed into a pot and transformed into a hearty meal – it’s awesome.

Autumn Minestrone

For this minestrone I used Pomi brand boxed tomatoes because I love the flavor as well as the fact that they are not cooked with salt. One box of Pomi tomatoes is about the same as two 14oz cans, and you can substitute accordingly. Keep in mind that you may want to tweak the salt in the recipe if your canned tomatoes contain sodium. Also feel free to use more pasta. I choose to go fairly light to focus on the vegetables and keep the calorie count low.

Autumn Minestrone

Autumn Minestrone
Serves 6
A warm, comforting soup that is full of vegetables and low in calories.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  2. 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  3. 2 stalks celery, diced
  4. 1 cup carrots, chopped
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 4 cups stock
  7. 1 28oz carton chopped tomatoes (or 2 14oz cans)
  8. 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  9. 1/4 teaspoon salt (adjust depending on the sodium content of your stock and tomatoes)
  10. 1 sprig of rosemary, stem removed and leaves minced
  11. 1 bay leaf
  12. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  13. 1/2 cup small, dry pasta (I used cavatelli)
  14. 2 cups kale, chopped (or other green of choice)
  15. 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a deep soup pan heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots and cook until onions are slightly translucent – about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add stock, tomatoes, and all of your seasonings. Bring soup just to boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add pasta and kale, cooking for another 10-12 minutes (or however long your pasta needs to cook based on package instructions).
  4. Just before serving stir in fresh parsley.
Calories
  1. 148
Optional olive bread crouton topping
  1. Cut olive bread into 1 inch pieces and toss with a small amount of olive oil to coat. Spread onto a nonstick baking sheet and put into a 400F oven for about 15 minutes or until the croutons are dry and crunchy.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Autumn Minestrone


Hot Chai Apple Cider

   

Have you ever been struck by inspiration? A moment of genius that left you wanting to gloat to everyone in your path? It could be the simplest of ideas, but you still can’t help but think to yourself, “MY GOD I AM BRILLIANT!” That’s pretty much how I felt whenever I made this drink. The funny thing is that it wouldn’t surprise me if people had been doing this forever and I just never knew. It’s so much more rewarding to arrive at a solution on your own though, isn’t it? But seriously, I was so excited about this that you would think I had discovered antibiotics or something. Want a hot apple cider? Want a cozy, spicy chai? WHY NOT BOTH?

 Hot Chai Apple Cider

 

Oh and by the way, I decided I’m going to start drawing monsters into my pictures. In case you were wondering what the heck that was all about. Whenever I first started this blog and set the zombie eared bunny as my logo, a few people suggested I incorporate more of my monster doodles into the posts. At the time I felt like I didn’t want to add another layer of work to the already intimidating task of managing a food blog for the first time. The concept faded with time and eventually I forgot about it altogether, until my friend Chris suggested that I put a small comic strip into each of my blog posts. While I don’t have a talent for writing clever stories in the span of three frames, I thought that going back to the idea of putting a monster into each post might be fun after all. It seemed even more fun to have them interacting with the food in some way. I did a couple of test images (I have another post coming in a couple of days) and it ended up being really enjoyable to do. Being able to fuse two of my hobbies in a playful manner is pretty exciting for me, so I hope people are into it!

As for this drink – it’s just a simple way to heat up a single mug of warm, spiced apple cider when you feel like cozying up on a chilly night. Stir in a spoonful of caramel and top with whipped cream for level 2 comfort. Forgo the whipped cream and add a touch of rum for level 4 comfort, because rum skips right on past level 3.

Hot Chai Apple Cider

Hot Chai Apple Cider
Serves 1
An easy way to prepare a single serving of spiced apple cider on a chilly night.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
8 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
8 min
Ingredients
  1. 8oz apple cider
  2. 1 chai tea bag (you may want to use decaf if you’re making this later in the evening)
  3. Small slice of orange or lemon peel, optional
  4. Caramel, optional
  5. Whipped cream, optional
Instructions
  1. Put cider into microwave safe mug (my mug actually holds 2 cups of fluid so I doubled the recipe) and heat on high for about 3 minutes or until piping hot.
  2. Add teabag to mug, add citrus peel if you’re using it, cover, and allow to steep for as long as you prefer. I left mine for 5 minutes because I wanted to incorporate as much spice flavor as possible.
  3. If desired stir in caramel or rum, and topped with whipped cream.
Calories
  1. 120
Notes
  1. Calorie count is for 1 cup of cider with tea. Does not include caramel or whipped cream.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Hot Chai Apple Cider


Cilantro Lime Potatoes

   

When you break down the ingredients in your average breakfast burrito, potatoes are pretty common – especially for vegetarians. While they are delicious in the morning, adding potatoes to your filling options on taco night is just as good. These potatoes roast unattended while you dance around in your living room or top your previous record time for bathing a cat. By the time you’re done cleaning your wounds and applying bandages you just need to give them a quick stir and then go spend another few minutes practicing on the oboe. It’s really quite simple to make, and you have a complete, no fuss dinner when you stuff them into a couple of warm tortillas with canned black beans, fresh avocado, and (if you eat dairy) some crumbled queso fresco.

Cilantro Lime Potatoes

Whenever I buy canned black beans I like to tweak the seasoning to suit my tastes. It almost always involves a bit of oregano, ground cumin, garlic, and chili powder. I will also stir in a tablespoon of tomato paste for an extra punch of flavor. If you want your beans to have a sort of slow cooked, smoky, “meaty” flavor – bacon salt is an awesome (vegetarian friendly) way to accomplish this. I love adding a touch of bacon salt to my bean recipes; it’s not enough to taste bacony but it provides a really nice savory undertone.

Cilantro Lime Potatoes

This is a smaller yield recipe that is ideal for 3-4 people (depending on the other ingredients going into your tacos) but it is easily doubled to accommodate more. Cilantro haters need not fear – this would work nicely with whatever herbs you enjoy. Lemon and parsley would be a bright, fresh flavor for a weeknight side dish if you don’t feel like getting all Southwesterny. And of course you can always eat them for breakfast!

Cilantro Lime Potatoes

Cilantro Lime Potatoes
Serves 3
Tender potatoes roasted in a dressing of fresh cilantro and lime.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  3. 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  4. 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  5. Pinch of white sugar (maybe 1/8 of a teaspoon, just to cut the tartness of the lime a little)
  6. 1lb potatoes, diced (I used Yukon gold)
  7. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  8. 1 clove garlic, minced
  9. 1/4 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Whisk together 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, lime juice, pepper, cilantro, and sugar. Set aside.
  3. On a cutting board, sprinkle salt over minced garlic and scrape it down with the flat side of a broad knife. Continue crushing the garlic with the salt to make a paste.
  4. Whisk garlic paste together with the teaspoon of olive oil and toss with your diced potatoes.
  5. Arrange potatoes on a parchment lined cookie sheet and transfer to the oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Toss potatoes with the prepared dressing and transfer to the oven for another 8-10 minutes.
  7. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  8. Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas, black beans, fresh avocado, and queso fresco.
Calories
  1. 188
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Cilantro Lime Potatoes


Mediterranean Veggie Burger

   

I have conflicting emotions whenever I go into a restaurant and see they have a veggie burger on the menu. On one hand I get excited – hoping for a hearty, flavorful patty made in-house by someone that understands not all vegetarians are out to eat fat-free, gluten-free, low-sodium rabbit food. I mean I’m going there for a burger after all. On the other hand I get an overwhelming feeling of cynicism, as I know I’m much more likely to be presented with one of those mass-produced hockey pucks from the freezer aisle of the local grocery store. Then on another hand (I can have three hands; don’t judge me) I’m just thankful there is a vegetarian option at all. One thing I can always count on though is a super delicious veggie burger made in my own kitchen.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

For me, a well-crafted veggie burger needs to hit on three major points: pronounced flavor, contrasting textures, and the ability to make me lean back and pat my belly in sated bliss upon consumption. Having the recipe be quick and easy certainly doesn’t hurt either. This vegan patty whips up in the food processor in just a minute or two, but then it meets all of my requirements for an excellent burger as well. When paired with the olive and tomato relish, a smear of bright lemon basil pesto, and warm feta cheese (or not if you’re vegan) it all comes together into a savory, complex combination of flavors that truly satisfies a rumbling tummy.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

There are two key factors that contribute to the texture of these burgers. Obviously one of them is going to be the ingredients. I blend farro into the mix for a nice bit of chew throughout, and at the last minute I also add in roasted, salted pumpkin seeds for just a little bit of crunch. The second factor is properly combining the ingredients. Don’t go crazy and pulverize your ingredients into an nondescript, beige paste. Small pieces of chickpea, bits of chewy grain, and whole seeds will give your burger a much nicer bite. When your patties are formed you should be able to identify most of the recipe’s components. If it looks like a chunk of slice-and-bake sugar cookie dough you’ve definitely gone too far.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

Mediterranean Veggie Burger
Serves 4
Quick to make and packed with flavor, these vegan burgers make a great weeknight meal.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 15oz can of chickpeas, drained
  2. 1 cup cooked farro (I use a pre-cooked farro/rice blend by Village Harvest, but whatever hearty grain you have on hand should work fine)
  3. 1 garlic clove, chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon tahini
  5. 1 rounded tablespoon nutritional yeast
  6. 1/2 tablespoon egg replacer powder or corn starch
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  9. 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  10. Salt, to taste (amount varies depending on whether you’re canned chickpeas are salted – I used about 1/4 of a teaspoon)
  11. 1/4 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
Instructions
  1. Place everything except for the pumpkin seeds into the food processor and pulse until combined, but still chunky.
  2. Add pumpkin seeds and pulse a little bit more. I personally prefer most of the seeds to remain intact, so one or two quick blitzes does the trick for me.
  3. Divide mixture into four equal pieces and shape into patties. If desired you can cover and transfer to the refrigerator to cook later.
  4. Heat a small amount of olive oil or cooking spray in a nonstick skillet and sear your patties on each side.
  5. Serve on toasted bun with tomato olive topping (recipe below), pesto spread, greens, and if you’re not vegan, melted cheese (I used a blend of havarti and feta).
Calories
  1. 236
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Olive Tomato Relish
Serves 4
The combination of sweet tomatoes and salty olives is a perfect addition to the smoky flavors in the burger.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 16 cherry tomatoes, diced
  2. 8 kalamata olives, minced (about half the size of your tomatoes)
  3. 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  4. Fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl.
  2. Serve on top of your burger.
Calories
  1. 34
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Mediterranean Veggie Burger


Handmade Potato Gnocchi

   

The first time I tried gnocchi was from a vacuum-sealed pack I picked up at my local grocery store. At first bite I immediately wondered how I had gone so long without even once consuming these tasty little dumplings. Seriously, what was I doing with my life? You can imagine how I felt the first time I ordered a plate of fresh, handmade gnocchi from a reputable Italian restaurant. I was floored by how much more light and pillowy they were than their prepackaged cousins. With that meal I decided that I needed to learn how to make gnocchi myself… which unfortunately led to a series of failures that never measured up to the quality I came to expect from an Italian kitchen. Through trial and error, plenty of research, and a bit of patience, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally married each of the elements needed to making a soft, delicious gnocchi!

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

Making a dish like this is certainly a labor of love, but the results are very much worth it. Even though the entire process is rather lengthy, the majority of that process is waiting. Handling the dough is arguably the most tedious step, particularly if you choose to roll your gnocchi on a gnocchi board or a fork to get the iconic grooves in each dumpling. The nice thing is that you don’t have to roll your gnocchi. It’s perfectly fine to simply cut up the pieces and cook them as is. There is a benefit to the grooves however – they provide a lot of “grip” for holding onto sauces. If you want a compromise you could simply press a small indentation into each dumpling and forgo the grooves.

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

Here is a list of the things I’ve learned when it comes to making quality gnocchi:

  • Choose the right potato. You want a mealy, starchy potato (such as a russet).
  •  Make sure your potato flesh is dry and lump-free. I use a ricer to get an even, fluffy texture.
  • Use only enough flour to bring the dough together.
  • Do not over handle the dough. This runs the risk of producing dense, heavy gnocchi.
  • Cook your gnocchi at a gentle boil, not a rapid one that will throw them around in the pot.
  • They cook quickly, be ready to scoop them out as soon as they float to the surface.

I started by boiling 3 medium sized russet potatoes in well-salted water. Once fork tender (about 30 minutes) I took them out and removed the skins with the help of some paper towels. The potatoes were still warm and the paper towels not only have an uneven texture that pulls the skins away easily, it also makes it possible to handle the hot potatoes. The naked tators were pressed through a ricer onto a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. This is a step that I made up myself after having experienced problems with too-wet potatoes in the past. I preheated the oven to 200F, put the cookie sheet in the oven, left the door cracked open, and turned off the heat. The potatoes were left there to cool completely and the residual warmth from the oven helped dry them out a little further. Once cool, the riced potatoes were put onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkled with about 3/4 cup of cake flour. One recipe I read suggested 1 cup of flour per pound of riced potatoes – 3/4 cup ended up being the right amount for me. I used cake flour because of its lower protein content, which during my intense gnocchi studies I learned helps promote a lighter texture in the end. Work the flour into the potato until it become a soft, pliable dough. Cut dough into 3-4 equal pieces and roll the pieces into ropes. Line the ropes up next to one another and cut your gnocchi into approximately 1″ pieces. You can either cook them this way or choose to roll your gnocchi on the back of a fork (or gnocchi board) to get the grooved texture. Place the gnocchi at the top of the fork tines and gently press down, rolling it across the fork with your thumb. It will be slightly curled with the indentations on the opposite side.

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

That’s all there is to it! Yeah ok, I know it is kind of a lot of take in. The only way to really master the technique is to buy some potatoes, flour up your hands, and get to practicing! The beautiful thing about gnocchi is that once you’re done making them, they cook in a flash, and there are dozens of super quick ways to serve them. Gnocchi have a very simple flavor on their own, making them ideal vehicles for rich, flavorful sauces. I prepared (and photographed) my finished gnocchi three different ways to give you some ideas for serving. Each of these preparations took under 10 minutes.

The top image on the page is the vegan option where I sauteed garlic in a bit of olive oil and threw in the gnocchi (straight from the pot it was boiling in) with some pine nuts. Just before serving I squeezed lemon juice over the top and tossed it with fresh parsley and black pepper. The second dish shows one of the more common ways of serving gnocchi. Browned butter with sage. It’s hard to beat a classic! The final image (at the bottom) shows an oven-baked variation. I sauteed some garlic in a bit of butter, threw in my cooked gnocchi to get a quick sear, added chopped tomato, torn basil, and cubes of soft, fresh mozzarella. Popped it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top and it’s done. Now all you need is some fresh handmade gnocchi and you’re good to experiment on your own!

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

Handmade Potato Gnocchi
Serves 3
A soft, fluffy gnocchi prepared without any eggs.
Print
Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 small to medium sized russet potatoes
  2. 3/4-1 cup cake flour (amount used depends on the size of your potatoes)
  3. Salt, both for boiling and for seasoning the gnocchi
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200F.
  2. In generously salted water, boil potatoes until fork tender (about 30 minutes for the potatoes I used).
  3. Remove potatoes from boiling water and carefully remove the skins. Press potatoes through ricer. If you do not have a ricer I’ve heard that grating the potatoes works quite well too.
  4. Transfer potato to cookie sheet lined with paper towels and place in oven. Turn off heat, crack open the oven door, and allow potatoes to cool completely.
  5. Put fresh pot of salted water on to boil while you make your gnocchi.
  6. Spread cooled potato mixture onto lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with a bit of salt (maybe 1/4 teaspoon) and cake flour. Work flour into the potato until it becomes a smooth, pliable dough.
  7. Cut dough into 3-4 equal pieces and roll into ropes. Line ropes up side-by-side and cut your gnocchi into roughly 1″ pieces.
  8. If desired roll your gnocchi on the back of a fork for added texture.
  9. Put cut gnocchi into gently boiling water (if the boil is too rough it can bounce them around more than necessary). When they float to the surface they are cooked. Remove immediately from water and toss in hot oil, butter, or other prepared sauce of choice.
Calories
  1. 217
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Handmade Potato Gnocchi