Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fresh and Easy Flat Bread Pizza

California is an agricultural hub and particulary here on the Central Coast, we are really lucky to have access to fresh, local produce. For me, a short drive down to Moss Landing once a week takes us through fields of fresh brussels sprouts and artichokes, along the foggy coastline and ends at one of my favorite produce markets.
Here you can also view the marina, go kayaking, shop for shells or visit excellent restaurants.

But my purpose in making the trip each week is to get amazing, seasonal, local produce at an unbelievable bargain.

This week, I picked up peppers, onions, mushrooms and squash. I admit, it's been a challenge to switch to buying seasonal vegetables, as I have to then find a recipe to use them in, rather than shopping to complete my planned recipe. But I'm adapting.
This week's culinary creation came via inspiration from a recipe I saw in Sunset magazine. I'm blogging from memory of something I saw while sitting in the dentist's office (probably trying to distract myself  from the impending procedure. I hate dental work, don't you?)
Fresh, thinly sliced veggies are layered on to a large lavash bread, then baked at high heat for a short amount of time. I admit I was skeptical at first that the lavash would hold up, instead expecting a soggy mess. But it did hold up. I recommend slicing your veggies very thinly to avoid too much liquid escaping and ruining your meal.
The result is a very fresh pizza, with vegetables that are barely cooked but very delicious. The crust is very crisp and would make an excellent appetizer, although we ate them as a meal. If you are adverse to nearly-raw onion, I would omit them.
1 lavash or other flat bread per person
1 yellow squash or green zucchini, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced into half moons
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
3 mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup of herbed goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup good-quality grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste.
chopped tomatoes and arugula for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place your lavash bread on an inverted cookie sheet and brush with oil. Sprinkle garlic over the top and layer the squash, pepper, mushrooms and onion over it. Crumble the goat cheese evenly, and top with parmesan. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, slide onto a cutting board and top with chopped tomatoes and arugula. Salt and pepper to taste.
I hope you enjoy them, we have made them three days in a row because they are that delicious and easy!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cherry Tomato and Zucchini Galettes.


It seems sometime after June, I fell off of posting regular recipes here. It sometimes goes like that. We didn't stop eating, I just either lacked the incentive to post it, or we scarfed it up too quickly to photograph it. Or more often then not, I was in a mode of recycling tried and true recipes and not coming up with anything new.
 Maybe I was kidnapped by ravenous vegetarian ninjas. But if I was, I'll never tell. They've sworn me to secrecy.
So hi again, and welcome back. Or maybe you never went anywhere at all, and waiting patiently for me to post something new, and so I'll say it's good to be back.
This recipe was so delightful, and screamingly easy  to make. I cheated a little bit here and used pre-made pie dough (which I almost never do, but I was short on time, so there you have it.) If you have the time to make your own pie crust, I recommend it. 
Each pie will serve about 3 people.
 Zucchini and Cherry Tomato Galletes.
1 cup ricotta
1/2 cup good-quality parmesan cheese
1 pie crust
olive oil
about 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes or zucchini
2 Tbsp basil, chopped, for garnish
1. Mix the ricotta and parmesan together in a bowl and spread evenly on the pie crust(s). Leave about an inch wide border, this will be turned up and over to form the frame of the galette.
2. Arrange your veggies on top of the ricotta/parmesan mixture.
3. Fold up the edges of the pie crust around your veggies.
4. Sprinkle a small amount of olive oil over the top.
5. (Optional) brush pie crust with milk or egg wash.
6. Place on an oiled cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the pie crust is golden. Let cool slightly and garnish with basil. Can be served hot or at room temperature.
Goes well with a fresh green salad. Enjoy!







Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tofu Street Tacos (Vegan).

I love tacos. It's my answer for everything:

What time is it? Taco time.

What's for dinner? Tacos

What could make this dinner better? Put it in a taco.

Seriously, it's become a joke around my house, and even in yoga. After one particularly grueling class, and after a delightfully blissful savasana, I went to the local taqueria.

I should insert here, that maybe I shouldn't be allowed to drive after savasana.

I approached the counter and asked the nice young lady for "taco."

Did I ask what kind? No. I just walked away, content that my taco endeavor was complete. She thought I was nuts.

Better, then, is when I make my own, complete with functioning brain. But it's hard to get vegetarian tacos, street style. So here is my version (hint: it's all about the toppings).

1 block extra firm tofu, crumbled
1 tsp each chili powder and cumin
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
6 tortillas

for garnish:
chopped green onion
sliced radishes

Heat some oil in a large skillet and fry the tofu until slightly browned. Add the onion and continue to cook until the tofu is brown and the onion is soft. Add the garlic and spices and cook 1-2 more minutes.

Serve on warm tortillas with all the fixin's.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chickpea Wraps with Tahini (Vegan)

I picked up a jar of dukkah the other day at Trader Joe's because I've never tried it before. That's pretty much how I discover new things; when something looks interesting, I buy it. Then I have to figure out what to do with it.

This was kind of an impromptu lunch I threw together that is sure to become a regular favorite. Most of my meal planning is centered around dinner, which can leave me high and dry for lunch, when I hit the house just after yoga, ready to devour anything in sight. But this recipe so screamingly easy and you can make it the day before for extra ease.


1.5 cups of cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1/4 of a red onion, minced
1 green onion, sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of pre-made Dukkah (or feel free to substitue another spice blend)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (you can substitue lemon juice if you prefer)

flat bread of your choice, 1 per wrap
spinach and tomato for garnish

Combine all of the ingredients for the filling in a medium bowl and toss to combine.

Layer onto your flatbread some spinach, the filling, and top with tomatoes. Drizzle tahini all over and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chickpea and Rice Soup (Vegan).

This flu season has hit my family hard, ya'll. It seems like one of us has been sick since December. This week, we have yet another bug that is taking its time to make its rounds through our house.

I haven't left the house in five days except to teach a yoga class. I think I may have forgotten what actual human interaction  really feels like.

No one has been eating anything substantial, despite my best efforts. There's been lots of crying, more coughing, and a ton of sleeping going on, except not, you know, at night.

 And all hail the wrath of an angry, sick 4 year old. There's nothing quite like it.

When I was little, I remember eating chicken and rice soup when I was sick. Comforting, hearty, it was always the perfect just-getting-over sickness soup.

This is my best version of it to date. I've made it in the past, but like  yoga , cooking is a practice. And I think I finally perfected this baby. Every one ate, sickness or not, and loved it. Finally, some good nutrition into these sicky little bodies.

Cole, my soup-lovin' middle son, actually gave it two thumbs up and told me "It's awesome! Write that!" (So there you go).


Olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sprig of fresh rosemary (or about 1/2 tsp dried)
1 sprig of fresh thyme (or about 1/4 tsp dried)
3/4 cup of rice
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
3 carrots, diced
4-5 cups of vegetable broth (chik'n flavored veggie broth would be best if you can find it)
2 14 oz. cans of garbanzo beans, drained
2 cups of de-veined and chopped rainbow chard
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion, garlic and celery until soft. Add in the rosemary and thyme, cook 1 minute. Add in the broth, rice, carrots, zucchini and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 10-15 minutes. Add in the chard, garbanzo beans, salt and pepper to taste, and cook another 5 minutes.

Serve warm with a fresh baguette.

Kourkouto (Greek Zucchini Cake)

This dish is savory and comforting, and was a big hit with the whole family. We paired it with a large salad.

A little like a quiche, but decidedly different, this zucchini cake simply divine. It uses only a handful of ingredients, and would be great as a breakfast, dinner or appetizer. I suggest serving it warm, or at room temperature.

Serves at least 5 for a meal (more as an appetizer).

1/4 cup of olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large zucchini, diced
1 zucchini, sliced into disks
5 eggs
1 cup of sour cream
1 cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, combine zucchini and onion. Saute until soft. This helps to release the liquid from the zucchini, so cook down until there is very little liquid left, but the zucchini shouldn't be mooshy.

Meanwhile, in a mixer, combine the 5 eggs, beaten, add in the sour cream, then the flour and baking powder.

With a rubber spatula, fold in the cheese and zucchini/onion mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.

Oil a large glass pan (about 14x10) and pour your mix into it. Spread it out evenly over the top with your rubber spatula and top with sliced zucchini.

At this point I find it helpful to brush a  little olive oil onto the zucchini slices, as it helps them to brown instead of just wither.

Cook for about 40 minutes, or until set and lightly browned on top.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Orange Glazed Tofu with Cashews (Vegan)

A few years ago, I was in Colorado for a Yoga Journal conference. While there, I had the opportunity to hear a woman named Sally Kempton speak on the Hindu goddess Kali. I was so moved by her. Not only for the quality of her knowledge and lecture, but for the depth of her own warmth and enthusiasm on the topic.

For that reason, I picked up her new book recently.

Not my usual kind of read, if I'm being honest. I usually gravitate toward the ancient texts or toward asana (poses) and therapeutics. But I so clearly remember how I felt when hearing Sally Kempton speak, that I knew this would be a good one.

And it is. In only the first two chapters I already have a clearer understanding of how to more fully appreciate and incorporate these devis into my life. Maybe the most inspiring for me is how she draws parallels between the stories of the goddesses, their qualities, and how we can use them in our lives. For example, the quality of being a good mother, or devoted wife, or how to use our anger only when appropriate.

It hits home for me, as so much of my practice is not on the mat, but in service to my family. There are, truly, times when I feel a little bogged down by it all. It helps to shift perspective from one of "heavy load" to one of "service." And I do need reminders to communicate more clearly and less from the emotional state, from time to time.

This week's recipe was like that. I really, really didn't want to cook that night, my husband was at work, and it would have been easy to just grab something for the kids. But with a few centering breaths, some letting go of the "work" of it all, something really nice evolved. I hope you like it.

As for the recipe, I love that it has little sugar compared to the commercial or restaurant version, no breading of the tofu, and no corn syrup.

Orange Glazed Tofu with Cashews.

For the glaze:

1/4 cup each water and rice wine vinegar
3 mandarin oranges, peeled and separated (also known as "Cuties")
1 inch of ginger, peeled
1/4 cup of raw sugar
1 tbsp corn starch

In a small pan combine the water, vinegar, oranges, ginger and sugar. (the cornstarch will be added later). Use the bottom of a cup or jar to smoosh the oranges a bit, so they can release their flavor. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the vinegar smell becomes less prominent. Remove and discard the ginger. Remove the pan from heat, set aside.

For the tofu:

1 block of extra firm tofu, cubed
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup of unsalted cashew pieces
soy sauce

Heat a few Tbsp. of oil in a wok or large frying pan. Cook the tofu over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Add in the cashews and a few light dashes of soy sauce, and continue to cook about 1 minute. Stir in the green onions.

At this point, stir the cornstarch (I usually dissolve it into a bit of water first) into the orange glaze, and add the glaze into the tofu. Heat until shiny and thick, about 1-2 minutes. Serve over rice (the first time we had this, it was over brown rice, and we all agreed it was better than over white rice). Enjoy!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pozole Verde (Vegan)

I've been hearing about pozole for as many years as I've been married to my husband. The problem is, it's usually made with chicken or pork. And honestly, I've never thought about making a vegetarian option.

But when my sister started outlining her recipe for chicken pozole verde, I knew I had to try one out, vegetarian style.

The way it's served kind of reminds me of Vietnamese pho. The broth is really simply made, and the key is all the delicious stir-ins.

Soup Base:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cups of clear vegetable stock
3 cups of water
1 Tbsp cumin
3 tsp. Mexican oregano (or more, to taste)
1 small can of salsa verde (about 7 oz.)
1 large can of hominy
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot. Add the onion and saute until soft. Stir in the cumin and oregano, stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the stock, water and salsa verde. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes.   Stir in the hominy and heat through.

Serve with:
chopped cabbage
lime wedges
sliced radishes
sliced jalapeno
and fried tortilla strips

Stir in what you like and enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Vegan Lentil Burgers

This recipe is a little more time consuming than I normally would put in, but when you serve it up to three kids under 12 and not only do they eat it, but they love it, (and when you know that burger is made up of healthy lentils and vegetables) it's well worth the effort.

I often think that the reason so many people eat the food they do is because they've not been exposed to other ideas. For instance, parents always comment on all the kinds of different foods my kids will eat, from Thai food to Japanese food, to vegan and vegetarian food.

 Sure, they love "kid" food too. But the trick is to keep offering and tweaking and offering again. Over time, something that seemed "weird" will become normal, and maybe even loved.

I also think it's best if you tell your children what they are eating.  Lentil burgers are never going to pass for meat. It's never going to be the same consistency or flavor. Instead you're taking a classic meal and offering a different version that is equally as tasty but healthier.

Vegan Lentil Burgers:

2/3 cup dried brown lentils
2 cups water

3/4 cup of large pearl couscous (you can substitute prepared rice or dry oats)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup water

1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped finely
2 ribs of celery, chopped finely
2 green onions, chopped
1 small handful of parsley, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
4 heaping Tbsp. masa flour
Braggs Liquid Aminos or soysauce
olive oil

In a small pan, combine the lentils and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered until the lentils are soft and the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

 (A note here: I usually find I need to add more water at some point. If the water is gone, but the lentils are still hard, add more water)

At the same time, toast the couscous in 1 Tbsp olive oil until browned.

Add in the 1 cup of water, cover and simmer for 12 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, saute the onion, celery, carrot and spices in a large skillet until soft. This step also helps to release any moisture in the vegetables. Let cool.

Once everything is cool enough that you can handle it with, well, your hands, combine the cooked vegetables with the green onion and parsley, lentils and couscous. Mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle your masa flour over the top of it, and give a few good shakes of Braggs  over everything.

Mash with your hands until everything resembles thick refried beans. Form patties with your hands. You should get about 8 of them.

Oil an large baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes on each side in a 375 degree oven. Serve with your favorite fixin's and enjoy!
 Kelly certainly did!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Broccoli and Brie Calzones

Much like my yoga practice, I have a core set of recipes that I keep coming back to again and again. For yoga, my go-to practice consists of standing poses, some inversions and forward bends.

For dinners, I tend to rotate around stir fry and soups. But  I've been in a major rut lately with dinners, making the same things over and over again and haven't had much inspiration lately. While it's not terrible to enjoy the tried-and true favorites, it does get a little un-exciting. Although I will never, ever get tired of eating this.

Which is why we had some leftover pizza fixin's this week and finally some inspiration hit! I used to make calzones all the time and how I've gone without making them for two whole years  is really beyond me.

Now don't be intimidated by making your own dough, it's really easy, I promise. This dough is hands-down the best recipe I've ever used for pizza or calzones. Try it, you won't be disappointed!

For the dough:

1 package dry yeast
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp salt

Mix the yeast and sugar with the water and let sit to "proof" for about 5 minutes, or until it's frothy. Then mix in the oil and salt, and gradually add in the flour, mixing until smooth. Knead the dough on a floured surface until stretchy and soft.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let sit in a warm place for about 40 minutes, or until doubled in size. Then punch down, and you're ready to go!

Pull off a round of dough about the size of a lemon, and roll out until very thin.  It should be about the size of a corn tortilla, and you will have enough dough to make 8 calzones.

For the filling:

1 cup of baby broccoli, chopped
1/2 of an onion, chopped
brie, sliced
salt and pepper

Saute the onion and broccoli until soft. Salt and pepper to taste.  Let cool enough to handle without burning yo'self.

Lay two brie slices on the dough round, and top with the filling .  Fold the dough over on top and crimp the edges with your hands or with a fork.

Place on an oiled cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Red Quinoa Salad with Feta and Cucumber.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a super-trendy, super-food. Almost as popular as kale. And rightfully so:

Did you know it's actually a seed , not a grain, and is more closely related to beets? Plus it's full of protein, calcium and fiber and is as easy to cook as any other grain.

As my kids head back to school today after their long winter vacation, I'm once again treated to the pleasure of tea with friends and lunches that consist of something other than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It's nice to have this time to myself for a small portion of each day, to find a moment to practice, to cook and to clean, or simply take a 10 minute savasana.

(Serves 8)

1 cup red (or white) quinoa
2 cups water
1 English cucumber, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup of chopped kalamata olives
2 green onions, sliced thinly
1/2 cup of crumbled feta

For the sauce:
scant 1/3 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of red vinegar
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the quinoa and the water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and place in fridge for at least 20 minutes to cool.

Meanwhile, for the sauce, combine all of the ingredients and whisk together until well blended. Set aside.

Once your quinoa is cooled, combine the rest of the veggies and feta, stirring to combine. Toss with the sauce. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Grilled Brie and Tomato Sandwiches

What could make a food blogger not cook for, oh, about 2 months you ask? Well a 3 hour commute (each way) to San Francisco, not once but twice a week, for 7 weeks. (My work with UCSF has finally wrapped up and we're in the data-collection stage. Fingers crossed that we all continue to find out how amazing yoga is!)

 And just when I thought it was over, I was hit by 3 long weeks of illness.

Hi. I'm Candice and I've been living on god-knows-what while I crawl out of the deep dark pit that is influenza. But now that particular baddy has made its way through all five members of my family, we're all happy and healthy again, and I finally, finally,  got back in my kitchen.

For the kids, I dished up brie and apple grilled sandwiches, but for us, we got the good stuff. It's not particularly fancy, but like yoga, when you've been out of practice for a while, the simpler things are the best things.

You'll need:

I loaf of ciabatta bread, halved lengthwise
1 tomato, sliced
sliced double-cream brie
spicy mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Spray a cast-iron skillet with oil, and get it nice and hot. Then reduce heat to medium.

Meanwhile, assemble your sammies by spreading on the mustard, then topping with tomato, brie and spinach. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Grill on each side until the cheese is melty and enjoy with a nice fresh salad!