Posts by tag: spring

  • Roasted Chili Basil Lime Tofu Bowls

Roasted Chili Basil Lime Tofu Bowls

Posted on March 20, 2017
Category:

Disclosure: I’m so happy to be able to give you all a peek into The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright. Thanks for letting me share this beautiful cookbook with you!

This past week I had to say goodbye to my beautiful, smart and sweet dog, Sheri.

I found Sheri (or “Dingo” as I liked to call her) at the Oakland Animal Shelter in 2010. Her previous owner had committed suicide and she was abandoned there by the other members of his family. She was melancholy, skittish and a little aggressive when I first met her, but I knew instantly that we were right for each other. Over the years, she developed into a happy, more relaxed dog. And because of her, I developed into a happy, more relaxed human.

Sheri was my trusty companion for almost seven years. We traveled across the country together three times. We walked over 10,000 miles. And we ate all the things.

Sheri | www.floatingkitchen.net

She also healed my heart after countless breakups. And she gave me strength in more ways than I ever could have imagined. I knew that adopting Sheri from the animal shelter would improve (and ultimately save) her life. But I couldn’t have predicted how much she would improve mine.

I never treated Sheri like a person. And to claim her to be a domesticated dog even seemed like a stretch at times. She was wild to the core. And she was happiest when she was outside, running full speed and hunting anything that moved. She wasn’t keen on snuggling. And she preferred dog treats over peanut butter. But still, she was MY PERSON. And the sadness that I feel without her is profound. There is a crushing silence in my house and a void my heart.

The next few weeks are going to be all about being kind to myself (something I usually suck at) and getting into a new routine. There are no more walks to go on. No specific times that I need to be home. And no happy face to greet me at the door. It all feels very strange.

So right now I’m focusing on doing the one thing that I know how to do: cook.

Roasted Chili Basil Lime Tofu Bowls | www.floatingkitchen.net

Laura Wright’s cookbook, The First Mess Cookbook: Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes to Eat Well Through the Seasons, arrived at my doorstep back in February. As I opened the box and flipped through it’s pages for the first time, I audibly swooned. Because the photographs are THE MOST gorgeous and the recipes are THE MOST delicious.

I’m giving away one copy of The First Mess Cookbook. Scroll down to enter!

I also enjoyed a heightened sense of giddy-ness as I held the book in my hands. I’ve admired Laura’s blog for many years now, so it kind of felt surreal to be deemed cool enough to receive an advanced copy of her first cookbook. It was like I had achieved some level of food blogging greatness.

Laura has a magical touch in the kitchen. Her recipes are both luxurious and approachable. And she has a way of creating complex flavor profiles without the need for a long ingredient list or complicated cooking techniques. It’s nourishing, wholesome food that you can make and eat everyday. The fact that everything also happens to be vegan seems like a footnote. It’s not vegan food that’s trying to be something else. It’s just good food being good. And frankly, I can’t think of anything better than that.

Roasted Chili Basil Lime Tofu Bowls | www.floatingkitchen.net

I’ve made several recipes from Laura’s book so far (all winners!). And I even had a different one photographed and ready to share with you today. But then I made these Roasted Chili Basil Lime Tofu Bowls over the weekend and they provided me with so much comfort after the loss of my Dingo, that I knew this was the recipe that I should share instead.

I eat tofu fairly frequently when I’m out at restaurants. I always order it in my pho. And no vegetarian stir fry is complete without it. But as I prepared to make these Roasted Chili Basil Lime Tofu Bowls, I suddenly realized that I had NEVER actually cooked tofu at home. Shocking, right? But now I feel like a total tofu VIP, because with Laura’s recipe I nailed it on the first time (hooray for crispy edges!). And I didn’t even have to do any messy pan frying. That is a major win as far as I’m concerned.

The lime and oil mixture has three jobs in this recipe: it coats the tofu, it coats the broccoli and then you use the leftovers to drizzle over the final dish. I ended up making slightly more than the original recipe called for, because it was so tasty that I knew I wanted to make sure I had an extra dose for the end. If you’re a “sauce person”, I suggest you do the same.

Laura finishes this dish with sunflower sprouts, but I couldn’t find any in my grocery store so I used pea shoots instead. Any small, fresh sprouts or shoots that you can get your hands on would be lovely here. Grain bowls are usually pretty forgiving in that way. Which is why I love them so.

Roasted Chili Basil Lime Tofu Bowls | www.floatingkitchen.net

I’m thrilled to have The First Mess Cookbook in my kitchen. I feels like it could be the last cookbook I ever own and I’d be happy. So of course, I’d love for one of you to have a copy as well! So I’m giving away a copy of The First Mess Cookbook to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave me a comment below, telling me your favorite Spring vegetable. The giveaway will be open until April 3, 2017. After which I will randomly select a winner and notify them by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to me with their shipping address (United States and Canadian residents only, please) or I will select an alternate winner. Good luck!

Cheers,

Liz

Reprinted with minor adaptations from The First Mess Cookbook by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Laura Wright.

Roasted Chili Basil Lime Tofu Bowls

Serves 4

Roasted Chili Basil Lime Tofu Bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 block (14 ounces) extra-firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral-flavored oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp. lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup fresh sprouts or pea shoots
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. Drain the tofu of it’s packing liquid and pat it dry with a kitchen towel. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, lime zest, garlic power, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Gently toss the tofu cubes in the lime and oil mixture. Then using your hands, remove the tofu cubes from the bowl and place them on your parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Try to reserve as much of the lime and oil mixture as possible. Transfer the baking sheet to your pre-heated oven and roast the tofu for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the baking sheet from your oven and carefully flip the tofu cubes over. Toss the broccoli florets in the reserved lime and oil mixture and then transfer them to the same baking sheet. Return the baking sheet to your oven and roast the tofu and broccoli for 20 minutes. Remove from your oven and set aside.
  5. Whisk the basil into the remaining lime and oil mixture.
  6. Divide the brown rice evenly between your serving bowls. Top with the roasted tofu and broccoli. Add some sprouts/pea shoots, sunflower seeds and a drizzle of the basil-flecked lime and oil mixture. Enjoy immediately.
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/roasted-chili-basil-lime-tofu-bowls/
  • Rhubarb-Berry Hand Pies with Chocolate

Rhubarb-Berry Hand Pies with Chocolate

Posted on March 14, 2017
Category:

Whether you’re a baker, math nerd or just a straight up hungry person, today is a day worthy of celebration. It’s Pi Day. The annual observance of the mathematical constant π (pi), who’s first three digits are 3.14 ( = March 14).

So of course, the best way to celebrate Pi Day is by making, eating and sharing actual pies. Right?

Did you know that I basically spent all of my 20’s in either a research laboratory or a classroom? Yup, it’s true. I was busy getting my PhD in Biochemistry, and then later completing a post-doctoral fellowship in Cancer Biology. And I was blinding men with my scientific prowess left and right (not really, but a girl can dream). Full on goggles and lab coat and all that good stuff. So as a bona fide science dork turned food blogger, Pi Day hits home for me on so many levels. Thus, it’s a day that I couldn’t let pass without some recognition.

Rhubarb-Berry Hand Pies with Chocolate | www.floatingkitchen.net

As much as I love desserts, I must admit that pie is never really my go-to. I’m much more of a cake and ice cream kind of gal. So for my Pi Day inspiration, I asked my Mom for some help. She sent me a rhubarb and berry pie recipe that she had torn out from the pages of a 2001 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. It’s a recipe that she’s made successfully dozens of times over the years. And with some early season rhubarb in hand, I decided it would be a good one to adapt for today’s post.

The original recipe is for a full pie. But I flipped the script and turn it into individual hand pies instead. Because who doesn’t love cute little hand pies?!?!

Rhubarb-Berry Hand Pies with Chocolate | www.floatingkitchen.net

Because these hand pies don’t take as long to bake as a full sized pie, I pre-cooked the filling ingredients on the stove top for a few minutes. This also helps to get rid of some of the excess juices from the fruits, so the hand pies come out with a wonderfully flakey crust that isn’t mushy at all. The filling is almost jam-like, and these Rhubarb-Berry Hand Pies with Chocolate kind of remind me of a Pop-Tart, which were a childhood favorite of mine.

Rhubarb-Berry Hand Pies with Chocolate | www.floatingkitchen.net

The buttermilk pie crust recipe is from Joy the Baker. It’s hands down my favorite pie crust recipe ever. I can’t imagine ever needing another one. If you’ve ever made pie dough before, I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “pea-sized pieces of butter”. This is the size of butter that most recipes will tell you to aim for as you work the butter into the dry ingredients. I actually find this to be misleading. You want the butter to be pea-sized by the END of making/shaping the dough. Not during the middle of the process. Because as you work the dough, the butter pieces will just keep getting smaller and smaller. So I aim for kidney bean-sized pieces of butter, which by the end will be reduced in size closer to that of a pea. Does that make sense?

To make sure all my hand pies were the same size, I actually created a template with a piece of paper and used that as a guide to cut out the rectangles of dough. You certainly don’t have to be that fussy, but I wouldn’t be my overly obsessive scientific self if I didn’t go the extra mile to make them all evenly sized. Using a 4 X 5-inch template, I was able to cut out 14 rectangles, giving me a total of seven hand pies. If you need more pies, just make and use a smaller template.

Rhubarb-Berry Hand Pies with Chocolate | www.floatingkitchen.net

The final ingredient worth mentioning here is the chocolate. I added chopped dark chocolate to the filling, which melts into deliciously decadent little pockets of goodness during baking. And for the finishing touch, I channeled Jackson Pollock and drizzled some melted chocolate over top. Personally, I LOVE chocolate paired with fruit. But if you’re a purest either way, you can leave it out.

Happy Pi Day! I hope you all get the chance to celebrate!

Cheers,

Liz

Rhubarb-Berry Hand Pies with Chocolate

Yield: Makes 7 hand pies

Rhubarb-Berry Hand Pies with Chocolate

Ingredients

  • For the Pie Crust
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • About 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • Melted dark chocolate for drizzling, if desired

  • For the Filling
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh rhubarb
  • 1 1/2 cups trimmed and sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. To make the pie crust, combine the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and toss to coat the butter in the dry ingredients. Then, using your hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients by squeezing it between your fingers. Try to work quickly so the butter doesn’t get too warm. Once the butter pieces are about kidney bean-sized, make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add about 1/2 cup of the buttermilk and use a fork to incorporate the flour mixture into the buttermilk. Add more buttermilk as necessary to make sure all the flour is moistened. The dough will be a bit shaggy at this point. Dump the dough out onto a floured work surface and using your hands, knead and shape the dough together into a ball. Divide the dough ball in half and shape each half into a disk. Wrap the disks with plastic wrap and chill them in your refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling. Add the rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries, sugar and lemon juice to a medium saucepan. Bring the filling to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the filling to cool for 10 minutes. Then stir in the tapioca and vanilla extract. Allow to filling to cool completely before stirring in the chopped chocolate.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Set aside.
  5. Remove the dough disks from your refrigerator and unwrap them. Working with one dough disk at a time, roll it out onto a well floured work surface until it’s about 1/8-inch thick. As you’re rolling the dough, occasionally rotate it a quarter of a turn to ensure it’s not sticking to your work surface. Once the dough is rolled out, cut out rectangles 4 X 5-inches in size. Place the dough rectangles on one of your parchment paper lined baking sheets. Re-shape and re-roll the scrapes, continuing to cut out as many rectangles as possible. Repeat the same process with the second dough disk.
  6. Add 2 rounded tablespoons of filling to the center of half of the dough rectangles. Brush the edges of the rectangles with some of the egg wash. Then top with the other half of the dough rectangles. Press the edges together gently with your fingers. Then use the tines of a fork to press more firmly and seal the edges. Transfer the baking sheets to your refrigerator to chill the pies for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Remove the baking sheets from your refrigerator. Use the tines of a fork to poke a vent in the top of each pie. Then brush the tops of the pies with some of the remaining egg wash. Sprinkle with a little turbinado sugar.
  8. Transfer the baking sheets to your pre-heated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the pies to cool slightly before serving. If desired, you can drizzle melted chocolate on top before serving.
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/rhubarb-berry-hand-pies-with-chocolate/

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