Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sister Winter

And so the end to my first year of blogging approaches. Soul Food has definitely served its purpose for me personally, which was primarily to motivate me to cook more, to develop my personal cooking style, to challenge myself in the kitchen...mission accomplished! Maybe you found something tasty to eat in the meantime? Well, here's a final roundup of my major inspiration for the coming change of season. Happy holidays!

Winter Soul Food

Clockwise from top right: A bottle of Veuve Clicquot Rosé, my absolute favorite champagne (and champagne is my favorite altogether); David Lebovitz's orange marmalade, which I'll be whipping up for a holiday gift this year; Black Swan, an increeeedible film; a sharp look from Chanel's Pre-Fall 2011 collection; a beautiful Peppermint Crush cake from Sugar Skull; Ella Fitzgerald's Swinging Christmas - classic; The Flavor Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, a fascinating book explaining what flavors pair best in food; a gingerbread snowflake cookie from Martha Stewart; my planner for 2011, by Jill Bliss, from here; and the original Four Freshmen's breakout record, which my charming brother had signed by the latest incarnation of the group when we caught their show this weekend. I will love those boys forever!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Pizza DoughMG Cinnamon Buns

Since my boyfriend started working at a pizza shop, it's been pizza in the morning, pizza in the know how it goes. And it's AWESOME! Because, as the bumper sticker I got for his car reads, "I'd rather be eating pizza." So there. Anyway, the thing is, pizza dough is just so malleable, you know? You can be the sculptor, shape it into whatever your heart desires. This time, when a leftover ball of dough was placed in my hands, it told me it wanted to be cinnamon buns, and listening was the best decision I have made this month! (Besides, perhaps, those petits fours.)

Also, due to the nature of the glaze, this is the ideal opportunity to gush a little bit about Spekuloos, which I believe may actually have come to me from heaven, though for some reason, now they're calling that place Wafels & Dinges. I ordered a jar of this otherwordly stuff about two months ago, but didn't get around to trying it until November. When I finally did, even after planning to use it in several special recipes, it proved impossible because all I wanted to do was eat heaping spoonfuls of it, all by itself. UGHHHH, it's just so GOOD!!! Now it's gone, though. Used the last of it to boost my buns all the way into the next life. :)

Pizza dOughMG Cinnamon Buns

makes 9 buns

1 small-medium pizza dough
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted in microwave
1/3 cup Spekuloos spread
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1/4 cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400. Mix together cinnamon, ginger and agave in a bowl. Fold in pecans. Push out the dough with a rolling pin until it's a nice rectangle about a 1/2-inch thick. Spread the filling mixture evenly over the top of the dough, then roll it up the long side of the dough. Cut the roll into buns, nine in total. Stick 'em in an ungreased square pan, three by three, and bake for about 15 minutes - until golden-brown on top.

Blend the glaze ingredients until smooth. Pour over the hot buns. Cut and serve!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Celeb Inspiration: Marie Antoinette

So my birthday was this weekend, right? And it happened to be a birthday significant in the States for the reason that when one reaches the age of 21, one is allowed to purchase alcohol legally. For this reason, I attempted to put together the most outrageous and decadent party that I possibly in order that I might dance, drink champagne and eat cake all the live-long day/night. Since any excuse to channel Marie Antoinette/Sofia Coppola's representation of her is quite enough for me.

Marie Antoinette Me Antoinette
My ensemble was assembled from various sources, encompassing things old, new, borrowed, and blue, pulled together with a few accenting pops of pink and a fabulous pair of fake eyelashes. The decor and food were of course conceived around the general theme of decadence, hence the abundance of flowers, bubbly and sweets.

The Spread
You may or may not be able to identify in the picture above (from left to right) my moderately successful attempt at recreating Vegan Yum Yum's petits fours, the chocolate-chocolate chip cookies from Veganomicon courtesy of my boyfriend, a bowl of ever-delicious and surprisingly vegan Jordan almonds, the tree of chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting, and my personal bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne popped alongside the perfect birthday goblet that my mom magically discovered for me in time for this occasion. Ever-so appropriately, it reads "Let them eat cake!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fall in a Bowl, Pt. 2

Butternut Squash Risotto and Mixed Green Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette
Salad, risotto, and wine: a well-balanced birthday din-din.

For his birthday, I granted my dad a coupon for a special home-cooked meal as soon as I got the chance, and tonight happened to be it. I swooped down on Whole Foods to gather my ingredients, then set to work putting his surprise dinner together. This process was observed from a comfortable distance - the menu wasn't revealed until the moment it hit the plates.

This was my first time taking the care and indulgence necessary to carry off risotto and, uh, it was way worth it. It absolutely melts in your mouth. Devote an evening to making this and I solemnly swear you will not be disappointed.

Butternut Squash Risotto
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa, serves 6

1 medium butternut squash
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons margarine
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups no-chicken stock
2 cups water

Preheat the oven to 400. Halve the squash, de-seed it, and place cut-side down on a cookie sheet greased with two tablespoons of olive oil. Place the squash in the oven for 45 minutes.

Pour the stock and water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. In the meantime, saute the shallots in the remaining three tablespoons of olive oil and three of margarine until translucent. Stir in the rice, coating thoroughly with butter and oil. Add the wine, simmering for about two minutes. Add two ladlefuls of the warmed broth, plus the salt, white pepper and turmeric. Allow the broth to be absorbed, stirring every coupla minutes. Once it starts to seem a little dry, add another two ladles of stock. Continue this routine for about 30 minutes, until all the broth is used.

Once the squash is cooked through, peel off the skin and cube with a knife. Stir into risotto.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fall in a Bowl

Butternut Buckwheat

For a gluten free, yet highly nourishing breakfast on chilly mornings like those of the past week, I always go for Cream of Buckwheat. I have a friend who really digs 'em as a grit-replacer, with just salt and nutritional yeast mixed in, but my favorite preparation is slightly sweet with lots of mix-ins. Today, my buckwheat was flavored in the spirit of fall:

Butternut Buckwheat
serves 1

1/4 cup Cream of Buckwheat
1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup mashed butternut squash (I had some roasted leftover in the fridge)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
10-20 drops liquid stevia (or your preferred sweetener)
a dollop of cranberry sauce
a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds

Bring the almond milk to a boil, add the buckwheat, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, until it has thickened up to a grit-like consistency. Mix in squash, cinnamon and stevia, then transfer to a bowl. Top with cranberry sauce and pumpkin seeds and enjoy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dr. Cow Climbs Mount Tostada

Spicy Sweet Potato Tostada

It's been a real trip finding delicious ways to enjoy my limited supply of Dr. Cow's Tree Nut Cheese, and it's not over yet! Last night, in an attempt to use up some farmers market veggies beginning to look sad in my fridge, I adopted a pile-on strategy that resulted in some sweet yet spicy tostadas I have already wholly consumed. Aged macadamia beats queso fresco any day in my book.

Spicy Sweet Potato Tostadas
serves 6

6 corn tortillas (I used sprouted all-corn ones)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 poblano peppers, cored and sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
your favorite enchilada sauce (love the one from the Hot Damn & Hell Yeah cookzine)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Ancho chili powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and drop in the sweet potatoes. Leave these to boil for about 20 minutes, until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, then toss in the poblano, bell pepper and onions. Cook until softened and set aside. Mash the sweet potatoes well, mixing in the chili powder and salt.

Prepare your enchilada sauce, if you don't have it ready, while toasting the tortillas for 5-7 minutes in the oven. Then begin assmebling! Smooth a scoop of the sweet potato mash onto each crispy tortilla. Load on the peppers and onions, drizzle with enchilada sauce, crumble on or melt some cheeze of your choice on top, and DEVOUR.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vegan MoFo

Did y'all know that November in the food blogosphere is Vegan MoFo, or Vegan Month of Food? Well, I remembered a little too late to officially register Soul Food for the challenge of posting every weekday with some recipe or tip or tidbit about vegan food and how much I love it, but I'm observing this holiday anyway, along with all the others that seem to pop up this time of year.

As a matter of fact, a dear friend's birthday was yesterday, so to celebrate, she hosted what is known as a food orgy. (Here I go again with the suggestive party names!) There's lots of food to eat, BUT you cannot feed yourself - you must have someone else feed you! It was really a lot of fun. Seeing as it was potluck-style, I made these roasted veggies and a big pot of yummy cranberry sauce, which I paired with some Dr. Cow's Tree Nut cheese in Macadamia and Cashew-Brazil Nut I got on sale over at Vegan Essentials.

Spinach and Roasted Beet Salad

Today, I was brainstorming ways to try my cheezes in other gustatory contexts, and landed on a salad. So I roasted a big, beautiful chioggia beet, crumbled some of the macademia over a bed of spinach, and topped it all off with a Dijon mustard viniagrette. Looks tasty, eh?!

Anyhow, if you're in need of a sugar-free, yet uber-delicious cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving this year, I'd recommend giving this one a try.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce
makes a lottt

12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 lemon's zest and juice
30 drops liquid stevia
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon xantham gum

Combine all ingredients except xantham gum in a saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the fruit, then heat over medium-high until boiling. Lower the heat slightly and simmer until the fresh berries start to pop. At this point, get out your potato masher and start smushin'. After about 5 minutes, most berries should be crushed and the mixture beginning to gel a bit. Stir in the xantham gum, turn off the heat, and BAM! Done.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Everyday Soul

For your supply of soul this week, three tantalizing treats and one perfect party idea from around the blogosphere:

• Food & Style's Shoestring Okra Fries (Baked them, spiced them, loved them.)

• Manifest Vegan's Chocolate Acorn Squash Baked Custard (Sooo making these for Thanksgiving!)

• Vegan Dad's Zucchini Pancakes (De-glutenized and served last night at my very own version of...)

• Rachel Red Lips' Naked Lady Party! Otherwise known as an all-girl clothing swap, this simultaneously frugal and fun party idea inspired me immediately to arrange one, which went off without a hitch last night. Traded some darling fall clothes with my stylish friends and fed them lots of zucchini pancakes with homemade tzatziki sauce. I highly recommend the experience.

Photos borrowed from the respective bloggers!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Keepin' It Spicy

Mexican Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

I must tell you, by the third week of this Detox for Women, it has gotten harder to stay inspired in the kitchen. The detox, lasting 30 days, bars gluten and sugar in all forms, all processed foods and even nuts and beans! So my cooking palette has been comprised solely of vegetables and a couple approved grains.

Especially in the last week, since the weather got colder, I've really been missing some of my favorite fall dishes: chili, shepard's pie (or as we call it around here, gardener's pie!), and...well, burritos. Recreating the flavors of your favorites with spices and other detox-approved ingredients is one of Natalia Rose's suggestions for keeping us cleansers from getting bored, so that's what I set out to do for good old burritos with these very, very flavorful stuffed peppers.

Mexican Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers
serves 4

4 green or red bell peppers, cored
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 large white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon Ancho chili powder
1/2 cup pepitos
1/2 avocado, sliced

Preheat the oven to 350. Bring quinoa and vegetable broth to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until quinoa is fully cooked - around 15 minutes. In the meantime, saute the onions, garlic and tomatoes in a little bit of olive oil. Once they start to soften, mix in the spices. After it starts to get nice and fragrant, mix the sofrito-ish thing into the quinoa with the pepitos, or pumpkin seeds. Stuff a quarter of the mixture into each pepper, place them in a circular baking dish with a 1/4-inch of water in the bottom, cover with foil and place in the oven for one hour.

Garnish with sliced avocado and a sprinkle of paprika. I recommend serving it with some squash soup. Makes for a super-nommy Tex Mex dinner.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Falling for Fall

If I'm being honest, my favorite season has always been autumn. Where I grew up, in South Florida, the leaves didn't actually turn pretty colors, and the temperature never really started to drop until the rest of the country had already made the transition.

Here in Northern Florida, well, not much has changed! But I like to think I'm far enough north now to enjoy some of the natural joys of the season. Here's what's been getting me jazzed for the next couple months.

Fall Inspiration

Clockwise from top left: Peacekeeper Natural Lip Paint, an organic line of lipsticks with some really choice shades (top-rated for its low impact and absence of toxic substances on; Howl and Other Poems, a representative collection of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg's incredible work; a proliferation of butterbeer recipes with the grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - boy, I could really see myself kickin' back by a roaring fire with a frothy glass of this stuff; Jules and Jim, French actress Jeanne Moreau at her finest; butternut squash bread pudding (to be veganized immediately!); meringue "bones" (with my recent meringue experimentation, how could I help myself?); The FEST 9!!! (I'm fortunate enough to be performing at this glorious annual Gainesville festival on All Hallow's Eve - couldn't be more excited); and finally, a charming Sartorialist photo of a young lady dining al fresco at a Parisian cafe - how chic...I love her hat and her pattern-mixing. :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

My boyfriend craves sugar like a junkie. I mean, I do too, but more often than not, he's in a better position health-wise to indulge in them than I! Actually, I'm not even in the habit of baking very often unless he cajoles me into it. And in fact, some truly fabulous confections (like the glorious Baklava Cheesecake) have arisen from such occasions. Last night was just one of these.

Lemon Meringue Pie
serves 1 if you're feeding one really hungry boy, but otherwise 8-10 :)

1 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup raw cashews
5 pitted dates
4 tablespoons margarine, melted

Blend almonds, cashews and dates until they are finely ground and sticking together. Press this mixture into a pie tin, then pour the melted EB over top.

adapted from the Yellow Rose Recipe for Mojito Pie

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
12 oz. soft or silken tofu, drained of extra water
2-3 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon raw honey or agave nectar

In a sauce pan, bring lemon juice, water and sugar to a gentle simmer over medium high heat. Preheat the oven to 375. Whisk until sugar dissolves, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 25 minutes, stirring every couple until it is thickened and a lot like light syrup. Take off heat and cool until about room temperature.

Blend tofu, lemon zest, honey and lemon syrup until very, very smooth. Pour mixture on top of the crust and bake for 10 minutes. Remove pie to pipe meringue on top.

Make one batch of Angel Foods Vegan Meringue Mix and transfer to a large plastic sandwich bag. Cut the tip off of one corner, then pipe meringue over the filling. Bake for another 20-22 minutes.

Allow pie to cool for at LEAST 2 hours, as it will be rather jiggly until it has time to set up. I actually put it in the fridge overnight before cutting into it.

Boyfriend approved!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Slow Oats

This morning was UF Slow Food's first breakfast potluck, conveniently also commemorating the first day of fall! A few members put together some beautiful breakfast treats and met up outside one of the dining halls on campus to tempt the morning rush of students away from fast food and toward us slow pokes. It was rather nice rising a little earlier than usual, enjoying the sun and breeze in a patch of grass before moseying on over to my first class. Taking one's time to enjoy such small moments, I think, is what Slow Food is all about.

Anyway, back to the food! Here's my recipe for, owing to their prep time, what simply must be called...

Slow Oats
serves 1, but easy to double or triple

1 cup gluten free rolled oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup unsulphured apricots, chopped
1 1/2-1 3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons agave nectar

Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl, mix well, then pour the almond milk over top. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, stir in the cinnamon and agave and enjoy. So easy to prep, but every ingredient is thoroughly wholesome. It's actually almost like having rice pudding for breakfast. Who doesn't want that?!?!

Thanks to Nick for posing with the yummies!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Everyday Soul

Since it's been a while, here's the short list of what's been replenishing my soul lately:

It feels like a miracle every time I'm blessed with the opportunity to eat an ALTER ECO chocolate bar. Right now, I've moved on from the one studded with crystallized orange peel (still so good...) to their Midnight Crunch bar, a glorious imitation of a classic with friggin' QUINOA providing the evocative CRUNCH.

Another sweet, but ultimately pretty darn healthful treat I finally got to try is the new line of Larabars that, with the edition of chocolate chips, easily pose as such everyday favorites as chocolate chip cookie dough and fudgy brownies. Identify these new flavors by their chocolate spots! They aren't being carried by any of my local stores, so I had to have my conspiring mother bring me a stash when she came to visit last weekend. Yeah, I hoard sweets a little...

And last, a DIY gardening tip I'm hyped to try: Toilet Paper Roll Seed Starter Pots! Upon noticing how these little cardboard buggers were piling up in my bathroom, decided to repurpose them for my autumnal backyard gardening endeavor.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Apples to Apples, Squash to Squish

Thai Squash Soup

On a hot late-summer evening, sometimes soup really does the trick. Not sure how many of the folks at my house last night expected to be fed, but this big ol' pot of squash satisfied 'em all through a long round of Apples to Apples, and I still have some leftover! In fact, I'm going to go eat some more right now...

Thai Squash Soup
serves 10

1 large butternut squash
olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato puree
3/4 cup coconut milk
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon red curry paste
2-3 tablespoons peanut or almond butter
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
sliced green onions
cashew pieces
toasted coconut

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the squash in half and lay cut side down in a baking sheet filled with about a 1/4-inch of water. Bake for 45 minutes.

Once the squash is done, commence sauteing the onion and garlic in a little olive oil. As soon as they've softened a bit, add the peeled squash, tomato puree, coconut milk, vegetable broth, curry paste and peanut or almond butter. Simmer for 20 or so minutes.

Blend the soup well (whether with an immersion blender, food processor, whatever), then sprinkle with green onions, cashews and coconut.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Slow Food Shabbat

Slow Food Shabbat
The beginnings of a feast. In the center, my cheddar scalloped sweet potatoes.

Fridays hold in store a new tradition for me, I think! For the past two, I've convened with friends both new and old to share potluck-style dinners. This week, around ten kids met at my house to talk about the formation of a Slow Food chapter at our university. We had a delicious spread, shared wine and bread, and came up with some exciting ideas to carry out with the club this semester.

For my contributions, in an attempt to stay mostly in sync with my Detox for Women (which I start in earnest today!), I tossed up a simple green salad and utilized the five-pound block of Daiya cheddar my roommate and I just ordered to create a decadent vegan version of this Food Network recipe.

The Big Cheeze
A beautiful monstrosity, amirite?

Cheddar Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
serves 10, easily!

1 tablespoon soy-free Earth Balance
8 small-medium sweet potatoes, washed and peeled
about 1/2-pound cheddar Daiya cheeze, grated
2 3/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
a pinch of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a rectangular or oval-shaped pan with EB. Slice sweet potatoes to 1/4-inch. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, bring the almond milk, garlic, nutmeg, s&p to a boil over medium heat.

Create a layer of sweet potatoes on the bottom of the pan, so that the slices overlap slightly and none of the bottom of the pan is showing. Sprinkle this layer with Daiya. Make another layer of potatoes, then another of Daiya, then one more of potatoes before pouring the recently-boiled mixture over top.

Finally, finish of with the rest of the cheeze and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. Broil for an extra five to get some nice browning going on top.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Voila, Veganized!

Cajun-fried Tempeh with Grits n' Greens

For a while after I went vegan, it was hard for me to watch some cooking shows or read some food magazines anymore because of the amount of meat and dairy usually involved in the recipes. These recipes seemed off-limits in a way.

Then I realized just how freaking easy it is to veganize just about ANYTHING, as I'm sure many others have too. That's why, when I glimpsed the cover of this month's Food & Wine magazine ("American Classics Updated: 50 Best Recipes from the New South"), I had a very good feeling about the next week in my kitchen.

My first veganization? A combo of two recipes. Adapted their classic shrimp n' grits, then nabbed their spice-roasted shrimp and transformed it into spice-fried tempeh. Lordy lordy, do I love me a classic Southern brunch! Check it.

Spice-fried Tempeh with Grits n' Greens
adapted from Food & Wine magazine, serves 2

[Cajun-fried Tempeh]
1/2 pound tempeh
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onions
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 cup safflower oil

Cut tempeh into strips and boil for 10 minutes in well-salted water. Drain and cool while in a paper or plastic bag, you combine all the spices. Drop the tempeh into the bag and shake vigorously, so that the tempeh gets coated. Let it sit for a few minutes while heating the oil in a frying pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side. Meanwhile...

[Grits n' Greens]
2 2/3 cups water
2/3 cup quick-cooking grits
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then gradually add the grits and a big pinch of salt. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the grits are thick, about 7 minutes. Season with s&p, stir in the nooch and spinach. Top with fried tempeh and serve immediately!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sippin' on private stock

Hand-Crank Juicer

I am so ready to embark on Natalia Rose's Detox for Women. My mom surprised me with a rebounder (a miraculous mini-trampoline that is Rose's preferred method of exercise) delivered directly to my front door here in Gainesville. The thing is just amazing. It fits under my bed until I feel like bouncing, at which point I simply slide it out, secure the legs, put on some Beyonce and go to town. It's a convenient stress-reliever, as the weather can be fair or not and it doesn't matter a bit.

Anyway, the other apparatus it is suggested you have for the detox is a juicer. Breakfast every morning is supposed to be something called a green lemonade, involving a whole head of romaine or celery, some kale, one or two apples, lemon juice and fresh ginger. Well, I haven't tried that combo yet, but since receiving my Tribest Z-Star hand-crank juicer in the mail, I have tried a few combos, like the beet-carrot-garlic juice pictured and some carrot-papaya juice that I'm considering henceforth referring to as Carotene Attacks!

Ohhh my goodness, I love juice. There is definitely a lot of sugar, though entirely unprocessed, in fruit juice, so I'll be cutting out the fruits except for a few once the cleanse starts. I think the carrots alone will be enough sweetness for me. While I'm in experiment mode, what are some of your favorite fruit/veggie combos for juices?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

3 (courses) for 1

When I have the time, I really enjoy drawing out a meal as long as possible. It just feels better when I take a special moment to enjoy each bite, and after too, when I'm not overstuffed or still hungry with an empty plate. In my experience, there are two sure-fire ways to extend one's mealtime. First, eat with friends. The more talking you're doing in between bites, the slower you're eating! Second, serve multiple courses. Some might feel this latter tip only works when the former is also in use, but I think it's fun to make fancy meals just for myself.

Vegan Antipasti

I made a three-course dinner for one this past weekend. As a small antipasto, I was a bit daring and decided to splash some avocado chunks and capers with balsamic vinegar before cracking some fresh salt and pepper over top. Extra simple, but a nice blend of sweet and salty flavors with the creaminess of the avocado.

Creamy Elbows with Peas and Walnuts

Next, enjoyed one of the most comforting dishes I know with some classy French flare:

Creamy Elbow Pasta with Peas and Walnuts
serves 4, great for leftovers

1 box elbow pasta (I used GF quinoa pasta), prepared according to package directions
4 tablespoons Earth Balance
1 shallot, minced
2 cups frozen green peas
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup shelled walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
s&p to taste

Make pasta, drain and set aside while the shallots saute gently in a large skillet with the Earth Balance. Once the shallots begin to soften, add the peas, rosemary and walnuts. Continue sauteing over medium heat.

Once the flavors have melded a bit, add the almond milk and nooch and stir until they form a creamy sauce. Taste for s&p. Toss pasta and sauce in a large bowl and serve warm.

Dessert was a hunk of my new favorite chocolate bar, ALTER ECO's Dark Twist Chocolate. It's very dark and rich, with little slivers of crystallized orange in every bite. UGHH YUM, I wish I had some right now. I highly recommend it. And cooking for oneself every now and then. Celebrate yourself! :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sweet Relief

My goodness, it's been a while! The end of July was a crazy time: moving out of the old place, moving into the (AWESOME) new one, finishing up the last math class I will ever take (HOORAY!), starting muh new job... But now I'm all settled in, done with my math final and ready to get back in the kitchen. Today, want to share one of the first meals I cooked up in the new space.

Deconstructed Pierogis

I'm calling this a deconstructed pierogi. My roommate and I are working at the same camp, so when we were both exhausted and hungry at the end of one day this week, I decided to speed up the process of producing this comforting Polish staple by baking some Hasselback potatoes and stuffing them with alternating layers of vegan sour cream and beet-apple compote. Served with carmelized cabbage. OMG, so good! My recommendation is to use your favorite Hasselback recipe along with THIS tender, sweet thang:

Beet-Apple Compote
makes about 1 cup

2 medium-sized beets, finely grated
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 lemon's juice
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until well-combined and rather fragrant.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Everyday Soul

I've been getting pumped the past few days about a new job I just acquired as a camp counselor for lil' behbehs, teaching music, cooking and yoga! Woohoo!!! Compiling this Everyday Soul felt especially sweet in light of this news.

First, to celebrate future paychecks earned, I ordered a round of Dr. Cow's Tree Nut Cheese, an aged cashew cheese that is in fact much smaller than I perceived it to be from the pictures. And at first I didn't even really care for it. But THEN, I tried it on a piece of GF toast with some blueberry jam and WHAM, it hit me: this is a dessert cheese, for sure!! The rest will most certainly be consumed in this manner. Worth the cost? For me, yep.

Second, waited patiently all yesterday for one of the only shows I care for on television, Mad Men. It was always the costumes, the sets, the aura of the show that made me want to watch--that is, until the end of last season. The writers set up some maaajor drama! Last night's premiere did not disappoint. Can't wait to see what's up next.

And finally, I have officially been shampoo-free for two months! Okay, that might sound like a weird and kinda gross thing to confess on the internet, but really, it's been great! And by that I mean washing my hair exclusively with baking soda and conditioning occasionally with lemon juice was one of the best eco-decisions I ever made. After a period of about three weeks during which my hair was almost constantly in a bun because of the extreme greasiness, I came out the other end with a fuller head of hair than it seemed to be before. Here's where I learned how to do it.

Photos courtesy of Dr. Cow's and AMC.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Neither Quiche Nor Pie

Cashew Quiche-Pie

I started out craving quiche. In the past, I've tried all-tofu and tofu-cashew mixtures to serve as the egg-y substance of a quiche, but this time, I only had cashews. So I went for it! Just turned out a little bit more like a dense, savory cashew pie instead. It got good reviews from the housemates, though, despite the departure from the dish they were originally expecting. It'a fill ya up, that's for sure. Enjoy al fresco with a crisp glass of white wine. :)

Cashew Quiche-Pie
makes 4 large pieces, 8 smaller

1 frozen vegan pie crust
2 cups raw cashews
2 whole cloves garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 small potatoes, diced
1 whole bag fresh spinach

Pre-bake the pie crust in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. In the meantime, saute the potatoes in olive oil until browning, then add spinach and wilt. Once the potatoes are almost cooked through, pour the veggies into the pie crust. Blend the cashews, garlic, nutritional yeast, nutmeg and turmeric in a food processor until smooth. Pour into the crust and mix gently with the vegetables before returning to the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vegan Pandamonium Blogger Meet-Up

Last Wednesday, I was lucky enough to be able to make it over to Tampa, FL for one of my besties, Vegan Pandamonium's vegan blogger meet-up. The authors of VP, Blake Bakes, haiku tofu, Organically Me, plus some non-blogger friends and I got to nerd out over the huge vegan menu at this restaurant called Trang Viet Cuisine, compare recipes and have a generally lovely time.

Trang Viet Cuisine Steamed Buns
The steamed buns, which I ordered because I was reminded of these delicious BBQ pork buns I had at a dim sum restaurant years ago. These were very different. But very yummy all the same.

Trang Viet Cuisine Noodle Cake
My main course, the fried "noodle cake". Not really my thing, and apparently not anyone else's either. Oh well.

Trang Viet Cuisine Carrot Cake
The redeeming vegan carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! Dense as hell. Mmm

Overall, the place had a relaxing atmosphere and some rather tasty items along with some eh, meh items as well. Thanks, Sammi, for arranging such a fun little outing!

JSYK: Bianca of Vegan Crunk (a creative vegan Southern/soul food cookin' blog) is giving away some soap nuts, these funky little fruits that you can effectively wash your clothes or hair with. Check them out - I'm hoping to win so I can try 'em!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Return of Vegan Seafood

This weekend has been rather pleasant due to the presence of a bunch of lovely ladies that I haven't seen in a while. The Satur-Sunday portion has been dedicated to the Endless Bummer music festival at a bike shop in Gainesville, but Friday, it was decided that we would celebrate Independence Day a second time 'round. We have but one week remaining in the original Cheetah House - the one with a pool, mind you - so we spent the evening swimming, dancing and eating chips with this deceivingly crabby faux crab dip. Partytime!

Faux Smoked Crabby Dip

Smoked Crabby Dip
makes enough for a small party to dip 'til their hearts content

2 14-oz. cans of palm hearts
4 tablespoons Veganaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
a dash of s&p
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup slivered almonds
paprika to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drain the hearts of palm and transfer to a mixing bowl. Break up using a fork and knife, so that it's a flaky texture. Mix in all ingredients except the almonds and paprika. Pour into a ceramic baking dish, sprinkle with nuts and paprika and stick it in the oven for 15 minutes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Celeb Inspiration: The Barefoot Contessa, Pt. 2


My Mimi was a pro at Ina Garten's spanakopita, or spinach pie. The original recipe calls for eggs, parmesan and feta, but as I am finding to be true with nearly all of Ina's recipes, it was easily veganized, and the result was serenely nostalgic for me. This luscious filling is more than I even hoped for. Best of all, I didn't have enough phyllo to use it all up in the pies, so I just re-purposed it the next night in some vegan dumpling wrappers - BAM, vegan ravioli!

Spinach Ravioli

Basically, this filling is a keeper, y'all.

makes about 14 individual pies

1/4 cup good olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
2 10-oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1 package firm tofu, blended
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
plain dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, blended
3 tablespoons pine nuts
24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan, add the onion, and cook for 7-8 minutes over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl. When the onion are done, add them to the spinach. Mix in the tofu, nooch, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Fold in the cashews and pine nuts.

Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface with the long end in front of you. Brush the dough lightly with Earth Balance and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of bread crumbs. Working quickly, slide another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter, and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs. (Use just enough bread crumbs so the layers of phyllo don't stick together.) Pile 4 layers total on top of each other this way, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with bread crumbs. Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. Place 1/3 cup spinach filling on the shorter end and roll the phyllo up diagonally as if folding a flag. Then fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again. Continue folding first diagonally and then straight until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed.

Continue assembling phyllo layers and folding the filling until all of the filling is used. Place on a sheet pan, seam sides down. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked salt, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Everyday Soul

This weekend, thankfully, held quite a lot of soul in store. Saw a fantastic documentary from 1960 about a kickin' jazz festival, appropriately titled Jazz on a Summer's Day. The style, from the cinematography to the clothes and music, made me feel like I was right there watching Louis Armstrong improvise.

Was treated by a dear friend to a still-warm mason jar of homemade blueberry jam, delivered right to my doorstep.

And my momma has been keeping me up to date on a cleanse she just started, the Detox for Women by Natalia Rose. We've already read a couple of her books on how to make the transition to a raw diet without wreaking havoc on one's digestive system, and this one, tailored specifically to women, I can hardly wait to get in the mail. If you're interested in raw food, but want to ease into it, Rose knows how, allowing a cooked meal for dinner and even wine and chocolate everyday! Sounds pretty do-able to me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dinner in 20

Here's one of my momma's tried and true recipes for a quick, veeery nutritious weeknight dinner. Leftovers taste even better!

Beans n' Greens

Beans n' Greens
serves 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
red pepper flakes
1 large bunch of kale, washed and trimmed
1/3 cup water or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 drops liquid stevia (or other sweetener)
2 cans cannellini beans
s&p to taste

Saute the garlic, onion and red pepper flakes in a skillet until softened. Add the kale and water or stock, steaming until the kale is wilted. Fold in the apple cider vinegar, stevia or other sweetener, beans, s&p. Heat the beans through, then serve with a sprinkle of your favorite hot sauce.

Fantastic over polenta or with corn bread, jsyk.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Since Daiya came into my life, the vegan grilled cheese has been taken to a previously unknown level of wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that if they were a little bit more nutritious than they actually are, I would eat them three times a day. Once will have to do for the time being.

So last night, I decided to apply some pistachio pesto to those beloved pressed sandwiches and practically died and went to heaven. Uhhhh, such a GREAT combo!!! You should make this as soon as is humanly possible.

Pesto Grilled Cheese
Delicious sandwich approaching my mouth...

Pesto Grilled Cheese
makes 2 sandwiches

[Pistachio Pesto]
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled
1/2 cup packed fresh basil
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon capers
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup walnut oil

[Grilled Cheese]
4 pieces of sandwich bread (I used GF Millet-Flax bread - it mimics white bread like you wouldn't believe!)
ample Veganaise
abundant Pistachio Pesto
Daiya mozzerella cheeze to your liking
2 tablespoons Earth Balance

Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor, adding the oil as it blends. Meanwhile, heat the Earth Balance in a skillet over medium-high. Spread two pieces of bread with Veganaise and two pieces with pesto. Sprinkle with lots of cheese, close, and fry until GB on both sides. (I like to mush mine down with a spatula for maximum cheesy-melty-stretchiness.) TAH DAH!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recurring Francophilia

David Lebovitz's French Lentil Salad

There's a promising chance that for Spring 2011, I'll be carrying out my studies in Paris. Though my as-yet-undetermined date of departure isn't for another seven months, I think practically every day about what it will be like to live in France/have Europe at my fingertips for four months! David Lebovitz is a culinarily gigantic American ex-pat currently living and blogging in Paris, whose surprisingly numerous vegetarian recipes I have found to be reliably delicious, so whenever I feel like pretending I'm making dinner in a charming apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower, I know who to turn to.

Pictured is my rendition of David's classic French warm lentil salad, which I paired with some cornmeal-encrusted tempeh and roasted haricots verts (fancy French word for green beans, hehe!). The only adjustment I made was to add an extra tablespoon of red wine vinegar. The flavor is light, but the salad is sooo satisfying! Next time, I'll probably be using some variation of Get Sconed's recently blogged breading on the tempeh. Mm mm, bon!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Everyday Soul

Ah, first days of school. Going back when July hasn't even begun feels a little wrong, but I was ready for a reason to leave the house during these sweltering days of summer. At least in six weeks, I'll be through with math classes for GOOD!! Now, I think I'm in need of some Everyday Soul.

Been on a serious kick for Angela of Oh She Glows' Vegan Overnight Oats. Layered mine yesterday morning with some Banana Soft Serve (Choosing Raw) as per Angela's suggestion. YUMMMM, I can hardly eat hot oatmeal anymore! Summer is for cooling foods, dudes!

Now, how many of you have ever whipped up some homemade almond milk? Anyone? It's so simple, it's GENIUS! I almost made a habit of it in the fall of last year, but I have pledged to make a batch every Sunday from now on because it saves SO much money, reduces packaging aaand tastes so fresh and delicious! My golden ratio is 1 cup almonds, soaked overnight, rinsed, then blended with 7 cups filtered water. Strain well and use within a week.

And finally, finally the Cooking Channel is live! Since I read this NY Times article on the new Food Network brainchild, I've been waiting to see more. Well, Two Fat Ladies reruns rule, and so does the ethnically diverse set of CC hosts. Plus vegan cupcakes are listed as a "Food Trend" on their front web page - a very good sign!

Images courtesy of Oh She Glows and the Cooking Channel.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Salad Day

Yesterday, I indulged. As a vegan, it's pretty easy to do so when you want to in Gainesville. Had a very messy chili dawg from Gator Dawgs, then went next door for a brownie sundae at Karma Cream. My lord, I had been away for too long! Vegan whipped cream and hot fudge and Triple Chocolate Threat ice cream...I'm feeling nostalgic already.

So after all that, I wanted something easy and relatively light for dinner at home. A salad certainly fit the bill, at least until I drenched it with the vegan mayo-laced dressing. Still, it was ready in a half hour, and it was deeeelicious!

Tempeh Caesar Salad
serves 4

2 pounds tempeh
frying oil

Boil the tempeh in a pot of water for ten minutes. Drain and transfer to a hot skillet with your oil in it. Sprinkle the upside with salt and pepper and fry for 7-8 minutes before flipping. Fry for another 7-8 on the other side before slicing.

[Vegan Caesar Dressing]
1 ginormous clove elephant garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or powerful blender and blend until smooth. Taste it, see how you like the proportions, play with them if you feel so inclined.

Top each of four piles of mixed greens (or romaine) with a quarter of the sliced tempeh, then overdress with caesar - believe me, if you're into garlicky stuff, you're gonna wanna lick your plate. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Everyday Soul

For your dose of Everyday Soul today, I wanna show some love for the longest day of the year and present a few morsels I've been referring to for summer inspiration lately.

Clockwise from top left: Lemony Spiked Sweet Tea, immortal summertime jams by The Beach Boys, American Cream Solid Perfume by LUSH (SMELLS SO GOOD!!!), sweet aaaand savory crepes even though I have yet to produce a successful batch of gluten free 'uns (this VeganYumYum recipe looks promising), the Miu Miu Spring 2010 kitty cat!!! (can't wait to find a way to iron this DIY--i.e. affordable--version all over something adorable), and finally, YogaGlo, a cool site for doing all kinds of yoga on any level for any duration of time right in your own home. Discovered via Savvy Abby.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hail Yacon!

So I literally JUST ate the devil outta these johnny cakes.

I haven't enjoyed johnny cakes with cane syrup, one of my favorite breakfasts ever, in quite some time. Yes, I recently whipped up the fabulously cheap and easy-to-make cornmeal pancakes to accompany my Southern Caviar the other day, but I really prefer them smothered in Earth Balance and something sweet. Maple syrup and cane syrup, though, and even most jams, I generally try to avoid because of the massive sugar content.

Enter yacon syrup!!! Saw this ingredient in a few scattered raw recipes across the blogosphere and picked up on its reputation as a molasses substitute with a radically low glycemic index. Got a hold of a bottle of the stuff and I'm going to town with it! What a relief to have found something so dang yummy, AND healthy to boot, to drown my breakfast cakes with. Try them:

Johnny Cakes
serves 4

2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups boiling water
coconut oil for frying

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk the boiling water slowly into the mixture. Stir with a spoon until well combined.

Heat up some coconut oil in a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high. Once hot, spoon three cakes into the pan, shaping them with a spatula. Allow the cakes to cook for about 7-8 minutes on the first side, then flip and fry for another 7-8 minutes. A scrumptious crust forms with time, so don't lose your patience.

Serve with Earth Balance and syrup. Or whatever!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Easy Livin' Summertime

Summertime evokes a lot of food memories for me. Deciding what to make for the small potluck dinner party I went to last night, I discovered some long-forgotten black-eyed peas and was quickly reminded of my grandmother's recipe for Southern Caviar, beloved by all as an appetizer on hot summer evenings at her house.

For the party, I opted to bring a pint of homemade ice cream, saving my grandmama's glorious cold salad for my own consumption this evening. It's so simple to make, but goes fast with company! Once you start dipping, it's tough to stop until dinner is served. Here's my variation on her classic recipe.

Southern Caviar
4 cups canned black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalepeno, de-seeded and chopped
1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
the juice of one whole lime
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, toss and chill. Serve with corn chips for an appetizer, or hoe cakes for supper.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Everyday Soul

Enticed? That's a pic of this fantastically thick strawberry smoothie I threw together yesterday morning, composed of:

3 strawberries
1 frozen banana
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 heaping tablespoon almond butter

Blend until smooth, enjoy with a spoon.

In other news, I have been roped in to The X Files series. Have y'all noticed the incredible selection of movies and TV shows now available for Instant Play on Netflix? Dang. All nine seasons of the show are up! It's gonna take a while, but I think I'm in it to win it. Plus we've had a projector set up in our living room since Saturday; dinner and a movie is now an at-home luxury. LOVE IT.

Also, who's heard of The Morning Benders? I'm very much enamored with this song of theirs, especially the recording process. Check it out:

Yours Truly Presents: The Morning Benders "Excuses" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

There's some Everyday Soul. Go forth and find some of your own!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Heart Tarts

HI! This week has simply flown by, and not without some culinary experiments. Firstly, tried Sweetly Raw's recipe for Blueberry Cardamom Ice Cream - YUM! I'd consider it a great success for not even having soaked the cashews at all.

Second, endeavored to forge a log of vegan genius chef Tal Ronnen's cashew cheese, which takes three whole days to make because it's cultured! Neat! On day three, today, it had finally set up in the fridge, so I filled a savory tart with the stuff. With the probiotics working their magic, this scrumptious cheese is so much richer than your average cashew-based one. You can find the recipe here and in Tal's book, The Conscious Cook (drool). I highly recommend it!

Tarte Provençale
serves 4

1 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup ground flax
1 teaspoon sea salt
a hefty pinch of Herbes de Provence
1/3 cup coconut oil
5-7 tablespoons of water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk dry ingredients, then pour in oil and whisk until it takes on a bread crumb consistency. Add water one tablespoon at a time, mixing with your hands until it firms up a bit. Press the dough into a tart pan, poke holes all over with a fork and bake for 10 minutes.

1/2 recipe of Tal Ronnen's cashew cheese
zucchini and tomato slices to cover
more Herbes de Provence
olive oil
nutritional yeast (for sprinkling)

Toss the zucchini and tomato slices in just enough olive oil to cover, along with another pinch or two of Herbes. Spread the cashew cheese onto the pre-baked crust, then arrange your veggies on top. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast as a finishing touch before you toss it back in the oven for another 20 minutes at 325 degrees.

Try this with whatever veggies you have on hand. Tarts are fabulous no matter the filling.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Soup, There It Is

Although soup is usually something I savor in colder temperatures, it has composed two of the meals I've cooked this week! Bowl of this and and a buttahmilk biscuit to dip? Heaven.

Chile-Corn Chowder
serves 6

1 tablespoon Earth Balance
1 small white onion
1 1/2 jalepeno peppers, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves
4 cups water
1 tablespoon red miso
4 ears worth of fresh sweet corn, de-cobbed
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
5 drops of stevia

Melt the Earth Balance over medium heat, then saute onion and peppers together for 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cooking for another minute. Throw in your potatoes, bay leaves, 3 cups of the water and the miso. Cook down for 20 minutes. Add the other cup of water, the corn, almond milk and stevia and simmer with a lid on for another 10 minutes. S&p to your taste.

The longer this sits, the better it gets, I'm telling ya!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Everyday Soul

This Everyday Soul is all about summer. Summer hasn't officially begun yet, and neither has hurricane season, but Florida has always tended to ignore such designations. It's been hot as Hades here lately and potentially the first named tropical storm of the year is already a-brewin' over in the Atlantic Ocean.

So last night, in true Floridian fashion, I ignored the generally accepted start of outdoor grilling season (Memorial Day) and made some killer shish kebabs. Just marinated this gorgeous array of veggies and some tempeh in lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce and LOTS of garlic for a couple hours, then skewered 'em and popped 'em onto the grill.

Grilling is so easy and so versatile that I just know it's going to be a frequent occurrence for me in the lazy days ahead. Go ahead, break the rules! Start grilling tonight! Heck, wear white if you want to! And maybe mix up something I like to call an Arnold Calmer: one cup brewed minty green tea mixed with the juice of one whole lemon and sweetener to your taste, iced down.

Trying my best to embrace the raging humidity, partially by staying inside and playing music! Made this new little page on a site called bandcamp as a way to make my tunes more accessible. Maybe give it a look.