Thursday, September 29, 2011

Banh mi

Ever since I watched the first season of The Great Food Truck Race, I've had a food crush on banh mi. The Nom Nom truck took second place in the race, but their version of banh mi--a classic vietnamese sandwich--earned them cash and accolades around the country. 
Although for every chef there's a different recipe, with few exceptions they all have these ingredients in common: cilantro, cucumbers, daikon radish & carrot pickles, and a French roll. The protein varies from pork or beef to tofu or fish. I chose the latter, a soy and ginger seasoned cod from Trader Joes.
I prepared my daikon and carrot pickles the night before, which made lunchtime so quick and easy the next day. I made (and ate!) two sandwiches, and enjoyed the second one more as I learned how much of each ingredient I wanted on my plate. I have a sour tooth, so I believe you can never have too much pickled carrot and daikon. Same goes for cilantro, which I placed sprigs of in my first attempt but minced for the second one.
Because this is an assembly format, I've structured this recipe a little differently than others:

16 ounces fish (pre-seasoned or marinated in soy sauce, ginger and garlic)

1/3 cup mayonaise
1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce

1/2 English cucumber, sliced thinly using a vegetable peeler

4" daikon radish, peeled and julienned
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons sugar

small handful fresh cilantro

2 small baguettes

Make the daikon and carrot pickles by sprinkling the vegetables with salt. Knead them for a few minutes until they become limp and release some of their liquid. Rinse in cool water and drain. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and water and then pour over the carrots and daikon and store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Whisk together the sriracha and mayonaise and set aside.

Grill the fish until it flakes apart.

Toast the baguettes in a 350 degree overn for about 5-7 minutes until warm and toasty.

Assemble the sandwich by schmearing both bread halves with the chili mayo. Order the ingredients from there as you see fit. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Green Curried Lentils

The problem with keeping a food blog is that I always gobble up the finished dishes before I can capture a photo. Even the leftovers--if there are any--don't last long. So forgive me, I do not have a photo of the end product to accompany this amazingly delicious vegan dish. You'll have to take my word for it. I found a similar version of this recipe while searching online for entrees using lentils.

Serves 4

1 cup French lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 zucchini, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons green curry paste
1 can coconut milk (not light)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups cooked jasmine rice

Rinse and sort the lentils then bring to a simmer with the vegetable broth. Cover and cook until soft but still chewy. Drain and set aside.

While the lentils cook, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the zucchini and bell pepper and cook for one minute. Add the chard and cook until wilted. Stir in the curry and coconut milk and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the lentils and cook for another minute to allow the flavors to integrate.

Serve over jasmine rice.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are the only dessert I absolutely cannot resist. Whenever I bake a batch, they usually only last a day or two because I mow through them. Sadly, my diet is devoid of wheat and dairy these days, so I haven't had any in quite some time. Hmm, perhaps that explains why my jeans fit. But alas, I cannot survive for long without the delicious combination of the savory dough and bittersweet chocolate. Enter vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. I would tell you they're as good as their butter-filled counterparts, but alas, butter has no competition.

1 cup coconut oil
1/2 mashed banana
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups evaporated cane juice
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup flax meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (not milk chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit.

Whisk together the oil, banana, salt, vanilla and evaporated cane juice. Combine the dry ingredients in a large measuring cup and then fold into the oil and sugar mixture. When integrated completely, fold in the chocolate chips.

Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets for 15 minutes.

adapted from BabyCakes

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Portland Book Launch Party

Celebrating the launch of Modern Family Table at Enchanted Gift Shop 

One of the publishers at Goops Unlimited, Barbara Ross. Such a dear!

I'm so enthralled with the beauty of this book and grateful to everyone who made it possible, especially my husband Rich Ellgen, who photographed it all (and many of the recipes on this blog) as well as the team at Goops Unlimited, Nicholas Beatty and Barbara Ross.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dates & Goat Cheese over Mixed Greens

I'm basking in the beauty of my new book. After months of writing, photographing and editing, it's finally here! To celebrate, here is one of my favorite recipes from Modern Family Table, and it's perfect to share now as fresh date season is upon us. The creaminess and tang of the goat cheese marries perfectly with the sweetness of the dates and peppery complexity of the basil. My absolute favorite salad!

8-12 cups mixed greens, such as Arugula, Frisee, baby spinach and baby lettuces
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh Medjool dates, pitted                   
4 ounces goat cheese

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic reduction, optional (brown sugar to substitute)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Rinse the greens gently, being careful not to bruise, and pat dry. If the leaves are larger than bite size, hand tear them into a serving bowl. Rinse the basil and pat dry. Again if the leaves are small leave them whole. If not tear into slightly smaller pieces and add to the mixed greens.

Roughly chop the pitted dates--you want pieces no smaller than ¼ of each date--and toss to combine with the mixed greens.

In a small jar, whisk together the vinegar, oil and balsamic reduction or brown sugar. Add a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Just before serving, drizzle the dressing over the dates and greens. Crumble the goat cheese into slightly larger than grape-size pieces over the salad and toss gently to combine.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Banana, Hemp & Chocolate Smoothie

I am exploring vegan cooking these days as Cole cannot tolerate dairy in my diet. Soy is the obvious fallback to dairy, but it has its own problems, namely phytoestrogens and being difficult to digest. Reminds me of a comic strip I saw about ten years ago introducing "fofu" for the "tofu intolerant." Ouch.

Enter hemp. The plant could really use a PR campaign separating it from its seedy cousin. It contains about 9 grams of protein per serving and 11 grams of fiber. Plus it's less expensive than animal protein powders. It adds a little grit to the smoothie, making it similar in texture to a cookies and cream milk shake. But of course, far healthier for you!

1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup hemp protein powder
1 banana, cut into pieces and frozen
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Blend until smooth. Makes one 16 ounce serving.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Southwestern Stuffed Bell Peppers with Scallops, Quinoa & Roasted Corn

Serves 2-4

4 bell peppers
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup roasted yellow corn
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 lime, juiced
8 ounces bay scallops
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the quinoa to a boil with the tomatoes, a generous pinch of sea salt and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer, covered over low heat until all of the water is absorbed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Remove the top from each pepper and remove seeds and ribs from top and insides. Set aside in a casserole dish.

Combine cooked quinoa with corn, black beans, cilantro, spices and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Season the scallops with salt and pepper as well, then add to the quinoa mixture.

Stuff each pepper with the filling, then place the tops on each one. Pour 1/3 cup of water into the dish, then tent with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove cover and bake for another 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Want to make this recipe vegetarian? Replace the scallops with one cup of sharp cheddar cheese. Want to make it vegan? Remove the scallops and increase black beans to 1 cup.