Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Cocktail Recipe: The Petticoat

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Last summer, some friends and I invented a cocktail we nicknamed ‘the Petticoat,’ which involved kombucha (a fermented probiotic tea) and St. Germain, an all-natural elderflower liqueur. It’s a great summer afternoon cocktail, when you want something cold, refreshing and only mildly alcoholic or sweet.

St. Germain is only 20% alcohol by volume, and because of the fermentation process, kombucha tea can contain trace amounts of alcohol. Bottled kombucha sold in stores is only supposed to contain .05% alcohol or under, but home-brewed kombucha can contain up to 2 or 3% alcohol, depending on how long it’s been fermenting.

If you need to kick it up a notch, try adding gin.

The Petticoat Kombucha Cocktail

1.5 oz St. Germaine
1/2 to 1 cup kombucha tea
1 teaspoon raw honey

Combine kombucha & St. Germaine, then stir in raw honey.

If that’s too light for you, try leaving out the honey and adding 1 oz gin and a sprig of rosemary.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.


Written by ENB

May 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Posted in Food, My Life

Recipe: Portobello Caps with Walnuts and Blue Cheese Over Wilted Arugula

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I came up with this dish the other night because the only veggies I had in the fridge were portobello mushroom caps and a bunch of about-to-go-bad arugula. My boyfriend’s response? ‘Wow, this is like something you’d see on a cooking show!’ Yeah, it turned out that good. But even though baked portobello caps stuffed with walnuts and blue cheese and served over wilted arugula sounds (and looks) fancy, this delicious dish requires practically no effort to make—my kind of cooking! Plus, the combination of mushrooms, greens, walnuts, olive oil and blue cheese gives you a good mix of vitamins, protein and healthy fats.

Baked Portobello Caps with Walnuts and Blue Cheese Over Wilted Arugula

(serves 2)

• 2 large portobello mushroom caps
• 2-4 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
• 2-4 tablespoons raw chopped walnuts
• 3 cups arugula
• olive oil
• about 1/4 cup lemon juice
• dried red chili peppers (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place portobello caps open-side-up on lightly greased baking sheet. Fill each cap with 1-2 tbsp blue cheese, 1-2 tbsp walnuts (it kind of depends on how big your mushroom caps are). Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

3. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until cheese is gooey and walnuts are slightly browned.

4. On stove, saute 3-4 dried chili peppers in 1 tbsp olive oil for a few minutes, then add about 1/4 cup lemon juice. Add half of arugula, and stir. Add remaining arugula, and more lemon juice if necessary. Stir everything together and simmer until greens are lightly wilted.

5. Serve mushroom caps over bed of wilted arugula.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by ENB

March 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Posted in Food, My Life

Mashed Sweet Potato and Turnips with Thyme Butter

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I wasn’t sure what to do with the big bunch of turnips I’d gotten from the local CSA pickup this week, because turnips are one of those vegetables a bit outside my culinary comfort zone. But it turns out turnips mash up almost as nicely as potatoes. I riffed on this recipe from Eating Well, with sweet potatoes and turnips mashed together and flavored with thyme butter (the EW recipe calls for more sweet potatoes than turnips, but I made mine more turnip heavy and that worked out just fine). The result was creamy and light, with a traditional mashed potato consistency but way more flavor and less fat and calories. I did use butter, but you could substitute vegan margarine to keep things dairy-free.

Turnips, by the way, are quite good for you—and less loaded with carbohydrates than some other root vegetables (one 3.5 ounce serving of turnips has about 30 calories and 6 grams carbs). They’re also a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. And as members of the cruciferous vegetable family (like broccoli and Brussels sprouts), turnips are high in phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Mashed Sweet Potato and Turnips with Thyme Butter
(serves 4 as a side dish)    


• 3 cups turnip (about 4-5 medium turnips), peeled and diced
•  2 cups sweet potato (about 1 large potato), peeled and diced
• 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
• salt + pepper


• In medium saucepan, add turnip, sweet potato and garlic. Cover with water, and bring to a boil.

• Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer 12-15 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Drain, then return vegetables to pan and cover.

• In small skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. As it melts, add in fresh thyme and simmer for a 1-2 minutes.

• Pour thyme butter over vegetables and mix together.

• Smash with a potato masher. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by ENB

February 16, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Recipe: Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

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As the weather gets chillier, I can’t stop thinking about soup (is that weird?). Soup is just about the only thing I want to eat right now—and by soup, I mean homemade soup, because I’d like to avoid the sodium, BPA and blandness of Campbell’s and its ilk, thank you very much. I’d also, however, like to avoid spending copious time in the kitchen. The following recipe for creamy tomato basil soup, adapted from a recipe by nutritionist Lauren Talbot, uses vegetable broth and and your favorite brand of tomato pasta sauce as its base, cutting down on both time and the total number of ingredients you need to add.

As with most soups, the longer you simmer it, the more flavorful it will get—but if you don’t have a lot of time to prepare dinner, don’t fear: Total prep and cooking time for the soup can amount to as little as 30 minutes.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup


• 1 jar tomato pasta sauce (I used organic tomato basil sauce from the brand Naturally Preferred, but you can use whatever you like best or have on hand)
• 3-4 cups vegetable broth
• 1/4 to 1/2-cup fresh basil
• 1 carton/cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
• 1/4- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 1 cup organic 2% milk
• 2 tablespoons oregano
• about 2 tablespoons ground black pepper


• Heat jar of tomato sauce in large pot. Once it’s bubbling, add vegetable broth and basil, and turn heat to medium while you chop and gather other ingredients.
• Add chopped tomatoes, parmesan cheese, milk, oregano and pepper.
• Let everything simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Enjoy as a main course, or as a side dish/hors d’oeuvre.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by ENB

December 19, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Posted in Food, My Life

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Recipe: Vegan, Whole-Grain, Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Pudding

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Bread pudding is a traditional holiday dessert—and one traditionally made with eggs, beef fat and lots of sugar. This vegan bread pudding remains true to the original with baked bread, raisins and lots of spices, but it’s absent any eggs, dairy or other animal products. Using unsweetened almond milk (only 40 calories per cup), a minimal amount of sugar and Ezekiel’s sprouted whole grain cinnamon raisin bread as the base keeps things low-calorie and cuts down on the number of individual ingredients needed (the bread already contains organic raisins and cinnamon). And once you mix the ingredients together, you’re only looking at 30 minutes baking time—making this a perfectly easy (and delicious) vegan holiday desert.


Vegan Whole-Grain Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Pudding


• 4 cups day-old bread (like I mentioned, I used Ezekiel sprouted grain cinnamon raisin bread; if you’re using plain bread, you may want to add 1 cup raisins and an extra teaspoon ground cinnamon)

• 3 cups unsweetened almond milk

• 1/2 cup organic sugar

• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1 teaspoon nutmeg

• 1 teaspoon ground ginger

• 1/2 cup raw, chopped walnuts



• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

• Put bread in 8″ – 9″ square baking pan.

• In bowl, stir remaining ingredients—almond milk, sugar, vanilla, walnuts, spices—together.

• Pour mixture over bread in pan. Stir to mix.

• Bake 30 minutes.


Serve warm bread pudding alongside chilled apple-sauce for an overall apple-pie-like effect. Yum.

If baked earlier and refrigerated, reheat whole thing in oven for 8-10 minutes before serving. Individual servings can be reheated on the stove.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by ENB

December 18, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Recipe: Quick Holiday Freezer Pickles

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This is a quick and easy freezer pickle recipe from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich. My sister gave me this book—which contains 250 different pickling recipes—for Christmas last year, after I failed miserably at a Thanksgiving pickled-onion attempt. It’s taken me a whole year to try again, but I’m happy to report that last week’s freezer-pickling efforts went much better (like, these are not just edible but really good—crunchy, semi-sweet and a little bit spicy, too). And while most of the recipes in the book require a few weeks fermenting time, freezer dill slices can be made one day and served the next.

Freezer Dill Slices from The Joy Of Pickling
Makes about 4 pints 

2 1/2 pounds pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
3 tablespoons pickling salt  [You can use kosher salt or sea salt instead; I did] 
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon whole dill seeds
1 cup chopped sweet ripe pepper, such as bell or pimiento, preferably red
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar

1. In a large bowl, toss the cucumber slices with the salt. Let the cucumbers stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, and then drain them.

2. In another bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers and stir well. Refrigerate the mixture for 8 to 10 hours.

3. Pack the cucumber slices and liquid in freezer bags or rigid containers and freeze the containers.

4. Thaw the pickle for about 8 hours in the refrigerator before serving it.

Although these pickles are packed in vinegar, their main preserving agent is freezing, Ziedrich points out. “For some reason, cucumber and other vegetable slices packed in vinegar and sugar before freezing don’t turn to mush, but stay crisp. This is a very effective way to preserve not just vegetables but also herbal flavors that weaken or die in canning and drying.”

Because food expands when it freezes, allow about 1/2-inch headspace in whatever you use to freeze pickles in. Frozen pickles can keep for about a year; they’ll keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by ENB

December 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Posted in Food, My Life

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Recipe: Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

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This healthy, spicy vegan gingerbread cookie recipe is a mis-mash of several others—Martha Stewart’s chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies, Post Punk Kitchen’s vegan gingerbread cut-outs—with a few of my own twists. I’m not a terribly patient or detail-oriented baker, so my cookies (below) don’t look the best. But they were easy to make, and ended up being crowd-pleasers at a holiday party I had this past weekend—especially once I added a little (non-vegan) icing whipped up from cranberries, butterscotch chips and greek yogurt.

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies 

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp fresh, finely-grated ginger
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil
2 ‘eggs’ worth of flax goo*
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup organic sucanat or brown sugar
1 tbsp raw cacao powder

* Flax goo as egg replacer: Mix 1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp boiling water for each egg. Let mixture sit for about 10 minutes before adding to other ingredients.


• In medium bowl, combine flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, chili powder, baking soda and cacao powder.

• In another bowl, mix together fresh ginger, coconut oil, flax goo and sugar. Add vanilla extract and almond milk. Combine wet ingredients with dry and stir together.

• Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic or cover with foil/parchment paper, and chill for 20 minutes to one hour (tightly wrapped, it can be chilled for a few days).

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

• Spread cookies—in whatever shapes you choose; I just went for boring circles—on lightly oiled baking sheet. Cook for 12 minutes.

The cookies ultimately tasted good but looked dull, and since I was making them for a holiday party, I decided to dress them up with a little cranberry-butterscotch icing. Here’s the hastily improvised—and non-vegan—icing I made to top my gingerbread cookies.

Cranberry-Butterscotch Icing 

• 3 tbsp greek yogurt
• 3 tbsp butterscotch chips
• 1 tbsp shredded coconut
• 12-15 fresh cranberries

Combine ingredients in food processor until smooth.

Spread icing on cookies, then let harden in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by ENB

December 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Recipe: Roasted Chestnuts

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Don’t worry—while chestnuts roasting on an open fire might be romantic, your oven will do the job just fine. I first oven-roasted chestnuts two Novembers ago, to bring as a side dish for a Thanksgiving potluck. They were so delicious—rich, nutty, savory—I wondered why I’d never considered the nuts before. Though chestnuts are hard-shelled when raw, they take on a soft, potato-like texture when roasted that makes them ideal mashing, using in stuffing, or turning into breads, soups and deserts. But the plain roasted nuts make a good snack or side all by themselves, too.

Chestnut nutrition: Though chestnuts are high in starch, they’re less fat- and calorie-heavy than many other nuts, such as walnuts or almonds. They’re the only nut that contains vitamin C, and also a good source of fiber, protein, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, B-complex vitamins (niacin, thiamine, riboflavin) and minerals (such as iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium). For more on chestnuts’ nutrition profile, see here.

To roast chestnuts: Start with one pound of fresh, unpeeled chestnuts.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Using a small, sharp knife, cut an X across the curved side of each chestnut. The X should be span the entire side of the nut—this keeps the nuts from exploding while cooking, and makes it easier to peel them later. [I cannot stress enough how important this is: If you don’t make the slits big enough, or don’t allow the nuts to roast long enough to get soft, peeling them later will be painful and difficult; but if you make big enough incisions and roast long enough, you shouldn’t have problems.]

3. Spread chestnuts X-side up on a large baking sheet. Cook for 30-40 minutes.

4. Let chestnuts cool slightly—they’re best served hot, but you want them to cool enough so you can handle them. Once cooled, peel back the outer skin of the nut and enjoy!

Photo: BBC

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by ENB

December 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Recipe: Pomegranate And Persimmon Vegan Fruitcake

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Nobody likes a fruitcake, right? That’s a trope so old that I’ve never even been quite sure what a fruitcake actually is—just that it’s something nobody wants to get come the holiday season. But Wikipedia informs me that while fruitcake typically refers to a sweet cake baked with dried or candied fruits and nuts, any cake with fruit as an ingredient “can also be colloquially called a fruitcake.” Which inspired me to try coming up with a healthy, vegan fruitcake, using the pomegranate and persimmon I had in my fridge.

Turns out (yes, this is more Wikipedia reading, here), the earliest fruitcake recipes, from ancient Rome, list pomegranate seeds as an ingredient (along with pine nuts, raisins and barley mash). Fruitcakes from the Middle Ages used honey. Candied fruitcakes became popular starting in the 16th century, because they were cheap and sugary. In the Bahamas, fruitcakes are soaked in rum. In the UK, traditional Christmas fruitcake is covered in Marzipan and an egg-white dressing (seriously, British food is the worst). Mail-order fruitcakes started shipping in America in 1913. In Germany, Christmas fruitcakes are made with yeast, raisins and almonds; in Canada, fruitcakes are dark, moist, undecorated and shaped like a loaf of bread.

The point being: You can make something not-terrible and call it a fruitcake. Or, I did, and am going to, anyway. So here’s my vegan, whole-wheat pomegranate and persimmon fruitcake recipe. Happy holidays. It makes about two loaves, so you may want to half it (or triple it—vegan fruitcake for everyone!).

Vegan Pomegranate and Persimmon Fruitcake
Makes: 2 loaves 

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts or almonds
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp nutmeg
1 cup sucanat or brown sugar
2 tbsp sea salt
1 pack (7 oz) Red Star Quick Rise Yeast
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp molasses
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1-2 cups persimmon, chopped


• In large bowl, sift together flour, flaxseed, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, salt and yeast.

• In a separate bowl, mix together milk, water, olive oil and molasses.

• Add pomegranate seeds and persimmon to dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Stir everything together.

• Pour in lightly-oiled or sprayed 8-inch bread loaf pan, about 3/4 full.

• Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by ENB

November 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Recipe: Ginger Molasses Cookies

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Looking for a holiday cookie recipe without all the eggs, butter, milk or excessive sugar? Look no further. These vegan ginger molasses cookies have been a holiday favorite of mine for a few years now. They’re not terribly sweet, but with such a strong spice flavor—ginger and cloves and cinnamon, oh my!—no one should mind. And gingerbread fans in particular will enjoy these cookies.

I’m fully aware that they’re not much to look at, but they’re tasty and relatively nutritious (thanks, flax seed and whole wheat flour), which trumps presentation in my (cook)book. If you want to pretty them up a little, try pressing the top of the cookie in turbinado sugar before baking.

• 2 cups whole wheat or buckwheat flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
• ¼ cup molasses
• ½ cup raw coconut oil
• 1 cup raw turbinado sugar or dried cane sugar (sucanat)
• 2 tablespoons apple sauce
• 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons ground clove
• 1 teaspoon sea salt

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees

• Make ‘flax goo’ by combining ¼ cup boiling water with 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed. Let mixture sit for about 10 minutes before adding to other ingredients.

• Stir together: Flour, baking soda, cinnamon, clove, ginger powder and salt

• In another bowl, combine: Coconut oil, sugar and fresh ginger. Mix until soft. Then blend in flax goo, molasses and applesauce.

• Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients a little at a time. Stir together completely, and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

• Form cookie dough into 1-inch balls. [Optional: Dip top in turbinado sugar.] Place on oiled cookie sheet, a few inches apart.

• Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by ENB

November 9, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Things I’ve Been Cooking

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Written by ENB

August 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Food, Self-Promotion

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Recipe: Carrot Ginger Miso Soup

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I had carrots leftover from making carrot mac-and-cheese earlier in the week, so I decided to try another winter carrot recipe. This Asian-inspired carrot ginger miso soupvia Smitten Kitchen—is not only warming, but packed with health-promoting ingredients—making it a perfect dish for right now, at the height of cold and flu season.

What’s so health-promoting about it? Well, Miso is a ‘live’ food, which means it’s full of infection-fighting probiotics. Fresh ginger is also said to be a cold and flu fighter. Garlic contains a natural antibiotic. And carrots are heavy in vitamin C, which might help if you already have a cold. As Deb of Smitten Kitchen puts it, this dairy-free, gluten free (depending on what type of miso you use), vegan and virtually fat-free soup is “the very picture of healthful do-gooding. It’s about one cube of tofu away from earning a halo or at least being surrounded by singing cherubs.” [Just beware that with the vegetable broth and miso, it’s a little sodium-heavy.]

The soup pairs nicely with simple steamed vegetables and soba or udon noodles (I did bok choy and buckwheat soba noodles). Just a word of caution on the blending step: Hot liquids in a blender will cause the lid to fly off and carrot soup to go flying around your kitchen. Do not repeat my mistake.

Carrot Ginger Miso Soup 


2 pounds carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 – 1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped or grated ginger
1/4 cup miso paste*
2 scallions, thinly sliced

* I used brown rice miso; Smitten Kitchen used white miso. Some types of miso are gluten-free, others—like barley or rice miso—are not.


Sauté onion, garlic and carrots in olive oil for about 10 minutes over medium heat.

In soup pot, combine broth and ginger, then add carrot, onion and garlic. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes (until carrots are tender), stirring occasionally.

Puree soup in batches in blender, or all at once with an immersion blender. [This is where I went wrong, and ended up with a wall and sweater full of carrot soup. I think it’s because I transported the hot soup directly from the stove into the blender, and heat increases pressure. I would recommend letting the soup cool a little bit first, and then heating back up when you add the miso. Or try these instructions for blending hot soup without it exploding.]

In a small cup or bowl, whisk together the miso an a half-cup of the pureed soup. Stir the miso mix back into the pot of soup. Season with salt, pepper, additional miso or additional ginger to taste.

Once soup is in bowls, top with scallions. Smitten Kitchen also recommends a drizzle of sesame oil.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by ENB

February 10, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Kale Recipe Recommendation

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Yesterday I made this kale, potato, tempeh and corn soup dreamed up by Craven Maven, and it was delicious. And super-easy to make. I forgot to buy vegetable broth at the store, so I used water instead, and it still turned out just fine.

Just thought I’d pass it on …

Written by ENB

January 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Posted in Asides, Food

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Wonton Disregard

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I tend to do my best cooking when not following a recipe (following instructions in most arenas bores me terribly, and cooking is no exception). There are, however, certain risks involved when going rogue with a food processor—especially when you don’t have time to taste your wares before presenting them to a gaggle of hungry midwestern family members whose general conception of appetizers leans toward pizza rolls and Townhouse crackers with blocks of pre-cut cheddar cheese. That is why I am especially proud of my latest kitchen creation: Vegetarian holiday wontons stuffed with four completely un-premeditated fillings:

1. Sesame/Sunflower/Soy

2. Almond/Sundried tomato/Basil

3. Rosemary/Lemon/Cannelli Bean

4. Pumpkin/Almond/Date/Molasses/Cola

They were a hit with even the most blandly-palated members of my familial clan, dears (i.e. my mother), particularly the desert wontons (#4). Because of my aforementioned aversion to recipes, I can’t give you any precise instructions for recreating my results, but I will lay out the ingredients for each—the magic, of course, is in experimentation, and that’s all up to you.

In food processor, combine:

1. Raw sunflower seeds, sesame oil, soy sauce, thai red curry paste, water (just enough to help the processing along), Hawaiian sea salt

2. Raw almonds (works best if you soak them in water first), sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, sea salt, balsalmic vinegar, olive oil, water

3. Cannelli beans (drained), fresh rosemary, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, pepper

4. Pumpkin, pitted dates, raw almonds, natural cane cola, molasses, raw blue agave nectar

Dab a bit into the center of each wonton wrapper (I used Nasoya wonton wraps). Wet your fingers, fold up the three corners of the wrappers individually and then bring them together slightly in the middle (this sounded complicated to me when I read it on the back of the Nasoya wrapper, too, but it wasn’t).

Coat pan lightly with oil or non-stick spray, if that’s your thing. I also dabbed a bit of sesame oil with a brush on the tops of the savory wontons.

Garnish as you see fit—if my mom wasn’t rushing up to hurry up and finish my “weirdo food” so she could finish up her marshmallow and sweet potato casserole, I would have fun with this, but as it was I only got around to sprinkling the pumpkin wontons with a bit of cinnamon and honey.*

Bake at 350 for approximately 15 minutes.

[I believe this is the first time I’ve posted a recipe-esque thing to this blog. What do you think? I do a whole lot of vegetarian/vegan and raw cooking/experimentation, and now that my former foodsy blog is extinct, I don’t have a place to share. Yay or nay?]

Written by ENB

November 24, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Recipe: Baked Carrot Mac and Cheese

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I’m not a big fan of carrots on their own, but I know they’re good for me, so I like recipes that kind of sneak them in. But in this carrot mac and cheese dish—my riff on this recipe on Leite’s Culinaria from cookbook author Melissa Clark—the carrots aren’t just for stealth nutrients; they actually add to the macaroni’s creaminess and flavor (while helping cut down on calories by replacing some of the cheese).

I left out the sour cream, eggs and butter from Clark’s recipe (I wasn’t about to attempt vegan mac’n cheese, but I like to cut down on unnecessary dairy and eggs). I also added scallions, for flavor, and ground flaxseed, because that’s another nutrient-filled (but basically tasteless) food I like to sneak into things—though the dish will do fine without either. The result is a rich, creamy and nutrient-dense casserole that you can whip up a big, warm dish of on cold nights—a kinder, healthier comfort food.

Baked Carrot Mac and Cheese

2 cups whole-grain macaroni, cooked
2-3 cups carrot, finely grated or roughly pureed
2-3 cups grated cheddar cheese
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup milk (dairy or unsweetened dairy substitute, like rice milk)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 tbsp mustard powder
salt, pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine cooked, drained macaroni with finely grated or pureed carrots.

3. Stir in cheese, olive oil, milk. Then add scallions, flaxseed, mustard powder, salt and pepper.

4. Pour mix in lightly oiled baking dish. You could sprinkle the top with more cheddar cheese, a little parmesan bread crumbs or raw sunflower seeds.

5. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until it’s lightly browned.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by ENB

November 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Posted in Food, My Life

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The “Hipsters on Food Stamps” Phenomenon

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The way the reporter (Jennifer Bleyer) wrote this article itself was like she was just begging people to mock her subjects:

Savory aromas wafted through the kitchen as a table was set with a heaping plate of Thai yellow curry with coconut milk and lemongrass, Chinese gourd sautéed in hot chile sauce and sweet clementine juice, all of it courtesy of government assistance.

Every descriptive word Bleyer uses is designed to imply maximum offensiveness, or to make very normal things—like vegetables, for goddsakes— seem exotic and luxurious.

So what if some people on food stamps buy more healthy/weird/international cuisine than do others? It’s not like they’re getting extra money to buy this food; they’re getting the same amount as the guy who’s buying fucking Wonderbread and store-brand Kraft singles. And yet …

Magida, a 30-year-old art school graduate, had been installing museum exhibits for a living until the recession caused arts funding — and her usual gigs — to dry up. She applied for food stamps last summer, and since then she’s used her $150 in monthly benefits for things like fresh produce, raw honey and fresh-squeezed juices from markets near her house in the neighborhood of Hampden, and soy meat alternatives and gourmet ice cream from a Whole Foods a few miles away.

People are always railing, of course, about how people on food stamps don’t buy enough healthy food. But heaven forbid the food they buy is too healthy, or healthy and also outside the mainstream. It’s absurd. Fresh produce is a luxury? Soy protein (which costs about the same as meat) the height of libertine-ism? Not to mention that things such as Chinese gourd and coconut milk are the very kind of corner-store staples in ethnic neighborhoods that often sell these sorts of foods cheaper than mainstream varieties (at the Asian-run market in my neighborhood, I can get three large hunks of fresh, homemade tofu for $1, compared to $2.50 or $3 for the packaged stuff; the Polish corner store sells an abundance of large, quite good Polish beers for cheaper than domestic varieties).

Now you can argue with whether food stamps should exist in the first place, or at what level, or in what way, and that’s something different entirely. But the folks in this article had to have been at some certain pre-determined level we’d set as the threshold for food stamp eligibility, you know? And as long as we’ve already set that threshold, whatever sustenance one buys with those stamps (and in spite of whatever hobbies/passions/desired-careers they may have) is really nobody’s business.

Says Jessica Grose on XX factor:

I’m not sure that “hipster” food stamp recipients are anything but a fake trend, but it does appear that no article about food purchasing or ingesting can be written without irate and judgemental comments. The twenty- and thirtysomethings in the article are predictably called lazy and overly indulged, for example: “Of course people are going to be pissed that they’re busting their asses every day in real jobs so that some douchebag can satisfy his ‘flexitarian’ gourmet diet.” But even if these hipsters were using their own money to buy their organic food they’d be slammed. Or if they were buying the stereotypical foods purchased with food stamps—which is to say, heavily processed—they’d be criticized for contributing to the so-called “obesity crisis.” Eating is now a major moral issue in America, and whatever choice you make is wrong.

Written by ENB

March 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Simone de Beauvoir Made Me Keep Chickens

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My goodness. When I first read this Amanda Marcotte post on Double XX about the New York Times article on upper-class housewife chicken keepers, I thought Marcotte was probably right about the gist but must be using her characteristic hyperization when she said it was “was yet another one of those expensive NY Times pieces about how some rich ladies found an out from the supposed demands of feminism, a space where they can stay at home without being so bored they have to subsist on Valium.”

But that is actually what the article explicitly says.

All of these gals — these chicks with chicks — are stay-at-home moms, highly educated women who left the work force to care for kith and kin. I don’t think that’s a coincidence: the omnivore’s dilemma has provided an unexpected out from the feminist predicament, a way for women to embrace homemaking without becoming Betty Draper. “Prior to this, I felt like my choices were either to break the glass ceiling or to accept the gilded cage,” says Shannon Hayes, a grass-fed-livestock farmer in upstate New York and author of “Radical Homemakers,” a manifesto for “tomato-canning feminists,” which was published last month.

Writer Peggy Orenstein goes on to actually call it “femivorism,” and asks, “who these days can’t wax poetic about compost?” Plenty of people, Peggy Orenstein!

I get that this is a style section article. I think she’s trying to be, shall we say, tongue-in-cheek. But still … She actually suggests that should a wife no longer be able to rely on her husband for financial support, homemaking and chicken-cooping skills may be better positioned to “provide a family’s basic needs” and “guard against job loss (and) catastrohpic illness” than a salary or savings.

Orenstein does end on a skeptical note, to be fair. And it’s not that the article itself is inherently uninteresting (Marcotte made pains to point out that she loves organic gardening and once considered keeping chickens; I’ve got a hallway full of seeds sprouting and a boyfriend who sells raw vegan nut pates around town). It’s just … why does everything women do – and I was going to say outside the realm of paid work, but really, it’s everything: working, not-working, part-time work, hobbies, etc. – have to be considered as a reaction to or against “feminism?” Why can’t we accept that there have, are and always will be myriad ways for arranging domestic, social and professional life, and the periodic, cyclical “discovery” of them by magazine or style section reporters says close to nothing about the state of gender relations, the nature of egalitarianism, feminism or the rejection thereof? *

* said with love, as one whose greatest ambition is secretly to write these types of articles.

Written by ENB

March 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Brooklyn Home Companion

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If you’re not reading Katie & I’s “home and lifestyle” blog, you should be. You will never find such sweet pictures of people in overalls anywhere else in the blogosphere, promise. Plus, we will soon teach you how to make raw chocolate.

Written by ENB

January 7, 2010 at 11:13 am

Department of Half-Formed Ideas

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One of the things we’ve been noticing for a while now is that there’s been a move away from the interesting/hip/cutting-edge/talked-about/whatever restaurants in Brooklyn serving an array of vegetarian and vegan options, and much more of a focus on meat, meat, all things meat. I’m slowly forming a grand unifying theory/article pitch about this in my head, but I want to know if anyone else outside of Brooklyn has noticed similar things in their cities?

Written by ENB

October 9, 2009 at 3:08 pm

DC v. NY: Food Edition

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When I return to Columbus, Cincinnati, and Athens, Ohio, there are restaurants I’m always excited to revisit. Already, in New York, I’ve developed a few favorite eateries. But were someone to ask me where to eat in DC, I don’t think I’d have anything to tell them. I can think of restaurants that are passably enjoyable—if you were going there for drinks, or happened to be nearby, then eatingin them wouldn’t be unpleasant. There are even a few places I guess I could say I considered “favorites,” though these—Cactus Cantina, Cafe Deluxe, the Argonaut—have more to do with proximity to places I lived then any spectacularity of cuisine.

I’d probably tell you to have brunch at Red Rocks, though that has more to do with the bottomless $9 mimosas than the decent but unextraordinary pizza. Maybe I’d recommend Granville Moore’s, which does have a good beer selection and, I’m told, great mussels, though I’m no mussel connoisseur; the takeout at Simply Ayzen, if you, god forbid, find yourself in Tenley; or the sweet potato fries at Wonderland Ballroom, which I just tried for the first time my 2nd-to-last week in town when some very drunk girls shared their leftovers with me. And Chef Geoff’s and Commonwealth both serve near-perfect arugula salads.

But overall—I have never thought DC’s food has very much to recommend it, and it’s almost always pricey, to boot.

On my first night in Brooklyn last week, my boyfriend, my future roommate and I set off in search of a late-dinner bite within a few blocks of our house-to-be, and stumbled across a newly-opened place on the corner of Graham Avenue and Meeker called Grandma Rose’s. It smelled good, but didn’t sell alcohol, and after moving all day, we were in the mood for a drink. We turned to leave, and the guy behind the counter said, “Hey, I mean, if it’s beer you want, I’ve got a few in the basement of my own; I can get you a beer.” So we stayed. He led us out into a huge back garden area, where we were the only ones there, and brought us corona and bud light in paper pepsi cups from his private basement stash. We ordered $6 sandwiches—eggplant pamesan, meatball, chicken & broccoli rabe—that arrived about half-an-arm’s length in size and were absolutely delicious. The chef—a charming fat, bald man (“That’s the kind of man I want making me a sandwich,” my boyfriend said) who is the owner (and apparently a former Bear Stearns stock broker) sat down and chatted with us about how everything was cooked, and asked if we had any recommendations, and when I told him it was my first night in town, he brought me free gelato. Cheap, delicious, friendly and rule-bending—had I designed it, I could not have schemed a more perfect first-night antithesis to all that is DC food culture.

[Please do not fear: food is one of the few arenas in which I am really not impressed with DC, and in which I am quite impressed with Brooklyn. But I promise I will not turn into one of those horrible people who move to New York and start immediately saying how much better everything is there. Cross my heart.]

Written by ENB

August 6, 2009 at 11:48 am

Posted in City-Dwelling, Culture, Food

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