Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Culinary Aspirations

After my trip to the east coast and finding out about a plant-based gourmet institute, I have been excited to cook every single little thing. Tonight I made an (all organic of course) sun-dried tomato polenta grilled in a rosemary infused olive oil. I topped the bowl with grilled pepper-jack (Daiya Brand) sourdough breadsicles. On the side I had a spinach and strawberry salad. Usually I eat polenta with a jar of some basil marinara, but after seeing that organic sauce costs $7.99, I decided to make my own. I've never really made a marinara or tomato sauce, but my boyfriend loves his sauces, so I took a shot at it. Read on to experience my food adventure!

I started by peeling 8 cloves of garlic and dicing them up with my chef's knife. I then poured a few tablespoons of olive oil into a pot and placed the diced garlic into a pot. Onions costed 3.99 each today (crazy I know!) so I used a couple tablespoons of onion powder in the garlic and oil. I cut the ends off of plum tomatoes that I bought last night for a tofu scramble and snacking, and placed them into the garlic oil. I opened a can of tomato paste and put in two heaping spoons of it into the simmering pot. After the main ingredients, that I made up as I went, I added fresh sea salt and ground pepper. I mixed it all up and put a lid on it.

I heated up my H2O Non-stick pan with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, garlic pepper, onion powder, and rosemary. After it was nice and hot, I placed it on medium heat to stay there. I sliced the sun-dried tomato polenta into 1/4'' slices (one quarter inch). For two people, I cut 10 slices (5 each) and placed them in the oil that was nicely seasoned with the herbs and spices. I let them cook while the sauce simmered, and assembled the bread that would go on top.

Today I bought some bread that I normally would never buy: fresh baked sourdough baguette. Yummy! I normally only get whole wheat pita or sprouted, but I realized sourdough is delicious and can make great baby garlic bread (breadsicles) or crackers. As the rest was cooking, I sliced up six 1/4''
pieces and placed them on a miniature cookie sheet (5X8'') lined with foil. I topped them with a total of a teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkled pepper jack Daiya brand vegan cheese on top. I put them under the broiler for 5 minutes until the cheese was melted.

I had some pre-washed spinach and placed a handful into each bowl. I sliced 3 strawberries for each salad and toppled them in a pile on the lettuce. I sprinkled a half cap of balsamic vinegar (great with fruit) and half cap of olive oil for each salad. Ground some pepper and salt on top- Delish!

For dessert I made my prized cheesecake filling and stuffed it into the center of big strawberries! With a small paring knife, I lopped off the top so it was big enough to put back on top for decoration later. I cut out circular centers, and filled them with the cheesecake filling. I placed them in the fridge to firm up and cool back down. Yummy :) I know I need pictures, but I'm working on a getting an awesome new cammy.

I love eating things from bowls, so instead of plating the polenta I put it in a glass bowl. I fanned out the five slices on the bottom of the glass bowl. Turning the bowl in a circle, I spooned the hot garlic tomato sauce onto the polenta, so it did this pretty swirl thing. I then took the tiny breadsicles and placed four around the edges. I cut one in half and stuck it right down on top.

The salad was just thrown together by placing spinach in a bowl with the strawberries piled on top.

Everything was in a bowl, making it easier to eat,
clean, and design! Enjoy!

And to leave you with a little cutey patootie... Cabbage Patch Cake Toppers!

Something I saw at the thrift store today that I HAD to take a picture of! Go ahead... Laugh.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Organic in New York

Have you ever spent $10 on a fresh juice? The most I've spent is $4.75 for a freshly pressed juice with organic fruit at Mother's Market. I couldn't believe when I set a 16oz bottle of One Lucky Duck juice on the counter and the cashier happily said, "Ten dollars please." I looked at my boyfriend, since he was offering to pay for food that day, and watched him silently suffer the handover of his debit card. After that moment, it will be forever known as The Juice Incident. 

If you've read any of my other blogs, you know that I press my own fresh organic juice. And I can buy a whole weeks worth of fruit for ten dollars. Where was I you may ask. Chelsea Market, New York. After watching The Next Food Network Star competition there, I HAD to visit. Two of the contestants reported about the Bar Suzette Creperîe and described how it could have been the best thing they ever ate. I ordered up a vegan lentil wrap filled with hummus, fresh greens, veggies, and truffle oil to top it off. De-lic-ious! Yummy. Mmm... All for $9. And the best part was I got to watch them make it all from scratch: the crepe batter, the hummus, the wrap on the special pan. Fun and Yummy.. Fummy! 

Next up was inspired by Bethenny Frankel's Food Crawl blog, that explained the Best Brownie Ever at Fat Witch, conveniently located in Chelsea Market. I bought a gift bag of these Baby brownies for my boyfriends parents hospitality gift. They reported back that they were luscious as described. The bag included a mix of regular, walnut, and blonde brownies each for a different member of the family. 
Stay tuned for more photos and fun from my East Coast Adventures!