Orecchiette means “little ear” in Italian, and once you hear about this recipe, you will be a fan! This recipe is simple and delicious. With all fresh ingredients, it is perfect for summer and is great warm or cooler as an al fresco dinner.
Pepper and Onion Pasta with Basil
10 ounces orecchiette pasta, cooked per package directions
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
2 links vegetarian sausages, sliced into 1/2″ rounds
1/2 Tablespoon fennel
1 Tablespoon capers, rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1. While pasta is cooking, heat a large frying pan over medium heat, pouring olive oil in pan to coat. Cook onion and pepper until tender crisp. Add vegetarian sausage and cook until browned around the edges. Add fennel and capers to vegetables and stir to mix all ingredients.
2. Drain pasta and put pasta into vegetable mixture. Mix thoroughly. If needed, drizzle an additional Tablespoon of oil over pasta to help mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve pasta into bowls and top with fresh basil.
On nights when the weather is perfect and the summer vegetables are ripe, this is the perfect dinner. It is hearty enough to be an entree when served with warm flatbread, but is ideal as a side dish for larger dinner parties.
Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
3 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded
5 celery stalks, trimmed
2 sweet onions, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
Salt and pepper to season
2 large heirloom tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
3 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
2 Tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
1. Prepare a grill over medium-high heat.
2. Lightly spray eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, celery and onions with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. place vegetables on the grill and grill until vegetables are tender (times will vary for different vegetables), approximately 3 minutes per side.
3. While vegetables are grilling, make dressing by whisking together all ingredients in a carafe or small lidded bowl.
4. To prepare salad, separate onion slices and spoon vegetables into a large bowl or a serving dish. Top with remaining salad ingredients and pour salad dressing over vegetables, mixing to coat thoroughly.
This apple bread is delicious and with a few secret ingredients it is good for you too. It doesn’t take long to mix all the ingredients together – the hard part is waiting for it to come out of the oven – it smells delicious and tastes even better!
Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Bread
3 cups gluten-free baking mix (I used Sofella – if you would prefer not to use a baking mix or you are not making this version gluten free, see note below)
1 cup golden brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 apple, peeled and shredded
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup canola oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a loaf pan by spraying the insides with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients (from baking mix through nutmeg). In a separate bowl, mix all wet ingredients (from apple cider vinegar through vanilla). Incorporate wet ingredients into dry ingredients and blend thoroughly. Add walnuts and mix well.
3. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from pan and slicing.
NOTE: If you cannot find a gluten-free baking mix or do not want to use this, mix the following ingredients in place of the baking mix and follow the recipe: 3 cups flour (either C4C gluten-free flour, or all purpose flour for a traditional recipe), 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.
For this recipe, I used the gluten-free apple bread recipe below and it was delicious – a decadent blend of apple, cinnamon, and maple that was perfect for brunch. In order for this to work best, the bread should be a bit hard (stale works well too) – which is really hard to do with the apple bread because it is so delicious, it goes fast. If you don’ t have dry/stale bread, but still want French Toast, slice bread and lay each piece on a baking sheet. Put in a 350 oven for 10 minutes per side, just to crisp up the outside and make it a bit easier to work with.
French Toast with Maple-Cinnamon Whipped Cream
10 slices apple bread (recipe below) or other bread, about 1/2 inch thick each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 cups non-dairy milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1. Heat a skillet or electric griddle to 350 or medium-high. If you are using a traditional skillet, you will need to mist with canola oil between each set of French Toast slices.
2. Mix all dry ingredients above in a large bowl, mixing just to incorporate. In a small bowl, mix all wet ingredients, working quickly. Pour the mixed liquids into the dry ingredients and, with a whisk, blend thoroughly. Do not overmix.
3. Dip each slice of bread into the mixture carefully, working to cover both sides (see note below). Place slices on the prepared griddle and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until a golden crust has formed on the bread. Remove from skillet when both sides have been cooked, and place on an oven-safe dish or baking sheet. To keep warm, place in an oven that has been preheated to broil, and keep there for no more than 5 minutes.
4. To serve, top each slice with maple-cinnamon whipped cream (below) and powdered sugar, if desired.
Maple-Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
1 (14 ounce) can of coconut milk, chilled
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons maple syrup, chilled
1. Chill the bowl and whisk of a stand mixer in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.If they are not very cold, the cream will not whip properly.
2. Skim the solidified cream off of the chilled coconut milk and transfer it to the bowl of the stand mixer. Do not include any of the coconut water as it will prevent the whipped cream from developing firm peaks.
3. Add the powdered sugar to the coconut cream in the mixer and whip for a few minutes until stiff peaks begin to form. When whipped cream is prepared, remove from the mixer and gently fold in cinnamon and maple syrup. Work quickly so that the cream stays cold. Chill the whipped cream in a closed container in the refrigerator (the longer it is cooled, the firmer it gets).
In town, we have an amazing Assyrian food truck – it serves delicious ethnic food that is simply amazing. While I won’t try to conquer the other recipes, the Sabich (pronounces sa-beek) is too good to miss. The Sabich is an eggplant sandwich that has delicious vegetables and a light hummus-tahini dressing. It can be made traditionally with the hard boiled eggs, or vegan without. Also, the traditional Sabich has picked mango, but this is a bit hard to find – it is still amazing without it, but if you can find it, add it for a great twist.
1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small white onion, finely diced
1/2 English cucumber,finely diced
2 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
Juice of 1 lemon
3 eggs, hard boiled and sliced
1 dill pickle, finely diced
1/2 cup hummus
1/4 cup tahini dressing (if you can’t find this at a store, mix 1/4 cup tahini with 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon crushed garlic, and salt and pepper to taste)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 whole wheat pocket-less pitas or flatbreads
1. Preheat oven to 425. Lay eggplant slices on a baking sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil. In a small bowl, blend olive oil, parsley, oregano and salt. Brush olive oil mixture over eggplant, turning over to coat both sides. Bake in oven for 5 minutes per side, or until tender and golden.
2. While eggplant is baking, toss onion, cucumber, tomatoes and lemon juice in a bowl, mixing to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat pitas and assemble Sabich by spreading hummus on pita. Top with eggplant slices, vegetables, eggs (if desired), and pickle. Drizzle with tahini dressing and eat.
I know that we should never judge a book by its cover, but as soon as I saw this one, I knew I was in for a good time. One of my favorite parts of USA Today is the infographic which conveys a current statistic, so Listomania was right up my alley.
Listomania: A World of Fascinating Facts in Graphic Detail is a fabulous collection of all sorts of trivia, oddities, and unexpected information that provides the perfect springboard for cocktail party discussions. Each page focuses on a different theme, ranging from “8 Dastardly Ponzi Schemes” to “9 Clever Crimes” and from “8 Unusual Ransoms” to “36 Famous People Who Were Adopted”. The graphics are clever, looking more like cartoonish illustrations than daunting historic images, making the book approachable to readers of all ages. This book is able to communicate all sorts of random information in seconds, and makes learning interesting (and often useless) information an effortless pursuit. Listomania is a DK-style book for adults and features all sorts of fascinating global information (who knew that China had kiwi flavored potato chips?). This book can be picked up for easy reading (you are able to jump in at any point and learn about things you never knew you wanted to know about). With clever graphics illustrating themes such as “17 Prehistoric Giants” and “10 Unsolved Mysteries”, it is hard not to get sucked into this book.