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Sides, tapa-tizers + snacks

Collaboration, Food, Sides, tapa-tizers + snacks, Vegetarian

Fresh Vegetarian Summer Rolls + Spicy Peanut Sauce

As much as I adore fall and its display of dark skies, the smell of smokey cedar, and the sound of crisp leaves crackling beneath our feet, I’m always eager to welcome spring with just as much enthusiasm. The sudden sight of lush landscapes and azure skies always fills me with a feeling of restoration… kind of like the default computer wallpaper of Microsoft’s Windows XP; nothing says “new beginnings” quite like that.

The weather here in North Carolina has been teetering sporadically between warm perfection and nippy disappointment, but the former is starting to outweigh the latter and I am oh-so-ready to get my terra cotta pots out, dig into some soil, plant some seeds, and admire the produce that sprouts. And then make delicious food with it.

One of my favorite things to indulge in when the days are blazin’ hot are these cool and crisp summer rolls with a savory, nutty, and slightly spicy dipping sauce which, simply put, is lip-smackin’ perfection.

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Food, Main Dishes, Sides, tapa-tizers + snacks, Vegetarian

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers With Lentils

So these are pretty bad ass (not to mention long overdue). This recipe was initially intended to be a plant-based spin on my meaty Best Stuffed Peppers — one of my most popular recipes from the pre-pescetarian days — but the pressure was just. too. much.

That old trusty recipe of mine received comments like “These were the best stuffed peppers I’ve ever had” and “Hubby, who swore up and down ‘I do not like stuffed peppers!’, devoured 4 of them!

How does one compete, or even follow up, with that? (You don’t. You just don’t.)

The thing that makes *those* peppers so special is the slightly-sweet-yet-hella-savory thing it has going on. The intriguing sweetness comes from the sweet sausage, and since I have yet to master seitan or tempeh, I wasn’t even going to go there. One day, but not this day. (And by all means, if you’re a meat-eater, I kept that recipe up on the blog for a reason. It’s dope, and you should head there now.)

Rather than set myself up for disappointment, I decided to kick the intention of “recreating” to the curb and instead, develop something fresh. Something that wasn’t meant to be compared to something else, but to be its own exciting thing.

These tender bells are brimming with a delicious plant-based mishmash that let this recipe be its own delectable thing.

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Food, Pescetarian, Sides, tapa-tizers + snacks

Watermelon Radishes With Anchovy Butter on Sliced Baguette

I have a very deep appreciation for offbeat fruits and veggies, and when I say “deep appreciation”, I obviously mean obsession. Let’s just get that out of the way now.

Example: Last month, when I found romanesco in the produce section at Whole Foods, I gasped so dramatically that the chap in front of me turned around to see if I was alright. (I’m fine, I’m fine, really!) On top of that, I had two different dreams about cucamelons. TWO.

Some women dream of shoes; I dream of rad looking vegetables.

Needless to say, I was overjoyed to find some watermelon radishes kicking around the market a few weeks ago. As you can see, watermelon radishes are a unicorn of a veg with their splashy fuchsia center. The exterior of the fruit is pretty uninspiring, so if someone unfamiliar with the beauty of a watermelon radish ever buys one accidentally, they’re in for a pleasant surprise.

These bad boys were from Asheville, NC! So, *kind of* local, and extremely crisp + delicious. I didn’t want to just toss them into a salad, though. I wanted them to SHINE!

A few years ago we had friends bring a sliced baguette over. They slathered each slice with anchovy butter, and then topped them with thinly sliced radishes. It was mouth-watering, and when that memory popped into my head, I knew I had to make that.

Also, please don’t let the mention of anchovies frighten you. You can totally use capers instead of anchovies for a still-salty but less-fishy butter infusion. Capers are my go-to sub-in for anchovies, like in my vegetarian caesar salad dressing, and they work like a flippin’ charm.

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Food, Salads, Sides, tapa-tizers + snacks, Vegetarian

Refreshing Bruschetta Lentils With Feta

Here I am, at 4 p.m. on a Tuesday, sipping at a hefty glass of Pinot Noir while trying to shake off the last few days. Not that this is strange for me; I come from a home where 4 p.m. is better known as wine o’clock. It’s that time between a long day and a night of who knows what to decompress, loosen up, and reset. But for the past few days it’s been an excuse to numb the pain, because I don’t think there is any “resetting” after putting your beloved pet down — and much too soon, no thanks to a sudden seizure and an undetected heart condition.

I was not prepared for that.

I’m gutted, heartbroken, and trying to keep myself distracted with this *lifts laptop* and this *lifts wine glass*.

Work and wine. Wine and work.

(Don’t worry, I’m a lightweight. I’m good after two glasses.)

I know that grieving takes time, and I have to allow myself that time. But I have a personal rule in life: after two-three days of letting myself be a useless pile of ice-cream eating sadness, I must bounce back; I HAVE to bounce back.

And the past two days have been hella productive as a result.

I’m as excited for warm weather as everyone else, and this dish reflects my enthusiasm for spring, fresh farmer’s market produce, and eating your feelings with things that aren’t ice cream.

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East Series, Food, Pescetarian, Sides, tapa-tizers + snacks

Agedashi Tofu

Whenever I dine at a Japanese restaurant, exploring the appetizers is one of my favorite parts. It’s impossible to pass up on Japanese-style gyoza and lightly salted edamame. Of course, every once in a while, we order something we’ve never had before and are completely blown away — like agedashi tofu.

If you dig tofu and you frequent Japanese restaurants, you’ve probably had your fill of this crispy and pillowy goodness. If not, your proverbial socks are about to be blown off.

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