Sep 30, 2016

september wrap up

No doubt about it, Fall is here. Well, according to the calendar, anyway; in San Diego it is hot as dirt - hitting into the 100-degree by the beach. I don't think it got that hot the whole of summer, but sure enough, as soon as Autumn hits... as my friend Susan would say, quit the whining already! She's probably just grumpy because she has a whole mess of snow to look forward to in Idaho.

It is the last day of September! I know, already. And it is time to see what mischief I was up to all this month. As you may know, my new cookbook, Aquafaba [Amazon, B&N, Book Depository], will be releasing in a few short days and I've been busy making videos detailing some aquafaba recipes.

If you haven't seen my videos, yet, head over to my YouTube channel.

This month was mainly about getting in the mood for fall and getting ready for Halloween. I offered you treats for both kids and adults, using aquafaba as an amazing ingredient. Chocolate sugar cookies turned into skeletons and caramel apples flipped into cupcakes - why not?

That doesn't mean that healthy food was off the table. Far from it! I even made a few Pantry+ recipes and made sure that whole foods plant-based recipes were also featured.

1. Bean Boulangerie started off the month. It is French potato gratin that is baked until the potatoes melt in your mouth and the top develops a crispy, golden brown crust. Serve it with a salad and dinner is complete. This is a Pantry+ recipe, using only 5 pantry and 6 fresh ingredients, including the salad.

2. Pumpkin Waffles with Cider-Maple Syrup was my first recipe using aquafaba that isn't in my new cookbook. It is a holiday original, complete with a video. Aquafaba makes this extra crisp and fluffy.

3. Caesar Kale Chips are made with a wet marinade and they still come out crispy and crunchy. This is a perfect take on the standard kale chips. So, so good!

4. Katsu Banh Mi was an instant hit in the house! I had just procured my air-fryer (a refurbished model that I snagged for half the price from Seattle Coffee Gear company [of all places] - thank you in2insight and Becky Striepe!) and was able to make this crusted tofu without oil-frying it. And that was just the beginning of the good news with this sandwich.

5. Refrigerator Dough is a must make and have in the fridge at all times. Because it last for up to 7 days, can be frozen and makes a ton of different breads, there is all the reason in the world to have this convenient dough prepped and waiting.

6. Green Pea Toast with Cayenne Caramelized Onion. Because green peas are readily available in the freezer section all winter long, these toasts are a wonderful way to beat the winter blues and bring some sunshine into the short days of the season. This is a whole foods plant-based recipe, if you opt for whole grain bread.

7. Late Summer Burger Salad reminded us that the summer veggies are about to go bust until next year. Round up those last stray summer veggies and whip up a batch of these delicious mini burgers. The salad is a bonus. This is a Pantry+ recipe that is also whole foods plant-based, if the burgers are baked.

8. Caramel Apple Cupcakes is an aquafaba recipe (with a video tutorial on the making of caramel) and they are rich and moist and screaming of apples and fall. Must make for your holiday table or an afternoon treat before the apples are gone again.

9. The Southern Hot Mess was my take on a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featured recipe. Out with the cruelty and in with the chickpeas and compassion. These really look a mess, but it is a truly delicious mess. This is a Pantry+ recipe, too!

10. Bulgogi Spring Rolls were a definite favorite! I love spring rolls because they are easy to make (once you get the hang of it) and easy to transport. Great for lunchboxes, but what was truly great about these rolls is that they are very different from your ordinary spring rolls. These are also whole foods plant-based approved, if you use whole grain wrappers and noodles. (Yes, the brown rice wrappers are a reality!)

11. Chocolate Sugar Cookies is an aquafaba recipe. These adorable cookies are a great way to celebrate Halloween. Use cookie cutters to shape them and icing to draw on skeletons. Cute enough to eat.

12. Roasted Garlic Pizza was definitely a favorite and I was crushing on garlic big time. Check out #minimofo for more info on the "crushing" part. This pizza features garlic everywhere! In the tomato sauce, in the toppings and in the cheesy-sauce.

I had a really delicious month of food! I hope you will get to try some of these and maybe find a new favorite. Until next month!

Sep 28, 2016

roasted garlic chickpea pizza

Last week I shared with you my Refrigerator Dough recipe. This week I'm using it to make a garlic-lover's pizza. I am a garlic lover and often times I hold back when writing recipes, but this one is full-on garlic and I make no excuses or apologize. #sorrynotsorry

Let me start by saying that if you haven't made this dough and have it handy in the fridge, you are missing out on easy meal times. The dough can be made into flatbreads, rolls, focaccia, pizza and even frybread. Check it out HERE (video) or HERE (printable) and whip up a batch; it lasts for up to 7 days!

This pizza boasts whole roasted garlic, a garlic sauce and garlic sauteed chickpeas and artichokes. It also has sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and arugula, to round things out.

I roasted the garlic in the air-fryer and it was ready in about 8 minutes! And without any oil! I was thrilled.

The garlic sauce is a quick cashew-based aioli that is blended with some of the roasted garlic, before the remaining garlic gets thrown onto the pizza.

Like I've said before, the dough is ready when you need it and it is very easy to roll. If it is giving you any problems, just let it warm up for 15 minutes, while the oven is preheating.

A well-dressed pizza is always a welcome sight!

Bake it until it is golden brown and crisp. Top with arugula and more ailoli and you are all ready to enjoy a classy pizza night.

Roasted Garlic Chickpea Pizza 
Serves 4

Garlic Aioli Sauce:
1/3 cup raw cashew pieces
2/3 cup non-dairy unsweetened, plain milk (plus more as needed)
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vegan lactic acid (optional)
4 cloves roasted garlic**
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Chickpea Topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 (15-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
8 garlic cloves, sliced 

1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 pound Fridge Dough or other pizza dough
Vegan shredded cheese (optional)
Roasted garlic**
4 soft or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
12 kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup arugula

1. Sauce: Preheat the oven to 475-degrees F. Use a pizza stone if you have one. Remove the dough from the fridge to warm. Combine the cashews, milk and nutritional yeast in a small saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a small blender and add the lemon juice, lactic acid (if using), garlic and salt and pepper. Blend until very smooth, adding a few tablespoons of milk as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning and set aside.
2. Chickpea: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chickpeas, artichokes and garlic. Cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes, but do not burn the garlic; stir often. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
3. Pizza:  Combine the pizza sauce with 2 tablespoons of the garlic aioli. Divide the dough into 4 (or 2). Roll or spread the dough on a parchment paper, out to about 1/4-inch thick. Spread a thin layer of tomato-aioli sauce. Add cheese, if using. Top with the chickpeas, sun-tomatoes and olives. Bake for 6 minutes on a baking sheet or pizza stone. Remove the paper from under the pizza, using tongs or a spatula if needed. Continue to bake until golden brown, about 7 to 9 more minutes. 
4. To serve, cut into slices, top with arugula leaves and more sauce. 

** Roasted Garlic. Divide a garlic head into the cloves; do not peel. Air-fry for about 8 to 14 minutes at 330-degrees F. Check the garlic after 8 minutes; if it is soft it is ready. Do not burn. Alternatively, pan-fry the garlic with the paper on. Use a dry cast iron skillet and cook until soft, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning. Peel the garlic when cool. 

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


Sep 26, 2016

chocolate sugar cookies (aquafaba recipe)

It is officially fall! And the very first holiday we encounter is Halloween. As someone with children, especially vegan children, Halloween has always been important to me because of all the treats that they encounter that aren't vegan.

I remember when they were very little and we'd go trick or treating; they would go up to the houses, get their "treats" and when we got back to the house, we would trade their non-vegan (or non-vegetarian many times!) with our homemade or online-bought (no luck finding anything in stores at the time) vegan treats.

In a way, it was a double bonus for them because they got two activities for the price of one. As they got older, they went with their friends and traded candy with them instead of us. Luckily for us, they never felt cheated out of all the non-vegan treats; our kids always knew why we were vegan. Of course, at that young age, it wasn't in graphic detail, but simply because eating animals is wrong.

Now that they are older (youngest will be 17 in February) and all in college, the only thing that has changed is that they no longer trick or treat - not that some of them still don't want to! The "treat" part is still on their minds, however, and when the treats are adorable in one way or another, it makes it all the better.

These cookies are just fun enough to treat adults and kids alike - and they go over well with the cook, too. This is a very easy chocolate sugar cookie to throw together, roll and bake.

This is a chilled dough, so it is important to plan accordingly. This batch will make about 30 to 40 cut cookies.

Roll them to be just a tad thicker than 1/4-inch and bake them for about 10 minutes. Cool them on the baking tray until they firm up, about 3 minutes, and cool them completely on a cooling rack before icing.

There you have it! Happy Halloween!

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Makes about 30 to 40 cut cookies

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) vegan butter
3 tablespoons aquafaba**
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa, regular or Dutch-processed***
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Vegan frosting or royal icing, for decoration

1. Combine the sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Cream the ingredients together using an electric hand mixer until homogenous. Add the aquafaba and vanilla and mix again. 
2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder into a small bowl. Sifting will eliminate the lumps in the cocoa.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Transfer the batter to a wax paper and fold over well. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F.  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a little thicker than 1/4-inch. If the dough is breaking a bit, set aside to warm up for a few minutes. Cut the dough using cookie cutters and transfer to a baking sheet prepared with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to firm up on the baking sheet for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack until completely cool to the touch.
4. Decorate the cookies using frosting or royal icing. If using royal icing, allow to completely dry before stacking. 

** Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using.

*** Dutch-processed cocoa is lighter in color and less bitter because it is alkalized. Regular cocoa will make a darker cookie, but it is a bit more bitter and more harsh in flavor. 

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


Sep 23, 2016

bulgogi spring rolls

Although I have a more authentic (and still easy-to-make) recipe for Korean Bulgogi - which is barbecue that is served in lettuce leaves - in my cookbook Vegan Bowls [Amazon, B&N], I wanted to make a more portable version of this dish, so putting it into rice roll wrappers seemed to be the answer.

This version is simpler and less traditional, but still very delicious in its own right. I used my SteaK Setian recipe for this (found HERE), but you can also use portobello mushrooms or even tofu, if you like. The seitan is quite delicious, though, and isn't difficult to make at all.

The seitan is grilled to perfection after marinating in the sweet and salty mixture for a little while (or overnight) and is then chopped into strips.

The seitan is then rolled into rice spring roll wrappers along with rice noodles (I used udon noodles here), carrots, lettuce leaves, scallions and the ssamjang sauce, which is a spicy paste (here turned into a sauce) that usually accompanies Korean barbecue.

Although the recipe calls for doenjang (a fermented soybean paste) and gochujang (a spicy chili pepper paste), you can use dark miso (not white - it is too sweet) and sriracha as substitutes.

It is very important that you don't soak the rice paper for a long time; soak it only until it is pliable. It will soften up further as it sits with the moist ingredients rolled into it. A mistake folks often make is soaking it too long (please, ignore the package directions to soak for up to a minute) and then having the paper fall apart on them before they have a chance to roll it up. Remember: only until it is pliable.

Now, go forth and create your own masterpiece.

Bulgogi Spring Rolls 
Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon date paste*** or sugar
1/2 medium apple, cored and chopped
2 medium garlic cloves
1/2 order Seitan SteaK or 4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed and gills scraped out

2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoons doenjang or dark miso
1 tablespoon date paste*** or sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons gochujang or sriracha
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds 

8 (9-inch) spring roll wrappers
8 small lettuce leaves
1 large carrot, julienned
3 scallions, minced
4 ounces dry rice noodles or udon, cooked and cooled under running water, reserve the hot water for the spring roll wrappers

1. Combine the broth, tamari, sweetener, apple and garlic in a small blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a shallow pan and add the seitan. Coat well and set aside to marinade, from 10 to 60 minutes. 
2. Heat a grill pan over medium heat for 4 minutes. Spray with oil and add the seitan. Cook, about 4 minutes per side, basting as needed. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. When cool, cut into strips.
3. Make the sauce by combining the hot water, doenjang, sweetener, gochujang and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Mix well until everything is dissolved. 
4. Dip a spring roll wrapper into the hot water reserved from the pasta and soak for 5 to 10 seconds, depending on how hot the water is. Soak only until the wrapper is pliable. It will soften once you add the other moist ingredients. Add a lettuce leaf and spread with the sauce. Add some seitan, carrots, scallions, and noodles. Roll up like a burrito, from the back roll to halfway and then fold in the sides. Finally roll it all the way up.  Serve or store, covered, for later enjoyment. 

*** Date Paste: Pit 10 medjool dates. Add to a mason jar and fill with enough water to cover, about 1 cup. Soften overnight in the fridge. Blend until very smooth, including the soaking liquid.  

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


Sep 21, 2016

pantry+ the southern hot mess

Sometimes, late at night, when thoughts keep me up and I'm too tired to read, but I need some mindless bs to take my mind off things, I turn on the TV to the food channel. I'm a cook, so that makes sense for me.

One of those restless nights found me staring at Diners Drive-ins and Dives. Unfortunately for me (and the animals), it was another BBQ show - Guy seems to showcase those joins way too often. This time, however, my head popped off the pillow, in the middle of drifting off to sleep, when I heard the term "sweet potato." In a BBQ joint? Sweet potato was being featured?

Of course, the sweet potato was only a vessel, but still, there was promise here. The woman cook goes on to share that, yes, indeed, this is a true Southern favorite. I was in.

This is The Southern Hot Mess - originally with cheese, brisket, bacon and chipotle crema - all animal-based. It's time for another flip. And this is a Pantry+ recipe! This recipe uses 4 pantry items (HERE) and 7 fresh items.

The Southern Hot Mess:

small blender [such as Magic Bullet]
cast-iron skillet
small bowl

Pantry ingredients:
Chipotle en adobo

Fresh ingredients:
Sweet potato
Green onions
Chili powder
Vegan bacon
Vegan sour cream

You blend all the ingredients to make the adobo sauce and set it aside. Cook the chickpeas in the dry skillet until golden and then add the reserved sauce. This is our chickpea adobo.

Prepare your vegan bacon (I *love* the tofu bacon from Everyday Vegan Eats, but now I air-fry it instead of pan-frying it - so good!!), mix up the simple chipotle sauce and just wait for your sweet potatoes to bake. Then split the potatoes, top with all the goodies and go to town.

The Southern Hot Mess (a Pantry+ recipe)
Makes 4 servings
Pantry list is HERE.

4 medium sweet potatoes
Sea salt, as needed
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups cooked chickpeas
4 strips vegan bacon (such as tofu, seitan or tempeh)
1/4 cup vegan sour cream or mayonnaise
1 to 2 teaspoons chipotle puree*
2 green onions, minced

1. Wash the sweet potatoes, pierce them in 4 or 5 places with a knife and sprinkle with salt. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees F and bake until tender (no need to wait to preheat), about 60 minutes. 
2. To make the adobo, combine the water, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a small blender and blend until smooth. Set aside. Heat a dry medium cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chickpeas and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, mashing the beans lightly as they cook. Add the adobo sauce, cover the skillet and cook until the sauce is absorbed and the chickpeas are flavorful, about 8 to 10 minutes, adding a few tablespoons of water as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt.
3. Cook the vegan bacon either in the oven or in a skillet, either with oil or oil spray, until crisp. Chop and set aside. Combine the sour cream and chipotle, mix well and set aside.
4. Split a cooked potato in half, top with the adobo chickpeas, add some chipotle cream, sprinkle on some bacon and green onions and serve. 

*Chipotle Puree: Blend an entire can of chipotle en adobo in a small blender until smooth. Transfer to a mason jar and store with a lid in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


Sep 19, 2016

caramel apple cupcakes (aquafaba recipe)

Treat time! I am sharing a really delicious cupcake recipe with you, but, be warned, it is decadent. It uses a homemade caramel sauce that is to die for, but is best left as an occasional treat.

Caramel Sauce is made by melting sugar and cooking it to a light amber color. The darker the color, the stronger the caramel flavor. Take care that it doesn't reach toffee stage, which is actually burnt sugar.

When the sugar is at the right color, you add milk. I tried making this with high-protein soymilk (one I use to make yogurt with) but it burned the caramel sauce to a crisp, so I recommend using a low-protein milk, such as lower protein soymilk or, better, yet, if you aren't allergic, store-bought almond milk.

Add caption

Then you stir and stir until the re-crystallized sugar melts again. Attach a candy thermometer and cook the syrup until it reaches about 228-degrees F. Yes, get a candy thermometer if you will be making candy. The cheaper ones are as low as $5 [AMAZON] or the better ones are below $10 [AMAZON], but I recommend a digital thermometer. This [AMAZON] is the one I use.

The batter is made with tart apples, but you can use whatever you like - I've made them with all kinds of apples. You drizzle the cooled cupcakes with that amazing caramel sauce and serve these treats right away.

Because caramel sauce can be a bit tricky to work with, I've made a video detailing this recipe.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes 
Makes 6 cupcakes/ 1/4 cup caramel sauce

1 tablespoon vegan butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup low-protein nondairy milk (commercial almond milk works well)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup neutral oil
6 tablespoons aquafaba**
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups diced tart apples
2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts

1. Caramel: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and melt the sugar, stirring as needed to melt as much of the sugar as possible. Cook the sugar only until it is turning a light amber (any longer and the sugar could burn). Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk. The mixture will bubble and foam up. Stir until the crystallized sugar dissolves again, using a sturdy wooden spoon. Take it on and off the heat to facilitate this. 
2. When most of the sugar has melted, return the pot to the heat and add a candy thermometer. Cook the caramel, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 228-degrees F. Very gently remove it from the heat and set it aside for a full 15 minutes. This will help prevent it from crystallizing. When it is cool, stir in the vanilla. Chill the caramel to firm up and warm it up to melt it if using from the fridge.
3. Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Prepare a 6-tin muffin pan with cupcake liners and oil spray or just oil spray. Combine the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, ginger and salt in a small bowl. Combine the oil, aquafaba, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the flour mixture and the apples and fold to combine. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins and bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one comes out clean, about 20 minutes. 
4. Cool the cupcakes in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool the cupcakes completely before adding caramel. Add the caramel and nuts right before serving. 

** Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


Sep 16, 2016

pantry + late summer burger salad

Yes, it is nearing that time of year in the Northern Hemisphere; it is almost the end of summer. I figured that it is a good time to make a Late Summer Burger Salad, using some of the produce that is still available.

The dressing is creamy and gingery to complement the Japanese togarashi seasoning. The mini burgers are packed with veggies and legumes and provide a ton of energy to fuel your day.

For the purpose of keeping this recipe within the confines of Pantry+, I've limited the salad ingredients to just romaine lettuce, but you should add anything that you have on hand: grated carrot, purple or green cabbage, napa cabbage, radishes, other types of lettuce - basically, go wild!

This recipe uses 5 pantry ingredients (get the Pantry+ list HERE) and 6 fresh ingredients.

Late Summer Burger Salad:

small blender [such as a Magic Bullet]
food processor
cast iron pan

Pantry ingredients:
Rice wine vinegar

Fresh ingredients:
Summer squash
Green onions
Green peas

After preparing the dressing, you grate the squash using the food processor. Because the food processor will be used again, there is no reason not to use it multiple times in this recipe to make things go faster.

Cooking the squash down, is processed again in the machine with the rest of the burger ingredients. After forming them into mini burgers, cook them in the same skillet or use an air-fryer.

Simple and easy! In just a few steps you will have a delicious salad to munch on as you ponder what wonderful produce you will be procuring in the coming months.

Late Summer Burger Salad (a Pantry+ recipe)
Makes 3 to 4 servings
Pantry list is HERE.

1 cup raw cashew pieces
7 to 8 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar, divided
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 medium-large yellow squash
2 garlic cloves
1 cup cooked chickpeas
5 green onions, divided
1/2 cup green peas (thawed, if frozen)
1 to 2 teaspoons togarashi
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
All-purpose flour, as needed
Oil for pan-frying, optional
6 cups lettuce, chopped

1. Add the cashews, water, 2 tablespoons vinegar, ginger and salt to a small blender. Blend well and set aside for 10 minutes to rehydrate. Blend again until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed. Set aside. 
2. Grate the squash using a food processor. Add the squash to a large dry cast-iron pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the moisture has reduced considerably. Add the garlic to the processor and pulse to chop. Add the chickpeas and 4 green onions and process until ground. Add the peas and pulse to break up. Add this mixture to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes to meld the flavors. Remove from the heat, add the panko and mix well. Set aside to rehydrate for 5 minutes.
3. Wipe the pan out, add a few teaspoons of oil and heat over medium heat. Form the squash mixture into 2 tablespoon patties (add a tablespoon of flour if the mixture isn’t holding together) and flatten the patties into 1/2-inch thickness. Cook the patties until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
4. Chop the remaining green onion and add it to a bowl. Add the lettuce and the remaining tablespoon of vinegar and toss. Divide the lettuce among four bowls, add 4 patties to each bowl and top with the ginger dressing. Serve. 

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


Sep 14, 2016

green pea toast with cayenne caramelized onions

We have all seen the new culinary favorite, toasts (which is really just an open-faced sandwich) and we have encountered the British favorite green pea spread, so why not combine the two?

Before I actually made a green pea spread I wasn't really sure what all the fuss of combining peas and mint was, but I understand now. The mint in no way overpowers the peas, and, in fact, complements its natural flavor - now I'm a believer.

You can actually forget the caramelized onions (but, really, why would you?) and add slices of avocado or toasted pine nuts or even salsa fresca (external link to a few of my sauces featured on Daily Dose of Art).

Whatever you feel doing, do it, but I'll let you in on a secret: this is a fantastic recipe to make in the middle of winter to bring back some of that summer feel. Frozen peas are perfect in this recipe and really lets the sun shine in.

I used my air-fryer (!!) to make the onions and they came out just right. I didn't even spray them with oil, just let the machine do its magic.

That little container in there cost me $6 from [AMAZON] and it isn't non-stick, which I love because Teflon is made with plastic. Besides, the pan that is actually sold for this machine costs $30+. I only wish it was stainless steel.

This recipe uses a whole bulb of garlic because roasted garlic is awesome! Cut the tips off the garlic and lightly smash them to easily remove the paper skin, that way your garlic will remain whole. The onions are cooked with balsamic vinegar to add even more sweetness to them.

Look at that pot of sunshine! Once you lightly cook them and puree them with the other fabulous ingredients, you have the makings of an amazing toast. Word of caution: please season the peas appropriately with salt; legumes need it to bring out their flavor.

Green Pea Toast with Cayenne Caramelized Onions 
Serves 4

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 whole bulb garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

2 cups green peas (frozen is fine)
2 tablespoons almonds or sunflower seeds
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup mint leaves (not packed)
1 tablespoon white miso
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper

2 (6-inch) baguettes
Oil spray

1. Combine the onions and garlic in an air-fryer pan and cook on 360-degrees for 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, stir well and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring halfway through. Add the water and cook until the onions and garlic are tender, another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring after every 5 minutes. Alternatively, cook the onions and garlic in the oven, covered, until tender, about 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Season with salt, black pepper and the cayenne. 
2. Combine the peas and enough water to cover in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until heated through and lightly cooked. Remove from the heat and drain. Set aside.
3. Add the garlic and almonds to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the reserved peas, mint, miso and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper. 
4. If you are making toast, cut the baguettes in half and toast. If you are making appetizers, cut the baguettes into 1/2-inch thick slices on the diagonal and toast. In either case, spray with oil before toasting. 
5. Spread the toasts with the pea spread and top with the onions. Serve. 

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.