This week we got our first CSA box and I’m possibly a little over excited about it. The truth is I’m really awful at shopping for vegetables, and it’s rare that I buy fruit ever. So having someone else pick out some perfect organic fruits and veggies and deliver them to my door is the best. I feel like this is the impetus for my diet to be transformed from 90% carbs to maybe a little bit lower percentage. Granted, I am already dreaming of making cherry tarts and zucchini bread (I blame these ladies for posting zucchini bread instagrams for that) which isn’t quite the healthiest way to prepare these fruits and veggies, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.
Mostly I’m just happy to have really fresh and delicious foods. It’s easy to forget how good simple foods can taste when you’re used to drowning them in sauces and seasonings. Yet it’s entirely pleasing to just eat a peach or a cobb of roasted corn.
The other perk is getting creative with foods I wouldn’t normally buy. Celery for instance. While I’ll occasionally purchase celery for a recipe, it’s not on my usual slate of vegetables. Since we got some in this box, I was inspired to make some chickpea salad. It’s a recipe I make all the time, but leave out the celery. Who knew that the celery actually makes it taste way better. So here is to expanding my vegetable vocabulary. And to celebrate, here is my easy chickpea salad recipe.
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1/4 cup vegenaise
1 Tbsp mustard
1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
In a food processor, mash the chickpeas until they are sort of mushy. Add the other ingredients and blend until combined. I like my chickpea salad on the smooth side, but you can go chunky too.
It’s been nearly a year since Pure Luck closed and I still miss it all the time. The only thing that takes the edge off is that it’s not too hard to recreate their menu at home. It’s not quite the same obviously, but works when you’re desperate for a jackfruit burrito.
Pure Luck Jackfruit Carnitas
1 20 oz can Jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed
1 bottle Mexican coke
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 heaping teaspoons Better than Bouillon mixed with 2 cups water (I used the No Chicken base, but could be done with the No Beef base I’m sure)
Generally speaking, I like to make this in my crock pot, because it’s easy to just let it cook overnight, but you could also just let it all simmer for 20-30 minutes on the stove.
Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a pan over medium flame. Add onion and garlic to the pan and saute until the onions have softened, stirring so that the garlic doesn’t burn. Set aside.
Break up the jackfruit a little with your hands, separating the flesh (don’t worry too much about the core, it will soften up when cooked). Add jackfruit, cooked onions, garlic and all other ingredients to your crock pot and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low overnight. You can keep the jackfruit in this broth until you are ready to eat it.
In an iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan, heat the remaining oil over medium high flame. Add the jackfruit and saute until browned. You’ll want to break up the jackfruit even more at this point, particularly the cores. Toss in your burrito and enjoy!
The other majorly important side dish from Pure Luck is the potato pals. Someone asked for the recipe to make these, but honestly, they’re basically premade. I suppose you could get all fancy and make some gnocchi from scratch, but that’s certainly not what Pure Luck did. So just pick up a package of gnocchi from the market (make sure they don’t have eggs in them), cook them following the instructions on the package, and then fry them up. I don’t have a deep fryer so, I just fry them in some oil in a skillet. They still taste awesome. Missing the dipping sauce? It’s just vegenaise and bbq mixed in equal parts.
I’m still dreaming that one day Pure Luck will reopen it’s doors somewhere else, but until then, I’ll just go on making jackfruit carnitas and potato pals at home. Now if only I could crack their caesar dressing I’d be set.
This week, after seeing two recipes for risotto show up in my blog reader I thought to myself, maybe it’s time I try to make some myself. Despite needing a bit of attention on the stove, it was very simple to make and so rewarding to eat. One of my favorite meals is rice & broccoli, and this risotto is basically just the fancy version of that. This dish will easily impress any dinner guest.
I followed this recipe and just subbed out the zucchini for broccoli and asparagus (and of course, left out the pesto). It was creamy and so full of flavor, I just couldn’t get enough. I might have to make risotto all the time now. I’m ok with that too.
It’s time to get serious about the season premiere of Mad Men this weekend. Are you excited? I am! I don’t watch a ton of television, but Mad Men is just so darn good. More than that though, I’m really excited that we’re going to have a 60’s themed cocktail party and watch with our friends. Any excuse to dress up and have fancy drinks is good for me.
I’ve been brainstorming appetizers for weeks now and have settled on a few so far. When I asked my mom what appetizers were popular in the early 60’s, she responded with “Boring stuff.” Boring just doesn’t work for me. So here are some ideas that are simple and easy to make, but still fun.
Pigs in a Blanket – Tofu dogs wrapped in puff pastry, with a side of BBQ sauce. That’s about as easy as it gets.
Jello – There is actually such a thing as vegan jello. You can buy the boxed brand or make your own with agar-agar. The tricky part will be finding cute jello molds. Maybe top these with with some coconut whipped cream.
Deviled “Eggs” – I’ve always wanted to try this recipe. To make things easier though, I may just put the “yolks” on toast.
Obviously though, it’s essential that we have a well stocked bar to make cocktails. I’m thinking some Moscow Mules & Old Fashions. I suppose it’s appropriate to also have martinis but then I need to get some darn martini glasses that I may never use again. Don’t know how to make these classics? Recipes below!
I really want a punch bowl too. This isn’t exactly traditional cocktail party style, but it’s spring and it would be fun to have some citrus fruit drink.
Ok, let’s get on to those drink recipes.
- 2 oz whiskey or bourbon
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 orange twist
In a cocktail shaker or large glass, muddle the sugar with the bitters and a splash of water or seltzer until the sugar is dissolved. Fill with ice and stir in alcohol until chilled. Strain into a double old fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with a twist.
- 2 oz vodka
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 4 oz ginger ale (chilled)
- 1 lime wedge
In a tall glass, mix vodka and lime juice. Add ice and pour in ginger ale. Garnish with lime.
Then of course there is also the important element of what to wear. I’ll be a search for the perfect party dress. Can I make my hair into a beehive? I don’t know but I’d sure like to try.
Do you want to have a Mad Men party too? I hope so. What will you serve?