Pumpkin Chickpea Curry

1-2 T Coconut Oil
1 Onion – diced

3 Cloves Garlic – minced

1-2 T Fresh Ginger – minced
1 Box of Fresh Baby Spinach

1 Bunch of Cilantro – top chopped off, minced

2 – 15oz Boxes of Pumpkin

1 -13oz Can of Coconut Milk
2-3 T Curry Paste

1 Can of Chickpeas

Salt to taste

Heat coconut oil in a large pan until melted. Saute onions, garlic and ginger. Add spinach and cilantro until cooked down. Add pumpkin, coconut milk and curry paste. Stir together and heat for a few minutes. Add Chickpeas and simmer a few minutes until fully hot.

Serve over jasmine rice.

New Year’s Red Beans and Rice

This is a great recipe to use up leftover holiday ham. We usually get a spiral sliced ham (bone in) for the holidays and there are only so many ham sandwiches you can eat! This recipe has been adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for Ham Hock, Red Beans and Rice.

Ingredients:1 chopped onion
3 stalks chopped celery
2 tablespoons crushed (or pressed) garlic
6 ounces andouille sausage, cut into small bite sized pieces
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 ham bone with some meat left on
3 15-oz cans red beans (if using dried this is equal to about 3/4 lb. dried beans)
8 to 10 cups chicken stock
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
Cubed ham pieces (whatever is left, use it all or freeze some for later)
Cooked white rice, I prefer Jasmine
In a stock pot, saute the onions, celery, and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sausage, bay leaf, black pepper, thyme, cayenne, and salt, saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the ham bone and beans. Cover the mixture with the stock. Bring up to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Add ham cubes. Cook for 20-30 minutes while you make your rice, or if using dried beans cook for 2 hours or until the beans are tender. Mash 1/4 of the mixture against the side of the pot with a spoon to thicken mixture if desired.  Serve over rice.

Foodie Pet Peeve

I have a serious pet peeve when it comes to the world of foodie blogs. I honestly do not care about your elaborate back story surrounding your lovely little recipe. Guess what, I happened upon your blog because your recipe looked yummy, and that is all. Sure, I guess that there are some blogs that have devoted followers who give a shit about the blogger’s life, but I am not one of your followers. I probably found your recipe on Pinterest and now find myself forced to read about your children, dog, cat, husband, guinea pig, garden, and all around perfect fucking life. I do not have time for this shit. I don’t mind a little bit of a back story (such as Grandma Inny used to make this all the time and it reminds me of her, blah blah) but please spare me the graphic details of your boring ass life. If you can tell a story about ingredients, then I’m all about it, but seriously people, start a blog about what you really want to talk about, instead of luring me in with delicious looking food. Same goes for Yelp reviewers who want to turn their review into their next creative writing project. Find another outlet people!

This religious cupcake maker was the straw that broke my back. All I wanted to know was how to make some scrumptious pumpkin spice latte cupcakes because I am obsessed with PSL like every other white girl in October. But hell no, this blogger had to first tell me all about Jesus’ light shining inside of her or whatever the hell before she got to the friggin point and gave me the damn recipe. Can we please, please, please leave Jesus out of our cupcake discussion? For the love of God, PLEASE!

Princess Funfetti Cake

Princess Funfetti Cake

Princess Funfetti Cake (photo by Andi Zeisler)

Princess Funfetti Cake (recipe adapted from Baking Outside the Box)

3 1/2 Cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Cups granulated sugar
1 Cup unsalted butter, softened
1 Cup milk
1/2 Cup sour cream
1 tsp princess emulsion
7 egg whites
1 Cup jimmie sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour (or use Baker’s Joy w/ flour spray) two 9-inch cake pans.

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl and stir well. In a separate bowl, cream butter, sour cream and sugar. When mixed thoroughly, mix into larger bowl with dry ingredients and add milk, Princess emulsion and mix together with mixer. Add in egg whites and mix again (don’t over-mix). Stir in sprinkles until evenly distributed.

Evenly distribute into two cake pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Magnolia Bakery’s Traditional Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (adapted for maximum princess flavor)

1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
8 Cups confectioner’s sugar
½ Cup of milk
2 tsp princess emulsion (original calls for vanilla extract)
food coloring of your choice

Place butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar, then milk, and princess emulsion (or vanilla extract). Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (you might not need all of the sugar). Add food coloring and mix thoroughly. Frost at room temperature.


Gluten Free Banana Flax Muffins

Gluten Free Banana Flax Muffins (Adapted from The Minimalist Baker)

• 2 eggs (for vegan flax eggs version see The Minimalist Baker’s recipe)
• 2 ripe bananas
• 3 Tbsp agave nectar, maple syrup or honey if not vegan
• 3 Tbsp unsweetened vanilla or plain almond milk
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 cup almond meal (ground from raw almonds)
• 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with 8 paper liners, or grease pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs.
3. Next add bananas and mash. Add agave, baking powder, vanilla, almond milk and stir.
4. Add almond meal and ground flax seed and stir once more.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tooth pick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean and they become somewhat firm to the touch with a little give.
6. Remove and let rest in pan for 5 minutes. Then cool all the way on a cooling rack.
7. Store in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

These muffins didn’t rise much (or maybe not at all) when baking, so next time I think I’ll add a little more baking powder. I also realized that I completely forgot the almond milk, whoops! But they were super tasty!

Veggie Lasagna (Gluten Free)

I used to think that I hated eggplant.  My primary experiences with it have been in the form of eggplant parmesan and the two times I have eaten this I have really wanted to like it, but the flavor and texture just didn’t do it for me.  I assumed that I just didn’t like eggplant.  Until I had one of the best lasagnas ever and afterwords found out it had eggplant in it.

Last week our CSA box came with an eggplant, zucchini and a good helping of tomatoes.  I decided I would try to recreate that lovely veggie lasagna, except my version would be pasta free.  I’d seen an Alton Brown recipe for eggplant pasta and basically just followed that recipe but left the slices in tact to act as my lasagna “noodles” (I also left all the skin around the edges in tact.)  This part is pretty easy – just thinly slice (about 1/4 inch) your eggplant, lengthwise.  Lay the slices on a cooling rack that’s covered with one layer of paper towels and evenly salt the slices.  Let them sit there for 30 minutes, then rinse off and pat dry with paper towels.  Voila! You have “lasagna noddles.”

I wanted to make a totally homemade lasagna, so I started by making sauce from my Aunt Sharon’s recipe for Killer Sauce.

Where it says “Italian tomatoes,” that’s 60s Midwestern speak for roma tomatoes.  Aunt Sharon says that mostly she used to use canned, but fresh will work too.  Since I was using fresh, I added the extra step of roasting and skinning the tomatoes beforehand and I think that gives it a really nice flavor.  I also used fresh basil since it’s peak basil season.

Next, I had a DIY cheese kit from Urban Cheese Craft that has been taunting me for a while now.  I picked up a gallon of milk and made me some ricotta cheese!  Seriously, there is nothing like fresh, warm ricotta cheese…mmmm.

I’ll admit though, I haven’t worked up the courage to go all the way and make mozzarella yet (this is where I caved on the totally homemade thing).

Next it was just a matter of layering.  I brushed a thin coat of olive oil onto a 9×13 pan, then began with the first layer of eggplant, then I thinly sliced zucchini lengthwise and layered them in.  Then slices of mushrooms.  I sauteed half a large onion plus a clove of garlic and mixed that in with 2 cups of my ricotta along with two eggs.  Stirred all that together and put about half of it down on top of the veggies, sprinkled mozzarella on top and then repeated the cycle: eggplant, zucchini, mushroom, cheese.

Next time I’ll remember to take pictures of the lasagna before it all gets gobbled up!


Christmas in July Sale!

Have I mentioned that I’ve been building up my Etsy shop?  What’s that you say?  I’ve been completely remiss in promoting my own Etsy shop on my very own blog?  That’s crazy talk!

My new and improved Etsy shop currently has my fine art photography prints for sale.  These are available in a variety of sizes and for a limited time in July I’m offering 20% off orders!  Between now and July 22, just enter the coupon code CIJPDX to get the discount.

You can also check out my fellow PDX Etsy team member’s sales here. Happy Shopping!