“Is there anything, apart from a really good chocolate cream pie and receiving a large unexpected cheque in the post, to beat finding yourself at large in a foreign city on a fair spring evening, loafing along unfamiliar streets in the long shadows of a lazy sunset, pausing to gaze in shop windows or at some church or lovely square or tranquil stretch of quayside, hesitating at street corners to decide whether that cheerful and homy restaurant you will remember fondly for years is likely to lie down this street or that one? I just love it. I could spend my life arriving each evening in a new city.”
― Bill Bryson, Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe
Okay, so this quote isn’t about the pie so much as the travel (and this isn’t a travel/food blog), but what struck me was the comparison – that of the three best things in the world the writer could think of, he chose a simple chocolate pie. I’d honestly never had one before a few weeks ago when a friend similarly smitten with the silky smooth chocolate mousse filling challenged me to make one. Purists may demand a traditional pie crust, but I prefer the contrasting texture of a graham cracker base. Enjoy!!!
When I want a creamy but dairy-free pasta sauce, I usually cheat and stir in vegan cream cheese or sour cream depending on the flavor I’m going for. I’ve avoided nut-based sauces out of fear you might be able to taste the nuttiness, so I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted this before putting it on the pasta. You couldn’t taste the nuts at all.
Blackened Shrimp and Andouille Pasta with Faux Alfredo
Isn’t it riduculous to think of how much high end restaurants ask us to pay for dishes that took so little money, effort, and time to make? You could easily find this salad on one of those menus.
Since it has been insanely hot and humid in DC this last few weeks, the thought of eating anything heavy for dinner is about as appealing as slaving over a hot stove for any length of time. Ready in minutes, this dish combines the five flavors (salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami) in a light, but filling salad. You could use spinach, but I like the bite of the peppery arugula. Don’t have scallops? It works really well with shrimp, too!
Pan-seared Scallops and Crispy Proscuitto on Arugula with Sun-Dried Tomato and Caramelized Shallot Vinaigrette
After chocolate (and all its variations), this is one of my favorite cakes. Like most spice cakes, it’s fairly dense, but it has a moist, tender crumb with just the right mix of warm spices. It is topped with a rich, but light and creamy frosting. It’s really designed to be a single layer, and you want to go that route, you’ll need to bake it a few minutes longer. If you really want to dress it up, toast some hazelnuts, walnuts, or almonds, crush them, and press into the sides of the frosted cake.
Vegan Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
It’s blueberry picking season here, and I’m baking them into everything while I can. I wanted to try something a little different for dessert. (And I was far short of the 5 cups I would have needed for a straight up blueberry pie.) A close friend of mine loves peach pie, but I have never made one and was scared the fruit would be too mushy and the filling too sweet. Combining barely ripe, firm peaches and my remaining wild blueberries proved to be a winning combo.
This pie turned out better than I ever could have imagined, and I woke up craving the tart-sweet combo of the fruit and not-too-sweet pie crust. If it lasts that long once you cut into it, you will too!
Blueberry Peach Pie
Some gluten free pie crusts are softer and more difficult to handle and can become a soggy mess with fruit fillings. Adding a small amount of cornmeal gives the crust a nice crunch and lightness without making it totally brittle.
Flaky Cornmeal Pastry Dough
A decade ago I didn’t have a clue what a tomatillo was, but it didn’t matter. That bright, tangy, spicy sauce adorning my first chicken enchilada had me hooked at first bite. Then I saw them, hidden within their papery husks, at the local farmers market and I just had to try my hand at recreating it.
Roasted Salsa Verde
Try it on these dairy free Chicken Enchiladas!
Cilantro seems to be one of those flavors that people either love or hate. I really like the brightness it brings to foods. I use this sauce to season the shredded chicken in my enchiladas, but it would be really good on grilled or roasted chicken, pork, or steak.
It’s not that I ever hated kale. Until I lived in Italy, i’m pretty sure that I’d never seen it much less tasted it. This dish sold me for two reasons, the layered flavors and how quickly it came together. Oh, and did I mention its healthy, satisfying more than 35% of the RDA of Vitamin A, almost 20% of Vitamin C, and almost 30% of Iron all while offering 17g of protein, 11g of fiber, and only 6g of fat . More importantly, the leftovers – if there are any – taste even better.
Pasta with Sausage, Kale, and Cannelini Beans