Friday, May 31, 2013

Quote of the Week


Wise man, that Buddha. Something my mother has always stressed to me is "change your thoughts, change your life." Isn't it wonderful to know we have that power? Have a happy weekend!

xx Molly

Thursday, May 30, 2013

City Streets


Remember my obsessed story about these shoes? Well, they finally arrived and I’m so happy with this less expensive option that I found; they’re doing the job wonderfully and are comfortable to boot, not a guarantee with inexpensive shoes. I also really love the aqua colored ones, too, which for the price, of course I bought. Sometimes New York has an amazing way of inspiring your fashion decisions and sometimes it makes you feel like a mess in comparison to some of the chic girls walking down the street, but at least in this case, I feel like I’m fitting right in.
xx Molly

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Swiss Chard Pancakes

 
When Molly was little she called Swiss chard "Swiss charge." On the infrequent occasions we eat Swiss chard together nowadays, her father seizes the opportunity to remind her of her malapropism with fondness.
 

I have no memory of how I found a recipe for Swiss chard pancakes or what I was really looking for, but this recipe caught my eye and inspired my plant-only version.

When my husband sat down to eat he exclaimed, "Only my wife would make Swiss chard pancakes!" Little did he know about those home cooks in the South of France. Thank you Dorie Greenspan and The Splendid Table. I don't know what yours taste like but we thought these were great.

xx Mama and Molly

1 medium onion
1 shallot
10-12 branches of parsley
a handful of chives, not green onions
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1/2 block of extra firm tofu
2 cups chickpea flour
2 cups veggie broth
2 bunches Swiss Chard, stems removed
Olive oil
Store bought sun-dried pesto
Ground cumin
Cayenne pepper

Process the onion, shallot, parsley, chives, garlic, red pepper flakes and about half the broth until uniform. Add the tofu and process until uniform again then begin with about half the flour adding more broth and more flour until you have a thick batter. You may not need all the broth because you do not want it to be watery (or dry).

Add a handful of the Swiss chard at a time and process. The finished batter with be GREEN! Salt and pepper to taste.


Using about 2 tbsp of the olive oil coat a fry pan and heat to medium high. Spoon enough batter for 4 or 5 pancakes at a time and cook until they are firm enough to turn, about 2-3 minutes. Cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side. Place on a cookie sheet on in a 350° oven to cook a bit more and to stay warm while you make additional batches.

To make the spicy sun-dried tomato pesto, process store bought pesto with a sprinkling of cumin powder and cayenne pepper.

Just before serving, spread each pancake with the tiniest bit of spicy sun-dried tomato pesto.

I served them with fresh peas and slender green beans flavored with a spritz of olive oil and finely chopped mint.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chocolate and Rose Bundt Cake


Long weekends often inspire me to try something different, whether it’s getting out and exploring a new part of the city, or in this case, baking my first bundt cake. For a little twist on the traditional, I chose to make a chocolate cake with rose buttercream frosting. I used by go-to chocolate cake (double the recipe for cake) and frosting (skip the milk) recipes, and added just a drop of rose water into the frosting. I’d recommend using a straw to dab just a bit, as the flavor can be wonderful when used in moderation and terribly floral and cloying when overused. I was pretty happy with the results, but the boy’s nieces and nephew were the final taste testers and boy did they approve.
xx Molly

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grapefruit Mojitos


As I mentioned here, I've been becoming increasingly interested in experimenting with new cocktails and my most recent foray was making grapefruit mojitos. I mostly follow this Martha Stewart recipe, although I added sparkling water instead of seltzer (not to mention a bit more than the recipe called for), and was pleasantly surprised with the results. The drink was refreshing and summery and the minty flavor of the simple syrup really complimented the white rum. Considering how quick and uncomplicated this drink was to throw together, even from scratch, this may be a go-to during warmer months whenever guests stop by.

xx Molly



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Black Bean and Corn Salad with Guacamole Dressing


If you have been following my cooking posts you may have noticed a few things I do differently - I don't use salt or sugar, unless I'm making some blow-out dessert for a special occasion, and I really limit the amount of oil I use (and I only use plant-based oil). I insist that the food be really tasty and be pleasing to the eyes, too. So, I set challenges for myself. Oh yes, I usually have scratch and quick versions of the same recipe.

This salad fits my criteria. If you must, however, you can create a dressing with olive oil instead of the avocado and add the avocado, cut in chunks, to the salad just before serving. You probably should bath the chunks in lime juice first, so they don't oxidize. Add salt, too, if you please.

xx Mama and Molly

3 poblano chilies, fire-roasted & chopped or 1 bag Wegman's frozen
3 red peppers, fire-roasted & chopped or 1 bag Wegman's frozen
3 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob or 1 bag Wegman's frozen
1 bunch chives, white and green parts chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, leaves only, chopped
1 box cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
2-3 cans of black beans, drained & rinsed
2-3 avocados
5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup lime juice
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne or to taste
Salt and pepper if you choose


Begin the dressing first by adding the garlic to the lime juice in a jar. Add the cumin and cayenne and shake, then allow to rest.

If using frozen chilies, peppers and corn put them in a strainer to thaw and drain.

If roasting the chilies and peppers place them on a baking sheet under the broiler until the skins begin to darken. Cool. Remove stems and seeds and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

If using fresh corn, stand the cobs on end and cut kernels down the cob.

Chop the chives and cilantro. Cut the tomatoes.

Combine chilies, peppers, corn, cilantro, chives and tomatoes in a bowl. Add black beans and mix thoroughly.

Finish the dressing by blending the avocados with the lime mixture. Add to the bowl and fold to combine.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mad Sq. Eats


I had almost forgotten to check out Mad Sq. Eats, it ends May 31st, so go now, but I am so glad that I did. The boy and I went for lunch this past weekend and tried little bites from a bunch of the restaurants including Asiadog, Mexicue, Calexico, and People’s Pops, and everything we tried was delicious. It felt very California of us, but it was such a great way to taste a few different NYC restaurants without a bunch of commitment or money. If you’re in New York City or will be here before May ends, go, go, go.
xx Molly

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dovetail

Gnocchi with fresh spring peas and shaved truffle

Meatless Monday’s is a pretty big thing in New York City, where restaurants offer vegetarian options or tasting menus for Monday dinners. To test out our first one, the boy and I went to Dovetail to continue some of the engagement celebrations, and were really happy we did. The three course plus dessert dinner was boldly flavorful, while also being healthy and just the right amount. Now I can’t wait to try out even more Meatless Monday options.
xx Molly
Lentil and poached carrot salad

The full menu

Friday, May 17, 2013

Flowers for Friday


Just some pretty lilacs from the farmer’s market to bring a little happiness to your Friday. We’ll be attending this vegan expo on Saturday and getting drinks with sweet friends for just a little more celebrating. I hope everyone has a lovely, restful weekend.
xx Molly

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Recently

 
Life lately has been, well, really, really special, as the boy is now not just “the boy” but also my fiancé (I’ve never had one of those before ;). He proposed during a picnic in Central Park - it was sweet, it was special, it was just perfect – and I will cherish the memory forever.
 
xx Molly
 
*our cat Minnie is obsessed with bags and boxes, so she shoved herself into a little paper bag*

*the Housatonic River and a cheese plate from Murray's Cheese Bar that we devoured in minutes*

 *a picnic in Central Park, during which...the boy proposed!!*
 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Sweet Potato Fries, Three Ways


Were you ever in a situation where you had to make a snack quickly? For example you need it for work tomorrow...or today! Here's one I put together that became a big hit with my co-workers and has been requested multiple times. I even made it at work after buying the ingredients during my commute because I forgot the original dish I had prepared at home. Here are three easy, and sometimes  healthy, recipes that use sweet potatoes.

xx Mama and Molly

ONE:
1/2 jar Roasted Garlic Veganaise
2 Chipotle chilies in Adobo sauce, chopped
2 tsp Adobo sauce (or to taste)
1 bag frozen sweet potato fries

Mix the chilies and the sauce in the Veganaise. Cook the sweet potato fries according to the directions on the bag. Plate. And viola! It is magic because it disappears.


TWO:
This photo and recipe are from
My New Roots, a favorite recipe blog of mine:



When you have more time, create a healthier, and from scratch, plate of crispy sweet potato "fries" with a yogurt based Chermoula dip using this recipe.
 
THREE:
These sweet potato fries turn into supper. Combine the "fries" from above with lentils and spinach. This combo was inspired by an appetizer we had at Merge in Buffalo, NY.
 


Sweet Potato Fries with Lentils and Spinach
1 large sweet potato, cut into strips
2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or olive oil
2 Tbsp. corn meal
1 lb fresh spinach
1 cup lentils
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
1 tsp ginger, freshly grated
a pinch each of ground: cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, nutmeg, cinnamon
1 tbsp or to taste Sriracha sauce (Sky Valley by OrganicVille is not chemical laden)
1/4 cup Cheddar style cheese, grated (Daiya or dairy)
Salt and pepper to taste




Half the recipe "Crispy Cornmeal Sweet Potato Fries" from My New Roots blog.

Cook the lentils with bay leaf, lemon grass stalk, 2 tsp garlic and ginger. Drain when tender but not mushy. Gently mix in dry spices and Sriracha sauce.

Sauté remaining chopped garlic in 1 tbsp coconut oil, add spinach and stir until wilted.


Plate the spinach then the lentils. Top with the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with the cheese and briefly heat to melt. You can season with salt and pepper or more Sriracha sauce.

Enjoy your sweet potatoes.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Tulips in the City

J Crew Blazer, Target jeans and bag, Banana Republic Blouse, French Sole flats (similar here)

I love discovering the New York’s tucked away gems. This public garden, which is on 89th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus, was filled to the brim with tulips and oh so beautiful. I can’t wait to visit throughout the spring and summer to see what other beauties are planted there.
xx Molly


Friday, May 10, 2013

Keste Pizzeria


Since moving to NYC, the boy and I have been on the hunt for the best pizza in town. We’ve tried a couple small places near our apartment, Co., $.99 slices (they’re pretty good), even Patsy’s, all with varying degrees of success. And while I’m not sure that we’ve found the best slice just yet, Keste Pizzeria is definitely on our short list. The restaurant is small and intimate, pretty much always packed, with good wine and wood oven, Neapolitan style pizzas. Add its West Village location, which means you can browse through the fun neighborhood while waiting for a table, and you’re all set. We will definitely be going back and I suggest you do too!

xx Molly 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Whiskey Lemonade


While I’m mostly a wine girl, I do enjoy a good cocktail now and again, and I have a feeling these Whiskey Lemonades will be making the rotation regularly this spring and summer. The drink was quick to whip up and a great combination of tart lemon and sweet honey.

xx Molly

Whiskey Lemonade (makes one drink)
1 shot of whiskey (I used Maker’s Mark)
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
Lime bitters
Honey simple syrup (to make, boil equal parts honey and water until honey is disolved)
Lime sparkling water (or club soda)
Ice
  1. Add whiskey and lemon juice to a glass and fill with ice.
  2. Add a few dashes of lime bitters and a couple teaspoons of honey simple syrup, both to taste.
  3. Fill to top with sparkling water.
  4. Stir, garnish with a lemon slice, and enjoy.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Green Cecis with Zucchini and Artichokes in Fresh Sauce


Most times I savor a meal totally from scratch, but be real! I work all day and commute about an hour each way, add the gym or errands - I need quick. I always want healthy, too. Hence, this invention using my summer sauce that I keep frozen in recipe size batches. Since you don't have my summer sauce in your freezer, I'll tell you how to make it. You can scale up the recipe if you want to make more and freeze it yourself. Summer, farm fresh, organic tomatoes are the best.

xx Mama and Molly


Summer Sauce
4 to 6 heirloom tomatoes, cut into chunks
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
A handful of fresh basil, chopped
Pepper and salt to taste

Sauté the garlic in the olive oil until barely golden and very fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook to reduce the liquid. When you think it's about ready add the basil and cook a couple of minutes more. I only use pepper, but my husband adds salt to taste in the finished dish.

Green Ceci’s with Zucchini and Artichoke in Fresh Sauce

2 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
2 bags of green garbanzo beans (also known as ceci's or chickpeas, I get mine at Wegman’s, you can use shelled edamame if you can't find the green ceci's,)
1 bag of frozen artichoke hearts
1/2 cup vegetable broth (I use one cube of "Rapunzel Vegan Vegetable Broth, No Salt Added" to 1/2 of water when I don't have my own)

While the sauce is reducing, if you're making the sauce from scratch or first thing if you're using jarred or frozen sauce, sauté the zucchini in the broth until it begins to become tender but is still firm. Add the artichoke hearts and the sauce (the frozen chunks are ok) and cook until it begins to boil. Add the frozen beans and once it begins to boil it's done. All of the veggies should be firm, not mushy.

Serve it with whole wheat breadsticks and take your time eating because it was quick to prepare.