Friday, May 18, 2012
Please forgive my absence. I have truly missed cooking and blogging but my schedule right now with the baby is tough, to say the least. It's hard to find foodie inspiration when you are exhausted all the time, and don't have time to cook even when you want to. I didn't expect it to be easy, but new motherhood is a hell of a lot harder than I even expected. Which is not to say that it is without its blissful moments, because there are many, but it's hard. We're slowly creeping towards something resembling a routine, but most days dinner involves heating up something fast and easy. Hopefully fresh. Often not. I'm not proud of it, but right now food has gone from something creative to merely fuel to get me through the day. If I want to cook something more complicated, I generally need to start in the morning and do steps throughout the day when I have a chance, in order to finally eat around 8pm, before collapsing into bed and praying that the baby lets me get at least a few uninterrupted hours of sleep...
I have made a concerted effort to try out some recipes from Chloe Coscarelli's new cookbook, Chloe's Kitchen. She made all us vegans proud when she won Cupcake Wars, but even before then I was a huge fan of her website and blog. Her recipes are all winning, scoring huge points in taste and also ease for a busy home cook.
One of my favorite recipes is her super easy to make Avocado Pesto Pasta, which is also included in her book, and she has several more easy to make pasta recipes that are equally fresh, healthy, and delicious, like this Orecchiette in No-Cook Spinach Sauce. It couldn't be easier to make. I just tossed some frozen peas and green beans in with the boiling pasta water, and the sauce was near-instant and made great use of my new Vitamix. It's simply a bunch of baby spinach, garlic, olive oil, water, a little lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Tossed with the warm pasta, it was simple and bursting with fresh, clean flavor.
Another dish I enjoyed was the Mongolian BBQ Seitan, another easy dish that was completely packed with flavor. The seitan, shiitake mushrooms, and snow peas were seasoned with fresh ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, and it all came together effortlessly with a sweet, spicy, tangy sauce made of hoisin, soy, agave, lemon juice, and chili-garlic sauce. Delicious.
And while I haven't had time yet to try making Chloe's award winning cupcakes, I did try out this BBQ Pineapple Pizza. Topped with BBQ baked tofu, caramelized onions, pineapple, and cilantro, this pizza was just bursting with zesty flavors and totally satisfying. It involved a few more steps than the typical recipe in Chloe's book, but this hearty and original pizza was worth the extra effort. I cheated and used a store-bought crust, as well as store-bought bbq sauce. You can make your own if you want, but I'm tired.
There are many more recipes flagged in Chloe's book that I want to try when I have a bit more time, like the aforementioned award-winning cupcakes, molten lava cakes, and Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls. I've loved every recipe of hers that I've tried, and I think you will too!