Sexy side dishes

Bonjour mes amis!  Well, I have already broken the rules I set for myself at the onset, which was to make a new post every single week.  I missed last week’s post, but in my defense… I received a promotion at my job!  This coincidentally resulted in the most busy work week to date.  I am so happy to be moving up in my company, but now back to my routine – all Julia all the time (or at least once a week).

I realized about two weeks ago that I don’t know much about Julia other than what I’ve seen in the movie, and I’m not too sure how accurate that story is.  So, to educate myself, I ordered two books off Amazon; an autobiography that Julia wrote about herself, and a biography that someone else wrote.  I’m sure lots of the information will overlap, but I feel that if I’m going to be spending 3 years cooking this lovely heroine’s recipes, I should at least learn somethings about her life.  I’ll let you know more as soon as I delve deeper into the books, but so far I can say that the beginning of Julie and Julia is extremely true to life in the way Julia describes her first days in Paris, right down to the sole meunière that Julia orders at the very first French restaurant she eats at when they arrive.  The entire meal was so perfect that she said she compared every dish that she ever encountered in the future to that first meal.  Sigh, so romantic…

Eeeeeeew, poor fish!

In other news, Steve had a birthday last week!  We had a birthday barbecue for him today at our house, and a beer tasting as well – we asked everyone to bring their favorite beers, and we all tasted each selection.  It was delightful!   San Diego is the premiere craft beer city in the U.S., so we have a lot to choose from here.  I brought one of each flavor of Julian Hard Cider – it’s local, and it’s my favorite.  Try sooooommmeeee.

Alrighty, onto the cooking for this week!  I am breaking my own rules a little, and am including one Julia recipe, and one of my friend’s recipes.  It may not be Julia’s, but it’s delightful, and you gotta support your fellow foodie bloggers, right!?

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The menu for this week:

  • Bouchées paramentier au fromage (Potato cheese sticks [hors d’oeurvres])
  • Sriracha-lime summer orzo salad (courtesy of my friend Shehryar over at Food Mischief)

 

Both of these dishes are delightful side dishes that will impress at any party.  And they’re both fairly quick and simple to make!  Let’s start with Julia.  Ladies first!

 

Bouchées paramentier au fromage  (VEGAN)

The fun thing about these is that you can shape them however you want!  It’s basically potato flour dough that you bake into little bites.  They could be tiny bites, or they could be long sticks.  You could even make snowmen at Christmas!  Whatever you want.

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1/2 lb baking potatoes (about two medium potatoes)
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 4 ounces Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1/3 cup silken tofu, pureéd
  • 1/3 heaping cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Lightly buttered (a.k.a. Earth Balanced) baking sheet
  • Stock pot and salt
  • Medium heavy bottomed sauce pan

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Peel and quarter the potatoes.

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2.  Bring a stock pot half full of water to boil, and add a few dashes of salt.

3.  Boil the potatoes until tender.  Drain and mash.

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4.  Stir the potatoes by themselves in the sauce pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until a light film forms on the bottom of the pan.

5.  Stir the flour into the potatoes.

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6.  Add the butter and stir thoroughly

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7.  Stir in tofu, nutritional yeast, pepper, and cayenne.

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8.  Remove from heat.  You will be left with a soft dough.

9.  Shape dough into small bite sized pieces, or short sticks, whatever strikes your fancy.

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10.  Place in buttered baking pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until pieces are lightly browned.

11.  Serve warm with any dipping sauce that would pair well with cheesy potato cheesy flavor.  They’re so yummy!

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Alrighty, the next recipe is not a Julia recipe, but it turned out so well, and I wanted to give a shout out to my friend and fellow foodie blogger Shehryar over at Food Mischief.  He and I are sort of co-workers.  His company processes payments for my company, so we get to chat a lot.  And we both love our jobs (and food of course).  We were fast friends.

 

Sriracha Lime Summer Orzo Salad (VEGAN!)

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As I mentioned, this recipe was featured on the official Sriracha Cookbook blog!  So fancy.  It is perfect for the warm weather coming up, and has so many of my favorite flavors.  The original recipe called for chicken broth, but he even says on the original entry that veggie broth was a fine substitute.  I’m glad he won’t be upset with me for changing it 😉

Now, I also changed the vegetable ratios to my liking, and I’m sure he’d be alright with that too.  That’s the great thing about salads!  It’s kind of like the  “fuck it, just make it up as you go” meal, but with some guidelines that keep you from going too crazy.  Maybe that’s why I like salads so much, because that’s sort of my life philosophy too…

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 cup dry orzo
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 15 oz. canned black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 2/3 cup frozen roasted corn
  • 3/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 12 cherry tomatoes 
  • 1 pound zucchini, quartered into spears
  • 3 small sweet peppers (or use 1 small red bell pepper, de-seeded)
  • 2 small semi-firm avocados, diced
  • 5 tbsp. lime juice, fresh squeezed (about 3 limes)
  • 2 tbsp. sriracha sauce (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

1.  Bring the vegetable broth to a boil and cook the orzo to the instructions on the package.

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2.  In the last 2 minutes of the orzo’s cooking time, add in the corn.

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3.  Drain the orzo and corn, and cool under running water to stop the cooking.

4.  Transfer into a mixing bowl.

5.  Add in beans, onion, lime juice, sriracha, salt, and pepper.

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6.  Rub zucchini, peppers, tomatoes in olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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7.  If you have a grill, grill the veggies until they are nicely charred.  If you don’t have one, roast them in the oven like I did – it just took a little while longer.  I set it to 450 degrees.

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8.  Cool the roasted/grilled veggies in the freezer for 10 minutes so that they are easier to handle.  Chop them up and toss them in the mixing bowl.

9.  Dice your avocados and mix them in gently so that they don’t become mush.

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10.  Serve immediately, or chill for later!

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Notes on this recipe:  I personally feel it could have used 2-3 more tablespoons of sriracha, but I like things spicy.  As is, it was still good, the sriracha was just more subtle.  I also would have added a bit more red onion, and maybe some green onion as well?  It seems like the type of recipe you can play around with – have fun!  And check out Shehryar’s blog when you get a chance, he has some yummy looking recipes over there.

I hope you liked this week’s post!  I’m sorry it was a week late, but lots was happening at the job – such an exciting time in my life!  I’m happy to be sharing it with you.  Have a beautiful week, and I’ll see you in a few days ❤

 

BONUS PHOTOS:

My little typing buddy
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Steve’s birthday cake that I made
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My buddy Isaac grilling at Steve’s party.  They were making fun of my tofu steaks 😛
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Homemade fake meat, wha whaaaat!

Happy Sunday my lovelies!  I hope you’re having an excellent weekend so far.  I just came off a 12 day no caffeine or alcohol challenge, so I am feeling absolutely excellent.  It wasn’t as hard as one might think!  I would recommend trying it someday.

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That photo sums up how I felt after, but it’s not me.  I included it because I have fallen in love with this girl’s yoga videos on YouTube, she has classes for every occasion!  Plus, she’s super positive and fun to watch.  Check her videos out here.  ❤

This week on the blog, I made two Julia recipes, and one Isa Chandra recipe, which turned out to be the most fun, and set up the flavor for the entire Julia dish.  Let’s get right to it this week!

THE MENU:

  • Poulet au Porto (Roast chicken steeped with wine, cream, and mushrooms)
  • Pommes de Terre à L’Huile (French potato salad – sliced potatoes in oil and vinegar dressing)
  • Homemade seitan (wheat meat)

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All credit and props go to Isa Chandra for the seitan recipe.  You can view the original recipe here.  I cooked the seitan to use in place of the chicken and it was amaaaaziiiiinnngg.  There is something really exciting about making homemade versions of things you’ve only ever bought in the store – you’re like… why do I waste money on this again?  

Aaaaalrighty, onto the recipes!

 

Pommes de Terre à L’Huile  VEGAN!

This was another magical already vegan Julia Child recipe – magic!  Well, it does call for “stock” and I’m SURE she meant meat stock, but I chose to ignore that of course.  It’s light and quite delicious.  A perfect addition to a picnic, or summer meal. 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 lbs russet potatoes
  • Stock pot
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • 4 TBSP dry white wine
  • 2 TBSP vegetable stock
  • 2 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Small bowl
  • Whisk
  • 6 TBSP olive oil (or any other salad oil)
  • Pepper
  • 1 sliced green onion

 

1.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

2.  Drop potatoes in and boil until potatoes are just tender when pierced.  Drain and cool.

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3.  When they’re cool enough to handle (but still warm), peel potatoes and cut them into circle slices, about 1/4 inch thick.  Place slices in mixing bowl.

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4.  Pour wine and stock over the warm potatoes.  Set aside for a few moments so that the potatoes can absorb the liquid.

4.  While this is happening, beat the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and salt in small bowl until salt is dissolved.

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5.  Whisk oil into vinegar mixture steadily.  Season to taste.

6.  Stir in green onions.

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7.  Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss.  Serve warm, or chilled.

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Voilà!  So easy, so yummy.  Nice one, Julia.

 

Homemade Seitan VEGAN!  (wheat meat)

If you’re not familiar with seitan, you may actually be and not know it.  You have most likely had or seen it in an Asian restaurant as “mock duck”.  It’s really delicious when cooked right, and can be as versatile as tofu.  You can get it packaged in most stores, but making your own is a #gamechanger.  I’m so happy I decided to try.  It’s actually really easy!  I’ll walk you through Isa’s recipe here.

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Stock pot
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Small mixing bowl

 

1.  Fill a stock pot with water, 4 cups broth and 1/4 cup soy sauce.  Cover, and bring to a boil.

2.   Mix gluten and nutritional yeast in mixing bowl.

3.  In small mixing bowl, mix 1/2 cup broth, 1/4 cup soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic.

4.  Pour the wet into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until the moisture has been absorbed, and a clump has formed.  It will be springy already!

5.  Use your hands and knead until it’s an elastic dough, about 3 minutes.

6.  Divide into 3 equal pieces, and knead a bit longer.

7.  When the water has come to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer.

8.  Add gluten balls into the water and partially cover the post so that steam can escape.  Let simmer for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.

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9.  Turn the heat off, take the lid off, and let sit in broth for 15 minutes.

10.  Remove from broth, place in a strainer until it’s cool enough to handle.  Slice into strips to use in other recipes!  (Such as this next one…)

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Poulet au Porto VEGAN! (“Chicken” steeped with wine, cream, and mushrooms)

If it wasn’t apparent, you’re meant to use your homemade seitan in place of the chicken in this recipe!  I also wanted to keep this recipe vegan, so in place of the whipping cream I used coconut milk!  BOOM!  There is this whole process at the end that I skipped to save you (and I) the trouble, but it sounded pretty cool.  Something about lighting the congac on fire…

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 batch prepared seitan (made from recipe above)
  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • Large saucepan
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 TBSP Earth Balance Vegan Butter
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 TBSP arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) with 1 TBSP coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/3 c red wine
  • The mushroom cooking liquid
  • Drops of lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP Earth Balance Vegan Butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cognac

 

1.  Bring the 1/4 cup water to a boil in the saucepan with the 1/2 TBSP Earth Balance, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp salt.

2.  Toss in the quartered mushrooms, cover, and boil slowly for 8 minutes.

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3.  Pour out cooking liquid and set aside.

4.  Pour the cream and arrowroot/cornstarch mixture into mushrooms.  Simmer for 2 minutes and correct seasoning.  Set aside.

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5.  Lightly brown the seitan slices in Earth Balance in a medium sauce pan.  Remove and set aside.

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6.  Add shallots and cook for 1 minute in leftover cooking liquid.

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7.  Add the wine and mushroom juice and boil down rapidly, until the liquid has reduced to 1/4 cup.

8.  Add the mushrooms and cream, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Correct seasoning and add lemon juice to taste.

9.  Add in seitan slices and simmer for 10 minutes until the flavors meld together.

10.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

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And there you go!  Julia says of pairing this dish, “Nothing should interfere with these special flavors.  It would be best to serve only potatoes sauteed in butter, or a perfectly seasoned risotto.”  I think the potato salad would do just fine 🙂

Let me hear your thoughts, I hope you’ll try some of these recipes out!  Thank you so much for reading ❤

 

BONUS PHOTO:

This life changing garlic mincer from Sur La Table.  If you hate mincing garlic like me, IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.  6 bucks, yo.

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Steve and puppy 🙂

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Umm…  congac?

 

 

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Hahaha.  Bon appetit!