baba ganoush eggplant dip

Baba Ganoush (Eggplant Dip)

I have never made Baba Ganoush in my life prior to the day I made it for this recipe. It’s a dip, admittedly, I don’t have to often – I am a roasted garlic hummus lover, through and through – but a sale on Italian eggplants at my local CTown sparked a desire within me to give it a try. Plus, I got a new bottle of tahini that I was itching to break into.

baba ganoush eggplant dip

I do have to laugh: On the day I made it, I commented to someone I know that I was diving in deep for my first attempt at making it, my enthusiasm cautiously shining. They give me a response, complete with a bit of an eye roll, that threw me off: “Baba Ganoush? That…that is so hard to make right. It always turns out wrong. Good luck with that…” Dumbfounded, with a crestfallen face, I peeled the skin from the meat of my freshly roasted eggplant slices, put it into my food processor with a fresh squeeze of lemon, some tahini, and a lot of raw garlic, and pulsed away. For a moment, I may have lost my confidence.

Boy oh boy, I found that confidence again once I took a bite of it! It was some of the best baba ganoush I’ve had, and I’m not just trying to toot my own horn here. The eggplant was perfectly roasted – not too much and not too little, with just the slightest hint of a char – which I believe resulted in that perfect flavor.

baba ganoush eggplant dip

Still not quite sure why that person decided to be less than encouraging, but maybe I should text her and tell her to have some faith. It’s so easy to make, and it’s easy to make correctly while bursting with flavor. 😉

Baba Ganoush
(Adapted from the Epicurious recipe for Eggplant Dip [Baba Ganoush])
(Makes roughly 2 cups)

– 2 medium eggplants, sliced to roughly 1/8″ slices (you can purple or Italian)
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/3 cup tahini (I used Brad’s Organic Sesame Tahini)
– 2 – 3 cloves garlic, peeled
– Juice of one lemon
– Salt and pepper, to taste.

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2.) Place eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil then toss to coat slices evenly. Lay slices flat on sheet; some may slightly overlap, and that is okay. Roast the eggplant for 15 to 20 minutes; the skins should be crisp and interiors should be tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

3.) Peel and seed the cooled eggplant, roughly chop the flesh, and then transfer it to the bowl of a food processor.

4.) Into the processor bowl add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, some salt and pepper to taste, and a few teaspoons of cold water. Process the mixture to a coarse paste, adding a bit more water as needed to allow the mixture to blend.

5.) Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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dirty chai chia pudding kohana coffee

Dirty Chai Chia Pudding

I am not a coffee drinker. This revelation is usually met with a variety of reactions, including but not limited to shock and disgust. I live in NYC, surrounded by lovers of drips, cold brews, and Chemex brewers. As a supertaster, I find the taste of it as a straight beverage to be too bitter, and as an anxious person, I find the high amounts of caffeine – especially in cold brews – send my heart racing like a hamster on a wheel. It’s pretty much a lose – lose situation for me.

HOWEVER…I love coffee in things! Coffee ice cream, chocolate-covered coffee beans (go figure!), coffee milkshakes, you name it!

dirty chai chia pudding kohana coffee

In an effort to test the bounds of my coffee consumption while making a relatively nutrient-dense breakfast, I came up with this little number. While a dirty chai typically uses espresso in its mix, I’m flexing my favorite muscle: creative license. Ha! I used Kohana Coffee Cold Brew Concentrate to create this special recipe, and I have to say, I am impressed! The coffee mixed with the milk mellows it out a bit, though the flavor still shines. The chai tea and the cinnamon add a spice that plays off of the coffee flavor beautifully. Plus, do I have to get into how good chia seeds are for you? Google it if you don’t know, I feel like it’s almost common knowledge at this point. 😉

dirty chai chia pudding kohana coffee

NOTE: This recipe was entered into Kohana Coffee’s recipe contest! Please click this link to find my recipe and vote for it before April 15th, 2017! Thanks in advance for your support!

Dirty Chai Chia Pudding
(Makes 3 – 4 servings, roughly 16 ounces in total)

Ingredients:

– 6 tablespoons chia seeds
– 1 cup milk of choice (dairy or plant-based)
– 1 – 2 chai tea bags
– 1/2 cup Kohana Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
– 1/2 cup cold water
– 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

Directions:

1.) Place chia seeds in a large bowl and set aside. Over medium heat, bring milk to a slow simmer; it should not be brought to a boil. Turn off heat, add tea bag(s), and allow tea bag to steep for 5 minutes. Use a spoon to press on the tea bag(s), if desired, to release more of the tea. Allow milk and tea mixture to cool down for 10 minutes.

2.) Add milk tea mixture, Kohana Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate, and water to chia seeds and gently whisk until thoroughly combined. Add ground cinnamon, vanilla, and honey or maple syrup and whisk again until combined. The mixture should start to thicken by this point.

3.) Place plastic wrap over bowl and place in fridge for no less than 3 hours. Remove from fridge and stir to unify the consistency of the chia pudding. Serve immediately or return to fridge until you’re ready to consume it! This pudding, refrigerated as directed, will remain fresh for up to five days.

Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas with Savory Yogurt

Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas with Savory Yogurt

As my tastes have grown over the years, I have, at long last, because a yogurt fan. Well, to some degree.

Growing up, the soupiness and saccharine sweetness of so many brands of yogurt – Yoplait and Dannon come to mind – completely turned me off. Scooping a tart and sour liquid goo into my mouth made my stomach turn; how so many of my friends love those GoGurt sticks in my youth is beyond me. As I got older, I started to turn towards Greek yogurt; though I could never get into the tartness mixed with fruit, I still enjoyed the creamier texture mixed with savory things, such as dill, garlic, or cucumber. I became a fast lover of making cucumber and tomato salads tossed with plain Greek yogurt, or I could whip some spices into a few spoonfuls and top my baked chicken with it.

Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas with Savory Yogurt

Eventually, I did discover the joy of eating fruit and yogurt together, thanks to Siggi’s. (I fell so hard in love that I am a Siggi’s Ambassador!) Their Strawberry & Rhubarb and Mango containers keep me full most work day mornings now. Still, it’s savory yogurt that has truly won my heart in the end. Luckily, Siggi’s also makes an excellent plain skyr (an Icelandic yogurt) that I use quite often. Where others top their yogurt with strawberries and granola, I opt for my roasted cinnamon chickpeas and a sprinkling of cumin and garlic powder.

Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas with Savory Yogurt

Wow, reading back, I see that I focused on the yogurt a lot. Ha! Well, I have posted this chickpea recipe within an older recipe, and I wanted to bring more focus to it. Whether to top this savory yogurt with them or keep them in a baggie to snack on during the day, these chickpeas are amazing, a new favorite snack!

Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas with Savory Yogurt

Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas with Savory Yogurt
(Yields roughly 2 cups chickpeas; yields 1 cup yogurt)

Ingredients:

Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas:

– 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry (as best as possible)
– 2 tablespoons coconut oil (can substitute other vegetable oil)
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 1 generous shake ground cumin

Savory Yogurt:

– 1 cup plain skyr (I suggest Siggi’s, but of course!) or plain Greek yogurt
– 1 teaspoon cumin
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon olive oil
– Salt, to taste

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400 °F. If using coconut oil, melt in the microwave or on the stovetop and set aside.

2.) Place chickpeas on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with coconut oil, and sprinkle with cinnamon and cumin. Toss with hands until all chickpeas are uniformly coated. Spread evenly across baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for 25 minutes; check chickpeas and shake baking sheet at 15 minute mark to ensure even cooking.

3.) While chickpeas are roasting, combine skyr or Greek yogurt with cumin, garlic powder, and olive oil in a small bowl. Add salt to taste.

4.) Remove chickpeas from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Top yogurt mixture with roasted chickpeas. EAT.

Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas with Savory Yogurt

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

I am odd when it comes to citrus fruits: I love the flavors, but if it comes to eating one in its whole form, such as orange slices, I am completely turned off. The texture is wholly unappealing, like eating little fleshy juice pods enveloped in a flimsy waxy membrane. I can’t. I just can’t. However, if I smash and grind that orange’s flesh and release its juices into a glass, I can’t get enough! I enjoy adding elements of citrus into a fair share of my meals, be it laying lemon slices beneath my baked chicken breasts or folding lime zest into a bowl of whipped cream.

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

On a chilly Saturday with a light snow in the forecast, I was feeling cozy and ready to bake. After an eventful morning of going to the gym and…well…scrolling through the Explore tab on Instagram, my eyes were instantly drawn to ruby red triangles atop something surely delicious. I clicked the photo to enlarge it. “VEGAN OLIVE OIL AND BLOOD ORANGE MUFFINS”, I read in striking caps locked letters. I love blood oranges! Their color is so warm, impossible to draw my eyes away from. I said, “That’s it! That’s what I’m going to bake!” As I walked into CTown, the section usually full of autumn squashes had been replaced with grapefruits and oranges of all sizes. I excitedly walked towards them, my face falling when I realized that none of the oranges were of the blood variety! *sigh* I cracked my knuckles and twisted my mouth to express disappointment, but, a navel orange was better than no orange. I bought two large ones and headed home, eager to bake and improvise.

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

Upon arrival home, I quickly I remembered that I didn’t have a muffin pan, either. In my head, I recalled a roommate once saying to me, months ago, “I have one! I put it in the cupboard!” I looked and came up empty-handed. While my first inclination was to grab a small baking dish, there was my trusty donut pan, beckoning me to fill it up with some fresh batter.

I could not resist the call.

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

I have followed other vegan donut recipes in the past, such as Giselle’s bomb Vegan Baked Golden Milk Donuts (with my almost-vegan adaptation right here). I thought to myself, “Well…either this recipe will work, as is, as a donut…or it won’t. Let’s do this!” Indeed, I did it, and with very few tweaks, the end result was pretty damn delicious! What I pulled from my oven was a baked donut akin to cornbread with a citrusy essence. The polenta certainly provides a slightly crunchy interior; I baked the first batch of donuts immediately after making the batter, and I baked the second batch after I had let the better sit for almost 45 minutes. I’ve decided that letting it sit provides more time for the corn to soften; I could tell a distinct difference between the two batches of donuts. While both were great, I would opt for the slightly marinated corn kernel grounds.

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

Totally healthy, you guys. Totally. Eat the whole dozen with abandon!

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts
(Makes 12 donuts)
(Recipe adapted from Recipes From A Pantry’s recipe for Vegan Olive Oil & Blood Orange Muffins)

Ingredients:

Donuts:

– 1 cup polenta, preferably coarse (I used Bob’s Red Mill Polenta)
– 1 cup flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used Malk Organics Unsweetened Almond Malk)
– 1/2 cup orange juice, fresh-squeezed (I used a large navel orange)
– 1/3 cup olive oil (or another vegetable oil may be substituted here)
– 1/3 cup sugar (I used Sugar In The Raw)

Orange Glaze:

– 1 teaspoon orange zest
– 6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
– 2 tablespoons orange juice; fresh-squeezed

Before We Get Started…

– If you have a six cavity donut pan (which is the usual capacity for your average donut pan), be sure to clean out and re-grease the cavities before baking your second batch of donuts; this recipe, if followed properly, makes exactly twelve donuts.

– The glaze mixture will look thin, and that is okay! The goal is not to glaze the donuts in a traditional sense; once dipped, the donuts will have a slight sheen and the remainder of the glaze will absorb into the donuts.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the inside of the donut pan’s cavities. Set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, combine the polenta, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

3.) In a medium bowl, whisk milk, orange juice, olive oil, and sugar until thoroughly combined.

4.) Pour the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 30 – 45 minutes.

5.) Transfer mixture to a pastry bag or a gallon-sized seal-top plastic bag; if using plastic bag, cut off small corner to pipe out mixture. Evenly pipe mixture into cavities of donut pan until filled. NOTE: If you prefer not to pipe, you can carefully spoon mixture into the cavities until filled.

6.) Place in oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place pan on cooling rack for 20 minutes; carefully remove donuts from pan and allow to continue cooling on cooling rack. As mentioned in Before We Get Started..., clean and re-grease cavities to make remaining donuts; repeat directions in this step for remaining donuts.

7.) In a medium to large bowl, mix all ingredients until combined. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet or other easily washable surface to catch any glaze runoff. Gently dip the tops of the donuts into the glaze, carefully turn over, and place the unglazed side on the wire rack. Repeat until all donuts are glazed.

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

sweet potato toasts sweet savory

Sweet Potato Toast, Two Ways – Sweet & Savory

If there is one thing I’m good at, it’s piggy backing on food trends that peaked a few months prior.

Hey, have y’all heard of this stuff called chia seed pudding?!

*snort*

In all seriousness (or, at least I’ll try my best to be serious), I read about the new sweet potato toast trend over the summer, and I viewed it with a bit of skepticism. I love smashing avocado onto a nice piece of toast as much as the next Millennial woman, but now we’re using vegetables as toast? I thought the vegetable – cum – bread substitute trend would have stopped at using stiff leafy greens in place of hamburger buns. Still, over the months, I scrolled, perused, and Googled many different sweet potato toast recipes, and my curiosity was getting the best of me. On a sick day home from work last week (that pesky cold floating around NYC since September finally met my nasopharynx!), I decided to take a sweet potato out of my fridge and experiment with items from my pantry.

sweet potato toasts sweet savory

Many recipes I read about sweet potato toast called for a toaster, alas, all I have are an oven and a toaster oven. I didn’t feel like turning on my oven to overheat my tiny Manhattan abode, I opted for the toaster oven. Boy oh boy, was that a bit of trial and error. Haaa. It almost made me wish I had just turned on the damn oven! However, I got my ish together eventually. After I produced two solid yet pliable pieces of sweet potato, I pondering toppings. I just went for broke and experimented with four different options! Once again, trial and error, trial and error. So. Much. Trial. And. Error.

img_8095

Ladies and gentlemen, I share with you the two sweet potato toasts that eventually won over my heart and my stomach.

img_9846

Sweet Potato Toasts, Two Ways – Sweet & Savory
(Makes 2 Slices)

Ingredients:

– 1 slice sweet potato, cut length-wise, into carefully measured 1/4″ slices

Sweet Sweet Potato Toast (Too redundant?):

– 1 heaping tablespoon nut butter of choice (I used The Peanut Butter & Co. Bee’s Knees peanut butter in these photos)
– 1 half apple, sliced (I used a Macintosh)
– Sprinkle of cinnamon

Savory Sweet Potato Toast:

– 1 heaping tablespoon hummus (I used Tribe’s Rosemary Focaccia Hummus)
– 1 7-minute boiled egg (See #3 in Directions for boiling instructions)
– Sprinkle of dill, dried or fresh

Before We Get Started…

– One sweet potato will likely yield 4 – 6 good pieces of “toast”, depending on the length and girth of it. Though I feel this goes without saying, I’ll say it: You can definitely make more than two servings with whatever you slice, and you can also use / store any extra unused sweet potato slices you may have.

– Attempt to cut the slices as evenly as possible while maintaining a 1/4″ inch thickness. If they are too thin, they’ll cook too fast. If they are too thick, they’ll take too long to cook and will be a bit too fibrous to chew.

– I have only tested these recipes using a toaster oven. Any other cooking experimentation is up to you!

Directions:

1.) To cook the sweet potato slices, arrange on a toaster oven-safe tray and place in toaster oven. Set oven to its highest toasting setting and cook. This should take at least 15 minutes, involving many individual rounds of toasting. (At its highest setting, my oven will toast food for 5 minutes; 5 minute rounds x 3 rounds = 15 minutes.) Be sure to check your slices after reach round of toasting to make sure it’s soft enough in the middle but sturdy enough to hold the weight of its toppings.

2.) For the Sweet Sweet Potato Toast: Spread peanut butter on slice until it is covered. Lay apple slices on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

sweet potato toasts sweet savory

3.) For the Savory Sweet Potato Toast: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Once boiling, add 1 egg and time for precisely 7 minutes. While egg is boiling, spread hummus on slice until it is covered. Remove egg from water once it’s done, peel, and halve. Place on top of hummus and sprinkle with dill.

sweet potato toasts sweet savory

4.) Devour that savory piece while the yolk is still runny and delicious! The sweet slice will make a lovely dessert. 🙂

sweet potato toasts sweet savory