Sunday, July 21, 2013

weekend cooking :: dessert first [2 new recipes]

strawberries and lime

My weekdays are so busy now, that during the weekend, I tend to spend a lot of time embarking on cooking binges in my kitchen.

 organic CSA share
This week's organic CSA provided me with plenty of culinary inspiration. 
The word "binge" has negative connotations. But my cooking extravaganzas are actually productive, healthy ventures, for several reasons:
  • Puttering around in the kitchen relaxes me. I usually sip wine, put on music or catch up on the news as I dance about my kitchen. The impish kitties usually scamper underfoot, doing something to make me laugh – or trip. Cooking is like play time for me.
  • Weekend cooking makes weekday living easier. I end up taking a lot of the things I make for lunch during the work week. Or I'll eat the leftovers for weeknight dinners. 
  • If I don't use it, I will lose it. Getting my biweekly CSA share means my fridge is continually overflowing with organic goodies that need to be transformed into mass quantities of food. There's nothing more inspiring – or anxiety-inducing – than the thought of this gorgeous, kinda' costly produce spoiling.
  • I'm always hungry. Since I'm training for a marathon, I'm running more miles than ever. [Ran a 17-miler this morning.] Consequently, this means that I am continually famished. So seriously, I cannot have enough food around. It may as well be healthy, home-prepared food, right?
tian from clotilde dusolier's French Market Cookbook
This weekend, I created two new recipes and made a few things from other folk's books. To use up my CSA zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant. I made the Tian from Clotilde Dusolier's The French Market Cookbook [Mais oui papillons, a French vegetarian cookbook – très vegan friendly.] This dish is easy but requires 1.5 hours in the oven, which I made – mops brow – in the midst of the heatwave. But the result is worth the slow roast: silky and sultry as a hot July evening. I am using the veggies for wraps, over salads and tossed with pasta.

Hot Fudge on the Bottom Cake from Chloe Coscarelli's Chloe's Vegan Desserts
I am also in the midst of reviewing some cookbooks, including Chloe Coscarelli's Chloe's Vegan Desserts [of "Cupcake Wars" fame]. Today, I made Chloe's Hot Fudge on the Bottom Cake. I don't want to give anything away, but wait 'til you see the sliced photos in my review. If you like chocolate lava cake, this will become your new addiction.

dirty dishes
The only downside of cooking binges? Messy clean up. Thank goodness for dishwashers....
As for my own new inventions, I have two new recipes to share: Easy Strawberry Pudding and Smoky Green Bean Quinoa with Toasted Almonds. Tonight, we'll eat dessert first...

Easy Strawberry Pudding

easy vegan strawberry pudding
A plant-based strawberry pudding you can make in 10 minutes

On Friday, Whole Foods had a rare sale on organic strawberries – $1.99 a quart. I bought 4 containers. I inhaled two of them raw almost immediately, but hated the idea of using the rest of these succulent, fresh berries in a baked dish. So I came up with this simple strawberry pudding. I added a pinch of xanthan gum to help it thicken up, But you could also substitute a tablespoon or so of cornstarch or even some chia seeds.


  • 1 quart strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 cup vegan confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 12.3 firm silken tofu in aseptic container [Do not use dairy-aisle tofu--too grainy for this recipe]
  • 1/4 tsp salt or more, to taste
  • Pinch xanthan gum
  • Zest of one lime – about 1 T [Substitute lemon or orange]. Reserve some for garnish
Serves 4-6

Whiz the berrtes into a juice in the food processor or blender. Add sugar and vanilla. Mix again until smooth. Add everything except the zest and process until creamy. Stir in zest. Transfer to bowls, glasses or ramekins and chill for a few hours before serving.

Smoky Green Bean Quinoa with Toasted Almonds

This filling quinoa side is bathed in smoky flavor thanks to the tahini and Smoked Spanish Paprika – with a little help from their earthy friend, cumin. If you prefer a thinner dressing, just add a bit more water. The toasted almonds add a nice bit of crunch.
Vegan Smoky Green Bean Quinoa with Toasted Almonds
Quinoa, tahini, and fresh, steamed green beans in a smoky dressing. High in protein, too.


  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups of trimmed green beans cut into 1/2-inch pieces [Steam til tender crisp – about 8 minutes]
  • 3 T tahini
  • 2 T champagne vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2-3 T water
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 cup toasted almond slivers
Serves 6 as a side

Bring the broth to a boil in a medium pot. Add the quinoa and lower to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, tightly covered, until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside until cool.

Meanwhile, steam the green beans, and mix all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl. When quinoa is cool, toss with dressing and top with almonds, Serve warm, cool or room temperature. It's also a great green salad topper.

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Catherine said...

I, too, participate in cooking "binges" on the weekends -- I get home at 7:30 most nights, (sometimes a little later,) and that's just too late to start cooking dinner!

Andrea said...

I can't believe I missed the strawberry sale — I think I might have inhaled all four quarts.

Have you tried Chloe's chewy ginger-molasses cookies? I've made them so many times, always with fab results. I think they're now my favorite cookie. I made them when I reviewed her book, along with chocolate cream pie. Can't wait to see what you make!

Joey said...

Yep, weekend cooker here too - it's the only time I can spend *ages* over a recipe without getting distracted or falling asleep in the middle of it!

Chloe's book is on my maybe I will buy this list, so I'll be keeping an eye out to see how it goes!

Anonymous said...

I went on a cooking binge this past weekend, too. Is relaxing and makes packing lunches during the week a lot less stressful in the mornings.

Anonymous said...

2 great & appetizing recipes! I love your strawbery pudding! It is nearly like my strawberry pudding recipe. here is the link, if you want to read it!

Abigail Gonzalez said...

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