Falafel

So this is my friend’s tomato plant that we had all deemed beyond help- calls were made to my mom and grandparents, it was official, the plant was dead.  Fast forward a month: I just ate that cracked red tomato in a salad

and that green tomato in the picture is now almost completely red, with three other green baby tomatoes soon to be ready for the picking. Gotta love those Amish plants- they’re survivors.

Its no secret here that I love falafel.  I could recite a monologue on Amsterdam Falafel in DC, and I’ve posted two other recipes on the blog aside from the one I made last week.  It’s an obsession getting dangerously close to my granola one.

It’s just so simple to make!  I use canned chickpeas and mash them up with a fork.  All thats left is to throw in some herbs and lemon juice, mix it up and you have falafel, my friends.

This time around, instead of stuffing the falafel into a pitas, the traditional way, I decided to go the salad route. I scored some delicious figs from Whole Foods and diced those up with some basic salad goodies and, of course, a home grown tomato.  Add some fresh cracked pepper with vinegar et voila!  Lunch :)

I highly recommend it.

Blueberry Jam

I would like to start this post by saying that I have always been intimidated by people who either a.] can things or b.] make their own jam/preserves.  They’re intense.

Now, I am one of them…sort of.

I cheated…slightly.  I followed a vegan recipe from Oh She Glows that uses chia seeds as a congealing agent instead of using whatever you use when you make a traditional jam.  Gelatin?  I don’t even know.  Basically, it was super easy and its super delicious.  Any fruit would work, obviously, blueberries just happened to be on sale.

So go buy some fruit on sale and proceed to put this jam on everything like me.  On toast with cheese, in yogurt, in a pb&j, on a spoon straight from the jar…

Banana Bread

So sometimes I forget about things.  Like that letter I’ve been meaning to mail…for two weeks…and those episodes of TopChef that are backlogging on our OnDemand…or these poor lonely bananas.

Not one to let things go to waste- I set out to put them to good use on a particularly foggy morning.  Considering the level of ripeness they reached, the only feasible outlet was to make banana bread.  I’ve been wanting to use millet in baking [mainly I want to bake them in muffins, weird?] ever since I tried this recipe and decided millet was the best thing ever.  Plus it’s healthy!  Sure, it’s technically bird food, but when boiled it adds a great texture to soups, and when baked it adds a nice crunch.  When I came across this bread recipe over at Joy the Baker the bananas’ fate was decided.

I wanted to make it vegan [just because] so I changed the recipe a bit:

1/4 cup earth balance coconut spread

1/4 cup olive oil [we were out of vegetable oil]

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

2 flax eggs [2 Tbsp ground flax, 6 Tbsp water]

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp almond milk

2 ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

[after re-reading the original, I realized I completely forgot to add the cinnamon...]

a heaping 1/4 cup raw millet

Make your flax eggs and set aside to let it congeal [about 10 minutes].  Butter an 8″ x 4″ pan with coconut butter.  Preheat oven to 350˚.  Mix wet ingredients.  Mix dry ingredients. Combine!  I baked mine for 55 minutes.

I love the addition of millet to breads- if you’re allergic to nuts it’s a great substitute for that crunchy texture you get with nut breads!  I’ve also heard of people doing the same thing with quinoa if you can’t find millet.  It’s moist thanks to the bananas and I swear it’s not too sweet!  Hope you try it out [vegan or not].  I found it to be particularly nice in the morning with a cappuccino.

I’m officially obsessed with millet.  Good thing I have a solid 2 cups left :)

Cranberry-pear tart

Let’s do this.

There’s pears.  There’s cranberries.  There’s no eggs or butter.  That’s right people, it’s….vegan.

Vegan and delicious!  You will need special ingredients that you probably wouldn’t normally have in your pantry, but I’ve developed a quasi-vegan pantry over the past few months and I’m diggin’ it.  Try it.  Maybe?

You know what else I’ve gotten in the past few months?  A food processor.  Yeah, I asked for that for Christmas.  I think that means I’m an adult.

This tart is officially the first time I’ve used it.  I then proceeded to use it two more times over MLK weekend.  I’m a food processor addict!

OK, back to the recipe.  It’s good, duh.  The tart cranberries with the sweet pears, and the hint of coconut from the oil?  Perfection.

I know it will probably take a separate trip to your local health food store or a Whole Foods, but I really hope you try it.  My family and I can’t be the only one’s enjoying this magic.  

To end, here’s a song:

Bon Iver, “Holocene”