This afternoon I had the pleasure of cooking with my dear friend Cathy. Cathy is a fellow vegetarian, frequent backyard visitor, and extremely talented photographer. While Cathy’s focus is on food, she loves to shoot just about anything, including portraits, products, and pets. Her website, www.photokitchen.net, features her portfolio and pricing. She even sells fine art prints online, at www.buyphotokitchen.zenfolio.com. She took tons of pictures today (here are some of my clutter-y kitchen) and has shared them with me. Since her pictures are of a much higher caliber than mine, I thought it would be fun to do some side-by-side comparisons of my photo work and hers.
Breakfast: Same: granola, fresh fruit, and unsweetened almond milk
Lunch: The Philosopher had the same meal as yesterday. I mixed it up a bit. I mashed a whole avocado with a dash of salt and pepper and a splash of lime juice. I spread the avocado on two pieces of romaine lettuce and piled sliced tomatoes on top. Delish! I also ate a few olives with Cathy.
Dinner: Chard Rolls Filled with Winter Vegetables (Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone”)
I followed the recipe pretty closely as the only “no” ingredient was butter. It was time-consuming to dice the vegetables finely enough to fit well inside of pieces of swiss chard. Otherwise, this was a very easy and really tasty recipe. Thankfully, Cathy was patient and willing to snap pictures and even lent a hand with a bunch of carrots. Here’s some of her photo handiwork:
Here’s what I did: Dice 1 onion, 4 carrots, 1 potato, 2 parsnips, 4 sweet potatoes and chard stems. (Outside the onions, I think there was about 10c of veggies total) Mince one clove of garlic. Add to a skillet with 2T olive oil and 2 t dried tarragon. (Warning: This filled my largest pan! Until the veggies softened slightly, it was hard to stir!) Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook over medium heat until tender (~20-25 minutes). Here’s more pictures for your drooling pleasure (far left is my picture, the rest are Cathy’s)
In the meantime, blanch chard leaves in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and allow to dry on a towel. (My picture shows the chard waiting, Cathy’s is of the chard swimming in boiling water, so pretty!)
Add juice of one lemon once veggies are softened. Place an appropriate amount of vegetables for the size of your chard leaf (~2-3 T) on a flattened leaf, above the notch. Fold the sides in and roll up the leaves. This part was actually easier than I expected, even with the leaves I had torn a little. Place the rolls on top of the remaining filling and top with a dollop of coconut oil. Add 1 c water or vegetable stock to the pan and simmer, covered for 10 additional minutes. Serve rolls with extra vegetables and juices. Cathy got pictures of this process, check it out! (Of course we had to talk and laugh a little. It helps make dinner. And good kitchen karma.)
These are delicious! The slightly bitter flavor of the greens plays nicely off the sweetness of the vegetables. You all should know by now that I am a sucker for the savory/sweet combo so this totally worked for me. The Philosopher seemed pretty happy too. He nearly licked the plate clean!
Here are two [very different quality] photo representations of that meal.
The other day I picked up “Flying Apron’s Gluten-free and Vegan Baking Book” by Jennifer Katzinger. While many of the recipes require sugar, many more use agave, rice syrup, stevia, etc. They also strive to all-allergy free, so there are no peanut or soy recipes. It was pretty exciting to pick up a cookbook where we could eat almost everything, without many adaptations.
Tonight I made Maple “Butter” Bars. They were super easy and fast to make. I mixed 2 3/4 c brown rice flour and 1/4 t salt together in a bowl. Then I added 1c coconut oil, 1 c maple-flavored agave, and the beans from 1/2 of a vanilla pod (no vanilla extract!). I mixed these until smooth (2-3 minutes) in my electric mixer. These baked in a 13×9 parchment-lined pan for ~15 minutes at 375 degrees, until the sides turned golden brown. Since the photo op was important, I cut them soon after removing from the oven. Again, Cathy’s photos make me want to drool. Do you think she could follow me around every day?
While slightly chewy for a baked good, they were really delicious. Hopefully they will also help a little with the snacking temptations we have had. Unfortunately, my attempt to make whipped almond milk failed. I was really hoping for a stand-in for ice cream on top!
Thoughts: So far, things are good. I was thrilled to be able to experiment with new recipes with a friend. We even convinced her meat-eating boyfriend to eat a few bites, see? (Sophia is always a big help when eating!)
While he was affirming, he claimed it would best be served beside a pastrami sandwich! I would choose to share my kitchen any time with a friend who is interesting, warmhearted and hungry. Thankfully, not only does Cathy fit that bill, but she also has a great smile and a contagious laugh. What more can you ask for? A friend who loves taking pictures of food [and dogs, and friends and babies and flowers and and and]….even better! If you would like to read Cathy’s take on the day, check it out here. Thanks Cathy, it was an awesome day!