Archive | June, 2011

Lavash Rolls

29 Jun

This might be weird, but I do not like buns on my hotdogs nor on my hamburgers.  I dislike them intensely. I hate the doughy white bread that gets soggy and sodden under the good stuff, and I hate the processed, too-sweet taste of everything sold in the supermarkets. So, I just skip the bun. I have been doing this long  before Atkins was popular, and I still do it even though that fad seems to have faded.

My husband, however, is a fan of the bun. Not because he thinks it tastes great, but because he likes everything to be held together without any mess or fuss.  He will eat it with a knife and fork on occasion, but I know he is secretly longing for the bun.  So what to do?  My way of finding middle ground: lavash bread.

Lavash is great because it is thin and doesn’t get in the way of the other great food flavors. I use them for sausages, as pictured, rolling them with homemade stone-ground mustard, chopped onions and sauerkraut.  Heating them just a minute or so on each side in a skillet gives them a just a little crisp on the outside.  I also prefer lavash to tortillas for making roll-ups of any kind, because it is really pliable and doesn’t easily break on you.  I like to smear them with hummus and chopped veggies, or with goat cheese, caramelized onions and fresh herbs from the garden.

Lavash Rolls
From LaFemmeCooks

1 sausage
1/2 sheet lavash bread
1-2 tbs tbs dijon mustard
1-2 tbs chopped white onion
1/2 cup sauerkraut (or more/less, depending on your taste)

Split sausage in half and grill or fry on stovetop. Warm a large skillet on the stove and cut your sheet of lavash in half (one full sheet will serve 2).  Place the lavash into the skillet to warm it, and flip it over after about a minute.  Add mustard and spread over entire sheet. Add sausage halves, one right next to the other.  Scatter the chopped onion and sauerkraut over the sausage and mustard.  Starting at sausage end, roll tightly.  You can add a toothpick to the center to keep it in place if needed.  Serve.

Pan Bagnat

22 Jun

One of my favorite things about visiting Nice is the street food.  I tried so many things there, like socca and pissaladiere, and have great memories of hanging out in the sunshine while eating some new thing or another.  We were planning a road trip recently, and the thought of packing a picnic and enjoying a pan bagnat in the sunshine reminded me a lot of our time in southern France.

If you have ever had a salad Nicoise then you are already familiar with the ingredients that make up a pan bagnat, which is essentially a salad Nicoise eaten as a sandwich.   The best part is that the sandwich gets weighted down overnight and is a dense, hearty meal the next day.

The perfect summer sandwich

Feel free to play with the ingredients and add/subtract things as you wish.  Veganomicon has a great recipe for a vegan version of this sandwich with roasted eggplant if you prefer to have yours without the tuna and eggs. I left the eggs off mine, and I added red bell pepper and shredded carrots for a little color and crunch.  I added some homemade pesto that I had on hand, and an olive tapenade from Trader Joe’s that I like.  Traditionally it is served on a round loaf, but a baguette would work just fine here too. Below is my own version, made to my taste preferences, but nothing is written in stone for this recipe.

Pan Bagnat
From LaFemmeCooks

1 round loaf of bread (I used the Rosemary and Sea Salt version from Essential Bakery here in Seattle)
1 cup spinach, lightly tossed in olive oil and vinegar of any kind
1 can tuna, drained
1/2 can marinated artichoke hearts
1/3 cup pepperocinis
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 sliced red bell pepper
olive tapenade or chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup pesto

Slice bread in half through the middle. Scoop out much of the bread from the halves, but leave enough to support the sandwich toppings. Spread pesto on the top half and olive tapenade on the bottom half. If you don’t have either of these things add a good dijon mustard instead.  Add the spinach first, then top with remaining ingredients, being careful to spread everything out evenly. When all toppings are added, put the “lid” back on the sandwich and wrap the sandwich in wax paper. Place it in the fridge overnight with a good heavy weight on top. If you don’t have overnight to wait, a few hours will do. Remove the weight when ready to serve, and cut into wedges. Serves 4, depending on the size of the bread.

Nice harbor, from our trip April 2009


Rosé Sangria

11 Jun

Bonjour mes amis!  I am so happy to see June arrive, I cannot even tell you.  June is such a great month– for the first half of my life it meant the end of school and the beginning of a few months of adventure, and now it is a month of transition as the sun keeps cranking up the volume and winter fades into (what I wish was) oblivion.

It also happens to be my dad’s birthday early in the month, and there is no one the planet whom I adore more than my dad. I know I have talked about him before here, and the truth is there really aren’t words glowing enough to describe him. He is just a superstar.  So, for his birthday I wanted to have him over for a lovely dinner that he well deserves. I grilled copper river salmon, made this salad, and had plans to bake this bread (which I didn’t get around to, but luckily we have some great bakeries around here!).  I wanted to make something fun for cocktail hour, and decided that sangria would be the perfect choice because it is a rule of nature: once you make sangria, it is officially summer.

Sangria on a sunny day

I’m sure this recipe is similar to many out there (I mean, there are only so many variations of this drink, right?). This one turned out really well, was light and refreshing and really easy to make.  Plus, doesn’t all the fruit make it a health food?

Rosé Sangria
From LaFemmeCooks

1 bottle Rosé wine
1 bottle Riesling
1/2 cup triple sec/Grand Marnier/Cointreau
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh pineapple
1 cup canteloupe
1/2 cup mango
1/2 cup raspberries
Club Soda to taste

Cut fruit into bite-sized pieces. Too small and they will turn to mush; too large and they are unwieldy to eat.  Place all fruit except mangoes and berries in a large glass pitcher. Add both bottles of wine and the triple sec.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight so the alcohol has a chance to soak into the fruit.  To serve, add the berries and mangoes into glasses, then a few pieces of each fruit from the pitcher. Pour wine over the fruit, and top with club soda to taste.  You can omit the club soda if you prefer a stronger sangria. Enjoy!



Vegan Chocolate/Cinnamon Mousse

6 Jun

Consider my world rocked.  I have been egg- and dairy-free for years now, and thought I would never ever have something like chocolate mousse ever again.  I have already said a sad goodbye to key lime pie, coconut custard, and any flavor of creme brulée.  I love dessert, but anything with a custard has long been off the table for me, and of course those have always been my favorite kinds of dessert.

My sister-in-law, Julia, literally changed my life last month when she introduced me to this site.  She did it in the best way possible, which was to prepare one of the desserts (this mousse I am sharing with you), before telling me the secret ingredient list.  She assured me it was vegan and that I could eat it without problem.  When I took a bite, my toes curled right up in my shoes. It was the thickest, creamiest, most delicious thing I had eaten in years. How could this be vegan and taste so sinful and amazing??

I couldn’t believe it. Now, since you have the recipe below I’m just going to go ahead and tell you that the secret ingredient here is avocados.  And before you curl your lip and say “eeewww,” let me just reassure you that there is no avocado taste at all.  Just silky, dark chocolate goodness.  It is vegan, gluten-free, raw, healthy for you and whips up in the blender!  The key, as always, is to use good quality cocoa powder (not Hershey’s) because the flavor of the chocolate really sings in this recipe.

I’ve had a lot of folks ask me recently about where to start to begin a vegan diet, and I must say I am addicted to the HealthyBlender website.  She has some great stuff over there that is healthy and easy to make.  I will post a couple more things from her just to entice any stragglers ;)

Chocolate/Cinnamon Mousse

4 ripe organic avocados – halved, pit removed and discarded, flesh scooped out
1/2-3/4 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
3/4 – 1 cup of raw agave nectar, to taste
3 Tbsp raw almond butter OR 1/4 cup coconut cream
2 Tbsp natural vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 pinches of sea salt to taste

Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender (like a Vitamix) and puree until smooth. You may need to use your tamper or spatula, scrape the sides of the blender and pulse a few times. This mixture gets very thick.  But if you keep with it, it will get to that perfect, creamy consistency.

Spoon into glasses and chill for a couple of hours before serving.



My Favorite Peanut Sauce

2 Jun

I have no idea where I found this recipe, as it is one I have been using for years and years. It is fantastic as part of a stir-fry and with rice and/or noodles.  You can also use it as a dipping sauce for satay of any kind.  It pairs with all vegetables and meats equally well, and is one I make fairly often.

Stir-fried vegetables, before sauce is added

My Favorite Peanut Sauce

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 soy sauce
1 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbs lime juice
1 1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp hot chili sauce with garlic
1 tbs fresh minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and whisk until well combined.  Feel free to tweak this recipe to your preferences– I like a good note of acid in this sauce, so I often use more vinegar or lime.  Overall, you are looking for a balance of flavors and if you do experiment a little it is easy to correct with more of the opposite flavor.  And in the end, you really can’t have enough of this sauce! You will want to use it on everything, I promise.

Veggies with peanut sauce over bamboo rice


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