A Cozy Gnocchi Soup for Rainy Days

Hey fam.

It’s a windy, rainy day today and I have the weekend off, so I was feeling the cooking fire under my butt this morning and I made brunch (bacon, eggs, and cheese bites) and lunch/dinner – a gnocchi soup that’s so good, my friend Betsy has even made it. And the only reason I mention that is because we’re both stubborn people at times and it’s difficult to convince each other to do simple things like HEY WATCH THIS MOVIE. But HEY, she tried this soup and has added it to her cooking lineup, so that’s awesome, right?

Anyway, the original recipe is a vegan version – that I’ve made until Christmas and Easter lent. However, today I made it with reduced fat milk and it turned out just as well.

Here’s the link to the original recipe. And here’s the recipe breakdown if you don’t wanna move your eyes from the gorgeous photos I took of my soup.

Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic diced
1/2 yellow onion diced
4-5 stalks celery diced
5 whole carrots diced
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base
4 cups + 3 tbsp. water separated
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 package gnocchi
pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, celery and carrots and sauté until veggies are softened (approx. 10 minutes).
  2. Dissolve cornstarch in 3 tbsp. water in a small bowl.
  3. Dissolve bouillon in 4 cups water to create “chicken” broth.
  4. Add cornstarch mixture, “chicken” broth and almond milk to veggies. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add gnocchi and spices and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve with fresh parsley.

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Romanian Style Crepes

I am so excited to share this recipe with you all.

I was visiting my aunt a couple weeks ago and happened to stop by while she was preparing to make Romanian crepes – or as we call them, Clatite. So I asked her to explain her process as to how she makes them, and surprisingly, it’s pretty easy. The thing is, it’s not a set recipe, so I’m going to try to translate it into one as best as I can.

Her style of making crepes is delicious and I personally view it as one of her specialties, so I was geeked to try it out on my own. Below, I have a recipe that should yield roughly 16 crepes. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 cups flour
2-3 eggs
a good pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
milk
mineral water
rum extract/essence of rum
a small bowl with oil and a silicon brush
filling of choice (we like prune or rosehip jam)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine flour, eggs, salt, sugar, rum extract, and milk until blended together well. Add the milk slowly so you can build a batter.
  2. Once you’ve got a mixture that’s a little on the thicker side, slowly add mineral water to the mixture until the consistency becomes almost soupy. You don’t want it too thin, but you don’t want it so thick that you can’t swivel the mixture around in the pan to coat it.
  3. Add rum extract to taste. My aunt dumped like a good 2 or 3 TABLESPOONS in there, but probably a solid 1 to 1.5 teaspoons should be good.
  4. Heat up a large skillet on high heat. Before putting in your batter, brush the skillet using a silicon brush with some oil to ensure your crepe doesn’t stick.
  5. Pour a large ladle-full of batter in the center of your skillet and take the skillet off the stove while you swivel it to ensure the batter coats the whole bottom of the skillet.
  6. Using a long knife, (you can use a spatula, but a knife works better – and if you have a particularly flexible knife, use that) flip your crepe after roughly 30 seconds or  until the batter is no longer wet and cook for another ~30 seconds or so.

Tips:

  • If you’re having trouble swiveling the batter, your batter may be too thick. Add more mineral water or milk.
  • If you’re having trouble with your crepes breaking after the first couple (flipping them with a knife does take some practice) your batter may be too runny and you should add a little more flour to thicken it up.
  • In our family, and even traditionally in Romania, we like to roll up our crepes with prune jam or rosehip jam, but you can eat them however you please.

Sauted Mushrooms

I was avoiding posting this for a while because I couldn’t remember what I found the recipe, but I finally recalled that I watched a video for it – so thank God for Youtube history searcher!

I used a lot of mushrooms in my dishes during lent, and I had a lot of button mushrooms the day I made this side dish. It’s a relatively simple recipe and, even better, is you can visually follow along with the video. Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t forget you can follow me on Instagram for more photography! @vivianapodinaphotography

Buddha Bowls: The Easiest Meal Ever

I don’t recall how I came across Buddha Bowls in the first place, but it was probably while browsing Pinterest a few months ago. I was immediately drawn to the rich colors of all the vegetables together and, since it was Lent season, the easiness of making them.

As for why they’re called Buddha Bowls, the best thing I could find was this article, where writer Rachel Tepper Paley delves into the composition of the bowls and interviews an Instagrammer. This part stuck out to me as the most “informative”, as far as informative goes for the title of the article.

At their core, Lein said, Buddha bowls are about “balancing the different types of food that you eat,” and not eating too much of any one thing.

Essentially, Buddha Bowls consist of one type of grain (quinoa, rice, bulgar, etc), greens (kale, spinach, lettuce, arugula, etc), healthy carbs (chickpeas, beans, etc) and veggies (carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, literally whatever). As you can imagine, the possibilities are basically endless.

I made a relatively simple version using Qrunch quinoa burgers and roasting chickpeas in turmeric. I will say that in these photos, I used broccoli, but I’ve also used thinly sliced red cabbage drizzled with EVOO and vinegar and it’s soooo good. I also made tzatziki sauce from scratch Recipe below!

Ingredients

1 Qrunch quinoa burger
1 fat carrot
1 handful broccoli
1 can chickpeas
turmeric powder
spray oil
salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a pan, fry your quinoa burger until cooked through. Make sure to spray the pan beforehand to avoid sticking. Crush with a utensil once done and set in your bowl.
  2. In another pan, cook your chickpeas with turmeric powder, salt and pepper. Spray your chickpeas with spray oil so they don’t stick to your pan while they’re cooking.
  3. Steam your broccoli by boiling water in a pot, place your broccoli in a strainer, and cover with a pot lid. Let sit until your desired firmness. I like mine on the crunchier side. Plus, I like to not kill off all of the vitamins and minerals in my food.
  4. For the carrot, in the photos you can see I’ve chopped it, but grating your carrot will create a better texture contrast and be easy to eat. Grating your carrot will also allow its juice to come through and give the dish a little moisture.
  5. Assemble, eat!

Bonus: Tzatziki Recipe

4 tbsp Chobani plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup finely diced cucumber
handful fresh dill
juice from 1/4 of a lemon
3 cloves garlic, finely diced or grated
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients, refrigerate, serve.

P.S. Don’t forget you can follow me on Instagram for more photography! @vivianapodinaphotography

Moroccan Veggie Stew with Turmeric Basmati Rice

It’s Lent season at my house which means vegetarian food all day errday.

We don’t celebrate Lent for religious purposes in my house, but we do celebrate it for dietary purposes. My mom seems to strugglebus when it comes to cooking vegetarian sometimes, but I cook vegetarian like 85% of the time that I decide to make actual meals (not desserts), so of course it’s pretty easy for me to find exciting recipes to try out.

And of COURSE I got my ass on Foodgawker last night and this morning. Actual morning today because I got up at a semi-reasonable time. I was that excited about making rice.

I knew I wanted to make the rice before I knew what the “main dish” would be. But I found the perfect match  – I wanted to do something with chickpeas again, but a little different from straight up Channa Masala.

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So I found this great recipe for Moroccan Veggie Stew.  I didn’t have saffron because that shit is expensive. And if I had known that pitted dates tasted so good in this recipe, I would’ve added WAY more than the 4 it calls for. My tweaked recipe can be found below, and you can follow the link to see the original.

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Moroccan Veggie Stew

Ingredients

1 onion
3 carrots peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 baking or russet potatoes peeled and chopped
4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped (I recommend putting a fistful in there)
1 16 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup (or can) of tomato sauce
2 cups of water
1 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 pinch of ground cumin
1-2 pinches of ground coriander
1 teaspoons of smoked paprika
A pinch of saffron (optional)
Olive oil/Grapeseed for cooking
Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375
  2. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan (or dutch oven), saute the onions, carrots and celery on medium heat with some olive or grapeseed oil and a pinch of salt. Saute the vegetables until they start to soften – about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes, chickpeas, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and saffron. Stir the ingredients and spices around for about a minute, being careful not to burn the spices.
  4. Add the tomato sauce with two cups of water. Stir in the garlic and the dates. Adjust the salt, cover the pot and bring to a simmer.
  5. Simmer the stew on the stovetop for about 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer to the stew to the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes. I also transferred mine to a Pyrex bowl before I popped it in the oven. If you’re using a dutch oven with no plastic on it, you can leave it in your dutch oven pan.

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As for the turmeric Basmati rice, I followed this Jamie Oliver video for how to make perfect fluffy rice because I literally always fuck up rice when I cook it. But LO AND BEHOLD, following this video actually worked for me. And the rice turned out great. I did have to add extra salt after it was done because my “pinch” wasn’t enough when I seasoned it at the beginning.

Turmeric Basmati Rice

Ingredients

1 cup Basmati rice
2 cups water
3 pods of cardamom
10 pieces of whole cloves
1/2 stick of cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

Directions

  1. Rinse rice in cold water to get rid of starch and imperfections.
  2. In a heated sauce pan, combine your rice, water, spices and salt.
  3. Cover and bring to a simmer-boil for 8-10 minutes (or until water is evaporated). Do NOT remove cover, but make sure the water doesn’t bubble over.
  4. Once all the water is evaporated, remove cover and remove cardamom pods and stick of cinnamon. Stir gently and serve.

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Breakfast Clafoutis with Cherries

Hello hello!

I’m back with a delicious recipe I tried out this morning/afternoon. Afternoon, cause I got out of bed at 11:15 and didn’t finish this until after 12, BUT ANYWAY.

I wanted to eat something different from just cereal or eggs or toast, so I got my ass on Foodgawker as usual and found this easy Lemon Dutch Baby with Berry Compote and put myself to work. It’s not too sugary-sweet or too weird and foreign. I thought it was going to turn out like the Finnish “pancakes” I made like 6 years ago, but I realized when I started eating that it’s a whole lot like the Clafoutis recipe I make, except loads simpler to prepare.

Here’s the breakdown of ingredients and directions. I did not make the whipped cream, but I did make the berry (CHERRY!) compote.

Ingredients

for the Dutch Baby:
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
for the Berry Compote:
2 cups frozen berries (‘triple berry’)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
for the whipped cream:
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
OR
your whipped topping of choice
Instructions

  1. Remove frozen berries from freezer, in a bowl combine berries, lemon juice, and tablespoon of sugar. Toss to mix. Set aside to thaw, toss occasionally while dutch baby is cooking.
  2.  Place 12 inch cast iron (or oven safe skillet) in oven, preheat to 425º F.
  3. In a blender add lemon zest, flour, eggs, milk, sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend until combined.
  4. Once oven is preheated and skillet is hot, use oven mitts to remove the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet, swirl the skillet until the butter melts and the sides and bottom of the skillet is covered in butter.
  5. Pour the batter from the blender into the skillet. Return skillet to oven.
  6. Bake 22-24 minutes until edges are golden brown.
  7. If you are making your own whipped cream add vanilla and heavy whipping cream to the stand of an electric mixer. Beat on high 1-2 minutes until whipped cream is to preferred consistency.
  8. Give Berry Compote a final stir and pour over the Dutch Baby, top with Whipped Cream. Serve immediately.

Breakfast Bites

This morning I woke up bright and early (9:30 is early for me, don’t judge) and decided to make something different for breakfast than my usual Sunday pancakes.

I was searching for breakfast ideas yesterday when I ran across a list that featured various muffins and I knew I wanted to make something like that, but I didn’t have time or patience yesterday, so I vowed to do it today.

Lo and behold, I made…breakfast bites? They’re bready eggy oniony turkey bacon wrapped deliciousness. Check out the recipe below, I promise they’re super easy and tasty.

Ingredients

12 slices turkey bacon (or pig bacon)
7-8 eggs, beaten
1/8 tsp Vegeta seasoning (or salt&pepper)
1 onion (2 if they’re small)
1 carrot, grated (or more)
3 slices sourdough bread
feta cheese to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grab a cupcake/muffin pan, spray with oil, line each holder with 1 slice of the turkey bacon, and fill with pieces of the sourdough bread.
  2. Beat your eggs with Vegeta seasoning (or salt and pepper). Add in chopped up onions and whisk together. You may also add in your grated carrot and feta cheese in this part, which I should’ve done (I sprinkled mine on top).
  3. Pour or scoop your egg mixture over each muffin until they’re all evenly coated. If you did not mix your carrot and feta cheese into your eggs, sprinkle them on top now.
  4. Pop in the oven for 25 minutes at 375F. Enjoy!

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