Monthly Archive: May 2013

PBBJ

Yup.

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I did this.

I took a photo of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

But trust me, it was no ordinary PB&J.

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Udi’s GF bread.

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Pacific Beach organic peanut butter.

Mom’s home-made raspberry jam.

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And bacon!!!!!!!!!!

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Question: When will it end?

Answer: Never [I hope].

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Last bite…  :(

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Who else makes sure their last bite is the “perfect bite” with every component in it in the ideal proportion?  Anyone else? 

I know Ethel does this too, but Kyle thinks we are weird.  I beg to differ.  He will eat a sando and have the last bite be a random dry corner piece with hardly anything on it.  Ummm, no.  I will eat around pancakes and waffles so the center portion, fully saturated in butter and syrup, is my final bite.  And my sandwich eating pattern is no different. 

BBQ jackfruit

I’d never even heard of jackfruit until I moved to Los Angeles.  Apparently it’s a pretty popular vegan replacement for meat in dishes that would otherwise use shredded chicken or pulled pork.  Something about the stringy consistency.

What the heck is jackfruit anyway?

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It’s a fruit, native to Southeast Asia, with starchy fibrous flesh.  The flavor (of the ripe fruit) is said to be comparable to a combination of apple, pineapple and banana – naturally sweet with subtle flavoring.

“It can be used to make a variety of dishes, including custards, cakes, halo-halo…

The seeds from ripe fruits are edible, are said to have a milky, sweet taste, and may be boiled, baked or roasted. When roasted the flavor of the seeds is comparable to chestnuts…”

But this canned stuff isn’t the same at all.  What you need for making jackfruit “meat” is unripe young jackfruit.

“It is especially sought after by vegetarians who substitute this for meat…

The skin of unripe jackfruit must be peeled first, then the remaining whole jackfruit can be chopped into edible portions and cooked before serving. Young jackfruit has a mild flavor and distinctive meat-like texture and is compared to poultry. Meatless sandwiches have been suggested and are popular with both vegetarian and nonvegetarian populations.”

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I’ve looked for canned young jackfruit in conventional grocery stores, but never found it.  You have to go to international markets that have more specialty/traditional items.

It’s kinda ironic that I never did this in LA, where Asian and Latino markets are plentiful.  What can I say?  I was a lazy typical Santa Monican who didn’t want to deal with the traffic and hassle of leaving the West Side.

Here in Davis, there’s an Asian market right in the middle of downtown (Kim’s Asian Market).  I walked past it while doing errands and decided to pop in and see what they had.  And what do you know!?  Jackfruit!  [Along with 935 other things I can’t wait to try]

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How weird does this stuff look?

It’s kinda like a pineapple in that it has a core that’s different in texture/consistency than the outside portion.

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It comes soaking in a salty brine.

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Brainstorming time.  What to make, what to make…

How about vegan pulled pork?  I know that’s what is often made with jackfruit.

What’s odd about my decision to try to make this dish now is that (a) I’ve never had real pulled pork in my life and (b) I’m no longer vegan.

Timing isn’t everything (and I still love vegan food).  Also, I had just gotten this Stubb’s BBQ sauce.

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Kyle is obsessedddddddd with Stubb’s.  Like, totally over the moon in love with their BBQ sauce.

And after trying it, I totally know why.

Sweet Heat is the perfect name for this flavor.  It’s just that.  Slightly sweet with a touch of heat.  I can’t wait to try it with tofu, tempeh and roasted chickpeas.  I know they will all be amazingly flavorful.

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Crock-pot BBQ jackfruit [vegan, gluten free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 (20 oz) can young jackfruit
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Drain and rinse the jackfruit from the can a few times to remove the salty flavor.

Add it into the slow cooker along with the BBQ sauce and water so that the jackfruit it submerged in BBQ sauce-y goodness.

Cook for 6 hours on low.

Use a fork and pull the strands apart from the core of the fruit so it creates a shredded consistency.

Serve atop toasted buns.  Avocado recommended.

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I made it a day in advance so it had all night in the fridge to absorb extra flavor.  It was definitely tasty but to be honest, jackfruit is pretty meh in my book.  It doesn’t have any flavor so the entire dish relies on the BBQ sauce.  Pick a good one!  I’m at a loss in attempting to describe it, because there’s not much to describe.  The texture was similar to really soft heart of palm.  And it may as well have been heart of palm!  All I tasted was Stubb’s delicious BBQ sauce smothered on stuff.  Not bad I guess.  But not meat like that’s for sure.  And not anything I’d go out of my way to find in the future.  Maybe I had too high of hopes though.  Maybe I could fry it on the stove top with spices and make jackfruit tacos and it would be more exciting.  Anyone else a fan of jackfruit?

Update!  Kyle basically had the opposite reaction as I did to this dish so I felt compelled to edit my review…  

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As you can see, he wasn’t joking around in his sandwich construction.  He thought it had excellent flavor and texture and was pretty impressed that the “meat” was made from a canned fruit.  But then again, he’s the Stubbs lover, so his taste buds may be biased.

To each his own…give it a shot?!

House-warming & Memorial weekend

This past (long) weekend was important for family time because Kyle headed back out of town for business on Tuesday morning (after being away the previous week).  Gotta soak it up for the few days he’s around!  I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard, but since his start-up is young and fragile, it’s important to take advantage of these opportunities so the company will continue to thrive.  Growing pains are good.  As I type this he is en route to Colorado…10 hours into the 18.5 hour drive.  Ouch.

So anyway.  Saturday.

He slept in while I did my morning thing with P.

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Breakfast #1 of hash browns (roasted potatoes made in advance in the oven) topped with a fried egg and coconut bacon.

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Breakfast #2 of quinoa, Udi’s GF granola, peanut butter, & almond milk.  Plus even more almond milk so everything drowned.

I’m all about the post-photo almond milk pour.  But then I’m a soggy food person (soggy cereal, soggy salads, soggy everything).

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Lunch was a big salad with all the fridge contents I could gather, including carrots, tomatoes, avocado, & hard boiled eggs on a bed of spring greens.

Kyle finally woke up in the afternoon [he’s not lazy, he was doing night shifts].  I made him lunch and then we headed off to catch the very end of the Davis Farmer’s Market.

I wanted to get some stuff for us to eat that evening because I had planned on doing a small plates kind of thing instead of an actual meal for dinner.

Here’s how our wonderful Satur-date shaped out.

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If you asked any of my close family and friends what I wanted most at the end of my pregnancy they would tell you a mimosa.  I love mimosas.  Actually I just love champagne.

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So when I went into labor Kyle put this in the fridge before we headed to the hospital.

It was a wedding present that we kept saving for a special occasion.  It’s pathetic that it took this long…why I feel like saving things for later is beyond me.  I need to focus more on living it up in the present.  Seize the day!  Pop the damn cork!

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So we finally did.  This past weekend.  After the bottle sat in our fridge in Santa Monica for 2 months and then another month here in Davis.  Lame.

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At least we finally did it up right!

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To go along with our fancy Dom Perignon, we enjoyed dinner nibbles al fresco.

It was so awesome we decided to make it a weekly tradition.

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The spread: strawberries (farmer’s market), GF crackers (glutino and Mary’s Gone black pepper) and non GF crackers (Milton’s), goat gouda (farmer’s market), candied walnuts, [not pictured] hard boiled eggs.

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I knew I wanted the same goat gouda we got at the famer’s market last weekend.  Beyond that, I just chose what looked good.  I was going to get grapes, but the berries at the market looked crazy awesome (and they were!).  The Co-op was completely out of the original Mary’s Gone crackers, which are my number one choice in GF snacks.  The black pepper was on sale so I decided to take a chance.  For the record, I don’t really like peppery things, but they taste the exact same as the OG flavor (to me).  The glutino crackers were also yummy.  I’d never tried them before and normally I wouldn’t get both at once but Kyle urged me to treat myself so I did.  They taste very similar to their (delicious) GF pretzels.

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Along with the candied walnuts and hard boiled eggs it was a great feast.  We had two rounds of the above, so by the end the cheese and champagne were gone and we were both stuffed.

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Sunday wasn’t overly exciting.

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I started the day with potatoes and an egg (again).

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And then had a PB&J with coconut bacon.  More on that later.

We went on a family walk in the afternoon, followed by a trip to Walmart.  I don’t think I’d ever been to a Walmart before this.  Whoa.  There’s some seriously amusing people watching there.

We went to get a bocce ball set for our house-warming/Memorial Day party, but ended up getting lots of food for the party there as well.  I was really surprised by all the veggie options actually!  They had a decent gluten free pantry section and vegetarian frozen section, and although it wasn’t organic, the produce was pretty impressive as well.  Noted.

Kyle and I got take-out sushi for dinner because I didn’t feel like cooking.

Of all the days to be overcast and gloomy, the weather gods chose Memorial Day.  The day of our house-warming party.  Wah wah.  It even drizzled in the morning!  First “rain” since we’ve been in Nor Cal.

I don’t have any pics of breakfast because I was busy getting the house ready – vacuuming, cleaning, cooking, etc.

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I did throw together a snack plate at some point around noon.  Basically a repeat from Saturday night.

In spite of the crap weather, we had a great turnout.  And P finally got to meet his buddy Kevin (born 4 months before him).  Seems like their baby shower was only yesterday, and yet, I had only JUST announced my pregnancy at that point (although not yet on the blog).

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Now our little group has 3 babies and another one on the way… Hands on the belly pics are totally creepy and yet totally necessary.

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We almost pass as adults.

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For food, we had a mix of options.

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Sabra hummus.  Naturally.  A few people brought salads (corn, black bean, & tomato and macaroni).  A lot of people brought booze.

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I made a spinach dip with greek yogurt.

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And some other small bites.

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Nestle candy.

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Chips and Sabra salsa.  Yum!  Jalapeno business.

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Orange water (made with our neighbors oranges).

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We offered both kinds of burgers (veggie and regular) and sausage.  I had a serious dilemma in deciding what to BBQ.  On the one hand, it’s my party and I should be able to call the shots in what food is offered.  But what kind of hostess doesn’t take into consideration her guests’ diets and food preferences?  Almost every time I go to a friend’s house, they accommodate me and Kyle, offering veggie fare.  Of course, I always offer to bring my own as well.  Is it rude to say, I don’t eat meat, so you can’t while you’re at my house?  Maybe.  I’m not sure.  Does Emily Post have a response to this etiquette inquiry?

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Beer was definitely a given.

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My little nugget enjoyed lots of attention.

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Family photo op!

By the time everyone left, it was bed time for P.  I didn’t feel so hot after snacking the day away, but I still felt like I needed something before bed so I had a few handfuls of nuts.

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After bath and story time, I nursed P til he fell asleep.  Then I made Kyle a veggie strata for the road and packed him a bunch of healthy food so he wouldn’t be stranded on the road with only gas station crap.

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I sent him to the store to get a foil pan to made the strata in and he came home with a bread loaf pan.  Oh well.  I made it work.

The next morning was bittersweet because we had to say goodbye to Kyle, but then we hit the road to go to see my mom.

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I had an oatmeal/granola/banana creation that I drowned in almond milk.

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Happy Birthday Grandma!

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My sister and I took my mom out to lunch at La Boulange for her b-day.

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So many yummy things on the menu to choose from!  I ultimately went with a salad…even though the breakfast fare (and fresh baked goods) are so tempting.

The above is my smoked trout salad with apple, potatoes, avocado, walnut croutons, and greens.  The walnut croutons weren’t at all what I expected (they were actually fresh walnut bread chunks), but I liked them.  It was a really good salad and I’d for sure order it again.

P fell asleep during lunch while still maintaining his grip on the rings.  Standard.

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Mom and baby sis.

And now I’m back in Davis.  What a weekend!

Bacon!

Where to begin, where to begin…

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How about here.

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ImadebaconoutofcoconutandIdon’tevenknowhowittastesthisgood
soI’mkindafreakingoutoverit.

Yes bacon.  Out of coconut.  It’s insane.  I don’t even get it but I’m going to stop trying to analyze how this magic occurred and just enjoy it.

You should too.  Seriously.  I would NOT be this dramatic if it was mediocre.

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Coconut “Bacon” [vegan, gluten free, FODMAPs friendly]

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix all liquid ingredients (tamari through liquid smoke) in a mixing bowl.  Add coconut flakes and stir until coconut is covered.  Let it marinate for a few minutes.

Spread onto greased baking sheet or parchment paper.  Make sure it’s well spread out with minimal overlapping portions.

Sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 15 minutes (at 325 degrees F).  Watch carefully at the end because it can burn quickly (although those crispy burnt parts are mighty delish).

Let cool.

Try it with a baked potato, on a Caesar salad, in chocolate chip cookies in everything.

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How does this turn into bacon?  It’s a food miracle.  Don’t argue, just try it.  Then we can discuss all the recipes we can use it in.  Okay?

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I’m sorta dying over this stuff.  In the words of RZ, it’s everything.

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And now for one of the ways to inhale it (aside from straight from the baking sheet – trust me, you’ll have a hard time holding back).

Cobb Salad Lettuce Wraps [vegetarian, gluten free, FODMAPs friendly]

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch romaine leaves
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup coconut “bacon”

Directions:

Chop the end off romaine leaving the hearts of the lettuce in tact.  Set aside.

In a bowl, combine hard boiled eggs and avocado.  Mash together.  Add in quinoa and stir until mixed.

Scoop quinoa mixture into hearts of romaine and sprinkle coconut “bacon” on top.

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This quinoa dish alone looks awesome.  But then it gets so much better when you combine it with the rest of the goodies.

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I know there are lots of imitation (vegan) bacon products out there, but this is truly fabulous.  Crunchy.  Salty.  Savory.  Perfection.

Don’t change a thing about this recipe.  If you don’t have one of the ingredients (like liquid smoke) go buy it.  Even though there’s only 1/2 tsp in the recipe, it’s essential.  You’ll thank me later.  Like when you’re on your 7th batch in under 48 hours.

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Bacon!

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And then I did this…

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It’s like an Elvis sandwich but better.  Because it’s vegan, gluten free, and will make your taste buds explode.

Elvis Rice Cakes [vegan, gluten free, FODMAPs friendly]

Ingredients:

  • brown rice cakes (I used Lundberg Farms)
  • peanut butter
  • medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • coconut “bacon”

Directions:

Spread peanut butter on rice cakes.

Add chopped dates and coconut “bacon” on top.

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Who would have thought this collection of ingredients would be so awesome together?

I now fully understand why people consider salty & sweet to be such a dynamic duo.

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Would you believe me if I told you I ate this for both lunch and dinner on the same day?  You would if you tried it, that’s for sure.

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Bacon!

Pesto & Pancakes (not together)

Here’s some of the meals I prepped for last week.

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If you recall, making bulk grains in the rice cooker was one of the things on the checklist.  I used this wild rice in Kyle’s breakfast burritos (with lentils, salsa, and cheese) and in my lunch salads (with lots of veggies).  And then in this dinner, of course.

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Pesto Wild Rice [vegan, gluten free, FODMAPs friendly]

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup pesto (FODMAPs people omit garlic or use garlic infused olive oil)

Directions:

Cook rice.  Mix in corn and pesto.  Serve warm or chilled.

I used this vegan pesto because I had some left over, but if you want to make your own (it’s super easy, so you should!) here are some of my [vegan] pesto recipes:

spinach hemp seed pesto
tofu enhanced pesto
nutty bell pepper pesto

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To accompany the rice I baked 3 filets of Dover sole using this same recipe (if it aint broke, right?).

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Everything was wonderful.  The lemon in the pesto complimented the lemon in the fish marinade and it was a perfect light summer-y meal.

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The other meals for the day included more prepped stuff.

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Like pancakes with peanut butter and a fabulous salad beast.

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Kyle is a savory breakfast person, so I made him breakfast burritos every single morning and he never got sick of them.

I fluctuate in my sweet vs savory allegiance so I like having both options.  By making pancakes in advance, I had either to choose from.

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Even though I made 6 pancakes, they only lasted me two days.  One day I had 4 with peanut butter and the other day I had 2 with a fried egg.  And peanut butter.  I’m a peanut butter field these days.  My poor almond butter is being neglected in a major way.

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That ugly burnt guy in the first photo was the last to be picked, but it tasted fine.  The rest were perfect, promise.  I got distracted by P while cooking them but fortunately I remembered to flip it just in the nick of time.  A little black around the edges but no big deal.

Gluten Free Pancakes [gluten free, FODMAPs friendly]

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients together and then add in wet.  Stir to combine.

On a hot greased pan, pour ~1/4 cup batter and reduce heat.  Flip once you can see the edges have started to cook.

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I’ll get to the rest of the prepped meals later.