Fall Pumpkin

Last week, two small pumpkins came in our Fresh City Farms bag and just like the concord grapes, I had never cooked anything with pumpkins before. Growing up, I saw my mom make pumpkin pie but had never really been interested in making anything with pumpkin because it always looked so complicated.

After looking at a few different recipes (thank god for Martha Stewart sometimes!), I got inspired to make my own pumpkin dishes.

The first recipe I made was a pumpkin, roasted garlic, beemster cheese, concord grape, tomato, avocado and cantaloupe salad. It really took no time to make. The only kind of preparation it took, was cutting up the pumpkin in small cubes and placing them on a cookie sheet. I drizzled a bit of cumin, maple syrup, olive oil and salt and pepper on them. I also added a few fresh garlic cloves on the cookie sheet to bake with the pumpkin. I cooked the pumpkin in the oven for 40mins at 350F, I kept adding water throughout so that the pumpkin didn’t dry up. When it got nice and mushy, I took it out of the oven and peeled off the skin.

For the dressing, I just mixed freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and dijon mustard. Contrary to what I was expecting, the pumpkin tasted really soft and sweet. It was delish!

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For the second pumpkin recipe, I made a pumpkin and tofu stir-fry with the left over pumpkin I cooked for the salad. I pan fried cubes of tofu, added pineapple pieces, garlic, pumpkin cubes as well as sweet and sour sauce. I cooked everything in the pan until nicely roasted and then placed it on a bed of fresh kale. I was also surprised by how amazing it tasted!

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With the leftover seeds I had from the pumpkin, I put them on a cookie sheet, drizzled a bit of olive oil on them and spices and baked them in the oven at 350F for 15-20mins. They were the perfect lunch snack for the next day!!

There you have it! Some quick and easy pumpkin recipes. What have you made with pumpkin this fall?

 

Kale Chips Recipe

I love finally being home for a few weeks. This will allow me to start cooking a whole lot more. One of my recent favorite snacks, is homemade Kale Chips. Though I love getting some at the store, there’s nothing quite like making your own.

Wednesday I received a whole bunch of kale in my Fresh City Farms basket and decided to make some yummy kale chips to go with my dinner last night. They are SUPER easy to make ūüôā

All you have to do is pre-heat the oven at 350, cut up kale in small pieces.

Drizzle olive oil or as I did, flavored olive oil (I went for the hot pepper oil) over the kale and add salt and pepper. Some people also add yeast to the kale to add a crunchier texture but I find that they taste fine without it too!

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Put it in the oven for 10-15mins, until cripsy and dark green.

The perfect healthy snack!

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Favorite eats in LA

I just got home on Sunday night from my vacation on the west coast. As a vegetarian (going on 10 years this year, hellz yea!), I love traveling to California because they have such a great selection of veggie or vegan-friendly food. They’ve also got lot’s of farmers markets and great organic and local products to offer. ¬†During my vacation, I always try to hit up new places to eat and this time was no different. ¬†Here are three of my favorites in the LA area:

1 – Flore Vegan

Located in Silverlake, just east of Hollywood, this small vegan restaurant is absolutely amazing! I ordered a vegan “Club Sandwich”, which included tempeh bacon, battered baked tofu, eggless mayonaise, avocado, tomato and sprouts, all served on fresh sourdough bread. It was accompanied by a delicious little salad. ¬†I also had one of their amazing vegan treats: I ordered a peanut butter and chocolate cupcake, which was hands down the best cupcake I’ve ever eaten. I like this place because unlike some vegan restaurants, Flore really fills you up and is relatively¬†inexpensive¬†for all the food you get ($10.95 for the club – photo shows only half of the club :p). They apparently also serve a delicious brunch. I highly recommend going for a visit!

2 – Bulan Thai Vegetarian Kitchen

Bulan Thai has two locations: one in Silverlake and another on Melrose Ave. in LA. Their dishes are creative and super tasty. I ordered the vegan “Hot Wings”, which give Sadie’s (One of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in Toronto) a run for their money. They are veggie chicken wings deep-fried and flavored with special hot sauce. I also ordered the vegan “Tasty Sweet & Sour” dish, with tofu, veggies and their yummy sweet & sour sauce. There are so many different things on their menu: Soups, Noodles, Appetizers, Rice, Curries, etc. It’s hard to pick out something to eat. I like this place not only for the food but also for their great service and friendly staff.

3 РVenice Beach Wines 

You wouldn’t even know this place existed if you were just walking by on Rose Avenue. Located in Venice Beach, this small tiny wine bar is a great place to discover new wines and eat lot’s of fantastic cheeses and food. They’ve got wines by the glass starting at $7, an extensive selection of beers and a delicious food menu featuring charcuterie, mini paninis, cheese, pizzettes, etc. I couldn’t resist getting some cheese (those who know me know I live for cheese), so I ordered the Beemster and Triple Cream St Andr√©, which were served with jams and warm baguette. Both cheeses were great, the portions could have been a little bigger for the price but for the quality of cheese they served, it wasn’t bad at all. I also ordered a mini panini – pear, aged cheddar and truffle oil. Wow! What a combo! I think I ate that thing in just a few seconds. ¬†They’ve also got tons of options for non-vegetarians as well. I also loved the ambiance and warmth to the place. ¬†Definitely worth the trip!

So there they are! If ever you’re in the area, I hope you’ll pay them a visit.

Have a lovely Tuesday!

Mel

ps. All this food talk is making me hungry… is it lunch time yet?