Let me Tempeh you

I’m sorry this title is terrible but I just couldn’t help myself.

Last week I got back to being adventurous in the kitchen by cooking tempah for the first time. You might be asking yourself, “What is tempeh?” Well, let me inform you!

Tempeh is a soy based product originally from Indonesia. It is much firmer than tofu which I like because the consistency of tofu has always kept me from truly loving it. I’ve had tempeh numerous times at Real Food Daily and I see it frequently in Trader Joe’s so I decided it was time to give it a try.

For my first recipe I adapted something I found in a new to me cookbook:

I received the other Heidi Swanson cookbook for Christmas last year from a friend and I love it so when I received an amazon gift card in August I immediately knew I wanted to get her other cookbook.

And no, I do not have pomegranate glaze on hand in my apartment. Luckily Heidi provides with substitutions. I also subbed in purple potatoes for butternut squash. I also halved the recipe.

Ingredients:

1/2 package of tempeh

3 small eggplants (or 1/2 a long Asian eggplant)

3 purple potatoes, diced

1/2 a lemon worth of zest

1 clove of garlic

Sprinkling of red pepper flakes

1/8 cup maple syrup

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

To start, I diced the potatoes, eggplant, and tempeh making sure that they were around the same size.

As you can tell, I had a purple dinner. Maybe because College Football Season is starting? Yes. Showing my Northwestern pride.

Chop it up and stack it onto a baking sheet with a rim. Add lemon zest on top.

Then I combined the maple syrup, olive oil, and red pepper flakes together. Then mash the garlic into a paste with your knife and add that to the sauce.

Whisk it together and put it on top of the potato, tempeh and eggplant.

Spread into a single layer.

Bake at 350 for 45 to 60 mins. At the 25 min mark, take the pan out of the oven and move the food around. Stick it back into the oven and monitor it to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Yum! Throw in a bowl and top with feta!

Holy carp this was good! The tempeh was delicious and sweet and SO filling. This is the perfect dinner for marathon training because tempeh is protein packed. I’ve been in a constant state of hunger the past month with marathon training and tempeh is great for me because I am too lazy to eat meat. I can’t wait til winter squash is in season so I can make this with butternut!

I hope you all had a great week. It’s been hot in LA (90 degrees today) so I tabled my long run until tomorrow. I’m feeling super run down tonight. I’m very hungry, I have a tension headache and I’m too tired to focus on my work. I think I’m going to head to bed early!

Have you tried tempeh before?

What’s in Season Now: August

I realize that I always say one of the best ways to save money at the farmers market is to buy what is in season but I never blog about what is in season or what I’m buying. I thought I would take you WITH me to the beautiful, epic Santa Monica Farmers Market for a little peek at what is in season now.

Peaches

Eggplant – When I saw eggplant a few weeks ago I let out a squeal of delight. I LOVE eggplant and please note that there are about 5 varieties at this booth alone.

Heirloom Tomatoes – Both minis and full size perfect for Grilled Heirloom Tomatoes

Peppers

Bunches of herbs – Actually these are pretty much available year round, $1 for a bunch!

Summer Squash – Again, squeals of glee when I spotted these a few weeks ago! I’ve been using them in this risotto recipe to make summer risotto.

Papaya Melon – Like honeydew but 100% better! Sweet and mild, this is what I use in my Prosciutto Melon Salad.

Carrots – Normally I associate these with Fall, they are so good when honey roasted.

Ginormous ArtichokesGrilled artichokes are good but I need to find other recipes.

BerriesSo summer.

What are you loving at the farmers market right now?

One dish dinner & an apartment update

What with marathon training and enjoying my summer I am all over simple dinners that I can bring to work for lunch. I found this gem when going through back issues of Real Simple.

One Dish Bulger, Asparagus and Lemony Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup bulger
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375. In a baking dish combine water, bulger, salt and pepper in the bottom of the pan. On top, layer the asparagus in a thin layer. Salt and pepper the salmon and place them on top of the asparagus. Squeeze lemon on top and place the lemon, just like so…

Cover the pan with foil.

Place in the oven and back for 30 mins. When you take it out you will have two perfectly cooked meals!

In the words of Ina, “how easy is that?!”
So easy. You have no excuse not to make a fantastic dinner tonight. I don’t cook a ton of meat but salmon is my protein go-to. And the reheated lunch was delicious and didn’t have that fish-ey thing that you get with shrimp.

Apartment Update!

If you follow me on Twitter you already know that my application was accepted for apartment #2! I sign my lease on Saturday and my lease starts on July 2. I am totally getting a celebratory treat on Saturday from Tavern, since I can WALK there from my new apartment! Oh yes. You thought there were a lot of Tavern and Susie Cakes and NY Bagel on the blog last year. Just you wait.

In the meantime, here are some other pictures from the apartment for interested parties…

Living Room

The other side of the kitchen. Words cannot adequately express how excited I am to cook in this kitchen. Seriously people. See the counter space near the oven? That’s what I’m working with NOW and I don’t have a full size oven either. And there is a window. It’s love.

Love the funky knobs in the bathroom.

More than a little excited about a yellow tub. So funky. There is a matching yellow shower.

A bedroom with its own door that closes and is TOTALLY separate from the living area. I’ve been dreaming of this for years.

I cannot wait to get into my new apartment and work on decorating!

What is your décor style? I had a decorator but my style is definitely eclectic.

Fennel, Sausage, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Long time readers know that if there is one go to dinner that I love its homemade pizza. There is almost nothing easier than coming home and slapping some ingredients on dough. Plus it’s also my favorite go to meal after long runs. I pretty much have it down to a science. I love to experiment with different flavor combinations. Seriously, I think there needs to be a running pizza post on LCC, I make it that frequently.

Heather made a reader request last month for healthy pizza. I really love sweet potato kale pizza from the skinny bitch cook book. That recipe is vegan and totally delicious. Here is another healthy recipe. Ok, maybe it’s not as healthy as SB’s recipe but I think it turned out pretty well and let’s face it, it’s healthier than baked potato pizza (which is TOTALLY delicious).

For this pie, I prepped the dough as I usually do

Then I spread a thin layer of goat cheese on the dough.

I also laid down a layer of chopped fennel. I love the flavor of fennel (like black licorice!). Does that make me weird? I feel like that flavor doesn’t get a lot of love.

Then I added the rest of the toppings I love. Right now I am really into Trader Joe’s applewood sausages. I rarely actually cook meat for myself due to extreme levels of laziness but I’ve been adding this sausage to random dinners. I also added a general sprinkling of spinach which, again, I’ve been adding to everything recently! There are so many ways to include spinach in meals.

Doesn’t that make you just want to eat a ton of spinach? Just me? Just me? Ah well.

Baked at 450, 14 mins later…

I wasn’t totally sure how this pizza would turn out. I used a WEIRD combo of flavor combinations. I mean sausage, fennel, and goat cheese? Perhaps surprisingly, this was pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

OK, time to spill! What is your favorite, but totally weird, flavor combination? Besides fennel, sausage and goat cheese I enjoy pretzels dipped in veganaise. Yes. I am going on record and admitting that. Embarrassing, I know.

For the love of bacon

It’s no secret; I’ve gone a bit overboard on bacon recently.

It all started with bacon at the Griddle.

Then there was bacon from Local.

Fake bacon from Real Food Daily.

And finally, post half marathon bacon.

I declared all of these to be the “best bacon ever” within the time frame of a month. I know; I have pretty much turned into a bacon whore. But things went to a whole new level on Thursday.

What happened on Thursday? Well, my new coworkers and I went to happy hour and then a few of us went to Art Walk in Downtown LA. We totally blew off the art in favor of food trucks and based on the line up that they had, can you really blame us? There were two lots full of trucks including India Jones, the Lobsta Truck, the Grilled Cheese Truck, Fry Smith, the Buttermilk Truck and Ludo Truck. Oh yes, it was like a lineup of my all time favorites.

I immediately made a beeline for this.

Better than I remembered.

My coworkers tried Buttermilk, India Jones, Fry Smith, and Ludo. Then we decided to was time to try CoolHaus. I’ve never been to CoolHaus before so I definitely wanted to check it out.

And then this happened.

Browned butter and candied bacon ice cream. The ice cream was like a supped up version of your traditional vanilla. The bacon added a little something extra but it wasn’t a literal bacon taste. I love browned butter and I think that it deepens the flavor of pretty much everything. I would get this again but there are so many other great flavors at Cool Haus but next time I think I would try like fig and balsamic.

As for the winner of best bacon? Not going to lie, RFD’s fake bacon is pretty killer. In the real bacon division I have to give it to the Coronado. The bacon was thick and tasted so good after 13.1.

Back at it

How was everyone’s long weekend? Mine was good. It was the last hurrah of vacation because I started work on Tuesday! This marks what will likely be the last internship that I will complete (did you know that I’ve done 6 total? True story) So far I really like the place I’ll be working and I am looking forward to going out in the world and actually doing something with my law skills. Very excited to see what the summer holds for me! More on that at the END of this post.

Before work started I made this fantastic dinner. It is Paula Deen inspired so you can probably guess what the main ingredient is (butter).

I give you: Shallot, Scallop and Goat Cheese Quesadillas.

Oh yes. Get excited. The inspiration for this dish came from Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook. I took some of the elements of her Bay Scallop dish and rolled it into a quesadilla with some goat cheese.

I took 1 tablespoon of butter and melted it down at a low heat. Once the butter melted I added 1 chopped shallot. It is very important to cook the shallot and butter at a low heat slowly. Do NOT burn the butter. Seriously, just don’t. While the shallot is cooking take out a quesadilla (I used Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat) and spread it with goat cheese (again, I used Trader Joe’s spreadable goat cheese, but anything will work). Once the shallots are soft and lightly browned transfer the shallot to the quesadilla and set aside. There should be butter left in the pan.

Then, raise the heat in the pan to medium high and add about 8 baby scallops (which should be salted and peppered on either side) to the pan. If there isn’t enough butter then add about a half tablespoon more. Sear the scallops on either side for about three mins. Once the scallops are done, transfer to the quesadilla. So at this point you should have your quesadilla with everything in it. Lower the heat again, to medium, and place the filled quesadilla in the pan, heat it up, fold it up and cook until the quesadilla is crispy.

Yum. Shallots cooked in butter? Thank you, Paula. You are a goddess. The butter goddess. This will be a repeat quesadilla for sure!

National Running Day:

Did you know that today was national running day? Well it was! I hit the pavement after work for a 4 mile run (my favorite run around my neighborhood). I’ve been laying low on the running to ensure that nothing happens to my foot before my half marathon on Sunday but the 4 mile run felt incredible. My legs felt good and I had a fantastic runner high afterwards. Yay runners run!

What I’m Wearing Work Edition

Anyone who knew me, especially in college, can attest to that I love dressing up especially in business casual. Last week I took my suit (for court!), a blazer and a dress to the tailors. I hadn’t lost enough weight last summer to justify alterations and I didn’t wear them all year so some nip/tuck was much needed! In addition I dominated the Anthropology sale rack and Zara and came away with some fun new pieces. I’m so excited to wear them I thought that I would share them with you!

High Waisted Skirt, Zara

I don’t frequently shop at Zara (sometimes I feel like their proportions fit oddly on my body) but I did pick up this fun, high waisted skirt last week. Zara has cute stuff and is pretty affordable so I was happy to find something I really loved there.

Shift Dress, Anthropology Sale Rack!

I have an obsession with Antro. No joke. I really will know that I have made it when I can wear Antro to work every day. This dress fits like a glove and will pair well with a cardi.

White Blouse, Anthology Sale Rack

Not necessarily for work (maybe with a tank under, paired with a nice pant on casual Friday?) but this was fantastic for Saturday bunch in Silverlake. I paired with olive green shorts. I love how light and summery this top is!

How do you dress for work?

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo Salad

Don’t call it a comeback. I finally took to my kitchen today for the first time in longer than I would like to admit. My eating habits during finals were pretty terrible. There were endless trips to the hot bar at Whole Foods and random snacking. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t get proper nourishment for two weeks with the exception of a few meals and truthfully, I wasn’t that hungry. My appetite came roaring back during yoga last night (a 3 min head stand will do that to you) and today I took back my kitchen with this lovely summer dish.

Today felt like January in LA. It was cool (60 degrees, and yes I realize that there was a WIND CHILL in Chicago today so I won’t complain too loudly but I did see a women in a parka today so we’re going to count it as a ‘cool’ day). I think this dish would be great at a picnic, as a bbq side dish or, you know, whenever you want to feel like it’s 4th of July weekend. This recipe is a Barefoot original so feel free to pretend you’re in the Hamptons drinking a pitcher of mojitos with Jeffery as you eat it.

Ingredients:

Serves 3

3 servings of orzo pasta

1 lemon

10 shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 minced scallions

Generous chopping of fresh dill (I used a lot because 1) I love dill and 2) I bought an obscenely large stalk at the FM this week)

1 small hot house cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and diced

1/4 small red onion, diced

Generous sprinkling of Feta Cheese

Salt

Pepper

EVO

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take 3 servings of orzo (as directed by packaging) and cook until al dente. Once the orzo is done, drain and set aside in a large bowl. Then in a small bowl, combine juice from 1 lemon (make sure to remove any lemon seeds that escape in the process of juicing), a 1/8 cup dollop of EVO, plus salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together.

Combine with the orzo in a large bowl. Make sure to stir in thoroughly.

Next, chop the dill, onion, scallion, and cucumber. Set aside.

See, the dill I bought was SO freakishly large that it didn’t fit in the camera frame!

Get your shrimp out!

Put the shrimp in a baking pan, sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and EVO. Make sure the shrimps are covered in salt, pepper, and EVO and roast in the oven. This should only like about 7 mins at the MOST. Make sure the check on them so they don’t get overdone. If leftover shrimp freaks you out like it freaks ME out you could, in theory, wait to do this step until you are going to serve. The orzo stores well and you could just cook the shrimp right before you want to consume it.

Toss the shrimp in with the orzo. Then add the chopped ingredients (dill, scallions, red onions, and cucumbers). Top with the feta cheese and toss.

At this point, you can refrigerate the salad or let it sit at room temp for an hour like Ina instructs. But, if you’re like me, you photograph and eat as quickly as humanly possible because it is so tasty!

This pasta salad is delicious. The lemon and dill together felt like summer and the crispness of the onion, scallions, and cucumber was amazing. Can you promise me that if you make this you will only use the freshest of the fresh farmer’s market ingredients? Because using anything less or subbing out an ingredient just wouldn’t do the flavors justice. Roasting is by far my favorite way to cook shrimp (ok, I lie, I also have a special place in my heart for grilled shrimp) and it puts a great extra-special touch on this dish. This is the kind of thing I can see myself making on a Sunday and then bringing to work for lunch throughout the week. Oh yes, I see jealous co-workers in my future.

What meal just reminds you of summer? I could use the upper- another overcast day that requires boots might put me over the edge.

She Runs LA: The After Party

Last Thursday after completing my 10k I took a quick shower and headed downtown to the Nokia Theater for the After Party!

I was excited to attend this event for a number of reasons. I loved the idea of an all woman race and Nike is a great company. But the best part of the event? I got to attend as media, complete with a media pass. Seriously, I felt so VIP.

I quickly found Amanda, her sister Sarah, Lea, and Kaitlin! Events are always better with friends.

Amanda and I also mugged with our media passes.

On our way into the party we were able to take pictures on the pink carpet. They were so profesh!

Inside the event there were sections set up by sponsors including Bliss Spa, Pop Chips, Paul Mitchell (I use his product on my hair, in case you were wondering -> I know that was keeping you up at night), Zico, Coke, and Luna.

The party was really crowded!

I have an, umm talent, for pushing through crowds. That’s what 4 years in Boston will do to a girl. I was able to get to the front of the Bliss stand and get a perfume sample and a body butter sample but it was so crowded we didn’t really get to try any of the other stands. I understand that there was some hair styling over at the Paul Mitchell station and there were dancing games on another level.

I wanted a zico so badly after my hot run but I wasn’t able to get one because it was too crowded and they ran out. I grabbed a coke instead.

Add it to the tally 😉

We also found Kelley and proceeded to look at Nike products like shoes…

WANT.

And running watches…

I am currently a zen runner, meaning I don’t run with a watch. I feel like it would lead to obsession over times etc and running is really my mellow time to unwind. But with the marathon coming up I feel like there would probably be a benefit in running with a watch. It’s cool to know that there are options outside of a Garmin and Nike Plus (Nike Plus isn’t compatible with my ipod).

After staring lustfully at the products we made our way into the theater. The show was We Are Heroes, the all women dance team from America’s Best Dance Crew and Mike Posner.

I still love the graphic.

Sadly, we realized after getting into the theater that there was still over an hour before the show even started. We were really tired and hungry because there was no food at the event so we made an executive decision to leave early.

We took more photos on the way out… but this time with Kelley!

And one more!

We love the Pink Carpet!

The group headed over the Yard House for dinner and some drinks. The drink choice was easy, there was a Red Rocket similar to one Amanda and Kaitlin loved at the CoLAboration beer garden.

I trust these girls with the beer recs. They know what they’re talking about. It tasted so good and was so refreshing. Just what I needed!

For dinner I ordered two “snack” size items (a size smaller than appetizer). My choice as to what to order was easy.

Ahi Tuna with avocado. I love me some ahi tuna!

The dip had bacon in it. Can you blame me? Literally I opened the menu and I immediately locked eyes on the sweet potato fries. Amanda actually said, “Oh, did you see the sweet potato fries?” Um yes. Duh.

Overall, it was great to hang out with some awesome people and I enjoyed the event. I wish it was easier to get to the vendors. We also got to take home goody bags. The bags had Luna Bars, and Pop Chips! I love pop chips and they were consumed the next day, obviously. I also loved the goody bag! It was super colorful reusable grocery bag. I actually got compliments on it at Trader Joes this weekend. A great time was had by all!

In it to win it

Hey blog peeps! Sorry it’s been a while since I posted but as you can imagine it has been a bit of a whirlwind around here since Tuesday. Thanks for the predictions on my coffee consumption. LCCMOM has the highest guess, which I suppose is telling since I can pretty much give her credit for my addiction habit. I owe you a post about the She Run’s LA after party and I was going to do it yesterday. Let’s just say I went into yoga with a plan for the night, as I was getting into my meditation there was chanting of “USA” outside the window of the studio on the Promenade and when I emerged from yoga the world was a different place. I had intended to post but I went home and was glued to the news. She Runs LA after party post will be happening, eventually.

Saturday I took a final (I kinda rocked it, no biggie) and I’ve been spending most of my time since then studying, tempered with some nice breaks. Like today! I spent 6 hours in the library so I took a study break for a walk on the beach. This probably the best study break I’ve taken in the past 2 years. In all I covered 2.5 miles in the sand which counted as my workout today.


Another achievement? I ran 24 miles last week which is a high for me and also the first time I’ve run more miles than my age! I capped the week off with a 10 miler on Saturday and boy did my legs feel it yesterday. I also went pretty hard in yoga last night. I kinda rocked my back bend which was awesome! My body was tired today so I let myself rest up a little bit. I’ve also done a good job of not rewarding myself at Susie Cakes and/or Tavern and/or Huckleberry every day for being focused while studying. This is good for me. I can reward myself with healthy things like time on the beach, rather than the intoxicating smell of Susie Cakes.

However, the trifecta of winning really happened when I came home and made an EPIC dinner totally on the fly: Seared Salmon with Garlic, Lemon, Dill Aioli, sautéed Summer Squash, and Wheat Bulger with Scallions. Oh yes, it was epic! I promise, it was ridiculously quick and easy to make too!

I started with 1 tbsp. of EVO in a pot with ¾ cup wheat Bulger (which is like a cousin of couscous and quinoa). I put the heat on low and made sure the Bulger was coated in the oil. Then I added 1 and 1/8 cup of water, raised the heat to a boil and then reduced the heat and let it cook for 15 mins.

Next, I heated 1 tbsp of EVO in a pan with med/high heat. While it heated up I patted the salmon dry and salted and peppered each side. Then I placed the salmon in the hot pan and seared it on each side for about 3 mins, or until the inside of the salmon was light and flakey.

Once the salmon is done keep everything in the pan and sauté the summer squash for about 5 mins, until cooked through. I used two mini summer squashes which made their first appearance at the FM this week!

Check on the bulger. Once it is done cooking (it will be like couscous or quinoa) fluff and add one sliced scallion.

Finally, make the aioli. For the aioli I used a spoonful of veganaise (because I like it better than mayo, true story), squeezed lemon, chopped fresh dill and a little bit of garlic spread. I didn’t measure it out; I just eyeballed it because that’s how I roll.

For something I made totally on the fly, this was pretty tasty. I got the seared salmon and bulger idea from a random back issue of Everyday Food but I came up with the aioli on my own! This meal was very filling and I am glad I added the baby squash. It was their first week at the farmers market and they were so tiny and adorable I knew I had to buy some! The best part of this dish was that, besides being filling and healthy, it only took about 20 mins to throw together. If you start with the bulger and then do the salmon while the bulger cooks you can do it in 20 mins. Also, minimal chopping was involved with the meal.

Let’s just say that between my first final, my running mileage and this insane meal, I’m in it to win it 🙂

What are you winning right now? It’s important to recognize our achievements, right!?

Couscous Stuffed Pepper

Good evening blog world! How’s it going? Who has work or school off tomorrow? This girl does! I spent the afternoon chilling and cleaning. I did some serious cleaning! I’m not that messy but I did a deep clean including but not limited to dusting, moping, vacuuming, scrubbing, and organizing. I’m still not done but am excited about the results. I need to pass my Mom’s “white glove test”.

For dinner I was super healthy because, lets face it, I’m working HARD on that pint of pumpkin ice cream obviously served with mix ins. I had a couscous stuffed pepper with roasted veg. I made the quickie version.

The pepper at the farmers market for the last few weeks have been glorious. When I saw it I knew I needed to make something wonderful with it. I cored this puppy and roasted it (standing up) with other veggies on the same tray because this is the quick version. Normally I would sautee the veggies and then bake in the pepper. Tonight I roasted (at 400 degrees for 30 mins with EVO&S&P) bok choy, eggplant, squash (summer), and broccoli. While everything was roasting I prepared the couscous.

If there is a difference between regular couscous and whole wheat couscous I can’t taste it.

Then I took out the veggies. I was hoping the bok choy would turn out like kale chips…

Um, kinda? The white part was still moist but it was pretty tasty none the less! I actually liked these better than kale chips.

I combined all the veggies with the couscous and then stuffed the pepper…

Pretty good. For being a quick version it tastes a lot like the long version. The pepper was soft and flavorful. Farmers market for the win! This will be happening again soon. I liked the roasted veggies, especially the bok choy. I don’t cook with it often but I should cook with it more. This was a delish dinner.

Tomorrow is the kick off to a great weekend. There is talk of Clementine and dinner in Pasadena! Wahoo!