Roasted Sourdough with Smoked Salmon and Vegetables

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This isn’t a “recipe” so much as it is a way to combine ingredients on top of bread so that it’s a full-on meal with minimal effort.

I had all of this stuff on hand, some ingredients thanks to meal prep (quick pickled bell peppers), and some ingredients courtesy of my local farmer’s market (smoked salmon goat cheese, heirloom tomatoes, & roasted garlic sourdough bread).

I am not going to write a traditional recipe for most of this, because it doesn’t really need one. I started out by roasting the roasted garlic sourdough bread drizzled with olive oil in the oven on 400 for about 6 minutes. Note: Fresh bread can be sliced and then stored in the freezer. I store each slice in individual plastic bags and date and label them. Then I take them out and pop them in the oven with some olive oil whenever I’m ready to eat them.

Now you have roasted bread (any kind of bread’ll do). Next up, I have spread a harissa, cumin, and and chili goat milk cheese on the bread. Honestly, I almost just stopped here. Good cheese on good bread with good olive is all you really need. Alas, I then added a couple of slices of an heirloom tomato (I saved the rest of the tomato and threw it in a beef bolognese I made later that day). Then I added some greens — I used sweet mixed greens, but you can use anything. I have made this before with romaine and the additional crunch is very nice. Arugula would work great too. Use whatever you have on hand. Then I topped this with smoked salmon. I am lucky to have a wonderful vendor at my farmer’s market, and I definitely splurge on smoked salmon. I would recommend you do the same — sub-par smoked salmon isn’t very tasty and it could ruin your dish! (Okay, so just make sure that you like it first.)

The only part of this recipe that I made prior to assembling were the quick pickled sweet bell peppers. I recommend making this at the beginning of the week, and storing in its brine all week in the refrigerator. I top a lot of food with these guys, they add a nice sweet crunch that many dishes deserve in order to feel complete. I will post the recipe in just a moment.

On top of everything, add chopped dill (parsley or cilantro would be lovely additions as well), and add kosher sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Now you are ready for a delicious lunch, breakfast, dinner, or snack!

Quick Pickled Sweet Bell Peppers

Depending on how many bell peppers you have, you may need to adjust the amount of brine you are making. I typically use two rather large bell peppers, and I make sure that the bell peppers are completely covered by the liquid in the container I store it in.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large bell peppers (I like to use two different colors like yellow and red)
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher sea salt

Directions:

  1. Deseed and remove the stems from the peppers.
  2. Slice lengthwise into about 1/4 of an inch.
  3. Add peppers to a glass container with a tight lid.
  4. Add vinegar, sugar, and salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring with a wooden spoon.
  5. Let cool completely.
  6. Add mixture to the glass container once cooled and toss to combine.
  7. Make sure peppers are completely covered and this should store in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

 

Baguette Crisps

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This is a very simple recipe, but an important one if you buy fresh baguettes (or other fresh breads) — it helps preserve the deliciousness inherent within, that sometimes just gets tossed instead of made into its own wonderfulness.

Many other cultures relish their stale bread. They can be made into soups, croutons, bread crumbs, and the list goes on-and-on — or they can be made into crisps. These crisps taste a lot like a substitute for chips or bagel crisps that you buy in the store, except these are essentially FREE since you are just using leftovers that you already have. You can top them with anything you like! I topped mine with a little bit of butter and an olive-capers-anchovy tapenade with a little boiled chard on top, so you can do you and get a little crazy with these. Or you can just eat them as-is.

Ingredients:

  • Leftover stale baguette, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • Good olive oil

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 °.
  • Cut baguette into 1/4 inch slices if you have not already — the thinner, the better
  • Lay pieces on a baking sheet and leave space between each one. If you are overcrowding the baking sheet, use two.
  • Cook in oven for 6 minutes, then flip. Cook for 4-6 more minutes, until crisps are golden brown.
  • Enjoy by themselves, topped with your favorite ingredients, with butter, as a side for soups, etc.

 

 

Refried Bean Quesadillas

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This is probably the most basic recipe — to the point that I feel sheepish even calling it a recipe. It’s more of a life hack that has fed me many times when I thought I could not go on (without some food). If I don’t have any fresh produce or I am in dire need groceries, I whip these up. I always try to keep tortillas and a can of refried beans on hand just for this refried bean quesadilla occasion. You never know when the time may strike, so you gotta be prepared. The modifications are endless, and you’ll likely have at least one of the optional items in your refrigerator or pantry to spice things up (or not; they’re good as-is).

I add everything from sautéed onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms to hot sauce to shredded cheese on top, and sometimes when my goods are plentiful… all of them! I also think it is key to cook the quesadilla in butter, but this is not necessary. I’ve lately taken to serving an herb vinaigrette on the side as a dipping sauce. So. So. Good! Okay, here’s the base recipe:

Ingredients (1 serving):

  • 6 – 8 in. tortilla (really whatever size you want)
  • 1/2 can of refried beans (really as much as you want)
  • Butter

Directions:

  1. Lay tortilla flat and spread a layer of refried beans on it.
  2. Lay the other tortilla on top of the refried beans (add any of the other optional toppings below), and pinch around the sides so as to enclose the beans.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Once it is heated throughout, spread a layer of butter (or olive oil, or any other fat) to coat the skillet and then heat the butter (this prevents sticking).
  4. Once the butter is heated, add the quesadilla to the skillet, and cook until browned (about 2-3 minutes). Flip the quesadilla, and cook until the other side is browned (about 1-2 minutes).
  5. Add any optional toppings to the top of it all or find a dipping sauce that you like to serve on the side. And we’re done!

Optional:

  • Fresh herbs, chopped (cilantro is great)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cooked rice
  • Sautéed vegetables
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream
  • Greek yogurt with lemon
  • Herb vinaigrette (olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, any other fresh herbs)
  • Hot sauce
  • You do you — get crazy!

Lemony Herbed Breakfast Salad

I went on a two-mile walk this morning around Lake Merritt, and when I returned home, I felt the need to treat myself (healthy style). The fresh herbs and fresh lemon juice and zest truly make this salad feel decadent, yet also very light. A perfect way to start the new week.

Pretty much everything can be subbed for something different, or omitted if you don’t have it. If you don’t have a lemon, sub balsamic or champagne vinegar. If you don’t have feta cheese, substitute another fat — toasted walnuts or crumbled goat cheese would be great. For the fresh herbs, use as many as you have on hand. You get the point… all we are doing is adding a protein, fat, herbs, and greens together with a citrus and an oil, topped with sea salt and ground pepper. Okay, now for the ingredients.

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Ingredients (one serving)

  • Egg, fried (yolk still runny, but white part solid)
  • 1-2 sprigs each of dill, parsley, & cilantro (stems removed, chopped)
  • 1 tbsp. feta cheese
  • Mixed sweet greens (or green of your choice)

Dressing

  • Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Lemon zest (about 1/4 tsp.)
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Assemble the salad: lay the mixed greens and top with the egg. Then sprinkle the chopped fresh herbs and feta cheese on the salad.
  2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and drizzle on top of the assembled salad.
  3. Top with sea salt and ground pepper. I also added red pepper flakes for some spice, but that is completely optional.

Tofu Sloppy Joes

I grew up loving Sloppy Joes — the classic version featuring beef. This is a healthier twist on the classic recipe. I’m surprised by how healthy, yet ALSO delicious it is. My fiancé loved these so much that he requested to take the leftovers with him for lunch the next day (and I let him, don’t worry, guys). This recipe serves four, so adjust as necessary! This is another recipe modified from Carole Raymond’s, Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook. Love you, Carole.

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Ingredients

  • 14-16 oz. firm tofu
  • 1 chopped red onion (yellow works, too)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 – 2 chopped bell pepper(s) (I used orange, but green or red would work)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. 100% pure maple syrup (or other natural sweetener)
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes + more for added spicy
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 4 whole wheat buns

Directions

First, press the tofu — to do this, I wrap the tofu block in lots of paper towels and then sandwich it between two plates and set a heavy object on the top plate (an ole textbook will work). Let sit while you prep the rest of the veggies.

Chop the red onion, mince the garlic cloves, chop the bell pepper, dice the tomato, and chop the parsley. Set aside until you need them.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat, then add the olive oil and let heat through. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes to give it a head start on the bell pepper. Then add the bell pepper and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add the minced garlic towards the end of this time so as not to burn.

Crumble the tofu into the skillet, along with the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, cumin, oregano, chili powder, maple syrup, red pepper flakes, salt, about half of the parsley, and black pepper (to taste)

Now the sloppy joe filling is complete. Add to whole wheat buns and sprinkle parsley on top, then sandwich that baby shut. Enjoy!

Cod en Papillote over Mixed Greens

I like this recipe because I love cod. And I love roasted tomatoes. And I love herbs and lemons and balsamic vinaigrettes.

This recipe lends itself to using up whatever items you already have on hand. Instead of cilantro, parsley, and chives, you can use whatever fresh herbs you may have on hand. I think the more the better for this recipe. Instead of Greek yogurt and lemon juice, you can use crème fraiche. I also added some roasted tomatoes (recipe included) because I had a bunch of heirloom cherry tomatoes on hand and I threw it all over mixed baby greens with some barrel-aged feta.

So, here we go. The ingredients are for one foil pack and you can do as many as you like!

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Ingredients:

Cod en Papillote:

  • Cod, boneless and skinless (or other fish)*
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. Dry white wine (or apple cider vinegar)
  • Mirin (optional)
  • 2 tsp. – 1 tbsp. of each herb: cilantro, parsley, and chives
  • 1 tbsp. Greek yogurt & a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges
  • Salt & pepper

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Balsamic Vinegar Dressing:

  • 2 parts olive oil
  • 1 part balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. honey
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Other

  • Mixed greens
  • Feta
  • Aluminum foil
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheet

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°.

Lay out foil and place 1 tsp. of butter on the bottom. Add salt and pepper to both sides of cod, then lay on top of the butter. I like to fold up the sides of foil around the cod at this point, so the rest of the ingredients stay in one spot.

Next, add the white wine and mirin. Then top with the lemon zest and herbs. The more herbs the better here. I didn’t write measurements, but I probably used 2 tsp. – 1 tbsp. of each herb listed (cilantro, parsley, chives), with a little leftover for a topping. Here you’ll want to mix the Greek yogurt and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Then add a dollop on top of the other ingredients and gently place lemon slices on top of everything. Add a pinch of salt and pepper on top, and wrap the cod into its foil package.

Bake the cod for 15 minutes.

While the cod is baking, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add cherry tomatoes, and drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper, and then mix everything together. Make sure that the tomatoes are spaced out so that they roast. Roast in the oven for about 8 minutes, checking on them around 5 minutes. You’ll want them to look pruned. Once done, take out of the oven and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, honey, and salt and pepper.

Once done, arrange mixed greens on a plate. Top with cod en papillote and roasted tomatoes. Drizzle balsamic vinegar dressing over everything. Add salt, pepper, leftover herbs, and crumbled feta to taste, and you’re done!

 

*If frozen: For a quick thaw, add the sealed bag of fish in a bowl of cold water and let it thaw for about 30 minutes. You should be able to tell once it’s thawed. If it floats to the top, make sure you flip it over halfway through.

Tempeh Tacos with Healthy Sour Cream

In college I attended a school in a small college town called Clemson. I was vegetarian or vegan for almost the entirety of my college career, and in small college towns, there were very few offerings in the way of vegan or vegetarian food.

So, I had to learn to cook for myself! I obtained a cookbook, called “The Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook” by Carole Raymond, and it saved my life and also taught me how to cook… on a budget. It’s only appropriate that the first recipe on this blog is a modified recipe from the cookbook (and it’s not vegan, unless you don’t add the healthy sour cream).

This was one of my favorite recipes, because it took so little time to prepare and required very little effort on my end. Now that I have more experience under my belt, I have learned to modify and make it fit my taste a bit better, but it’s still close to the original.

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Tempeh Tacos with Healthy Sour Cream

Ingredients

Tempeh

  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. salsa
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 4 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • Frank’s Red Hot, or other hot sauce of your choice, to taste
  • 8 oz. tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Healthy “Sour Cream”

  • 1 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. lemon or lime juice

Condiments/Other

  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lettuce of your choice
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado or Guacamole
  • Tortillas

Directions

Mix the tempeh ingredients together in a shallow bowl using 3 tbsp. of the olive oil, and coat tempeh evenly. Let tempeh marinade for about an hour, stirring every so often.

Heat skillet on medium-high. Once heated, coat the skillet with the remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil.* Once olive oil is hot, add the marinated tempeh and let it cook for about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 3 minutes. Set aside.

Combine the Greek yogurt with the lemon or lime juice. Stir to combine. Set aside. You now have your healthy sour cream!

Warm tortillas and then add the cooked tempeh, sour cream, and whatever other condiments you desire.

* By first allowing the skillet to heat, and then adding the olive oil and allowing the olive oil to heat, we are preventing sticking to the pan.