My mom and I have been dying to go to Little Italy's farmers market all summer. I conveniently have had work every saturday morning (or some other obligation to tend to) for the last couple of months so we never got around to actually going. FINALLY we went this weekend- we had some family in town from the Bay Area and I was able to get my work shift covered, so the wait was over! (But definitely worth it!)
Looking at these berries makes me really regret not buying any... or even trying golden raspberries which I never have had! After enjoying a green smoothie we left with a few peaches, green grapes and flame raisins. The peaches are now perfectly ripe and so delicious- Spencer and I had a little after dinner- and I plan on using the raisins soon in some granola! I have a grape addiction so those didn't last very long but they sure were yummy and so much better than store bought grapes (I still love you TJ's).
Dinner was our favorite- grilled pineapple and veggies, sweet potato and corn. But this was no average pineapple...
We all got a good laugh after realizing how strange this pineapple was... I'm not so sure what happened during this little guy's growth process but he was a juicy and sweet pineapple either way, and made for a nice picture.
After going to THREE different stores we finally found corn. It was a really stressful time and neither Spencer nor myself were about to have a corn-less grilled veggie night. Apparently corn is on its way out of season (probably why it was on sale at Whole Foods). So we bought five.
For the sweet potato, I half boiled it then cut it in half and threw it on the grill for a little. It added some nice grill marks but wasn't dramatically different from just letting it cook all the way on the stove. Also if you want to be a cheater (oops) you can cook your sweet potato in the microwave. It sounds a little sketchy, I know, plus I really hate microwaves, but just stab that thing with a fork a few times, wrap it in a paper towel, and microwave it for four minutes on each side and you're set. The skin can get kind of chewy and that's my favorite part so it is definitely can be worth it to have patience and cook your sweet potato stove-top if you are like me. But like I said sometimes you just can't wait for your sweet potato. Hungry Kate doesn't have time for stoves.
First off this post is so late. I don't know where the last few days went!
Spencer and I started off the day at the Kearny Mesa farmers market. It was pretty small but we got a delicious fruit cup to snack on before lunch in Pacific Beach.
Cucumber, jicama, mango, and lots of watermelon!
After walking around and enjoying the very hot day we decided it was definitely pizza night- polenta pizza night! I have been wanting to try out polenta pizza for a while (I feel like I always say this) so after the usual stop at Trader Joe's we were ready to go with all of our topping supplies!
As you may be thinking, pizza is absolutely not vegan- so feel free to leave out the cheese (this is what I did) and add extra veggies instead. Also you can use a dairy-free cheese replacement like Daiya Food's Shredded Motzarella Style Cheese, which is actually quite tasty but not the healthiest thing in the world- but I guess "real" cheese isn't the healthiest either. It is something worth trying though, Daiya cheese melts like normal cheese and tastes like it too. We actually use this brand for quesadillas and bean and cheese burritos at the vegan restaurant I work at.
Also as a note this recipe is great for anyone trying to avoid gluten, because polenta is made from corn!
Individual Deep-Dish Polenta Pizza
1 Tube Trader Joes cooked polenta
1 jar organic tomato sauce
1c sun dried tomatoes
2c sliced mushrooms
1 red bell pepper
1/2c Kalamata olives
Dried or fresh basil (fresh is tastier if you have it)
1.5c Feta cheese (omit for vegan, or cheese replacement)
You will need 4-5 oven-safe ceramic ramekins to bake the pizzas in.
Preheat your oven for 400 degrees. Wash and slice your toppings.
To make the polenta crust, you need to get a little messy. The cleanest way to do this would be to make homemade polenta from cornmeal and simply pour it into the bottom of the ramekins, but who has time for that (thank you Trader Joe's). So I decided to be lazy and/or difficult and use cooked polenta, mash it up and press it into the bottom of the ramekins to create a crust. It is a little tough to get it to stick at first but keep going and I promise you it will stay! I got a little frustrated trying to do this (you can ask Spencer) but be patient!
It should look something like this. The little one was mine (and I was still hungry).
Next is the fun part. Basically you pile everything on that your heart desires, starting with the sauce (duh) and ending with the dried herbs. I regret not adding pineapple!
Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese starts to turn golden brown. As you can see we made enough for the whole fam and everyone (especially my grandpa) loved them! It's always fun having individual sized portions too, just make sure you give the pizzas a few minutes to cool because the ramekins are super super hot!
Ended the day with a beautiful sunset!
Ever since my birthday lunch in Del Mar I've been wanting to make a watermelon-herb salad (that I could actually eat!). After a long day of traveling from Los Angeles to San Diego, Spencer and I were happy to find a delicious looking watermelon and fresh herbs in the fridge. We stopped at Trader Joes and picked up a bag of their Organic Herb Spring Mix. This is one of my favorite salad mixes, and is filled with baby lettuce, cilantro, parsley, and dill. It adds a little something extra to any salad, and is naturally high in Vitamin A and C!
Watermelon Mint Salad
1 bag Trader Joe's Organic Herb Salad Mix
1/2 small watermelon
1 bunch of mint
1/3c raw sliced almonds
Cut up the watermelon into little pieces and mix in with lettuce and mint leaves. Top with sliced raw almonds and balsamic vinegar (or any dressing of your choice). You really don't need a heavy dressing for this salad because the watermelon is naturally so juicy, but I'm sure any vinagrete would work well too. Also, currants would be a delicious addition, as well as goat cheese if you want a creamier texture.
This salad literally takes 5 minutes to put together yet looks so pretty and colorful. Summer in a bowl!
Spencer and I have been on a real grilling binge lately. It all started off on the 4th of July (could you have guessed?) when we put together a small meal for a few of his friends in Los Angeles. Apart from some beef patties that I handled like a champ, we grilled up an assortment of banana peppers, fresh pineapple, and Organic Veggie Burgers
from Trader Joes. I think I devoured the majority of the grilled pineapple which were so sweet and delicious, but the veggie burgers were also a success! They are packed with veggies and sprouted soy beans and are really high in protein-- you definitely won't be cut short choosing TJs veggie burgers over beef. And don't forget to put a grilled pineapple slice on top!
Our grilling addiction continued the following week where there was plenty more pineapple and veggies to be eaten. We saved some pineapple and made a fresh salad with sliced almonds and avocado (make this!), and returned to Trader Joes to try out their vegetable skewers and portobello mushrooms. Both were easy enough and great with a little hummus and Sriracha!
Last night I decided it was finally time to select a recipe from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook. My mom and I had purchased giant portobello mushrooms a few days earlier so I figured this was a good time to put two together! Portobello Floretine sounded good to me-- grilled portobello mushrooms beneath wilted spinach and topped with a cauliflower based hollandaise. Being the complicated person I am, I decided to adjust this a little and leave the hollandaise out, replacing it with a sweet potato puree.
Portobello Florentine with Sweet Potato Puree
(adapted from Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook)
Ingredients (Serves 2)
1.5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1.5 tbsp maple syrup
1.5 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
2 portobello mushrooms, stemmed
1/2 can organic pureed sweet potato
3/4c unsweetened almond milk
1tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/4c sliced, raw almonds
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the first 4 ingredients together and mix. Pour over the portobello mushrooms (stem side up) and let marinate in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. Grill to your desired softness, adding any extra of the marinade to the mushrooms throughout the process.
The spinach and sweet potato puree should be heated at the same time while the mushrooms are grilling so everything is ready at once. Put the spinach in a pot and add some water (you really can't go wrong), salt and pepper and place over a low flame. I don't even think I let the water come to a boil when I made this.. I don't like my spinach to be super soggy so in order to keep a little texture I kept the temperatures low (don't trust me on this logic.. cook your spinach how you want!). Anyways, in a different pot add half a can of sweet potato puree, almond milk, and nutmeg. Make sure the canned sweet potato is organic and unsweetened (actually look at the ingredients) or else your dinner might end up tasting like a thanksgiving day dessert. I really should have made my own puree since I bailed the cauliflower earlier but I was craving sweet potato and decided to make due with what I had! You can add any spices to the sweet potato, maybe red pepper flakes if you're feeling spicy? It does end up being a sweet topping but I think it worked well with the saltiness of the mushroom. Once your mushrooms are juicy and tender, your spinach is softened to your liking, and the sweet potato puree is warm, stack everything together and top with sliced almonds
That's it! I think I defeated the point of making a "florentine" by changing the hollandaise sauce into a sweet puree, but it was yummy nonetheless and definitely something worth trying if you are a mushroom lover like me!