Since most of my days, at the moment, are filled with cooking and taking photos for someone else’s cookbook; sometimes it’s hard to be inspired enough to come up with something different for my blog. It’s doubly hard when most of the ingredients are reserved for said recipes! This will basically be my “problem” for January, so I can’t wait for the freedom that February will bring.
My mind was drawing blanks left and right, yesterday, when I was thinking of just what to make that night. That was until I had lunch with my friends Trevor and Fiona after Trevor’s graduation ceremony. We decided to order some Buffalo Cauliflower -baked as opposed to fried- as an appetizer. It was pretty good, but not as good as the stuff at Mohawk Bend. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen a ton of recipes for buffalo cauliflower in the past few months. So, when Trevor thought that it would be a good idea to do our own version, we knew that we had to change it up a bit.
That’s where this lively and flavorful blossomed into a spicy, aromatic appetizer. With intense flavors of Thai Curry combined with the creamy coconut lime aioli that has a garlic/onion undertone, this dish is a winner. After I took photos of it, we basically annihilated the bowl of cauliflower with the help of our friend Michelle. I can’t wait to make this again! Next time, I’ll make sure to double the recipe.
I told you that there would be tons of zucchini recipes coming your way! This time, I was craving some fried zucchini; my mom got me hooked on fried zucchini when I was a kid, and now that I can’t just go out and get it at any ol’ restaurant it always sounds so good. But, I refrained from frying them, because the last time that I did I was dumbfounded by how much oil actually stays in the zucchini fries. (duh!)
So, I broke out the panko crumbs and invited a couple of girlfriends over for some baked zucchini sticks and brews (gotta even out the void that the oil left ). What a smarter person would have done is look up a recipe like what I was trying to accomplish and change it up a bit to their liking, but at least have a solid foundation. What I did was go into this without doing any of that and used my instinct and knowledge of ingredients to make something that was at the very least edible.
Do not fear, because not only were these zucchini sticks edible, they were delicious even without the savory, spicy queso dip that we poured onto them. The only thing I regretted not doing with this recipe was making more of them. They disappeared in mere minutes! (We were very hungry)
Crunchy baked zucchini sticks paired with a creamy, spicy queso dip makes for an awesome appetizer!
1½ lbs. Zucchini, Cut into ½” wide x 4″ long sticks
⅓ Cup Hot Water
1 Tbsp. Ground Flaxseed
1 Tbsp. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup or So Panko Crumbs
Salt & Pepper
¾ Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
6 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbsp. Diced Green Chiles
½ Cup Finely Diced Tomatoes
½ tsp. Dried Cilantro
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Onion Powder
⅛ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Stir the ground flaxseed and AP flour together in a small cup, add the hot water in gradually so that the flour does not clump. Once fully mixed, pour into a shallow bowl and let sit for 3-5 minutes to thicken.
Cover the surface of a small plate with panko crumbs until it is roughly ¼” deep; sprinkle a couple of pinches of onion powder, salt and pepper over the crumbs.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and get a large baking sheet ready for placing the zucchini sticks.
Submerge the zucchini sticks, one at a time, into the flaxseed mixture and make sure to cover all sides. Next, press the zucchini into the panko mixture until all sides are crusted with crumbs.
Repeat crusting steps until all zucchini is used and place the breaded zucchini sticks on the baking sheet roughly 1-1/2″ apart.
Bake zucchini for 7 minutes on each side of the stick (almost 30 minutes).
While those are in the oven, in a small pot, bring the almond milk to a boil.
Once boiling, add in the remainder of the ingredients and still until the nutritional yeast has dissolved.
Lower heat to low-medium and simmer for 5 minutes, taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve the sauce warm with the zucchini sticks straight from the oven.
First off, I hope that everyone had a great Memorial day weekend and that you had some great food and a lot of fun. The weather here in Southern California was sunny, breezy and just about perfect for grilling. I’m not trying to brag or anything, I just want to set the scene for you: clear skies, a slight breeze, mid-70s outside, chilled drinks and party burgers. All in all, I can’t complain!
So, let me share with you these delightful black bean party burgers. I’ve made black bean burgers a couple of times previously and I feel that when I winged it this past weekend, they turned out to be some of the best that I’ve made at home. They baked up perfectly, were definitely grillable (although I had veggie kabobs taking up my grill space), and full of great flavors.
I feel like I’ve been away for so long! When I go too long without posting, I get kind of anxious; I may have a problem. Now, I’m back for just a bit and then I’ll be off again. This month has been a roller coaster, and at the moment I’m in a low spot, unfortunately. Hopefully, things will soon look up, but if they don’t I’ll try my best to stay positive. Amongst the stress of deadlines and not having any time this April, I’ve learned that my remaining Grandparent has lung cancer. My grandmother has been a life-long smoker, so it’s no surprise; but it still isn’t something that you want to hear about your family member. Thankfully, she’ll be moving in with my parents and seeing the better doctors and specialists that Southern California has to offer; not to mention, I’ll be able to make her vegan food all of the time! (Yes, she is actually interested in vegan food!) So, here’s to hoping for the best.
Usually, I wouldn’t get very personal on my blog about this kind of thing, but it is weighing heavily on my mind. If you read all that, then thank you for listening! Now, I’m not sure how to transition from talking about family members with cancer to sweet potato dishes, so I’m not even going to try. I’ll just tell you that this idea has been brewing in my head for a couple of weeks and I have the stash of sweet potatoes to prove it.
Also, I got my Spiralizer in the mail a yesterday and had to use it IMMEDIATELY, even though what came of the sweet potato ringlets could have been done with another kitchen tool, I still had a blast using it. Another new “tool” that I used with this recipe is a homemade light box. I saw that Carrie on Vegan was making her own from Oh She Glow’s tutorial, and thought that I’d give it a try. How could I be mad at getting “good” photos at night, too? Let me know what you think about the photos, orange is a hard color to really get right for food and I’m still not used to editing the colors this way; but I think they turned out alright.
These sweet potato tots are baked instead of fried, and filled with tons of Vitamin A; pair it with a chipotle sun-dried tomato aioli and you’ve got a winning combination!
2 Large Sweet Potatoes
2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, Melted
½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Sea Salt
⅔ Cup Warm Water
2 Tbsp. Ground Flaxseed
3 Tbsp. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
⅓ Cup Vegan Mayo
⅓ Cup Raw Almonds, Soaked for 30 min.
¼ Cup Oil-free Sun-dried Tomatoes, Soaked in warm water for 30 min.
⅓ Cup Tomato Soaking Water
2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
½ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Crushed Chipotle Pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a mandolin, spiralizer or just a knife, chop/slice/etc. the sweet potato into thin strips that are all consistent in size.
In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato, coconut oil, cayenne, cinnamon and salt together until evenly coated. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until very tender (but not really mushy).
While that is baking, stir together the flaxseed and warm water until it creates a gel-like substance. Once the timer goes off, take the sheet out and dice the baked sweet potato shreds.
Using the same large bowl, stir together the sweet potatoes, flaxseed mixture and flour. Start shaping 1 tbsp.-sized tater tots, then place them onto a baking sheet about an inch apart.
Bake for 10 minutes, then turn over and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
In a blender, puree the mayo, almonds, sun-dried tomatoes, water, maple syrup, salt and crushed chipotle together until smooth.
Season the aioli with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve with warmed tater tots!
This combination is insanely good, I even talked my dad into trying some out after he had told me “I don’t like sweet vegetables”. Guess what? After he was done chewing he followed up with a, “this may be one of your best dishes yet!”. Take that with a grain of salt though, he doesn’t try that many of my recipes out. Regardless, this stuff is good and would be a great side dish at any BBQ or get-together!
This is a vegan food blog that covers everything from indulgent desserts, to healthy dinners, and even raw recipes! I also write up restaurant reviews and am sort of a beer snob. You'll find that there is something for everyone, here!
If you would like me to photograph an event, test out a recipe, review your restaurant or just have a question you'd like me to answer email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org!