There’s a macrobiotic restaurant in town called Casa de Luz that I love to go to when I’m in need a bit of a recharge… especially, the kind of recharge where I don’t feel like cooking anything myself. When you walk in, there’s an Ayurvedic proverb painted above the door that says “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” I love this.
It’s actually feels less like a restaurant and more like a yoga retreat or commune. There’s no menu, just one meal served – it rotates daily but will always contain a grain, a legume, blanched greens, steamed vegetables, a pickled vegetable, and a delicious sauce. It may sound limiting, but I’ve honestly had some of the best sauce and vegetable pairings of my life here, so I used this basic template to build my own bowl.
For my at-home “casa bowl,” I included this delicious turmeric tahini sauce that I’ve been putting on everything. It’s my favorite type of creamy sauce in that it doesn’t require a blender so you can stir it together in no time – just be careful not to spill that turmeric on your countertops!
I steamed carrots, broccoli and kale – I think there’s so much glory these days in roasting vegetables that we sometimes forget how good nicely steamed vegetables can be. I like to steam mine until they’re just tender and far from mushy.
Usually, I would reach for chickpeas or black beans, but I went out of my comfort zone and gave mung beans a try. The nice thing about them is that they cook quickly. They have a bit of a funny taste (if you’ve never tried them before) but within this bowl they’re perfection. You could always sub in lentils or chickpeas if you like.
And that’s where the effort stopped – I took a few shortcuts by using frozen brown rice from Whole Foods and store bought (Bubbies) sauerkraut as my pickled vegetables.
These components all keep nicely in the fridge if you want to save the leftovers for lunch during the week.
A few years ago, I posted Seared Tofu Banh Mi sandwiches on the blog and to this day they are one of our most popular recipes. I love a good Banh Mi, so I’m not at all surprised. This recipe is a version of that – sans the bread. Not that I feel there’s anything wrong with a good toasty baguette here and there, but in an effort to lighten things up I present spring rolls. Or should they be called summer rolls? Either way, let’s get on with our banh-mi-like filling.
There are a few steps involved in this recipe, but up until the rolling, everything can be made in advance. The recipe starts by making banh mi pickles. After you make them, they can be stored in the fridge for at least a month, so you’ll be prepared next time a banh mi craving hits.
Next, marinate the tofu in a garlic-tamari-lime-lemongrass mixture. This post is the last in the series of our partnership with method (see post’s 1, 2, and 3). The inspiration behind this post came when method asked me to come up with a lemongrass recipe inspired by their lemongrass scented kitchen wash. I think this is my favorite of them all because I just love lemongrass. Love & Lemongrass will be our next blog’s name.
Here’s a step by step of how I tuck and roll!
Happy Monday, it’s pasta time! This is a spin on a recipe that has been a reader favorite (also one of my favorites) from our cookbook. In the book, this creamy miso pasta is made with brussels sprouts – have you tried it? If so, you’re going to love this version with shiitake mushrooms and kale. If you haven’t tried it, well now’s your chance 🙂
The cashew cream has just 5 ingredients: cashews, miso paste, garlic, lemon, and black pepper. It’s so simple to make, yet it’s so hearty and delicious – especially with sautéed shiitake mushrooms. Shiitakes have such a wonderful umami flavor – I just love them here with this bright lemon-y sauce. There’s also some kale in here for good measure.
I used brown rice fusilli, but any short pasta cut (spirals, shells, etc) will work great in here to soak up the sauce.
I have to admit something to you. This food blog job isn’t always as glamorous as you may think it is. It’s a job, like any job, with fun parts (cooking! eating!) and less fun parts that involve sitting behind a computer monitor, editing, writing, emailing, etc. It’s not a sad life by any stretch, but it’s also not glitz and glory – it’s work. Except… when some of the opportunities that come my way are totally out of left field – and I find myself going to California for a day touring an absolutely beautiful almond orchard instead of touring Adobe Lightroom.
A few weeks ago I went to visit Chamisal Creek, a family farm that’s part of the co-op of farmers that make up Blue Diamond Almond Growers. It was a (surprisingly!) sunny day and the orchard was in full bloom. We ate Almond Breeze blueberry muffins, learned about the process of growing almonds, and enjoyed a beautiful farm-to-table lunch.
The romesco sandwiches they served at the lunch inspired this recipe. My version here is made vegetarian by using roasted cauliflower as the “meat” of the sandwich – to me cauliflower and romesco go together like
peanut butter almond butter and jelly.
For me, it was really impactful to see that these orchards are pretty small family farms. The almonds that go into Almond Breeze aren’t grown at a giant mega-farm or anything like that, they’re grown exclusively by independent farms in the Blue Diamond Growers co-op. This farm, owned by Michael Dougherty and his family, is a 700 acre farm that grows 12 varieties of almonds and also produces wine, olive oil, and peaches. By being a part of the co-op, the farmers get much-needed support, and in turn Blue Diamond gets high quality almonds. Almond Breeze is the only almondmilk brand that actually has the orchards within its own organization.
Here are some pics from our dreamy visit!:
Driving to the orchard, I was surprised how much the almond trees looked like cherry blossoms:
The tour ended with this sweet vegan pear tart, which is on my list to make soon!
I’m sure most of you’re already a fan of Laura’s blog, The First Mess. If not, you should be – you’ll love it. Laura and I both started our blogs around the same time, and I’ve been a fan of her creative, plant-based recipes ever since.
I’m so excited to share this recipe from her new cookbook today. The First Mess Cookbook came out last week and I have to tell you – it’s a stunner. I saw an early PDF copy months ago and I not only drooled over every single page, I read it (virtual) cover to cover. I especially loved all of her little tips and tricks, like how she makes homemade almond milk by using almond butter so that no soaking or straining is involved – genius!
You’re gonna want to make everything – Cookies for Breakfast, Savory Ginger Green Onion Crepes, and she even has a recipe for Earl Grey Vegan Tiramisu that I’m dying to try out. Laura has a way of combining ingredients in such unique ways.
When I finally got the book in my hands, I had a hard time choosing which recipe to share here – so I let Jack choose. He narrowed down his picks to the Creamy Winter Vegetable Stew with Mustard, the Deep Immune Cup of Soup, and this “risotto” recipe. Obviously we picked this one. 🙂
This is a fun twist on risotto. In her book, Laura talks about disappointing quinoa risottos she’s had at restaurants in the past (since quinoa isn’t very creamy), which led her to create this recipe. It mixes a white bean puree into the quinoa to make the risotto rich and creamy. There’s no butter, no cheese, and also… no standing at the stove stirring for a lengthy amount of time like most risottos.
While it’s not a full-on risotto replacement, it’s so wholesome and delicious. Top it with roasted broccoli and brussels sprouts and you have a warm cozy meal that’s perfect for these remaining chilly spring days. The only thing I added there was a clove of garlic and a bigger squeeze of lemon (for obvious reasons).
Go get the book!