Cabbage Salad with Thai Peanut Dressing

We’re getting temps up in the 90s already in the DC area. So I’m already focusing on meals that don’t require cooking. Salads are also great for taking advantage of spring produce. The star of this is really the dressing, the salad can be made with whatever you have in the fridge (although I am partial to Napa cabbage). This would also be great with chicken or tofu, although I kept it simple by using thawed edamame. And while I’m not usually a huge fan of peanuts, they add a great crunch and extra peanut-y taste to this salad. As with all nuts, make sure you roast them briefly before using them. It really brings out their flavor, and if you’re like me and store nuts in the freezer, it also helps thaw them out. All you need to do is spread the nuts on a dry pan and place them in the oven. Set your oven to 350 or 400 and by the time it beeps to let you know that it’s preheated the nuts will be perfectly toasted.

Cabbage Salad with Thai Peanut DressingCabbage Salad with Thai Peanut Dressing (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Canadian Gift Guide

  • 1/2 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups frozen edamame, thawed
  • 1 cup peanuts, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Dressing:

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 limes, juiced
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sambal oelek (chili paste)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp peeled and minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

 

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I’ve always been a bit skeptical about vegan baked goods.  But every so often I like to be able to bake treats for a specialized diet crowd and so it’s important to have a good vegan recipe on hand for those instances.  These cookies are good.  They aren’t my ideal chocolate chip cookie because they’re a little bit too cakey for what I would consider perfection, but they’re very tasty.  They don’t look quite like normal chocolate chip cookies either, but except for the most discriminating of palates, I don’t think anyone will be able to tell that they’re vegan.  I hope you’ll give these a try and surprise your vegan friends with your considerate baking skills.

Vegan Chocolate Chunk CookiesVegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 15 cookies

Adapted from Pastry Affair

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (soy or coconut would also work)
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (make sure you’re using a dark enough chocolate that there’s no milk in it)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, oil, and milk until smooth.  Whisk in the vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Slowly fold into the sugar mixture.  Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Drop cookies onto a cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until set and beginning to brown around the edges.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Check out the new blog feature!  Now when you click on the “Print & PDF” button you can customize how much of the post prints!  You can include or exclude intro text and/or pictures.  Hope that helps with printing and saving recipes!

These bars are definitely a taste of spring.  While they’re not quite as delicious as my favorite cheesecake, this Blackberry Cheesecake, they’re easier to make and less fussy to share.  The lemon and blackberry goes great together and while I was a little skeptical about baking the blackberries, it really brings out the sweetness in them.  These have a subtle sweetness and aren’t as rich as traditional cheesecake.  The the graham cracker crust adds the perfect amount of crunchy to the creamy filling.

Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake BarsBlackberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-16

Adapted from Spoonful of Sugar

  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 1/2 pkgs (20 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 pints (about 4 cups) fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Line a 10×15″ (or 9×13″ would also work) baking dish with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter and mix with a fork.  Pour into prepared pan and press down evenly to form the crust.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Slowly pour in the condensed milk, then add in the lemon zest and juice, beating until smooth.

Pour mixture over the pressed crust and top with blackberries.  Bake for 35-45 minutes or until mostly set.  Turn off oven and let sit for an additional 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Salted Nut Chews (a.k.a. Lauren’s Christmas Cookies)

This is another recipe from my grandma.  These were the cookies I always requested for Christmas, they totally taste like the holidays to me.  I haven’t had these cookies in quite a few years, and so it was totally nostalgic having these again.  These are super sweet and decadent and totally addictive.  They’re an awesome balance of salty and sweet, crunchy and chewy.  I’m not usually a big fan of marshmallows, but these just add a sweet contrast to the salty peanuts and help bind everything together.  This was my first time making these cookies, and while they have several steps, they come together rather quickly.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Salted Nut Chews (a.k.a. Lauren’s Christmas Cookies)Salted Nut Chews (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-16

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks

Topping:

  • 3 cups mini marshmallows (about 1/2 a bag)
  • 2/3 cup white corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 oz peanut butter chips
  • 2 cups rice crispies
  • 2 cups salted peanuts

Combine all ingredients for the crust and mix with a fork until crumbly.  Press the crust into an ungreased 9×13″ pan (a 10×15″ also works well, you can also line your pan with foil to help with clean-up).  Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.  Immediately top with marshmallows, return pan to oven and allow the marshmallows to puff up, about 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the syrup, butter, vanilla, and peanut butter chips in a saucepan until smooth, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and mix in the rice crispies and peanuts.  Spoon mixture over the hot marshmallows.  It is best to do this as soon as you take the pan out of the oven, while the marshmallows are still very hot.  Allow to cool, then slice and enjoy.

 

Cinnamon Glazed Cappuccino Bars

Do you like coffee?  If so, these bars are for you.  These are a coffee lover’s dream.  They’re rich and decadent, with the espresso powder and dark chocolate cutting the sweetness, and then topped with a cinnamon glaze that totally takes these to a new level.  These have a lot of kick to them and a little goes a long way.  This would be perfect for any students you know…make these during finals to give them an extra caffeine boost to finish studying.  I’ve always known coffee and chocolate were a good match, and chocolate and cinnamon is awesome, but the three together is really a great combination.  Check them out and let me know if you agree!  (If you’re not sure you’re a coffee lover, you can reduce the amount of espresso powder, 1/2 a Tbsp would still give a taste of coffee but wouldn’t shine quite so bright.  You might also use semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet for a less dark flavor)

Cinnamon Glazed Cappuccino Bars

Cinnamon Glazed Cappuccino Bars (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-16

Adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (although white whole wheat would probably be good)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz (about 2 cups) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a 10×15″ jelly roll pan with foil or parchment paper, grease lightly with cooking spray.  (A 9×13″ baking pan would also probably work, but you’d have to increase the baking time a bit to make sure it cooks all the way through)

In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, espresso powder and vanilla.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and mix into the butter mixture.  The dough will be on the crumbly side.  Fold in the chocolate.

Dump the batter onto your prepared baking sheet, and press into the bottom of the pan in an even layer.  Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  (They’ll sit in the pan until cooled, so don’t let them cook too long or they’ll get overdone with the residual heat)

Meanwhile, make the glaze.  Place all ingredients in a small pot and let melt over medium heat.  Whisk gently and bring to a simmer.  As soon as the bars come out of the oven, drizzle with glaze, spreading it to the edges with a spatula if necessary.

Let bars cool in the pan, then cut into squares and serve.

Apple Crumble (vegan)

I’m still recapping foods made in April!  This is the last recipe I made for the ladies at my church’s annual Women’s Retreat.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend since I had a bunch of studying to do, but I was glad to at least participate by providing the food.  It sounded like it was an excellent event and everyone seemed to enjoy the food.  So if you’re looking for a meal plan for your next gathering, this was a great, healthy, colorful, easy combination.  For a snack in the morning I made Paleo Morning Glory Muffins.  For lunch there were three salads:  Strawberry Spinach Salad, Springtime Quinoa Salad, and Garden Bean Salad.  And for dessert I made this Apple Crumble.  It’s based off the Pear and Cranberry Crumble I made awhile ago, and is really easy to scale up or down depending on how many you’re feeding.  It would also be lovely served in individual ramekins with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!  Sadly this was too delicious and I forgot to snap a picture of it!

Apple Crumble (vegan)

Serves 12

Filling:

  • 8-10 apples (I used a half Pink Lady, a tart apple; and half Fuji, a sweet apple)
  • 1-2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Topping:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel and core the apples and cut into bite-size pieces (about 1/2″) and spread out in a 9×13″ baking dish.  Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.  Toss gently and set aside.

In a food processor combine all the ingredients for the topping.  Pulse several times until well combined.

Spread oat-walnut mixture evenly over the top of the apples.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly, golden and delicious.

Remove from oven and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Garden Bean Salad

I love me some beans.  They’re a great source of fiber and protein.  They’re delicious hot, cold or room temperature, they place nice with tons of different flavors, and they’re easy.  Despite my bean love, I’ve never quite liked three bean salad.  There’s a weird sweetness to it that tastes kind of stale to me.  So this is my update on a three bean salad, with lots of vegetables to up the freshness (and health benefits!).  You can use pretty much whatever you have on hand.  I’m usually not a fan of raw onion, so I used shallots which have a slightly milder taste, and I soaked the slices in cold water while preparing the rest of the salad to give them an even milder flavor.  In the end I thought they added a nice subtle spiciness, but weren’t too overwhelming.  You could also mince red onion, or just slice red onion depending on your love of onions.

Garden Bean SaladGarden Bean Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-15

Adapted from Food Network Magazine, September 2010

  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 (15oz) cans small white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, diced (orange would be nice for the color, but whatever you like)
  • 3 cups frozen green beans, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

Soak shallots in cold water while preparing the rest of the salad.  In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, tomatoes, bell pepper, and green beans.  Mix in the drained shallots.

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, oil and pepper.  Pour dressing over the salad, let marinate at room temperature for about an hour.  Garnish with parsley, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Springtime Quinoa Salad

Spring this year in DC was a little weird.  We got some crazy hot 90° days and then had some rain and dropped back down to the 50’s…so with our little heat spell, spring seemed to pop all of a sudden.  And despite the fact that the warm weather keeps coming and going, I can’t help but get excited about some new, fun, cold salads.  Does that sound lame?  But really! Salads are great and feel so refreshingly spring!  All of the bright green vegetables in this salad are mixed with quinoa (an awesome “grain” that’s technically a seed and is protein packed!), and then it’s taken to a whole new level of freshness with the addition of a lemon basil dressing.  Yum!  This is great for a crowd and can be served cold or at room temperature.  If you don’t think you’ll eat it all at one time, I’d suggest only adding avocado to the portion you’ll eat.  Avocado has a tendency to turn brown when exposed to oxygen, which will make it less appetizing, although the acid from the lemon should help, as does keeping it in an airtight container, so it should be fine for at least 1 day before it starts looking a little sad.

Springtime Quinoa SaladSpringtime Quinoa Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-15

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

Salad:

  • 2 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bunches asparagus, cut in 3/4″ pieces
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 bag (16oz) frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 avocados, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Lemon Basil Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tsp agave (more to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp salt)

Pour the quinoa into a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Allow the quinoa to toast for a few minutes, until fragrant, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent burning.  Add water and salt and allow quinoa to come to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and then add to a large bowl to cool.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the chopped asparagus and allow to cook for a few minutes until tender.  Add the lemon juice and remove from heat.  (If your peas aren’t thawed you can add them to the skillet for a minute or two to thaw them).  Add the asparagus and peas to the bowl with the quinoa.

In a bowl or jar, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Pour dressing over the salad, toss to combine.  Just before serving, fold in the avocado.  Serve room temperature or cold.

 

Strawberry Spinach Salad

This salad is great.  If you’re not a salad person, give this a try.  It’s a wonderful combination of sweet and savory.  This is one of my aunt’s favorite salads, and when she got married she asked the caterers to make this for the reception.  The caterer (and everyone else) loved this recipe so much he asked if he could keep it in his repertoire for other clients.

Not only is this beautiful and delicious, it’s a great healthy combination.  Iron (from the spinach) is absorbed better when it’s eaten with vitamin C (from the strawberries).  So as strawberries begin to show up everywhere, pick some up and make this spring flavored salad…you might just love it enough to have it at your wedding.

Strawberry Spinach SaladStrawberry Spinach Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 6-8

  • 1 bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Add spinach to a large bowl, top with sliced strawberries and toasted pecans.

Dressing:

  • 1 cup veg oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until it turns a pale pink (from the red onion).  This makes a large amount, at least enough for 3 or 4 salads.  Store dressing in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving (this will make it easier to pour).  Toss with salad just before serving and garnish with some toasted pecans.

Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

Happy Mother’s Day!!

Sister came down early to celebrate Mother’s Day, so we had our Mother’s Day brunch a day early.  When we were growing up Sister and I would make breakfast in bed for Mom.  So breakfast foods are our traditional celebration.  This year Mom requested this herbed ricotta tart, and something fruity for dessert (because it’s brunch you totally get a brunch dessert, right?)  So after a bit of Pinterest browsing we settled on this recipe.  It’s a great recipe!  This is the perfect amount of sweet and tart, with a great crumb and a slightly sweet crust.  The blueberries, burst with purple deliciousness and balance wonderfully with the lemon zest that gives this cake a fresh, vibrant taste.

Thanks, Mom for all that you do.  You’re absolutely amazing.  And you have excellent taste in cake 🙂

Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast CakeBlueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake slice (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large lemon, zested
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (plus a Tbsp for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (1/4 reserved for tossing with blueberries)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease an 8×8″ pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Cream butter with lemon zest until light, add sugar and continuing beating until fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake (A Seat at the Table)

Toss blueberries with 1/4 cup flour (this keeps the berries from sinking).  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Alternate adding in the flour and the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Be careful to only mix until just combined after each addition.  Fold in the blueberries.

Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with a little sugar.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Serve and enjoy!