Skillet Shortcake with Fermented Strawberries (plus Kraut Source Review)

Skillet Shortcake with Fermented Strawberries

I am so pumped about this post!  I did something ya’ll.  I tried something new.  Some might think it’s slightly coo-coo.  But it’s not.  It’s a thing…a big thing…a real game changer!  I fermented fruit!  And I used some new equipment to help me…which made my (fermentation) life WAY easier!

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DIY Flavored Coconut Butters – Sweet and Savory

DIY Flavored Coconut Butters - Sweet and Savory
Easy.  Delicious.  Nutritious.  Affordable.   Skip those $10 – $15 jars of expensive coconut butter and DIY it!  I bought a 5-pound bag of organic unsweetened shredded coconut for $13 and made my own jar of coconut butter for about 60 cents!  It’s easy and you can add all kinds of flavorings to suit your condiment needs.  I made a Vanilla Cinnamon version and a Yellow Curry version.  Sweet.  Savory.

Virtual Vegan Potluck: Lemon Thyme Polenta Bites with Arugula Pesto & Mushrooms

Lemon Thyme Polenta Bites with Arugula Pesto & Mushrooms

Hello and welcome to the 2014 Virtual Vegan Potluck!  I’m so excited to be part of the VVP this year and want to give a huge shout-out to Annie, Angela and Poppy for organizing this worldwide virtual foodie event!  Be sure to check out all the awesome vegan recipes by way of the Go Forward/Go Backward buttons at the bottom of this post.  You can also go back and start at the beginning of the potluck chain.  Have fun, get hungry and enjoy!

Crispy Skillet Potatoes with Buttermilk Ranch Sauce

Crispy Skillet Potatoes w/ Buttermilk Ranch Sauce

For a very, very long time I’ve been trying to figure out how to make perfectly crisp skillet potatoes.  The kind of potatoes that give you that supremely satisfying CRUNCH as you bite into them but are gloriously silky and creamy in the middle.  I’ve been looking for a fool-proof method that would work every time…and I found it!  This is it.  And they are indeed crispy…crispy with a capital C-R-I-S-P-Y.  And to top off these wondrous carbs, I made a buttermilk ranch sauce — because everybody secretly knows ranch is the BEST.

Curried Apple Chutney

Curried Apple Chutney

If you’re looking for a recipe to have fun with, to play around with, chutneys are the way to go.  They’re incredibly versatile and very forgiving; you really can’t mess them up.  They’re also a great way to use up a variety of fruit and vegetables you may have on hand.  Have an overload of apples you need to use up?  Some peppers that are beginning to wrinkle?  Make this!

Apple Kale Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

Apple Kale Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

Restraint and I are not the closest of friends.  I may have overdone it a bit on Halloween and the day after.  So much candy.  So many drinks.  Such a good time.  And that’s why kale was invented.  It’s our reset button.  Kale is our designated driver, our friend that reminds us to not eat that 10th mini snickers bar.  Kale sets us straight, makes us right.  And this salad does just that in the most delicious way possible!

Vegan Garlic Cream Pasta w/ Roasted Broccoli & Mushrooms

Vegan Garlic Cream Pasta w/ Roasted Broccoli & Mushrooms

Creamy garlic sauce that’s vegan.  Skeptical I was.  No longer I am.  Like Yoda why am I talking?  I think it’s because this is some Jedi-like cooking going on.  It’s all Obi-Wan Kenobi up in here.  I did not think a vegan cream sauce could be this good.  But it is.  It’s magic…or the Force.  I wonder if a light saber would be a useful kitchen tool?  {oh boy, i think halloween is getting to me}

Radish Top Pesto

Radish Top Pesto

It’s taken me a little while to do anything with radish tops.  They kinda make me nervous.  I think it’s their prickliness.  But in my past two CSA boxes there have been some beautiful bunches of radishes attached to these soaring magnificent green leaves.  I just couldn’t toss them into the compost bin anymore, I had to figure out something to do with them.  And as one does with many peculiar greens they’re unsure of what do with, I made a pesto.  It turned out delicious!

Arugula Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Red Onions

Arugula Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Red Onions

My CSA box has done it again.  It’s led me to another veggie crush; this time delicata squash.  Have you tried it?  It’s a smallish cylindrical squash with stipey thin skin and sweet rich flesh.  I think I may even love it more than butternut squash, especially since it’s much easier to work with – you won’t lose a finger trying to cut it up and you can eat the skin (major nutrition!) so no peeling required.  It’s small size and thin skin also means it cooks quicker, high fives all around!

Beer Batter Fried Green Olives with Sriracha Mayo

Beer Batter Fried Green Olives with Sriracha Mayo

Gone Girl.  Have you read the book?  It’s twisted and dark in the best way possible, a real page-turner, enormously suspenseful. Written by Gillian Flynn, who’s storytelling is wickedly funny and scrumptiously creepy, the plot is a sticky spiderweb of “who dunnit?” And now the movie adaptation comes out tomorrow, for which she also wrote the screenplay. They chose the perfect director for it, too: David Fincher! And it was filmed in my town, Cape Girardeau, Missouri!  And my family and I along with several of our friends got to be extras; an amazing experience! And, I also got to meet….wait for it….(no, not Neil Partrick Harris–Barney Stinson joke there)…but Ben Affleck. Gulp. Heart flutter. Swoon.