Roasted Cauliflower with Crispy Cavolo Nero

We’re all looking for new and interesting ways to eat vegetables, right? Well, we should be, even if we currently aren’t. Being on a quest for healthy living, we sometimes come across a dish that just appears so often on the table that it’s second nature. One of these dishes in my family is roasted cauliflower.

If you haven’t had roasted cauliflower, you really are missing out on something very simple, yet quite delicious. You can make it with a variety of accompaniments, but you can also just make it with a little salt, pepper and a bit of water in a hot oven and you’ve got something delectable to pair with your favorite foods. This recipe is for roasted cauliflower, but I used the addition of roasted Tuscan black kale also known as cavolo nero, to make a textural and flavorful difference, that’s sure to get anyone’s lack of green veggies replenished. Tuscan kale is highly nutritious and like most kale, has a bit of a bitter earthy flavor. The use of lemon and garlic, along with a very hot oven, changes the texture and flavor to a wonderful new experience. I hope you enjoy this lovely side dish.

 

Roasted Cauliflower with Crispy Cavolo Nero

 

1/2 head cauliflower, cut from the stem and made into small florets and washed, but not dried

1 bunch cavolo nero or Tuscan black kale, cleaned and chopped into bite-size pieces

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ lemon, juiced and zest of ½ lemon

Salt

Pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pinch cayenne pepper

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

On a large cookie sheet, place small cauliflower florets on sheet pan, just after they are washed and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the edges are brown and crispy.

 

In a small oven-proof sauté pan or on a large cookie sheet, mix together cavolo nero with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice spread evenly over the surface. Then place in the oven for about 10 minutes. Check the cavolo nero about half way through and turn them in the pan so they don’t burn.

Pour the two together and let roast for another 3-5 minutes, till flavors incorporate together. Check seasoning to taste and add fresh lemon zest.

Place in a serving dish and serve.

 

 

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Follow Your Heart

A delicious grocery and dining establishment, Follow Your Heart adorns the streets of Canoga Park on Sherman Way. Amongst the dollar stores, small antiques marts and other dining establishments is a valley landmark for Vegans and Vegetarians alike. A store unlike many, it’s a one-stop for all types of delicious vegetarian goodness. I’ve loved and frequented this place many times since I found out about it in high school, and it’s still one of my favorite places to go.

The store is set up like any shop with isles of whole grains, cultured enzymes, supplements, and every other type of veggie and health friendly items. Some of my favorite things to pick up there are their bulk items like Nutritional Brewer’s Yeast, interesting tofu products, organic produce and interesting grain flours. If you’re in search of something crazy for a vegan recipe, you’re more than likely to find it here.

Also, besides the great options for taking home and cooking, there is a small diner-style eatery available for dining in and taking out delicious vegan and vegetarian foods. A worldly menu of different styles of food, there is something for everyone here—meat eater or not.

I took my friend Stephanie here one weekend afternoon for a little shopping and beautiful patio dining. It was a gorgeous day for a late afternoon lunch and we indulged in the most delicious of options. I ordered the Spanakopita, which is a Greek pie filled with spinach and cheese and then wrapped in light and flaky wheat phyllo dough. I have to say, it was quite memorable—ever so decadent and cheesy, with delicious ricotta and feta running through the piping hot spinach. The dough was so delicate and delicious and for using wheat dough, you wouldn’t be able to detect the difference.  It was served with a side-salad of Greek-style vegetables, topped with cheese, as well as a mixed green side-salad with tahini-tofu dressing that was fabulously creamy, with no oil in it whatsoever.

I love the different ideas that vegan and vegetarian food can offer; it something I’ve always loved. Stephanie ordered the Nut Burger, a specially prepared vegan burger made in-house and served on wheat bread with a side-salad, carrot chips and a tea, all for about 10 bucks—such a steal. The two of us chatted over new upcoming projects and what inspires us, then headed back in the store for a couple of fun treats. Follow Your Heart is an interesting and honestly delicious and inspiration view of vegetarian and vegan food in the San Fernando Valley.

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Spinach and Cabbage Minestrone

What is Minestrone?  It’s said to be a soup comprised of the things you have on hand; maybe vegetables, meat, broth, beans or pasta. In Italian, minestrone, roughly translated, means the big soup. The kind of minestrone I like, is simmered for long periods of time, made with love and flavor that’s suited to my own pallet, which tends to include what I’ve recently bought at the market. I like perfectly plump white beans that have been simmered with onions, carrots, bay leaves and a slight heat from some red chili flake with tons of vegetables, cooked for different lengths of time to very textures.

I also love tomatoes in my minestrone. They bring richness, sweetness and acid, to a sometimes watery sea of vegetables. I used to make about five 22 quart containers of minestrone every week for the restaurant I used to work in, but this is not that minestrone. This is a combination of the flavors I had on hand, spices I love and flavors I adore, with an inspiration and a memory of the essence of what we used to create.
Very seldom do I keep to my old recipes, but I often try to escape new light into old favorites and this is just that. I won’t be able to tell you just how to make it, because there is no certain way to tell this particular tale in perfect soups, but know years of minestrone down the road, you’ll find the exact recipe you’re looking for and it probably won’t be written down. As you know, most of my recipes are ideas and schemes I’ve put together on the fly. I hope during these fall festivities you find yourself with a delicious bowl of hearty soup.

Ingredients I used:

Cabbage
Spinach
Carrots
Brown onion
Garlic, mashed
Oregano
Basil
Chives
Diced tomatoes
Broccoli
Zucchini
Slow cooked Fresh white northern beans
Bay leaf
Red pepper flake
Black pepper
Salt
Garlic powder
Coriander
Olive oil
Finishing  with best olive oil you can get your hands on
Water
Tips and Tricks
Always cook root vegetables first, because they need the longest times to break down and develop flavor.
Soft vegetables and herbs can be placed in last minute, to maximize flavor and texture retention.
If using canned tomatoes, develop flavor by cooking them for a longer period of time with root vegetables.
Beans are never cooked with salt, because they have the tendency to lose their shape and won’t absorb water well. Cook beans aside soup base and add seasoned beans to vegetables at ¾ the way through and simmer together to increase flavor in soup.
Taste your soup throughout the process.
And don’t forget, it will taste better tomorrow.

Cheers
-Unrivaledkitch

Real Food Daily Santa Monica

I love going out almost as much as I love eating in. It isn’t uncommon for me to spend a good chunk of money supporting my favorite local eateries or going to try somewhere new on the map or at least new to me. My lovely fashion blogger friend Stephanie was/is my partner in crime for local valley fun snacks and drinks to Santa Monica vegan cuisine at Real Food Daily.

I’ve been hearing lots of great things about Real Food Daily for a long time. Real Food daily has two locations one in Santa Monica California as well as another in West Hollywood California. They specialize in vegan cuisine and the whole restaurant is vegan friendly no meat products or animal anything is in this place and I have a great respect for that.

Of course when you head out to a distinguished area such as Santa Monica you’re in for a time finding a parking space but I know it comes with the area so finally after trolling around a couple of blocks three times I found a structure not too far for the restaurant for us to park. At the price of 7 bucks a car we started off the evening in the hole.

Walking up to the restaurant you’ll see a wide verity of people, hippies, scene-sters, athletic health freaks, as well as the more stylish side of Santa Monica and the like passing through the glass doors or ordering a latte or take out from the bakery portion of the restaurant. The host stand sits outside and once we walked through the doors the large white ceiling fixtures, yellow walls, the shinny espresso machine, and large vegan pastry case are the 1st focal points I noticed. We were sat in a small section upstairs in a back corner, I would say not the best seat in the house but without a reservation it would do. A bunch of tightly packed seats of wood and simple tables with utensils with paper napkins placed on the tables.

Real food Daily sells wine and beer so that’s always a nice added perk. Their wine list and beer list feature organic wines and organic breweries. I had really lovely dark ale called triple exultation by eel river brewing company located in Fortuna, ca. The ale had a deep rich sweetness with a nice dark aftertaste. I enjoyed it very much. Stephanie had pale ale from butte creek brewery located in Northern California.

As we enjoyed conversation and interesting girly gossip about new things we didn’t know about each other, we finally finished perusing the plethora of vegan options that Real Food Daily has to offer.

menu

Combining local organic ingredients and some of the best vegan options I’ve seen in a long time, it took me a while to really see what I wanted. But I decided on sharing a sundried tomato hummus and pita and for my entree i would have the BBQ Bello Salad.

The hummus to our surprise was under seasoned and underwhelming and honestly not very memorable, but not bad but not good. I would say the seasoning was lacking but maybe that’s the way of this place who knows. I thought the ratio of pita to hummus was a little strange as well. I knew that my beer was wonderful so I kept my expectations at a minimum for my salad as to not be disappointed either way.

Finally after we finished up a bit, I’d say the waitress was doing double the work she should be been and if I was a needy customer we would of felt avoided because we saw our waitress herself about 3 times during the meal. She was attentive and sweet but you could see that she was over stretched at the moment.

My salad arrived and the smell was just wonderful. It had a peppery sweetness to the whole dish and I couldn’t wait to try it but of course pictures first. The mango and avocado was divine it had all the textures that i look for in a good salad. The peppery ranch dressing is something that made the whole salad come together. The smooth creamy avocado with the sweet pungency of mangoes and red onions and the roasted BBQ flavor of portobello mushroom mixed with soft silky tofu was spot on. If this wasn’t a special for that month I’d say to order it straight away. I think I’ll definitely be making this salad myself sometime in my kitchen I’ll put a link to this post when i do. It’s definitely something memorable,different, and quite delicious.

Stephanie had a Caeser wrap that was filled with Blackened tempeh, avocado, capers, romaine hearts, caesar dressing, spinach tortilla she also added veggie bacon which she added was some of the best veggie bacon shes had since being vegetarian for almost a year now. Over all I’d say she was very happy with her wrap which was on side of a small mixed salad.

Sometimes expectations of things cloud the purity of the idea of a chef as well as some chefs just get side tracked, here just like anywhere we can find things that may turn us off but here there is the simple locality of wonderful vegan food and a restaurant that cares enough for it’s community to use local and organic ingredients and those things are what make Real Food Daily stand out.

Cheers
Unrivaledkitch
Twitter and Foodbuzz

Vegan clementine blueberry cupcakes with candied blueberry compote

Baking as you can tell is something I’ve grown to love. There is something that is to be said about a perfectly chewy cookie, a beautiful cake, or a wonderful sweet flavor combination and during my chef days I probably would of never said that to myself. When your a savory chef you hate baking and for the most part that’s what I used to be like. The patience it takes to bake and the precision it takes to make beautiful pastry is something I never thought I would be able to do. So many bloggers have inspired me to bake beautiful pastry, with fresh ideas, classics, as well as amazing ideas drawn up from some of the most eager imaginations, with this inspiration I’ve even been able come up with my own favorites a long the way. These cupcakes are something I’m extremely proud of.

I made these because vegan baked goods are something I love to toy around with. Tofu Cheese cakes, cupcakes, cookies whenever I can I try to test some out. These are really beautiful. Sure maybe they aren’t regular cupcakes but they are wonderful none the less. I hope if you make them you’ll love them just as much as I did when making them for the Online Bake Sale to Aid Japan put on by thetomatotart.com. Sabrina owner and blogger at Thetomatotart.com and Clemence From France bid on these cupcakes and I’d like to take the time to say thank you so much for your donation. Sabrina is currently in a battle with Paypal to get the funds released and sent to Japan’s Second Harvest food bank.  If you have time please click on this link The PayPal Saga, or Let’s Get Some Money To Japan and comment about how horrible it is to be holding these funds that the people of Japan so desperately need.

Clementines (Cuties) are small California mandarins. They are small tart and sweet and one of my very favorite snacks. These cupcakes came to be because I wanted to make My friend Virginia and her boyfriend Jimmy a dessert for Jimmy’s birthday. They both are crazy dieters but they love blueberries so I dreamt up this recipe with them in mind, for a special occasion. Unfortunately our plans fell through that evening and the cupcakes stayed at home, my family and I promptly devoured them anyway, this is one of my sisters new favorite desserts. But these are still something that Virginia would love and they are with her in my heart and mind, I love you dude.

So here’s the recipe I hope you make these and enjoy them as much as I do. You’ve seen these in photos before but here’s how to make them.

 
Vegan clementine blueberry cupcakes with candied blueberry compote

Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
• 2 Clementine’s zested
• 1 1/2 cups almond milk
• 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup unrefined raw sugar
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
• 2 Clementine’s juiced

Candied Blueberry compote
• 2 boxes of blueberries
• 2 tablespoons of water
• 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil or vegan margarine
• 2 juiced Clementine
• 1 pinch of Clementine zest
• 1/4- 1/2 cup of raw sugar (depending on your sweet preference and how sweet your berries are)
• 1 tablespoon of corn starch (optional)

The Way

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line with 18 paper baking cups.

In one small bowl add almond milk to it and the apple cider vinegar, the liquid will start to curdle and change into this weird swirly liquid that’s what it’s supposed to do. leave it there for about 5 minutes


In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, Clementine juice, vegetable oil.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then zest Clementine into flour


Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.

 

Spoon or pour the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.

Okay so here’s the deal. I tried these like three different ways
1) I put the candied blueberries on the bottom
Result- too mushy from the liquid
2) I put some fresh blueberries on the bottom
Result- not as mushy but still a little mushy
3) I put fresh blueberries on top then pushed them in the batter a little so they were in the middle
Result- they came out probably the best
4) place blueberries on the top
Result- the look like blueberry muffins.

So over all I think the best way to go may be either omit the berries in the cake which I think is no fun. Or put them in the middle of the cake about 4-6 per cake for a little accent of goodness, or on top if you don’t mind berries coming out of the top of your cake.

Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 17 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile take 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil or vegan margarine and melt it at the bottom of a small pan. Once melted add blueberries, zest, juice, and raw sugar melt and cook about 12-15 minutes till the blueberries are still somewhat intact but almost thickened a bit like jelly, if your berries are not thickening up or you’d like your compote to be thick add water and corn starch together in a separate bowl and combine till the corn starch is dissolved then add it to the blueberries bring to a boil for maximum thickening.


When times up for the cup cakes… you can use the tooth pick method on these also

Cool in the pan set over a wire rack.

Then wait till the mixture of berries is cooled as well. It will thicken more

Put the cooled berries on top of your cooled cupcakes and you got it

depending on how much liquid the berries have is how thick your sauce is going to be you can continue to adjust the thickening by reducing as well if you’d like to omit the corn starch, I’ve made it both ways i like without corn starch but if your cupcakes are going to sit for a while the corn starch might be a good option for you.

Enjoy!

Unrivaledkitch
Twitter and Foodbuzz

Online Bake Sale Auction Items to Help Japan

The Japanese need your help more than ever; this is what we’re doing to help.

Actions speak louder than words but cookies and cakes speak across the globe for a hand in helping out.

Japan is a part of my culture and my mind. As you’ve seen in my blog my family is part Japanese American, my dad is full Japanese. Pretty much all of our relatives are in the states now but still my heart aches for all the loss and destruction of so many others. I traveled to Tokyo in summer of 09 and had one of the most life changing experiences of my life. I found who I could be and what I could commit to walking the streets of somewhere so foreign but in some way so familiar. I loved being in Japan and one day I hope to return.

When Sabrina of TheTomatoTart.com asked if I would like to participate in an online bake sale to raise money for Japan there was no way I could say no. As many have been impacted by this horrible chain of tragedy involving Japan, it’s hard not to feel helpless. I’m glad I can incorporate (along with almost 60 other bloggers) my love for baking into helping people.

My heart is definitely weary by the chain of events so horrible to even imagine let alone live through, but the grace and intensity that the Japanese are going about dealing with such catastrophic events really says a lot of about the culture and its capabilities. I believe with all my heart Japan is seeing the light that so many hearts have been beaming towards them and will continue to do their best but I also know every bit helps. I ask only that you believe in hope, have a little compassion, and breathe a little peace into the air, in these dark times.

So please if you have the time to take a look  or if you like my items please bid on some of the delicious treats that will be appearing in the next couple of days over many food blogs, and join us on March 30th at thetomtotart.com for the bidding.

My Items for Auction

Carrot shortbread Crumb Bars with Roasted Pears and Candied Fuji Apples

These crumbly dense cookie bars will fill your senses with mystery as you bite and explore new elements.
Lovely notes of sweet carrot caramel and roasted sweet pears fill this bar playing on its classical play ground of apple crumb

These will ship vacuum sealed for freshness

Vegan Clementine Blueberry Cupcakes with Candied Blueberry Compote

This little lovelies are moist and light. They will be coming with the blueberry compote on the side and you can decide how much you’d like on top. These lovely zesty Clementine Cupcakes are perfect for the spring.

Cupcakes will be shipped in a container and the compote will be in a small jar

All proceeds will go to Second Harvest which aids in offering food and water to those in need.

Any more info kiddies click the banner!

Cheers

Unrivaledkitch
Twitter and Foodbuzz

Thanks Guys
Cheers