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    hello there good looking,

    I'm Jodi. I'm a natural foods chef and lover of healthy, wholesome, and tasty foods that have the power to make us look good from the inside out.

    Monday
    Dec172012

    pine nut + peppercorn shortbread // vegan + gluten-free

    I'm a little embarrassed to admit this ..... but ... here it goes .... 

    I do not have a single cookie recipe on this blog. Well, until now.

    It is not that I do not love cookies, trust me, I do. Having a mid-day cookie is my secret indulgence. I usually pick up a freshly baked one when I am grocery shopping and nibble on it while waiting to check out. Sometimes the checkout person asks me about the half eaten cookie "do you know there is only half a cookie in there?", sometimes they giggle at my response, and sometimes they give me a look like "you couldn't even wait until you checked out to start eating that cookie". 

    Michael knows all about my secret mid-day cookie indulgence. I think he finds it funny.  

    So for my very first cookie recipe here, I thought it was appropriate to give you a recipe for my favorite cookie of all time.

    Shortbread.

    Hopefully you know me well enough by now to know that this cookie will not be your average shortbread. These little guys are both vegan and gluten-free. You're probably wondering how shortbread could possibly be vegan, well, I have a trick up my sleeve.

    Earth Balance. I use Earth Balance butter in place of real butter. I am not saying that this is a much healthier alternative to using real butter, but for someone like me who cannot have dairy (especially butter) this makes for a great alternative. If you tasted Earth Balance and regular butter side by side, you would never be able to tell the difference. 

    As for the gluten-free part of this recipe, since I am fairly new to gluten-free baking I had to consult my favorite gluten-free chef, blogger, and cookbook author, Aran Goyoaga. You might remember I did a workshop with Aran back in September. Her gorgeous cookbook came out shortly after that, and it has since become a staple and reference guide for gluten-free cooking and baking in my kitchen. 

    I have had her recipe for shortbread earmarked for some time, and since cookie season is in full swing, I have been playing with some variations of this recipe. She made hers with pistachios (which are wonderful) but I chose to share the pine nut version that I tried the other day. I just love pine nuts in cookies. I also took her advise and added the peppercorns. They add a subtle little peppery kick. The peppercorns dress it up and make it a much more adult cookie. A really really good adult cookie.

    I'm snacking on one right now ;)

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Dec132012

    mini quiches with jerusalem artichokes + chives

    It's party time.

    That time of year when you have two or three holiday parties to attend each Friday night up until New Year's. 

    I love a good party. I especially love a good holiday party. It seems like people are always in such a good mood during the holidays. Party mood, that is. 

    What make a party ... good? Good people, good food, good music, good alcohol, and all around good vibes. Throw in a christmas tree, some karaoke, and a guy dressed up like santa and, well, then you have a real shin-dig. 

    With all of the partying and entertaining that I have to do this month, I have been working on a few easy go-to recipes that I can bring or serve, whenever the occasion calls for it.  

    It's always good to have one or two party recipes up your sleeve. Ones that are easy to make, easy to eat, and can be made a little ahead of time. 

    Mini quiches are a great go-to party food. Not only are they easy to prepare, but you can also add or subtract ingredients based on what you have in your fridge or what is fresh. Only have potatoes and green onions  - no problemo. Spinach and mushroom - that will do! 

    Bring these to a party and they will surly be a hit. Don't forget to bring a few extra santa hats for your host or hostess. Santa hats are always a hit too. 

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Dec102012

    mustard marinated kale with roasted winter vegetables

    Back when I worked in the corporate world, things were a little different.

    I had to wake up about 30 minutes before my body wanted to every morning.
    I wore high heels and starched shirts.
    I would have breakfast at my desk, lunch at my desk, and I would prepare both in the little kitchen our office provided (sometimes getting odd glares from my co-workers who usually got take-out or ordered in).
    On days that I was busy I would never leave my desk, and on days that I was bored I would find every excuse leave my desk.  

    In the winter, I would leave the office an hour or two (or three) after the sun went down. Michael and I would often get home at the same time, and on most nights we would cook.

    I didn’t have as much time to get creative in the kitchen on the weeknights. Most nights I would stick to one of the several classic recipes that I knew well.

    Roasted vegetables were a staple. 

    When I took a bite of a roasted carrot the other night, it reminded me of something. It took me a minute to pinpoint it. Usually food can take you back to a lovely place, a fond childhood memory, a memory of a beloved family member, but not this roasted carrot. This roasted carrot reminded me of my old job. It was strange. It was not necessarily a bad memory, but not a picturesque one either.

    It got me thinking.

    Sometimes we cook things because they are simple and easy to make. Sometimes we cook things because they taste good. Sometimes we cook things because they remind us of a person a place or a memory.

    I realized, roasted vegetables are all of those things to me.

    They are easy to prepare, they taste really good, and now that I've thought about it, they remind me of cold, quite nights at home with Michael when we would change into comfy clothes and catch up on our days. Maybe it is a pretty fond memory after all. 

    Roasted vegetable in the wintertime are good for the soul.

    Kale is good for the soul too.

    Marinated kale is just really good period. The marinating breaks the kale down into tender bites that are easier to eat and digest. Massaging the kale helps the process of breaking it down as well. This technique is not only good for this kale salad, but for anytime you want to eat kale raw. 

    The roasted vegetables make a hearty addition to the raw kale. Winter salads are best with some kind of warm element. Roasted vegetables not only warm up this salad, but they give it that nostalgic roasted taste that hopefully (for you) has a fond winter memory attached to it. 

     

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Dec042012

    the best ever cornbread with rosemary + serrano chilies // gluten-free

    I cannot leave you with a recipe for chili, and not give you some cornbread to go with it. 

    A piece of crusty cornbread, a warm bowl of chili, a crisp kale salad, and a really good magazine .... the perfect way to spend a chilly saturday afternoon. 

    There is also no better way to feed a large group of hungry friends on football sunday. A quick batch of cornbread and big pot of chili, and you’re happily feasting.

    There are a few things I look for in a cornbread to consider it really good:

    1 – a crusty top layer
    2 – a moist inner layer
    3 – not so crumbly (you know, the kind that you can barley eat because it crumbles to bits)

    bonus – super yummy things to flavor it like chilies and herbs.
    double bonus – vegan or gluten-free (without knowing the difference).

    So if I am going to post a recipe for cornbread, you know it has to pass this test. In case you’re wondering, this cornbread scored 120% (extra 10% for the chilies and rosemary + 10 more % for being gluten-free).

    When I started working on this, the first and only blog I consulted was gluten-free girl. Shauna sure does know her stuff. Her recipe for gluten-free cornbread is flawless and absolutely delicious. I did make just a few tweaks. I know that not everyone is as ambitious as she is to make their own GF flour (ahem, me) but she does include an awesome video how to do it if you are interested. I also include a milk-free option because even though whole milk does do a wonderful job, it is not an ingredient I typically use. Lastly, I used maple syrup as a sweetener which is not only better for you than white sugar, it compliments this recipe so well. And of course I threw in some extra yummy things like rosemary and serrano chilies. Killer cornbread is born. 

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Nov292012

    white bean chili

    I thought about starting this post with" I love chili" ... then I realized that I start almost every post with "I love .....".

    I guess I just can't help myself, I love food. 

    Okay, but seriously, I do really love chili. Especially when it gets cold. First frost on the grass cold. First log on the fireplace cold. First time you whip out the puffy jacket to walk the dog cold. 

    There is something so warming and comforting about the beans and the spice. It makes you feel gooood. It's one of the most satisfying meals you can make in one pot (I'm pretty sure I say that a lot too). 

     

    I've been working on a few chili recipes recently, not just because I love chili, but because I am teaching a class on vegetarian chili next Monday at my new favorite place: Haven's Kitchen, in NYC. 

    It's the first class I am teaching there, so I want to be sure my recipes are super stellar. In addition to a more traditional chili, I also wanted to include a chili recipe that was a little less traditional. Something different. I am thinking this one might do. 

    If you live in NYC or will be in the area, check out my class and all of the other classes at Haven's Kitchen. I'd love to see you there!

    Click to read more ...