Mixed Berry Breakfast Couscous

16 08 2012

Unfortunately for me, breakfast usually ends up being two sad fried eggs, a quickly devoured bowl of cereal, a piece of fruit, or nothing but a cup of coffee. As much as I want to be a morning person, I am not, so during my hectic work schedule, I’m either running late/shovelling something into my face, or sleeping in until lunch time, if the opportunity arises.

Which sucks! Because I love breakfast! I am completely dedicated to it. When I have the time, I love experimenting with things outside of the eggs and cereal comfort zone. I think my next activity is going to be attempting to re-create breakfasts from around the world; i.e. 50 of the World’s Best Breakfasts

This breakfast couscous is one of my new favorite work-week breakfasts. It’s easy to put together the night before, and it makes enough for like 5-6 morning meals. The cinnamon-scented, apple-infused couscous evokes feelings of fall, while the berries are all summertime; a nice August transitional breakfast. Served warm, smothered in Greek yogurt and maple syrup, it’s a soothing and healthy break from the breakfast norm.

Mixed Berry Breakfast Couscous
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

1 cup couscous
2 cups apple and cranberry juice (I used a blend)
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsps. orange zest
2 cups raspberries
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 1/2 cups strawberries, halved
Greek yogurt (for serving)
Maple Syrup
Fresh mint (for garnish)

Pour the juice into a large saucepan and add the cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil then add the couscous. Cover and remove from heat. Let simmer for 5 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the cinnamon stick.

Separate the couscous grains with a fork, then gently fold in the orange zest and most of the berries. Spoon the mixture into serving bowls and sprinkle with the remaining berries.

Top each bowl with a dollop of yogurt, then drizzle with syrup and garnish with the fresh mint.

Ginger Cranberry Sauce

1 11 2011

Am I supposed to be posting about cranberry sauces when things like this are going on? Sometimes it’s hard to find your place in the struggle when your passion lies in making yummy-tasties.

I’ve never made a cranberry sauce before. Growing up, I had a hatred for chunky cranberry sauces. It seems that most kids have a problem with textured foods. I wanted that smooth, gelatinous, can-shaped mold. And honestly, I stick by it. On Thanksgiving, give me that tin-scented jello slop. But this sauce is in a whole different ballpark.

Sweet and with a strong backbone of ginger spice, this sauce is ideal served warm over a stack of pumpkin pancakes or mixed into a bowl of oatmeal in the morning; the perfect fall condiment.

Ginger Cranberry Sauce
Adapated from Vegan Brunch

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tb. ginger, grated
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Mix together cranberries, water and sugar in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Unconver and set simmer until the mixture reduces by half, about 10 minutes or so. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and grate in the ginger. Let cool for at least half an hour, then stir in the maple syrup. Serve warm.

Energy Fruit Smoothie & Cambridge Brewing Co.

10 08 2011

Ryan and I drove out to Cambridge last night to have dinner and drinks at Cambridge Brewing Co, a brewpub that features local ingredients, making for some really fresh and creative dishes.

Usually when I go out to brewpubs, I’ll get a sampler selection of different beers, but we decided to just pick out a few pints that struck our interest. I started out with the Audacity of Hops, a Belgian Double I.P.A. Piercing hops and a big, ripe fruitness, this beer was extremely delicious and bitterly memorable.

We split a fruit/cheese plate for an appetizer. There were a few other vegetarian options. Nachos with a veggie chili, salads and gazpacho. But I’m a sucker for smelly, moldy cheese. A blue and a goat, with some tomato jam, black berries and a little almond salad with the freshest almonds I’ve ever encountered.

For dinner, I had a red bean and bulghur wheat burger with spicy ketchup and gouda. Finally, a housemade veggie burger with some friggin’ character. And decent ingredients. Not just frozen mixed vegetables, binded together with lentils and cornmeal.

My second beer was the Arquebus summer barleywine. Brewed with local honey and white grapes, this 14%-er was almost like dessert. Loved it.

I supposed I have to talk about the smoothie now. This might be my new favorite breakfast drink/smoothie in general. General Smoothie..reporting for duty. Yeah, it’s so light and frothy. I originally thought I wouldn’t like too much cantaloupe flavor, but it blends perfectly with the orange and mango. Almost like a creamsicle. The recipe made about 4 big cups worth. I drank around 3 of them. Oh, and this is also the beginning of my intent to recreate everything from my Commonsense Guide cookbook, because I swear that this book can do no wrong.

Energy Fruit Smoothie
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

1/2 cantaloupe
1 mango
2 tbs. muesli
1 tb. honey
1 tb. malted milk powder
1/3 cup Greek-style honey-flavored yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup almond milk

Peel the cantaloupe and scoop out the seeds. Roughly chop the flesh and place in a blender.

Slice the cheeks off the mango and scoop the flesh out of the skin (I’m loving the horrific imagery of this recipe). Place in the blender.

Add the muesli and blend for 20 seconds, or until smooth. Add the honey, malted milk powder and yogurt and blend for another 10 seconds.

Pour in the orange juice and almond milk. Blend for another 30 seconds, until smooth and foamy. Pour into glasses and serve.

Tropical Pasta Salad with Fresh Fruit, Coconut and Jerk-Tempeh

15 07 2011

Monday was one of those days where I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else but Cape Cod. Refreshing. A day off from work with the boyfriend lead to lunch at La Petite France Cafe on Main St. Gazpacho Soup & Garden Veggie sandwich (lettuce, tomato, avocado, cucumber, onion, sprouts, roasted red peppers, baby Swiss and balsamic vinegarette)

Followed by splurging on a cheap pair of Keens, iced lemon matés at Common Ground (my lifeblood), library books (currently reading An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin), an hour at the beach then a stop at Lamberts to pick up fresh fruits & veggies for tonights din.

The creamy coconut dressing mixed with the sharp cheese and juicy fruit is a crazy awesome flavor combo. And the coolness of the salad helps balance out the jerk spice, which can be a little overwhelming, if your boyfriend accidentally dumps half a bottle of cayenne pepper into it. If you use a fresh pineapple, be sure to use it as bowl because it leaves some awesome flavor bits at the bottom.

Tropical Pasta Salad with Fresh Fruit & Coconut
Adapted from Vegan Planet

12 oz. small pasta of your choice
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (about 1 pineapple)
1 ripe mango; peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2-in. pieces
1 navel orange; peeled, white pith removed and cut into 1-in. chunks
1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup celery, minced
2 tbs. scallions, minced
2 tbs. chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup orange juice
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. cayenne
Salad greens
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut; toasted
Gorgonzola cheese (optional)

Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold running water and place in a large bowl. Add the pineapple, mango, orange, bell pepper, celery, scallions and mint. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk, orange juice, lime juice/zest, brown sugar, allspice, cayenne and salt to taste. Mix well. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss to coat evenly.

Arrange the salad greens on plates (or if you’re in a fancy decorative mood OR have just 2 people eating and used a whole pineapple OR if you have more than 2 people eating but only like 2 of them, plate the greens in the hulled out pineapple halves and give them to your two besties/sexies). Place some pasta salad on top and sprinkle with the toasted coconut, gorgonzola and jerk-spiced tempeh (Recipe below). Gorge.

Jerk-Spiced Tempeh

2 tsps. brown sugar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Olive oil

In a shallow bowl, combine all the ingredients. Cut the tempeh in half then into 4 trianges. Coat with olive oil then dredge all sides in the spice mixture. Heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh and cook until brown and crispy on both sides, about 5 minutes.