All posts by Mervin

Summer Vegetarian Paella

Close-up, overhead shot of vegetarian paella layered with summer squash.

This recipe is an update from an older recipe. Over the years I’ve tinkered very slightly but I felt this vegetarian paella deserved a little refresh. Don’t be confused, it’s not a ratatouille- I just love the look of the layered vegetables. Also, this is not a traditional paella. Quite a bite is different (including the type of rice used) but it’s a paella in spirit.

A couple notes. You will see I partially precook the rice. I’ve never had luck with brown rice cooking in tomato-based liquids (and from comments I received, neither have a lot of people). Since I primarily make this with short grain brown rice, the instructions are very specific for this kind of rice. Also, you won’t see saffron in the dish (a very integral part to a classic paella). I’m including it in the variations- it’s an expensive spice that is not always the easiest to source.

Read more and see the recipe.

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10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic

A good barbecue sauce recipe is gold. And finding just the right barbecue sauce to keep on hand is essential for good summer grilling. Most people think of barbecue sauce as a combination of tomato, vinegar and sugar (and if it’s store-bought, so much sugar). But really, anything is possible. There are some incredibly creative barbecue sauces out there! What you’ll find below are ten interpretations to broaden your idea of what barbecue sauce can be. A list that will hopefully inspire some new creations on your grill this summer. 

10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic

1. Homemade Vegan BBQ Sauce (Lazy Cat Kitchen)
This sauce has a lovely orange color. One that goes perfectly with the suggested sweet potato fries. The base is an apple, a tomato with apple vinegar – cloves and coriander round out the spice profile.

10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic

2.  Giddy Swamp, South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce (Bubba Mac / Food 52)
Along with Alabama white sauce, this is a regional classic that is not commonly found outside of the south – it originated with German immigrants. Surprise your guests with this one, use it to marinate veggie kabobs, or seitan and to put between some toasted hamburger buns.

10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic

3.  Char Siu Style Roasted Eggplant (Pickled Plum)
Char Siu is Chinese barbecue pork that uses a specific marinade to achieve the flavor. This is an easy veggie riff, calling for just six ingredients. This recipe is for char siu eggplant, but you can swap in different veggies and certainly tofu and tempeh would be delicious with the sauce as well.

10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic

4.  The Best Vegan BBQ Sauce (Gluten-Free) (Moon and Spoon and Yum)
This is a Vegan/GF take on classic barbecue sauce is quick to make. On the sweeter side of the spectrum, it relies on coconut sugar as the sweetener.

10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic

5.  Vegan Alabama White Sauce  (86 Eats)
Here’s a vegan take on a Southern classic. The prep is easy, requiring just a blender. One interesting ingredient here is giardiniera – Italian pickled vegetables –  lending this sauce a special flavor profile.

10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic

6.  Coffee BBQ Sauce (Tasty Kitchen) 
Coffee and barbecue sauce make a winning combination. The technique this barbecue sauce recipe uses is  to simmer it down for 40 minutes. The thick texture is perfect for slathering just about anything you want to throw on the grill.

10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic

7. Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce  (Edible Perspective) 
This barbecue sauce recipe starts with two cups of chopped rhubarb and a handful of other ingredients simmered down, then blended. The result is thick, sweet and flavorful.

10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic

8.  Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant Recipe (Went Here 8 This) 
This recipe uses only five ingredients for the jerk marinade, no simmering, but you should leave it to sit for a few hours to meld and combine. The rest of the magic happens on the grill!

10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic

9.  Homemade Vegan BBQ Sauce (Making Thyme for Health)
This is another vegan take on classic barbecue sauce, which uses a combination of smoked paprika, garlic powder, mustard and vegan Worcestershire to create a strong flavor profile

10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic

10.  Baked Tofu Chunks with Star Anise Marinade (Skinny Ms) 
This marinade is deceptively simple: five ingredients promising to be special. Star anise, rice wine and Sichuan peppercorns, and a bit of coconut sugar. It’s adapted from Bay Area chef Philip Gelb, who offers popular dinners on Feastly.

10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic
This is a topic we’ll return to in the future – so please let me know if there’s any recipe that should be considered in the comments!

Continue reading 10 Barbecue Sauce Recipes that are Beyond Basic on 101 Cookbooks

Vegan Collard Green Burritos

Vegan Collard Green Burritos

Now that we’ve made Raw Vegan Walnut Taco “Meat”, it’s time to turn it into something delicious! Vegan burritos anyone?

This recipe comes together quick! It requires just 8 ingredients and 30 minutes to make.

It starts with big, fresh collard greens that have been stuffed with all the tasty things: Walnut Taco Meat, Vegan Mexican Cheese Spread, avocado, cilantro, onion, Red Salsa, and sprouts!

Vegan Collard Green Burritos from Minimalist Baker →

Watermelon Poke

Poke is a much-loved, traditional, raw fish preparation, long popular in Hawaii. Fishermen would season bits of their catch, and snack on it, while working. Poke (pronounced poh-kay) has exploded in popularity, well beyond Hawaii, in recent years. The poke bowl functions as ambassador in poke spots around the world, in thousands of different guises. This watermelon poke recipe is for any of you who love the idea of poke or poke bowls, but don’t eat fish for whatever reason – diet, religion, etc.

Watermelon Poke Recipe

Watermelon Poke

This watermelon poke recipe is one of the main components I like to use when assembling vegetarian or vegan poke bowls at home. In the Hawaiian language, poke means to slice or cut, which is why this is called watermelon poke. Even though there is no fish involved. I love eating it when the weather is warm. Watermelon poke is light, clean, bright, vibrant, and beautiful. I’m posting this now, and will follow up in the coming days with different ways to assemble a watermelon poke bowl.

Choosing the Right Watermelon

The good news is you don’t actually need the perfect melon here. This recipe is quite forgiving, and the sauce is quite assertive. The main thing you want to want to pay attention to? Whether or not your melon is seedless. You’re after a seedless water melon. This is key. It can be red, it can be yellow, just so long as it’s seedless. This way you can maintain cube-like cuts.

Watermelon Poke Recipe

Watermelon Poke Sauce

Related to watermelon poke, sauce is king. Getting it right is key. I’ve tried a range of sauces and marinades to season the watermelon here, and always fall back on the sauce I’ve used for years in the Otsu recipe you’ll find in Super Natural Cooking. It is the perfect mix of soy sauce, sesame, with a kiss of cayenne, and hint of lemon. It compliments the sweetness of the watermelon perfectly. You marinate the watermelon for a few hours (or overnight), the melon cubes soak up the flavor, and seem to firm up on the texture front.

Serving Ideas

You can enjoy watermelon poke, simply prepared, with just a sprinkling of toppings, as pictured here. Or, you can have it as a component in preparations like poke bowls, or wraps. I like it alongside rice, or on top of a bed of rice noodles.

Continue reading Watermelon Poke on 101 Cookbooks

The Best Waffle Recipe

If you’re a waffle fan, please give these a try. Everyone needs a solid waffle recipe in their back pocket, and I’m quite sure these are the end of the waffle conversation for me. You’re looking at the waffles I make for every family brunch. They’re the waffles requested by my seven-year old nephew when he spends the night – the ones he like from breakfast and dinner 😉 And they’re the ones included in Near & Far. This is the best waffle recipe I know.The Best Waffle Recipe

The Secret to a Great Waffle Recipe

I’ve made these waffles dozens of times, in both Belgian and standard waffle irons. The batter is a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flours along with rolled oats. This combination conspires with lots of buttermilk to give each waffle a nice, moist interior, and a crisp, and beautifully golden crust. A bit of rice flour (or organic cornstarch) keeps the batter from cooking up damp and heavy – this is the secret ingredient. You can also play around with the batter. I tend to keep the ratio of whole wheat to all-purpose flour constant, but sometimes trade in wheat germ for the oats. Or add a bunch of chopped chives and herbs, or a few tablespoons of cacao powder for a chocolate version and chocolate chips when I really want to score points with the kids.

The Best Waffle Recipe

Waffle Tips & Tricks

A couple pro tips: mix up the dry ingredients and keep in a mason jar(s) for easy morning-of assembly. I sometimes do a double or triple batch of the dry ingredients, divide into jars, and keep them on hand for a last-minute cabin, or brunch adventure. Once you combine the dry ingredients, the batter comes together in a flash with just buttermilk, eggs, and butter.

You can also see them on Tara’s site (Seven Spoons), and Madeline’s too (Madeline Marie). Enjoy! -h

Continue reading The Best Waffle Recipe on 101 Cookbooks

Top Five Kitchen Tools

If you’ve walked into any kitchen store, you know how overwhelming the business of kitchen tools can be. Beyond a solid knife (should have been on the list, but I’m mentioning now), below are five of my go-to kitchen tools. Some are cheap, some are an investment. These items are the five I use every day. The items I’m obsessed with and always tell people about.

1. Microplane Zester

Sideview of Microplane Zester grating parmesan cheese

I feel like my life forever changed when I purchased this handy tool. There’s nothing quite like a fresh grate of hard cheese. Of course, the fun doesn’t stop there with this tool. Grate citrus zest, use it with garlic/ginger, or finish your holiday desserts with freshly grated nutmeg. Epicurious also has a few other ways to use this under $20 tool! My favorite zester >

 

2. Wood Spatulas

Wood Spatula Stirring a Pot

Obviously spatulas are an indispensable in the kitchen but these Earlywood Spatulas have pretty much been life changing. If you’ve ever tried to scrape out a cast iron skillet before, you know it’s not always the easiest task to perform. Enter these flat, wood spatulas. Less food waste and easier clean-up; I’m sold. My favorite wood spatulas >

 

3. Kitchen Scale

Overhead shot of kitchen scale measuring flour

My second job out of college was working in a bakery. I went from working the front counter, to head baker who also spent a lot of time in the new dedicated Gluten-free kitchen (this was 2008- the world of GF was SO small and fairly new at a commercial scale). I realize for non-Americans, this is a duh item but I can’t live without my kitchen scale. I weight everything (even my morning coffee!) My current kitchen scale >

 

4. High-Speed Blender

High-speed Blender

These last two items are bigger-ticket items but between the two, I can make pretty much any recipe on the site. I used to be a die-hard food processor person but now it just collects dust (unless I need to shred cheese or slice vegetables). I’m so smitten with my blenders. I have a Blendtec and a Wolf Gourmet (one at home, one at the studio): both are powerhouses that can perform almost any task. They are pricy but it’s a worthy investment. Check out my Blendtec or my Wolf Gourmet.

 

5. Flour Mill

Flour Grinder

I saved this one for last because I realize this won’t be for everyone. But, when you write a book about grinding flour at home, one has to expect a flour mill is a large part of the kitchen. Home-ground flour is amazing and it allows me to keep items on hand (like oats) that live in one form. The groats keep longer and I can easily turn them into flakes (oatmeal) or flour. This is the mill I have but I also know people love this mill.
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Dietitian Spotlight: Marina Chaparro

1. Tell us a bit about yourself? I am a bilingual pediatric and diabetes nutrition expert. Originally from the border town of El Paso, Texas and Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico- but now based in sunny Miami, Florida. I’m the founder of Nutrichicos, a bilingual nutrition practice specializing in child and family nutrition. Our motto is […]

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Five Minute Tomato Sauce

Let’s talk about tomato sauce. Last week in an airplane miles above the expansive plains of the mid-west, in the midst of a flurry of turbulence, it dawned on me that I’ve never shared with you my all-time favorite tomato sauce recipe. I’ve included the recipe in one form or another in both of my books, but I’ve never gone into depth here on the website about why it is the little black dress of my cooking repertoire.

Five Minute Tomato Sauce Recipe

How to Make a Simple and Bright Tomato Sauce

I realize many of you have romantic notions of what a good tomato sauce should be. And I realize it is going to be a tough sell on my part to get you to make a break with some of those hearty, meaty, long-simmering sauces. But, I’m going to encourage you to give this ringer of a tomato sauce recipe a shot. It comes together in five minutes flat, and the only chopping required is a few garlic cloves. It is bright and clean, a vibrant red in color, and exudes the essence of tomatoes, in part because there isn’t much to get in the way of the tomato flavor.

Video: How to Make Five Minute Tomato Sauce

 

A Short Ingredient List

Many of the tomato sauce recipes in this realm (in the U.S. in particular) include all sorts of ingredients. One camp likes to kick things off by browning onions and ground beef for a chunky stew-like sauce, others love to use carrots and celery and all manner of dusty dried herbs and seasonings. This recipe is going to be on the absolute other end of the spectrum – in all the best ways. You wouldn’t wear a wool coat to the beach, right? That’s what heavy spaghetti and tomato sauces in warm weather feel like to me. This sauce is a relatively pure expression of tomatoes accented with a bit of edge from crushed red peppers, a hint of garlic, and my secret ingredient – a touch of lemon zest which brings its citrus aroma and a bit of surprise to the party.

Five Minute Tomato Sauce Recipe

So Many Different Uses!

The first time you make this sauce I recommend spooning it over light, fluffy pillows of ricotta-filled ravioli. Beyond that there are many other avenues to explore. It is transcendent in all manner of baked pastas and pasta-based casseroles (don’t skimp on the zest). Toss it with good-quality spaghetti noodles, a sprinkle of freshly chopped basil, and a dusting of Parmesan – you’ve got a beautiful bowl of noodles. Beyond the pasta realm, I use it on thin-crust pizzas, in my thousand-layer lasagna, as the foundation for stuffed shells, as a base for soups, and as a way to pull together various “grain-bowls” – for example quinoa tossed with a bit of this tomato sauce, your protein of choice, and accents like basil and a bit of cheese. There are times when I’ll add a generous splash of cream at the very end, totally changing the character of the sauce – it becomes silky with a bit of richness, while still being bright, and without compromising the tomatoes in the lead role.

Five Minute Tomato Sauce Recipe

Pictured above on my favorite pizza dough, with some mozzarella, and fresh basil. Be sure to to pay attention to the type of crushed tomatoes to buy in the recipe headnotes. I hope you love this sauce as much as I do, and appreciate it for what it is more so than what it isn’t.

Continue reading Five Minute Tomato Sauce on 101 Cookbooks

10-Minute Raw Vegan Taco “Meat”

10-Minute Raw Vegan Taco “Meat”

Friends! Vegan taco “meat” is here!

It’s made with delicious wholesome raw ingredients and ready in 10 minutes. Let’s do this!

This recipe starts with raw walnuts, which are blitzed into a fine meal. This creates the perfect texture while providing tons of healthy fat and protein.

Next comes a spicy, smoky red sauce made with sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and dry spices.

10-Minute Raw Vegan Taco “Meat” from Minimalist Baker →