Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday of Indulgences

Sunday at 9:30 am I was supposed to run my first 5K race but it was postponed until the end of November because of the snow storm. Can you believe it? Snow in October!!
View from my kitchen window of the snow on the rooftops (a lot of it had melted away )

So I decided to indulge in the small pleasures of life: eating and cuddling on the couch reading and watching movies.

I started out the morning with a decadent Banana Mocha Oatmeal breakfast. This recipe makes 2 very filling servings (which I ate all by myself!)



Ingredients
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup milk
1 pinch salt
1 tsp instant coffee
2 tsp sugar, or to taste
1/2 medium banana, sliced
1 tbsp of semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
Mix the oats, milk, salt, coffee and sugar in a small bowl and microwave for 2 minutes or cook on the stove top, in a small pot, for 1 minute, remove from heat and cover for 3 minutes . Add the banana slices and top with chocolate chips and enjoy!

 I didn't feel like going out, being that the lovely autumn colors were topped by a layer of winter white and that brings me down a little, so in the evening we decided to order some Mexican food from Senorita's, a favorite among Bloomfield and surrounding communities.  

My husband ordered the Fish Burritos Ay, Caramba! (misspelled Hay, Caramba on their website) with tilapia.( He claims) they are so good that he gets them every time we order from them. 


 I ordered the mushroom quesadillas. They were delicious, the right amount of salt, and the sour cream and Pico de Gallo were the perfect complement. All orders come  with a side of tortilla chips and salsa.


 And for dessert, Mauro ordered the Homemade Caramel Flan, which in my opinion had an excess of vanilla extract (I've had better)


 I ordered the Mango Passion Fruit Cake which was delicious! It was a layered cheesecake, the top was mixed with the passion fruit, then it had a layer of regular cheesecake and the traditional cookie crumb bottom.


It came with diced mango on the side.



This day was all a cold Sunday day is supposed to be, a perfect day to stay home with our loved ones and indulge in the small pleasures of life. After all, these are the moments that keep our hearts alive.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Raymond's


This past weekend we got a chance to visit Raymond's from Montclair, NJ. 


Many times we passed by and the place was packed, always with people lining out the door. We figured it had to be a great place to eat but with so many good restaurants in this city we thought it wasn't worth the wait. Boy, were we wrong! On Sunday we were surprised to see that there was nobody waiting outside so we decided to go in. We still had to wait about five minutes to be seated (they weren't so slow after all). The place looked small but it certainly held a lot of people. The atmosphere was very comfortable, very homey, like a small diner with very good food (description to come).
 Preparing tables for a party.

A table with two benches became available on the side and that's where we were directed. The waitress who served us was incredibly courteous and very sweet. We placed our orders and gladly our food arrived after a very short wait.

My brother accompanied us in this culinary adventure, he is a flexitarian, mostly because my mom is a vegetarian so he eats meat whenever he goes out. He ordered the Grilled Ham and Cheese (Gruyere) with fries and he said everything was very tasty.

My husband, (who is a pescetarian at the moment) ordered the fish tacos which came with rice and beans on the side. After putting some salt on them, he said they were very good.
I'm sure all that cabbage was responsible for the salt problem :P

And finally, the best dish ( the only one I could taste!), Vegetarian Tagliatelle and a side of Grits. So let me start with the Grits, being the first time I tasted them and not having any knowledge of the real southern Grits, my humble opinion (and my hubby's) is that they were amazing. They were creamy, buttery and cheesy, heaven in my mouth! I plan to order the appetizer version, Grits with Wild Mushrooms, next time we go (hopefully very soon).


The Vegetarian Tagliatelle were also delicious, my mouth waters just thinking about them. The dish consisted of tagliatelle with arugula pesto, pine nuts, fresh cherry tomatoes and feta cheese. It was a perfect combination, a bit of sweetness and acidity from the tomatoes, earthiness and a touch of bitterness from the pine nuts and the savory saltiness of the feta cheese.

Unfortunately, we had no room for dessert but I'll starve myself if necessary in order to try some next time.
The prices were very reasonable, cheap, considering the quality of the food :)

So, if you ever decide to visit Montclair, try this place, you won't regret it :)



Be Curious, Explore and Enjoy!!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Merge of Knowledge




What is life but one big merge of knowledge? We have chosen to be born so we could learn and apply our knowledge when we face new challenges. For example, I started jogging a few months ago but before that, I used to take yoga classes. What I learned in yoga, definitely helped me in my running. My muscles thank me every time I finish a workout with some yoga poses.
Sometimes we ask ourselves, why do I have to go through this? Life shouldn't be this hard... Well the fact is, we need those experiences, no matter how difficult, to prepare us for the future. It is all part of the "Grand Design". Everybody has a mission, and no mission is less important, it could be raising a family (or not having one), being a teacher (or a student), being a successful businessperson (or unsuccessful), etc. We have to learn, experience, so we can gather the knowledge when the time comes. People who have very difficult lives are wiser ( assuming they learn from their mistakes) and in my opinion, they burn karma more quickly than other people (it's like an intensive course). It seems impossible to accomplish but at the end the victory is sweeter.
 And of course, all of this can be related to food. The merge of knowledge is essential to create, in this case, recipes. It can be a combination of flavors we tasted in a party, something we heard someone say or something I have experienced often, combining two dishes to make the ultimate recipe. Yes, sometimes it can be very challenging, not everything works but with experience we learn not to make the same mistakes again.  This being said, you can check out these recipes which are a clear example: Millet Taboulleh with Mushrooms and Black Beans, Acorn Squash and Tomato Sauce. Both of these recipes are a combination of dishes I used to make separately. The first is Millet Tabbouleh and  Fresh Mushroom Salad with Parsley (credit to Giada De Laurentiis) and the second is regular salsa and black beans (no big science there, but it tastes delicious!). So experience all you can, be curious and learn, learn, learn!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Millet Tabbouleh with Mushrooms

The mushrooms give the Tabbouleh a meaty texture that completes the feel of an already delicious salad. I decided to use millet in this recipe as it is gluten-free and an alkaline grain, which makes it easier to digest than others (remember to soak it for at least two hours to shorten the cooking time).
So, be a curiouseed and join me in the tasting of this mouthwatering meal! Enjoy!






Ingredients

  • 8oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • Juice of half a large lemon
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup of millet, soaked with 1 cup of water (filtered)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups of water (filtered)
  • 1/2 cup of red onions, diced
  • 3/4 cup (packed) of Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
 Preparation


In a medium bowl, mix the mushrooms with the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Set aside while they marinate.
Drain the millet and in a medium saucepan, bring it to a boil with the two cups of water and 1/2 tsp of salt.

Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 13-15 minutes.
Once the water of the millet has been absorbed, remove from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes, covered.

After that, you can fluff it up with a fork.

While the millet is cooking, mix the parsley, tomatoes and onions. 

 Finally, you can mix the tomato-parsley mixture, the marinated mushrooms (and their liquid) and the cooked millet. Adjust the salt if necessary. 

Enjoy!





Thursday, October 20, 2011

Black Bean, Acorn Squash and Tomato Sauce



This recipe is the union of two ingredients of one of my favorite meals. Every two weeks we get a delivery from Suburban Organics, which is an organic produce delivery service. Very convenient,( especially if you are very busy person), they leave the box right by your door. Well, we order the most amazing avocados from them, they are silky, creamy, just Heaven on Earth, and we make naked burritos (Chipotle anyone?), with salsa, black beans, guacamole, sour cream and rice, YUM!!. I had some left-over salsa, black beans and an acorn squash and I said, what if I mix them and make some kind of tomato sauce to pour over pasta? The final product was amazing! In this recipe I will do everything from scratch but if you already have salsa , just mix it in! This sauce is very nutritious and low in calories. Half a cup has only 98 calories, 5.4 grams of fiber, 4.3 grams of protein and it's full of vitamins and minerals. You can serve it over spaghetti, rice, quinoa or any grain you like! Be Curious, merge experiences and Enjoy!

Ingredients


1 acorn squash or 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin or squash puree
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
2 tsp of minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 cups of black beans, cooked ( if using canned, rinse and drain)
1 cup of water
1 (14oz) can of diced tomatoes
1/2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (optional)
2 bay leaves
2 tsp of dried marjoram
1 tsp of powdered cumin
1 handful of fresh basil leaves, parsley or cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste


Preparation

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Wash thoroughly and cut the acorn squash in half, remove the seeds and cook it in the boiling water until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small saucepan and fry the peppers and onions until transparent. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Incorporate the black beans, the cup of water, bay leaves, marjoram, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

When the squash is ready, spoon out the flesh and set aside.
In a blender or food processor pour the black bean mixture, squash flesh, canned tomatoes, basil (parsley or cilantro) and chipotle pepper. Blend or process until very smooth.
Finally, pour the sauce back into the saucepan and simmer for 25 minutes. While the sauce cooks, prepare the spaghetti or grain of your choice and serve!!!!

copyright ©2011 Ruth Reynoso

Monday, October 17, 2011

OATVP Patties


I chose this to be the first recipe to share with you because it is one of my first very own successes. It is not a vegetable patty as it does not contain any greens but it absolutely does not mind to be topped with lettuce, tomato or the vegetable of your choice, wrapped in bread or be completely naked!. Our favorite topping is mashed avocado with lemon and salt and sour cream, as you can see in the picture. With 160 calories and 14 grams of protein per patty, what's not to like! Be curious and enjoy! 

  Yields 6 patties


Ingredients:

1 cup of TVP (texturized vegetable protein)
1 cup of oats
1 ¾ cups of hot water, add more if necessary
***2 tbsp of veggie seasoning
4 tsp of vital wheat gluten
2 tbsp of ground flax seeds
¼ cup of bread crumbs

Preparation:

In a microwave safe bowl mix all ingredients except the bread crumbs. Microwave for 2 minutes. To cook on stove top, pour mixture into a saucepan and cook until the water gets absorbed and a stiff dough is formed. Add salt and more water if necessary. Let mixture cool and then shape into 6 patties, you can also make 16 nuggets. Coat with bread crumbs. Fry on a thin layer of oil until both sides are browned or preheat an oven to 400 degrees F and bake each side for 8-10 minutes. The broiler of the oven works beautifully, too. Just broil the patties 7-8 minutes per side. 

copyright ©2011 Ruth Reynoso

*** Veggie Seasoning

Ingredients:

2/3 cup Brewer's Yeast Powder
1 1/2  tbsp Onion Powder
1  tsp Garlic Powder
1 1/4 tbsp Salt
1/2 tsp Celery Seed
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp oregano
1 tbsp Parsley, dried



Preparation:



In a blender combine all ingredients except the dried parsley, blend until smooth. Stir in the parsley, mixing well. Seal this finished seasoning mix in an airtight container. Remember to label the container so you know what it is. Use it in the same proportions as you would chicken bouillon. (1tsp-1 tbsp per cup of water) or as called for in the recipe.  



















Curiosity



Curiosity is a crucial part of evolution as it promotes change, mutation, not only of matter but of ideas. Our job as a whole is to be curiouseeds, plant ourselves and grow to unimagined dimensions. Humanity is a wonderful race with infinite potential, capable of creating universes full of beauty and diversity. Yes, there are negative aspects but that is not worth our while. Let's embrace our curiosity and travel towards a brighter, colorful future, full of exciting new things to taste with all our senses. Join me in this blog made for the palate of a curiouseed, vegetarian or not. Made for you, the most special curiouseed of all!

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