Friday, June 29, 2012

Cheating On My Kitchen...

There is something to be said for the comfort of cooking in your own kitchen. You know where everything is located, understand the fine nuances of your appliances, and can dance while singing into a spatula/microphone (if you are into that sort of thing... I mean I would never do that... ever... maybe... um, sometimes... please don't judge me). However I had traveled by train to the land where my parent's reside, a whopping 5 hour train ride to San Luis Obispo County, and found myself in a foreign kitchen. I'm ashamed to admit this with my kitchen in ear shot, but wow my parents have a fabulous kitchen!! And look what I whipped up in that fancy kitchen, Mini Portabella Sliders!

These little lovelies made our afternoon! I made 12 and there were absolutely no survivors; I couldn't even find a trace that they had existed they were devoured so quickly. Thank heaven for photographs, otherwise this would be a rather colorless blog post. For a family gathering, friends over for a dinner, or when you feel like having an easy to create gourmet side to a meal Mini Portabella Sliders are the way to go. My parents think I am a millionaire chef after presenting them with these sliders!

Lets talk health benefits for these treats. The aioli sauce that you see on the sliders is a Basil/Ginger/Cucumber sauce! Each of those ingredients has substancial health benefits for you! 

All right, we have talked some serious shop about the greatness of the food you will be eating, now lets make it!!

Mini Portabella Mushroom Sliders
Makes 12 Sliders
*can be made gluten free if you opt to use corn tortillas or a gluten free bread

Aioli Ingredients:
1 large bunch of basil leaves
1-2 inch chunk of cucumber diced
2 tablespoons of grated ginger
2 teaspoons water
6-7 tablespoons vegan mayonaise (be sure gluten free)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Squeeze of fresh lime juice

Sliders Ingredients:
12 mini portabells mushrooms
12 mini slider whole wheat buns (or gluten free option if desired)
1 red onion
1 avocado

Cabbage filling:
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 

Preheat your oven to Broil Low.

To make the aioli sauce place all the listed ingredients into your blender (you are going to need a high powered one you know will whip everything into a consistent texture). Once everything is in the blender turn it on and as high as it can go. Keep blending until you have a creamy sauce texture. If you can't get it to be completely creamy never fear, these ingredients are all so yummy that you won't really mind. When you are finished with this place to the side. 

Next get your cabbage filling ready. Place the sesame oil in a pan and add the cabbage and spices. Cook on high heat for a few minutes. The cabbage should look a little wilted. Once this is finished place to the side. 

Be sure your mushrooms are all cleaned, and that you have removed the stems. Place them all face down on a baking sheet (for ease of post cooking clean up I line the sheet with parchment paper). Cook the mushrooms face down for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes take them out of the oven and flip them over so they are belly up. Stuff each one with the cabbage filling.

Place them back into the oven for 5 minutes more. When the 5 minutes is up take them out of the oven again. This time put a dollop of your aioli sauce on top of the cabbage stuffing, and spread some sauce on the bottom piece of your bun and cover the mushrooms with the bread. 

Put everything back in the oven for 2 more minutes to toast the bread with the sauce and flavors. While the bottoms of the buns are toasting in the oven place the tops of the buns in your toaster or toaster oven. Do not over toast!! You will want the bread to still be fluffy. Once the 2 minutes is finished remove from the oven and assemble. Flip the mushrooms so they are the right side up, and top with another good dollop of your sauce. Then put avocado on top, a slice of red onion, and then cap with the top of the bun. Now good luck saving some for you as your guests are sure to pounce!

Pictured with whole wheat buns. 

Pictured with a gluten free corn tortilla. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Amtrak Has Wifi Now! (I promise this post is still about food)

So maybe Amtrak has nothing to do with food (unless you count the dining car filled to the brim with corn chips and soda food), but this morning I find myself on one of these trains and am overjoyed with my free internet access. In fact I'm so overjoyed I changed the title of the post! I'm not sure what that says about me as a person... however, it does allow me to finish up this post! You can email Amtrak a "Thank You" for this divine intervention. I know I will with my free wifi :)

Insert clever segue here.... Did you know segue is often misspelled as 'segway'? To clarify I am talking about an article of speech that allows you to move onto the next point of conversation, not a ridiculous two wheeled, slow moving, electronic contraption. 
From the cheezeburger site... sigh. My cheesiness alarms me.  
All right, recently Girl On Top Catering partnered with Dan Czerwonka (a newly sponsored marathon runner) to improve his diet, and help him out as he trains for the San Francisco Ultra Marathon. Yes thats right an ULTRA marathon, which means 2 marathons back to back! A vegan diet can help tremendously with recovery time, and that is going to be crucial for him as his training has him running 30+ mile runs days in a row. As we get closer to the race I will keep this blog updated with runner meal plans, and information about nutrition for athletes. You can also check out Dan's blog too: <- oh yeah that's right, he also runs completely barefoot!

As I cooked up a weeks worth of meals in the kitchen for Dan I decided to do a little extra research on one of my favorite veggies..... Brussels Sprouts! Yes, these little mini cabbage looking buds are a favorite of mine, and they should be a favorite of yours too. Check out some of the info I found out, these little guys are amazing:

Armed with additional knowledge about the Brussels Sprout I set to to work to make a delish dish I could send over to Dan that would be healthy and taste amazing. The end result, I have to say, was wonderful, and I'm sure this dish will be devoured at any table. (Maybe just lie to the Sprout haters to get them to try it, they will thank you for it)

Braised Brussels Sprouts with Curried Quinoa 
(serves 4 - 6 people as a side)
Gluten Free 
Quinoa Ingredients:
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon garam masala 
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard seeds

Brussels Sprouts Ingredients:
1 lb. Brussels Sprouts
2 cups vegetable broth
2-3 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons agave
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Start with setting up your quinoa. Place the vegetable broth and spices in a pot and stir to make sure the spices are blended. Add in the quinoa and cook on high heat until the broth begins to boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cover with a lid. It doesn't take very long to cook (around 10-15 minutes). Check periodically to make sure it isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot. 
While your quinoa is cooking you can move on to the sprouts. In a large sauce pan place all the ingredients except the Brussels Sprouts. Turn the heat on high, and stir everything around to blend. Once it looks blended add in the Brussels Sprouts and cover with a lid.

Keep the heat on high for 10 minutes checking in here and there to stir them around. After 10 minutes has gone by turn the heat to low and allow to cook for 5 more minutes, or until the sprouts are tender.
To plate put the quinoa down first, and then use a slotted spoon to pick up the sprouts and place them on top. You can top with a drizzle of extra agave to give it a little sweeter taste. 

YUM! Enjoy!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things...

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad..... I simply head straight to my kitchen and whip together some bad ass comfort food. Had Sister Maria sang that little ditty to the Von Trapp children I think we would have had a much different movie on our hands! But let's be honest do snowflakes that stay on your nose and eyelashes compare to a delicious full hearty comfort food meal? Me thinks the snow flakes melt and the comfort food reins supreme. 

Oh yes, vegans have comfort food and it is wonderful. That picture is of a personalized sized meatless-loaf topped with mashed potatoes and smothered in spiced mushroom gravy. Yummmmmmmm. (That photo was actually taken with Instagram - it's another favorite thing of mine, and here comes the shameless plug to check out my Instagram for all sorts of yummy photos -> @got_catering)

We all have days where comfort food is necessary to our mental health, and if you are vegan it ends up being good for your physical health as well. That my friends in an epic win-win situation. So for any rainy day, a blue feeling, or a regular hunger pain I suggest....

Meatless-Loaf (serves 6)

Adapted from the Engine2 Diet
Gluten Free

1 Tablespoon sesame oil
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 a yellow onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed
8oz package of organic tempeh (original flavor), finely chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped 
10oz firm tofu, crumbled
1 1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
3 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon basil
*can use ketchup as a topper

Start off with preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Next toss your finely chopped celery, onion, tempeh, oil, and garlic into a large pan on high heat. Stir the pan often to help infuse all the flavors into the tempeh. Keep on high heat for about 5 minutes and then turn to low and allow about 5 more minutes for everything to blend. Once finished set aside to cool. 

In a large bowl combine the crumbled firm tofu, walnuts, and oats. In a smaller bowl combine the tamari, mustard, parsley, thyme, rosemary and basil: whisk all the ingredients together. Once the tempeh mixture has cooled add it to the large bowl and stir everything together. Then slowly pour the contents of the small bowl into the large bowl. Stirring constantly to blend all the ingredients together. Once everything is blended together place your meatless-loaf into your pan. I opted to top my meatless-loaf with some ketchup. If you want the cute little personalized sized loafs use one of these! A 6-cup Giant Muffin Pan:

If you are cooking in an average sized meatloaf pan (9 1/2"L x 5 1/4"W) allow 55-60 minutes to bake, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If you are opting for mini personalized sized loafs allow 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Once they are finished have fun! Dress them up and enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fancy Stir-Fry Day!

Today’s post would be completely perfect if today was in fact Friday, but a girl can’t help what her stomach is craving… and I wanted Stir-Fry on a Tuesday not a “Fryday”. Cute play on words be damned, I wanted delicious bold over the top flavors in a fun fancy Stir-Fry. So today is “Stir Fry Day” Tuesday. :)

Stir-Fry has to be one of my most favorite dishes out there. You can mix and match different veggies, different sauces, and different vehicles to serve it on (i.e. rice, noodles..). 

However, I will admit, sometimes this easy going tasty meal can get a little boring if you don’t spice it up! Which is why today’s recipe is one of my all time favorites. It is great for a cozy dinner for two, and will dazzle whoever the lucky dinner guest happens to be. This dish is one of the manfriend’s favorites, and I like to make it for special occasions....Or when I am in need of apologizing for shrinking yet another sweater, or pair of pants, or favorite T-shirt… Eep! I never said I was a wonderful laundress.  Keep me in the kitchen and the wardrobe won’t get hurt.

Now that we have learned a little more about my domestic side (or lack there of) lets get to the exciting stuff!

Fancy Stir-Fry for any Day (serves 2 hungry people)


1 Cup Brown Rice
2 Cups Water

Miso Broth:
1 Tablespoon Red Miso Paste
1 Cup Water

Stir-Fry Sauce:
2 Tablespoons Tamari
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 1/2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (best if fresh squeezed)
1 Teaspoon Chili Pepper Flakes
2 Cloves Garlic Minced
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil

Raw Veggie Noodles
1-2 Carrots
1 Zucchini

Stir-Fry Veggies:
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
3/4 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Cup Sliced Shiitake Mushrooms
7-8 Pieces of Broccolini
1/2 A Red Bell Pepper Sliced

First get your rice cooking per the instructions on the package. This will take the longest so best to get it started right away. Next pour a cup of water in a small pot and add the miso paste. Heat the water up and stir frequently until the paste has dissolved and you have a well-blended broth. Once it looks like all the paste has dissolved turn off the stovetop and let the broth sit.

To make your sauce for the Stir-Fry place all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together, set it aside. Next clean your carrots and zucchini and peel the top layer of skin off with a peeler: you can discard these. Then continue to peel off long strands from both, and save them in a pile. They should look like thin “noodles.”

Now we are ready to get the veggies going. Place the sesame oil in your wok (or large pan if you don’t have a wok handy). Put the onions in first and let them cook for about 5 minutes. Next add your mushrooms, cook for about 2 minutes and then pour in your pre-made sauce. You won’t need to add all the sauce. Gauge how much you want to put in the Stir-Fry. After another 2 minutes of letting the onions and mushrooms soak up the sauce add your broccolini and red bell pepper. At this time you can add more sauce if it looks like there isn’t enough to cover the new veggies. (You should be stirring throughout this whole process). Let the broccolini and bell pepper soften a little and absorb the sauce as well, around 5 minutes.


Once the rice is finished scoop some into the bottom of your bowl. Push the rice together so it creates a firm base, and then pour the miso broth around this base.

Next, scoop out the onion and mushrooms from your wok with a slotted spoon and place on top of the rice and broth. Decorate the Stir-Fry pile with the broccolini and the red bell pepper.

And last but not least add your raw noodles around your Stir-Fry for the final fancy touch. Behold, you have made a scrumptious, gorgeous, dinner for two!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Mushroom Thyme!

See what I did there?.... I made a pun out of the title and you had to read it. It is only post #2 and already I'm a comedian. :)

Mooooooooving on, if you are a mushroom lover you are in luck! And if you aren't a mushroom lover, it is officially time to be converted. I welcome you in advance to our team; get ready for some savory delicious delights. 

Those my friends are crimini mushrooms that I sautéed with onion, garlic and thyme, and they are the 'meat and potatoes' of todays wonderful recipe. It is vegan, and chock full of flavor and healthy goodness. (Check out #5 on CNN's list of foods that should not be avoided:

We make this soup for dinner parties and it is always one of the first things to be gobbled up! It is a great side to almost everything, or pour a bigger bowl and enjoy as the main course! Without further ado, may I present to your tasting pallet: 

Creamy Mushroom and Thyme Soup (serves 2 to 4 people)

1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
8oz sliced crimini mushrooms
1 cup scant raw cashews
2/3 cup veggie broth (low sodium)
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil (can use water instead)
1 tablespoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 dashes cayenne pepper

Pour oil (or water) into a large pan, and add the onion and garlic. Cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until onion starts to look clear. Add in mushrooms, thyme, salt and cayenne pepper to the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes. 

Once the mushrooms are sautéed pour the contents of the pan into a blender and add the cashews, broth and water to the blender. Blend on high until the soup is blended and creamy. Pour into bowls and serve (can garnish with chopped cashews, chopped green onion or save a few of the sautéed mushrooms)!! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Here we go...

Welcome to the new blog. If you are reading this you have happened upon the first post of the Delish Dish. I have been told by fellow bloggers this is the post where I talk a little about myself, explain the theme of the blog, and maybe if I feel over zealous a few endearing anecdotes to help you (the very attractive and super intelligent reader) want to come back to see post #2. Luckily for you I aim to fit all three of those things into this post, along with a very tasty recipe for some gluten free, vegan, and straight up awesome granola bars.

In an effort to make this first (oh so important) post efficient let us jump right in…. So here is the skinny, I am insanely passionate about spreading the word that healthy food doesn’t have to taste like cardboard and grass mated and created your dinner. Good nutrient rich food can and should taste amazing. It should make your taste buds crave a hearty kale salad with homemade sweet miso dressing instead of a processed, salt infused, artery clogging #4 on the super value menu at the local drive thru.

Allow me to be the first to admit that I did not always eat as well as I should. There were definitely late nights in college where I drove through that local drive thru and devoured that #4, there were sad girl times where the only logical option was to consume the entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s, and yes there were dinners where pizza was the main course with soda to wash it down. Did any of that food make my body feel better? Stronger? Sexier? Healthier? Why no, no in fact it did not. Thank you, that was sweet of you to ask (<- I can be cheesy like this, you have been forewarned).  Overall I have always been a healthy person I make time to exercise, I eat my veggies most of the time, but I knew that I wasn’t completely on top of my game.

My man-friend, which is what I like to call my boyfriend, had a brilliant idea for us to do a juice cleanse one week, and I jumped on the chance to reboot my system and learn about ways to improve my overall health. I studied different cleanses, scoured the web for recipes, and watched a handful of very eye-opening documentaries on the ol’ Netflix Instant Watch. That was the month where both my man-friend and I ate like healthy kings, juiced like healthy kings, never felt better, and we have never gone back to our old eating habits. This is when I learned that not only do I love to cook I am fantastic at it (sorry for the horn tooting) and people love to eat my food! Fast-forward to present day finds me here typing out this 'gorgeous' first blog post. Oh and in that time I quit my job working in an office, started up a small catering company, work with people to improve their eating habits, promote healthy eating choices via the social media, lost 10 pounds, and overall love the healthy energetic life I am living.

I want this blog to be a way for me to share over the top wonderfully delicious dishes so that should you feel so inclined you can make them in your own home, and prove to yourself and others that healthy eating isn’t cardboard and grass’s offspring. Eating better is always worth it you will feel better, look better, have way more energy, and improve your quality of life. That old saying “You are what you eat” was invented for a reason. Your quality of life is 100% related to the food you put into your body. If you fill up on crap you will eventually start to feel like crap, and that’s when things start to fall apart. If you eat well and take care of your body you will feel better in everything you do!
With that said lets make some bombtastic granola bars. I make these bad boys in the evening and let them set over night so that breakfast is guaranteed to be a tasty treat! I have made these for different photo shoots I have catered on and they are always the first thing to disappear off the table.

Yummy In Your Tummy Granola Bars (adapted from Sensitive Pantry)

1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Raisins
1/3 Cup Cacao Nibs
1/3 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
2 Cups Gluten Free Rolled Oats
1 Cup Sliced Almonds (can substitute with walnuts or peacans)
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
3 Tablespoons Cacao Butter (I use Pacari Cacao Butter)
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (can substitute with chocolate extract or almond extract)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
2 Tablespoons Ground Flax

To start preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together and set aside the dried cranberries, raisins, nibs and pumpkin seeds.

Next line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the oats, almonds (or nut of choice), sunflower seeds and coconut evenly over the sheet. Toast in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Be sure to watch carefully so as to not burn the coconut. Once toasted remove the mixture from the oven and turn the temperature down to 300 degrees.

While you are waiting combine the maple syrup, cacao butter, brown sugar, vanilla (or other flavor), and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir frequently until everything has melted together. Let cool slightly, you will still want it to be warm.

Combine the toasted oat mixture with dried fruit and nibs from before. Slowly add the warm mixture to the bowl stirring until everything is covered. Lastly stir the chia seeds and the ground flax.
Place the mixed granola into a parchment lined baking dish (8x12 works best). Make sure everything is evenly spread out, and then place another piece of parchment paper over the granola. Use your hands to press down on the paper and really pack that granola in there nice and tight. Take the paper off once you have ensured the granola is set and bake for 25 minutes. When you remove the granola from the oven do not touch it! It has to completely cool before you can cut them into bars. I like to wait till the pan is completely cool and then place it in the refrigerator over night. Then in the morning all I have to do is cut up my bars and devour!