Brown & Wild Rice with Caremelized Onions, Creminis, and Greens (gf, v)

What a whirlwind this winter has been! Geez! Work, school, weddings, visits with family and friends, freezing cold weather, sweaty hot weather vacation, back to work and school. And somehow it is March! And 60 degrees in Missouri, which is very, very welcome and much appreciated… but I still can’t figure out where February and January went. Do you know? They must have blown by me in a wintry blur.

rice 10

50 shades of plane

Throughout the Jan-Feb blur I sustained myself on sad  things like Foods Sold By Panera Bread, cereal, canned beans and frozen brown rice, kimchi and pickles delivered fork-to-mouth from the jar, and frozen Ghirardelli chocolate. YUM. My poor husband was left to fend for himself (shout out to the Whole Foods hot bar). I managed to cook a couple of times in February; here’s a recipe I chose for a day when my body was screaming at me for much-needed veggies and grains already, woman! Put down the chocolate!

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BROWN  WILD RICE WITH CAREMELIZED ONIONS, CREMINIS, AND GREENS 

Ingredients:FullSizeRender (1)

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/3 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 2 2/3 cup water or stock
  • 1 tsp veggie base or bullion if using water
  • 1 tbsp butter (omit for vegan recipe)rice 1
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly into rings or half moons
  • 1 carton cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  •  a few sprigs thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 3+ garlic cloves, chopped
  • half bag spinach leaves
  • a few handsful broccoli, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Spicy Thai Coconut Quinoa & Veggies (v, gf)

qunioa 9

OMIGODYOUGUYS Somehow, allez! gourmet, my beloved little hobby blog (hobblog?), has been visited over FORTY THOUSAND times and today marks my HUNDREDTH post!

little miss sunshine gif

a hundred, shaZA-yum!

I started the blog in January 2012 as a new year’s resolution to share recipes on a regular basis, which I’d previously been doing via Facebook. Sharing on FB was neither pretty nor enjoyable. Remember Notes? Ew. Realizing how much I loved to write about cooking and food, I thought I’d better give a proper blog a try. I’m so glad I did! I have had so, so much fun working on a!g. Posting has been an exciting challenge, inspiring me to try new recipes and put my voice out into the great unknown. Putting myself out there was an intimidating prospect! “Who will read this?” I wondered. “Will anyone find it? Will my blog have critics?… Is this thing on?” Mysteriously, the interwebs worked their googly magic and people other than my mom started visiting the blog, unprompted. allez! gourmet’s biggest hit by far has been 2013’s peanut butter & cinnamon greek yogurt dip. It’s probably the simplest recipe I’ve posted and it’s viewed over 100 times a day. A day. Crazy!  So, instead of learning from the peanut butter dip’s lesson that readers love simplicity, today’s 100th post is multi-stepped (but quite representative of my kitchen). Ha! Enjoy and, as always, thanks for reading!

quinoa 5

mmm, nutrition…

SPICY THAI COCONUT QUINOA AND VEGGIES

Ingredients:

For the dressing

  • 1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, washed and stems removed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts
  • 2-3 cloves garlic or more if you’re so inclined
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup sriracha
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 tbsp hot water

For the quinoa

  • 1 3/4 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water and 1 tsp vegetable base, or 1 cup veggie stock
  • generous sprinkle kosher salt

For the tofu and veggies

  • 1 block firm, organic tofu, cut into large dice
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • kosher salt
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
  • 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 bag fresh broccoli florets, or the florets from 1 head broccoli

Directions:

This is a classic vegan grain and veggie bowl. Make the grain, boil veggies, cook the tofu, then toss it all with a raw and incredibly flavorful dressing. You will feel healthier just by smelling this stuff. Prepping the dressing is the best part of this meal: add all dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Voila! Set aside. If you’d like the peanuts to have a bit more oomph, toast them in a skillet first.

On to the quinoa. As the quinoa cooks, you’ll have plenty of time to par boil the veggies and cook the tofu. In a saucepan fitted with a lid, add the quinoa, water and base or broth, can of coconut milk, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer over medium low for 20 minutes. Stir this once or twice as it cooks.

quinoa 1

riveting photo, eh? I barely remembered to snap a pic of the quinoa at all…

While the quinoa bubbles along, dice the tofu and set the chunks on a plate lined with paper towels to drain a bit. I put two paper towels under the tofu blocks and one on top, which absorbed a good amount of excess moisture. Chop your veggies as the tofu drains. In a deep saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium high. When hot, add the tofu chunks in a single layer, and cook for about 3 minutes before flipping. Flip each piece over and cook another 3 minutes until the tofu is a pretty golden-brown color.

Remove the cooked tofu to the same plate it was on earlier, lined with a clean paper towel, salting the tofu to taste. Add hot water to the saucepan you cooked the tofu in (no need to clean it out- hooray!) and bring to a boil. Add the red bell pepper, broccoli, and carrots, and boil for 3 minutes. Drain the veggies in a colander when three minutes is up. All done! Now to mix it together! In a large mixing bowl, mix the quinoa, drained veggies, and dressing. Fold in the tofu blocks and garnish with scallions, cilantro, or additional chopped peanuts… and serve. Delicious! A complete meal in one dish. This yummy bowl is fabulous hot and works at room temperature as well, making great picnic or packed lunch fare.

The meal was so tasty, I didn’t take any photos of my plate. Instead, enjoy two unrelated fall-themed pics from last night.  November is in full swing! Thanks again for reading, and I raise my pumpkin ale to you!

Update! Here’s a picture of the next day’s lunch: 

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Takeout Fakeout: CBW Steamed Veggie Bowl with Quinoa (v, gf)

Crazy Bowls and Wraps. I love this place. Crazy Bowls is a fast food chain where you can get all kinds of tasty creations, as healthy or unhealthy as you’d like, vegan or full-on carnivore, stuffed into a wrap or served over grains as a bowl with your choice of sauce.  Crazy Bowls is mainly in Missouri and California with a smattering of stores in Illinois, which seemed like a weird combination to me, until I thought of what other amazing thing Missouri and California share: Brad Pitt. That’s right. Let’s take a moment of silence for the sustaining force that is the MO-CA symbiotic relationship. Thank you, universe, for Brad Pitt. And thank you, Crazy Bowls, for inexplicably branching out into Eastern Missouri.

bright and beautiful

bright and beautiful

There’s a Crazy Bowls location with a drive though just a few minutes from my office and it’s where I go on the rare days I go to work lunchless. My order is the same every time I go. Every time. “Hi, may I please have the stir-fried veggie bowl with quinoa, double veggies, Thai sauce, and an extra side of Thai sauce? Thanks.” And the total is always $8.00, which always stings and makes me feel lazy and wasteful since I know how to cook a %&$#@ bowl of veggies for gosh sakes and since I know the bowl would cost about $2.00 to make.

Well, guess what? Today, I broke the witchy spell that veggie bowl had on me! I made my order at home, and way more of it. I know the ingredients by heart and grabbed a pre-made peanut sauce at Whole Foods to simplify the process.

saucesMy homemade bowl absolutely hit the spot and with a healthy bonus- I steamed the veggies instead of stir-frying them. Mind: blown. Have you made your favorite to-go food at home? Was it as satisfying? Here’s mine- let me know what you think!

STEAMED VEGGIE BOWL WITH QUINOA

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 head green cabbage, cut into 1/4 inch ribbons
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, cut into 1/4 inch ribbons
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1″ squares
  • 1 cup edamame
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • bottled Thai peanut sauce or homemade sauce, ya showoff
  • Sriracha, for serving
  • optional: 1 cup kale, sliced into ribbons & 1 small zucchini, sliced into half moons (these are in the CBW bowl)

Directions:

You’re going to love this process- so easy and versatile! Chop all veggies. Put the quinoa on according to its package; as the quinoa cooks, set up a large pot and colander for steaming. Bring about 1/2 inch of water to boil in the pot, and add the veggies into the colander, with the carrots on bottom.

carrotsCover and cook about 10 minutes. Fluff the quinoa, spoon about 1/2 cup into bowls, then top with as many veggies as you’d like and some sauce.

eat up!

eat up!

Delicious! Meals like this will keep you young:


Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Bisque (My New Favorite Soup) (v, gf)

INSTANT CLASSIC. INSTANT FAVORITE. This soup was not only delicious, but bursting with nutritous ingredients and very easy to make. I haven’t fallen for a recipe this quickly in a while, and this soup definitely earned a spot on the staple list for the Cruse household. Added bonus: my husband loved it as much as I did! He’s not so big on vegetarian dishes, but he devoured his bowl and remarked several times that he really liked it (I deal in compliments, you know). We had it as a warming side to roast turkey breast sandwiches (bonus recipe below!).
The smooth and creamy texture and subtle sweet and spicy flavors will really knock your socks off. If you’ve been wanting to make a healthier root vegetable soup and you like delicate Thai-style flavors, do yourself a favor and try this one.

And if you make it, let me know what you think!!

SWEET POTATO AND RED LENTIL BISQUE

(adapted from Oprah.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils (available in the Bob’s Red Mill display at your grocery store- the bag I bought cost $6 and had about 4 cups dry lentils)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I used 4 c water and 3 tsp Maggi chicken boullion)
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (to your taste, can always add more like this girl)
  • 1 tsp Thai red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand is avaialble in the Asian section of most major grocery stores)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • cracked black pepper
  • cilantro (optional garnish)

cilantro, red lentils, coconut milk

Directions:

Add broth, sweet potatoes, onion, lentils, Sriracha, curry paste, and brown sugar to a stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce heat and cover; simmer for 25 minutes.

bubbling away

Uncover the soup and let sit for 10 minutes to cool- you want soup to be cool enough to run through your food processor. Too hot, and the heat could damage the processor and/or the steam could force lid off/cause general problems. Just let it cool.

batch 1, pre-blending

Stir in coconut milk and process in batches until smooth. This is seriously the easiest soup… I just can’t get over it! Combine batches in a large bowl, and give soup a good stir before serving. Generously crack black pepper over top, and serve with cilantro and additional Sriracha.

So good! Let me know how it goes when you make it, and anything you change in your home version.

Bonus recipe!!!! Roasted turkey breast for sandwiches:

Make sure the turkey breast you buy is thawed. You’ll need 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, butter, and an onion.

Preheat oven to 350, and grab a roasting pan. Salt and pepper rinsed and dried turkey breast all over, even in the cavity. Melt 1/4-1/2 stick butter (you could use canola oil instead), and brush all over breast. Cut up the veggies, and stuff the cavity with a mix of them, placing remaining veggies around turkey in the roasting pan. You can put a little water or broth in the bottom of the pan if you like (I don’t).

Tent some foil over the breast, and place in the oven; roast for 2 hours, until the timer in the turkey pops up, or until a meat thermometer stuck into the turkey reads 170 degrees. Let sit 20 minutes, then carve into slices to put on sandwiches! Et voila!

bless-ed leftovers