August: Chai-Spiced Yam Bruschetta with Crunchy Kale

I first encountered Plum when I was volunteering at KEXP 90.3 FM: before the radio station’s new home was built at Seattle Center, the major giving offices were located upstairs in the Armory, where the food court is. I stopped by Plum Pantry for pre-made salads and sandwiches on my way to my other job, but at the time I didn’t know it was part of a larger group of restaurants owned by Makini Howell. Today, the Plum brand encompasses a vegan bistro, bakery, food truck, pantry, catering and a cookbook. Although the Plum Pantry food is delicious, I’m excited to try something more elaborate.

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July: White Wine Risotto with Mushrooms

I love risotto, but I’ve never needed to make it because my roommate makes several incredible variations. My favorite kind that she makes is a gorgeous pink beet risotto with an expert blend of cheeses mixed in and on top. I know there’s absolutely no way I can top her recipes, so I’ve found my own in a cookbook that’s filled with easy recipes that all take 30 minutes or less to make!

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April: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers

I have been a vegetarian since 2005, with the exception of deliciously fresh Pacific Northwest seafood. When I go to a new restaurant that has a veggie burger on the menu, it’s usually what I’ll end up getting. Ordering something simple and universal at a variety of places makes it easier to find new twists that each chef has added to make it their own. Are the patties made in-house from scratch? What kind of bread is it served on, and what garnishes and sauces come with it? But despite sampling nearly every veggie burger that crosses my path, I’ve never tried to make my own – until now!

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February: Mandelmusslor

This recipe is a bonus because it’s “just” a dessert, while the other recipes I’ve explored can be considered a full meal on their own (or at least the centerpiece of one). I usually don’t plan any big gestures for Valentine’s Day, and would much prefer to make food from scratch with people I care about. I’ve often said that cooking is my love language: if I cook for you, it means that we’re friends. So thank you to everyone who has been taste-testing these recipes with me!

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February: Peanut Stew with Winter Vegetables & Cornmeal Dumplings

This peanut stew looked delicious when I was flipping through “Afro-Vegan,” and it turned out to be just that. I hadn’t attempted cooking African cuisine before, but the friends who graciously agreed to be my taste-testers for the evening really enjoyed it. One had even traveled to Africa several times for work, and claimed that this recipe tasted almost exactly like an authentic peanut stew!

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January: Thai Curry

Living in Seattle has allowed me to become exposed to a lot of amazing Thai food. Although I’ve tried cooking some before, with mixed reviews, this curry seemed fairly foolproof because of how few ingredients it requires. I always love a recipe that calls for “whatever you happen to have in your fridge.” It might not end up with the most authentically Thai ingredients, but I’m guaranteed to like it!

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January: Pasta e Fagioli

I always like to keep track of the year in some way. In 2015, I read 52 books from a list and wrote haiku reviews of them. In 2016, I read every single New Yorker magazine cover to cover so that the nonfiction and short stories could act as a counterbalance to all the fiction from the previous year. And last year in 2017, I kept track of hard data. I also managed to watch 44 spooky movies in the 2 months leading up to Halloween.

I’ve been doing a lot more cooking recently. I’ve always enjoyed it, but now that I live with 3 other people, I’m much more likely to be adventurous in the kitchen. And because I have a ridiculous number of cookbooks that I like to flip through, I’m going to try new vegetarian recipes at least once a month. So here we go!

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