January 30, 2014

#IsaLovesIt Valentine Instagram Contest

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! But this isn’t just another empty Valentine, wherein you get NOTHING but a few words, some chalky chocolate and a wilted rose. I’ve been soooo loving all of your Instagrams from Isa Does It, that I want to give you the love right back.

Introducing The #IsaLovesIt Instagram Valentine contest!

Get out your cutest cloths and most vintagey forks, and get cooking. Tag your Instagram photos #IsaLovesIt to be sure that I see! You can use recipes from the book, but if you don’t have the book, you can try these sample recipes from the blog. The winner will get a Breville Sous Chef Food Processor and a copy of Isa Does It. 10 second prize winners will receive a copy of Isa Does It. And I’ll feature the winning posts on my Instagram, Facebook and blog. Feel free to enter as many photos as you like.

And sorry, but because my publisher is sponsoring the contest, it is US only. Thank you for understanding! OK rules below, start snapping and good luck!

PS follow me over at Instagram @IsaChandra.

Be sure to read all the rules and requirements below, and happy cooking everyone! This is the Breville Food Processor for the winner, isn’t it a looker?

Rules:
To enter the contest, cook one (or more!) of the recipes in Isa Does It, snap a picture, upload the picture to Instagram, and tag with #IsaLovesIt. I’ll be judging the photos based on quality, creativity, and the appearance and presentation of the dish. The contest is open from 1/30/14 – 2/15/14.

One grand prize winner will receive 1 Breville Sous Chef Food Processor and a copy of Isa Does It (to share with your loved ones!). Ten second prize winners will receive a copy of Isa Does It.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Void where prohibited. Must be at least 18 years of age and a US resident to enter. Contest begins 12:01am ET January 30, 2014 and ends 11:59 ET February 15, 2014.

Visit http://bit.ly/1aKlXvU to read the Official Rules. Sponsor: Hachette Book Group, Inc. 237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017. This Contest is no way sponsored or endorsed by Instagram.

January 28, 2014

Buffalo Chickpea Pitas With Ranch

Makes 16
Total time: 20 minutes || Active time: 20 minutes

Buffalo Chickpea

Why is the Super Bowl my favorite time of the year? I totally don’t follow football the rest of the season. I’m more of a baseball girl (86 Mets!) but honestly, haven’t really paid attention since the Subway Series. Yet when this time of year rolls around I’ve suddenly got team spirit, even if I don’t even know which teams are even in it. I have taken existential inventory of my actions and I think I have the answer. It’s…well, it’s the wings.

It’s all the food, really (here’s a few of my Superbowl recipes.) But wings in particular give you carte blanche to eat all of the Frank’s that your heart desires. And my heart desires a lot.

This is such an easy way to capture the essence of buffalo wings. A spicy, tangy chickpea salad, a cooling dollop of ranch and fresh crunchy celery. All in one little bite that won’t leave your fingers greasy! Oh, and everything takes like 20 minutes to put together.

So go on, whip this up and invite over some other friends who have no idea what’s going on. But make sure that you switch back and forth from the Puppy Bowl. This year there is the Kitten Bowl, too!

Buffalo Chickpea
(Oops, forgot to add the celery to the above shot. But you get the idea.)

Recipe Notes

~Vegannaise in the purple jar is a good choice! Just try not to use too thin a mayo or the dressing will be runny.

~Chop the herbs as finely as possible for best results. Really, you want them closer to minced.

~If you don’t have tahini, that’s fine. I love the nuttiness it brings to the table but you can also just add some extra mayo.

~If you are a total spice wimp, start with 3 tablespoons of hot sauce. But really, I’d almost be inclined to say, if you’re a spice wimp, skip this recipe entirely since it’s pretty much about the spice.

For the chickpeas:
1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons vegan mayo, storebought or homemade
1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot, plus more to taste

For the ranch:
3/4 cup vegan mayo, storebought or homemade
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper

For garnish and assembly:
Additional Frank’s
16 mini-pitas
1 rib thinly sliced celery
Fresh chives (optional)

Make the chickpeas:
In a mixing bowl, use an avocado masher or a strong fork to mash the chickpeas well. They should retain some of their texture and not appear pureed. A few whole ones left are ok.

Mix in the mayo and tahini and give a few more mashes. Salt to taste, if needed. It should be salty enough with the Franks and mayo.

Make the ranch:
Just mix all of the ingredients together in a little bowl!

Assemble:
Place a tablespoon or so of chickpea salad on a pita. Add a dash more Frank’s if desired. Top with a dollop of ranch. Garnish with a few slices of celery and a piece of chive.

January 16, 2014

Black Eyed Pea Curry With Collards & Potatoes

Serves 6
Total time: 45 minutes || Active time: 45 minutes

Black eyed pea curry

I totally meant to put this up before New Years, because….black eyed peas! But dang have I been busy. Or lazy? I forget which. Blazy? Oh well, it’s never too late for black eyed peas, right? I’ll tell you some of the upcoming projects I’ve been working on in an upcoming post, but for now let’s talk about this curry.

Chunky red potatoes, velvetty collards and earthy black-eyed peas make for a voluptuous coconut curry that is slightly out of the ordinary. It comes together real real fast, too. Serve with basmati rice and an easy mango and avocado salsa, for sweetness, tartness and a little extra creaminess. Have some sriracha at the ready in case you want a little extra spice!

Recipe Notes

~ This is a verrrry versatile and basic curry. You can swap the black eyed peas for chickpeas, or the greens for spinach or kale. You can even swap the red potatoes for sweet potatoes (although keep in mind sweet potatoes cook a lot faster.) But don’t swap the tomato paste for ketchup or the coconut milk for orange juice or anything gross like that.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon agave
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, in 3/4 inch pieces

1 lb collards, rough stems removed, leaves chopped into bite sized pieces
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cups cooked black eyed peas (from a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)

For the Mango Avocado Salsa:
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 ripe mango, diced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

To serve: Basmati rice
Optional garnish: Fresh chopped cilantro

Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and jalapeno in the coconut oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until onion is lightly browned.

Add the garlic and ginger, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of curry powder, garam masala, salt, vegetable broth, agave, and tomato paste, and stir. The tomato paste may not dissolve just yet but that’s ok, it will when it heats through.

Add the potatoes, cover pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, immediately lower heat to a simmer, and leave the lid ajar so that steam can escape. Let potatoes cook just until tender, about 5 more minutes.

In the meantime, toss together all of the salsa ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Once potatoes are fork tender, add the collards, black-eyed peas and coconut milk. Stir gently to incorporate. Leave lid ajar again, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer just until collards are tender, it should only take a few minutes.

Turn off heat and taste for salt and spices. Add remaining curry powder if needed. It tastes best if you let it sit for 10 minutes or so, but if you can’t wait then just dig in!

Serve over basmati rice, topped with mango avocado salsa and cilantro, if you like. Have some sriracha at the ready in case you want a little extra spice.

December 19, 2013

Banana Eggnog Pancakes

Makes 8 pancakes

Banana Eggnog Pancakes

You are going to want these pancakes around this time of year the same way you are going to want vintage candy cane lights and indie-rock Xmas playlists and to watch Love, Actually over and over again. Basically, you won’t be able to live without them from now until January 1st. After that, put them away, let their powers recharge, and do it again next year!

Since vegan eggnogs vary from brand to brand, your results may vary, but I can’t see anything going drastically wrong from using a brand other than the one I used (which was So Delicious Coconut Eggnog, btw.) Some are thinner than others, some are spicier, but you always have to play with pancake batter a little anyway, adding a tablespoon of extra flour or a splash of extra liquid. So I say don’t sweat it.

I’ve also included a little extra nutmeg just to drive home the point…these are eggnog pancakes! If there still isn’t enough of that woodsy perfume then definitely shave a little bit more nutmeg over the top of your stack because YUM. The best way to shave whole nutmeg is to use a microplane grater. And then it gets super pretty, too, because you can see all the lovely grain contained within the seed. Oh, and the scent isn’t too shabby either. A little coconut oil over the top (instead of butter or whatever) tastes totally delish, too.

Serve these for Christmas morning or New Years brunch or tonight for the heck of it. Enjoy, and happy holidays everyone!

Recipe Notes

~ Don’t use an electric mixer for the batter. Overmixed pancakes tend to result in a dense pancake. I use a dinner fork to get everything mixed.

~ You have to let the batter rest for ten minutes or so. The vinegar and the baking powder need to react with each other and the gluten needs to settle in and rest.

~Don’t crowd the pan. Even in my big cast iron, I don’t make more than two pancakes at once.

~ Don’t use too much oil in the pan. It will result in a tough exterior. A very thin layer of oil is what you want and a spray can of organic canola oil works perfectly for this.

~ Preheat the pan for a good ten minutes. I use cast iron and put it on moderate low heat (right around 3 on my stovetop), but you will probably need to adjust a little to get the temp just right. Remember, the temp is not set in stone. Lower and raise in tiny increments as needed. Even turning the dial 1/4 inch can result in big changes.

~ Use a measuring cup (with a rounded bottom if possible) to scoop out the batter. And remember to always spray the cup between pancakes, to prevent sticking.

~ Once you drop the pancake in, refrain from futzing with the batter too much. But don’t be afraid to delicately nudge the batter a tiny bit with your fingers to get a more circular shape and more even cooking. But the batter should spread a tiny bit and puff up all on its own.

2 very ripe medium bananas
1 1/4 cups eggnog
2 tablespoons organic canola oil (or other light tasting oil)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (plus extra for sprinkling)
1/4 teaspoon salt

To serve: Banana slices, cranberries, pure maple syrup

In a medium mixing bowl, mash bananas (using a strong fork or a potato masher or an avocado masher) until they are almost pureed. Add eggnog, canola oil, vinegar and vanilla extract and set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Make a well in the center.

Pour the banana mixture into the center of the dry ingredients. Add the oil and vanilla and use a fork to mix until a thick, lumpy batter forms. That should take about a minute. It doesn’t need to be smooth, just make sure you get all the ingredients incorporated.

Preheat the pan over medium-low heat and let the batter rest for 10 minutes.

Lightly coat the pan in oil. Add 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake, and cook for about 4 minutes, until puffy. Flip the pancakes, adding a new coat of oil to the pan, and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Pancake should be about 3/4 of an inch thick, and golden brown.

Rest pancakes on a cooling rack covered with tin foil until ready to serve. To reheat, place pancakes in on a baking sheet covered with tin foil in a 300 F degree oven for 5 minutes or so. Serve with sliced bananas, cranberries and maple syrup.

December 8, 2013

Gingery Coconut Stew With Brussels & Rutabaga

Serves 6 to 8

Coconut Ginger Stew

When the weather forecast starts mocking you with single digits, this stew hits all the right notes. Three degrees is simply not enough degrees! Brrrr.

Somehow there was not a single rutabaga recipe on the site! I don’t know how that happened because rutabaga is basically my spirit vegetable. With all it’s purpleness and earthiness and intensity. It’s like a wizened turnip. But if you can’t find any, turnips or parsnips would be great here, too.

Although you typically find rutabaga in European cooking, I love the combination of rooty veggies and Asian flavors. Here the rutabaga gives a great balance to the stew; naturally sweet from the coconut and the carrot, with contrasting lime notes and laced through and through with ginger. The seared Brussel sprouts add extra wintery goodness as well as a fun texture. Chickpeas round the whole thing out (no pun intended) (because chickpeas are round.)

So when life gives you three degrees, make this stew! Serve with some jasmine rice and warm up your life.

Recipe Notes

~I like coconut oil in here for obvious reasons, but any neutral flavored oil will do!

~I’ve been really digging those little 5.5 oz cans of coconut milk. It’s so efficient and there is zero waste. If you can’t find them, then just measure out 2/3 a cup of coconut milk and you’re good to go.

~My brussel sprouts were little so I just halved them. If yours are on the bigger side, quarter them instead.

~The easiest way I’ve found to peel a rutabaga is with your chef’s knife. Place the rutabaga on your cutting board and gently slice away the waxy skin starting from top to bottom.

1 tablespoon coconut oil (refined or virgin)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 lb Brussel sprouts, quartered [see note above]
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 heaping tablespoon fresh minced ginger
3/4 lb rutabaga, peeled and diced (1/2 inch)
1 cup sliced carrots
4 cups vegetable broth
1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (1 1/2 cups)
1 5.5 ounce can coconut milk (about 1/2 a cup)
Juice of one lime
Zest of 1/2 lime
Salt to taste

Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Jasmine rice for serving

Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion in the oil with a big pinch of salt, until onions are lightly browned. Now add the brussels and try to get them lightly seared by making sure that they hit the surface of the pot. So just push the onions to the sides and let the brussels cook, giving them a stir every now and again. It doesn’t have to be perfect and not every single one needs to sear, just do your best!

Add ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes and mix in. Cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the rutabaga, carrots and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to simmer, and add the chickpeas and lime zest. Cook with the lid ajar (to let steam escape) until the rutabaga is tender (5 more minutes or so.)

Add coconut milk and lime juice, and taste for salt. Heat through, and serve with cilantro and extra red pepper flakes or Sriracha if you like.