Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Completing Your Outdoor Space

So a couple of years ago, we designed and built a backyard area that we love and this week we got to do this fun story for IHA's Inspired Home blog. The deal for the update was lights everywhere, feather print everything, and a better entryway than just a forlorn table all alone. We love the results!

Blogging can be a trip, though, for things are rarely what they appear. We set it all up on a sweltering Sunday evening all the while wishing we were really having a party that night. Our cute new stuff sure made the scene look great, and we were pining to share it with others. But 90+ temps after dark may be pushing it when it comes to a relaxing evening for all. One day soon it'll happen, and we'll be ready.

The second reason blogging is a funny thing is that we're going ahead with a forced renovation (okay, complete gutting) of our original kitchen inside due to a dishwasher leak, a little water wreaking havoc as it can do. But it's hard to undersell how lovely was it to get away from the craziness (all closets emptied, stuff in places that makes no sense for said stuff to be stored, a ripped-out floor, complete chaos so widespread that we can only roll with it and make fun of it) for a night.

It was good just to focus on making one thing that we already love better. Now we're preparing for what's got to be a much calmer and less eventful fall. We'll get creative and see what we can cook in the meantime! We'll let you know how it goes…

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Honey Balsamic Strawberries & Halo Top Ice Cream

We requested and received coupons for free pints of ice cream from Halo Top in exchange for writing a review here on TCV. As always, all opinions expressed are our own. 

We tried a pint of vanilla bean Halo Top ice cream last week, and now we're loving all that they do. Sometimes we'll buy 'healthier' ice cream and find it's only good for being mixed in a milkshake because the texture's off or the flavor's weird. Not so with this new stuff. It's got protein, fiber, fewer calories per pint than most, less sugar, and it tastes like real ice cream. We've tried vanilla, strawberry, lemon cake, and chocolate so far since those are available in Memphis (all 4 can be found at Whole Foods Poplar in Memphis; we also spotted vanilla and chocolate at Kroger). Dying to try the other flavors soon!

We have some ideas about what you can do with each flavor, but the first topping we made was some quick, marinated Honey-Balsamic Strawberries and paired them with scoops of strawberry Halo Top. These ingredients might make an awesome milkshake, too!

Honey-Balsamic Strawberries

1 pint strawberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of sea salt

Cut berries into fourths and set aside. Whisk the vinegar, honey, and salt. Pour mixture over berries and allow them to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Spoon mixture over strawberry ice cream.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

5 Quick Questions with Chef Patrick Reilly of The Majestic Grille

Chef Patrick Reilly, originally from Ireland, and his wife Deni are hosting a series of 10 themed dinners, one for each year they've served delicious food at The Majestic Grille in downtown Memphis. We were excited to learn that Chef Reilly was planning an all-vegetarian feast as one of the "Ten 'Til Ten" dinners

The menu he is working up sounds amazing. It'll be a salute to the South's seasonal produce with dishes like his amazing Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms and Artichokes and another favorite of ours, Ratatouille with White Bean and Tomato Ragout. There'll be several passed appetizers like Berbere-Spiced Okra and also Apple Jelly and Goat Cheese Rangoons. Dessert will be a Cherry-and-Apple Crumble with Custard. There will be five courses in all, each paired with wines that complement each dish. 

Seating for Majestic Grille's Summer's Bounty dinner is limited, and we just know it will sell out. So get your tickets today. We'll be there for sure! 

So you can get to know one of Memphis's best chefs a little better, we asked Patrick Five Quick Questions:

1. TCV: What are some of your earliest food memories?

PR: "My father was an avid gardener, and I remember going down to pick lettuce or parsley for dinner. We had (and my sister still has) rhubarb plants that we dug up and brought with us when we moved house when I was like seven. There is nothing in the world like first spring rhubarb tart. The first dish I ever made was oatmeal cookies. I was eight years old." 

2. TCV: Being a chef seems both difficult and rewarding. Tell us about your decision to feed people for a living.

PR: "I have wanted to be a chef since I was a child. I have no idea why but it appealed to me; I seemed to have a knack for it. I love food, and I love the reaction I get from people when they taste something that they really enjoy."

3. TCV: Why do an all-vegetable dinner as a part of your '10 for 10' dinner series? Why limit yourself like that? ;)

PR: "I wouldn’t call it limiting in the least! In the 80’s, I worked under Chef Paul Gayler at Inigo Jones Restaurant in London. He was a pioneer of vegetarian cooking in French haute cuisine. We had a ten-course vegetable tasting menu available each night, and in the spring, we had an entire menu devoted to asparagus. These dinners are a way for me to cook different styles and cuisines which I would otherwise not get a chance to do."

4. TCV: What’s the secret to longevity in the restaurant business? It must have something to do with family, right?

PR: "I don’t know if there is a secret. We just try to provide the best and most consistent experience we can. We love what we do. There is no doubt in my mind that our staff is the biggest factor in our success. We have an amazing team of people here,  some of them since the day we opened. And we just make it our priority to do right by them, and that just seems to work out best for everybody."

5. TCV: What is the one dish that you make that connects your Irish heritage with your Southern American sensibility?

PR: "Meat was considered a luxury and was used almost as a seasoning; while here, the common crops were rice, beans, and corn, among others, in Ireland, it was potatoes, roots, and vegetables like kale and cabbage. So on one hand, you have rice and beans with maybe a ham hock thrown in for flavor, and on the other, you get 'colcannon' which is mashed potatoes with onions, kale, leeks, or cabbage -- or a combination -- and a fistful of chopped bacon or ham."

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Using Up All Those Cucumbers

This time of year, piles upon piles of them stare you down and seemingly multiply like Gremlins when you turn your back for a second. Today we're all about cucumbers, and we have a few ideas about how to make an abundance of cukes a more appealing situation this summer.

We have a bunch from our family's Concord Farms sitting on the counter this morning, and we're going to go with quick pickles and maple cucumber lemonade! Check out today's WKNO radio interview with and article for more cucumber dishes you can check off your list this season. Jennifer Chandler, cookbook author and host of The Weekly Dish, was kind enough to ask for our favorite cucumber recipes this week.

(And if you've never made summer salad, you have to try our version!)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Thank you, Memphis!

We were overjoyed to see the response to our pop-up restaurant at Iris Etc. today. We had to close up early at 4:00 after running out of most of the dishes by 3:00. Thank you to all who supported us today! We will be working on a recap post with recipes for next week.

Friday, July 10, 2015

TCV + Iris Etc. Pop-Up: The Prep & Set-Up

Now on to what you can expect on Saturday! Our first pop-up restaurant on 7.11.15 at Iris Etc. (62 S. Cooper in midtown Memphis) is cash only and happens from 11 a.m. until we run out of food. See the menu HERE; everything is $5 so that it's easy to try a bunch of stuff. We hope you can stop by and thought we'd give you some background about the event and let you know what to expect.

Here goes…

When it comes to planning an event, we think about the food first and then start picturing the atmosphere and the way things are going to work. When we throw a party at home, we try to think through what we want the experience to be like for our guests. So for this Saturday's TCV pop-up restaurant, we want the vibe to match the menu: summery, casual, and lighthearted. We lucked out because Iris Etc. is quite a beautiful canvas. We're dreaming of black-and-white gingham, bright flowers, and an inside-outside party set-up. We might even tote our record player to the space and play some old-school country and Memphis classics for you.

Today we wanted to give you a peek at the place so you can look forward to checking it out and enjoying some TCV summer favorites this Saturday. You're going to grab a sushi-style menu, check off what you'd like to order, hand your menu back to the girl (most likely Amy!) behind the desk up front, and hang out with a drink while your food is put together, and then your name is called and your order is handed to you.

We'll have a few seats and tables here and there, but this isn't your usual sit down, order, and converse politely at the table for hours type of thing; it's more like a food truck experience. You get to walk around and mingle and are not stuck in one spot. You decide what works for you -- pick up a few items and go do all your Saturday stuff or stick around for a while catching up with friends and ordering a couple of items here and there at your leisure. We've hosted planned-out dinners with courses and structure and the like, and this is designed to be the total opposite of that. The very reasonable prices -- everything's priced at $5 -- reflect the informality because we want you to be able to try lots of stuff.

So excited to see you on Saturday and share some of our favorite dishes with you. This is another first for us, and it's going to be great to see you right there with us as we give our pop-up all we've got!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Menu for the Chubby Veg + Iris Etc. Pop-Up this Saturday, 7.11.15 at Iris Etc.

Tomato and Pimento Cheese Pie
Summer tomatoes served with lemon-zest-and-thyme pimento cheese and topped with puff pastry

Carrot Corn Dog
Organic carrot encased in our jalapeño and smoked cheddar cornbread, our cookbook’s cover star, and served with Creole mustard sauce

Cabbage Kimchi Dumplings (V)
That kimchi we always make stuffed into wonton wrappers and served with peanuts and white soy sauce

Smoked Shiitake Mushroom Tamale (V)
One of our most-requested dishes made from local corn and mushrooms and topped with charred corn salsa. This one’ll likely surprise the most staunch tamale purist...

Andouille Eggplant Po Boy + Tabasco Pickles
French bread with grilled, spiced Japanese eggplant “sausage” and house-made pickles from cucumbers from our family farm, Concord Farms; dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, and mustard (V if you ask for it minus the mayo) 

Smoked Fig Jam with a Waffle Iron Grilled Cheese
Our vegetarian take on smoky bacon and onion jam: whole wheat with cheddar and mozzarella

Baked Cauliflower Wings with Black-and-Blue Dressing
Local cauliflower florets tossed in Crazy Good Hot Sauce and served with carrot sticks, celery, and black pepper and blue cheese dressing (V if you ask for it minus the dressing)

Stuffed Squash Blossom and Creole Squash
Tempura-fried squash blossom stuffed with roasted carrot puree and soft cheese served atop spicy squash and zucchini from our family farm, Concord Farms

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Goat Cheese, Jewel Tomatoes, and Honey-Lime Vinaigrette
Watermelon changes from sweet to savory on the grill; we highlight this amazing transformation with our spicy, salty take on this Southern favorite

Banana Ice Cream Sandwich with Oatmeal Ginger ‘Power’ cookies (V)
A healthified ice cream sandwich with raisins, cranberries, walnuts, and coconut; vegan, free of refined sugar, and 101% amazing

Roasted Peach Shortcake with Lavender Cream
Our beloved gluten-free almond biscuits served with the season’s best fruit and herbaceous whipped cream

Rosemary Lemonade With Ripe Stone Fruit (V)
Lemons and herbs from our garden sweetened with maple syrup and infused with the flavors of summer


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Flower Crown Pre-Orders for Saturday's TCV + Iris Etc. Pop-Up Restaurant

This morning through Friday at 10 a.m., you may pre-order your very own *BEAUTIFUL CROWN* to be picked up at the TCV / Iris Etc. Pop-Up Restaurant on Saturday! (See more about the event HERE and HERE.) Grown-up and children's crowns will be made ahead by Jill Forrester of Whitton Farms, and pre-ordering (from right now until 10 a.m. on Friday) at our Square link below guarantees your crown will be ready for you on Saturday.

Grown-up flower crown: $15
Child's flower crown: $10
Child's greenery crown: $7

(Know that the pop-up event is cash only, but we're thrilled to be able to offer a few things ahead of time on our Square site! We also have signed, personalized books available for pre-order at the same link above.)

Monday, July 6, 2015

The TCV + Iris Etc. Pop-Up Restaurant this Saturday, July 11!

Come enjoy our favorite summertime TCV recipes at Iris Etc. on Overton Square in Midtown this Saturday for lunch or dinner! It's going to be casual, fun, and a la carte, and you don't need a reservation. Check out more details HERE (including some of the featured vegetarian dishes) and stop by 62 South Cooper from 11-8. Keep up with us this week as we share how it's going along with a surprise or two along the way. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Backyard Fire Pit Cookout: Carrot Dogs with Slaw + A S'mores Bar for IHA's Inspired Home Blog

We'd NEVER before cooked over a backyard fire pit, so we gave it a shot and ended up making some great food this past Sunday evening! Thanks to the International Housewares Association, we had a few great new tools to make it all go smoothly. The carrot dogs we roasted with our guest turned out awesome; also, it's been on our minds for a while now to put together a make-your-own-s'mores bar, so we finally did it!

Go check out the IHA Inspired Home blog for the full story and see what you can do with some open-flame cooking this Fourth of July weekend! Have a beautiful holiday!

We are excited to have been selected by the International Housewares Association to contribute to their Inspired Home blog. We have been compensated for our time, but our opinions are, of course, our own.

Monday, June 29, 2015

5 Quick Questions for Lindsey Lettvin of Triple L Bakery

(Update, 7.4.2015: So, sallyc, you are the winner of a dozen free cookies to be shipped to you since random.org selected comment #4 on this post! Just comment below using the same account as you did previously and tell us your choice of cookies and the address where you would like them shipped; of course, we will not post the comment. Thanks to all who entered -- and be sure to check out the new cookies being added weekly to Lindsey's Etsy site.)

Lindsey Lettvin, our sister / sister-in-law, recently brought her baking company, Triple L Bakery, to Etsy. Lindsey lives in Boulder, Colorado, and this isn't the first time we've featured her cooking on TCV. Her Paleo Energy Snacks are unbelievable. She makes us all jam thumbprint butter cookies for the holidays and surprised all the dads with sugar cookies this past Father's Day.

She started out as a baker at one of her first jobs during college, and now she's circling back to her love of the craft. Here's more about Linnie and her work below; please contact her via Etsy if you need cookies for an upcoming celebration, an awesome gift, or to chat with her about placing a special order request. We have a lot of respect for her skills in the kitchen and think you're really going to enjoy checking out what she's working on these days. 

Giveaway alert! We've got a way for you to put your name in the hat for your choice of a dozen free cookies! Check the end of this post to see how to enter in the drawing on Friday, 7/3/15.* 

5 Quick Questions for Lindsey Lettvin of Triple L Bakery

1. The Chubby Vegetarian: You're vegetarian now, right? How did that come to be?

Lindsey Lettvin: Yes! We were Paleo for more than 2 years, and my husband, Moishe, has been wanting to make the veggie switch for a while. We decided, as a family, to become vegetarian three months ago and have not looked back. I don't miss meat one bit. I was vegetarian in high school and vegan for a couple of years then, too, so cooking that way comes naturally to me. 

2. TCV: Let's reminisce about your start at Blue Heron Bakery in Olympia, Washington. How did you start working there, and what was it like?

LL: Blue Heron holds a special place in my heart. And they just expanded and moved locations to a beautiful space, so yay for them! I landed the job because at the time, my roommate knew a woman named May who worked there, and they needed help. They trusted that I would learn the ropes and hired me. It was my first professional bakery job, and it was just a lovely group of eccentric people who shared the joy of baking together. We were like a little family. I was the cookie baker, along with a few others, and my job was to make hundreds of cookies a day, like 8 different varieties. Some of my favorites are the Turbo cookie, which is loaded with eggs and turbinado sugar and about as big as one's head, no kidding! It is heavenly. And we did these awesome Fudge Bars and Date Bars with an oat crumble on top -- they still make them! -- that I had to sample every day. Oh, and Evan makes the best Orange and Chocolate Biscotti I have ever eaten.

3. TCV: So, why cookies? 

LL: Because who doesn't like to indulge in them every now and again?! Seriously, I baked in college and that was one of the most satisfying jobs I have ever had. I'm trying to recreate that now and bake because I am passionate about it, and it is something I would be doing anyway, whether for fun or for a job. I love how cooking and baking zone me out; I get into the flow and am present and just thinking about what I am doing at that moment. It is my peace.

4. TCV: What are some of the must-have ingredients for your cookies?

LL: Of course, butter and sugar. I only use organic eggs and pure vanilla extract. I am working on more recipes, so if I'm using gluten-free flours, I am picky about which ones work well. I have found that I like the Pamela's brand the best for texture and taste. And I recently rolled out a Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, which features organic raisins and organic oats. So, for me, when it doesn't break the bank, I like to use organic.

5. TCV: Will you do custom orders for different occasions or needs, and what about special dietary considerations? 

LL: Yes to custom orders -- since cookies have a shorter shelf life, I am basically doing a custom order every order I get. That is to say, when I get an order, I don't have it sitting and ready to go. So, if you have a certain design idea or color scheme (or want only gluten-free or organic ingredients), I can do it. I am flexible and really just want to give my customers what they want, so tweaking colors, shapes, ingredients is easy for me because I am the only employee, and it is a small business. I also can do nut-free orders, gluten-free, and vegan versions if requested. 

Thanks so much, Amy and Justin, for having me on TCV!

*Leave a comment at the end of the post and tell us your favorite cookie to make or eat. On Friday, 7/3/15, we'll choose one commenter at random to receive your choice of a dozen Triple L Bakery cookies shipped to you next week, and we'll update this post to reveal who won. (We moderate comments, so don't worry if your comment is not posted right away -- it'll be up very soon!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Part Two of Our Recipe Contest Winners: Curried Corn by Raihana's Cuisines

We were instantly transported halfway around the globe by the aroma of toasted mustard seeds and the smell of fresh curry leaves. Again, we found ourselves using unfamiliar ingredients that took a little searching to find, but without them, the recipe just wouldn't be the same. As a bonus, we got to expand our kitchen vocabulary thanks to Raihana of Raihana's Cuisines; she's the co-winner of our first-ever recipe contest along with Lys Green and her Chana Masala

Raihana's Curried Corn recipe calls for curry leaves, not a common sight in our kitchen, but we'll be picking them up anytime we see them now. They are the leaves of the curry tree which, confusingly enough, has nothing at all to do with the spice powder mixture. They are extremely fragrant, and any fan of authentic Indian cuisine will pick up on the flavor immediately. "I love curry leaves!" Raihana said when explaining this recipe on her site. "They give food a really amazing taste."

We made this dish for one big Indian feast the other night, and it was so good. Raihana suggests taking her curried corn dish to a potluck. We second that -- especially now since the corn here in the South is already pretty good and sweet this season. One commenter suggested trying it as a dip, so we scooped up some leftovers with our favorite white bean tortilla chips for a little snack the next day and loved it. Think about picking up a few ears at the farmers market in your town this week or grab the non-GMO corn available at Whole Foods and give this amazing recipe a place at your table.

Curried Corn by Raihana's Cuisines

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
8-9 curry leaves
tablespoons tomato paste
Kosher salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon amchur/amchoor powder (mango powder)
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
3 cups corn
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes (optional)
1/2 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

Heat the olive oil and add the mustard seeds; once they pop, add the curry leaves and tomato paste. Let the mixture cook until it becomes fragrant and darker in color. Next, go ahead and add the salt, mango powder, lemon pepper, and corn. Mix it well to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated. Add the dried parsley flakes for a little color. (Make sure not to cook the corn too much; you want it to be crispy. Lastly, drizzle on the lime juice and add salt and fresh cilantro on top. (Serves 4-6.)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Vegan Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Caprese

Here's a simple side dish for your outdoor grilling plans this weekend. You might've already picked out your main, but you need something else, something special that everyone will like. We have got you covered with this caprese salad with a Mexican twist! The avocados stand in for the typical buffalo mozzarella, and cilantro takes the place of fresh basil.

Now is the time that locally grown tomatoes are starting to appear. We found these beautiful organic heirloom varieties yesterday. All you do is slice them up with some ripe avocadoes, add a few touches, and you are done. Your guests will love it.

Vegan Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Caprese

2 medium tomatoes (cut into 1/4 inch slices)
2 medium avocados (pitted, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch slices)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
1serrano pepper (thinly sliced)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
1 lime (quartered)

On a serving platter, arrange the salad by alternating the slices of tomato and avocado. Drizzle with the olive oil and then the vinegar. Add sliced serrano, cilantro leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve limes on the side to be squeezed over just before enjoying. (Makes 4 servings.)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Part One of Our Recipe Contest Winners: Lys Green's Chana Masala

We had so much fun with our first-ever recipe contest! Many of you entered your creative recipes, and we are so thankful you did. We chose our three finalists because each of the recipes pushed us in a new direction in the kitchen with unfamiliar-to-us techniques and ingredients. It was a close race, but in the end, we had a tie game. Both recipes that won the most votes are authentic Indian recipes, so last Sunday night, we decided to have a feast and make both Lys Green's Channa Masala and Raihana's Cuisine's Curried Corn along with our own homemade Whole Wheat Naan and some cucumber and mint raita. Everything went so well together, and the bright acidity of the corn contrasted nicely with the warm cinnamon and clove in the masala. Seriously, it was one of the best Indian meals we've ever made at home.

Lys Green says she never grew up eating Indian food, but her husband is Indian, so over the years, she learned to cook authentic Indian food. On a trip to India, she fell in love with his aunt's chana masala. After inquiring how the chana masala was made, Lys was able to formulate a recipe that not only meets the authenticity of traditional Chana Masala, but also meets the healthy requirements that she strives for in her own kitchen.
Don't be intimidated by the ingredient list. We went to a well-stocked Indian grocery and had no trouble finding everything we needed. We also learned a lot about what goes into an authentic Indian dish. The amchoor powder is an ingredient that we'd never used before, but will certainly use again. It's dried mango powder that adds sweet and savory notes to the dish as well as a bit of acidity. 

The anrdana powder is another ingredient we'd never worked with, and it offered a nice surprise. It's dried and ground pomegranate seeds that, when tasted on its own, is as sweet as candy. In the dish, however, it acts to balance the warm, earthy flavors with a hint of sweetness. 

You'll want to make the extra effort to gather the ingredients for this recipe. Once you have everything in front of you, it all comes together very quickly. Next up, we'll share Raihana's Curried Corn, so be sure to check back in soon for that.

Lys Green's Chana Masala

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large cloves of garlic
1 heaping tablespoon ginger paste
3/4 cup red onion, finely diced (about 1 medium onion)
1 large tomato, pureed [about 1 cup, puree raw tomato in a food processor]
1 1/2 teaspoons kala salt
1 1/2 teaspoons amchoor powder [also known as mango powder]
1 teaspoon anrdana powder*
2 teaspoons channa powder*
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon clove
3 cups cooked garbanzo beans**
1 1/2 - 2 cups water

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add in the garlic, ginger, and red onion. 
Cook until the onions begin to sweat and are slightly translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add in the tomato puree and cook another 3-5 minutes, stirring as not to burn. Add in all spices (kale salt, amchoor powder, anrdana powder*, channa powder*, cumin, cinnamon, & clove). Allow these flavors for develop, cooking on medium-low for another 5 minutes, stirring as needed so the mixture doesn't burn.

Add in the garbanzo beans and allow the beans to cook with the onion-tomato-spice mixture on medium-low for another 3-5 minutes, stirring as needed to keep the ingredients from burning. At this time, add in the water -- it'll be 1 1/2 to 2 cups or until the beans are slightly covered.

After adding water, bring the curry to a boil, continuing the boil for up to 5 minutes. 
Keep an eye on the pot so it doesn't boil over. Afterwards, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and allow the curry to thicken for at least 20 minutes. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Grilled Summer Vegetable Pizza for The Inspired Home

Pizza…you love it, we love it, everyone loves it. We just wish it wasn't so junky most of the time, so in case you feel the same way, here's a great remedy. We packed a grill grate's worth of vegetables into one pizza this past weekend! The crust is made from sprouted whole wheat, and it's really a better choice in terms of both nutrition and taste. We used a cast iron pan and a bit of olive oil to give the crust its unique texture.

We are proud to partner with The International Housewares Association to bring you this great recipe. Check it out all the details on their blog, The Inspired Home, and check back often. We are working on a few tasty recipes for cooking over an open fire in your own backyard.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Logic-Defying Peanut Butter Pie

This dessert defies all expectations! It's made from only whole ingredients, it's vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, low-fat, and yet it's still super delicious. We tested this one out on some guests last Saturday, and it was a hit. The secret is freezing the bananas before blending them, which gives the whole pie a creamy,  airy texture that's really appealing. 

Logic-Defying Peanut Butter Pie

5 ripe bananas (peeled and frozen)
1 cup roasted and salted peanuts (preferably organic)
1/2 cup peanut butter
5 dried dates (pitted)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Peel the bananas and freeze them for at least 3 hours. Into the work bowl of your food processor, place the peanuts and pulse until finely chopped. Into the bottom of a springform pan, spread finely chopped peanuts in an even layer. 

Slice the frozen bananas into chunks. Into the work bowl of the same food processor, place the bananas, peanut butter, dates, cocoa powder, almond milk, and salt. Blend until smooth. Gently pour mixture into the springform pan so as not to disturb the layer of peanuts on the bottom. Smooth mixture with a rubber spatula by pushing the mixture to the edges. Place springform pan in the freezer (about an hour) until ready to serve. For the best consistency, remove pie from freezer 10 minutes before serving so it softens a bit. Slice and serve with your favorite chocolate sauce or our homemade Magic Shell. (Serves 8.)

Monday, June 1, 2015

RESULTS: The Chubby Vegetarian Recipe Contest #1

It's a tie! With 19 votes each, Lys Green's Chana Masala and Curried Corn by Raihana's Cuisines will be featured this month on the blog. Can't wait to share these wonderful new dishes with you -- we think they'll be great together! Thanks to all who voted -- we'll get cooking and post the results here soon.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Sweet Potato Noodles with Mushroom Bolognese Sauce for IHA's Inspired Home Blog

Have you been considering getting a spiralizer? Go for it! We worked with a couple of these amazing kitchen tools this week and came up with a dish we both loved. Spiralizers are easy to use and do a great job of making the same old vegetables become interesting again. A few spins and then you've got a lighter sub for the usual pasta dish. We think it's likely we'll be spiraling a ton of other stuff this summer!

Check out our post "Spiral Wise: Recipes to Try with Your Spiralizer" for the details of our experience and get a few tips along with a new TCV recipe, Sweet Potato Noodles with Mushroom Bolognese Sauce, on IHA's Inspired Home blog. (You'll find our favorite chilled raw cucumber noodle salad recipe there, too.) Please comment below and share what you already spiral -- or what you want to try to make!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Chubby Vegetarian Recipe Contest #1: Vote Now!

So, we have selected 3 promising recipes! A very grateful thank-you goes out to all the TCV readers who sent in such great choices to us in response to the previous post about our first recipe contest. We'll definitely do this same deal again later on in the summer -- be thinking about your best recipe for the upcoming abundance of summer produce we're all getting ready to enjoy.

Which of the following are you most excited to see on the blog? Vote by commenting about your favorite idea at the end of the post; we moderate comments, so don't worry if your vote does not show up right away -- it will soon. We'll count votes on Sunday, May 31 and then make the winning recipe and share it here! Here are the ones in the running:

Quick & Easy Curried Corn by Raihana's Cuisines
This recipe caught our eye because it pairs sweet corn with savory curry leaves and mustard seeds.

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam by Kimberley
This sugar-free jam looks like a tasty and very seasonal way to start using chia seeds in your own

Chana Masala by Lys Green
A treasured family recipe using chickpeas is where authentic meets healthy.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Chubby Vegetarian Recipe Contest #1

Update, 5/15/15: Thank you for all of your entries. This contest is closed. Stay tuned to vote on our top 3 submissions.

Update, 5/11: You have until this Thursday night, 5/14, to enter your recipe in the comments section below. Voting will begin after that -- and we can't wait for y'all to see the top 3 contenders and vote for your favorite recipe overall so that we can make it and feature it on TCV! 

Some of our favorite recipes came from our family and friends. Sure, we love to be creative in the kitchen, but we also love to sit back and let someone else take the wheel every once in a while.  Michael Hughes's delicious Oyster Mushroom Rockefeller, Kelly English's rich Midnight Snack, and Simon Majumdar's spicy Life-Saving Dahl have all become staples in our own kitchen.

We want to see what you're cooking, and we'd love for you to share your original Chubby Vegetarian-inspired recipe with us. It can be an appetizer, main dish, or dessert, just as long as it is wholly your own concoction. Remember, we like to keep one eye on delicious and the other on healthy. So, get cracking and let your creativity shine!

We will pick the top three recipes submitted, and our readers will vote on which dish will be the champion. We will cook, photograph, and share the winner's recipe here at The Chubby Vegetarian along with a short interview and links to the winner's social media accounts. All you need to do to enter is type up your recipe and paste it into the comments below this post. (We will not publish the comments on the blog in order to keep your secret recipe a secret.) Let us all know that you've entered a recipe by posting a mystery photo of your creation via Instagram or Twitter and tag us using our handle: @chubbyveg.

The Chubby Vegetarian Recipe Contest is open to everyone from professional chefs to novice home cooks. Entries must be received by midnight on Thursday, May 14th to be eligible. Thanks for cooking with us!