tasty (re)creations

July 11, 2011

Savoury Braised Figs

Filed under: Savory, Small Plate — Emma Lillian Banks @ 4:48 pm

As Sophie alluded to in the previous post, I made these delicious figs as a topping on polenta bruschetta.  I bet they would also be amazing on top of bitter greens.  You can make a sweet version (great on oatmeal, pancakes etc.) by increasing the maple syrup, omitting the rosemary and vinegar, and adding cinnamon and vanilla.


about 15 fresh figs

1 tbsp butter or olive oil

2 tbsps maple syrup

1/8-1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar, depending on pan size and personal preference

2 tbsp fresh or 1 tbsp dried rosemary

water, as needed

salt and pepper, to taste

toppings (optional): goat cheese, ricotta, vegan cream cheese etc.


1. Remove any woody parts from the top of the figs and slice them in half.

2. Add oil or butter to deep frying pan or skillet and set over medium-high heat.  Once sizzling, add one layer of figs, flat side down.  If not all the figs fit in a single layer, you can make multiple batches or save the other figs for something else.

3. Once the figs start to brown, add the vinegar, rosemary, and maple syrup.  Let it come to a nice bubble and then turn down the heat.  At this point, you can cover the pan, but I like the way the vinegar etc. reduces, so I recommend just leaving as is.  If the liquid doesn’t seem to be high enough to cook the figs, add some water (and/or more vinegar).  I usually add some as the sauce reduces to avoid burning.

4. After 8-10 minutes, the sauce should be reduced and the figs should be soft. Add salt and pepper. Plop them onto whatever serving you like and top with your preferred vegan or non-vegan dairy product.


June 26, 2011

Butternut Polenta Bruschetta

Filed under: Savory, Small Plate — sophiestatz @ 7:45 pm

For my going-away dinner when I left Cochabamba, Emma and I threw a great dinner party. We each made polenta bruschetta. Her’s were amazing and included fresh braised figs (hope she shares the recipe!).

Butternut Squash Topping

peel and slice one butternut squash in thin strips

toss with olive oil and rosemary

bake at 400 fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, stirring often

Sundried tomato “cheese” spread

place the following in a food processor:

1 block silken tofu

4 cloves garlic (i used roasted garlic, but fresh is also good)

1/2 cup basil

4 olives

1/4 cup reconstituted sundried tomatoes

salt and pepper

mix together until creamy


bake a pan of polenta (follow instructions on the polenta you purchase, Emma used dried polenta, bakes it in a pan, and then cut it into triangles that served as the base for our bruschetta)

Prepare: take your base of polenta, top with some of the “cheese,” and place a couple strips of butternut squash on top. Bake for about five minutes in the oven.

August 2, 2010


Filed under: Savory, Small Plate, Uncategorized — Tags: — sophiestatz @ 10:43 pm

I discovered this amazing dip with friends at the Berkeley Bowl and fell in love instantly. The flavors are rich and decadent and are the perfect accompaniment to focaccia.

Combine the following in a food processor:

a 10 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained

2/3 cup gluten-free cereal crushed (you can use the food processor to do this)

1/3 cup toasted walnuts

6 cloves garlic

juice from half of a lemon

2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

hot red pepper flakes to taste

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine until smooth. Serve with focaccia slices.

July 30, 2010

Kale Chips!

Filed under: Small Plate, Uncategorized — Tags: — sophiestatz @ 11:20 pm

My old roommate, Karch, introduced me to this most perfect snack. It’s quick, crazy healthy, and the most delicious.

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 375 fahrenheit

Take 1-2 bunches of kale and slice into 1 inch strands. Then wash them in a colander.

Dry kale with a clean kitchen towel.

Spread dry kale into baking sheets.

Sprinkle brewers yeast liberally over kale and stir.

Add olive oil and salt to your taste to the kale and stir.

Place in oven for ten to fifteen minutes, stirring every five minutes.

Take out when they have reached their desired crispness.

Eat! They get soggy after a couple of days so enjoy while they are fresh!

Lady Gardener

Filed under: Small Plate, Uncategorized — Tags: — sophiestatz @ 11:10 pm

Giardiniera is the delectable Italian-Chicagoan tradition of mildly pickling vegetables to spicy perfection. I tried to recreate it but the Italians would not let me call this actual giardiniera because it wasn’t the same. So, I took to calling this “Lady Gardener,”the English translation. Warning: this is highly addictive and goes quickly!


You choose which combination of veggies you desire. I go for: cauliflower, orange bell peppers, carrots,  jalapenos (or another spicy pepper such as serranos), and celery.

Cut all veggies into small chunks, place in a large bowl, cover with water, and add 1/2 c salt. Cover, refrigerate, and let soak overnight. After at least 12 hours drain and if you want you can rinse to get out some of the excess salt.

Combine the following in a small bowl:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup canola oil (don’t use olive oil as it will congeal in the fridge)

Place veggies into jars and cover with oil and spice mixture. You can make more of the spice mixture if you need more liquid to cover the veggies. Refrigerate and let sit for about a week before enjoying.

Soy Garlic Scapes and Green Beans

Filed under: Small Plate, Uncategorized — Tags: — sophiestatz @ 10:51 pm

I first discovered garlic scapes when I visited Jess while she was working on an organic farm. We cooked up these green beans and garlic scapes that had been picked that very day and they were a decadent feast.


1 pound green beans

5-7 garlic scapes

handful of walnuts

soy sauce

pinch of sugar

olive oil


Cut ends off of green beans and slice garlic scapes into two inch long strips. Pour oil in pan (about 2 tablespoons), when hot add green beans, garlic scapes, and about two tablespoons of soy sauce. Sprinkle with sugar, stir, and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally, until scapes are tender. Sprinkle walnuts into pan two minutes before done. Enjoy!

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