Monthly Archives: August 2012

Apricot Mostarda


Have you ever heard of a Mostarda before?  Neither had Matt and I until we went to Anchovies & Olives in Seattle.  Wikipedia describes a Mostarda as: “an Italian condiment made of candied fruit and a mustard flavoured syrup.”  Yeah.  Doesn’t sound that good.  But oh man, it is AWESOME.  The Mostarda we had for dinner (and then recreated at home) could better be described as a  delicious chunky mustardy apricot chutney.

Our mostarda is a subtle adaptation of this one.

1 T Olive Oil

1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced (the original recipe called for a whole onion – we thought it was too oniony and took away from the yummy apricot flavor)


1 cup dried apricots chopped (we just used the whole bag)

1/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup dry white wine (the original recipe recommended an Erath Pinot Gris)

1 T (or a little more) whole mustard seeds

1 T (or a little more) dijon mustard (…make sure it’s a seedy mustard)

1 T white wine vinegar (the original recipe recommended apple cider vinegar, but we didn’t have any, and this was just fine)

Warm a small sauce pan with the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and salt, stirring often, for about 15 minutes until the onion is starting to caramelize.

Then add the apricots, brown sugar, white wine, mustard seed, mustard and vinegar and bring it all to a simmer.

After bringing the mostarda to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the onions and apricots are tender and the entire sauce is thick.  The original recipe said this would take about ten minutes, we found it took a little longer.

While the mostarda is delicious on a spoon, we ate it on (GF) baguettes that had been spread with burrata (kind of like a creamy mozzarella), with a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar (this is what is pictured below and in the first picture).

We also got fancy and made a charcuterie platter to go along with our mostarda and burrata:

Yumm…I’m already craving it again! Enjoy!


Smoothie in a bowl

Leslie W

This recipe was inspired by the Acai Bowl at Healeo on Capitol Hill. I love the Acai Bowl and wanted to recreate a version to enjoy at home for a much lower cost. This is great for breakfast and lunch, or even dinner when the husband, boyfriend, roommate, etc. is away and you want to fix something quick (like I did tonight). This recipe can be adapted to fix any dietary needs and is extremely simple to throw together.


Serves 1-2

1 unfrozen banana

1 C frozen strawberries

1/2 C frozen blueberries

1/4 – 1/3 C almond milk

1/2 – 1 C granola, Kashi Go Lean Crunch, or Whole Foods version of the Kashi Go Lean cereals (pictured above)

1/2 C mixed berries (blackberries and strawberries pictured ab0ve)

Optional: big scoop of almond butter on top (makes it extra delicious!)


Mix banana, frozen berries, and almond milk in a blender until smooth; add almond milk until desired thickness. Top with granola or Kashi, berries, and almond butter and enjoy! Simple as that! And you could make any smoothie recipe you prefer. I like this one because it resembles the Acai Bowl the most, but I think any smoothie would be delicious underneath. You can mix it up as well as use a frozen banana and fresh berries if that is what you have on hand. And this can be adapted by using gluten-free cereal or other desired topping. Chai or Hemp seeds would be pretty tasty on top as well. Also, I only use about 1.5 C of the smoothie.

Have a good night!



Leslie H

This time of year there is nothing better than fresh tomatoes. If they are not from your garden, go to your farmers market and get a variety of heirloom tomatoes–they are spectacular right now. The funnier looking the juicier! I have changed this recipe so much from a Cook’s recipe I feel I can call it my own.


3 lbs. (about 6 medium) ripe tomatoes, cored

1 English cucumber, peeled a bit, halved and seeded

1 medium green pepper, cored and roughly chopped ( I don’t care for green peppers but the flavor is necessary in this recipe)

1 small red onion, peeled and quartered

4 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered

1 small Serrano chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise (leaving the seeds in will make it hotter!)

kosher salt

1 slice high quality sandwich bread, crust removed torn into 1-inch piece (I used a ciabatta loaf and a GF bread would work fine)

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving

2 T. red wine vinager

2 T. finely minced parsley, chives or basil


1. roughly chop tomatoes, 3/4 of the cucumber, peppers, onion, and garlic and place in a large colander over a bowl. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and toss until well combined. Set aside for 1 hour.

2. finely chop remaining cucumber and set aside. This will be mixed into the soup when it is finished.

3. Transfer drained vegetables to a medium bowl and set aside. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid (there should be about 1/4 cup) and soak for 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid to vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.

4. Transfer vegetable-bread mixture to blender or cuisinart and process 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in oil and continue to blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. This may need to be done in batches depending on you blender or cuisinart size.  Strain soup through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl, using back of ladle or rubber spatula to press soup through strainer. Add vinegar and adjust seasonings.

5. Add reserved chopped cucumbers and garnish with chives, basil or parsley and drizzle with a dash more oil.

This serves approximately 4-6 and could be served in cute little shooter glasses as an appetizer.

Leave a Reply

Vegan Sauce for Anything and Everything

Leslie W.

This recipe is adapted from Mama Pea’s Mmmm Sauce.

I’ve use the Mmmm Sauce and this modified version for a number of different recipes. Typically I use it over sauteed veggies, crispy baked or fried tofu pieces, and brown rice which is delicious. Tonight, I used it over sauteed chicken, zucchini, green onion, cabbage, and quinoa. This sauce is so addicting. I love it and hope you do too! Sorry for the blurry photo! I only snapped one unfortunately and thought it came out.


Makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 1/4 c. almonds
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1/4 c. cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 t.  garlic
  • 1/4 t. salt (optional)
  • 3/4 t. curry powder (I actually add about 1 tbsp probably, but just taste until you find your perfect amount)
  • 1/2 t. dried oregano (again, I do about 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Serve over any dish and enjoy! I like the milder flavor of the cannellini beans compared to the original garbanzo beans. I highly recommend using them.

Tahini Quinoa Salad

Hello! It’s Melissa.

Tonight, I’m posting one of my most favorite quinoa salads (I feel like I saw that a lot…).  It’s Matt’s favorite (and a frequent request) and I’ve brought it to a few events and always get recipe requests.  It is adapted from the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.  (It’s a fantastic cookbook – gluten-free, dairy-free and filled with over 200 recipes.  I’ve made a number of recipes from it and always end up loving them.)

But back to the quinoa salad.


2 mini cucumbers (cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and then chopped up)

30 baby carrots (cut into discs…obviously the number doesn’t matter, but I thought I’d give an idea of how many I use)

1 pack of cherry tomatoes (chopped in half, salted)

2 cans of garbanzo beans (cooked in a pan with salt and garlic powder until a little crispy)

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1/4 red onion (finely diced – if you don’t know how to chop an onion properly (like me until recently, I suggest you check out this video from gluten-free girl)

1.5 cups of quinoa (1.5 cups dry…then cook)


1/2 cup of sesame tahini

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (This is about 2 lemons, I always like a little more…)

1/4 cup olive oil

3 Tbls water

2 cloves of garlic (crushed…diced…grated – in small bits)

zest of 2 lemons

Salt to taste


Chop all the veggies and put them in a bowl:

*This is the first time I used cucumbers in the salad – I didn’t de-seed them and it got kind of watery..I’m hoping de-seeding them would help with this problem…

Make the quinoa, cook the garbanzo beans and toast the pinenuts

Mix the dressing ingredients together – I use an electronic hand mixer, although you can use a whisk it – but that can be tough because the tahini is very thick, so it’s kind of challenging to mix with just a whisk.

Pour the dressing over the quinoa, pinenuts, garbanzos, and veggies and ENJOY!

On a healthier note…

Leslie W here again. I wanted to share this great appetizer. It is a version of a Caprese salad. I’ve made it a few times at parties and so far it is usually a hit. The ingredients are pretty simple and all you do is gather the ingredients and assemble! Though, I noticed the quality of ingredients really does matter with these. Organic tomatoes and fresh, good quality mozzarella make a difference.


1-2 package of Organic cherry tomatoes (or sugar plum)


1-2 packages boconccini (Trader Joes or Whole Foods)

Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil



Rinse tomatoes  and basil, and drain boconiccini. Put the tomatoes and boconiccnici onto toothpicks with a small piece of basil inbetween. Arrange on platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over platter. These can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Take out 30 minutes before serving and wait until the last minute to drizzle with olive oil.

My Three Favorite Desserts!

Hi everyone! Leslie W here. Sorry I have been absent lately. However, I have three delicious desserts to share! Unfortunately I have not modified these recipes so I can’t claim them by any means but still wanted to share. I am deviating from the norm with this post…but thought it was worth it.  I won’t post the recipes but just refer you to the links, especially since the recipes are published in cookbooks. Though, I have two photos to share. I highly recommend all of these! Melissa can vouch for the doughnuts 🙂 Refer to her for a gluten-free version of the vegan doughnuts.

French Yogurt Cake with Lemon by Molly Wizenberg of the Orangette blog (my favorite of the three)

 “Winning Hearts and Minds” Chocolate Cake also by Molly Wizenberg

Vegan Smoked Sea Salt Maple Doughnuts from the Peas and Thank You blog