Vegan Cream of Broccoli and Kale Soup

Soup soup soup soup soup soup.

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

I have somethin’ on the mind. Polar Vortex or not, soup is always a good idea. It’s the original one-dish-wonder; it’s comforting; it’s healthy; I could eat it for days. And anyone who’s seen my bouillabaisse pot knows that I’m not lying….that thing can hold 30 cups. Yeah, I mean business when I make soup.

Oh, and not that anyone has made a New Years Resolution around this subject, but this soup would be great to balance out the tin of cookies and quart of spiked eggnog we consumed a couple weeks ago. And by “we,” clearly I mean “I,” and I totally don’t regret it. I am, however, making a lot of soup this month.

The best part about this soup is that Don’t stop! Keep reading…

Spaghetti Squash & Spinach Fritters with Sriracha Mayo

Spaghetti squash fritters

Remember how I said I was super excited for squash season? That’s not a joke. In the past two weeks I have made/consumed:

-Acorn squash and leek soup

Pumpkin kale risotto

-Spaghetti squash with feta, white beans, and spinach

-Butternut squash chili

-Spaghetti squash and spinach fritters with Sriracha mayonnaise

Squash

That’s some serious squashing. I love it all. And I’m still looking forward to more butternut and spaghetti squash in my future, but this has been a quality start. Let’s pave the way to winter – not with broken promises but with squash.

Now, I know y’all were worried about a possible Sriracha shortage, but don’t worry, they’re gonna keep at the good work. This Sriracha mayonnaise sauce surprised me – the vinegar gives it a serious tang. I obviously couldn’t follow the recipe straight, so I also added some garlic and ketchup to round out the flavors.

You know what did not surprise me though?… Don’t stop! Keep reading…

Roasted Pepper and Sun-dried Tomato Feta Dip

Yes, I own this hat. Sorry I'm not sorry.

Yes, I own this hat. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Ok, ready for the weird/rad/no-filter? Sort of like rummaging through my big purse, if you scrolled through my “Notes” section on my phone, you’d find quite the array of random things. Just to give you an idea, I’ve conveniently tossed together a comparison list for you. Now, for starters, we have the essentials like:

Restaurants to try…………keys

Grocery list…………wallet

Websites to check out…………sunglasses

Sundried tomato dip ready for the food processor

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have the totally random and seemingly unnecessary (but totally necessary) things like:

Hawaiian phrases for “cheers” …………a tiny mirror

DC library hours…………DC produce seasonality wallet pamphlet

A cheesy “kitchen tips” entry for a magazine (don’t ask. Wait, totally ask. It’s awesome.) …………pocket-sized nail file

Red pepper and feta dip

And right in the middle are the things that maybe not everyone has, but if you don’t, I want to make sure y’all have ’em:

A list of your New Years resolutions (big and small – just something to check up on to remind yourself occasionally) …………Advil

A list of “ideas” (mine happen to be recipe ideas) …………a reusable bag that stuffs into itself

**LAST BUT NOT LEAST, the two most important: Don’t stop! Keep reading…

Heirloom Tomato Galette & Dinner Parties

Earlier this year, I told you about some things I was doing to be more adult. Well I left out one VERY important one that I’m here to tell you about…hosting dinner parties! SO adult.

Heirloom Tomato Galette

Starting when I was little, I began helping my mom with her dinner parties. They are always so elegant – whether it’s a Christmas party for 20 or a special dinner for eight, she always makes it magical. A few days ahead of time, we collaborate on the menu – carefully crafted around the theme of the evening – and then we write out our grocery list and check things off as we drop them in our cart at the store. On the day of the party, we put together a loose game plan, and just go! Regardless of any hiccups along the way, they always come together beautifully and everyone has a smashing good time!

Me and Elizabeth

So that’s a little taste of my continuing education chez Le Petit Artichaut. But there’s something so uniquely adult about hosting a real dinner party on my own, in my twenties…with the help of another twenty-something expert cook, Elizabeth. Y’all remember my first attempt at a dinner party? It was delicious and everyone had fun, but I can’t say I nailed the timing – that’s where my co-host balances me out :) While I’m too relaxed, she’s too worried, so we end up like Goldie Locks.

Don’t stop now! Keep reading…

Roasted Artichoke Arugula Salad

If you’ve met me even once, you know that I’m, well, enthusiastic. Now, this carries into almost all aspects of my life…including my new blog look! What do you think?! It’s like a new hair cut for me: it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it looks fresh and fabulous ;)

Roasted Artichoke Arugula Salad

This Roasted Artichoke Arugula Salad is also one of those things I get excited about. It’s bonkers good. I was pretty excited to make it for my fam when I was home in California last week, and it did not disappoint. For a week of next to nothing actually planned, I could not have been more enthusiastic. Cooking with my mumsy, lounging by the pool, going for a few runs along the beautiful cliffs of Southern California, hangin out at the beach, did I mention cooking?…and eating.

Really…

Your enthusiasm is scaring everyone

Cliff run with my bro!

Cliff run with my bro!

Don’t stop now. There’s more…

Roasted Sweet Potato & Smokey Black Bean Tacos

Tacos

I don’t know exactly when I started cooking without recipes, but I do know it had almost everything to do with my mother. Ideas from the Food Network and cooking magazines also helped in the process. If you watch a seasoned cook like my mother or your favorite TV chef, you’ll notice that most recipes (aside from baked goods) are by taste and feel – they will sprinkle in spices or drizzle in vinegar and olive oil. When you reference the recipe online or in the file, you’ll notice that exact measurements are listed, but when you watch what the cook does, it’s not that. They don’t pull out the measuring spoons and cups for every ingredient – things are “eyeballed.” They’re tossing things in here and there with zest and a flare. That beauty comes with some guidance, time, and practice.

It’ll start with a recipe that you follow to a T. And I would recommend that for a beginning chef, but as you go along, cooking with other people, you’ll learn where you can take liberties in a recipe. You’ll learn more about what flavors go well together and how to time things, and with any luck, soon you’ll be like my mother – not only whipping up delicious meals on the daily, but also whipping up a meal when it appears as though there is nothing to eat in the cupboard.

Tacos

I love cooking, because the combinations of flavors are endless. There is always something new to learn (which is why I have this blog in the first place). It’s one of my favorite ways to spend time with people. And when you’re done, you have a beautiful meal to share.

Don’t stop now! Keep reading…

Stuffed Artichokes

Slow food.

Slow food means a lot of different things. It’s a movement away from fast food. It’s eating food that is good for you, good for the people who produce the food, and good for the planet. It’s eating locally, sustainably, and seasonally. It’s also taking the time to sit down and enjoy a meal with each other. Food is one of the cornerstones of a culture – what do we want that to be? I’m really hoping the answer isn’t a fast food burger on the run but rather a meal prepared with care that is enjoyed at the table together. Granted we all occasionally need time to veg and decompress, but sitting down to a meal with someone at least a couple of times a week does wonders for the soul :)

Stuffed Artichokes

I was lucky enough to have this important routine engrained in me at a young age and throughout my upbringing. (Thanks parents :)  We always sat down to dinner together, and that made that time special – away from all the busy, distracting, stressful things in life. It’s a time to relax, talk, laugh, and enjoy food (and hopefully a nice little wine) together. Last week I had two things on my Friday schedule: picnic at Jazz in the National Sculpture Garden with friends and cook the artichokes we had in the apartment. It just had to happen, so we made the time to sit down to dinner on a Friday night. Make dinner with your roommate, your family, your significant other! Have a mini picnic with a coworker during the work day or a blow-out picnic on the weekend with all the fixin’s! Simply enjoy eating together.


Check out the organization, Slow Food, if you’re not familiar with it. I am also truly inspired by Alice Waters and the work she’s done – not to mention her cookbook The Art of Simple Food.

Steaming artichokes

Don’t stop now! Keep reading…

life is like a spin class & cucumber salad

I’m about to drop a bomb of a metaphor on you. Life is a spin class. (If you have never been to a spin class, you need to go right now and then continue reading this post.)

Cucumber Salad

When you go for the first time, you’re not really sure what the heck you’re doing. You adjust the settings, and then you get on and just go. It’s always better with some serious jams to encourage you to move along and step it up. You start to really get into it. There are going to be parts where you’re kickin ass and takin names, and then there will be a lull at some point or a slow and steady climb.

It’s always better with a friend.

Farmer's market cucs

Don’t stop. Keep reading…

Caramelized Onion and Rainbow Chard Frittata

Caramelized Onion and Rainbow Chard Frittata
Oh my goodness gracious. I have a very important announcement. I just made the frittata of DREAMS. Dreams I tell you! I don’t know how I haven’t posted a frittata on here before (because it’s one of my favorite go-to meals), but this one was truly remarkable.

I had a wonderful day. It began with coffee as any good day does (well, any day), followed by a walk in the ‘burbs with an adorable yellow lab I was sitting who has the softest ears on God’s green earth (really…I can’t get over it)…

Suri

Then did my first cooking demo at a farmers market! Local farmers + Kid Power (the kids’ gardening group I volunteer with) + simple and delicious dressing recipes + 70 degree DC weather = a morning of the perfect cooking demo. I then visited Ben’s Chili Bowl for the first time with an old friend. I made Arnold Palmers after a beautiful walk down 12th; painted my nails in the perfectionist way I do….and then what? I’ll tell you what! FRITTATA TIME!

Don’t stop! Keep reading…

Stuffed & Baked Tomatoes

Stuffed & Baked Tomatoes

Guess why I smile a lot….Cause it’s worth it :)  Wise words from Marcel the shell (3:45 mark). It’s true, and I love to smile. Now admittedly, sometimes we all like to wallow in our sad situation – whether you got the worst hair cut, someone toyed with your heart, or work is crushing your soul – but then go for a run and/or scream, and then let it go (at least for the time being), and smile. I’m sure y’all know this, but even if you force a smile, you’ll feel less stressed and happier….it’s science. Click this link if you don’t believe me: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/07/study-forcing-a-smile-genuinely-decreases-stress/260513/  Even if you do believe me, click it anyway. Really, there’s quite the picture of a ginger on there. Frightening? Cute? We’re not sure. (I almost went with the Scientific American article, but it was just some average brunette smiling. This one is way better.)

Maybe it’s a chicken and egg situation with me normally. Unknown. But truthfully, when I’m frustrated or pissed off I actually have looked at myself and forced a smile. It absolutely helps.
Smile.
Things that make me smile on the regs…