Mango Lassi

Only 8 days left to go on my Indiegogo campaign! I admittedly haven’t promoted it much at all, and it hasn’t been super successful because I think ten people read this blog consistently, but a huge thanks to everyone who has shared it on social media and told me nice things about my writing. I got my first (and only) donation this week, so let’s keep this ball rolling with another recipe!

Oh, how I love a good mango lassi. My favorite Indian restaurant in town, Tarka Indian Kitchen, serves the best one I’ve ever had. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: the recipe for a good mango lassi is a 1:1 ratio of mango and yogurt, with just a touch of added sweetener.

Mango Lassi

Serves 1 | Gluten-free, vegetarian

Ingredients

Plain unsweetened yogurt (I used White Mountain, a local Austin brand.)
1 large mango
1 tbsp. agave or honey (optional)

Equipment

Blender
Fork
Small bowl

Instructions

1. Before slicing it, give your mango a little massage. I had read this on a few different blogs with mango lassi recipes. Apparently, it loosens up the pulp and makes it easier to separate the meat from the pit.

2. Peel and slice your mango, which can be tricky, since it has a weird oval-shaped pit. I usually do it like this. Place the mango chunks into a small bowl.

3. Mash the mango with a fork into a pulp. Measure the pulp and take note of how much it is, because you’ll match that amount with the amount of yogurt you add. For example, if you had 3/4 c. mango pulp, you’d add 3/4 c. yogurt to the blender.

4. Add the mango pulp and the equivalent amount of yogurt into the blender. If desired, add agave or honey if you like your lassi on the sweeter side.

5. Blend until smooth and serve!

Mango Lassi

p.s. Do y’all like my magnetic poetry? I am a kitchen woman! (Rawr.)

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Spicy Cholula Black Beans

These beans are my food rut. I’m almost ashamed to admit that I make this same bean recipe for weeks in a row, but they are so good eaten all on their own and even better stuffed into a taco with some fresh avocado slices and quinoa. Who cares, really? Beans are the vegetarian lifeblood and Cholula is the nectar of the gods.

Before you get on to the recipe, I have some news: It’s the first day of my Indiegogo campaign to make Hippie Eats better! I’m trying to raise funds for advertising, branding, and quality ingredients by my 24th birthday on June 30. If you’ve ever made one of these recipes, liked my photos on Instagram, or liked one of my posts, please take a minute to check it out. Thanks, y’all!

beans

Spicy Cholula Black Beans

Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients

2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. Cholula hot sauce (I used the original, but go nuts with the other flavors and let me know what you think!)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika (I used smoked paprika, which makes everything better.)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 c. finely chopped red onion
1 c. water
2 tsp. olive oil

Directions

1. Heat olive oil in a saucepot. Add onion and cook until soft and fragrant.

2. Add drained beans, water, and spices; stir, and simmer on medium heat until most of the water is dissolved. It’s that easy!

Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Hey y’all, its been a while! After a fervent post-grad job hunt, I finally got a new job writing at a software company after working at the most amazing bakery and cake shop in Austin for four years. I’m working there as a part-time contractor, so I’ll be filling my new-found spare time by continuing to write for local magazines and getting back to what I love most: food blogging!

Nick and I went to East Side King for our anniversary last month, and hot damn, did I fall in love with those fried brussels sprouts like everyone else in Austin has. Since then, I’ve incorporated them into my repertoire of vegetables and don’t know how I ever lived without them. Excluding ESK’s amazing veggie meshi, this is my favorite way to eat them, by far.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction

Serves 3-4

balsamic brussels sprouts

Ingredients

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to a simmer. Add 1/4 c. sugar and stir until the granules are dissolved. Keep at a slow simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to a syrup. When finished, turn off the burner but leave the pan sitting there so it keeps warm.

3. As the balsamic reduction is cooking, wash brussels sprouts and cut them into quarters (lengthwise.) Spread evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to evenly coat the sprouts in oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until they are fully cooked and the outer leaves are crispy.

4. Lightly drizzle with the balsamic reduction and serve. You may have leftover reduction depending on how sweet you like your sprouts; it keeps well in the fridge for well over a month.

Pucker Up! Lemon Bars

I’m going to start by saying that finding the perfect lemon bar recipe has been something like a saga, or perhaps even an odyssey. As simple as this sour treat might seem, recipes for lemon bars are all over the board. Though the flaky shortbread crust is almost always the same, the ingredients for the lemon filling vary widely. I can safely say I’ve tried most of the variations: flour, no flour, cornstarch, egg yolks only, butter, no butter; I felt that even Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen‘s genius idea to puree a whole de-seeded lemon into the filling would surely do the trick for my sour-loving palate. Yesterday, I threw all caution to the wind and decided to try crafting a recipe from scratch, starting with a whole lotta lemon zest.

Lemon zest!

It only gets better from there, I promise. Make ’em for your sweetie for Valentine’s Day, especially if they’re like my beau, who doesn’t like cake (!!!) but is a sucker for anything lemon.

Pucker Up! Lemon Bars

Makes 1 9″ by 13″ pan

Pucker up lemon bars

Ingredients

For the crust:

1 c. oat flour (to make oat flour, throw some gluten-free oats into your food processor)
1 c. sorghum “sweet white” flour
1/4 c. flaxseed meal
1/4 c. coconut flour
1/4 c.granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks butter

For the lemon filling:

6 large organic lemons*
2/3 c. lemon pulp puree
2/3 c. lemon zest
3/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 organic pasture-raised eggs
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. sorghum “sweet white” flour

* Because this recipe calls for lots of zest, I highly recommend springing for organic lemons, which contain no pesticide residues.

Directions

To make the lemon filling:

1. Using a microplane zester, zest all six of your lemons. Measure 2/3 c. lemon zest (you might have extra!) and set aside in a small bowl.

2. Using a very sharp knife, slice your lemons into medium-sized wedges (about six per lemon) and gently squeeze the juice into a liquid measuring cup until you reach 3/4 cup. Strain to remove any seeds, then pour into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

3. Carefully peel the lemon flesh away from the skin, remove any seeds, and place into a food processor or blender. If you like to clean as you go, go ahead and discard the skins! I was rather messy about this process, as you can see:

Lemony mess

4. Puree the lemon flesh until smooth. Six large lemons yielded a little more than the 2/3 of a cup necessary for this recipe, so be sure to measure 2/3 of a cup and discard the rest. If you have a bit less than 2/3 of a cup, add a little extra lemon juice.

5. Return 2/3 c. lemon pulp puree back to the food processor and add 2/3 c. lemon zest. Blend until smooth, then add the mixture to the lemon juice.

6. Add 6 organic eggs and stir to combine.

7. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Add the lemon mixture and whisk gently until ingredients are combined.

8. Set the bowl of lemon filling aside and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust:

1. In a large bowl, combine flours, salt, and sugar and mix until well incorporated.

2. Cut room temperature butter into small pieces, and mix with a fork or your hands until it forms a flaky dough.

3. Line the bottom of a 9″ by 13″ pan with wax paper. Grease the bottom and sides of pan with butter or cooking spray. Gently press the dough into the bottom of the pan and pinch to form walls on the sides, so the edges of the bars won’t burn.

4. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes, until very lightly brown and dry to the touch. Remove and let cool slightly.

5. When crust has cooled, carefully pour the lemon filling into the crust. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes, until the filling no longer moves when you shake the pan slightly. Don’t be afraid to watch them closely, especially if you have an oven light! Take them out at the faintest hint of browning.

6. Let the bars cool, then chill them in the fridge for a few hours before serving. For extra-pretty straight edges, freeze them overnight and then cut them into squares.

That’s all, folks. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lemon Bar Love

Chai Spiced French Toast

I distinctly remember seeing chai french toast on a breakfast menu somewhere in town, but for the life of me, I can’t remember where. I must have blocked it out of my memory because I couldn’t order it, having sworn off gluten many months ago. Armed with some store-bought GF bread, though, I realized all my chai french toast dreams this morning (er, afternoon, seeing as I woke up around 1:00 today- yikes!)

Chai Spiced French Toast

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

1 loaf bread (I used Udi’s gluten-free bread, but use anything you like!)
5 large organic eggs
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tbsp. Vietnamese cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. clove
1/4 tsp. salt

chai spiced french toast mix

Directions

1. Lightly oil a skillet or pan and set to medium heat.
2. Crack your eggs into a large bowl or shallow, wide dish (such as a pie pan.)
3. Add half and half and the brown sugar, and whisk until combined with the eggs.
4. Add all of your spices and whisk, whisk, whisk until the mixture is smooth and light brown in color.
5. Coat both sides of bread in the custard and cook until golden brown on each side.
6. Add butter, syrup, or fruit if desired; but this french toast is sweet enough to eat on its own.

Although I think this recipe turned out smashingly, it’s my first time taking the flavors of a drink and applying them to something totally new. If you make this recipe and have any suggestions, please let me know!

deep purple smoothie

I know it’s cold in Austin today, y’all, but I still need some nutrients after eating leftover mashed potatoes and stuffing for days on end! Even though there’s plenty of greens in here, the pomegranate and blueberries in this smoothie turned it a lovely purple.

Deep Purple Smoothie

1 c. almond milk

1/4 c. frozen blueberries

1/4 c. frozen mango chunks

3 frozen peach slice

1 handful greens (or about 1 cup loosely packed)

1 banana

1/4 c. pecans

2 tbsp hemp protein powder

1/2 of a pomegranate

(Postscript: The pomegranate seeds made this smoothie kind of chunky, even though I blended it thoroughly. I’m sure this smoothie would be perfectly delicious without them, or you could substitute some pomegranate juice for the almond milk. Yum.)

 

pumpkin palooza

I’ve been dying to try these pumpkin-y recipes from two of my favorite blogs, The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking and The Spunky Coconut, for weeks. When I saw organic canned pumpkin on sale at Whole Foods for just $1 a can, I took it as a sign from the great pumpkin gods and decided to have myself a feast of pumpkin treats.

These gluten-free pumpkin cinnamon rolls from The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking were absolutely delicious. It was only my second time ever baking cinnamon rolls, and if practice makes perfect, I can’t wait to see how much better they look once I get some good practice rolling them. If you haven’t read Kate Payne’s blog or her book by the same name, well… you, sir or madam, are a fool. I got the opportunity to meet Kate and hear about her upcoming book The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen when I interviewed her for an article in this month’s Austin Woman Magazine, and I can’t wait to read all the fabulous tips and tricks that are sure to be in it.

Because I love the orange-flavored cinnamon rolls in the refrigerated section of the grocery store and have a penchant for cream cheese frosting, I decided to top these beauties with orange cream cheese frosting.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

1 10 ounce package of room temperature cream cheese
Zest of one orange
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer using a whisk attachment, or blend in a small food processor. Wait until the rolls cool before spreading it on!

After all that butter and refined sugar (mmm, delicious) I was relieved to try these Pumpkin Chai Bars from The Spunky Coconut. The bars are completely vegan, low-glycemic because they use coconut sugar, and even have a raw crust! They were super fast to put together, and I only had to wait an hour before they were chilled enough to eat. I didn’t have almond meal on hand, so I subbed flax meal and the crust still turned out absolutely perfect. The recipe can even be adapted to make a No-Bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie, which I’ll definitely be making for Turkey Day next week.

Will I ever get sick of pumpkin? I’ll report back after I’ve eaten my fill of these treats, but I’m pretty sure the answer is… never.

you are what you eat

People close to me know I have not been physically well these past few months. I’ve been tentatively diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, which requires (among other diet restrictions) a low-acid diet. Other problem foods for people with IC include caffeinated beverages, alcohol, spicy foods, and soy. In addition to IC, I have also experienced a sudden onset of gluten intolerance, which I didn’t even know was possible! I previously thought people were born gluten-intolerant, but apparently it can happen suddenly at any time, though it is often triggered by stress and/or trauma. Needless to say, these recent developments have forced me to make drastic changes in my diet. Luckily, I have the huge gluten-free aisle at the Westgate Central Market, many gluten-free Austin blogs to read, and quite a few gluten-free restaurants in the Austin area to help me in my transition.

In the past, Hippie Eats has mostly consisted of restaurant reviews, which I enjoy writing and will continue to write. However, my experiences over the past few months have caused me to realize I’ve neglected to write about one of the major principles that rules my personal eating practices. This blog, and much of the writing about food, concerns the many joys of eating and cooking. A dish is captured in a snapshot -the texture, the taste, the aromas, the presentation- so the reader experiences the dish in a single moment just as the person eating it did. While the beauty in this kind of writing is why I took to writing about food in the first place, I’m starting to think that our conversations about food should go past this single momentary experience.

I have always taken to heart the oft-repeated saying, “You are what you eat.” While weight-obsessed American culture has trained many of us to think of that phrase while we’re guiltily eating a muffin (and therefore increasing your ever-expanding “muffin top”) lately it’s been in my mind before I eat almost anything. While certain foods like wheat flour now have the power to make me feel terrible, I’m finding that food also has the power to heal the body when it’s in distress, and function as a sort of preventative medicine. We can make an incredible difference in our well-being if we eat for health, not eat healthy only when we’re sick.

This holistic approach to eating definitely enters the realm of hippy-dippy, I’ll be the first to admit. But you read the name of the website you’re at, so hear me out. Holistic medicine takes into account a person as a whole, which means it lumps nutrition in with spirituality, social affairs, and emotions. I believe there’s something right about that. After all, food is already deeply intertwined with all those things. Food can be incredibly personal and meaningful, and when shared it becomes the spark to our social connections. It stirs our emotions when we make a handed-down recipe and it tastes just like the one that used to be made for us.

We take such care to maintain our social relationships, to make sure our emotions are in check, and occasionally struggle with difficult spiritual questions. If we neglect to maintain these areas of our lives, we eventually feel the consequences, which can be large or minute. Being conscious about what we eat requires similar attention. For some, a lack of attention may not have serious consequences. For others (myself included!) a little maintenance is simply needed to feel good.

quinoa for breakfast!

So, I got sick with strep throat a few weeks ago. During the course of my illness I decided I could muster up enough energy to get in the car so my boyfriend could drive me to Juicebox to get a smoothie to soothe my throat. Having not eaten for a few days (and still not really hungry, mind you) I decided it might be a good idea to put some food in my belly. I remembered that Juicebox was advertising “quinoa porridge” a while back, and because I am a fan of both of those things, it seemed appetizing enough even in my feverish half-conscious state. I tried it and it was DELICIOUS. And extremely filling- I ate half before I was full, and had the other half the next day for breakfast. Quinoa, oats, brown sugar and other spices, flax seeds, and they give you the option of adding dried fruit and nuts.

I loved it so much I decided to embark on my own quinoa for breakfast journey, with some slight modifications to the Juicebox recipe. Quinoa is an amazing source of protein for vegetarians, and this is a great way to get a lot of it at the start of your day. The texture and taste remind me a lot of steel-cut oats, but this recipe takes far less cooking time.

Quinoa Porridge “Recipe” *

(makes about 3-4 bowls)

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey to taste

vanilla almond milk

unsalted butter

optional add-ins: nuts, dried or fresh fruit, flax seeds, yogurt

1. To save time and energy, I cooked my quinoa in a rice cooker. To cook on a stovetop, bring 2 cups water to a boil and add 1 cup quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes. The rice cooker is much easier, though.

2. Place cooked quinoa in a medium-sized pot on low heat. Add vanilla almond milk to desired consistency. If desired, add a few pads of unsalted butter and stir until melted.

3. Add brown sugar, spices, and honey to taste. Brown sugar should be the base source of the sweetness, but the other spices and honey are important if you have them on hand, too. They definitely being more depth to the flavor of this porridge.

4. Spoon yourself a bowl and top with fruit, nuts, or anything else that sounds good to you!

Tip: If you add too much liquid, turn the heat up and let the porridge bubble, stirring occasionally. It will eventually thicken back up!

So simple and so yummy! My new daily breakfast.

* Apologies for the lack of unexact measurements. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants while cooking. You should too. Cooking is an art, baking is a science!

Hop on over to Hopdoddy

In between classes today, I drove down to check out the new addition to South Congress that everyone has been fussing about, Hopdoddy.

Being the progressive burger virtuosos they are, Hopdoddy offers a veggie burger aptly named the Janis Joplin. Now, I’m a fan of the veggie burger that screams “I’m fake meat!” rather than “I’m a bunch of vegetables squished together!” so I was a little wary of the “hemp seed vegetable patty” the Janis featured. But once I tried it, that was that. The patty was moist, like a real burger would have been, and the hemp seeds gave the patty a really nice texture without tasting grainy or (gasp) healthy. It only got better from there. Nevermind the fresh avocado, melty cheddar, overflowing sunflower sprouts, tomato and onion- Hopdoddy has the best bun I’ve had on any burger. Baked fresh, naturally. I’ll just let the photo speak for itself:

deliciousness

The Janis Joplin

Oh, and the condiments! I am such a sucker for condiments, and Hopdoddy puts the perfect twists on classic ketchup and mustard. The chipotle ketchup had just the right amount of spice and acidity, but the horseradish honey mustard was my favorite, and I ended up giving it sole french fry dipping rights about halfway through. If you’re a stark traditionalist, not to worry, there are countless bottles of the regular stuff to bring back to your table. And for the truly Texan, there’s many a bottle of hot sauce right alongside the standard condiment fare.

Another happy discovery was the sight of Buddha’s Brew kombucha on tap right next to a smattering of local beers from 512 Brewing Company, Thirsty Planet, and Independence Brewing Co. And, of course, there was also good old Shiner. I was intrigued by 512 Brewing Company’s Pecan Porter, which I will be sure to seek out at a later date, pecan-lover that I am. In addition to conventional sodas, Hopdoddy also offers Maine Root sodas on tap.

The food aside, this place is beautifully designed and just has a great concept overall. The layout really lends itself to a heightened dining experience. There’s something about having to walk all the way through their busy dining room to place your order at the counter, which adjoins to the open kitchen. There are little mini-booths made for two, and all the tables have a purse hook under them, which I (and I’m sure every other lady) greatly appreciate. Anyway, I could go on all night about all the great stuff Hopdoddy does, but I’ll let them summarize in their own words why they’re so great- with the sign that hangs proudly in their dining room.