Memories live inside us. Good or bad, memories have a way of uplifting or plaguing a man's soul. And I'll never forget the time spent in Nice, France. It is one of my favorite cities in the world. Part of my soul thrives in the ocean, and with it's Roman, Greek and Italian influence, Nice is a place of its own.
Words cannot describe the feelings and aura of Nice. At sunset, the ocean is like a canvas painting. The old town is as beautiful as a rose garden in the summer. And the food recipes are as ancient as Rome itself.
Check out my travel images + stories from my travel blog, The Lemon Tree. Discover more at: 20 Amazing Photos from Nice, France that Will Stir Your Soul
Ratatouille is a French Provencal stewed vegetable dish that originates in Nice, France. There are many versions of it, but usually it consists of eggplant, bell pepper, zucchini, onion, garlic, tomatoes and local green herbs for flavoring. The dish originated in the 18th Century and "touiller" means "to stir up."
I made this the old traditional way of stirring vegetables in a pot to simmer. In modern times, food bloggers create beautiful circular arrangements of squash and zucchini for baking, but the easier and less time consuming way is to make it like they did in the 1700's.
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, chopped (used purple)
2 peppers, chopped (any color, I did one red + one green)
1 very small eggplant, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano
2 sprigs of thyme
salt+pepper to taste
In a pot, cook the onion + garlic in olive oil for several minutes. Add the eggplant and peppers and cook + stir for several minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until edible and fragrant. Continue to stir so the vegetables do not stick on the bottom of the pot.
Enjoy as a side dish or part of the main course.
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I hope everyone is having a good summer. Wow, is it now officially summer. I have taken a wee bit of a break from social media, and a well needed one. I felt as if I needed time away from the digital sphere and just work on things in the real world.
I did not, and still do not miss social media. I would not use it except as a writer it is necessary to have an online presence. Anyways, I am about six weeks too late posting this asaparagus recipe, but it is well worth it regardless of its timing.
Roasting vegetables is one of the most common forms of cooking produce. However, adding a twist with nutritional yeast gives this a cheesy flavor, which is now my preferred method of cooking and consuming asparagus.
Asparagus is one of those seasonal vegetables that has a unique history and past. It is believed that humans have consumed asparagus for over two-thousand years. A distant cousin of the onion family, asparagus originates in the Mediterranean.
The Greeks considered asparagus to be sacred and was used as an aphrodisiac. The ancient Greek doctor, Hippocrates, used this vegetable to treat symptoms of diarrhea and urethra pain.
The Romans ate asparagus as an entrée or alongside cooked fish. Europe forgot about asparagus during the Middle Ages, but made a comeback in the 16th Century as it was served by the royal courts. In the 17th Century, the French cultivated asparagus since King Louis XIV was very fond of it. By the 18thCentury, asparagus was available in the markets. What a history, and that’s the shortened version.
For a more Mediterranean flare, I added a variety of colorful cherry tomatoes, which also tastes delightful covered in nutritional yeast. Enjoy!
Dairy-Free Roasted "Cheesy" Asparagus + Tomatoes
Serves - 4
1 lb. of asparagus (or 1 bunch)
10 oz. package of cherry tomatoes (used sugar plum)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2.5 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper + garlic salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the last 1-2 inches off the ends of the asparagus. Place the asaparagus and tomatoes into a bowl and mix with olive oil. Mix the nutritional yeast and the spices together. Sprinkle over the vegetables (save about a teaspoon) and mix until well-covered. Arrange the vegetables on a baking sheet and roast for 21 minutes.
Many moons ago I worked at a vegan cafe in college named Squeakers. Veganism and vegetarianism was a "big thing" back in the early 2000's in Northwest Ohio. As a college student at Bowling Green State University, this is where a passion for cooking further ignited. I loved that job, and still to this day was one of my favorites. I guess deep down at heart I am not a desk-job type of person. Cooking is a form of creation and to me, it is therapeutic in nature.
One simple and easy recipe we served was a spicy tofu peanut wrap. It is one of the easiest recipes to make and is a quick meal to put together for work lunches. Back then we used San J International Thai Peanut Sauce, since that was the only thing we had on stock at the small cafe and health food store.
Today, you can use other brands though I do suggest San J, and the best part is that the sauce is Gluten Free. For this round, I used Trader Joe's Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette Dressing.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! Wraps are simple, easy and easily digestible in the summer months. The cooling raw vegetables make this a perfect picnic or on-the-go lunch. Enjoy!
Spicy Tofu Peanut Wrap
1 14 oz. block extra firm tofu, drained and press
1 bottle of Peanut Sauce
1 package of wraps
optional: avocado, sprouts etc.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While heating, remove the tofu from its package and wrap in 2-3 paper towels. Press the tofu by placing in a dish with a heavy bowl on top. Press for at least 15 minutes (or hours if possible).
Cut the tofu block in half and then cut slices as seen in the image above. Smother the tofu in peanut sauce in a bowl and then pour evenly onto a baking sheet. Use about half of the bottle of peanut sauce for baking. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the tofu, and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let the tofu cool. You can eat the wraps with the tofu cold or hot. Place lettuce, tomato, carrots and other toppings into a wrap. Place 3-4 sliced pieces of tofu on top and add a small amount of peanuts in the wrap. Drizzle additional peanut sauce on top and enjoy!
Let's Connect & Check out my other sandwich recipe ideas!
A bit late in posting, but better late then never. Although I consider quiche warm and hearty and perfect for the winter months, spring is foraging season for mushrooms in Washington State, so if you're picking mushrooms and need a new recipe to try, here is an earthly, dairy-free quiche for you and your family.
Mushrooms are quit interesting and fascinating. Some are poisonous and some are known to have power to save the planet.
Save the planet?
Yes, you read that right. Washington native, Paul Stamets studies mushrooms and believes the mycelium, the root structure, has immense power to change human health and the planet's well-being. I dont know enough about the topic, but i find it fascinating that nature has provided us an organism that can boost immunity to clean up oil spills.
The earth is a natural self-healing organism. The earth organically recycles and grows and produces everything we need in order to survive. It is up to our human consciousness and intellect to understand how to use (or know the power of) the grown organisms. If mushrooms can save the planet, just think of how amazing this earth can become.
Vegan Mushroom Fennel + Leek Quiche
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Pan: 9-inch round pie pan
Makes: 8 slices
1 premade vegan pie crust (or your favorite homemade recipe)
1 block of extra firm tofu (14 oz.), pressed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/2 heaping cup, leeks, chopped
1 cup fennel, chopped (white bulb part of mushroom)
2 cup criminology mushrooms, sliced
1.5 tbsp parsley, chopped
toppings - parsley, fennel leaves + mushrooms
quiche base ingredients
2 tbsp + 1 tsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp non dairy milk
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 garlic clove for the tofu mixture
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp tumeric
pinch of pepper
Begin pressing the tofu. Wrap the tofu in 3 paper towels or with a kitchen towel. Set it on a plate and then set a bowl or heavy object on top to press out the water.
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees and mold the pie pan with the crust.
In a pan, cook the vegetables in olive oil until edible or when mushrooms shrink. Add the parsley during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside when done.
Once the tofu is pressed, puree the tofu and the remaining ingredients noted in the third batch of ingredients. Once pureed, mix the blended tofu and the vegetables together.
Pour into the pie crust and bake for 30-35 minutes. The quiche will solidify once cooled. Enjoy warm!
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Some say life is a series of random and chaotic events. Others say life is pre-determined by God. Whatever you believe, the cycle of life and nature never changes. But sadly, it has changed. The climate is as confused as people are in this country on how to eat.
The beauty of spring is here. A time of rebirth and the season of precious petals falling to the earth and petite birds chirping with the morning sun. The key is that warmth drives this season. The temperatures rise and people begin to sow seeds into the earth.
As life gains more energy at this time of year, it is important to continue on the path of consuming natural foods. Like a bird searching for seeds and berries, this "bird food," granola bar is one of the healthiest snacks you can eat.
Most mainstream granola bars on the market contain a variety of either sweeteners, artificial ingredients or preservatives.
These chewy (not crispy) granola bars are naturally sweetened from the banana and the maple syrup. There is gunk or junk, only hearty, healthy and wholesome goodness. Enjoy!
"God gives every bird its food, but He does not
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com