Small Things Good

Hello Everyone! Our Queens Kitchen was my first foray into blogging, and while it has been a great experience I’m finding that I want to do more than just post recipes. I started Small Things Good as a place to post frugal recipes and cooking inspiration, write about minimalism and simplicity, share photographs, and talk about life. I will keep Our Queens Kitchen up for now (I am gradually moving recipes over). But once I move all the recipes to my new site I will be closing it out. I’m really loving the vibe at Small Things Good, I already have a lovely handful of followers and a very active comments section, which is pretty cool! I really appreciate all of you for following my first project- and I hope you come follow my second as well! Cheers!

Meet My Spiralizer

People often ask me for advice on kitchen gadgets. Considering how much I cook I actually use very few different kitchen tools, I don’t even own a mixer! I’m not a fan of tools that only serve one purpose (like lemon zesters or garlic presses). My kitchen measures in at 9 feet by 6 feet, so if I’m going to buy a tool- it needs to have many uses to justify the amount of space it takes up. All that aside, I must say that one of the most useful tools I own is my spiralizer. I have a simple version that cost about $28, and I use it constantly to make homemade vegetable pastas, garnishes, curly fries, relishes, gourmet salads and more.

018

If you want to see details, like all of the attachment blades you can use, check out the exact product here. FYI- I don’t make any money off of this endorsement and I don’t make any money from you following the link. I’m posting this because I genuinely love my sprializer, and I’m planning on posting recipes utilizing it later in the week.

What are your favorite kitchen tools? 

Holiday Green Bean Casserole

073

I often make a variation of this around the holidays, and it has come to be one of our favorites. I love it because it really delivers flavor wise, but it doesn’t require a huge amount of minute to minute attention. It’s also a bit of a multipurpose dish; I make it so that there is reserve liquid at the end of cooking, that way when you’re done you can drain the liquid, heat it over low, add a bit of flour, and within a few minutes you have perfect mushroom gravy!

Ingredients

1 lb. green beans

1/3 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup chopped pecans

10 white mushrooms

1 can corn

1 cup almond milk

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. madras curry powder

1 pinch white pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

2. Trim beans, slice mushroom caps, chop pecans, and portion other ingredients. 

109

3. Mix beans, pecans, mushrooms, and cranberries together. Spread in casserole dish and top with non-dairy butter and spices. 

4. Bake for 10 minutes. Mix well, and return to oven for another 10 minutes. 

5. Add in nutritional yeast and a drained can of corn. Mix well, cover with aluminum foil, and return to oven for a final 20 minutes. 

154

Serve with a slotted spoon! Reserved liquid may easily be turned into mushroom gravy.

Carrot Bisque with Country Style Dumplings

055

Pillowy herb dumplings and fragrant carrot broth are the perfect remedy to a freezing cold walk home from the train. Country style vegan dumplings like these are easy enough to make on a whim, you could easily use them in any number of stocks. I think that next I’ll try them with a tomato based broth and Italian herbs.

Ingredients

(for the soup)

8 cups vegetable stock

6 large carrots

4 large leeks

olive oil

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. oregano

1 pinch ground cloves

(for the dumplings)

2 cups flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

1 1/4 cup boiling water

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter

1 tsp. sage

1 tsp. dill

1 tsp. basil

1. Halve and slice your leeks. I only use the end, of the leeks- once the green color deepens it becomes tougher, I only use the white and light green part. Dice your garlic, and peel and chop your carrots. 

027

2. Saute garlic and leeks in some olive oil. I do this in the pot I will be making the soup in. Saute for high uncovered for 5 minutes. Then saute over low heat, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.  

034

3. Add vegetable stock, and carrots to pot. Cook over high heat, uncovered for 15 minutes. Lower heat slightly and cover, let cook for an additional 30 minutes. 

4Add in onion powder, oregano, and cloves. Let soup cool for a bit and use an immersion blender to puree. Be careful if the soup is hot, it could easily splash. Puree evenly and completely, so that the carrot stock becomes perfectly smooth and creamy. 

5. Keep soup on low heat uncovered as you make your dumpling dough.

002

6. Sift flour into large mixing bowl. Add in baking powder, salt, sugar, sage, dill, basil, boiling water, and non-dairy butter. Your dough will get nice and elastic, and that’s when it’s time to cook your dumplings. 

7. Turn the heat up on your soup pot, make sure it is strongly simmering. Spoonful by spoonful, take lumps of the dough and drop it into the carrot soup. I allow a few seconds between each dumpling, it gives them a moment to solidify before you drop in the next pocket of dough. Simmer for about an additional 10 minutes, and serve. 

044

Look at these perfect warm pockets of dough.

045

Homemade Massaman Curry with Tumeric Rice

055

Homemade curry paste is a real treat. This sauce may look commonplace, but don’t be fooled, it has complex flavors blended fragrantly into every bite. Traditional Thai Massaman curry includes meat as well as shrimp paste, this version omits those and replaces them with perfectly cooked potatoes, tender carrots, crispy tofu, and cashews.

Ingredients

(For the homemade curry paste)

8 dried thai chili peppers (soaked for 20 minutes, then seeded and diced)

2 tsp. coriander

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground white pepper

1 stem lemongrass, chopped

1/2 tsp. galanga powder

(for the rest of the curry dish)

1 box firm tofu

4 medium potatoes (I used classic brown Idaho)

3 large carrots

5 tbsp. homemade curry paste

2 cans coconut milk

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cinnamon stick

6 cardamom pods

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tbsp. tamarind concentrate

1/2 cup cashews (you can use peanuts if you prefer)

(for the rice)

1 tbsp. tumeric

2 cups rice (Jasmine or Basmati)

1. First you can prep your vegetables, and chop any herbs. I like to chop the potatoes and carrots very roughly, in big chunks- with the long cooking time even larger pieces of potato and carrot will be perfectly cooked.  

022

2. Now make your curry paste- combine all the ingredients for the paste in the order that they are listed above, pureeing them in your food processor.

024

3. Cube and fry your tofu, and set aside. 

017

4. Add olive oil, cashews, and curry paste to a large pot, saute on high for about 4 minutes. The aroma of the paste will become very strong, but the cashews should not be burning- add more oil if necessary. 

5. Add coconut milk to pot, also throw in potatoes and carrots. Add in vegetable stock along with tamarind, cardamom (shelled), cinnamon, and brown sugar. Cook covered over medium high for 20 minutes. You may want to make your tumeric rice while the curry simmers. I used Basmati rice, as the rice is cooking add enough tumeric to fully color the rice yellow. 

062

6. Now cook uncovered over medium for 30 minutes. This gives the sauce time to thicken and become more multifaceted. Once this is done, gently mix in the fried tofu. The sauce should be beautifully fragrant and creamy. 

053

Serve with rice, add garnish of your choice (shallots, cilantro, and basil would all work well).

Vegan Truffle Cream Pasta- Two Ways

054

This creamy truffle infused pasta with baby bella mushrooms and peas can be served extra creamy or crispy and baked- cook’s choice.

Ingredients

1 box baby bella mushrooms

1 box rotini (you may not use the whole box, I used about 3/4 of it cooked)

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup cashews

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1.5 cup almond milk

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter

1 tbsp. white truffle oil (If you don’t want to buy truffle oil, simply infuse some regular olive oil with garlic and rosemary, and use that instead of the truffle oil)

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. basil

1/2 tsp. oregano

(Optional: additional nutritional yeast and plan breadcrumbs, only use if you are making baked version)

1. Soak cashews in warm water for at least an hour. 

2. Boil water for pasta. When pasta is fully cooked, just drain it and set aside. 

3. While pasta is cooking, make your cashew cream. Combine drained cashews, 1/4 cup almond milk, 4 tbsp. water, and 1/2 tsp. lemon juice- puree in food processor. Set it aside for now. 

4. Now chop your mushrooms. Saute them in non-dairy butter and truffle oil.  

047

5. Once the mushrooms are browned, add in the rest of the almond milk, and gradually stir in the cashew cream. Mix in the basil, oregano, and nutritional yeast. 

021

6. The sauce should be thickening now, if it isn’t you may want to turn up the burner a bit. Once it begins thickening add in the frozen peas. Mix throughly. Now you have two choices of how to finish this dish, you can either: 

Gradually pour sauce into pasta, combine and serve as is. This will give you the creamiest possible result:

022

Or, you can combine pasta and sauce, and transfer to a casserole dish- add the extra breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast to the top, and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. If you are considering baking it, I would also recommend adding an extra 1/3 cup of almond milk immediately prior to baking.

041

Happy cooking!

Sunshine Blogger Award

I am pleased and excited to announce that I have been nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award by Johanna over at Whole And Happy Food! Thanks Johanna!

sunshine

I’d like to nominate a few of my own favorite blogs that I find particularly beautiful, creative, and innovative- including:

Poppy’s Patisserie Bunny Kitchen

farbenfroh

Vegan Mom Detroit

Supper Chronicles

the vegan kitchen of dr caligari

Thanks to everyone who continues to make this community one that is welcome to newcomers and seasoned pros alike!

The rules for the Sunshine Award are:

  • Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
  • Answer the same 10 questions given.
  • Nominate up to 10 blogs for the award, a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
  • Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

1. Where would you most like to travel to?

I have quite a few places on my travel list, I’d love to go to Machu Picchu, I’ve always been fascinated by the mystery of the place. Of course I’d love to spend some time in France, and I can’t imagine anything more stunning that traveling through Norway to see the northern lights.

2. Do you have a sweet tooth?

I have what I would call a salt tooth. I would choose chips and pickles over chocolate any day.

3. What motivates you to keep blogging?

I love cooking and creating original recipes. Blogging gives me an opportunity to share those recipes with other home cooks instead of keeping them in the confines of my own kitchen. I’m driven by the goal of creating unique, delicious, workable recipes.

4. Who is your favorite comedian?

I’m not sure if I have just one, I like everyone who is on /writes for Bob’s Burgers.

5. What is your favorite outdoor activity?

I love being on the water in a boat, I can’t think of anything more relaxing than the lull of water and the breeze.

6. Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

I had an excellent publishing professor in college who always pushed me to write more. I also had a hilarious history teacher in high school.

7. Do you own any pets?

I have a cat named Oliver James Silverpaw (we felt he deserved a full name of his own). He has gone from street cat to pampered picky eater in an astonishingly short span of time.

8. The most embarrassing moment of your life?

Once I was in a play as a kid and I just completely froze onstage. That was pretty embarrassing, especially since I only had one line.

9. Where are you from?

I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. When I was a toddler my family moved to Jefferson City, Missouri. I moved to New Jersey for high school, Boston for college, Austin after college, and now New York. It’s always hard to answer where I’m from, but I would usually say Missouri since that’s where I spent most of my childhood years.

10. How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

A wood chuck would chuck, just as much wood- as a wood chuck should chuck.