Archive for the ‘SOP’ Category

A great classic breakfast for a holiday morning, or an average weekend morning! Top with your favorite jams, nectars, or butters (I think an apple or pumpkin butter would be top-notch for a holiday feast). This recipe makes about six 2″ mini biscuits, or 3-4 larger biscuits. Perfect if your baking for one or two, if you’re baking for more.. you can easily double the recipe without issue.


1 C All-Purpose Flour (I used King Arthur Organic) – you could also use a 50/50 blend of AP and Cake Flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

3 TBSP Earth Balance Vegan Butter, super cold

3/4 C Coconut Milk + a splash of apple cider vinegar (I didn’t measure, but probably close to 1/8-1/4 tsp)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Splash in the apple cider vinegar with the Coconut Milk, set aside.

2. Whisk (or blend with a fork) together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With two knives (or pastry cutter), cut in the EBVB.

3. Add the vanilla extract to the “buttermilk.” Add milk mixture to flour/butter mixture. Stir until just combined. Slowly slowly, gently gently here. Once combined, turn out onto lightly floured surface and pat into a round until about 3/4-inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutters, or if you want to get whimsical.. any shaped cutter of choice.

4. Place biscuits on parchment lined baking sheet or pizza stone. Bake 16-18 min. If they aren’t brown enough to your liking.. you can turn on the broiler for a few. Serve with jams, agave nectar, Earth Balance, fruit, veg.. whatever! I topped mine with some festive Cranberry Habanero jam (found at the Feast of Artisans Farmer’s Market, handmade by the lovely Jackie’s Gourmet).

Buttermilk Biscuits

Happy Baking!

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I like to use roasted veg quite often in various recipes – enchiladas, fajitas, soft tacos, topping for salads or nachos, pizzas, paninis, etc. But when I was searching to see if I posted anything about the SOP for roasting vegetables, the Primate contained no such post! *Gasp* So here is the Standard Operating Procedure for roasting veg as a base for any recipe you like! Here I show then served on a bed of fresh baby spinach and warm quinoa… Enjoy!


Red bell pepper
Red onion
Yellow onion
Garlic cloves
Corn kernels
…any other veg you can think of to julienne (summer squash, zucchini, etc)
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 TBSP olive or canola oil (depending on how much veg you use – with 2 Red bells, 1 small yellow onion, 1/2 large red onion, ~5-6 cloves garlic, I used 1 TBSP olive)


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Julienne veg, separate garlic into their individual cloves but leave them in their peel.
3. In a large bowl, sprinkle the veg somewhat generously with salt, and some black pepper. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive or canola oil. Toss to distribute evenly.
4. Spread veggies flat on a baking/cookie sheet covered with parchment or Silpat.
5. Roast for about 25-30 minutes. Remove peels from garlic, toss, and serve as you please.

*Use these veggies in just about anything you desire. They will keep in the fridge a few days, so they’d be perfect to roast up on a Sunday to keep for lunches or additions to dinners during the week.

Happy Roasting!


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Leeks: Step-by-Step

Who loves Potato-Leek Soup? Or sautéd leeks atop a salad? I know I do..but prepping a leek for the first time can seem a bit daunting. Not as daunting as, say, a yuca…but you may not even purchase it in the store out of fear of the unknown. So lets introduce ourselves to the leek! It serves the same role as an onion, but with such different flavors – you know, how a red onion doesn’t taste like a yellow onion..a leek doesn’t taste exactly like a yellow or white onion either. But it is onion-like, in fact..an onion family member. The edible portions of a leek is the white and light green stalk. The trouble with leeks is that they are so unbearable dirty on the inside. You must wash each layer, hence the daunting nature of their prep. Well, no more…here’s where you’ll see just how easy it is to prepare them – just in time for Autumn so you can start adding them to soups and veggie medleys!

Step 1: Chop off the top and bottom of the leek.

Leek Step 1

Step 2: Slice in half, lengthwise.

Leek Step 2

Step 3: Rinse, Rinse, Rinse! Obviously this works better with two hands, but one of my hands had to hold the camera 😉 …I really should get an assistant, hmm… The key in this step is to get all the dirt from between each little layer, so you’ll have to work it… Yes, there is dirt in each layer, and it’s no fun eating dirt! So don’t rush through this step, be thorough!

Leek Step 3aLeek Step 3bLeek Step 3c

Step 4: Chop, mince, whatever the recipe calls for…

Leek Step 4

Enjoy in dishes like Potato-Leek Soup, Veggie Soup, Jo’s Scape Bake, or saute in place of (or in addition to) onions in just about any dish you like!


Happy Chopping (and Rinsing)!

On This Day In History: Tortilla de Harina (homemade flour tortillas)


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Tex-Mex Rice

Growing up we called this Spanish rice, but after investigating recipes for traditional ‘Spanish rice,’ this did not fit the bill.  So here’s the Tex-Mex version of a Spanish-style rice 🙂 This goes great with Green Enchiladas and Papas Refritas, or Roasted Veg Enchiladas and Refried Beans, or any other Tex-Mex or Mexican meal. I suppose we could put this in the SOP category, as an all-purpose side to any mexican-inspired meal. This recipe serves about 4.


1 C brown rice
1/2 large yellow onion (or 1 small-medium) diced
1-2 cloves garlic – you just want accent garlic, not overwhelm garlic
2 TBSP canola oil
1.5-2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced (or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained)
2 C water or veg broth
juice of 1 lime
cilantro for sprinkling


1. Heat canola oil in a large deep-sided skillet/pan. Saute onion and garlic until garlic begins to soften, about 5-8 minutes. Add rice and toast lightly for a few minutes.

Tex-Mex Rice1Tex-Mex Rice2
2. Add spices, broth, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over low heat for approximately 45 minutes (or if using white rice, adjust time accordingly).

Tex-Mex Rice3
3. When all liquid is absorbed, let sit 5 minutes, covered. Drizzle with lime juice and stir in a handful of chopped cilantro. Serve with more cilantro sprinkled on top and enjoy!

Tex-Mex Rice4

Happy Cooking!

On this day in history: Double-Blueberry Drop Scones


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The careful reader will notice, on a rare occasion I’ve precluded a recipe with the initials SOP. This is a category reserved specially for those items which Jo and I believe should be established within a cooking repertoire. They are simple, typically quick recipes. And above all, they are guaranteed to please any crowd or singleton. These are the standard operating procedures for quintessential recipes fit to please even the most skeptical of palates. I mean, who would complain about getting to eat salsa with breakfast!?! In an ode to our big brother (Casey), I bring you…the breakfast burrito, otherwise known in South Texas as the breakfast taquito. Casey loves him some burritos, and breakfast is no reason not to have one! And because these are called ‘breakfast’ doesn’t mean that they can only be eaten in the A.M. hours….when things are wrapped in a tortilla, time is no prison 😉 Now, they can be made for any regular breakfast, but they also serve as the perfect hangover food!


Sara’s or Jo’s Favorite Potatoes, or even Papas refritas
bell pepper, diced (whatever color you like..I like red, here I’ve used purple since that’s what I had)
1 medium onion, diced
spinach, roughly chopped (a big handful, or about 1 stuffed C worth)
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
*optional jalapeño, minced
1 tomato (green or red) – cooked or used on top as a garnish
*optional pinch of cayenne for S&J level heat
salt and pepper to taste
beans (black or pinto, regular or refritas)
salsa and/or fresh cilantro
tortillas; flour or corn (make sure they are lard/cholesterol free; make sure they are gluten-free if need be, or take a stab at homemade)


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a stack of tortillas wrapped in foil into oven to warm about 10 minutes – leave in oven but turn off heat after that.
2. When preparing potatoes, add onion, garlic, and jalapeño (if using) at the same time as adding the potatoes. Cook about 10 minutes.
3. Add red bell pepper (and tomato if using inside) to skillet and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add water per specific potato recipe chosen, and let simmer (covered) until all liquid is gone and potatoes are tender. Add spinach, cover and let steam a few minutes. Stir to blend. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Assemble: place warm tortilla on plate, top with potato/veg mixture, top with tomatoes, salsa, and/or cilantro. Roll up and enjoy with glass of OJ or Tequila Sunrise, or a scrumptious 1:1 ratio of pineapple juice and apple juice.

*Caution: These are easy to overstuff, so make sure you have a fork handy 😉

*Acceptable variations and additions: You could serve either alongside, if not inside, refried beans with the taquitos. Fresh chopped cilantro is always a pleasant addition, if that’s how you roll. Breakfast taquitos are also the perfect delivery device for those who snub particular veggies – I chop up broccoli small enough to go unnoticed by Dad (even though I tell him it’s in there – I never “sneak” food to anyone without prior consent). Fresh fruit such as grapefruit and/or oranges sprinkled with some cayenne also provides a tasty kick! Or for going really nuts, grilled/caramelized pineapple…ooh…

Happy Cooking!

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While this is a relatively quick and super easy endeavor, and tortillas are pretty much a staple in my kitchen (with mine and Jo’s deep love of spicy tex-mex), I hesitate to call this SOP since I realize there are times when tortillas from scratch are just a step past above and beyond – such as when making a huge feast. Why create extra work for yourself when you’re making other, more time consuming food items? So even though I feel homemade tortillas are 1000-fold better than store-bought…I also realize not everyone can make (or have) the time to do so. But here is a recipe that can become standard in the repertoire when wanting to give yourself the treat of scratch tortillas! I can’t remember the website I found the recipe, but I did make the note that it was adapted from The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison (disclaimer: I make no endorsement of this cookbook, as I’ve never seen it or perused the recipes in it..so it could very well be a non-vegan friendly book). To make things even more complex, I’ve adapted the recipe from the website from which I found it (making the recipe here a double adaptation of the original) – I altered the flours by using 1/2 C oat and reducing the all-purpose to 1.5 C instead of using all 2 C all-purpose; and the natural vegan alteration of using hemp milk in place of regular milk. This recipe makes approximately 8 tortillas.


1.5 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C oat flour
1.5 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of salt
2 tsp of canola oil
3/4 C of warm hemp milk


1. In a small saucepan, warm the hemp milk on low. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil in a bowl. Slowly add the warm milk.
2. Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.
3. Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft (not tough or sticky).
Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
4. After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (letting the dough rest will reduce the elasticity of the dough allowing for easier rolling and shaping).

5. After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter – just like a pie crust. Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.

6. In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side – so don’t walk away! It should start to puff and bubble (as seen below) a bit when it’s done and ready to flip – you want the skillet hot hot hot!

7. Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin or foil in a warm oven until ready to eat. Can be reheated in a dry iron skillet, over your gas-burner flame or in the oven wrapped in foil.

Note: While you probably won’t have any leftovers, you can store in the fridge tightly wrapped in foil or plastic for a day or so.

Happy Baking!

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SOP: Black Beans

Although Sara and I can pull off some amazing culinary feats, we are often surprised how impressed people will be by the simplest things. Everyone buys lots of things from the store out of habit, but which are actually very easy to make at home. Beans are one such item. Making your own beans from scratch allows you to control the salt content in them, it reduces the amount of waste put out into our environment since you’re not wasting aluminum cans (even though they’re recyclable), and it’s often cheaper to buy dried beans in bulk…


1 C beans

1 bay leaf



Pick over the beans to check for pebbles. Then place in large bowl with lots of water. Soak for at least 3 hours (to overnight). If you’re making them during the week, put them to soak before you leave for work and cook them when you get home.

Bring a few quarts of water to a boil in a medium or large pot.

Rinse beans very thoroughly in large colander. I cannot stress this enough, you do not want dirt in your beans!

When water boils, add beans and bay leaf and reduce heat to med-low. Cook at a slow simmer for 1 hour.

*Note: When storing, leave the beans in the cooking water in an airtight container…otherwise they’ll dry out and be gross, and we don’t want that!

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Ok, another addition to the SOP category!! Brownies!! Now everybody should know how to make brownies, especially vegan brownies, to satisfy that chewy, cakey, chocolatey craving when it strikes! Sometimes, a preemptive strike is necessary – when no one gets harmed, that is… So with that said, I give you SOP Brownies. They are so caramely chewy, and chocolatey good…no one can resist their powers! They go perfect with vegan ice cream too! Mmm…I see a brownie sundae in my future, with strawberry ice cream! Ah, the future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades 🙂


3 TBSP ground flax meal + 1/3 C warm water
12 TBSP (1 1⁄2 sticks) Earth Balance Vegan Butter
3⁄4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 C turbinado sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (or a 1:1 combo of almond and vanilla extract)
1.5 C all-purpose flour (or buckwheat for gluten-free)
Pinch of salt


1. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment. Make flaxseed+water combo; set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Put the 12 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter in a large saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir with the whisk just until the butter is melted.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the cocoa powder. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and no lumps remain.
4. Add the sugar and continue whisking until well blended. Let the mixture cool for 2 minutes.
5. Add the flaxseed mixture and vanilla and almond extracts and whisk until well blended. Add the flour and salt. Using a rubber spatula, stir until the batter is blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
6. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownie comes out clean, about 20-30 minutes. Let cool completely.

Optional add-ins: Vegan chocolate chips (your favorite brand – I’m personally not a fan of the Tropical Source, but that’s just me) and/or Nuts (again, personal favorites include walnuts and pecans for brownies, but it’s up to you).

Happy Baking!

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Don’t worry, you don’t need rhythm to do this salsa… Although serving it while wearing some sexy, strappy heels with some Latin music groovin’ in the background, nice! This recipe could also be classified under the SOP category as it is a crucial recipe to have in any Mexican repertoire. Pico de gallo is something so simple and so tasty, everyone should be making it and noshing on it at least once a week during the summer! I’ve been known to make some, let it marinade in the fridge for a measly 30 minutes before I could take it no longer, and end up eating the whole batch in one sitting. Although not recommended as a regular behavior, you won’t be shunned from the community if you indulge.


1.5 lb Roma tomatoes, diced (about 6-10 med tomatoes)
1 medium Yellow onion, diced
1 bunch Fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 jalapeño (or other hot pepper of choice), minced (seeds removed for less heat if desired)
fresh lime juice from 1 lime
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)


1. Add all ingredients to large bowl, stir to blend. Taste test, add salt to desired saltiness.

Enjoy with tortilla chips, or top on other mexican dishes such as Green Enchiladas, Black bean tamales, Mexican millet, etc.

Happy Snacking!

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SOP: Tea

Jo and I take great care in making a great cup of tea. It’s a relaxing activity, that allows you to stop for 15 minutes in the middle of your day and refocus the mind. It becomes ritual in the morning, like brushing your teeth. It can even be a zen exercise (if you’re so inclined). There’s is nothing more annoying than when someone makes a cup of tea and leaves the bag in the cup while they proceed to drink the tea. Now, I would always advise against sipping before the tea is done steeping. And if proper tea is to be made, the bag must be removed once it’s DONE steeping. The only thing you get from leaving your bag in the cup is a bad cup of tea! It becomes bitter and horrible. Here’s where I want to discuss the SOP for making proper tea.

Hot tea: If you have to use tea bags, that’s fine. But I urge you to give loose leaves a try. You can buy tea sacs and reusable tea bags if you don’t want the leaves to swirl freely, or if you don’t have access to a tea strainer.

Step 1: Boil freshly drawn water in a kettle on the stove (or if need be, an electric kettle). Do not microwave water in order to make a cup of tea! It won’t be good, and you’d be better off without it!
Step 2: If you are using a tea pot, it must be warmed prior to being exposed to boiling water. Fill the tea pot with warm water and let sit while water is boiling on the stove.
Step 3: Empty tea pot. Add 1 tsp tea leaves to pot or cup (or sac/bag) per 6 oz of water. Pour boiling water OVER tea bags, loose tea, or tea sac.
Step 4: Let steep 5 min (black teas), 4 min (green teas), 10-20 min (fresh from the garden herbs). Letting the tea steep longer or shorter doesn’t affect the ‘strength’ of the tea. If you want stronger tea, increase the tea leaves to water ratio, not the steeping time. If you want weaker tea, reduce the amount of leaves to water (or increase the water).
Step 5: Remove tea bag/sac or strain tea at proper time – never squeeze the bag, just let it drip when you pull it out. Sweeten with agave nectar or vegan sugar as desired.

*If you want another cup, draw a fresh kettle of water – never re-boil water!

Iced-tea: Make the tea stronger, let cool, then pour into a pitcher with ice. As the ice melts, the strength will reduce, which is why you make it 1.5X stronger than you normally would. Sweeten before cooling.

Happy Teatime!

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