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Friday's Delicious, Tomorrow's Chicago* – swell

Friday's Delicious, Tomorrow's Chicago*

*Not that Chicago isn’t also delicious…

Raw Zucchini Noodles with Lemon Basil Pesto

Raw Zucchini Noodles with Lemon Basil Pesto

You really can’t convince me that pesto needs cheese in it… for me it’s all about the nuts and the basil and the little bit of garlic.  Yum!  I spiralized some zucchini noodles and tossed them with a few tablespoons of raw lemon basil pesto, then squeezed some fresh lemon on top.  Rich and satisfying but light at the same time, which is what I’m aiming for these days.

Field greens with tomatoes, parsley, and Mexican Gems

Field greens with tomatoes, parsley, and Mexican Gems

I had some odds and ends in the fridge and a burning desire to grill the remaining okra I got from the farmer’s market, but it felt decadent to heat some coals just for little ol’ me; not to mention I wouldn’t have been able to finish all the food.  So I had one of my coworkers and her husband over for an impromptu dinner tonight…the exchange went something like this: “Hey, M-, what you doing tonight?” “Nothing.” “Wanna come over and grill some stuff?  You should bring your special manfriend.” “Hot (vegan) dog, A-K!  Sounds great!”  And then we made it happen.  Part of my container garden this year includes some edible flowers called Mexican Gems.  They’re distinctly floral and followed by a spicy kick!  I don’t have too many blooming quite yet, but each of us got one with our locally grown field green salad.

Grilled Okra

Grilled Okra

Earlier this week I made my first vegan gumbo and included some okra.  While good, I also wanted to enjoy okra on its own in a way that didn’t involve deep-frying.  So I tossed some in a splash of olive oil and rubbed some salt and pepper in, skewered them, and grilled them over low coals for about 8 or 10 minutes.  Wow!  It’s kind of like eating corn, only you don’t get kernels stuck in your teeth.  Soft, almost creamy, sweet centers surrounded by a slightly crisp, salty crust.  I know there are a lot of people who hate okra because of the slime (I’ve only experienced the slime when slicing it raw), but I’d always been into okra the few times I tried it.  I think I’m having a love affair with it now!  This is the best way to make it so far.

The other day at work we were discussing our favorite smells.  Most of mine are food-related, particularly spice-related.  And one of them is saffron – the lovely, fragrant Spanish kind.  There’s a lot of nostalgic attachment for me to Sweden and the St. Lucia bread made around Christmas time, which has saffron in it.  One of my coworkers told me she thought saffron tasted like plastic, and I knew I had to convince her otherwise.  I think the best way to do this is with cake.  So while I was marinating tofu and slicing veggies for the grill fest, I whipped out this pretty little cake.  I think I’m finding that wheat (and yeast) is doing bad things to me, but spelt seems alright so far, which is why this cake is a darker yellow than a traditional Swedish saffron cake would be.  But let me tell you, this turned out moist and delicious!  It’s a bit heavier than I’d like and took significantly longer to bake than the recipe I based it off of, so I won’t post a recipe yet, but once I get my hands on some more saffron, I’m all over making this again.  Do you think she’ll like it?

Spelt Saffron Cake

Spelt Saffron Cake

Tomorrow I find out it it passes the “plastic test” (fingers crossed).  And tomorrow I’m also dashing off to Chicago for 24 hours after work, so I’ll be gone most of the weekend.  Hope yours is lovely!

12 Responses to “Friday's Delicious, Tomorrow's Chicago*”

  1. Sarah says:

    i like okra, ive only had fried, it was awhile back but i distinctly remember liking it and ive been meaning to get my hands on it lately too.

    and saffron! oh my

    ive never thought about it in a cake sense. cant wait for that recipe :)

    i was emailing you about the swell zine last week and

    i sent the money, have you recieved it?

  2. The cake looks delish!

  3. A-K you are such an inspiration. All of your dishes look so amazing! Grilled okra sounds heavenly to me.

    You should be hearing from my sis soon about the cookbook. Can’t wait to see it.

  4. Shelby says:

    That cake looks amazing!

    I wish I could find Okra! =(

  5. Courtney says:

    I like okra, but I have never had it grilled. That is brilliant! Now I need to get some at the farmers market tomorrow and find myself a grill, lol. I wonder if broiled okra would be close?!

    As always, I am super jealous of your spiralized zucchini pastas…

    I hope you have a great time in Chicago! Travel safely!


  6. windattack says:

    Grilled okra? Sweet! I’ve gotta try that!

  7. mihl says:

    Of course your coworker will like that cake! Especially if you add such a flower to it. And can’t wait for the recipe!

    P.S. Those are the most beautiful zucchini noodles I have ever seen.

  8. Yoga Witch says:

    Holy cow, your blog makes me so hungry! I can’t wait to see your recipe on the Saffron Spelt Cake!

  9. JB says:

    i recently realized how much i love raw zucchini. that bowl looks great. and i completely agree, pesto does NOT need cheese! i’m vegan, and hadn’t had pesto in ages until i bought a raw/vegan one a few days ago. it was just as delicious (if not MORE delicious) than pestos i used to eat in the past.

    oh and that spelt saffron cake sounds divine. i love your blog! i’m going to subscribe to it riiiight now. :)



  10. Vegetation says:

    I am really wanting that zucchini noodle pesto dish right now! Yum!!!

    And your cake is just beautiful. I love saffron.

  11. Jodye says:

    Mmm the saffron cake looks delectable, and your salad is oh-so-pretty!

  12. Gauri Radha गौरी राधा says:

    Lovely cake in the last photo!!

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