Watermelon-Mint Salad with Toasted Rice and Szechuan Vinegrette

Have any of you ever tried a watermelon salad before? My dad once had it- before it was a thing- at a Portland bar called Expatriate. And he’s raved about it ever since.  Now, these salads are poping up everywhere! I realized- I need to hop on this bandwagon. So here I am, with my own brainchild recipe.   
 

watermelon salad

Don’t mind the tomatoes- I decided not to use them 🙂

  

Featuring elements from both Expatriate– mint, toasted ground rice, the vinegrette- and A Cozy Kitchen– lime, + jalapeño. 

I just have to say that I’m very happy with the results. 

  

The key to getting this recipe right is the watermelon. Invest in a good one- it’ll make all the difference, while still only being $3. Get a watermelon that sounds deep and hollow when you knock on it. Also be sure it is dense- heavy for its relative size. But for this recipe, you only need 3lbs. 

   

Serves 2, as an appetizer 

Ingredients: 

1 3lb seedless watermelon, in bite-sized cubes

1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, loosely chopped

1 tbs white jasmine rice

For the vinegrette:

2 tbs lime juice 

1/2 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp jalapeño, cleaned and finely chopped

1/4 cup rice vinegar 

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp hoisin sauce

Method of preparation: 

Place watermelon and mint in a bowl. Set aside. 

In a small pan, toast rice over medium-low heat, until golden brown, ~10 minutes, stirring constantly. Place in food processor and pulse it until fine but not powdered. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegrette ingridients. Pour over watermelon and mint, and toss. 

Wait 5-10 minutes for the watermelon to marinate. Pour out liquid, if desired.

When ready to serve, sprinkle with ground rice. 

  

Salted Caramel Popcorn

Today I ate four Swedish pancakes, two peaches, a brownie, half a cinnamon roll, multiple meringue cookies, three fish tacos, and a few handfuls of salted caramel popcorn. Roughly in that order. Roughly a balanced diet. Not really, but close. I think they snuck some greens into my tacos.  

   

This recipe here will right any wrongs achieved by ingesting that green leafy stuff. Use generously. 

Yields 1/2 cup thick caramel

Ingridients: 

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark) 

3 tsp sea salt

Method of preparation: 

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. 

Add brown sugar and whisk together. 

Cook until at desired thickness and add salt. 

Pour over salted popcorn and toss 👋👌

  

Simply Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Well folks today was one of those days. One of those leave-me-alone-so-I-can-eat-my-chocolate-cake-and-watch-a-horror-movie kinda days. Then cry a bit. 

But cake always helps. 

 

There’s nothing too special about this cake- it’s not vegan, or made with zucchini, or even whole-wheat flour. But, it’s a pretty darn good cake. Just ask my neighbors! One friend is both gluten and dairy free, but she still ate a slice, saying it was “worth it”. Boy, was it worth it.

   
  

 

A cake like this can make anyone’s day. So make someone’s day today with a slice of this! 

~adapted from addapinch~
Serves 10

Ingredients for the cake: 

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 cups unbleached cane sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp expresso powder

1 cup milk, room temp. or warmed

1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)

2 medium eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Ingredients for the buttercream: 

1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), softened not melted

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (original recipe called for 5, but I found 3 1/2 was enough. Add more for extra sweetness and stiffness.) 

1/2 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp expresso powder

Method of preparation: 

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease two 9′ cake pans with oil and a circle sheet of parchment on the bottom. If using side levelers, begin soaking them in water. 

  

Mix all dry ingridients in a large bowl. 

With your mixer on medium, add in wet ingridients except for boiling water. 

One well incorporated, carefully pour in boiling water on a reduced speed. Mix for another minute to bring air into the mixture. 

Distribute batter evenly between both pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick. 

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and let sit until cooled off fully. 

Meanwhile, start the frosting by creaming together the butter and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. 

Add in sugar and milk a bit at a time. 

Mix in vanilla and expresso powder. 

Use 1/2 the frosting to frost the first level of the cake and then place the second layer atop the first. Gently push down starting from the middle of the cake, outwards. Use the rest of the frosting to frost the top. 

Serve with a smile. 

  

Re-Vamped Vegan Chocolate Mug Cake

Yaaaas. It’s finally here! Vegan, chocate-chip spotted, and quicker to make than ever! I’ve been dreaming about making a cake, then remembered this ‘ol recipe from last year. And boy am I (and dad + staci) glad that I did.

This super cute “mug cake” tales only 40 seconds to bake! Perfect for an I-want-cake-but-don’t-wanna-bake scenario. Also, you don’t have to sacrifice your diet- with agave/honey to sweeten, unbleached flour, and coconut oil as ingredients, you can feel good about eating it. And chocolate = endorphins and antioxidants, right? That’s my rationale, and I’m sticking to it.

I’ve got more awesome news!!! The blog now has email, Instagram, + Pinterest accounts! Now you can see all my foodie adventures and sneak peaks of recipes. On Instagram, I’m Justagirlwithaknife, and on Pinterest, Agirlwithaknife. Plus, the email is radcooksblog@gmail.com.

It’s pretty cool.

But enough about media- I want cake.

Serves Two ❤️

Ingredients:

6 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tbs + 4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

6 tbs warm non-dairy milk (I use almond milk)

3 tbs melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbs agave/honey

2 tbs semi-sweet chocolate chips (non-dairy if needed)

Vanilla ice cream to top

Method of Preperation:

Mix together dry ingridients- except the chocolate chips- in a small bowl with a fork (yay!).

Stir in wet ingridients.

Fold in chocate chips.

Divide the batter between two coffee cups and microwave them one at a time for ~40 seconds- no more!

Top with ice cream and serve.

Speckled Chocolate Mousse 

The long search for a perfect chocolatey dessert, that also makes you feel super fancy, has come to an end. I searched Pinterest for hours, my fingers nearly fell off after all that scrolling. I dreamt of the perfect recipe, thinking after every meal, I could be eating decadent, fluffy, pudding-like chocolate mousse right now. But I wasn’t. Until now.


That’s right, after obsessing over it for days, I finally have a recipe! And it’s easy! The only catch- it has to chill overnight. Well, at the very least, 3 hours. Trust me, I searched and searched for a recipe that did not have to chill, but all that was in vain. Let’s take a moment now to mourn.


  

Better? Me too. Now, you are probably thinking “Enough already! Show me the recipe!”

And just because I’m nice, I’ll give it to you.
~Recipe adapted from this one~

Serves 5
Ingredients:

2 medium eggs

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (a medium carton)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method of Preparation:

Beat eggs and sugar together for 3 minutes. Be sure the volume has at least doubled.

Warm 1 cup of the cream in a sauce pan, stirring often.

Pour into the egg mixture slowly, with your mixer on low. Pour back into sauce pan and heat for 5 minutes, constantly stirring. It should get thicker as the eggs cook. Don’t let it boil!

Turn heat to low and stir in chocolate until melted. Cover and chill for at least three hours, preferably overnight.

When ready, beat remaining cream into a thick whipped cream.

Stir in the egg-chocolate mixture from the fridge, and whip until desired consistancy, about 3 minutes on medium-high.

Pipe or scoop into cute cups and serve cold!

Notes:

Keeps airtight in fridge for ~3 days

It will get less stiff as time goes on, but whipping it back to shape works like a charm!

Add some chia seeds as a topping for a healthy crunch, or mix in and let soak for the night to get a chia-chocolate-mousse-pudding-thing-of-awesomeness!

Black Bean Brownies- nailed it! 

Black. Bean. Brownies. Oh yes. 

 Black-Bean-Brownies 

What? They’re gluten and dairy free too? All while tasting delicious?

Yes. Boom. Mind blown. 



These brownies are amazing, even for the normal kind. I might just like them better. I should bake more to make a clear decision. Sensible, right?

If you’ve never had black bean brownies before, I beg you, try these! Don’t take my word for it- make some for yourself! 

~Recipe based on this one~

Ingredients: 

1 15oz can of black beans, rinsed

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 medium eggs

3 tbs coconut oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Method of Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 6×8 inch pan with coconut oil.

Blend the black beans in a blender/food processor until smooth. Add in cocoa powder, eggs, and coconut oil, then mix until smooth once more. Pour in the rest of the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, and blend until smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan then sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  

  

One Pot Thai Noodle Bowl

This time of the year makes me sad. What is there to do? You can’t bake, roast or broil for fear of the oven heating up the place- even more than it already is. I’m considering alternatives to normal baked recipes: vegan cookie dough or a skillet cookie vs a baked one, oven top oatmeal vs boatmeal, stir fried veggies vs roasted ones… The list goes on and on.

But Thai food can fix anything, right?

one-pot-thai-noodle-bowl

Yes. Yes it can.

With the ease of boiling everything at once, in the same pot, you can forget about your past cooking trials and tribulations. And no one will guess how easy it was. Trust me.   

one-pot-thai-noodle-bowl

But do you know how difficult it is to get appetizing photos of pasta? Trust me, it’s hard. Natural lighting is a must. Simplicity is a must. Unless you happen to find a cute napkin.

~Adapted from this recipe~

Serves 5

Ingredients:

15 oz linguine

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup water

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 inches of ginger, minced

1 red or green bell pepper, cut into long slices

2 medium carrots, cut into 2 by 1/4 inch slices

4 green onions, sliced in half then cut into 2 inch pieces

1 cup roasted peanuts

2 tbs smooth or chunky peanut butter

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbs  tamari or soy sauce

1 tsp miso

For after the pasta cooks:

The juice of two limes

1 cup chopped cilantro + extra to garnish

Chopped peanuts, to garnish

Method of Preperation :

Put all ingredients in a large pot, and bring to a boil. After a minute, lower the heat to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro, then take off the heat. Serve immediately with extra cilantro and peanuts to garnish.

one-pot-thai-noodle-bowl