Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Creamy Hummus with Baked Pita Chips

If you were to drop by my apartment on any given summer weeknight, you'd catch me in the act of not cooking a fresh and mostly seasonal dinner. Now, I'm not saying I don't make the evening meals myself most nights. But I do know that when it's too hot to cook I'm not about to fire up the stove and get down with making a five-course meal.

So to keep myself cool, I focus on light meals and snacks that require very little to no stovetop or oven time. I'm just getting started on my 2014 list of easy summer dishes, starting with snacks:

Creamy Hummus with Baked Pita Chips

Note: If you have the time, using dry chickpeas is always the best choice—you'll get the best flavor and best nutrition. But this requires soaking the beans overnight, and then boiling them. To many, this can be intimidating. So for those who rarely have time and don't want to slave over a hot stove, this recipe uses canned chickpeas. Once you start making your own hummus this way, graduating to dry chickpeas will come naturally.

For the hummus:
1 1/4 cups chickpeas from a 15 1/2 oz can, water reserved, the rest of the chickpeas reserved for garnish
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons ice cold water
Kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil
Handful of parsley
Ground cumin
Ground paprika

For the pita chips:
1 package pita bread or flatbread
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and set aside a baking sheet for the pita chips.

Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine sill running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 3/4 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in the ice water and allow it to mix for a few minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste. Add reserved chickpea water, a tablespoon at a time, if mixture is still too thick.

Transfer the hummus to a shallow soup bowl. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use. To serve, top with a layer of extra virgin olive oil and roughly chopped parsley, and sprinkle with a pinch each of cumin and paprika.

Cut each pita or flatbread in quarters and each quarter in half to make 8 triangles. Place them in a single layer on a sheet pan and sprinkle lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, until crisp, turning once. Serve alongside hummus for dipping.

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photo ©Alyssa Yeager

Monday, May 26, 2014

Bourbon Kombucha Cocktail

I'm in a booze-y state of mind... But that's what summer holiday weekends are for, right? And with an over-abundance of homebrew ginger kombucha in my fridge, everything—right down to every party drink—is getting a probiotic health kick. To make your own kombucha cocktail, follow the recipe below:

Ginger Bourbon 'Booch
2 oz. Maker's Mark bourbon
3/4 oz. fresh-squeezed blood orange juice
1/2 oz. Cointreau
Chilled ginger kombucha

Shake bourbon, blood orange juice and Cointreau with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Fill glass with ginger kombucha.

Happy Memorial Day!

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photo ©Alyssa Yeager

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Cinco de Mayo Margaritas

Back when I was a recent transplant in NYC, I didn't have a liquor cabinet in my apartment—I didn't even have a liquor shelf. But what I did have on reserve was a bottle of the best tequila reposado I could afford, and a tiny bottle of Cointreau. Because if I was going to make one drink, ever, it was going to be my favorite... A perfect classic margarita on the rocks.

My go-to margarita recipe is stupid simple (and will make one large, harmoniously strong drink, perfect for sipping with a meal):

For one drink:
2 oz. tequila (100% agave, preferably a reposado or blanco)
2 oz Cointreau
1 to 1 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice, to taste
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt for the rim of the glass
Lime wheel for garnish

Moisten rim of a rocks glass with a lime wedge. Holding glass upside down, dip rim into salt. 

Shake tequila, Cointreau and lime juice with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker until the exterior frosts. Strain into glass over ice. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photo ©Alyssa Yeager

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew

Keeping up a food blog is hard. For me, the fun part about putting together a post—the sweet spot—is the point when your dish is ready, the photography set is good to go, and it's time to plate, style and shoot. But as much as I'd love to get in there and pay super-close attention to every minuscule detail, something inevitably comes up to remind me that I'm shooting for a tiny, very personal food blog in my home and not in a fancy test kitchen for Bon Appétit: The cat gets sick, the doorbell rings, or a text comes through from a friend who wonders why I can't hurry up. And so it goes.

But no matter how rushed, there's still something wonderful about having the freedom to explore and expand the possibilities when it comes to what I post on Kitchen La Bohème.

I pulled this recipe straight from the pages of Bon Appétit's March 2014 issue this weekend, and then applied some tweaks that made ingredients easier to source and the recipe quicker to prepare. If you're like me and love the fiery sinus-clearing goodness of Korean food, this will be a favorite recipe. For a simple Kimchi Tofu Rice Bowl, skip the tamari and water, and serve the stir fry over rice. And while I encourage everyone to go vegan, if you're lacto-ovo you can't go wrong with cracking an egg over the top of the finished dish.

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager

Sunday, February 09, 2014


If you'd asked me this time last year if there would ever be a slimy pancake bacteria and yeast culture floating in a jar of sweet tea on my kitchen counter, the answer would be a resounding, "No!" Because, gross. And yet...

Throughout my six years of dietary veganism and culinary experimentation, I hadn't been very interested in kombucha. In fact, I couldn't even bring myself to try it — too many stringy, yeast floaters for my liking. So I never did. Until this past December. And let me tell you, once I tried kombucha, I was almost instantly hooked.

Something about the dry, sweet-tart effervescence of this fermented wonder drink satisfied a long-unsated craving that only commercial soda had ever been able to touch. Not only that, I began to feel absolutely wonderful. I noticed my skin beginning to glow, I felt happier and less downbeat when stressed, and overall, just generally... Better. With store-bought bottles reaching the $4 mark, my new daily drink quickly became an expensive habit. Like many others before me, I made the decision to figure out how to brew my own 'buch.

The result? Only two batches into my home brewing, I'm beyond excited. I grew my own SCOBY (that slimy pancake bacteria and yeast culture I never imagined having in my life) from a store-bought bottle of GT's Original flavor Classic kombucha (the kind now in amber bottles) and let it grow, grow, grow until it was big enough to use for making a first half-gallon batch. I named it Scoby Bryant, fed it Oolong sugar tea and since then my SCOBY has given me two tasty, pleasantly floral brews. You can see Scoby Bryant floating in my current brewing container below.

I'm still experimenting with flavoring and bottling, but a handful of fresh ginger slivers and a 3-4 day second fermentation has been giving me wonderful carbonation and flavor.

What are your secrets for brewing 'buch? Let me know! If all continues to go well, I'll be graduating to brewing a continuous full gallon shortly.

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Brownies

I started Kitchen La Boheme in 2010, a year after I turned 30. I'm not sure which is more to blame—my becoming the founder of a food blog or hitting that milestone birthday—but pretty soon, I started to notice some changes. Suddenly my clothing started to feel a little snug...

It's no surprise that over-indulging in the leftovers after each food shoot contributed to some weight gain. Pure vegetarian treats are no different than any other treat, and the purpose of KLB has always been to prove to naysayers that a cruelty-free, environmentally friendly meal sans meat and dairy can be just as luxurious and tasty as it's more traditional counterpart; not to create an ultra-strict diet blog. But somewhere along the line I realized a change was in order.

In general, I've always been prone to excess. I never pass up dessert. And while I stick to recipes that are pure vegetarian, I'm not exactly of the deprive yourself mindset. I want everyone to feel like giving up meat and dairy isn't even worth a second thought, it's that easy and delicious.

So yeah, I'm not about to go all hardcore on you and start serving up recipes for plain granola and dry salads. But I do know that I can begin eating even better and incorporating more of that into the recipes I post here, starting with dessert.

The brownies in this recipe came about because I wanted to create something sweet without a whole lot of flour. Better yet... How about no flour? Turns out almond butter and flax meal "eggs" work together with cocoa to yield some of the best brownies I've had in a long time. Not only are they melt-in-your-mouth and pure veg, they're also gluten free—the perfect go-to when you want something sweet and a little more guilt-free.

I whipped up a boozy blackcurrant compote to accompany the brownies when I shot them, and while it adds some sugar, this would be a fantastic way to serve them at a dinner party or other gathering. No one would ever know that they're flourless and eggless.

A note on gluten free and alcohol:
All distilled spirits are gluten free—the gluten is left behind in the distillation process—as long as they are not flavored with something that contains wheat, rye or barley (malt).

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Mulled Apple Cider Mimosas

Unfinished bottle of bubbly after the big party? No problem! Stick a spoon in it and refrigerate it — the effervescence will keep and you can use it to make fancy day-after apertifs like the Mulled Apple Cider Mimosa pictured above.

To make the cocktail:
Soak two cubes of candied ginger in orange bitters and drop them into a champagne glass. Add one ounce bourbon, two ounces mulled apple cider that has been cooled to room temperature (I like to make my own by juicing apples and then heating the raw juice over the stove with spices), and top glass with Champagne or other sparkling wine.

Style tip: Using vintage books as cocktail coasters, a la Stumptown Coffee's Duane Sorenson, is a sure way to turn heads!

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager