If you follow me on Instagram, or have been reading my blog for a while you have probably noticed that I am a bit obsessed with the restaurant brand Le Pain Quotidien. Today I want to share my favorite LePQ menu items, products and goodies and a favorite party cracker appetizer recipe.
My Fire & Ice Appetizer combines a slathering of warm and spicy tomato harissa spread with cool thinly sliced cucumbers, fresh basil, lemon, cracked black pepper, a drizzle of fine extra virgin olive oil, a nibble of rich vegan jack cheese and some nutty sprouted pumpkin seeds, all sitting on a bed of the most amazing light and airy 100% buckwheat cracker of all time. Serve this spicy gem and hang out at the snack table (along with everyone else) at your next party or gathering. These snackages taste DIVINE when paired with fizzy sparkling wine, kombucha or a fresh OJ-infused mimosa. Let the Le Pain Quotidien fun begin..
Have a cozy first day of winter with my Spicy Harissa Split Pea Soup!
A creamy, warm bowl of this flavorful soup will make you glad to be coming in from the cold. Split Pea Soup is super cozy, super healthy ... and who knew, super easy to make from scratch! This was my very first harissa-accented split pea soup ever and I couldn't have been more pleased by the delicious results. Try my vegan recipe!...
Simmer this soup and feel good about coming inside after a chilly winter day.
I was frolicking all around town, Times Square and more!..
All I craved was a perfectly creamy, protein-rich soup to perk up my spirits. This soup hit the spot.
simmering the soup...
Healthy Peas! Peas have 2g fiber, 2g protein per half cup cooked! More pea nutrition facts.
Spicy Harissa Split Pea Soup
vegan, makes one big pot
2 cups dried split peas (organic)
1 1/2 cups carrots, diced
1 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 cups mushroom broth (or veggie broth)
2 Tbsp spicy harissa
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp agave syrup
1 Tbsp black pepper
1-3 tsp sea salt (to taste)
3/4 cup potato, diced
2 bay leaves
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
1 cup whole peas, frozen or fresh (optional)
Garnish: harissa & soy cheese
1. Soak peas in water for at least 4 hours - overnight will allows for quicker soup cooking.
2. To a large soup pot add the carrots, mushrooms and garlic with a drizzle of EVOO. Saute for a few minutes.
3. Add in the remaining ingredients and bring soup to a boil.
4. Cover pot with lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for a few hours - or until the peas are tender.
5. When soup is at the taste and texture you like you can add in the optional whole peas. For extra creamy soup, puree it in small batches before serving.
6. Remove bay leaves when soup is done. Serve hot and store in the fridge for up to a few days. Garnish with a dollop of harissa and a few chunks of vegan soy cheese.
Note: be sure to turn the 'simmer' heat down to extra low. The last thing you want is a burnt bottom of soup to ruin the whole batch.
Happy Soup Eating!! PS smoky Sweet Tempeh Croutons would be lovely atop this bowl of soup.
Hot and cold. Fire and ice. Spicy and chill. My Harissa Cucumber Cheddar Panini is lovingly called "the Fire and Ice". Super spicy Le Pain Quotidien tomato harissa and Follow Your Heart vegan cheddar is panini pressed between two slices of Amy's walnut-wheat bread - a juicy Farmer's Market tomato slice on top. The hot panini is removed from the grill and then the cool-off cucumber magic begins. Oh boy, I'm loving my Paninis and Grill Marks Series. Get my recipe...
Hot and Cold Panini. This panini is a two-faced, veggie-stacked, cheddar-melted sandwich with a serious Jekyll and Hyde flavor complex.
The harissa is a bold blazing spicy tomato spread - and my recipe spreads it on thick. But don't worry, the chilled crunchy cucumber slices will cool off the spicy bite. So if you can't decide on your food mood, this sandwich is for you...
If you can use Farmer's Market produce - go for it. The freshness and flavor is superb...
Farmer's Market Hothouse Tomatoes and Seedless Cucumbers:
Fire and Ice Panini: Harissa Cucumber Cheddar
vegan, makes 2 sandwiches
4 slices grain bread
*I used Amy's Bread Walnut-Wheat
1 medium hothouse tomato, sliced
1/2 seedless cucumber, chilled and sliced
6 thin slices of vegan cheddar
*I used Follow Your heart Brand
2 tsp of harissa spread
*my fave brand is Le Pain Quotidien's Harissa
optional: soak cucumbers in a squeeze of lemon juice and maple syrup for a tart sweet flavor.
optional: EVOO as you desire
optional: fresh basil leaves
1. Slice your tomatoes and cucumbers. Grind some fresh black pepper over top and set aside. Optional: Soak cucumbers in a bit of chilled lemon juice and maple syrup.
2. Slice or grate your cheese. Spread harissa on bread.
3. Place your bread on your grill or pan. Add the cheese and tomato slices. You can add a bit of EVOO to the outer sides of the bread or to the tomato slices - if you'd like.
4. Add the top layer of bread and panini press or grill until cheese is lightly melted.
5. Remove from the grill and remove top of bread.
6. Add the chilled cucumber to the inside of the sandwich.
7. Replace the top bread.
Ready to slice!
Note: Fresh basil would be a lovely flavor addition to this panini if you have it on hand.