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vanilla bean millet porridge with lavender strawberries + super seeds

vanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds {via The Homemade Flour Cookbook} // the first messlavender // the first messvanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds {via The Homemade Flour Cookbook} // the first mess
We’ve had our fair share of rain and thunderstorms in these parts lately. It’s been good for setting the mood when developing some recipes for fall and such, but more importantly it’s made for some cozy , very high quality mornings. Once we get into spring + summer, my days of sit-down breakfasts promptly come to a close. Sometimes I like to fix up a raw chia pudding or buckwheat porridge, but generally coffee/tea is just fine right away, and then maybe I’ll have a smoothie or some fruit (or a pastry, cuz sometimes you got to) later on. Something about the heat and umpteen million things to do outside pulling me away from those solitary early moments.

Every week there are more things to do with new challenges, and in this season of life it feels like that notion has exploded times a thousand. Taking moments for simply being leads to better awareness as a human that can say and do out in the world. More opportunities for stillness lead to better connection with the presence of capital-G-good in other forces. I’ve developed an acute sense of how much I need that lately.

Years ago, I used to work at a sometimes stupidly busy café/lunch/brunch spot in Toronto and when I came home after my 40-minute, million miles an hour walk home, I needed to have solitude in the most critical of ways. Even now when I pull up to my porch after a Saturday night service or whatever, it’s weird that someone in my house is still up when I just expect all lights out and the still quiet of night. I guess I’m still adjusting to it. Full absorption in a body + mind decompress/daily moment of simply being has historically been my scene out of a certain social necessity, so I’m trying to reclaim that.

I don’t think it’s simplistic to observe that breakfast helps with that process either. When I think of that morning meal, I think of grains and mindfully stirring them or soaking them prior to the whole process. Even my super quick morning smoothies feature some soaked oats or raw buckwheat most times. There’s an elemental quality to these hearty stores from the fields, a notion that we can hardly be, much less go about our day without them. It’s a foodstuff you can lean on when times are tough, literally and figuratively speaking I suppose.

I feel like most if not all of you are familiar with Erin Alderson’s blog, Naturally Ella, at this point. Erin is an expert at making delicious, vegetarian, whole food recipes feel approachable, and her new book The Homemade Flour Cookbook is most certainly an extension of that. A book focused on making your own flour from grains, nuts, seeds and legumes, and then incorporating that flour into your cuisine was a challenging thought to me at first–I don’t grind too much of my own flour really. Mostly chickpeas and oats if I’m gonna go there. But Erin makes some serious arguments for better taste and nutrient value throughout. She also details different routes for milling flour at home–including a coffee grinder technique that’s within anyone’s reach.

My first go was a sweet version of her ground millet “polenta” for my re-established breakfast routine and whoa! Seriously so good. I wound up eating mine mostly cold and still enjoyed it so much. It’s kind of wild to see a grain that you know and love in a new and delicious light. Her version in the book is savoury with chickpeas and a spicy tomato chutney, and gosh doesn’t that sound just too good? I’ve always liked strawberries combined in a baked good with cornmeal, and since millet has a bit of a corn-vibe, I knew this combination would work. The vanilla warms it up a bit and I just really enjoy lavender with berries, so that got plucked from the backyard right quick. Bonus: once I had the millet ground up (which wasn’t even a big deal), this was ready in about 15 minutes. I’m also interested in trying her quinoa-crusted cauliflower steaks, hazelnut pumpkin muffins, and the zucchini and corn empanadas with spelt dough really soon. Nice work, Erin!

Hope you’re all starting summer on a strong, solid foot of serious being :) xo

The Homemade Flour Cookbook by Erin Alderson // the first messvanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds {via The Homemade Flour Cookbook} // the first messvanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds {via The Homemade Flour Cookbook} // the first messground millet // the first messvanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds {via The Homemade Flour Cookbook} // the first messvanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds {via The Homemade Flour Cookbook} // the first mess

vanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds
lightly adapted from The Homemade Flour Cookbook
serves: 2
notes: I don’t grind the millet all the way into flour because I prefer to have some cracked bits of grain for texture.

lavender strawberries:
1 cup diced strawberries
1/2 tbsp maple syrup (+ extra for serving if you like)
1-2 tsp lavender buds, crushed with your fingers

super seeds (makes extra!):
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp flax seeds
2 tbsp sunflower seeds, toasted (or not)
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted (or not)

millet porridge:
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 ground cinnamon or ground cardamom
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup filtered water
heaped 1/2 cup of ground millet (in a coffee grinder, food processor or blender)
1/2 tsp sea salt (I used fancy pink salt)
seeds scraped from a 1/3 vanilla bean OR 1/2 tsp extract/paste

Place the diced strawberries in a small-medium bowl and stir them up with the maple syrup and lavender buds. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together all of the seeds for the super seed mixture and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the ground cinnamon and stir it up until fragrant, about 30 seconds. You should have a cinnamon oil of sorts. Add the almond milk and water and stir. Bring the mixture to a light boil, add the ground millet along with the salt and whisk. Continue to whisk the mixture as it cooks. Once it’s thickened up to the consistency of polenta, pull it off the heat. Allow the millet porridge to sit for a moment, add the vanilla, and whisk it again lightly and serve with lavender strawberries, super seeds and extra milk or maple syrup if you like.

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Millie l add A Little18/06/2014 - 4:40 am

This is so gorgeous – I absoloutely love the way you presented it!
http://youtube.com/addalittlefood

Kathryn18/06/2014 - 5:23 am

I love the idea of taking a few moments of stillness at the start of the day and channeling that focus into a delicious bowl of goodness. Love your take on Erin’s recipe and the beautiful way you’ve brought it to life.

Anne @AVeganAdventure18/06/2014 - 5:58 am

This looks delightful! I’ve just started playing with making my own flours, so I’ll have to try this, and Erin’s cookbook as well. I don’t see the vanilla bean in the ingredient list though. Is it added to the porridge or the strawberries? Either would be fantastic I guess. Thanks!

[…] Chocolate Espresso Doughnuts // Berry Cobbler with Oat Dumplings // Grilled Polenta and Zucchini Salsa // Amaranth Pancakes // Tomato Basil Socca Pizza // Socca Pizza with Summer Squash and Feta // Nut Flour Crepes with Roasted Fruit //  Rhubarb Blueberry Apple Pie // Vanilla Bean Millet Porridge […]

Anoushé18/06/2014 - 6:29 am

Such beautiful pictures! I need to try this!

Laura Wright18/06/2014 - 6:45 am

Anne! Thanks for noticing that. I’ll fix it up :)

I am so inspired by your peaceful perspective. I love that you see making breakfast as a chance for mindfulness. So often I am so busy multitasking through the breakfast hour I forget if I even had breakfast. It is just the dirty skillet on the stove that confirms that I had it. Love this idea. I have recently started getting into millet. It is a new favorite grain here.

Sheila18/06/2014 - 7:16 am

You take beautiful photos :)

Leah18/06/2014 - 8:23 am

There is something really calming about just easing into the day and it is hard to get motivated to put a lot of effort into breakfast and then cleaning it all up. But this is motivating me to do a little more breakfast cooking. Looks delicious! Gorgeous photos!

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan18/06/2014 - 8:53 am

So so pretty and gorgeous! I love that you capture the light and beauty of the everyday. Your words on just being are well heard, I needed to read that today!

Lindsey18/06/2014 - 8:53 am

I totally feel you on the being present/still tip! I am feeling that more than ever these days, especially when you feel like it’s all moving too fast. i wish you all the best moving into this new, beautiful season and can’t wait to see what you’re developing for the fall! hugs + deep breaths! xo

Ashley18/06/2014 - 8:55 am

Your photos are a work of art. There’s so much life in them and they mirror your words perfectly. And this sentence… “Every week there are more things to do with new challenges, and in this season of life it feels like that notion has exploded times a thousand.” Your words are the thoughts I have but can’t put into words. :) — I’m kind of in love with millet porridge and Erin’s book is such a winner! Beautiful!

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth18/06/2014 - 9:03 am

There is something about lavender that is very calming and peaceful. Such a stroke of brilliance to add it to this delicious breakfast!

lynsey // lynseylovesfood18/06/2014 - 9:32 am

reading your posts are so calming and energizing all in one swoop!! Mindfulness + the need to run to the kitchen immediately all wrapped into one!! xo

Grace18/06/2014 - 9:33 am

I read your post all wide-eyed without blinking. These pictures, the light, the words and your styling – all so stunning!

cheri18/06/2014 - 10:09 am

I love Erin’s blog will have to order a copy of her book. Love what you did with the millet, beautiful pictures.

Libby18/06/2014 - 10:15 am

I feel like if I were to take a photograph of porridge, it would just look utterly unappetizing. But this is so gorgeous and beautiful (as are all of your photographs).
I’ve never used lavender or millet in my kitchen but your recipes always tend to pull me towards directions that I’ve never taken before. I can’t wait to try it. It sounds truly delicious.

Julia18/06/2014 - 11:20 am

Laura, how do you grind the millet? Can I do it in an improvised way since I don’t have a coffee grinder?

Rose Citron18/06/2014 - 3:43 pm

Amazing idea! I love millet, I have to try this porridge :)

Laura Wright18/06/2014 - 5:26 pm

Hi Julia, you could certainly use a food processor or a blender, if either of those options is available to you.
-L

hannah18/06/2014 - 7:28 pm

Laura, I ALWAYS find your words and recipes are sooo in tune with what I am thinking/feeling/craving at any given moment. How funny! And lovely.
How long did the millet take to cook?
h xx

Lisa @ Simple Pairings18/06/2014 - 9:08 pm

Love this! I’m a big fan of wholesome dishes like this. My current favorite is buckwheat, but your millet version looks fabulous, too. The strawberries make it look so appetizing. I also love the ‘super seeds’ part!

Jen from New Hippie Kitchen18/06/2014 - 9:22 pm

Wow! What a great idea. I love polenta and this would be a great alternative to using corn. Can’t wait to try it.

Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures18/06/2014 - 10:15 pm

Isn’t ‘The Homemade Cookbook’ so wonderful? It’s been rainy here and I’ve been enjoying cuddling up with some new cookbooks as well! This porridge you made is gorgeous as always!

Laura Wright19/06/2014 - 7:59 am

Hi Hannah! I would say the millet took a good 10-12 mminutes to get to proper thickness, with fairly constant whisking.
-L

Irene @ {a swoonful of sugar}19/06/2014 - 8:14 am

This is such a gorgeous post! Now I’m just dying to get my hands on some edible lavender! Beautiful flavour combos :)

[…] and Kate (GF) Nut Flour Crepes with Roasted Fruit from Shanna + Tim of Food Loves Writing (GF) Vanilla Bean Millet Porridge with Lavender Strawberries + Super Seeds from Laura of The First Mess (Vegan + GF) Sweet Potato and Lentil Gnocchi from Kathryn of London […]

Ida Skivenes20/06/2014 - 3:40 am

I just made this (topped with apricots and blueberries instead of the lavender strawberries though), it’s very easy and utterly delicious. The only thing that confused me was where the vanilla bean comes in? It’s mentioned in the title and further up the text but not in the ingredients or the instructions. However, I just threw in some vanilla into the porridge as it was cooking and it worked fine. Thanks for a great new recipe for my breakfast repertoire! :)

[…] vanilla bean porridge with lavender strawberries. all over the […]

Alessandra21/06/2014 - 3:23 pm

You had me at lavender! Looks absolutely amazing as always!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen22/06/2014 - 9:44 am

This porridge is just way too beautiful. Absolutely in love with this recipe and these pictures!

Our Food Stories23/06/2014 - 10:56 am

oh my…that looks SO delicious!! can you please send it over to berlin for breakfast ;)
xx
laura&nora

[…] Un porridge au millet et avec… des fraises. […]

Susan25/06/2014 - 2:39 pm

too tempting not to try!

spotlight | This is for Real26/06/2014 - 6:51 pm

[…] is one of my very favorite grains, but I haven’t tried it for breakfast […]

[…] Vanilla Bean Millet Porridge with Lavender Strawberries from The First Mess […]

[…] Love this month goes to The First Mess and her take on Vanilla Bean Millet Porridge with Lavendar Strawberries. I imagine eating this is like holding on to spring a little longer, plus it would be a perfect […]

Angela Brown02/07/2014 - 12:44 pm

Holy God…these pictures are gorgeous! The third in this post is simply beautiful! Really lovely work!

Tom12/07/2014 - 1:04 am

Hey , this recipe look amazing , but I just wanted to know if I can use ground quinoa instead ground millet ?!?! Have a nice day ….. !!!!!

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Caitlin @ teaspoon13/07/2014 - 3:54 pm

I’m so excited to try this! I just found out I’m allergic to oats and eggs and most gluten, so breakfast is a bit difficult to say the least. Millet is all good though! Can’t wait to try it out. That cookbook sounds pretty awesome as well.

Laura Wright14/07/2014 - 8:58 am

Hey Tom, I’ve never tried quinoa in this application, but I think it’s worth a shot. Might have a bit of a stronger flavour profile than the millet–and it’ll definitely cook faster, which is a bonus. Let me know if it works!
-L

Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño15/07/2014 - 6:49 am

I have everything to make this and now I can’t wait for breakfast! I’m always looking for new ways to eat millet, I’ve found a room temp salad is my favorite, but have never tried it ground. Thanks!

[…] Credit / Recipe Link : The First Mess […]

[…] healthy living bloggers and their endless iterations of oatmeal.   I practically swooned over this vanilla bean millet porridge with lavender strawberries and super seeds on The First Mess and can’t wait to try all three breakfast oatmeals posted this week on […]

Kimberley’s banh mi with portobellos + pickled vegetables

KimberleyVIBRANT FOODbuilding some banh mi // the first mess

My favourite cookbooks either take me somewhere or challenge me in a new way. I think this is true for films, books, music etc. as well, but it has to be most especially true with cookbooks because frankly, I have too many. And if I’m makin’ space in my new shelf-y kitchen cabinet JUST for this sort of thing, or I’m aiming to cook with some serious intention from a new perspective, that possible new cookbook better be damn good.

This is just my point of view though. Once you’ve cooked for a while and made a serious effort to be around food in a professional setting, recipes begin to feel almost pointless. Almost. Certain books and audiences need them though. Baking is a good example here. But in a big picture-kind of sense, I’m more vested in the how of recipes and dishes, the cook’s philosphy and how they arrived at this full page photo and accompanying blurb. How many recipes for kale salad does one really need?! When an author goes beyond the recipes and makes you feel something or tells you their story in some way, it’s a whole other thing. Doors open, your vision expands and you think about new things that are possible. The book inspires you to the point where you can think a bit differently.

I’ve had Kimberley Hasselbrink’s book VIBRANT FOOD in my possession for about two weeks, and can safely say it’s one of those inspiring, thought-shifting kind of cookbooks that takes you somewhere. Maybe you read her blog The Year In Food and you already had a hunch that this could be possible? It’s organized by season and then further broken down by an almost micro-seasonal consideration by item. There’s a section on flowers for spring, herbs + greens for summer, tree fruits in fall, and hardy root vegetables in the winter segment, among many others. You get a sense of each season’s flavour and vibe through Kimberley’s photography and thoughtfully approached recipes.

I never thought to put squash blossoms in a quesadilla or to roll chocolate truffles in bee pollen, or to even approach a Japanese-style curry with kabocha squash and soba noodles. There’s some bangin’ renditions of more classic fare as well, like smoky red pepper soup and a shredded brussels sprouts salad with apples + pecans. All really good and beautiful things that could inspire anyone, at whatever level, to cook at home.

The first recipe I tried was a riff on her salmon banh mi sandwiches, with some portobello mushrooms instead. The whole time I was making it, it dawned on me how realistic it would have been for me to fix up something like this for dinner. You get your pickled veg going and the portobellos marinating a bit. You stir up a little mayo, clean some herbs and prep the bread. A minor bit of stove time and assembly leads to a most gratifying sandwich experience. There’s a sour-fresh crunch from the vegetables, the portobellos are meaty to the point of “Wait, really?!” and the mayo! It’s all fresh lemon and garlicky-ness, and it’s crucial for waterproofing (yes, that’s the term I’m using) that light baguette. I could see this as some sort of salad scenario with tons of fresh herbs in the mix with the lettuce and the portobellos all grilled and sliced on top. You could thin the mayonnaise with some of the pickling liquid for a solid dressing, and then make some baguette croutons to finish it off. See what I mean by a book showing you a new way to think?

High fives, Kimberley. It’s a beaut :)

kitchen bookshelf // the first messVIBRANT FOODVIBRANT FOODbanh mi fixindat vegeanaise // the first messportobello banh mi + pickled veg from VIBRANT FOOD // the first messportobello banh mi + pickled veg from VIBRANT FOOD // the first mess
portobello banh mi with pickled vegetables

lightly adapted (but barely) from Vibrant Food by Kimberley Hasselbrink
serves: 4
notes: If you aren’t a mushroom person (WHAAAA??), tempeh or tofu would be so great here. I could even see some grilled pieces of eggplant as a decent replacement. Also, Grace has a particularly yummy looking version of vegetarian banh mi with sweet potatoes! Lastly, I used Vegenaise for the garlic aïoli, mostly out of ease (TRUTH BOMB: I would stock a case of the soy free at all times if I was a billionaire), but you could do a pine nut or cashew variation from the archives :)

pickled vegetable slaw ingredients:
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup natural sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 medium carrots, julienned
2 big radishes OR 1/3 of a daikon radish, sliced paper thin
1/2 english cucumber, julienned

aïoli ingredients:
1/2 cup Vegenaise/other plant-friendly mayo
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
2 tsp lemon zest
squeeze of lemon juice

banh mi ingredients:
4-6 portobello mushrooms caps (depending on size), cleaned
2 tbsp maple syrup OR dark agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce
3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt + pepper
1 baguette (French, Vietnamese or a GF one, depending on your need or what you can find)
big handful of cilantro leaves
equal handful of thai basil OR mint leaves
thin slices of chili (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the white vinegar, cane sugar and salt until the sugar has dissolved. Place the julienned and sliced cucumber, radish and carrots into the bowl and toss them/submerge them in the vinegar mixture. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Drain when ready to use.

In a small bowl, stir together the Vegenaise, minced garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

Cut the portobello mushroom caps into quarters and set aside.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the maple syrup/dark agave, tamari, sriracha, minced garlic and a hearty splash of warm water. Add some salt and pepper if you like. Place the quartered portobellos in the sriracha mix and let them sit for 15-20 minutes or so, flipping them over here and there.

Heat some oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Place the portobello quarters into the pan and let them brown a bit on one side. Flip them over and brown a little more. Pour half of the sriracha marinating mix into the pan and simmer until reduced by at least half. Keep turning the portobello pieces in it. Once the mushrooms are reasonably soft and browned, remove them and place on a plate.

Build the sandwiches! Cut the baguette into 4 equal pieces. Spread the aïoli on both sides of all bread. Divide pickled vegetable slaw among the 4 bottoms of bread. Divide the quarters of portobello among the 4 sandwich bottoms. Place cilantro, mint, and Thai basil leaves on top of the portobellos along with the sliced chili. Place the mayo’d tops on top and enjoy.

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Jo from yummyvege12/06/2014 - 6:43 am

Wow this looks amazing, love the colour sombinations and “meaty” portobellos are making me hungry!

Millie l Add A Little12/06/2014 - 7:09 am

Yum! These look so delicious – love the sound of the marinade on the mushrooms and I would love to grill them on the bbq!
http://youtube.com/addalittlefood

How to Philosophize with Cake12/06/2014 - 7:27 am

That cookbook DOES sound mind-blowing. Will have to check it out sometime! Love the banh mi with homemade pickled vegetables, that sounds delicious. :)

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan12/06/2014 - 8:34 am

I’m totally not a mushroom person (I know!), but this still looks amazing, I can’t wait to pick up her book!

la domestique12/06/2014 - 8:43 am

All I can say is, “Amen, sista!” Love what you say here about cookbooks and recipes. I can’t wait to get my hands on Kimberley’s book!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen12/06/2014 - 9:26 am

You’re such a talented writer; once again, I loved to read your post. I can’t wait to get my hands on Kimberley’s book! It seems like (almost) the whole food blogging community is raving about it. It must be truly stunning. In the meantime, I might make these banh mi which look absolutely delicious! The portobellos sound wonderful; I don’t think I’m going to have a craving to add any meat. Really who need meat when there are this amazing vegetables in the game?

Kathryn12/06/2014 - 10:08 am

I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my copy. I’m sure, as you predict, that it’s going to be one of those game-changer cookbooks that changes the way I think about food. I love your interpretation of this recipe too and the way you’ve captured it; it does true justice to Kimberley’s book.

Rachael | Spache the Spatula12/06/2014 - 3:31 pm

I am a bahn mi junkie, but I’ve never had one with portobello. These look fantastic and I need to be eating one right this second!

shanna mallon12/06/2014 - 4:27 pm

What a beautiful tribute and a meaningful one. Also girl. YOUR PICTURES! Prettier with every post, I mean it.

[…] craving a Bahn Mi with Portobellos and Pickled Vegetables from The First […]

Sara13/06/2014 - 6:22 am

Hi Laura,
In which culinary school did you go ?

(Oh, and sorry for my poor English)

Sara

Laura Wright13/06/2014 - 7:49 am

Hi Sara! I attended the nutritional culinary program at George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario.
-L

[…] would love to get my hands on one of these portobello bahn mi’s, some of this coconut and pistachio vegan ice cream and a few beer-battered onion […]

Grace13/06/2014 - 10:33 am

Dang Laura, so fabulous! This is the ultimate summer sandwich, piled high with fresh veg and fragrant herb. Your pictures make me want to grab a sandwich, stand on your porch, chow down and chat about vibrant food!

Kimberley13/06/2014 - 12:39 pm

I love all of this so much. I cannot wait to make your version with portobellos. I love your creativity with food, it’s so inspiring. And I was kinda floored by your words. You rule!

ATasteOfMadness13/06/2014 - 11:19 pm

Oh my god. I want the book!

kristie @ birchandwild.com14/06/2014 - 8:59 pm

This looks so delicious. I might have to try to make a gluten free version. The colors of the vegetables really pop in your photos, which are beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

[…] On enchaîne avec une recette de banh mi vegan qui me fait saliver. […]

[…] Banh mi with portobellos and pickled vegetables ~ this sounds amazing. […]

Pre17/06/2014 - 4:24 pm

This looks amazing! So happy to have found your blog. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

alia18/06/2014 - 12:42 pm

This recipe is what dreams are made of. Would it be ok to pickle the veggies overnight? or are they really only meant for a short pickle period? also, how long might they keep? (i’m dreaming of making a big batch and eating them throughout the week)
thanks!

Laura Wright19/06/2014 - 8:03 am

Hi Alia, I think you could pickle the veggies overnight if you cut them thicker than what I show in my photos. I only did the julienne strips so that I could have them right away. In Kimberley’s book she recommends draining the pickles once their soft enough and storing them in a covered container in the fridge. I imagine if you cut the vegetables into bigger pieces, you could get away with leaving the pickling liquid while they refrigerate overnight. Hope this helps!
-L

Sara27/06/2014 - 4:23 pm

Oh hi Vibrant Table on your bookshelf :-)

[…] banh mi sounds […]

[…] green rice salad with nectarines and corn // summer squash pasta with green goddess dressing // grilled halloumi with blueberries // grilled halloumi with strawberries // vegan banh mi […]

charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with sweet lemon curry sauce

charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce // the first messchive blossoms // the first messingredients for charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce // the first messmarinating some tofu // the first messto be grilled // the first mess
I took a little holiday from here and I really hope you don’t mind. Two weeks away from this space in the middle of spring-to-summer felt a bit indulgent and lazy until I realized that hey, I was never aiming for an endless conveyer belt of super-pretty-health-fun-wow-tasty-vibes with this site anyway. Almost three years of creating and sharing here, and I think I finally just grasped what the point of it really is.

I’ve always firmly believed that each person, each entity, is enough as is. We’re all pretty miraculous as lives living right here. It might be our work in life to wake up and just realize that one truth, to get to that state of pure feeling and experience–no words or actions necessary, nobody remembers those anyway. Moving forward from that accepted self means not being reduced by some of the more challenging episodes of the everyday, but instead just being and becoming. You do what you can with what knowledge is available to you, and next time? You’ll do it better just by virtue of having walked in that beautiful and probably messy path.

It’s easy to admire the beauty of something that smacks of completeness, but I’ve always been more interested in growth and how we get to there as a community, even if the “there” changes and moves along. How we work together and relate to pull ourselves out of a difficult spot or a challenge, I’m into that. I love reading and watching interviews with chefs, master carpenters, explorers, makers of all stripes, and people who just DO THINGS because their stories inevitably weave a rich-as-fuck tapestry of experience and lessons from their surroundings. They took their sense of selves, realized the might, made themselves a student of their community/environment, and in turn uplifted some portion of humanity. The mind that shifts and is able to see differently is something to behold.

So we’re always growing together over here. Maybe it’s a new kale salad technique, a new spice, some all-too-human recounts of events and feelings felt. I love that we can all interact over something so simple as a possible bite to eat between hello and goodbye, and on the internet to boot. Just great. Today I grilled an avocado and my sense of time and place went a little wild. So delicious! Its natural shape is perfect for a little stuffing of sorts, so I went to work on charring a few more things for that component. Some marinated tofu, pungent broccoli and a sweet lemon and mildly curry-ish sauce for smothering. The curry part was an accident too, the little bag of it selected when I intended to reach for ground cumin. No need to cope with the error because man, it’s good. Bright, warming, and lightly sweet. I found the whole dish a little strong/rich in terms of mouthfeel, so the sauce is in there to help along with some diced apricots that weren’t quite ripe. Just a touch of pucker to make it work and go pop.

I always feel compelled to dream up some kind of wholesome, feel-good grilled main for y’all this time of year. I know full well that the inclination is just rooted in what I want to eat since we’re creeping up on summer, but it’s also a bit of a counter to the sauced meat-laden magazine covers everywhere right about now. Surely this can’t STILL be feeling like a new thing, right? Eat your vegetables and show ‘em what you’re made of :) xo

charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce // the first messgrillinpre-plate (charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce) // the first messassembling charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce // the first messcharred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce // the first messcharred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce // the first mess

charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with sweet curry lemon sauce
serves: 6
notes: Some cooked grain in this mix would be yummy if you’ve got some around. Also, swapping tempeh for tofu could be delicious. If you don’t want to bother with making the sauce, I think some super classic/classy barbecue sauce would be so, so proper.

charred broccoli, tofu + avocados:
1/4 cup olive oil + extra
1 tbsp dijon or grainy mustard
1 clove of garlic, peeled + sliced (optional!)
2 tbsp chopped chives + blossoms if you’ve got ‘em
big pinch chili flakes
5-6 sprigs of thyme, leaves rough chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice + zest
salt + pepper to taste
ground cumin to taste
1 package of extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 stalks of broccoli, stems removed
3 firm, but ripe avocados
1-2 barely ripe apricots

sweet curry lemon sauce:
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 strip of lemon zest
1/2 tbsp dijon OR grainy mustard
1-2 tbsp maple syrup OR agave nectar
1/4 cup diced red onion
fat pinch of mild curry powder
small pinch of ground cumin
splash of filtered water (more or less depending on desired consistency)
salt + pepper
1/2 tsp tamari soy sauce
3 tbsp-1/4 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, garlic, chives, chili flakes, thyme, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper and cumin. Set aside.

Lay the tofu slices in a large dish and cut the broccoli into florets. Add the broccoli to the dish with the tofu slices. Pour the marinade mix over the tofu and broccoli. Cover and refrigerate, allowing to marinate for at least 1/2 and hour.

While the tofu and broccoli is marinating, make the sweet lemon curry sauce. Combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, maple syrup, red onion, curry powder, cumin powder, water, salt, pepper, tamari, and oil in a blender and blend on high until you have a completely smooth mixture. Check the sauce for seasoning and place in the fridge while you grill

Preheat your grill to high. Cut the avocados in half, and remove all pits. brush the exposed surfaces with oil and season with salt + pepper. Set aside.

Start laying the tofu and broccoli on the grill. Cook until char marks appear on all surfaces, carefully flipping pieces of tofu and broccoli over here and there for even cooking. Remove all tofu and broccoli once it’s sufficiently cooked/charred. Place avocado halves on the grill and cook until char marks appear. Remove and place on a serving platter.

Chop up the tofu and broccoli into small pieces and toss together in a medium bowl. Dice up the apricots and add to the bowl as well. Toss with some more chopped chives or chive flowers if you want and spoon into the grilled avocado halves. Finish with drizzles of the sweet lemon curry sauce.

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Emily @ Cortado Chronicles05/06/2014 - 6:14 am

Um, yes. Yum. What a great recipe to come back with.
Being a vegetarian, BBQs in the summer months have been lingering in the back of my mind – how will others cope with my dietary requirements?!
I might throw my own ‘veggie’ BBQ party. Show non-veggies that BBQs sans meat can be exciting and fun too.

Valentina05/06/2014 - 7:10 am

Your photos make me really hungry!!! :D I’ll try this recipe, my boyfriend ate grilled avocado some years ago in Spain and sometimes it asked to make it for him – I’ve never tried it yet!

Magda05/06/2014 - 7:23 am

Indeed, if your blog was a conveyer-belt of recipes and photos, it would be a bad thing. Spontaneity and people writing after they have lived something in the real world, it’s what it’s all about.
Thanks for your words and for a great recipe.

anoushe05/06/2014 - 7:53 am

This looks amahzing!! :)

Millie l Add A Little05/06/2014 - 8:59 am

Gorgeous post as usual and those charred avocados look super tasty!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen05/06/2014 - 9:06 am

Grilled avocado? And if that’s not enough, filling that damn delicious looking grilled avocado? Girl, you’re a genius! Can’t wait to get into some summer grilling at our summer cottage. Will definitely make this recipe. Also, that second photo just blew my mind. Nature’s beauty which you’ve captured so perfectly.

The Naked FIg05/06/2014 - 9:21 am

This looks out of this world! I don’t even have words. Just WOW.

Monica05/06/2014 - 9:21 am

These photos are gorgeous, this recipe looks amazing, and I have those same flats! :) Therefore, this post is awesome.

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth05/06/2014 - 9:35 am

Wow! Wherever you went for two weeks, can I go there?? Profound writing. Out of the box recipe. You go girl! Total awesomeness.

Kierstan05/06/2014 - 9:38 am

Well deserved time away from this beautiful blog.

Your photos and recipe are deliciously amazing. A perfect meal for a summertime BBQ, enjoyed with friends.

cynthia05/06/2014 - 10:21 am

Holy wow. This looks and sounds so phenomenal, Laura. If this isn’t super-pretty-health-fun-wow-tasty, I don’t know what is.

Also, it was so crazy awesome to meet you last week! You are every bit as chilled-out rad and fabulous that I imagined you to be.

Erica C. Barnett05/06/2014 - 12:36 pm

Wow. That photo of the tofu and garlic chives looks like a flower garden. Lovely (and I can’t wait to make this!)

Sophie05/06/2014 - 6:27 pm

Yum, this looks amazing! Thank you so much for your honest words, Laura. Sometimes I need to be remined that trying my hardest and learning along the way is the best accomplishment of all.

kristie @ birchandwild.com05/06/2014 - 8:24 pm

This looks so delicious and summer perfect! I can’t wait to try it. And beautiful photos, as usual!

Sophie05/06/2014 - 8:28 pm

Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen tofu looking so beautiful! It must have been difficult to remove it from the marinade.. beautiful blog and photos.

Dick Punch05/06/2014 - 11:30 pm

I thought doze purdy purple flowers were fireworks in the dark picture. Mad decent.
Laura: Hi Nicole!

Légumes | Pearltrees06/06/2014 - 4:03 am

[…] charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with sweet lemon curry sauce […]

[…] Linked from: www.thefirstmess.com […]

This just looks SOOOOO gooood!!!!!! I’m in love with tofu and have recently started cooking a lot with this magic ingredient! I love the charred look on the broccoli and that curry sauce is like the best thing ever!!!!!!!

sarah06/06/2014 - 3:20 pm

‘but I’ve always been more interested in growth and how we get to there as a community, even if the “there” changes and moves along. How we work together and relate to pull ourselves out of a difficult spot or a challenge, I’m into that.’ Yes. Most my life I focused on end points and was always trying to arrive at some perfect place, or state. But it’s just all about the process, and one I figured that out, life became a much more beautiful place.

I appreciate your musings and thoughtfulness so much. And I never got to hug you goodbye! But that just means we have to see each other soon, right?xx

ps. grilled avocados? amazing.

[…] stuffed avocados with sweet lemon curry. i can get behind this […]

jade08/06/2014 - 7:00 am

These photos are simply stunning – I am completely blown away.
You are a very talented lady, Laura.

la domestique08/06/2014 - 7:33 am

I love everything about this post. The sun is shining and I’m off to fire up the grill!

[…] permanent auf der Suche nach vegetarischen Grill-Rezepten – und bin fündig geworden: bei The First Mess sah ich gegrillte Avocados, mit einer Tofu-Brokkoli-Füllung, dazu gibt es eine süße […]

Jeanee09/06/2014 - 10:18 am

This loos SO GOOD! The photo of the seasoned tofu needs to be hung on the wall as a piece of framed art.

Lindsay10/06/2014 - 8:13 am

Thanks for this timely post. Love all of your images and recipes. Keep up the good work!

Grace from The Big Reveal10/06/2014 - 11:51 am

These look so delicious! I can’t wait to try it out. You have never steered me wrong, so I know it will be fabulous. And, your photography is always so stunning it makes me gasp out loud..at my desk. (I’m sure my coworkers think I’m nuts, but it’s worth it!)

Thanks for being a continued source of inspiration.

Kate10/06/2014 - 5:57 pm

This meal is absolutely stunning, improvised or not. I hear you—I’ve been feeling like a recipe factory lately and took a much-needed weekend break from my phone and my computer and cooking. I want to hang that sliced tofu photo on my wall. :)

[…] seen a recipe calling for warm or cooked avocado, I throw up in my mouth a little…until THIS. Another lovely vegan meal on The First Mess, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to want to […]

Danny Farrington14/06/2014 - 8:37 am

This all looks scrumptious – may I ask you where you got your lovely tableware from? I’ve been searching for weeks for bowls and plates like that!

[…] Asparagus Salad with Sweet Curry Sauce Serves 2. Adapted from The First Mess. You could cook the tofu more, or even fry it for more crispiness – same goes with the […]

Laura Wright15/06/2014 - 11:29 am

Hi Danny, I picked up the enamelware plates from a local antique shop.
-L

Hungry? | Wilderness & Gold17/06/2014 - 1:42 pm

[…] Image of Charred Broccoli + Tofu Stuffed Avocados with Sweet Lemon Curry Sauce. […]

Links We Love | Roost Books20/06/2014 - 12:43 pm

[…] * A new take on avocados, transitioning into summer, and seeing everything as just right, as it is—effortless. […]

Laetitia24/06/2014 - 9:32 am

Wow, this looks amazingly delicious.

[…] * Charred broccoli & tofu stuffed avocados with sweet lemon curry sauce […]

Shea26/06/2014 - 1:32 pm

This is the first of your recipes that I’ve made and I just had to comment to say it is so good! Particularly the sweet lemon curry sauce, YUM. A perfect dressing for other salads, too, if you’re like me and tired of the same old balsamic vinaigrette. I don’t have a grill, so I ended up roasting the marinated broccoli and tofu, and it came out great. I’ll definitely be trying more of your recipes!

[…] Thursday – charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with sweet lemon curry sauce […]

Recettes | Pearltrees12/07/2014 - 11:03 am

[…] charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with sweet lemon curry sauce […]

Stephanie14/07/2014 - 1:29 pm

Holy moly! This recipe looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing – adding this to my BBQ bucket list!

[…] Charred broccoli and tofu stuffed avocado with sweet lemon curry sauce. (via The Kitchn) […]