Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Basic Tomato Sauce

It turns out, sometimes I get measurements wrong.  It's been brought to my attention that I may have had too much crushed red pepper in my spaghetti with tomato sauce (oops!)  Here is the recipe, as it should be.  This basic tomato sauce is great on pasta, perfect for pizza, and can be used in any recipe that calls for tomato sauce (lasagna, baked ziti, etc.)  It only takes about 10 minutes, very easy.  Of course, you can add more crushed red pepper if you like it hot, or take some out if you aren't feeling spicy.

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
1/2 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

Combine olive oil, garlic, chili flakes and salt in large saute pan over medium/high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, stirring until oil is mixed in. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, turn off heat and stir in the lemon zest. Remove garlic cloves.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Orange Cardamom Cookies

Vegan cookies that everyone will love!

Instead of making your run-of-the-mill sugar cookies this holiday season, try these orange cardamom beauties.  They pack a ton of flavor and will be the hit of any party.  And, they make the perfect palette for decorating!  I got this recipe from my friend Kari, who got it from her mom's adorable homemade cookbook.  A couple small changes veganized it, but no one would ever notice.  Happy Holidays!

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
2 tsp. grated orange peel
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 cup organic cane sugar
egg replacer equivalent of 1 egg
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 cups organic unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1-4 Tbsps water as needed

1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsps water

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream shortening with orange peel and cardamom.  Gradually blend in sugar. Whip the egg replacer and its water together in food processer or blender until creamy.  Add to the mixer and beat in.  Add orange juice.  In a small bowl, combine flower, baking powder and salt.  Stir into creamed mixture.  Add 1 Tbsp at a time as necessary to bring dough together if it's too crumbly.  Wrap and refrigerate dough until stiff enough to handle, at least 2 hours.  Preheat oven to 350F.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out to 1/8" think.  Cut with cookie cutters and bake on ungreased cookie sheets 8-10 minutes or until just barely browned around edges.  (If using a Silpat liner, it might take a little longer, but you will get a more even bake.)  Remove to wire racks to cool.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine powdered sugar and water; mix until smooth.  Frost cooled cookies (pour some icing on a flat plate and dip cookies) and decorate immediately.  Let dry before serving.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Butternut Squash, Crispy Sage & Goat Cheese Crostini

With holiday parties abounding, I thought a festive, easy appetizer might be handy.  I actually made this for Thanksgiving Day.  I made the squash, sage and toast ahead of time, then assembled it last minute.  It was totally fine room temperature--no need to reheat--although if you served it straight out of the oven I'm sure it would awesome.

1 organic butternut squash OR 1 package pre-chopped (that's what I used), cut into ~1/2"-3/4" cubes
2 Tablespoons EVOO
A dash or two of as many of following as you have: ground fennel, ground corriander, ground red pepper, chili powder, cinnamon
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons non-dairy butter (or regular butter)
1 bunch fresh organic sage (stems removed), chopped
1 8oz package organic goat cheese (if you wanted to make it vegan, use vegan cream cheese)
1 organic sweet baguette

Preheat oven to 350F.  Toss the squash, the spices, salt and pepper and EVOO to coat and place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for ~30 minutes, until just done and still firm.  Set aside.  In a small saute pan, heat the butter over med-high heat until browned.  Add the sage and fry until crispy, probably just a minute.  Set aside.  Turn the oven up to broil.  Slice the baguette on the diagonal into ~1/4-1/2" think pieces and place on same baking sheet to toast in the oven.  Stand by and watch, this will be very quick and it's very easy to burn.  Flip and toast the other side.  Repeat if you have more bread.  Simply assemble by spreading the goat cheese on the bread, top with squash and a few pieces of sage.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Vegetable Rice Soup

Well, I'm 40.  I guess I need to get used to saying it.  While the last year felt like mid-life crisis craziness, it also served as a good life wake-up call:  I'm eating healthier than ever before, I'm working out more regularly, and I celebrated my birthday in a bikini in Mexico...with my husband, two kids, and 25 friends.  Pretty amazing.  So I'll keep eating my soup for dinner in hopes of 40 more bikini years. I can switch to a one-piece at 80.  ;)

My mother-in-law recently gave me a veggie soup tip, and that is to brown the onion, carrot and celery for a good 20-30 minutes before doing anything else.  It makes such a huge difference in the flavor of the broth.  You can use any veggies for this soup, really.  It's a clean out the fridge type of deal.  I don't think I've ever made the same vegetable soup twice.  But, if you really need some suggestions, here you go...

3 Tablespoons EVOO
1 large organic onion, finely chopped (use processor for speed)
3 organic celery ribs, finely chopped
3 medium organic carrots, finely chopped
4 cups organic vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 14oz can organic diced tomatoes
1 bunch organic brocolini, chopped
2 ears of organic corn, kernels removed
(other options: green beans, zucchini, kale, etc.)
1 cup organic wild rice (or brown rice, or whatever you have)
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons thyme
1 5oz bag of organic baby spinach
Salt/Pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat EVOO over medium heat.  Add onion, celery and carrots and saute for 20-30 minutes until browned but not burned.  Add in broth through thyme.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes (until rice is done).  Stir in the spinach.  Add S/P to taste.  Serve with a glass of wine and a hunk of fresh bread and I promise you won't need anything else for dinner.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ginger Cookies

Well, I'm off to warmer climates to celebrate yet another birthday, and to do Thanksgiving in the sun.  I won't be posting while I'm gone, so I wanted to leave something scrumptious up for the next week and a half.  These are the best ginger cookies EVER (revised version of Ina Garten's).  Love the chewy, spicy crystalized ginger in these.  Make sure you chop it up very fine, which will take some patience.  But, good things come to those who wait, right?  Happy Thanksgiving!

2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup organic unsulfured molasses
2 Tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
1 1/4 cups finely chopped organic crystallized ginger (6 ounces)
Organic cane sugar (for rolling the cookies)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, add the egg replacer, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl and beat for 1 more minute.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and just mix until combined.  Scoop the dough with 2 spoons and roll each cookie into a 1 1/2 inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on cookie sheets (preferably lined with Silpats). Bake for 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Apple Crumble

There are so many variations of this dish, and I've tried at least a dozen.  But this version wins by far.  I'm convinced that it is the finely ground nuts that makes it so wonderful.  It's handy to have one of those mini food processors for a job like this.  I love mine.  Anyway, Crumbles originated in Britain, whereas Crisps are generally considered more American.  There's not a whole lot of difference, but I think of Crisps as having oats in them, whereas a Crumble would not.  Lots of debate on this topic, so Google it for yourself. You can use any type of apple in this, but I had a bunch of Honeycrisps that needed to get used, and it was insane.  Really a nice fall treat.

5 large organic apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 + 1/2 teaspoon organic cinnamon
1 cup finely ground organic walnuts
1/2 cup firmly packed organic dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon organic nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) nondairy butter (earth balance), melted

Preheat oven to 375F.  Before melting your butter, use the stick to grease an ~8-9" square baking dish.  In a medium bowl, combine the apples, sugar, 1 Tablespoon flour and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, toss to coat, place in baking dish.  Using the same bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, then sprinkle over the apples.  Bake 45-60 minutes, until apples are soft and top deep golden.

Serves 6

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lentil Soup

I've been a bad blogger, I know.  However, if you are like the rest of the country and have had this miserable cold that's been going around, you understand.  I have been sick for 2 weeks now.  All I want is soup (which is a good diet considering my upcoming Mexico trip), so I have a lot of soup recipes headed your way.  I made a double batch of this lentil soup and froze a ton of it.  It's straight out of the Joy of Cooking, minus the meat and a slight adjustment of the balsamic (a little more).  If you're not feeling well, this will help, plus it's a satisfying meal.  Tip: I like to pull out the food processor for the carrots, celery, onion and garlic instead of doing all that chopping and I suggest you do the same: especially if you're under the weather.

3 Tablespoons EVOO
3 medium organic carrots, peeled and diced
3 organic celery stalks, diced
1 large organic onion, diced
3 cloves organic garlic, minced
8 cups water
2 cups organic lentils, rinsed
1 14 1/2 oz. can organic diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Heat EVOO in large soup pot over med-low heat.  Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook 8-10 min until tender.  Stir in water, lentils, tomatoes and thyme.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer until the lentils are tender, 35-45 min.  Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper and serve or freeze.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Swiss Chard Pasta

Just got back from a week in South Carolina, where everything is served with bacon or ham in it.  It would challenging to be a vegetarian or vegan in this part of the country, however I did enjoy my first fried green tomato, and fried okra is not so bad either.  My brother-in-law got married out there, and all wedding events were vegetarian, which was impressive and delicious.  After a long trip home, it is nice to be back in San Francisco, where we simply have the best food choices in the world.  We sure are spoiled.  Here's an easy pasta dish to take advantage of the lovely, colorful chards filling the markets.

16 ounces pasta (penne, rigatoni, etc.)
1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 pounds (approx. 2 bunches) Swiss chard, washed, stems removed and coarsely chopped
1 cup white wine
2 cups crushed red tomatoes
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated vegan parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, to taste

Cook pasta al dente, a couple minutes shy of package instructions. Save some of the pasta cooking water before draining.  In a large skillet, heat the oil and shallots over med-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes and stir in the garlic. Add the chopped Swiss chard and toss to coat, then pour in the wine and stir until the chard wilts.  Stir in the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and pine nuts. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and stir in the reserved pasta cooking water. Do not over cook the chard. It is ready as soon as it has wilted.  Add the pasta, salt and pepper, top with cheese and serve immediately.
Serves 4

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

There's no substitute for a warm chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven.  I have to give credit to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, whose book The Joy of Vegan Baking seriously made me joyful when I learned I could have just about any dessert I wanted in a vegan version.  There is absolutely no compromise in flavor or texture here either: I promise.  I mean, just look at these babies!  Tip: with almost all cookies I like to use a Silpat liner.  It keeps the bottoms from burning and sticking and makes clean up a breeze!

4 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer (eq. of 3 eggs)
6 Tablespoons water
1 cup non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter, softened (earth balance)
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
3/4 packed cup organic brown sugar
2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached AP flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (my version, hers uses all AP)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups vegan chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F.  Whip the egg replacer and water together in food processer or blender until creamy.  In a stand mixer (or large bowl) cream the butter, sugars and vanilla.  Add the egg replacer and combine.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt.  Add to the wet mixture gradually until a dough forms.  Stir in the chips (and nuts if using.)  Drop rounded tablespoons onto baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.  Transfer to a rack to cool.
Makes ~1 double the recipe???

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Grilled & Marinated Zucchini & Squash

It's too hot to cook inside these days (90F!), so we've been taking advantage of the grill while we can here in SF.  We did grilled pizzas this weekend (coming to blog soon), vegan sausages a couple nights ago, and these yummy zucchs last night.  Super simple.

2 organic zucchini 
2 organic yellow squash
4 Tablespoons EVOO
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh organic mint leaves, chopped

Toss zucchini with 1/2 the EVOO and season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Grill about 5 minutes on each side.  Place on serving plate and sprinkle with minced garlic and drizzle with remaining oil and the vinegar. Let stand 1 hour (or refrigerate, up to overnight; bring to room temperature before serving). When ready to serve, sprinkle with the mint.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Beef" and Broccoli Bowls

Vegan Beef
It really looks like beef, huh?  I am loving these yummy gardein beefless tips in all sorts of dishes.  The easiest meal is this "Beef" and Broccoli Bowl served over brown rice.  Quick, healthy, surprisingly meaty.  I'm going to try to make a "Beef" Stroganoff with it next: another childhood staple.  I'll keep you posted.  ;)

1 Tablespoon EVOO
1 9oz package gardein beefless tips
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 organic broccoli crown, sectioned and steamed
2-3 cups steamed organic brown rice

While your rice and broccoli are steaming, heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over med-high heat.  Add frozen beefless tips and saute 5 min.  Add soy sauce, turn down the heat to med/low and cover, stirring occasionally so the "beef" doesn't stick, for another 3-5 min until cooked all the way through.  Place the beef and broccoli over rice and serve with spicy red rooster sauce and extra soy sauce.

Serves ~2

Monday, October 4, 2010

Waldorf Salad

Waldorf salad reminds me of my childhood.  It wasn't nearly this good: we ate a much simpler version with a lot more mayo in it.  I made this for dinner the other night, and it was all I needed.  (Hubby needed a veggie burger to go with it.)  You could also toss some veggie chick'n in it to make it more of a meal.   Perfect for a warm summer night.

1/2 cup yogurt
2 Tablespoons Vegenaise
2 Tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
1 teaspoon honey
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large organic apples, cored and chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup organic red grapes, sliced in half
2 celery ribs, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces (leaves chopped)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Whisk the yogurt, mayonnaise, parsley, honey, and lemon zest in a large bowl and season generously with pepper.  Add the apples, celery, grapes and walnuts to the bowl, mix and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately.

Serves 4

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Panzanella (Tomato Bread Salad)

A recipe for Panzanella appeared in the Chronicle a couple weeks ago, and I've made a few variations of it several times since.  I'm obsessed with these dry-farmed tomatoes, and need to eat as many as possible before they are gone.  Their recipe called for heirlooms, which would also be delicious if you can't get the dry-farmed.  This dish is all about the tomatoes, so get the best you can find or don't bother.  With the right ingredients, it's simple and bursting with flavor, so get those yummy tomatoes while you still can!

1/2 baguette, torn and extremely lightly toasted (not croutons, here!)

8 dry-farmed tomatoes (or about 4 heirlooms), sliced

10 basil leaves, torn or chopped

1 shallot (or some red onion), sliced thin

2-3 Tablespoons EVOO

2-3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Feta (or goat cheese) crumbles, 2-4 oz. depending on taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the bread, tomatoes, basil, shallot and EVOO in a large bowl and toss until ingredients are well distributed.  Just before serving, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with balsamic and top with feta.  Give it one last toss and enjoy!

Serves 4

Friday, September 24, 2010

Taqueria Tacos, Vegan Style

These are vegan? Yes!
There's a taco shop on every block in the Mission District in San Francisco, but the best place is simply called La Taqueria (translation: The Taco Shop).  Alas, there is no vegan option (although, they could probably ditch the cabeza and lengua and make room for a sour cream alternative.)  Since I had a craving, I thought I'd try to recreate these award-winning tacos at home, vegan-style.  They were spectacular, if I do say so myself.  Hubby and kids loved them, too.  The Follow Your Heart sour cream was really too good to be true.  I'd say you could make these without telling anyone they were vegan and they wouldn't know any different.  Yum, and way better for you than the original.

1 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 cup chopped organic yellow onion
1 can organic pinto beans
Salt and pepper to taste
6 organic corn tortillas (try La Tortilla Factory Sonoma Hand Made Style)
Shredded vegan jack cheese
Herdez Salsa verde (this is important)
Fresh red salsa
Fresh guacamole
Sour cream alternative
1/4 cup chopped organic cilantro

Heat oil in sm/med pot and sautee onion until just soft.  Add beans and salt/pepper, simmer for 10 min, stirring occasionally.  Heat tortillas. I like to put them in a nonstick pan on low, top with a pinch of cheese and cover.  Remove when toasty and melty, then fill with the beans (use a slotted spoon), salsas, guac, sour cream, and top with cilantro.

makes 6 tacos

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grilled Radicchio with Balsamic Reduction and Goat Cheese

This dish reminds me of the dinners we used to have with our good friends, who have now moved back to San Diego (hard to blame them.) We ate it many times at a local Italian restaurant, then I set out to copy it at home. It might not sound like much, but the bitterness of the radicchio and the sweetness of the balsamic reduction make a winning combination. You could do this on the bbq, carefully, but I do it in a grill pan so I don't have to worry about the radicchio falling apart so much. I sure miss those dinners...and those friends. :)

EVOO for pan
1 head of radicchio for every 2 people
balsamic vinegar reduction (click here for instructions--it's easy, don't worry)
goat cheese crumbles

Slice head of radicchio in 4, keeping the base attached to hold the quarters together. Heat a little EVOO in a grill pan on med/high heat. Put radicchio quarters in pan, down on one side, then cover. After a few minutes, use tongs to carefully grab and grill the other side. At this point I like to add a little water or even some balsamic vinegar (not the reduction) to the pan to create some steam, especially if they are not wilting much for you. Continue to turn and cover until nicely grilled: the color should change from red to purple and look wilted but still have some firmness to it. (In other words, don't kill it.) Remove from pan and arrange on platter. Let cool slightly, then sprinkle with goat cheese and drizzle a decent amount of balsamic reduction over it all. I like to hold it up really high when I'm drizzling so you get nice thin lines. Serve immediately or within a couple of hours (it will hold up at room temp. for a bit.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Grilled Eggplant with Salsa Verde

My mother-in-law and her sister are fantastic cooks. Any time either of them pass on a recipe, it's a must-try. I don't often seek out eggplant recipes, but when aunt Nini sent this along, well, I headed to the farmer's market and looked for eggplant. There were at least 5 different varieties, so I asked which were the best on the grill (Japanese or American, apparently.) I grabbed about 4 or 5 Japanese eggplant and a bunch of herbs and set out to make it. It was easy and delicious, served with grilled vegan sausages and dry-farmed tomato salad. By the way, this is in no way a spicy mexican dish. Salsa verde = green sauce. Speaking of which, my sauce is not so green in the photo because I used purple basil in lieu of green...delightful nonetheless.

Salsa Verde
1 cup fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley, oregano, basil (go easy as it can overwhelm the more delicate herbs), chives. A combo of 3-4 is good but less is okay too.
1 Tablespoon capers
1 shallot (optional)
1 small clove garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 - 3/4 cup EVOO (I liked a little less)
pinch of salt
lemon juice or wine vinegar to taste (I did 1 Tablespoon of each)

Puree. Adjust for taste.

4-5 Japanese (or 2-3 American) eggplant, sliced about 1/2 - 3/4" thick.

Thickly slice eggplant and spray with olive oil on both sides and salt. Grill slowly. You want them soft and hot in the middle with nice grill marks. Pour sauce over hot eggplant and serve.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dry-Farmed Tomato Salad with Avocado, Purple Basil and Shallots

If you've never had an Early Girl dry-farmed tomato, you really are missing out on something special. As I mentioned before, I used to hate tomatoes. These are spectacularly different that the pathetic things they try to sling at most grocery stores. Basically, the farmers cut back on the irrigation, forcing to roots to grow deep to find water, which keeps the flavor concentrated. They are amazing. I found some dry-farmed tomatoes at my Whole Foods, but the best ones came from my little farmer's market. You don't need to do much to enjoy these. I happened to have a package of haloumi cheese sitting in the fridge, so I grilled that and tossed it in, but you don't need it at all. I'll keep this simple:

6-8 medium dry-farmed tomatoes, sliced
1 organic avocado, chopped
1 shallot (or some red onion), sliced
10 purple basil leaves (or green), torn or chopped
drizzle of EVOO and balsamic vinegar to taste
pinch of salt
1 package haloumi cheese, grilled and sliced (optional)

Toss ingredients together and enjoy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Enchiladas with Zucchini, Kale, Tofu, and Black Beans

Over the weekend, I found out my friend has breast cancer. Oh, and she's 6 months pregnant. What an unbelievable nightmare. Today's post is dedicated to her. After reading The China Study, I couldn't ignore the implications of diet and disease. As a result of losing both of my parents to cancer, I want to do whatever I can to make sure I'm around for my kids. At times, I struggle with eating vegan and allow myself some wiggle room. However, if giving up animal products allows me to live to see my grandkids, you bet I'm going to try my hardest to stick to it. Educate yourself about the food you are putting in your body. It is probably the single most important thing you can do for your health.

A lot of what I eat is based on what I used to eat, just veganized. This recipe is a good example (sorry the photo is not so great). I like it because I feel like I'm eating something indulgent, but it's actually really healthy. I'm not a huge fan of vegan cheeses, but in enchiladas or on pizza there is so much other stuff going on I hardly notice the difference (and neither does anyone I cook for). Make sure you read the labels on the cheese. Just because it is soy or rice cheese doesn't make it vegan. I'm not sure why, but some manufacturers put casein (milk protein) in their non-dairy cheese. You want to avoid that. Also, not all vegan cheeses are equal. Some are much better than others. I like Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet cheeses. They melt really nicely and have a pretty good flavor. Also, you can swap out whatever veggies you want in this: spinach instead of kale, add some mushrooms, any kind of squash. And the whole wheat tortillas are nice and hearty, so try to go for those.

1 teaspoon EVOO
1 organic zucchini, chopped
1 ear of organic corn, kernels sliced off
1 cup chopped organic kale
1/2 package organic tofu, chopped into 1/2" cubeo
1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can/jar red enchilada sauce
1/4 cup chopped organic cilantro
4 oz vegan cheddar, grated (or jack or mozzarella, or mix, whatever you prefer)
6 organic whole wheat tortillas

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large pot, heat the oil over med-high heat and add the zucchini and saute for a couple minutes. Add the kale and cook another minute. Add the corn, tofu, beans and about 1/3-1/2 of your sauce. Cook for a couple minutes more, then remove from heat. In a medium baking dish, put a couple of tablespoons of sauce in the bottom and coat the dish. Take a tortilla and spoon your veggies in, drop in a pinch of cilantro and a sprinkle of cheese, then roll it up in the dish, seam side down. Repeat for all tortillas. When finished, pour the remaining sauce over the whole thing and sprinkle with any remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake about 30-35 minutes. Remove, let cool a few minutes, then sprinkle any remaining cilantro on the top.

Serves 3-4

Friday, September 10, 2010

Arugula Salad with Clementines, Avocado and Pistachio

On our way to a friend's house, I popped into the local grocery looking for last minute salad ingredients. I was totally unprepared, but I knew the friends would at least have some oil, vinegar and herbs around that could make a quick dressing. As I flew through the produce department, this is what I came up with. And, it worked out well because they happened to have a fantastic bottle of blood orange olive oil in their repertoire that worked perfectly with these ingredients.

4-6 cups arugula
3-4 clementines, peeled, segmented and sliced in half
1 avocado, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup pistachios

1/8 cup blood orange olive oil (or EVOO and juice of 1 clementine)
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2-1 Tablespoon, combo of the following dried herbs: basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, thyme (whatever you have on hand)
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Shake dressing ingredients in a jar and pour desired amount over salad and toss.
Serves 4

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vegan Lemon Tart with Blueberries

The nice thing about a lot of vegan desserts is that eliminating things like eggs, butter and milk take out a lot of fat and calories as well. This lemon tart would have used something like a dozen eggs and a stick of butter, which just doesn't work for me and my workout plan. I took this from a vegan lemon bar recipe and adjusted it to make a lovely tart. Not exactly guilt-free, but much better than its non-vegan alternative. Look for the silken tofu in the Asian section of your market. (I couldn't find it in the refrigerated section at WF.) The kind I bought is called Mori-Nu Organic Silken Tofu Firm.

3/4 cup earth balance (or other nondairy butter), room temp
3/8 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups organic unbleached AP flour

3/4 cup organic silken tofu (soft or firm)
1 1/2 cups organic sugar
Zest from 3 organic lemons
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (~3 lemons)
2 Tbsps organic unbleached AP flour
1 1/2 Tbsps cornstarch

1 cup organic blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly spray a tart pan (mine is 9.5") with cooking spray and dust with a pinch of flour. Cream the earth balance and sugar in a mixer until fluffy. Add the flour and mix until dough comes together. Press dough into tart pan, pushing up the sides. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove crust to cool while you work on the filling. In food processor or blender, zap the tofu for about a minute until creamy. Add the sugar and blend another minute. Add the lemon zest, juice, flour and cornstarch. Pour into prepared crust and bake for about 25-30 min more, until filling is set. Remove and let cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove from tart pan and top with blueberries (or raspberries).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Greek Salad

I love salads for dinner, especially when it's hot out. I hate that feeling of going to bed stuffed, so a dinner like this is the perfect solution. This is my riff on a Greek salad, which uses vegan "chicken" to make it meal. Spend the money and get a really good feta: it will make the salad. And feel free to add chopped red onion to make it more authentic. I'm not a fan, so it's not included, but it would probably taste great if you like that sort of thing. Serve it with a hunk of bread and a lovely Dutton-Goldfield Pinot Blanc and life will be pretty good.

For the "chicken":
60z (1/2 pkg) Quorn Chick'n Tenders
1 Tbsp EVOO
Lemon pepper seasoning to taste

Heat oil in a skillet on med/high heat and cook tenders with seasoning until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the dressing:
4 Tbsps red wine vinegar
4 Tbsps EVOO
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

Shake ingredients in a jar.

For the salad:
8oz organic romaine lettuce, chopped
1 organic avocado, chopped
1/2 organic cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped,
1 handful organic cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
2-3 oz organic feta

Combine ingredients in large bowl and toss with dressing and chick'n.
Serves 4

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blackberry Muffins

We are in blackberry heaven this week, also known as Hornby Island, BC, Canada. The bushes grow wild by the thousands, and we're constantly searching for ways to use them. You can pick $100 worth in about 10 min. We've had blackberry cobbler, blackberry cake, blackberry muffins, blackberries on our yogurt, in our cereal, you name it. This recipe is for blackberry muffins, and it's a double batch. You can half it if you want, but you'll be sorry. You can always freeze them.

3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups sugar
12 Tbsps Earth Balance buttery spread (or 4 Tbsps butter and 8 Tbsps EB), melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray 2 standard 12-muffin pans with non-stick spray. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs, yogurt, sugar, butter and vanilla in another. Add the wet to the dry and mix together until just moist, do not overmix. Fold in the berries, batter will not be smooth. Bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool a couple minutes before removing from the pan.

Makes 24 muffins

Friday, August 13, 2010

Apricot Raspberry Pie

This is what every one should come home to on a Friday, right? My husband sure is one lucky guy, if I do say so myself. ;) This pie is insane. Really, it might be the best pie I've ever made. I get requests for it all the time. One friend even tried to get me to enter it into our local pie contest. What's great, too, is that it involves no peeling, coring, or pitting. It just happens to be such a perfect combination of flavors that one can hardly go wrong. Trust me.

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic cane sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 pounds ripe (but firm) organic apricots, cut into 1/2 in. slices
6 oz. organic raspberries
1 egg, lightly beaten for brushing crust

Preheat oven to 450F. Roll out one of your pie crust discs, fit into 9" pie pan and return to fridge. In as small bowl whisk together cornstarch, sugar, salt. In a large bowl, gently fold together the fruit with the dry ingredients. Pour into pie crust. Roll out the top crust, cover pie and slit the top 3 times. Fold the edges of the bottom crust over and press edges together with your thumbs. Brush the pie with some egg and sprinkle top with sugar. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375F and continue to bake until crust is golden brown and filling bubbly (~45min more). I always cover the edges with a piece of aluminum foil, and remove for the last 10 min. of baking so they don't burn. Cool a couple hours before serving. A shout out to Ruth Reichl, whose recipe this is based on.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Spicy Lemony Shiitake Mushrooms and Broccoli Rabe

This is a super easy side dish that pairs well with many dishes. I've also put this over rice, added tofu, and called it a meal. Talk about easy. Shiitakes contain kojic acid, which prevents the formation of melanin in skin and also has an astringent property that temporarily tightens the skin. The result is a more even and taut complexion. My dermatologist actually told me this. Many cosmetic companies are putting this stuff in their products (I actually own some, sold to me by aforementioned dermatologist). But, you can get the same benefit by eating them. I wonder how many I'd have to eat each day to notice a difference...fountain of youth?

1 pint shiitake mushrooms
1 bunch broccoli rabe
2-3 Tablespoons EVOO
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil, chili flakes and garlic in large skillet over medium high heat. When the garlic begins to get fragrant, add the broccoli rabe. Stir continuously. When the broccoli starts to wilt a little, add the mushrooms. As the mushrooms begin to soften, add the lemon juice and white wine. Saute until done. Add salt and pepper to taste. In total, you're looking at ~7-8 min.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lazy Stir Fry #1

I call this Lazy Stir Fry #1, because there are many Lazy Stir Frys in my repertoire and I'll probably share a few more down the road. One thing they all have in common is that they all do a good job cleaning out the vegetable drawer (especially handy when things aren't looking as crisp as they should.) If you find yourself at the fridge with the veggie drawer open saying, "I've got to use up these vegetables before they go bad", it's time to make stir fry. Overzealous at the farmer's market? Time to make stir fry. It hardly matters what's in there, it should work. I'll tell you what I have right now in my bin: kale, corn, celery, carrots and asparagus, and I can hardly think of another scenario where those all sound good together. I like to keep a box of extra firm tofu in the fridge and a box of Vegetarian Plus Vegan Citrus Sparerib Cutlets (Whole Foods, freezer section) in my freezer at all times so that I can throw something together when I need to clean out that veggie bin.

2-3 Tablespoons canola, grapeseed or peanut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1" pieces
handful carrots, julienned
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 handful snow peas
3-4 stalks brocolini, chopped
2 cups uncooked organic brown rice
1/2 cup cashews
1 box Vegetarian Plus Vegan Citrus Sparerib Cutlets
soy sauce to taste

Cook rice according to package instructions. Get everything washed and chopped up, cause it goes fast once you start cooking. In a small pan, heat up the cutlets. I like to cut the pieces in half once cooked. Heat oil and garlic over high heat in large wok. Put the thicker veggies in first, then add thinner ones every 30 seconds or so. (By the way, as I mentioned above, use any veggies you want, the list above is just a guideline.) Stir constantly until cooked, but still crunchy. Toss in the cashews and some soy sauce toward the end. Then, toss in the cutlets. Serve over rice.
Serves 3-4

Friday, August 6, 2010

Plum Almond Galette

One thing I love about galettes, is that it's so easy to make two, then you can take one to a party and keep one for yourself. I'm always looking for interesting ideas and found this plum version that sounded yummy. I made my usual healthier modifications, added the almonds and decided this is one of my favorite versions. The plums came from a friend's tree, and were perfectly sweet and tart.

Get the crust recipe from a previous post.

1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound plums (more or less), sliced into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
3 tablespoons organic cane sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. In a small bowl, combine flour, almonds, brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Roll out the dough. Spread filling to cover middle of dough, then top with the fruit, leaving a ~2 inch border. Fold up the edges as pictured. Sprinkle the top with sugar. Bake until golden, about 25-35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How To Live To Be 100+

I just watched this 20min video by Dan Buettner: How To Live to Be 100+. Yet another compelling argument for eating a "mostly" plant-based diet, this video shows the important, common lifestyle habits of the communities that have the most centenarians. Fascinating to watch. Most of my friends (myself included) have waiting until their mid/late thirties to have children, which means we need to live a lot longer than our parents to see our grandkids. I'm not ready to become a Seventh Day Adventist, but I could see retiring in Sardinia...

Anyway, watch the video. Put down the hamburger and make this instead. Hang out with healthy friends and family, and have a glass of Sardinian wine. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cilantro Peanut Slaw

I'm just going to go on pretending it's summer. The food I'm making is the ONLY thing summery around here: it's 55 and the fog is relentless. I got inspired by a pre-shredded package of cabbage at WF. I remembered a great slaw from Bandera restaurant that is mayo-free and packed with flavor, so I set out to copy it. If you have a peanut allergy, use pepitas and a different oil and it would be equally as good. Makes a great BBQ side dish, or toss in some tofu and make it a meal.

6 cups cabbage (I bought a mix of white, touch of purple and touch of carrots)
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup roasted peanuts

1/2 cup peanut oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
1 green onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender and grind up. Toss dressing with cabbage, onion, cilantro and peanuts.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lentil Couscous Salad with Avocado, Heirloom Tomatoes and Arugula

I was on vacation in San Diego last week, and after all the cocktails, chips and cookies, it's time to get back into healthy eating. I had a pack of Trader Joe's cooked lentils on hand and some couscous in the cabinet, and the rest just came from the bins in the fridge. Quick, easy, healthy, filling, easy cleanup: perfection.

1 cup uncooked couscous
5 Tablespoons EVOO
4 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cooked lentils
1-2 handfuls arugula
1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup feta crumbles
1 avocado, chopped

Cook couscous according to package instructions (this takes about 5 min.) Let it cool (make it ahead and put in the fridge if you wish.) Whisk together EVOO, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl. In a large salad bowl, toss couscous, lentils, avocado, tomatoes, feta and arugula with the dressing. Serve immediately, or chill and serve later.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tofu Tacos

Last night was Taco Tuesday, and this tends to be one of the regular meals around our house. Prep time is super quick, as is clean up. Plus, kids love this just as much as adults. I've been making this with tofu forever, but you could also use those Boca crumbles. This is hardly a "recipe"...more of just a veggie meal idea. You can adjust your toppings as you like and even make a taco bar for all to help themselves.

1 package firm or extra firm organic tofu
1 package taco seasoning
corn tortillas (soft or crispy)
toppings: lettuce, cilantro, avocado, sliced olives, black beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa, etc.

Place tofu in large skillet on med heat and chop with spatula until crumbly. Add taco seasoning and water according to package instructions. You don't need to cook very long, like 5 min or so, until most of the water is cooked off. Assemble tacos. Open Bohemias and enjoy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fresh Corn and Leek Pappardelle

The picture doesn't really do it justice, but this pasta was super tasty. I was trying to replicate something I had at RN74, and although it didn't turn out quite the same, it was really yummy. I served it with Heirloom Tomatoes and a big hunk of olive bread, then Rhubarb Crisp for dessert. My guests brought a lovely small production Carignane from Ridge. Everyone was so happy, they sang and played guitar after dinner.

2 Tbsps EVOO
1 organic leek, washed thoroughly and sliced into small half moons
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine
2 ears of fresh organic corn, kernels shaved off of the cob
1/2 cup organic heavy cream
1 12oz package of fresh pappardelle
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet on med-high, add the leeks and garlic and cook for about 4-5 min until tender. Add the corn, stir, add the wine and broth and simmer another 2 min. Stir in the cream and simmer another minute or two. Toss in the pappardelle and season with salt and pepper and cheese. Serve immediately, making sure to scoop up the juices at the bottom of the pan and pour on top of pasta.

Serves 4

Friday, July 16, 2010

Heirloom Tomatoes and Goat Cheese with Basil Vinaigrette

I used to HATE tomatoes. Loathed them. Until I moved to San Francisco and had my first heirloom tomato. Over the last 5 years, I've become obsessed with heirlooms, and will eat them any chance I get (I will eat them on a boat, I will eat them with a get the picture.) We had some guests over for dinner last night and I made this "salad" to go with a pasta dish. The 5 of us licked the platter clean. One trick: don't use a knife to slice the goat cheese, use dental floss. Works like a charm.

1 packed cup fresh organic basil
4 Tablespoons EVOO
4 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
6ish medium heirloom tomatoes, various colors, sliced
6-8 oz goat cheese, thinly sliced
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Put the basil, EVOO and vinegar in a blender and puree. Slice the tomatoes and cheese and arrange on a platter. Drizzle with the a good amount of the sauce (you'll probably have some left over) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Asparagus Pasta

This is a recipe I make all the time. It's so easy to put together and it's always a hit. I learned it from a Swedish guy who learned it from an Italian there was no recipe, per se. The directions were like, "so, you cook up some garlic, add the other stuff, cook the asparagus in that, then let it get happy." Not joking. I had to watch a few times and then make it about a dozen more times before it felt like I got the proportions right. My version here:

1 lb organic durum wheat farfalle, or other pasta
1/4 cup EVOO
1/2-1 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 cloves organic garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 vegetable bouillon cube
Juice of 1 organic lemon
2 small bunches organic asparagus (apprx. 30), snapped at the base and cut into 1" pieces
1/4 cup toasted organic pine nuts
Grated vegan parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese for topping (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large saute pan, heat EVOO, garlic and chili flakes over med-high heat until garlic is fragrant and barely light-golden. Deglaze pan with wine. Add bouillon and lemon and stir until dissolved. Add asparagus and reduce heat to med-low. Simmer about 5 min, until asparagus is just cooked and still bright green. Turn off heat. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente. Drain and toss in the pan with the pine nuts and about 1/4 cup cheese. Top with more cheese at the table as desired.

Serves 4

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vegan Rhubarb Crisp

I recently learned that there are two types of rhubarb. My farmer's market had both, so I asked what the difference was. The dark red/green type is "field-grown" and much more tart. The green/light pink type is "hothouse" and is sweeter (also less stringy). I tried my vegan crisp topping on both, and I actually liked the flavor of the green better (pictured above). The red was much prettier, however, and quite tangy (I should have added more sugar). You can do just rhubarb, or a mix of rhubarb and strawberries (pictured below). Either way, it won't last long, so get it while you can.
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup oats
2 Tablspoons flax seeds (optional, or chop up some nuts)
1/2 teaspooon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup Earth Balance natural buttery spread

~4 cups rhubarb (5ish stalks)
1/4-1/2 cups organic cane sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a ~8x8 baking dish or a pie plate. Mix crisp topping ingredients together until crumbly. Slice fruit and mix with 1/4-1/2 cup sugar (depending on type of rhubarb). Fill bottom of dish with fruit/sugar and top with crisp topping. Bake ~45 min. until fruit is bubbly and crisp is golden brown. Serve with Purely Decadent Vanilla.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Purple Haze Sandwiches

Sometimes, it really pays to keep things simple. There are many nights when I don't feel like cooking or just want something light. My husband will crack open a bottle of wine, I'll throw something together from whatever I can find in the fridge, and we'll put our feet up and relax. Surprisingly, some decadent fare can actually be produced in spite of such poor planning. Recently, one of those evenings had me staring at two heirloom tomatoes wondering how I could turn them into a meal. I found a disk of Cypress Grove Purple Haze goat cheese (with lavender and fennel pollen--yum!) in the fridge, some olive bread in the freezer, and some basil in the yard. The sandwiches were ready in five minutes, and we ate happily knowing there were only wine glasses to wash at the end of the night.

Heirloom tomatoes, sliced
Olive bread, sliced and lightly toasted
Purple Haze goat cheese (or any type you want)
Chopped fresh basil
EVOO and/or balsamic vinegar drizzle (optional)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Grilled Artichokes with Balsamic Vinaigrette

So many vegetables are good for grilling, and one of my favorites is artichokes. High in fiber, potassium, calcium and iron, these babies are known to help boost the liver function. Good news for those of us having lots of wine at our BBQs. This is my rip off of Bandera's artichoke appetizer, the first place I ever had a grilled artichoke. You can make the sauce and steam the artichokes several hours ahead, marinate them in a zip bag, then just grill them last minute. Easy to take to a friend's house that way.

1/4 cup EVOO
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsps dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon italian herb seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

4 large artichokes

Put a steamer basket in a huge pot with a couple inches of water. Trim sharp ends of artichokes and place in basket, cover and steam for ~35-45min, or until just barely done (test by trying a leaf). Remove from pot and let cool. Meanwhile, combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. When artichokes have cooled, slice in half (or quarters if extra large) and remove artichoke hairs. Brush on lots of sauce and transfer to hot grill. Cook just a couple minutes on each side. Serve immediately with some extra sauce and/or Vegenaise.

Serves 8 (1/2 artichoke each)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vegetable Fried Rice, Grains and Lentils

I was in my local Whole Foods and they were sampling a new product called SooFoo. Funky name, but it was delicious so I grabbed a bag. It is a mix of brown rice, brown lentils, wheat berries, oats, barley, black lentils, rye berries, green lentils and buckwheat--tons of protein and fiber. So I did one of my "clean out the fridge" meals and made a vegetable fried rice with this SooFoo stuff. It was really healthy, hearty and yummy! Use whatever veggies you have on hand, but here's what I liked:

2 cups uncooked SooFoo (or just brown rice)
2 Tbsps EVOO
1 package firm tofu, sliced into 1/2-1" pieces
1/2 chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, snapped at base and sliced into 1" pieces
2 bunches baby bok choy
1 package white mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
soy sauce to taste
3 eggs, beaten (optional)

Steam SooFoo or rice according to package instructions. Heat EVOO in large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for a minute or two until soft. Add the asparagus and bok choy and cook another couple minutes. Mushrooms go next for a couple more. If you're doing the eggs, add them in now and stir until cooked. Stir in the SooFoo and tofu and cook until heated. Toss in the chili flakes and stir in soy sauce to taste.

Serves 4

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fruit Cobbler

Stone fruits are going crazy right now, and I can't get enough of them. I'm going nuts making cobblers, crisps, pies, salads...anything I can think of that uses them. This recipe came from aunt Nini, who says it's her best version yet (and that's saying a lot because she's an amazing cook.) She did it with fresh berries, but you can use any fruit you want. I made a couple adjustments in my version: used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour, and tossed in some flax seeds for some added fiber and omega-3s. (This flax seed thing is my new favorite thing to do, by the way. I put them in rice crispy treats, muffins, crisps, on pasta...why not?) As far as the fruit goes, most of the stone fruits are so sweet right now, you don't need to add anything to them. Just slice them up, top with the cobbler, and bake.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (light is ok, too)
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 Tbsps butter or Earth's Balance
1 egg
pinch salt
2 Tbsps flax seeds (optional)

~3 cups sliced stone fruit, berries, etc. (enough to generously cover the bottom of the dish.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease ~8x8 baking dish. Combine crust ingredients until crumbly. Put the fruit in the dish and top with cobbler crust. Bake for 45 min. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Little Gem Salad with Fresh Dill, Green Beans, Baby Heirlooms and Corn

I finally got my computer back. What an ordeal. I still have to install a bunch of apps over the next week or so, but luckily my data was recovered. Time to implement a serious back up regimen. Anyway, I've got a back log of recipes, many of which were special requests, so stay tuned and thanks for being patient.

This salad is so fresh and delicious, I made it three nights in a row. The fresh dill at the farmer's market was begging for some attention, and I'm a sucker for little gems, so that was a no brainer. The rest just came to me as I was perusing the Saturday goodies. One night, I used avocado instead of the green beans, and that was yummy, too. A great accompaniment to whatever you happen to be grilling this 4th. Have a great holiday and don't forget to back up!

1/4 cup EVOO
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp Italian herb seasoning
fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. This will probably be more than you need, but keep it around, you may want to make it again and again!

4-5 handfuls little gems
1 cup blanched green beans, cut into 1-2" pieces (or 1 chopped avocado)
kernels of one ear of fresh corn (no need to cook it if it's fresh and in season)
2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half
2oz goat cheese, crumbled

Combine ingredients in salad bowl and toss with dressing.
Serves 4

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Computer Blues

Last Tuesday my computer decided it needed a vacation. The "Genius" at Apple determined that I need a new hard drive, so it's going to be a few more days before I can post. (When is the Google computer coming???) Anyway, stay tuned for: Rhubarb Crisp; Green Bean, Corn, Fresh Dill and Goat Cheese Salad; Grilled Artichokes with Balsamic Vinaigrette; Nectarine Blackberry Pie; Asparagus Pasta and more.

If you're in San Francisco, go eat at Gracias Madre. Amazing vegan Mexican cuisine.

Sorry for the delay and thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Asparagus, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta

I suppose I should mention something about the different types of pasta noodles out there. If you're vegan, there are loads of eggless pastas out there, and when I post a recipe I'll assume you know which ones to buy. I personally go for the nutrient-rich whole wheat pastas. Durum wheat (aka semolina, which most high-end pastas are made of) is very high in protein and gluten. This is the tastiest pasta, but not as healthy as the whole wheat variety. Multi-grain is not the same as whole wheat, so look at the back of the package and make sure you know what you're getting.

I had to rework this recipe to get the flavor right. The first time it was a little bland, so make sure to add lots of salt and pepper and as much lemon as you want. Some parm would really liven things up, as well. Don't be afraid to throw it all back in the pan and mix in more if you need to. When the balance is right, it's a lovely dish, and a great alternative to a typical cream sauce.

1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped and cut into bite size pieces
2-3 cups baby spinach leaves
1lb angel hair pasta
2 Tablespoons EVOO
2 Tablespoons flour
1 14oz can vegetable broth
4oz goat cheese
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Salt and lots of Pepper to taste

Boil salted water over high heat. Blanch asparagus in boiling water ~3-4 minutes. Remove and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Add the angel hair to the boiling water and cook a couple minutes less than package directions (extra al dente). Meanwhile, heat the EVOO in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Mix in the flour with a whisk, add the broth and cook for 2 minutes, whisking continually, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the goat cheese, lemon zest and juice. Add the asparagus and spinach. Drain the angel hair, reserving 1 cup water. Add pasta to the sauce and stir until spinach wilts and well mixed. Season with salt and lots of pepper and top with pine nuts. If needed, add some of the reserved water to smooth it out.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Broccoli Slaw with Apples, Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

I don't get to Trader Joe's much, but when I have to go out that way I always try to make a stop to get their Broccoli Slaw (and Charles Shaw chardonnay for cooking, but that's another story.) It's just a bag of organic shredded broccoli stalk and carrots. If you have a mandolin or a food processor with a julienne attachment, you could do the veggies up yourself, but that sounds like a lot of work to me. They have a recipe on the back of the bag that's quite good. I made some modifications and it's now one of my favorite, healthy, vegan side dishes. Especially in the summer with a grilled veggie burger. You could also do this with almonds, pears and golden raisins in place of the walnuts, apples and dried cranberries. Either way, it's delicious and pretty good for you, to boot.

1 12oz bag organic shredded broccoli stalk and carrots (TJ's "Broccoli Slaw")
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 apple, diced
3/4 cup Vegenaise (vegan mayo)
Juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (I recommend quite a bit)

Serves 4

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Triple Berry Cream Biscuits

I can't get enough of the intense strawberries around right now. They are a deep red all the way through and are so sweet and delicious. As I was flipping through one of my cookbooks looking for yet another way to make shortcake, I noticed that there is a similar version called a cream biscuit. Only 4 ingredients...why not? Aside from my usual modification of subbing out some of the flour for the whole wheat variety, I added a modern twist of sprinkling the tops with a pinch of red sea salt and turbinado sugar. I loved the salty bite against the sweet berries and cream. Don't overdo it, just a couple grains per biscuit. Turns out, everyone who's had both prefer the cream biscuit. So there you have it.

1 cup organic AP flour
1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups organic heavy cream (for biscuits)
1-2 pinches red sea salt
1-2 pinches turbinado cane sugar
1/2 pint organic heavy cream (for whipping)
2 Tablespoons organic cane sugar
1 Tablespoon organic vanilla extract
1lb mixed fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, whatever sounds good)

Preheat oven to 425F. Mix together flours, baking soda and salt. Add cream and stir just until dough forms. Knead it into a ball 4-5 times. Roll out to 1/2" thick. Using a 3-4" diameter glass (or biscuit cutter, if you own such a thing), cut out as many rounds as possible and drop onto lightly greased baking sheet (or non-stick sheet). Gather scraps, roll out again and continue cutting until you have 8 or used all the dough. Brush the tops with a little cream and sprinkle with a tiny bit of red sea salt and turbinado sugar. Bake until just golden, 12-15 min. Whip cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixer until fluffy. Slice cooled biscuits in half and frost each side with cream. Put a scoop of berries in between and sandwich closed.

Serves 8

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Enchilada Pie

My sister-in-law-to-be was due on Monday. Her family is in town, and we are all waiting on pins and needles for this insubordinate baby to arrive. I've heard that spicy food is good for promoting labor, so since I was cooking for the entire brood, enchilada pie was worth a shot. This recipe evolved from something we used to get for lunch back at F Coffee in San Diego. It's easy, good for crowds (and pregnant women), and can be made vegan by subbing the regular cheese for vegan cheese. I used to always make this with taco-seasoned tofu, but these days I'm loving the frozen Boca Crumbles. Anyway, my effort didn't work...she still hasn't had the baby. But, she has leftover Enchilada Pie in her freezer for when she does.

1 15oz can organic black beans
1 15oz can organic corn
2 15oz cans red enchilada sauce (I love Trader Joe's in the bottle)
10-12 medium sized organic corn or whole wheat tortillas (or both!)
12oz bag shredded organic cheddar and jack cheese combo
1 bag frozen Boca Crumbles
1 cup fresh organic cilantro, chopped
1 5oz can organic sliced black olives
1 organic avocado
Tapatio/Cholula for topping
Sour cream for topping (optional)

Preaheat oven to 400F. Drain and rinse beans. Drain corn. Pour 1 can of enchilada sauce into large flat bowl. Cut tortilla into quarters. Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce into a ~9x13" casserole dish to coat bottom. Dip tortillas in bowl of sauce an form a layer in pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 the corn, beans, olives and boca crumbles, and 1/3 the cheese, olives and cilantro. Pour some of the enchilada sauce on top. Repeat a layer of tortillas and the above. Top with a layer of tortillas, the remaining 1/3 cheese and olives. Save the remaining 1/3 cilantro for topping when it's done. Cover with foil and bake for 50min. Remove foil and cook an additional 10min. Top with cilantro and avocado slices.

Serves 4-6

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Apricot Raspberry Galette

A galette is basically just a free-form pie. I often make these when an entire pie isn't necessary, like for an intimate dinner party. They are prettier, too, showing off the fruit. You can fill them with just about anything, but I'm a huge fan of a stone fruit/berry combination (nectarine/blackberry, peach/blueberry, etc.) Galettes are such easy summer desserts, and are especially good when topped with vanilla ice cream.

3/4 cups organic unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1" cubes
1/8 cup cold non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (earth balance is great)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-4 Tablespoons ice water

Blend together above ingredients, except the water, together in food processor until coarse. Add 2 Tbsps water and pulse. Test a small bunch of dough and if it doesn't hold together, add 1 Tbsp more at a time until it does. Do not overwork the dough. Turn out onto work surface, divide into 4 portions. Smash each portion a couple times to distribute the fat. Then gather together to make a balls, and flatten into a 5-6" disc. Wrap tight in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight.

2 cups fresh organic apricots, sliced into quarters
1/2 pint fresh organic raspberries
2 Tablespoons organic cane sugar
4 teaspoons organic unbleached flour

Preheat oven to 375F. Gently fold together filling ingredients in a large bowl. Roll out your dough and dump filling in the middle, leaving a 1-2" border. Fold up the edges as pictured. Bake until golden, about 25-35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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