Some of the biggest challenges home cooks face are lack of time and accommodating different dietary preferences. I am right there with you! And this new fish in parchment recipe I am sharing is a dream come true. It is not only healthful and delicious, but it’s quick to prepare, quick to cook and customizable. You can use different fish, omit the vegetables or substitute other ones, add a spicy element, or keep it super plain for the choosier eaters.Continue reading
My friend Sarah brought a pear frangipane tart to my house for dinner one day and I initially was not wowed by the look of it. Until I tried it. And then I became obsessed with recreating it at home because it was one of the most delicious desserts I had ever tasted (and you know how much I love chocolate!) I successfully came up with a recipe that was just as tasty, almondy, not too sweet, and a hit with everyone who tasted it!Continue reading
Just when I think I can’t come up with another awesome pumpkin dessert recipe, I do! This is a pumpkin pie meets a crumble meets a gingersnap cookie! What’s not to love? And it’s so easy, has make-ahead written all over it and can be adaptable. There are many twists on this recipe including a graham cracker crust or a chocolate cookie crust and you can omit the crumble topping if you want to keep this simple.Continue reading
I am kicking myself for all the almond pulp I have thrown away in my lifetime. It honestly makes me crazy to think of how much perfectly good raw, soaked, organic almond pulp I wasted because I didn’t know it would be amazing in banana bread or pancakes, among other things. I make so much almond milk and the only things I used to be able to think to do with the leftover pulp was to add it to smoothies and stir it into oatmeal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it just got boring after a bit.
Then a light bulb went off in my head and I tried using the pulp (which is different from store-bought almond meal because it is wet) in banana bread and it was amazing! Have you seen this recipe yet? It’s was so delicious and after my first attempt baking with almond pulp, I assumed every cookie and cake recipe would turn out great. Not the case. I actually had a few failures using almond pulp.Continue reading
My oldest daughter is a freshman in college, if you can believe it. I totally cannot believe because I feel like I was just in college! She’s going to school in Texas where she is enjoying a lot of (shocking, I’m sure) Tex-Mex food. When we went to visit over Parents’ Weekend, our first meal was at Torchy’s Tacos and the first thing my daughter ordered was two quesos.
Normally my daughter is a pretty healthful eater, but I know she has a weakness for Sprinkles cupcakes and melted cheese, although let’s assume not in the same bite. Not that “queso” is actually cheese, even though that’s exactly what it means in Spanish. “Queso” in a Tex-Mex restaurant is basically doctored up melted Velveeta or a Land O’Lakes product called Extra Melt. Uh, that to me isn’t real cheese. And even if it were real cheese, pasteurized cow dairy is not awesome for you. Small amounts, ok. Fermented or cultured, a little better. Sheep or goat dairy, I’m in.
So I said to my daughter, “I can make a vegan version of this that I think is even better and won’t give you zits in the morning.”
“Whaaaat??? Since when? You’ve been holding out on me!”
Maybe so. In the meantime, I passed on the so called “queso.”
I did teach this vegan queso-type dip in my classes last year, and I figured it would be perfect to share before the Super Bowl. This recipe is actually a twist on my vegan mac and cheese recipe, jazzed up with jalapeño, black or pinto beans, and my new favorite product, Whole Foods organic frozen fire-roasted corn. If you haven’t made the mac and cheese, I am in love with it. Delicious and mostly veggies – no fake cheese, no nutritional yeast but still crazily resembles cheese sauce. And this version is a Tex-Mex-healthy-not-cheese-party that I am in love with, too.
This vegan “queso” I have used on nachos for the kids, on baked potatoes with salsa, on breakfast tacos and on spaghetti squash. Love it! I will come clean and tell you I much prefer it with butter over Earth Balance. Updated: Miyoko’s vegan butter works perfectly. If you absolutely cannot have butter, use the Earth Balance or Miyoko’s. If you have a choice, use the butter. I always use butter. Because it’s better. And then this isn’t vegan, but it’s cheese sauce made out of vegetables!!
This queso can be made a day or two ahead and reheated. It does not freeze well. Updated: it will be fine frozen, but you have to reblend it after defrosting it. But you won’t need to freeze it because you’re going to eat it ALL!! I don’t even care who wins the game on Sunday. Just give me a super bowl of queso!
2.06.21 I am updating the recipe to reflect the fact that some salts may be “saltier” than others.
- 2 Tablespoons chopped shallots
- 1 cup (about 7 ounces) chopped Yukon gold potatoes (you can leave the peel on)
- ¼ cup chopped carrots (about 1 small carrot)
- ⅓ cup chopped onion
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup raw cashews (soaked for 1-5 hours and drained if your blender is weak)*
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter (not vegan) or Miyoko's or organic Earth Balance (both vegan)**
- 1½ - 2 teaspoons sea salt (use less if using vegan butter or if you've never made this before)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic, minced (about 1 medium clove)
- ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional, but add it if you have it)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 small jalapeno, seeds discarded, diced (about 3 Tablespoons)
- ½ cup frozen fire-roasted corn, defrosted
- ¾ cup cooked pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained if using canned
- Accompaniments: tortilla chips, sweet potato chips, baked sweet potato wedges, baked fingerling potato halves
- In a medium saucepan, add the shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion and water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
- Place the cashews, butter, salt, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne in a blender or food processor. Add the softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender or food processor and process until perfectly smooth. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Pour sauce back into pot, and add the jalapeno, corn, and beans. Warm over medium-low heat for 4-6 minutes. Can be made ahead and reheated.
**only use Earth Balance if you can't use Miyoko's vegan butter or can’t or won’t tolerate butter. The dip turns out better with Miyoko's or dairy butter, in my opinion.
My husband has no choice but to eat what I make every night because there are no other options and the man does not cook. That said, if I’m being totally honest, I think he would rather eat lasagne and cheeseburgers over quinoa and brown rice bakes. I do, however, think he appreciates how my cooking makes him feel, which is “not gross” and he has definitely come to like plant foods and veggies more and more. But there are certain occasions when he just wants me to leave things be, like Thanksgiving. Not to worry, I’m not starting to post Thanksgiving recipes yet. We still have 6 1/2 weeks to go for that. But who’s counting?
When I suggested either eliminating regular mashed potatoes from the Thanksgiving menu or replacing them with cauliflower mashed potatoes, he stood up and exclaimed, “NOW you’re taking this too far!” He may have even pointed his finger in the air, I can’t remember. Ok, I got the message. But, I haven’t made “Thanksgiving” mashed potatoes on any other day of the year since then, instead I have used this Cauliflower Mashed Potato recipe. And guess what? Everyone loves it! They’re creamy, light and hardly taste at all like cauliflower.
It’s not that mashed potatoes are so terrible for you. I wouldn’t put them in the class of Twinkies and Diet Coke, for example. But potatoes without the peel aren’t a 10/10 and all that half-an-half and butter make mashed potatoes a very rich, not necessarily super digestible, dish. But cauliflower puree made from just cauliflower doesn’t have the same body (too thin) as regular mashed potatoes and I’m not fooling anyone with that one. A combo of cauliflower and potatoes is what my family and I like best and I love that it is definitely more healthful and arguably waaaay easier to make than regular mashed potatoes if you have a food processor or an immersion blender.
I have been talking up cauliflower as the “new kale” for some time and truthfully, I think cauliflower is much more versatile than kale. Last night I made cauliflower “steaks.” I’ve used cold steamed cauliflower in smoothies. There are recipes for cauliflower alfredo sauce, and so on. The best part is that cauliflower is a rock star plant food rich in Vitamin C, folate, Vitamin K, fiber, antioxidants as well as several anti-cancer phyto-chemicals like sulforaphane and plant sterols such as indole-3-carbinol, which appears to function as an anti-estrogen agent.
I serve this the same way I would regular mashed potatoes, with poultry or beef or saucy roasted vegetables. I also count this as a starch, even though it’s mostly cauliflower, and I would serve a green veggie on the side. And if you want to make this up to two hours in advance, just keep it warm over a double boiler. That’s also the trick I use for making mashed potatoes in advance on Thanksgiving. Ooops. I wrote the T-word again. Plenty of time until then, I swear. First post coming in 2 1/2 weeks!
- 1 medium-large head of cauliflower, about 2 ¼ pounds, cut into florets (about 5 cups)
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (optional, but makes them taste better)
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt or to taste
- Place cauliflower, potatoes and a big pinch of kosher salt in a large pot and add enough water to come just below the top of the vegetables.
- Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain cauliflower and potatoes and transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add butter and salt and process until smooth. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.
I once again had the pleasure of teaching the always stylish and gracious Jenni Kayne and her lovely friends a July 4th cooking class at her gorgeous home. Although I teach at Jenni’s home every month, this was a special class in which we also partnered with The Chalkboard, one of my very favorite sites. With Independence Day just around the corner, Jenni wanted to create the perfect holiday get-together that was festive, but relaxed. My job was to come up with the deliciousness!
If you have seen some of the classes I have done at Jenni’s before, you know that every detail is so beautiful and perfect, you want to go recreate the whole thing on your own. One of the best parts of Jenni’s Rip + Tan blog is that she generously provides sources for everything, from table linens to straws to jars. What I just loved about the décor is that it was in the spirit of the holiday, but still beautiful and understated, without going overboard. Please check out Rip + Tan for more photos and details about the decor.
This year, I made five recipes that I think are easy, seasonal, healthful and perfect for summer entertaining. We started with some delicious vegan beet and black bean burgers which I will be teaching in my classes this summer. I love salads at this time of year and especially for entertaining since most of the ingredients can be prepped in advance. At Jenni’s I whipped up a charred corn salad, a vegetarian antipasto chopped salad, and an arugula and farro salad with peaches. All so yummy and healthy and I will post them all before July 4th! For dessert, you will love this yogurt and blueberry tart in a graham cracker crust, which I am sharing today.
Have you ever tried straining Greek yogurt overnight? It comes out with a texture like cream cheese! No joke! I stirred in a little Grade A maple syrup and some vanilla beans (although you could definitely use vanilla extract) and the result is a super thick and creamy, spreadable yogurt for a delicious tart filling. This tart is lightly sweet, which I love, and I think it would equally welcome for brunch as it is for a dessert.
Since I am beyond crazy for the fresh blueberry sauce I posted last year, I poured that on top for the perfect finish. Of course you can do something more red, white and blue by topping the tart with fresh raspberries and blueberries. These berry tarts from Martha Stewart look darling and can give you some inspiration for using fresh fruit. Or you can use any type of fresh fruit sauce like peaches, cherries, or citrus in the winter. So many delicious ways to enjoy this!
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- For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs*, about 14 standard crackers pulverized in the food processor (click here for my recipe for homemade graham crackers. The recipe is gluten-free adaptable.)
- 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar or cane sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- For the Filling:
- 3 cups plain, unsweetened Greek-style full- fat yogurt, strained 4 hours or overnight*
- 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, raw honey or cane sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped (use the pod to flavor sugar or discard)
- 1 pint fresh blueberries for garnish or blueberry sauce (recipe below)
- To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend graham crackers, sugar and salt in a food processor until graham crackers are finely ground. Add butter and vanilla; process until moist crumbs form. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch round tart pan, springform pan or pie plate. Bake crust until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, mix the strained yogurt with the maple syrup and the scraped beans from the vanilla bean. Spread the yogurt mixture in the crust and smooth the top. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for a few hours.
- Garnish with fresh blueberries or pour blueberry sauce over the top. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, however crust will be soft the next day
*To strain yogurt: place a thin, clean tea towel/flour sack towel or a double layer of cheesecloth inside a colander. Place the yogurt in the tea towel and wrap up to cover the yogurt. Place the colander in a large bowl or on top of a plate to catch any drips and place in fridge overnight.
FRESH BLUEBERRY SAUCE
make 1 1/4 cups of sauce
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder (depending on how thick you want it)
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pint blueberries
3 Tablespoons Grade A maple syrup
3 Tablespoons water
- In a small bowl, whisk the arrowroot in the lemon juice until dissolved. Set aside.
- Place the blueberries, maple syrup and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes.
- Add the arrowroot and lemon juice mixture and stir to combine. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes until blueberries are very soft and sauce has thickened.
- Serve warm over pancakes or ice cream or refrigerate up to 5 days for later use.
I love teaching people how to cook and I love working with food, but one business I don’t see myself in is the restaurant business. That just seems like waaaaaay too much work! But if I did open a restaurant, I would have a little casual breakfast and lunch place called “He Said, She Said.” The menu would be split down the middle with dude food on one side and lady food on the other.
I’ve seen plenty of women eat just as much as a man and I am one of them. BUT it’s the food choices that men and women make that I find so interesting, and different. My husband and I are the perfect example. We have been married for almost 19 years and I don’t think we’ve ever ordered the same thing in a restaurant. And I can usually predict what he will get!
I tend to graviate towards salads, vegetable-based dishes, lentils, beans, and ethnic foods and away from things that are fried, greasy and heavily sauced. He, on the other hand, will order anything with melted cheese and/or lots of tomato sauce plus a side of fries or onion rings. My husband is a meat-guy too, and doesn’t think about how he’s going to get his veggies at every meal.
Since I do all the cooking in our house, I tend to make what I like. However, when it’s my husband’s birthday or Father’s Day, I will think about his favorites and go that direction. Father’s Day is coming up, on Sunday, June 15th to be exact. And even though I would prefer a veggie frittata or a yogurt and homemade granola parfait, I know my husband would be THRILLED if I bought him doughnuts. But since doughnuts are probably one of the worst possible foods you can eat, there is no way in the world that I would ever give them to someone with whom I would like to grow old. I hate to be a party pooper, but doughnuts are completely non-nutritive, full of empty calories, high in simple carbohydrates which spike your blood sugar and are deep fried in the most damaged pro-inflammatory fat EVER. So not good.
I will, however, make baked doughnuts with some higher quality (but I didn’t say healthful) ingredients. They still taste delicious and won’t put anyone in a sugar coma afterwards! Yippee! I am giving you plenty of time to order this doughnut pan because unfortunately you can’t make doughnuts without a doughnut pan. I like this one the best because it is coated with silicone for a nonstick finish that doesn’t leach like toxic PFTE’s and PFOA’s. You can also scoop the batter with an mini ice cream scoop into mini muffin pans for doughnut holes.
I recommend making these the day you want to eat them and I am partial to serving these alongside a hearty, high fiber and high protein breakfast and not alone because even though they are significantly better for you than traditional doughnuts, they’re not health food! I kept these pretty simple with a cinnamon-sugar topping, but if you really wanted to throw in the towel, you could go for a glaze instead. Fun!
- ⅓ cup whole milk or milk substitute, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour*
- ½ cup all-purpose flour or white spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (do not omit – this is the secret ingredient of all cake doughnuts!)
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted + extra butter for greasing the pan
- ¼ cup cane sugar
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 Tablespoons cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or less cinnamon for a more “authentic” ratio)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the wells of the doughnut pan with some butter.
- In a glass measuring cup, mix together milk and vinegar and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 5 minutes to curdle.
- In a large bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
- In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, honey, egg, vanilla and curdled milk.
- Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients, taking care not to overmix.
- Spoon batter evenly into wells of the doughnut pan, filling only ⅔ full.* If filled too high, there won’t be any doughnut holes. Another way to fill the wells is by transferring the batter to a quart-size Ziploc bag and snipping one corner ½inch and piping the batter into the wells. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until doughnuts spring back when pressed lightly. Allow to cool 5 minutes before turning doughnuts onto a cooling rack.
- While the doughnuts are still warm, combine the 2 Tablespoons cane sugar with the teaspoon of cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Brush the tops (or bottoms) of the doughnuts with melted butter and dip into the cinnamon–sugar mixture so that it sticks. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
**Or bake in a greased mini-muffin pan for doughnut holes.