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.
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.
*Options here: to save the step of soaking cashews, cook the cashews with the vegetables. OR use the same amount of RAW cashew butter or JOI almond butter base (it's blanched and raw and has no flavor) or cooked white beans if you are nut-free. **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!
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!
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
I have tried this recipe with alternative yogurts, such as coconut, but they will not strain to the same thick, cream cheese-like consistency as the Greek yogurt.
*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 substitute a total of 1 cup King Arthur Multi-purpose Gluten-free Flour and ½ teaspoon xanthan gum for the white and wheat flours
**Or bake in a greased mini-muffin pan for doughnut holes.
I had some friends over for dinner recently on a Friday and remembered that it is Lent. Lent starts about 40 days before Easter on Ash Wednesday and ends the day before Easter. It is a very holy time for many Christians and I remembered observing as a child. Traditionally no meat is eaten on Fridays, but fish is acceptable. During Lent, many observers also give up something pleasurable or something that might be a challenge to go without. When I was much younger, I asked my mother if I could give up beef or chicken (which I didn’t like) or going to CCD classes (which I really didn’t like.) And she always instructed me that I was missing the point. If I needed some ideas, my mother suggested perhaps my sisters and I could give up bickering with each other. I understand my mother so much more now.
Whether you observe Lent or not, I think you should make this absolutely delicious fish stew. My family doesn’t love fish as much as I do, although they never complain when I make it. There are certainly recipes they like more than others, like fish tacos (and who can blame them?) or poached salmon (“because it doesn’t taste fishy.”) This fish stew was a hit when I made it because all the fish is mixed with other stuff, Mr. Picky explained. Whatever works!
This stew is brothy like a soup, but full of all sorts of chunkiness like a stew and you can easily make a meal out of it with a piece of crusty bread. So I’ll call it a stew. When I put this together the first time, I was thinking more bouillabaisse, the classic French seafood soup, and less cioppino, the zesty Italian tomato fish stew. Either way I think this is the perfect light, but warming dinner. It also cooks in a very short amount of time, so you’ll have it on the table in less than half an hour. You can also adjust the amount of fish in the recipe without adjusting any other ingredient. If you want lots of fish because this is your main course, then add another 3/4 pound. If you’d like to use a mix of seafood, such as shrimp, scallops or mussels, those would all work well too. The only thing I would advise is NOT to skip the butter. If you have to go dairy-free, use Earth Balance. I tried this with all olive oil and surprisingly it wasn’t nearly as good. In fact, in my next life I’m going to double the butter. And if you live where the temperature has been freezing since Thanksgiving and you’ve more snow storms than the previous 10 years combined, I give you permission to use as much butter and wine as you want in this recipe. You’ve earned it!
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or organic Earth Balance
1 Tablespoon unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 fennel bulb, halved and chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
⅔ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, divided
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme
pinch of red pepper flakes, or more to taste
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
¾ pound of fresh tomatoes, chopped (peeled and seeded, if desired) or 14-ounce container of chopped tomatoes, drained (I like Bionaturae in glass jars.)
½ pound Yukon Gold or other boiling potatoes, peeled if you like and diced
10 ounces (1 ¼ cups) of fish stock (or even chicken stock or vegetable stock)
1 cup dry white wine (like Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Sauvignon blanc)
1 ¼ pounds fish fillets (use halibut, cod, sole, red snapper, sea bass), cut into 2-inch pieces (or use more fish and fewer vegetables)
Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, garlic, fennel and carrots and sauté for about 6 minutes, until tender.
Add half the parsley, bay leaf, thyme, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and turmeric. Gently cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and stir to combine.
Add potatoes, stock and white wine. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook, covered until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add fish and cook another 5 minutes uncovered or until fish is cooked through. (If you decide to use mussels or small clams, simmer with the pot covered until they open.) Add more salt to taste, if desired. Ladle into bowls and serve. Garnish with reserved parsley. Nice with a piece of toasted baguette rubbed with garlic.
I buy fish stock from the freezer case in the seafood department at my local Whole Foods. I have also tried a a good stock by Stock Options which I found in the freezer section at Whole Foods.