When did artichokes and edamame fall out of food fashion? Probably about the time kale made it's rise...well, I'd like to bring them back and together in this cooked vegetable salad inspired by Sicily. Caponata typically is a summer-time delight made with eggplant and tomatoes. I'm still planning on doing that in a few months, but in April springy green veggies reign so I used those. This isn't as saucy as the the traditional eggplant version, but it's got all the briny, salty and sweet components. Serve warm or at room temp on sliced baguette - bring out some good cheese and wine and dinner is served! Artichokes, olives and green peppers are typically nightmare veggies to pair with wine. Anytime that happens I just go for bubbles (blanc de noir pictured)!
“Bread and Butter” Pickled Carrot Chips
March 7, 2016
Why not make tangy, sweet and spicy pickles out of carrots when cukes are out of season?!? I got these beauties from B and B Gardens (@BandBGardens) just a few miles down the road in Napa. Brent and Brenda (hence B and B!) are passionate about their produce! Feel free to use any color carrot you desire, just be aware purple carrots bleed. I canned them separately, but the yellows and oranges can hang out together just fine.
Curious about the name "bread and butter?" In the 1920s, an Illinois farmer couple was short on cash, but long on undersized cucumbers. They packed them in its notable brine and bartered them for...you guessed it...bread and butter.
Chinese Five Spice Mushroom Lettuce Cups
February 15, 2016
Earlier this month, I volunteered for our @ClifFamilyWinery Social Club. The host, me in this case, picks a country or region, then shops for wine and cooks food from that place. All the employees in the winery get together for an hour or so to taste, nibble and chat. I picked Oregon and seven bottles of Pinot Noir plus made these lettuce cups with chunks of browned pork (my co-worker, Claire, helped me out and smoked a beautiful side of salmon!). Mushrooms are an easy umami substitute to make this dish vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and super duper healthy! Pair with brown rice for a heartier dinner.
Quinoa Cauliflower Salad with Rosemary Oil
February 2, 2016
In-season cauliflower, protein-packed quinoa, herbs, and ready in 40 minutes start to finish...YES! A great room temp or cold lunch or dinner side dish, this is a go-to for sure. Note the great nutrition too - win all around! Oh, yeah, and it's vegan and gluten-free...super health bonus points!
Brussel Sprout Pasta Salad
January 26, 2016
Who said pasta salad was just for summer?! Use in-season, in-fashion brussel sprouts in an exciting new way in this winter-themed pasta salad that is creamy (thank you, fat free Greek yogurt!), tangy (go, mustard and vinegar!), and packs a nutritional punch (see the stats below...high five protein!). It's also ready in about an hour, and best made a day or two in advance. You can also easily go gluten-free with a rice or corn-based pasta.
Roasted Squash and Eggplant with Asian Noodles and Crispy Kale
December 1, 2015
Sorry, that recipe name is a mouthful, but once you get a bite of this yummy noodle bowl in your mouth, you won't care! I had some very late summer eggplant, but you could substitute brussel sprouts, onion, parsnips or just about any other winter veggie. It's a little heavy on the carbs, but it's a hearty meal that will surely fill you up on a cold winter's night. Check out the short video clip to learn two easy ways to de-stem kale.
November 3, 2015
I decided to make baked veggie chips from beets and turnips that I couldn't seem to incorporate into anything else I was making this week. Cheap, healthy and quick, I developed four different flavorings for them: Curry, Japanese, Spicy "Crab" and Umami. The first two were my favorite and are pictured Japanese, left, and curry, right, in the main photo. Try one of these seasonings or get into your spice cabinet and start experimenting!
Three Sisters Salad
August 19, 2015
The "Three Sisters" refers to corn, squash and beans, which the Native Americans discovered grew perfectly together. Squash snaked along the ground keeping in moisture and deterring weeds. Corn grew tall and provided a natural ladder for beans to cling to. Eaten together they are a 'complete protein,' which means they provide an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for our dietary needs (normally this is only found in animal protein). Here, I use summer vegetables, but you could also remake this in the fall which butternut squash, late summer corn, and green beans.
June 29, 2015
I know, I know...why would I ever turn the oven on in July? But these cookies will be your go-to for summer baking, I promise. Three ingredients and 10 minutes in the mixer, then throw in the fridge until ready to bake. Here I've sprinkled on cinnamon-sugar for snickerdoodles, but you can also add cocoa powder to make them chocolate or just dip them in chocolate post-baking - the possibilities are endless. You can also easily make them gluten-free - I sub'd rice flour for wheat with great success.
Mushroom Asparagus Pot Stickers with Quick Korean BBQ Sauce
May 19, 2015
Change up the usual barbecue this Memorial Day weekend with a seasonal, Asian-inspired appetizer and Korean BBQ dipping sauce. This recipe is easily doubled if you are expecting a crowd. I've also included a short video below on how to fold the pot stickers three different ways. One pot sticker is "Low In" fat, saturated fat, carbs and cholesterol.
Crispy Okra Salad
May 5, 2015
This first "Submit Your Recipe" comes from Becky M. of NY who wanted to learn a new recipe using okra and Indian spices. Fresh okra is typically not in season until late summer/early fall so I used frozen for this dish. My class cooked a version of this in our Cuisines of Asia course - spicy, sweet, crunchy and satisfying! The okra-dried mango combo makes this dish "High In" vitamins A and C as well as fiber and calcium. It's also "Low In" saturated fat and cholesterol.
March 24, 2015
This recipe is proof that good things come in quick packages. Jicama matchsticks tossed in lime juice and any seasoning or rub mix in your pantry and then stacked jenga-style. I used togarashi - a Japanese seasoning made from red pepper, orange peel, sesame seed, seaweed and ginger - but you could use Mexican, Chinese, or BBQ rubs. The fact that the knife cuts are uneven makes it that much more fun to play!
Chef Ken’s Indian Cauliflower Steaks with Tomato Sauce
February 17, 2015
I just finished a short course in Cuisines of Asia and the instructor, Chef Ken, gave me permission to use this recipe from our two days focused on Indian (yes, I know only two days...but it was enough time to allow me to burn myself on a 800-degree tandoor skewer - not fun!). It appears cauliflower and tomatoes are a healthful hit. Together they make a serving "High In" fiber, vitamins A and C, iron, thiamin and potassium. Serve this as an appetizer, side or main dish. Note that you will only get 2-3 "steaks" per cauliflower - from the center where the core is thickest. With the remaining florets, might I recommend Cauliflower Gratin?
Whole Wheat Chinese Scallion Pancakes
February 4, 2015
A white flour version of this very dish is my earliest food memory. I was nine - 4th grade Catholic school. We had an International Food Day, and I remember sitting at a small table taking my first bite of a pancake - chewy, crunchy, salty, mind blown! Thank you, God - literally! Using whole wheat flour boosts the fiber from essentially nil to 3g per pancake making it a "Good Source" of fiber. It is also "Low In" Saturated Fat and Cholesterol.
January 27, 2015
You may not think that a fancy French chocolate could be a game day winning dessert, but trust me. Four ingredients, 25 minutes active, low carb, kid-friendly to make...have I got your attention now?! You might recognize the name Rocher because of "Ferrero Rocher" that is made similar to this recipe, but with hazelnuts instead of almonds. Feel free to sub any nut or type of chocolate, and even add new ingredients, such as dried fruit, to the mix. Game on!
Chicory Salad with Torn Croutons and Lemon Yogurt Dressing
January 20, 2015
I was recently contacted by Chobani yogurt to participate in their #MadeWithChobani campaign. You may have noticed I rarely endorse products, but since I actually eat Chobani nearly every day, I decided to go for it. I used their nonfat lemon yogurt for a creamy, tart dressing to top a salad of bitter chicory, sweet Asian pear and crunchy homemade croutons. I learned to make the croutons at the Meadowood Grill during my externship last fall, and they were a super, duper hit with the family over Christmas. And the chicory - wow! - it makes this salad "High In" fiber, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
Celery Root Pear “Anna”
October 21, 2014
In culinary school, I learned the traditional Potatoes Anna - thinly sliced potatoes are layered in a concentric circle in a skillet, browned on both sides and finished in the oven. They make an exceptionally beautiful presentation! With an inspiration for a savory cake with a sweet bite, I developed this dish. Celery root is also known as celeriac, but don't be put off by it's rough exterior. The peel comes off as easy as a carrot, and by exchanging it for potatoes, you'll save nearly 60 calories and 12g carbs (yup, 12!) per serving - plus add 1.5g protein and .5g fiber. This particular recipe is gluten-free, vegan, "Low In" saturated fat, and "High In" Vitamin C (just in time for cold season!).
October 14, 2014
I was watching an old "Good Eats" and Alton was cooking popovers. It made me think about the Puffy Pancake my beau's mom makes, which uses a popover-like dough (basically a very wet one). You may also know this as a Dutch Baby. This traditional one is a sweet and sour version with powdered sugar and lemon butter, but with a neutral batter like this, the possibilities are only limited by your own creativity. The first few ideas that come to mind are topping with Sloppy Joes, Pumpkin Chili, Tofu Cacciatore, or Tandoori Vegetables. Bonus nutrition - one serving is "High In" Riboflavin and Thiamin and "Low In" Sodium.
Grilled Fig and Olive Strudel
October 13, 2014
Using seasonal ingredients in an unconventional combination was the inspiration for this dish. A savory, sweet and cheesy tapa or main dish, this strudel highlights all the best of Spain (albeit the name!). Honey-marinated figs are grilled and paired with black olives and red onion, then spread on top of a Manchego and rosemary-layered filo dough and melty Cabra Romero then baked until golden.
Ensalada de Pan con Olivas y Alcachofas
October 13, 2014
The fascinating trip artichokes made from Spain to California in the 1800s was the inspiration for this dish. Even though today California’s Castroville claims to be the “Artichoke Center of the World,” Spain still outproduces all but Italy in global artichoke production. In this dish, marinated artichokes are married with Spanish Queen olives, grilled onion, cubed bread and an herbed vinaigrette. It is then finished with a crumble of semi-soft goat cheese to make a spectacular tapa or entree salad.
September 30, 2014
I learned a new trick this week: roasted corn husks = smoky popcorn flavor. Yes, please add me to corn pesto! Corn husk liquid is married with roasted corn, garlic, parmesan cheese, pinenuts and EVOO to create a match made for pasta, pizza or crostini heaven. One serving is "Low In" carbs and cholesterol and a "Good Source" of phosphorous and thiamin - go corn!
Eggplant Pistachio Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
September 24, 2014
I wanted to do something different with the bountiful eggplant in season now so I thought I'd combine two of my man's favorite things - eggplant and pistachios. Together they become a darn tasty, easy-to-make salad dressed with a pomegranate-honey-garlic vinaigrette. The nuts make this dish a Good Source of phosphorus (for bones and teeth), potassium (helps offset some of sodium's harmful effects on blood pressure), and thiamin (helps carbs become energy) while the lemon juice will boost your Vitamin C intake for the day.
American Breakfast Tomato Cups
July 29, 2014
I've been working on the set of a cooking show this week - helping to prep dishes to be cooked on camera by some of my school chef instructors. While I'm learning tons about food styling, video production and photography, I'm also learning a lot about food techniques. In one episode about grilling, the chef grills a half pepper with an egg inside - genius! What else could I cook an egg in? When I saw these gorgeous tomatoes at the store, I thought about baking straight up American breakfast inside - scrambled eggs, bread, and sausage with a twist of fresh herbs and cheese. This dish is low in carbs and high in Vitamins A and C.
Chef Paul’s Mushroom Salad
July 1, 2014
With permission from one of my instructors at school, Chef Paul, I bring you THE dish that will wow your 4th of July guests. You want evidence of this fact? It's ready in less than 20 minutes, the salt and lemon do the cooking so no sweating over the oven, stove or grill when it's already a million and one out, and did I mention it was created by a chef? BONUS: it's also low in calories, carbs and cholesterol, and high in Vitamin A (thanks to the shallots) and riboflavin (which is good for energy metabolism - thank you, mushrooms).
Grilled Apricot Salad with Basil Oil
June 25, 2014
Stone fruits are in season (that's anything with a pit 'AKA stone' - apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines), and this appetizer salad is just the trick for a hot summer day when you already have the grill going. The basil oil is a light, fresh dressing that compliments the sweetness of the fruit as well as the cheese. It's an extra step to blanch, shock and dry the herbs before whizzing them up with EVOO, but it cuts the bite and keeps them beautifully green. This dish is also super flexible - substitute any stone fruit, any salad green, any nut, any herbs and just about any cheese. Not surprisingly, this salad is low in carbs and cholesterol, and high in Vitamins A and C as well as calcium.
June 4, 2014
The origins of this soup are definitely Mexican, but like many national dishes regional variations abound. Some recipes include beans, cilantro, chicken and/or even mint. I took that lead and made some of my own changes - mostly to reduce the cooking time. I used fire-roasted canned tomatoes instead of roasting my own (it's a bit early for fresh tomatoes besides), and I dropped frying my own tortilla strips in favor of crushed tostadas (I know, genius, right?!).
The tomato and avocado pump up the nutrition making it "high in" Vitamins A and C, Potassium and Monounsaturated Fat. Also, I used dried poblano peppers (labeled pasilla or ancho) because they won't set you on fire. For a vegan soup, simply omit the cream. Hurry up and try this before it's too hot for soup!
Fresh Pea and Parmesan Risotto
May 28, 2014
Don't let risotto make you run for the hills! I always thought it was so hard to make, but now I can't believe I missed all those years of having this creamy, satisfying dish. I finished it with fresh spring peas and sharp Parmesan cheese to boost the protein and fiber (the peas) as well as the bite (the Parm!). As a side dish, this risotto is "High In" calcium, iron (go meatless!), phosphorus (good for bones/teeth), and thiamin (helps turn carbs to energy). Hold off on any additional salt until you get to the table - the stock and Parmesan already contribute a lot.
March 9, 2014
Among other foundations we've been working on at school are those built off roux - a 60/40 flour to butter recipe that thickens all kinds of sauces. This gratin takes the roux to béchamel (add milk to roux) to mornay (add gruyere and parmesan to béchamel). The rich mornay sauce is poured over cauliflower (or any other veg) and broiled until browned.
Becky’s Persimmon Cookies
December 8, 2013
Persimmons are another fruit I never knew before moving to California. They are harvested in winter, and it's common to find persimmon trees in many neighborhood backyards and on small farms. This family recipe comes to me from Bill and Becky C. who have lots of cookie admirers for this chewy, spicy treat.
Roasted Broccoli Soup
December 1, 2013
After a heavy Thanksgivvukah weekend, this is great way to start off light and flavorful this week. It is based on my Garlic Parmesan Broccoli recipe - roasted veg, broth and a whizz up with a hand blender and 'tis the season for warm, cozy soup.
November 2, 2013
We're heavy into football season now so I thought I'd try to recreate this sports bar favorite, but with better ingredients. Mixing herbs and spices into the cheese and the breadcrumbs gives them a flavor boost. I used big peppers to make the stuffing easier, but if you use smaller ones you can reduce the calories and fat per popper. I'm serving mine with my homemade tomato sauce and hot pepper jelly.
Roasted Green Bean Tortellini Salad
October 13, 2013
I saw these beautiful purple beans in the farmer's market yesterday, and was inspired to adapt my summer Roasted Eggplant Tortellini Salad into a fall version. Roasted beans are tossed with other fall goodies - toasted pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries - and dressed with a maple syrup-mustard vinaigrette. It's a super easy take-along to a party or for a weeknight main or side.
Roasted Summer Salad
July 28, 2013
It cooled off a bit today so it's not too painful to turn on the oven. You could use just about any combination of vegetables here. I chose sweet ones - tomatoes, corn, and carrots - first roasting them, and then concentrating the liquid by cooking it down with vinegar and garlic. This is a great go-to as is or as a topping for bruschetta or pizza. You can make it vegan by using dairy-free cheese and a honey alternative like agave syrup or sugar.
Grilled Corn and Cheddar Soufflé
July 14, 2013
For years and years I've been afraid of making soufflé - yolks, whites, stiff peaks...oh my! What a wimp! If you've ever made homemade cheese sauce and own a mixer, have no fear. With about five bucks and an hour (and that mixer), you can have dinner - pretty good deal. There are a few tricks of the trade that will help ensure your soufflé rises. I found this old Julia Child episode a huge help. This savory version is mixed with goat's milk cheddar and grilled corn, but the variations are endless.
Artichoke Feta Panzanella Salad
April 28, 2013
Artichokes were born in Greek mythology, then traveled across the Mediterranean to France and from France to Louisiana and finally carried by the Spaniards to California. Today, Castroville, California (near Monterey on the coast) proclaims itself "The Artichoke Center of the World." And rightfully so, Castroville, with a population of less than 7,000, boast 75% of the world production of artichokes. I paired some home-grown artichokes with bright, spring flavors reminiscent of ancient Greece rather than the traditional Italian summer panzanella (but summer is right around the corner...here's my Italian version with tomatoes, peaches and basil).
Barley Risotto Stuffed Endive
March 10, 2013
I was pleasantly surprised to learn recently that the cultivation of endive in the U.S. happened just 15 miles down the highway from my house in Davis, CA. Originally discovered by accident in the early 1800s when a Belgian farmer returned from war to find that his chicory roots had sprouted, more than one hundred years went by before a young chef in Sacramento committed to figuring out a way to grow it in the states. This appetizer recipe takes a different approach to stuffed endive boats by using a barley risotto mixture filled with creamy blue cheese and fresh spring flavors.
Mini Italian Egg White Frittatas
March 3, 2013
Looking to make a low calorie sweet protein bar, I quickly realized that one of the best vegetarian ingredients with high protein and low calories is actually savory egg whites. One quarter cup of egg white has 30 calories, 6.4g of protein, and no fat, carbs or cholesterol. To add some flavor, I packed it with veggies, herbs and a bit of cheese. Make a couple of batches and snack on these all week for breakfast or post-workout.
Tofu Tostadas with Grilled Orange Chipotle Sauce
February 17, 2013
What happened to crispy tacos and tostadas? The taco food craze is all about the soft tortilla, which I'm loving, don't get my wrong, but I do miss the crunch of the hard shell. Inspired by seasonal produce and the warming day, I got busy on an indoor grilling session. Grilled, brown sugar-coated oranges add sweetness, and complement spicy chipotle peppers in a marinade/sauce for grilled tofu and veggies. Mashed avocado and queso fresco brighten as well as tame this snack, app or main dish. Simply omit the cheese for a vegan delight!
Oyster (Mushroom) Po’ Boy Sliders
January 27, 2013
The 49ers are headed to New Orleans next week, so in their honor I developed this snack-sized, vegetarian version of one of the Big Easy's staple foods. Po' Boys are usually served on a long French hoagie roll stuffed with fried seafood, usually oysters or shrimp, and topped with a mayonnaise sauce called remoulade. Instead of oysters I used oyster mushrooms, gave them a typical coating treatment of cornmeal and spices, and then sautéed them in a small amount of peanut oil. My smoky remoulade uses a mix of low fat mayo and Greek yogurt to trim the fat so you don't feel so piggy when you are watching the pigskin next week. Go Niners!
Sándwich Cubano Vegetariano
December 2, 2012
We flew back from Florida via Miami and before heading to the airport stopped in Little Havana at the self-proclaimed "world's most famous Cuban restaurant" - Versailles. This extremely old school eatery made me nostalgic for one of our favorite (although not as 'world famous') NYC establishments, Cafe Habana. There, just about every Saturday at brunch, I ate a version of this refreshing, yet spicy, sandwich along side a margarita and a cafe con leche.
Sachs Italian Wedding Soup
October 21, 2012
Michael's brother is visiting us in Cali and he just celebrated his first wedding anniversary with his beautiful Italian/Irish wife, Meaghan. He says they make this soup a lot, and I thought it was a perfect way to cheers their first year together. He is the guest chef hand in step #2. The veggie meatballs are a snap to put together and get tremendous flavor from the Parmesan cheese, herbs and spices. Serve with bread and/or salad for a satisfying weeknight meal.
California Olive Oil Cake
October 14, 2012
It's the most magical time of the year in Northern California - harvest. That mainly means wine grapes and olives. I was inspired to use some local olive oil to bake this gorgeous cake studded with flecks of lemon zest and finely chopped rosemary. If you are short on time, you can add all the eggs in step #2, but separating and whisking the egg whites makes the cake light as a cloud.
Fig Olive Tapenade
September 16, 2012
Figs are literally falling from the 100+ year old trees behind my office building. I dried more than five pounds and used some to recreate a favorite dip from the grocery store. This tapenade is slightly sweet, savory, briny and fresh all in one. Serve smeared over crostini with goat cheese or Parmesan, as I did here.
Roasted Garlic Artichoke Pesto with Penne, Asparagus, Peas and Leeks
April 22, 2012
The ultimate spring-time dish using all the season has to offer - artichokes, garlic, lemons, asparagus, leeks and peas. This light dish can be served as a main or first course. Swap out sage for mint or thyme. For a gluten-free recipe, use corn or rice pasta.
Mushroom Rosemary Parmesan Breakfast Muffins
April 15, 2012
Think you can't get in veggies before 8am? Try making a savory breakfast muffin over the weekend and have a grab-n-go treat every morning for weeks. This combo is sherry mushrooms, fresh rosemary and grated parmesan, but the sky's the limit here. Try spinach and feta, faux sausage and mozz, sage and mushrooms, scallions and red pepper - get creative and then get to work with a healthy breakfast in your belly!
Orange Cake with Grand Marnier Sauce
March 11, 2012
A colleague, Roy E., baked a lovely cake drizzled with a rich cinnamon sauce for a recent meeting - totally sinful, but I had to have the recipe. I made a few slight alternations in my attempt to be better (not exactly good) by reducing some of the fat and sugar and, looking at all the oranges in my fridge, I added an orange flavor all around with zest, juice and Grand Marnier.
Chocolate-Salt Dipped Lemon Pistachio Biscotti
December 18, 2011
I had some store-bought biscotti this week and knew I could rock it better with local, in-season lemons and pistachios. A salty chocolate dip was 'just because' and I thought it would make a pretty finish. This would be great for any holiday table (Santa comes to mind...) or as homemade gifts (biscotti is very easy to make - promise!).
Roasted Carrot Hummus
November 27, 2011
I had a beautiful idea for this 'mash up' of previously posted Vegetarianized.com recipes (Roasted Carrot Soup and Hummus) after tasting a bland version at a restaurant this weekend. Feeling pretty done with Thanksgiving fare, this is a nice, light snack that’s big on flavor - not calories.
Spicy Red Wine Cranberry Chutney
November 20, 2011
SAY NO TO THE CAN! This Thanksgiving treat your (faux) meat right. Sweet golden raisins and brown sugar marry with tart apples and cranberries then go on honeymoon with buttery shallots and fruity red wine. Spicy cinnamon, cloves and a sneaky hot pepper make it. This cranberry chutney comes together very quickly - you'll just need to find an empty burner on the stove. Spoiler alert - I tripled this recipe for gifts for my work colleagues. To make it vegan, just use a plant-oil based butter.
Italian Smothered Greens
November 6, 2011
These greens, that I adapted from a recipe in an old Food & Wine magazine, are my second all-time favorite way to have greens. The first is my recipe for a Two-Cheese Collard Green Gratin. In this recipe I used red chard, but you could also use broccoli rabe, collards or kale. The balance of salty olives with sweet raisins and dried tomatoes is gorgeous. Serve as an interesting Thanksgiving side or first course pasta dish over penne.
Virginia Peanut Brittle
October 2, 2011
I'm back in the South - Richmond, Virginia - where I went to school, met my beau and started a career. There is hardly anything more Virginia than the peanut. This isn't healthy, but a treat. Substituting coarse salt gives it a great salty bite.
Fig Pear Compote
September 11, 2011
The figs keep coming! I discovered a fig tree behind my office building and easily snatched four pounds worth. I added them to some pears I had to make a compote that could be used for sweet or savory dishes thanks to black peppercorns, rosemary, cinnamon and Madeira wine. If you'd like to can this, go to my recipe for Honey-Ginger Grapefruit Marmalade and follow from instructions 6-9.
Grilled Fig Strudel
August 28, 2011
I got a pound of figs from my CSA this week and one evening Michael and I brainstormed this savory phyllo strudel. Honey and rosemary-marinated figs are grilled and paired with red onion and olives, then spread on top of asiago-layered phyllo dough. Roll it up, bake and enjoy as a light lunch or appetizer.
August 14, 2011
August 15-21 is Midtown Cocktail Week in Sacramento with boozy parties and cocktail-making classes all week long. In its honor, I requested this amazing homemade maraschino cherry Old Fashioned recipe from a new friend, the newly minted Jersey Girl, Zoe H. (check out her new blog, Lamb's Quarterly). The cherries are spicy, fresh and retain their snap - a million miles away from those nuclear red, squishy sweet ones from the bar.
July 31, 2011
Greek souvlaki meets Mexican tacos. Lemon-marinated veggies and haloumi (Greek 'grilling' cheese, omit for vegan) sears on the grill via rosemary skewers, gets dressed with yogurt tzatziki, and piled high on a warm flour tortilla. This is food fusion that uses the best of the summer season.
Curry Deviled Eggs
June 26, 2011
It's been pretty hot here in inland NorCal and you may have noticed I haven't been spending a lot of time in the kitchen lately. I made a great curry egg salad sandwich this week from Gourmet magazine, and got inspired to freshen up a summer favorite - deviled eggs. Here the devil is in the curry powder, cayenne and homemade mustard. Drained plain yogurt, or Greek yogurt, granny smith apples and onions brighten the flavor and reduce the fat. I don't know about you, but about the last thing I want to do when it's hot out (beside cook!) is eat heavy mayo - ehh! Yogurt will bring the creaminess and the tang. Go ahead and scale up for a party, but be careful with the liquids to ensure a thick mixture.
Roasted Eggplant Tortellini Salad
May 29, 2011
This is absolutely, positively, hands down the best pasta salad I have ever had. Don't let your Memorial Day guests eat bland, mayo-laden macaroni salad! Try this incredibly fresh recipe that has all the flavors of summer, including roasted eggplant, grape tomatoes, and parsley dressed with balsamic vinegar and honey. The combination of sweet, tangy, roasted and cheesy is amazing.
Arroz con Leche
May 22, 2011
This is my next recipe pairing creation for Java City Coffee. This month they are featuring El Salvador Portezuelo, a lightly roasted bean with notes of citrus and spice. I thought a great accompaniment would be arroz con leche, literally ‘rice with milk.’ It is a staple treat in many Latin and Spanish cultures, but I found Salvadorians prefer a milkier texture with the light spice of orange zest, cinnamon and cloves. Sweeteners can include condensed milk or, as in the recipe below, white sugar and a couple of pats of butter.
Hot Artichoke and Beet Green Dip
May 15, 2011
With artichoke season in full swing in my garden, I went looking around for a few new creative recipes. The typical heavy, over cheesed spinach and artichoke dip came up a lot so I challenged myself to make a flavorful and healthier version (without using fat free everything). With all the beet greens in my freezer, I sub'ed them for the spinach and used sour cream, Parmesan and Neufchatel cheese instead of gobs of mayo and mild mozz. I boosted it with lemon zest, red pepper flakes, thyme and lots of garlic. Serve with the artichoke leaves (a bonus of using fresh over frozen or canned artichokes) and homemade pita chips (click for that recipe).
Asparagus “Muffin” Pudding
April 10, 2011
I'm somewhat obsessed with savory bread puddings. Those anything-is-possible eggy-bready-cheesey casseroles. I went a bit mad for them in 2008 - hence Tomato Bread Pudding, Summer Squash Bread Pudding and Pumpkin Apple Bread Pudding. I had a fun idea to make them bite-sized for snacks, breakfast on-the-go or as a side dish to a weekend brunch. The asparagus was looking divine at the farmers market so I couldn't pass it up. Paired with Italian fontina and rosemary, these little guys are in the oven in less than 20 and in your mouth in less than 60!
Dark Chocolate Beet Brownies
March 20, 2011
I've started a new partnership with Java City Coffee, a Sacramento-based roaster with cafes sprinkled around the city. They've asked me to create new recipes to match their monthly featured coffee every other month starting in March. This recipe is the result of weekend of work perfecting the balance between rich, dark chocolate flavor, sweetness and a slight dark red hue from the addition of the beets. It's a prefect pairing to their March Featured Coffee - a Red Velvet Latte. Take a peek at the entry for the recipe on the Java City Blog to get the scoop on my inspiration for beets in brownies. It's an amazing flavor combination!
Beet Green and Lemon Chevre Bruschetta
March 6, 2011
It struck me recently that I didn't know the difference between those lovely Italian appetizers crostini and bruschetta. Crostini are smaller bits of toast, literally "little toasts" in Italian, with any topping you can imagine. Bruschetta (pronounced bru-sketta, for the record) means "to roast over coals" so these are toasted/grilled slices from larger bread that are drizzled with olive oil and rubbed with raw garlic. The raw garlic literally grates as you rub and you are left with a toasty, garlicy base for, again, any topping you can imagine. Here, I mixed chevre with lemon juice and thyme, and topped it with dressed beet greens for a light bruschetta snack.
Smoky BBQ Sliders
February 5, 2011
A Vegetarianized.com Super Bowl Exclusive - hold the menu! For tomorrow, add these spicy, smoky, little veggie burgers to your Super Bowl party. Just throw everything in the food processor, chill, grill and put on your favorite slider bun or roll. Top with grilled onions, cheese and condiments and you'll have a hit for all your football fans - veg or not. In the photo above I embellished mine with homemade zucchini relish.
Spiced Dark Chocolate Pots de Creme
January 23, 2011
This is actually a light dessert - no kidding! Dark chocolate and spicy nutmeg give it a flavor boost that make you forget you're using fat free milks and less eggs then the typical recipe. Instead of nutmeg, use your creativity for other versions, including adding instant coffee or espresso, Bailey's Irish Cream, dried chili and cinnamon (for a Mexican flare) or even smoked salt.
Sage Gorgonzola Polenta with Fall Squash and Walnuts
November 7, 2010
I am into the fall - especially during a rainy, cold Sunday afternoon. Warming flavors of sage, squash and walnuts come together in this satisfying main dish. I haven't mentioned my current obsession with polenta, but it's hard core. I always thought polenta was this boring, bland, dry thing, but it turns out it's pretty magical. Even if you just add water to it - it's creamy like it's fattened and naughty. Here, I do make it moderately naughty with some strong gorgonzola and fresh sage. The baked tofu is a take-it-or-leave-it item - I just thought it needed a protein boost.
Smoked Mozzarella & Sage Pumpkin Muffins
October 31, 2010
Michael gave me a great idea to turn pumpkin muffins upside down by making them savory. Paired with fresh sage and smoked mozzarella, this is a trick for a yummy Halloween treat. Serve with a warming, fall soup or just pop a few for an afternoon snack. And they can even show your San Francisco Giants pride!
October 17, 2010
I seem to be making caramel popcorn weekly, and it struck me when Michael commented that he didn't know why people don't make popcorn from scratch because it's so darn easy - and cheap. This recipe will give you sweet corn for a crowd, so make some before the Giants game today or later this week. Following the steps just to make the popcorn gives you a base to be as creative as you want. Make savory popcorn by adding melted butter, SnP and grated Parmesan. Make a quick sweet corn by shaking on cinnamon sugar while it's hot. The possibilities are limitless!
Indian Roasted Eggplant
September 19, 2010
In November I'm teaching an Indian cooking class so I thought I'd better bone up. With lots of eggplant in the garden and a cool, rainy day outside, this stewy, roasted eggplant dish is just the trick. Serve with nan or pita as an appetizer or over rice for a main dish. Eggplant is high in fiber and the breadth of herbs and spices offer flavor without a lot of fat.
Herb Phyllo Tomato Tart
August 15, 2010
A colleague at work passed along an intriguing tomato tart recipe originally published in Sunset magazine. Staring at a bowlful of tomatoes, I decided to give it a try. I altered it slightly to pump up the flavor and deflate some of the fat. I replaced 5 Tbsp of butter with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and swapped smoked mozzarella for plain as well as put herbs in every layer of the phyllo. This is a lovely summer-time appetizer or light supper.
Basil Zucchini Soup
July 25, 2010
I'm overrun with zucchini. You don't watch the garden and poof! three and four pounders abound. This week I gave four of these big guys away and set out to cook up the rest. Besides a double order of zucchini brake, I made a funky Zucchini Matuffi I saw in my latest Wine Spectator and put my own twist on this Basil Zucchini Soup that I discovered in an old Gourmet magazine. It's surprisingly vegan despite a very creamy texture.
July 5, 2010
Even though we're back in Davis, the South is still with me. In the week I was there I probably ate three or four dozen hush puppies - golden fried nuggets of delectable cornmeal. Not very authentic, but I added a little spice (cayenne), a bit more flavor (minced onion) and some extra moisture (creamed corn). Enjoy hush puppies plain, with ketchup and hot sauce, tartar sauce or slathered in butter.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
June 13, 2010
These are my fa...vor...ite homemade chocolate chip cookies. They're light, crispy, buttery and super chocolatey. The oats add a chewy texture, and price, at about 17 cents each, just can't be beat by any gourmet bakery. Let them cool to room temperature to enjoy the crispiest cookie. Bet you can't eat just four or five!
Whole Wheat Penne with Roasted Cauliflower
April 25, 2010
Yesterday was a back-breaking, sunburned day of harvesting my winter garden and putting in the summer one. But the spoils included some heavenly purple cauliflower that begged to be roasted with garlic and herbs and tossed with pasta (well in my head they wanted to!). This is a very light pasta (but with bold flavors and colors!) that creates its own sauce from the water the pasta is cooked in plus the oils from the pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes. Certainly you can use any color of cauliflower and spinach in exchange for arugula. For a gluten-free recipe, use corn or rice pasta.
Balsamic-Honey Roasted Beets
April 11, 2010
Most of my winter garden is beets. I have golden, candy striped and bull's blood. I decided to pick a few because they are getting pretty big - and their days are numbered since my summer garden will be going in soon. The beets are colorful, bright and gorgeous. I just wish I had more recipes for beet greens! I decided to do them simply by roasting them with rosemary and garlic, and then drizzling them with a balsamic-honey glaze. You can make this dish vegan simply by exchanging the honey for brown sugar.
Grilled Vegetables with Romesco Sauce
March 21, 2010
My April 10th cooking class at the Davis Food Co-op is Tapas Vegetarianas Espanolas (Vegetarian Spanish Tapas). Tapas are a great change-up for a weeknight dinner or a fabulous focus for a dinner or cocktail party. Grilled vegetables with romesco sauce is one of my favorites because it is such a flexible tapa that you can use whatever is in season for the grilled vegetables. Here I used carrots, onions, peppers and potatoes. Other perfect in-season choices might be asparagus, leeks, beets, broccoli or cauliflower.
February 28, 2010
I took a tour through the Davis Farmers Market on Saturday to see what was looking good and it was the potatoes, mushrooms and cheese that inspired me to create this rich, earthy, cheesy appetizer. The mushroom guy had beautiful creminis, oysters and shiitakes, but it was the exotic black trumpets that drew me. Some lovely little red and yukon baby potatoes, local goat's milk cheddar and I was dreaming of putting them together in a stuffed potato popper. If you can't find goat's milk cheddar (you should try hard though, the difference between cow's milk cheddar is amazing), find the sharpest white cheddar you can.
February 14, 2010
I promise you these little, French appetizers will make anyone, I mean anyone, fall in love with you today. Filled with melting, nutty Gruyere cheese hot from the oven, Gougeres (pronounced Goo-jaire) will heat up your love life! These are by no means healthy or diet-friendly. They are an indulgence to share with your special someone along with a glass of dry, crisp champagne or sparkling wine.
Roasted Carrot Soup
January 31, 2010
I guess I'm on this soup kick and have fallen hard core for this particular version. I made it in both my cooking classes this past month and I just can't seem to get enough. Roasting the carrots enhances their natural sweetness, but also concentrates their earthy flavor. The touches of the spices and honey are the perfect compliments to this warm, wintery soup. It's extremely easy to make because all the ingredients are likely to already be in your kitchen and the preparation is a cinch. And it's pretty low in calories and high in fiber to boot.
Two-Cheese Collard Green Gratin
January 24, 2010
I did this dish in my Davis Food Coop cooking class yesterday. The class, Healthy Winter Cooking In-Season, was the most well attended class I've had with the Coop to date - 10 class members! We used beets, spinach, carrots and oranges in a variety of dishes from soup and bread to casseroles and side dishes. I developed this particular recipe after receiving LOTS of greens (collards, kale, chard) from a local CSA I used to belong to. I'm a vegetarian so I couldn't throw a ham hock in with them for Southern-style greens, so what to do? I didn't know any other recipes with greens until this one! It's pretty simple to make, uses a pound and a half of healthy greens, and gets you hooked with a modest amount of super-flavorful cheeses and a touch of nutmeg. And you could substitute beet greens, kale (that's what we actually used in the class yesterday), spinach, chard - really any type of green.
November 8, 2009
I seemed to have come back to life around 2pm today after a few good multi-hours rounds of sleep over the past two days. Not that I'm confident my stomach can handle the cheese in this dish quite yet, but the quick preparation involving a house-warming oven sucked me in. When my body is ready, I look forward to the cheesy, lemony bite of these baked artichokes.
October 25, 2009
Shepherd's Pie is an English casserole typically made with ground beef or lamb and mixed vegetables topped with mashed potatoes and baked. I've made very successful vegetarian versions with faux ground beef, but for this dish I replaced the meat with hearty vegetables - eggplant and zucchini. These veggies plus the parsley, basil and mild purple pepper are some of my last summer vegetables. What better way to welcome fall!
Parmesan Spinach Muffins
October 18, 2009
This is a fun side dish. They are kind of like little spinach-cheese pies. And very quick to bring together. They'll be in the muffin cups and ready to be baked before the oven can heat to 400 degrees. Use any good quality grating/melting cheese in this recipe. I think pecorino, cheddar or gouda would also work well.
October 11, 2009
I found this cool recipe for a vegetarian kofte, which is a Middle Eastern dish typically made with meat, and slightly altered it to use the last zucchini from my summer garden. Ahhh, the end of summer. I'm getting fewer tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, but they are still out there. I'm dreading the long winter days without fresh tomatoes ahead. But I'm encouraged by a portion of my winter garden that I put in yesterday. In a few, short months, I'll have (hopefully, finger crossed...) brussel sprouts, red cabbage, yellow and red beets, sweet onions and artichokes. This kofte has two, great accompaniments that bridge the fall/winter season: a beet couscous pilaf and a garlicy yogurt sauce. Don't get discouraged by all the components; it comes together in only an hour.
Garden Variety Ratatouille
August 16, 2009
The garden continues to abound with vegetables so before we drown in Better Boys, Ichibans and Anaheims I thought I'd throw it all together in one yummy, homey, satisfying dish. Ratatouille can be served as a side dish or as a meal with a crusty French loaf and salad. Or for the meat-eaters in the crowd, grilled or roast chicken perched right on top of a bed of ratatouille could just hit the spot. And it's ready in less than an hour.
Baked Fennel and Scallion
April 26, 2009
My winter garden this year included fennel. I paired them with scallions and cheese to make a simply, Italian-inspired side dish. In place of the scallions you could easily use onions or leeks. I made a nice smelling arrangement in a large vase with the fennel fronds - nothing goes to waste around here!
“Chicken” Salad Sandwich
April 12, 2009
This is the first time I ever tried to make chicken salad with faux chicken. I found Quorn to be the best looking and tasting. To cut the fat I used half mayo, half nonfat yogurt - a sub I use often. With sweet grapes from the neighboring town, crunchy celery and almonds, fresh cut rosemary and mustard, this is an easy, fresh weeknight meal. Serve on homemade wheat Scottish baps.
French Lentil Dip
March 15, 2009
Lee S. of Richmond, VA suggested a lentil recipe. I couldn't think of anything I had made with lentils other than soup. There had to be something else to do with lentils so I put on my thinking cap and got down to some research. I read about a split pea spread and found several lentil dips. After much comparison and figuring, I adapted this lentil dip to have a French flare. It's low in calories and fat as well as high in protein and fiber - a yummy snack that's good for you! It gets better with age so if you can let it chill over a night or two, it'll be even better. Bon appetit!
Asparagus Fontina Panini with Pea Shoot Walnut Pesto
March 1, 2009
A spring sandwich if there ever was one. Crunchy roasted asparagus and gooey fontina nuzzle up with a different kind of pesto partner based on pea shoots and walnuts.
February 22, 2009
Patatas Bravas is a very traditional and simple little tapa with crunchy fried potatoes smothered in a creamy tomato sauce. It's a bit high on the calories, fat and carbohydrates contents, but worth the splurge. Michael and I were introduced to this dish in NYC at a tapas restaurant in our neighborhood called 1492. They actually served it with three sauces and many restaurants in Spain do serve these patatas with multiple dips, but I just did the traditional tomato. Other sauces may include a garlic aioli or sweet barbecue. Salud!
Tortilla de Patatas y Espinacas
February 15, 2009
A Spanish tortilla is very similar to an Italian frittata and traditionally done with just potatoes. I added spinach to make it a Tortilla de Patatas y Espinacas. Note that this is a ONE skillet meal - everything is sautéed and cooked in the one skillet and then finished in the oven. I use the same technique with the eggs that I did with the frittata I made a few weeks ago; that is, adding one tablespoon of chilled butter to the whisked eggs before I cook them. I guarantee a lighter, fluffier, richer egg with this method - it's miraculous science!
“Meatballs” in Spicy Tomato Sauce
February 8, 2009
This is one of the recipes I made yesterday at my first cooking class, Vegetarian Spanish Tapas. I adopted it from a meat recipe in a book my step-mom gave me that I would assume she bought in Spain because all the measurements were metric. Skillfully overcoming that challenge with the internet, I managed to create a simple, yet tasty dish with vegetarian meatballs that actually held together well. I have seen vegetarian meatballs in the freezer section and I wouldn't hold it against you if you cheated with these, but I have to say these are pretty easy to make as long as you don't mind a bit of a mess in handling the meatball mixture and rolling them into balls. Salud!
Spanish Sweet Pea Soup
January 25, 2009
To continue my shameless promotion of my upcoming cooking class at the Davis Food Co-op on Saturday, February 7th, today's Sunday Serving is a Spanish Sweet Pea Soup. This is not one of the dishes I'm making at the cooking class, but a beautiful, creamy, sweet soup that is easy to make and shows off some of the wonderfully tangy Spanish cheeses. It's also quite high in protein and fiber. If you want to reduce the fat content, simple omit the cheese crisp.
Mushroom Fontina Frittata
January 18, 2009
This frittata is beautiful as an easy brunch main or light weeknight meal. Fluffy eggs are studded with vinegar-marinated creminis, fresh chives and gooey French fontina.
September 14, 2008
Ok, Jamie in NYC, this is for you! This is tempeh you can get into (although I still do highly recommend going to Essex in NYC for brunch and order their tempeh bacon and copious screwdrivers). It doesn't take long to make, but god I hope you have a dishwasher in your apartment because I used quite a high percentage of the pots and pans in my kitchen. I think it's the perfect sandwich. It's got hearty, fall flavors, crusty bread, creamy dressing and caramelized onions - so dreamy!
September 1, 2008
It's the last day of summer. Start your diet tomorrow. You deserve to have the summer go out with a bang. It's not traditional summer BBQ food, but I was inspired by a Gourmet magazine cover of Paris, France. I've always wanted to try and vegetarianize a Croque Madame sandwich. "Ham," gruyere cheese, bechamel sauce, crusty bread - all melty together and all with a fried egg on top! In case you don't know that topper, the fried egg, is the difference between a Croque Monsieur and a Croque Madame. So much more lady-like with an egg, and once you put an egg on anything and serve it with sparkling wine - it's brunch!
Egg Salad Sandwich
August 12, 2008
My NYC, now Portland, friend inspired me with a challenge to spruce up the boring lunch sandwich she takes to work every day. I really don't eat sandwiches, except grilled cheese with avocado and tomato at a diner - divine! - so it was a particularly good challenge. Egg Salad is terribly fast and the mix of crunchy veggies, tangy mayo, sour lemon juice, spicy dijon mustard and vinegary pickles is simply amazing...enjoy!
Squash Gruyere Bread Pudding
August 3, 2008
So wow - so much has happened in the last month. We moved; we went to Santa Barbara and enjoyed the Bastille Day Festival, wineries, and a day trip to LA; a new kitchen to cook in with a 1930s stove; a hot, drunken long weekend in Gilroy for the Garlic Festival; and discovery of a new technique to warm up leftover pizza in a hotel with no microwave. I think I'll be blogging about these adventures during the week so please tune in.Until then, I have Squash Gruyere Bread Pudding. I tried this lovely, savory, cheesy dish a few months ago for the first time and fell in love. First I did a sweet onion version with gruyere and then when Gourmet magazine came out with a summer tomato edition complete with roasted garlic, mixed fresh herbs and fontina I was hooked! I feel confident that in under an hour you'll feel culinarily creative and have a fab side or main for four to enjoy. Now's the time to use that summer bounty!
Vegan Creamed Spinach
June 15, 2008
Sound like an oxymoron? This creamed spinach packs great flavor and a creamy texture all without any animal products. I use it on my Spanikopita Pizza.
Yellow Split Pea Soup
June 1, 2008
A friend from college, Lauren, sent me a recipe for a lentil soup that she says she always gets compliments on. But since this is blog to improve recipes gone terribly wrong (or vegetarianize meat ones), I thought I'd test my skills at using her recipe as a base to create my own. I've had some yellow split peas in the pantry for months now; after they caught my eye in the market for their extraordinary summery sun color and bargain price of only 69 cents per pound. I think this will make a great summer soup because of the aforementioned color, ease to make (don't want to heat up the kitchen when it's 90 out!), and kitchen sink approach - just throw in those few carrots, onions, garlic, celery and fresh herbs you got hangin' around in the fridge and wa-la!
April 20, 2008
Margy, a Greek friend from Richmond, suggested I vegetarianize Moussaka. In fact I think I have a great recipe already and plan to do that next week, but today I wanted to test my "Chicken" Enchiladas. I was reading the May 2008 issue of Vegetarian Times and wouldn't you know they are having a reader recipe contest with the theme 'meatless makeovers.' Oh my goodness, oh my goodness! What timing with the start of this blog! First prize is only $500 and you have to use their sponsor's products in the recipe, but wow - what a great way to plug the blog - and you just never know...
April 16, 2008
We're off to slow, but good start. Got lots of feedback, but not many recipes in the first week. No worries, Rob G. of Manhattan sent in a quinoa recipe and a $15 Pay Pal donation to boot - and wow I haven't even cooked anything yet! Thanks, Rob! It's funny because I think I've cooked quinoa like once (much to my dismay pronounced keen-wah not quin-o-a). But as I said, I'm up for a challenge so I thought I'd give it a go.
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