Right place, my time

Every so often, a beacon appears to remind us we’re headed in the right direction. The North Star, a rainbow or even an actual plaquard that points the way to the restroom! Recently, I’ve found myself in the right place, so often it’s begun to feel a tad uncanny.

I’ve met people, while at work, who have brought me into new spaces where I can practice my passion for nutrition, cooking and education, and these opportunities just keep presenting themselves over and over… So much so, I’ve hardly had time to log things here!

In my last post, I sang the praises of The Market and all the culinary delights within. I also did a wee brag about my Follow that Chef cooking demo day.  The recipes from that day are as follows:

Salmon Spring Rolls, serves 6

Seared, not fried!

Seared, not fried!

Salmon, cut into twelve 4-5” batons, ½” thick

12 Rice Paper Wrappers

3 Persian or Japanese Cucumbers, quartered lengthwise (5”long, or shorter)

4 Green Garlic stalks or Scallions

1 Fennel bulb, sliced into thin sticks

2 Avocados, sliced into thin sticks

*Dipping Sauce

¼ cup Soy Sauce

1/8 cup Rice Wine Vinegar

1t. each ginger and lemongrass, grated

1 diced Thai Bird Chile (optional)

With all ingredients prepped, soften rice paper wrappers in warmed water and place on a flat surface. In a heated skillet, sprayed with a neutral oil, sear the salmon, skin side down until crisp (3-5 minutes).

Place all ingredients on the bottom third of each wrapper, in a horizontal lineup.  Roll wrapper up once, to conceal the stuffing.  Next, fold each side in, about one inch, to hold in the ingredients. Then, roll it to the end, making sure to keep all the ingredients inside.

In a heated, oiled skillet, sear each roll for about 2 minutes each side, for that tasty crunch!! Cut each roll in half, on the bias and enjoy!

Mussels (or Clams), over Vermecelli (Serves 6)

The noodles are flavored by the mollusks...

The noodles are flavored by the mollusks…

1 Shallot, diced

2 Lbs., Mussels or Clams, cleaned

1 c. Dry, White Wine

1 c. Water

1 stalk green garlic, small dice

6 stems of Thyme

6 servings Vermicelli, or your preferred long noodle

Olive Oil

In a large saucepan, sauté the shallot and garlic in 1T olive oil.  When they’ve softened, add your mollusks, 3 stems of thyme and ½ the wine. Cover and wait for the shells to open. As they do, remove them and place them in a separate bowl, leaving as much liquid as possible in the pot.

Once all the shells have opened, and mollusks have been removed, add the rest of the wine, the water and the leaves from the rest of the thyme.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Add your dry noodles to the boiling liquid and cook until al dente.

Serve noodles, topped with your mollusks, with a generous ladle-full of the remaining liquid.  YUM.

Shiitake Po’ Boys (Serves 6)

The sandwich version...
The sandwich version…

6 large Shiitake Mushrooms, stems removed

6 slices of Tomato

12 thin slices of Avocado

Shredded Lettuce or Baby Bok Choy

½ c. Mayonnaise

3 T. Old Bay Seasoning

1 T. Smoked Paprika

12 oz. hoppy Beer

2 T. Capers

6 split Rolls or softened Rice Paper Wrappers

2 c. Neutral Oil (Grapeseed, Canola)

1 c. Rice Flour or All-Purpose Flour

Mix mayonnaise with 1 T. Old Bay, ½ T. of smoked paprika and the capers.  Set aside and begin heating oil in a saucepan.

Whisk remaining Old Bay and paprika into flour, and then stir in the beer, creating a batter the thickness of house paint.  There should be about 6 oz. left for you to enjoy as you cook.

Dip each mushroom cap in the batter, coating them thoroughly, before moving them to the hot oil. Fry until the batter is crisp, then move mushrooms to a paper towel lined surface to drain.

Dress each side of your rolls with the flavored mayonnaise and stack your tomato, avocado and shiitake caps in your preferred order.  If using rice paper wrappers, put the mushroom cap on the bottom, and top it with a blob of mayonnaise before adding the other toppings.  Then, wrap it up!


Since that delicious day, I’ve taught a Spring Salad class for a group called Kitchen Divas.  The goal for this group is to  increase awareness of nutritive foods to create a healthier population.  For this class, I created a high fiber, intensely flavored Shaved Artichoke Salad.

Here’s what I made that day:

Shaved Baby Artichoke Salad (Serves 4)

Tender, youthful and seasoned with shiitake-baconness!

Tender, youthful and seasoned with shiitake-baconness!

12 Baby Artichokes, outer leaves removed, stems trimmed and sliced VERY thinly

1 Medium Bulb of Fennel, sliced VERY thinly and fronds reserved

1 Large Leek, cut in half and sliced VERY thinly

2 stalks of Green Garlic, sliced VERY thinly, on the bias

4 Large Shiitake Mushrooms, baked at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes

Salad Dressing:

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake until emulsified.

2 Lemons, ribbon zested and juiced

1 large Shallot, sliced VERY thinly

1 T. Dijon or whole grain Mustard

White Balsamic or White Wine Vinegar

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Red Pepper Flakes

Combine and serve…

Next, my day job at Venokado will be getting even more festive than usual as I’ll be hosting a beer tasting, to accompany a pretzel-making class at The Gourmandise School!  If you’re in the area, and would like to attend, RSVP and get your tickets at http://www.thegourmandiseschool.com .  As of today, there are only 9 spaces left for this scrumptious event, so don’t delay!!  While I love to live in a super-healthy manner, much of that health depends on kicking back with friends, learning something new and, yes, enjoying a great beer!  Join us for this educational, recreational, pretz-tastical afternoon, Saturday, May 18th.

I’m also busy hatching ideas for more joint events between Venokado and Gourmandise.  If you have any tasty notions for pairing food with beer or wine, what to do with the impending summer’s fruits or questions on how to translate the season into a delicious meal, let me know in the comments area below.

So, in closing, YES.  The Market is the right place, and this is MY TIME.  And this time is DELICIOUS!!

Stay tuned, stay hungry,


Posted in Cool People, Dinners, Fish and Seafood, Lunches, Market Haul, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian, YUM | Leave a comment

Super Bowl? No…SOUPER BOWL!

This time of year, I like to not only keep warm, but also arm ourselves against all the colds and flu floating around. In one afternoon, I created three delicious, nutritious soups that will satisfy many occasions and purposes. My schedule often keeps me working until 8 or 9 at night, making my mealtimes rather erratic. In my attempt to maintain my New Year’s Resolution of creating health and fitness for myself, I need to keep any late meals as light as possible. Also, because of this schedule, The Boyfriend is often left to his own devices for dinner. These soups also offer delicious options that will help him stay healthy despite his hectic schedule and late night gigs.

Vegetable Soup for the Veggie-Averse

Soup #1 is a simple vegetable soup, made from (don’t shoot me) a frozen vegetable soup mix! It’s what I make when I don’t have much time for chopping and breaking vegetables down into useable parts. Of course, I augmented it with lots of garlic, onions and even some fresh spinach, for nutrition’s sake. And, I flavored it with cumin, coriander and a pinch of saffron. My veggie stock, water and a handful of chives round out the cast of characters in this smooth, satisfying concoction. I sometimes make it with curry spices for another variation, and I also like to have some grilled chicken in the fridge for The Boyfriend to dice and add to it if he wants a heartier meal.

Wild Mushroom and Leek Soup

This is my favorite late dinner. It’s brothy and light, but satisfying and incredibly flavorful! Dried porcini mushrooms create a bold, savory, umami-filled broth, while hedgehog, chantrelle and crimini mushrooms make a warming, earthy combination light enough for an after-eight meal, keeping me from feeling stuffed before bed.


Tomato Kale and White Bean Soup

This soup has truly inspired me…inspired me once and for all to start canning! I don’t generally like using canned tomatoes, but when I took the Chili Challenge, posed to me at the end of last year, by my friend Paul, I suddenly remembered how useful they can be. But, fears of BPA and dented cans had kept me away for a long time. Now, whenever I run out of this beautiful soup, I make sure to seek out a big can of good, diced tomatoes. There is nearly an entire bunch of dinosaur kale in there, plus a can of cannellini beans. Leeks, sliced garlic, stock, water and cumin are all in there too. It sounds simple…simply delicious, that is! So, as we approach summer and the season of tomato abundance, be aware, I’ll be slaving away over a stock pot with my tongs and sanitized jars, honing my skills in preparation for canning season!! I may just start with the dry adzuki beans I have in the pantry right now. I’m sure they’ll take nicely to a home preservation process. Having beans in this soup makes it a little heavier, so it’s perfect for a regular dinnertime meal, when I just don’t have time to make more than a salad when I get home.


But soup isn’t all I’ve been eating lately. On my days off, I’ve been preparing for an extremely exciting event, coming at the end of March.

I’ve mentioned my job a few times, and I have to say, it’s paradise. Yes, I work in a mall, but it’s like none other. On the roof of Santa Monica Place, is a dining deck. This floor is filled with gourmet restaurants, a food court with a large play area for the kids and a local gem called The Market. Inside this Market, you’ll find two inspired restaurants, The Curious Palate and M.A.K.E. You’ll also find a cheese and charcuterie shop and a bakery, both of which are run by The Curious team. If you need a little something sweet after your meal, there’s N’ice Cream (an exciting gelato shop) and Chocolate Opulence (the name says it all). Time for coffee tawk? Check out GroundWork Coffee. And if you’re in the market for farm fresh skincare products that will transform the way you look and feel, visit Benedetta. But I don’t work in any of those heavenly establishments; you’ll find me at VENOKADO (the wine and gift shop) or COOK by venokado (the kitchen supply store). At the wine shop, you can get everything from a bold Barolo to bamboo baby bonnets, and taste some great wines and cheeses to boot! At the cook shop, we have cast iron cookware, inspired salt and pepper shakers and even giant spaghetti…like 4 foot long-spaghetti!

In the event that you’re not shopping for goods, you may be shopping for knowledge. There are two culinary schools inside The Market. Matthew Kenney Cuisine is not a cooking school, per se. It’s a raw foods academy. Students come from all over the world to learn the fine art of creating raw meals with the simplest ingredients. M.A.K.E. is the restaurant attached to this school (with its own separate kitchen), and is quickly growing in popularity. I’ve had some amazing, beautiful food here!

The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories is the other venue for culinary knowledge. Teaching both professional and recreational cooking courses, Gourmandise is also where my exciting event will be taking place! They host a program called Follow That Chef, in conjunction with the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. This is where a chef, author or food blogger (like me!) guides a group of onlookers through the farmer’s market, purchases the ingredients for dishes that will be demonstrated in the Gourmandise kitchen. I’ll have the honor of being followed on March 23rd, complete with a book signing! If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you there!!

Until then, keep on cooking, and have a delicious day!!

Posted in Colds and Flu, Cookbook, Dinners, Leftovers, Lunches, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Happy New Year!!

Welcome to 2013! After all the festivities of the holiday season, I’m ready to…well, cook AGAIN!

This time, though, instead of the decadent, indulgent meals I’ve been enjoying for the past couple months, I’m diving head first into my quarterly ritual of resetting my diet. The first time I did this, I dropped 8 pounds in one week, but because I was so starved for flavor, as soon it was over, I binged. Big time. Half of the weight came back in a day or two. Since then, I’ve adjusted the rules for the Detox Diet. Freshness and flavor are the most important elements. And, because this is the Winter version, I get to have so many nummy-yummy flavorites of mine that are just as decadent as the fatty holiday fare.

Blended veggie soups, roasted and grilled veggies with uber-flavorful sauces…now, we’re talkin’! One of the best things about this program is I can do most of the cooking ahead of time, or if it’s not completely prepared, I can get things chopped, marinated and ready for action.

I wrote about the seasonal detox in Farmer’s Market Fresh, and here’s an excerpt…

Every season, I like to spend at least one week resetting my diet. This Reset helps me 1- reacquaint myself with the season’s bounty, 2-simplify my eating habits and 3- *a big bonus* drop a few pounds!

During this week, I keep my recipes simple, but delicious, of course. My breakfasts are generally the same, year round. During this time, it just gets downsized a bit. It looks something like this: ½-1 cup of a whole grain, or some combination of grains, a handful of something leafy (kale or Swiss chard in winter, herbs in spring and summer, salad greens in autumn) and a poached egg on top. Some variations may occur.

This meal is a habit that began with my first week-long detox diet. I got the program from Natural Health Magazine, and dropped 8 pounds the first time I did it!

Their version looks like this:

Upon rising, drink 2 8-oz. glasses of water, one with the juice of half a lemon squeezed in.

Breakfast = eat 1 piece of fruit, and after 15-30 minutes, have 1-1.5 c. whole grain, dressed with up to 1t. of an olive oil/butter blend.

Lunch and Dinner = steamed vegetables, dressed with the same oil blend.

Snacks = the water left over from steaming lunch and dinner…


I’ve done this version two or three times, but came out the other side so starved for flavor, I’d undo all the weight loss almost immediately by uncontrollably eating everything in my path. It also turned me against steamed veggies for a long time.

My way is similar, but so much more delicious, it barely seems like I’ve omitted anything at all.

First, I added some protein to the breakfast. A poached egg (or quarter cup of lentils) keeps me satisfied much longer and my energy level is far less likely to wane throughout the day. The morning snack is one piece of fruit (or up to a ½ cup of berries). Lunch and dinner are still a pile of veggies, just not steamed. Lunch could be a big salad with nuts or beans included and dinner could be grilled or roasted veggies.

I like to make a big mess of grilled or roasted vegetables at the top of the week, so there’s no question as to what to eat. Salad greens get assembled then, as well. All the adornments are prepped and ready for serving time, as well…

… Roasted Vegetables

When I’m preparing for Detox Week, I like to make a large quantity of these veggies. Eggplant, various types of squash, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, onions, okra, carrots, celery, fennel and new potatoes are some of my favorite staples. Seasonally, you can easily find similarly textured items.


Two half-sheet pans

Parchment paper or foil to line each


Up to 4 lbs. various vegetables of varying textures, cut into bite-sized pieces (1/2″ -3/4″)

Coconut or Olive oil (1 T. per pound of veggies)

Sherry Vinegar (1 tsp. per pound of veggies)

Up to 2 T. per pound of your favorite dry herbs or spices*

*I love using ground coriander and fennel seeds!

Preheat oven to 400°. Toss vegetables with oil and seasonings (you can let this sit as a marinade in the
refrigerator for as long as three days, for maximum flavor). Spread them onto lined sheet pans in a single layer, allowing for maximum contact with the surface.

Roast for 20 minutes, and then toss to expose another surface to the pan. Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes more.

To serve, I like to drizzle a bit of sherry vinegar, or super-thick balsamic vinegar on these veggies, along with the oil/butter combo. I also enjoy an extra sprinkling of the coriander and fennel seed combination atop this dish.

My grilled vegetable option is marinated in the same manner, but sliced in a way that would provide a lot of exposed surface area for the grill; ¼- 1/2″ thick. While starchy vegetables lend themselves well to this preparation, items such as radicchio, broccolini, asparagus and green beans also work beautifully on the grill or grill pan.

In order to keep flavor high and additives low, I like to make this fresh condiment to dress any of these preparations.

Salsa Fresca


1 clove garlic, (or more ;-)), finely diced or pressed

1 large tomato, grated

½ onion, finely diced

1 BIG handful assorted fresh herbs (feel free to borrow some big hands if necessary😉

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 large pinch salt and freshly ground pepper

1 medium, fresh chile (optional)

Combine these items in a glass bowl, and spoon over vegetables, as needed.

If you’d like to get more of the recipes I use for this delicious cleanse, pick up Farmer’s Market Frugal on Amazon.com, at its new lower price.

Do you have a great way to bounce back from holiday indulgence? Leave a comment below!

Until next time,

Have a Delicious day!!

Posted in Cookbook, Dinners, Health, Leftovers, Lunches, Nutrition, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Chili!

Wow. This was an eye-opener.
It made me realize how busy I really am. Getting off work late on Saturday night made me completely forget to soak the Christmas Limas and Black-Eyed Peas, so this chili is a lovely, lentil-laden version of the winter staple. I also had a gig at 4pm yesterday, so I couldn’t linger in the kitchen like I usually do on Sunday afternoons. I had to work fast!

pre chili

So, I started by chopping veggies. One red onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 rib of celery, 2 bell peppers, and 2 carrots. I then combined the garlic with cumin, paprika, smoked paprika, salt and ground black pepper – 1 tablespoon of each. To this, I added a teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and dry mustard, plus 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. I schmooged it all together until it was a fairly cohesive blob, adding olive oil to help this happen.

Dec 17 blog
In my pre-heated dutch oven, I sautéed this mass until it became mildly fragrant, which happened FAST! I then added all the veggies and the dry lentils, and coated them with this spice mixture. Once they were well-incorporated and the vegetables had begun to brown, I stole a can of Stella Artois from The Boyfriend’s stash, and used it to deglaze the pan. It only required about half the can, but I saved the last of it for the turkey version I’d made for him.

chili in progress

Once all the veggies had softened and the beer had been reduced to almost nothing, I added the cooked lentils, the can of tomatoes, and diced jalapeno to the mix. At this point, I checked the clock and realized how much more cooking I still had to do before going to the gig!


I put the chilis on the back burners, on uber-low heat, to simmer away. I’d put a spaghetti squash in the oven to roast for an hour while I was working on the chili project, and it was ready to come out at this point. I set that aside to cool while I whipped up a quick marinara sauce. I’d figured, as long as I was buying canned tomatoes, I might as well do something else with them!
If you’re familiar with using spaghetti squash, you know it has a HUGE yield. It’s forced me to create lots of different ways of cooking with it. Next week, you’ll see the results of this squash-fest. But, until then, pass the diced onions, cilantro, “cheese” shreds and hot sauce. I’m in chili town!

chili, finished

If this has gotten you in the mood for food, remember, Farmer’s Market Frugal is still available on Amazon, at its new, lower price! If you need a last-minute gift or a post-holiday detox diet (Part II of the book), go get it!

Do you have a favorite chili recipe?  Let me know in the comments below.  And, if you like this, share it!  Even my carniverous Boyfriend (who claims to hate lentils) loved this recipe!

Until next week, have a delicious day!!

Posted in Cookbook, Dinners, Leftovers, Vegan, Vegetarian, YUM | 1 Comment

Baby, it’s cold outside…

No, I’m not singing that mildly creepy song, I’m working on warming up with some chili!!

I scoured some books and websites to come up with MY version of this cold-weather staple for an answer to this week’s question, “Do you have a good vegan/vegetarian chili recipe?” I decided not to go the easy route with “veggie crumbles,” or some other meat-ish-textured substance (though, some Soyrizo might make a delicious addition). I want to keep it whole…and, coincidentally, CHEAP!

I always keep some dry beans in my pantry, for those days when I’ve got time to simmer away. Usually, there’s a jar of lentils and then some other, more substantial legumes. This week, I realized I was running low! I have about a ½ cup of lentils, dry, and another ½ cup of a mixture of black-eyed peas and Christmas limas, also dry…hmm. Purrfect timing, no? The limas are obvious, but the black-eyed peas are often eaten for good luck in the New Year, so I guess I’ll be using these!

I also have about 1 cup of prepared lentils in the freezer, so, I have my base for this project. I wish I’d canned some of the tomatoes I got at the Farmer’s Market over the summer, but alas, I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. If this turns out to be a great recipe, I’m sure it’ll happen next year. I’m working like crazy now, so, finding the time to make this has become a tad tough, but I’ll have some time in the mornings over the weekend. I’ll also have to buy some canned (gasp!) tomatoes, but everything else is already in the house. Here’s what I have:

Lentils, cooked and dry

Christmas Lima Beans/Black Eyed Peas, dry

Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Celery and Bell Peppers (Yellow and Red)

Frozen, roasted Jalapeños

Lots of herbs and spices… (cumin, cayenne, smoked and sweet paprika, etc…)

Tomato paste

Tomorrow, I’ll pick up those canned tomatoes. Expect photos on Sunday. And, if you have a favorite chili recipe, or know of anything I should add, leave me a comment below!

Stay Warm, and have a Delicious Day!!

By the way, Farmer’s Market Frugal is now just $9.99!  Check it out on Amazon.com, or in the Createspace Marketplace!

Posted in Dinners, Lunches, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

An Ode to Cast Iron

This time of year, there’s a distinct need for extra warmth. A hot cup of soup, a steaming bowl of stew, a perfectly roasted chicken; all of these can get their start in a sturdy, cast iron cooking vessel. These pots and pans are legendary. Some get passed down from one generation to the next, accumulating all the best stories, events and flavors from meals gone by. Others are purchased fresh and new, and then carefully seasoned until they resemble Grandma’s favorite Dutch Oven. Others still are coated in vibrant hues of enamel to be collected and displayed like gems. I’ve got a few of these cast iron categories in my kitchen, but the one that gets the most action is my Lodge Logic, 13-inch skillet.

If you look back in this blog, you’ll see her quite a bit. She just about lives on my stovetop, and occasionally gets slipped into the oven to preheat or to make room for more dishes to be realized. The heat she hangs on to helps me use less gas while cooking and the iron she adds to my meals provides additional nutrition to keep me strong and healthy. She’s hot, to say the least.

She’s also cheap.

American-made cast iron cookware is one of the most cost-effective investments you can make for the kitchen. On average, a good stainless-steel skillet with an aluminum core can run anywhere from $80 to well over $300, and could be made just about anywhere. This skillet can be found at COOK by VENOKADO for a mere $58. I know this has become something of an ad for Lodge. Sorry, I just love it.

I’m also downright smitten with my Cherise-Red Le Crueset Dutch Oven. You’ve seen this beauty in past blogs, holding Bœuf Bourguignon, crusty loaves of No-Knead Bread and silky, savory soups.

A busy workweek has made creating new posts a tad difficult, so, Frequently Asked Friday will have to happen on Sunday this time. The new question: “Do you know any good vegetarian soup or chili recipes?” If you look back over the old posts, you’ll see lots of vegetable soups, usually something smooth and blended (because The Boyfriend doesn’t like to know that there are vegetables in his bowl!). And I’ve never been a huge fan of chili, so I’ve never tried to make it. There was a great one I had a few times at the Pike Place Market, a long time ago, but since then I’ve never attempted to recreate it or find any equivalent. But, now that cooler weather has finally arrived in LA (cooler, not cold by any stretch!) I think I’ll give it a try…in my Le Crueset, of course!

On Sunday, we had our first dinner with a guest for my next book, Sunday Suppers at Home, and my skillet got a workout that day. We had a great meal, with lots of discussion on health, music and food. You’ll get to see the results next year, but for now, Farmer’s Market Frugal is still available, and the price will be slashed on 12.12.12, on Amazon.com, just in time for last minute holiday gifting!

So, I’ll continue to adjust my writing schedule and figure out what meals will be landing on the table, whether I’m home for dinner or not.

Have a delicious day!

Posted in Baking, Cookbook, Dinners, Lunches, Vegan, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

My friend, the freezer…

I recently started a job that has me working through dinnertime, or, at the earliest, through dinner-prep time. As a result, I’ve been doing a lot of make-ahead meals.
A couple weeks ago, I did a riff on a veggie lasagne, that went into the freezer to wait for a night that required a healthy meal with zero prep. You can use whatever vegetables you have for something like this. The most important part is the way the items are sliced. Long, thin slices of eggplant and zucchini, strips of bell pepper, sliced onions, grated tomatoes and handfuls of “cheese” were interspersed with sheets of collard greens and seasoned liberally. Extra Daiya shreds went on top, along with a combination of breadcrumbs and ground flaxseed for a bit of a crunch.

When I got off work at 6pm and arrived home yesterday, I popped this in a 350-degree oven, straight from the freezer and let it bake for 30 minutes, covered and 5 minutes under the broiler, uncovered. Next to a handful of salad greens, I was set for dinner!
…The next time I make this, I may add a layer of lentils…just a thought.

Today is my day off, so, I’m going to make some soup for even faster no-prep dinners. The first is Pumpkin.
With Trader Joe’s inexpensive cans of organic pumpkin, I can make nutrient-dense meals in no time. Today’s preparation will start with a large, diced shallot, two diced ribs of celery and, of course one can of pumpkin. I’ll heat up my cast iron pan with a few cloves of garlic in it, so they can get soft, sweet and roasty. The shallot and celery will get sauteed in a Tablespoon of olive oil, until they begin to soften. Next, a half cup of cooked cannellini beans gets added to the mix, along with a tablespoon of dry, powdered sage. Next comes the pumpkin and the liquids, namely 1 cup of vegetable stock and 2 cups water. I’ll season with a generous pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper. As the ingredients come together, I’ll check the garlic and see if it’s begun to brown and soften. When the garlic is soft, I’ll add it to the mix and blend the whole thing together. This will get split in half; half for the fridge, half for the freezer, so I can have some tomorrow, and then again for some future dinner.

Soup for the fridge (L) and the freezer (R)

When I get home tomorrow, I’ll toast some diced pecans and sizzle up some fresh sage leaves in some “butter” to put on top of my autumnal treat. YUM.

I think I’ll make a curried kale soup, too… but you’ll have to wait for Friday to see that one!
In the meantime, how do you make worknight meals possible? Leave a comment below.
Have a Delicious Day!

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It was delicious…

We thoroughly enjoyed our Thanksgiving Family Feast, and I think we’re still digesting it!!
Here’s how my contributions turned out…

The Pecans and Shittake topping for the Kale…how did I forget to photograph that finished product!?

Kale, without the nuts and mushrooms…


Grilled Apples with Chinese Five Spice Brown Butter

Mini Herbed Pommes Anna

Roasted squash with tarragon/cashew sauce

Posted in Dinners, Thanksgiving, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Last Minute Sides…

Are you still at a loss for what the supporting cast behind your Thanksgiving Bird will consist of? This year, I decided to try something new: consulting a magazine or two! While the inspiration for all of these sides came from Bon Apetit and Saveur, only one of them came right from the pages.

These Mini Herbed Pommes Anna, from Bon Apetit, were just too tanatlizing to skip.

I’ll be roasting some of the Squash that’s been decorating my kitchen table, and adorning it with a spinach/kale pesto, for a shock of contrasting green. (Yeah, I had to do a little product placement there…)

These Apples will dodge the pie and join the main event when they get grilled and slathered in Five-Spice-Brown-Butter.

Kale, Shiitake Mushrooms and Pecans will join forces for a side dish that I could easily enjoy on its own…I’m getting the Kale today, hence, no pic ;-)

I hope I’ve stoked your appetite for the Big Meal. Come back Friday to see how it all turned out!

I want to take this opportunity to state how grateful I am for all of you who follow this blog, especially those who’ve stuck with it through all its lapses and bumps in the road.  Have a Delicious Thanksgiving and I wish you all a happy, healthy holiday season!

Posted in Cookbook, Dinners, Health, Thanksgiving, Vegan, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Frequently Asked Friday #4

“How do I keep a turkey breast juicy?”

Have a Delicious Thanksgiving!!

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