Friday, July 31, 2009

Raw Food Lessons

This week I gave a couple of raw food lessons, timed perfectly to coincide with the hazy, hot & humid summer weather we've finally been having. It was great preparing entire meals without the use of the stove or oven.

The first menu was Italian themed: Mediterranean Wilted Kale Salad with Kalamata Olives and Pine Nuts; Spiralized Zucchini "Spaghetti" with Cashew "Cheese" Sauce and Red Pepper Marinara; and a lovely Fresh Fruit Tart with Date Nut Crust (my favorite summer treat!).

The second menu was Mexican themed: Shaved Jicama and Fennel Salad with Avocado Lime Vinaigrette; Sunflower Seed "Tacos" with Mexican Cacao Mole Sauce; Strawberry Salsa and Cilantro.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oh, Miya

On a sticky summer evening, I felt in the mood for something light, something crunchy, something like... veggie sushi. Where else but Miya's Sushi would satisfy my craving? So we headed out to the corner of Chapel and Howe for the most creative and delicious interpretations of rolls around.

The place was packed, despite the fact that it's summer and most of Yale is a ghost town. But we were able to squeeze in and enjoy complementary bowls of miso soup while we waited for a table to be set. This isn't any ordinary miso soup - rich with onion and other vegetables, it's more of a miso stew with a thick broth. Delicious.

I ordered the Japafrican Queen Roll (sushi made with eggplant, apricots, avocado, pickled radish, scallions & ethiopian berbere spice mix, wrapped in freshly made teff grain crepe - I asked for it without the goat cheese), the Mount Fuji Roll (and inside-out roll of seasoned eggplant, spicy miso avocado & scallions), and my favorite, the Rikki Tikki Roll (mushroom & cauliflower with roasted garlic, chinese black beans, scallions, hot pepper & pine nuts). And of course we shared a bottle of homemade ginger and lemongrass Dragon Lady sake.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This week's menu

My garden is overflowing with yellow squash, and I keep trying to come up with new ways to serve it. Last night I made ratatouille for a class I'm teaching in West Hartford. It was delicious (as were the leftovers which I inhaled for lunch today).

For this week's menu, I sauteed the yellow squash with red onion, then tossed it with a lovely tapenade made with black & green olives, walnuts, garlic, capers, fresh basil, olive oil and sundried tomatoes. I think this will become a regular dinner item for me this summer.

I served it alongside red and white quinoa and baked tofu that had been marinated in tamari, tahini and toasted sesame oil, which gave it the perfect lightly crisp coating. The shades of tan were very soothing, and the flavors and textures complemented each other well.

This Week's Meals:

#1 Baked Tofu with Sauteed Yellow Squash and Olive Tapenade on Red and White Quinoa
#2 Chana Masala with Green Beans and Quinoa
#3 Shiitake and Portobello Stroghanoff with Zucchini and Fusilli Pasta

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Edgewood Park Farmer's Market

I had fun this morning meeting my neighbors in Westville at the Edgewood Park Farmers Market. This is one of 6 markets organized by CitySeed around the city of New Haven. It's one of the many things I love about living here!

Because my garden is overflowing with yellow squash, I decided to make a modified version of Ratatouille. The Yellow Squash, Zucchini and Basil were from my garden; the onion, garlic and diced tomatoes were from the grocery store.

I did a little pre-cooking of the squash at home since my cannister of butane was running low and I didn't want to run out midway through the recipe. So, at the market, I sauteed the onion and garlic in olive oil, which drew plenty of patrons with a good sense of smell over to the table.

Then I added the fresh basil, diced tomatoes and a little sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Once that thickened, I added the squash and cooked it for a couple minutes more. The consensus was: delish!!

Beautiful weather + nice people + an abundance of organic veggies = Perfect Summer Day

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This week's menu

It's been a crazy week. I've been teaching 2 adult education classes in West Hartford, testing recipes, and planning for a farmers market cooking demonstration in New Haven (more on all that later). In between, I've been cooking for my regular clients.

This week's menu featured some tastes of summer and flavors of the great outdoors. I was inspired by my BBQ Tofu entree at the Shoreline Diner and created a meal around that with mashed potatoes and chili lime corn on the cob. And since sweet corn is now in season, I decided to do a twist on Succotash, one of those love-hate recipes. I happen to love it.

My version took on an Asian-inspired theme and was made with edamame instead of lima beans. It was accompanied by Asian style rice noodles tossed with fresh lime juice, tamari and sesame oil and garnished with sesame seeds. It was as delicious as it was beautiful.

On the Menu this Week:
  • Barbeque Tofu with Mashed Potatoes and Chili Lime Corn on the Cob
  • Edamame Succotash with Rice Noodles in Sesame Vinagrette
  • French Lentil Basmati Rice Pilaf with Green Beans Amandine

Friday, July 10, 2009

Shoreline Diner - July Menu

It's always fun cooking at the Shoreline Diner. The staff is friendly, the kitchen crew is talented (and also very friendly), and the owners are some of the nicest people in the restaurant business. Oh, yeah, and the food is pretty awesome, too.

This month there are three new items added to the Specials Menu - 2 vegan and one gluten-free (and vegan). Plus, three of my favorite recipes (the chickpea croquettes, tempeh "mock chicken" salad and Mediterannean Pasta) have been added to the regular menu. Yay! It's so exciting to see. And if you haven't stopped by to enjoy a meal on their new patio, you really must make the drive. It's so pretty. And after a day at the beach, you will find it a refreshing oasis. Come and enjoy!

This month's Specials are:

Jerk Tempeh with Red and Green Peppers and Caribbean Rice

BBQ Tofu with Herbed Vegan Cole Slaw and Chili Lime Corn on the Cob

Gluten-free Penne with Roasted Summer Squash,
Sundried Tomato and Basil Pistou

BBQ Tofu

I was testing a recipe this morning for a new item that will be on the Specials Menu at the Shoreline Diner for the month of July. I plan to serve it with herbed vegan cole slaw and chili lime corn on the cob. It's summer after all (isn't it?).

It's the perfect time of year for BBQ, and I bet this recipe would be incredible cooked out on a grill. It was pretty darn delicious baked in the oven. :)

The sauce takes just about a minute to prepare, then the tofu marinates for just a few minutes before going into a hot oven. Meanwhile, heat up the remaining sauce on the stove and pour it over the top. I had a ton of mustard greens in my garden, which I used as a garnish. I gotta say, the bitterness of the greens worked pretty awesome as a contrast with the sweet and spicy sauce. Yum - what a lunch!

BBQ Tofu (serves 2-3)

Serving size = 3 pieces of tofu


3 oz. tomato paste

3 Tbl soy sauce

2 Tbl apple cider vinegar

2 Tbl agave syrup

2 Tbl olive oil

2 tsp paprika

1 1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup water

1 lb. block of tofu, cut into 8 rectangles

1 Tbl canola oil

Mix sauce ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Place tofu in bowl and marinate for 5 mins. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place marinated tofu on oiled pan and bake 5-10 mins. on each side. Meanwhile, pour remaining sauce into pan and simmer on medium heat. Pour over baked tofu.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Independence Day

As a result of sugar overload and fireworks, I was seeing stars all weekend. My head was spinning from two recipes in particular. One, another gluten-free creation by my mom: luscious blueberry pie. Two, a recipe modified from the Fat-free Vegan: red, white and blue tapioca parfait.

This is my favorite time of year, when fresh berries are plump and perfect for snacking. They also make heavenly desserts. And the colors work so well for the Fourth of July (I think our forefathers' industrious wives coordinated it that way).

Anyone else have any colorful recipes to share?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sweet Claude's

I arrived at Sweet Claude's (otherwise known as "vegan sweet tooth heaven") just before 7 PM last night. It had been a lazy summer day; cooking in a hot kitchen in the morning, followed by a sticky afternoon in the garden. I was craving relief. I was craving... Tofutti.

In my mind I had conjured up a large cup of unnaturally green pistachio soy ice cream drizzled with hot fudge, so I hopped in my car for the 25 min. drive through the woodsy backroads to this little oasis in Cheshire. Even on an overcast evening, it's as if a beacon of light is shining on the cute red house atop the hill.

Inside, the menu board displayed my options: Cookie, Vanilla with Raspberry Swirl, Chocolate, and Coffee Chip Crunch

While the raspberry swirl sounded healthy and good, I knew it wouldn't compare to the wild raspberries I've been eating every day for the past week on my walks through Edgewood Park. That left me with three variations of Chocolate from which to choose (what to do... what to do...). I narrowed it down to Cookie and Coffee Chip Crunch, and decided to go with 1 scoop of each. Oh, and topped with a hefty portion of "Wet Walnuts" (which, as far as I can tell, are walnuts soaked in corn syrup). Yeah, I know. But how often do I make this drive?

(who could possibly resist this??)

I must report, every bite was as creamy and delicious as you might imagine. My hands will probably get itchy from the non-gluten-free chocolate cookies mashed up in the vanilla soy ice cream, but it will be worth it.

Halfway through my indulgence, I decided to pack up and go with the intention of freezing the remaining portion to be enjoyed the next day (today). Alas, at each stop light, that melting mass got smaller and smaller. Until, all that was left by the time I pulled into my driveway was a soggy container of mocha goodness and a satisfied feeling in my tummy.

ahhh... sweet.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This week's menu

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, I'm already thinking of recipes that will work well on the grill. This week I did a trial run in and on the gas stove in preparation for an outdoor cooking lesson I will be doing on Sunday.

I spotted some gorgeous summer squash ready for picking at my community garden, and the zucchini is in that "just right" baby size, too. So I had to make use of these two treats in an entree of Grilled Portobello Steak Pistou with Roasted Summer Squash on Quinoa.

After thoroughly washing the portobello mushroom caps, I drizzled them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh black pepper. These seared in a hot pan for about 10 minutes.

The squash was cut into wedges and tossed with the same marinade, then popped into a 400 degree oven to roast for about 10-15 minutes. I topped everything off with a lovely bright green pistou, which is a French pesto made without pine nuts or cheese. I pureed a generous amount of olive oil, fresh basil, garlic, a few capers and pinch of sea salt - delish!

Also on the Menu this week:
  • Mexican Black Beans with Zucchini, Corn, Carrot, Mushroom and Green Onion on Quinoa
  • Tempeh Stroganoff with Lemon Garlic Broccoli on Whole Wheat Penne