Saturday, May 24, 2014

Month of Menus

The calendar says May, but it still feels like we're stuck in a rainy April weather pattern.  My menus over the past few weeks have reflected this instability, with some meals being focused on warm comfort foods and others eagerly anticipating more seasonal picnic weather to come.  I have my hopes on a heatwave in the not too distant future so I can start whipping up batches of Chickpea Tuno.

Week One

Soy Sesame Butternut Squash, Kale and Adzuki Bean with Brown Rice

Baked Eggplant Stacks with Tofu Cheese and Fire-roasted Tomato Marinara and Sauteed Kale

Dijon Agave Glazed Tofu with Mashed Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts Amandine

Week Two

Asparagus and Shallot Risotto with Broccolini, Radish and White Beans

Pan-fried Tempeh with Blackberry Balsamic Compote, Millet and Baby Bok Choy

Tofu Piccata with Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Asparagus

Week Three

Baked Tofu with Cremini Mushroom Gravy, Quinoa and Steamed Asparagus 

Pan-fried Tempeh with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Sesame Mustard Greens

Quinoa Tabbouleh and Chickpea "Tuno"

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Easy Peasy Desserts on WTNH-TV's "CT Style"

I returned to the set of WTNH-TV's "CT Style" this morning to make a seasonal favorite, Strawberry Rhubarb Hemp Crisp.  Not only is the recipe gluten-free and vegan, but it's healthy and tastes delicious, too.  Everyone commented afterward "you'd never know this was good for you!"  Indeed.

You can get a glimpse of the dessert here before the cooking segment officially airs on Friday, May 16, at 12:30 p.m.  This recipe can be found in my new cookbook, Easy Peasy Vegan Eats, which features over 100 gluten-free vegan recipes and is available online through Amazon.

Garnish with fresh strawberries and colorful edible flowers like pansies to make the presentation beautiful for a summer picnic.

Strawberry Rhubarb Hemp Crisp
When strawberries and rhubarb are in season this is the dessert to make. The combination of sweet and tart will make you smile. Garnish with fresh strawberries and edible flowers to make a pretty presentation.

Filling Ingredients
3 cups strawberries, sliced, reserving about 1/2 cup for garnish
1 cup rhubarb, diced into 1-inch pieces (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbl corn starch
pinch of sea salt

Topping Ingredients
1/2 cup Erewhon Buckwheat Hemp Flakes (or substitute gluten-free oats)
1/2 cup almond flour 
1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour 
1 Tbl hemp seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup vegan sugar 
1/3 cup coconut oil 
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbl sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In an 8"x8" pan, toss together filling ingredients, then set aside.  In a food processor, pulse buckwheat hemp flakes, almond flour, gluten-free flour, and hemp seeds several times until flakes are slightly crushed.  Add cinnamon, sugar, coconut oil, and sea salt and pulse until they begin to clump together.  Sprinkle topping loosely over the filling mixture, leaving spaces around the edges of the pan, then sprinkle with sliced almonds. Cover with foil and place on cookie sheet to catch any drips.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until fruit filling is bubbly, then remove cover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes to crisp the top.  Remove and let cool before serving. 

Now for some more shots of me on the set. Thanks, DJ Double B for the photos!  :-)

Monday, May 12, 2014

New Hampshire Veg Fest

This past weekend I had the honor of presenting a workshop called "Dress for Success:  How to Create Tantalizing Vegan Food to Win Over the Masses" for the New Hampshire Veg Fest.  I enjoyed meeting some very excited new vegans and people curious about eating healthier.

The consistent message among all those I spoke with was that they were thrilled to attend a conference like this not just for the educational experience, but to know that there is a growing community of likeminded individuals who they can connect with.  I feel this is absolutely critical when making the vegan transition.  It always helps to have a vegan buddy for support!  (Feel free to friend me on Facebook if your vegan support system needs a little boost!)

My presentation focused on tricks and techniques for making food look appealing on the plate.  Since we "eat with our eyes," I feel that plating food is probably the most important skill to learn in order to convince a skeptical nonvegan to give something new a try.  If it looks beautiful, most people don't even ask what it is - they just want to dig in!

This was the case with the food I presented.  The menu featured Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with Spring Cleanse Quinoa Salad, Spicy Horseradish Cashew Creme Sauce and Parsley Pistou.  I demonstrated how to present the food four ways, from casual to ultra gourmet all dressed up with pretty edible flours and curly scallion ribbons.

It only takes a few extra minutes to make food look fabulous, so why not have some fun with it?  All it takes is a squeeze bottle and a little bit of playful inspiration.  If we can play with our food, that makes it all the more enjoyable!

All of these recipes are featured in my new cookbook, Easy Peasy Vegan Eats, which is now available through  There are over 100 gluten-free recipes just like these as well as more insider tips about creating culinary balance through color, taste and texture, which is essential to a satisfying meal.

Plating #1

Plating #2

Plating #3

Plating #4