Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

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HAPPY 15th BIRTHDAY, SARA MARGOLIS !!!!

January 31, 2012

Sometimes, I wonder what I did in another life to deserve the cool, amazing friends I have. One such friend is Model Sara Margolis! We were chit-chatting the other day and I asked her if she had her birthday party planned yet. She said she hadn’t had one in years and I nearly fell outta my chair!

SO I THREW ONE! 😀

True to form, I cooked up a storm and aimed for special! I wanted these dishes to reflect a theme, showcase some of the stuff Sara has done, the places she has been and the whimsy in her personality.

#StuffSaraLikes = All things tropical! She’s a Vegetarian (Ovo-Lacto) so fruits and veggies are big. Sweets and sour surprises, too!

Sara told me a story about a vacation of hers where she, her brother and a friend flung a coconut off a hotel balcony till it busted on the concrete below. What a way to go! I bet that coconut’s coconut-pals still talk about how he met such an untimely demise! I decided to pay homage to that coconut — Otis the Coconut! — with a signature dish I called:

Sara’s Sweet & Sour Coconut/Lime Mousse w/ Sweet & Sour Mint Phyllo Chips

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Ole Otis here is stuffed with rich and fluffy yet light and bright coconut lime mousse, topped with lime zest and toasted coconut, served with phyllo chips and garnished with mint.

The sand is pulverized wafer cookies and graham crackers. The eyes are edible, too! :p

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These phyllo chips were so fun to make. I dusted them with citric acid and colored sprinkles! That citric acid is the stuff on Sour Patch Kids candies and Sour Skittles. They were a perfect pop to the decadent mousse.

A trick to get some lime taste in the chip itself was to make lime sugar! I infused confectioner’s sugar with lime zest. I let the sugar and zest sit together for an hour. Then, as I folded the phyllo pastry, I dusted the sugar between the layers to act as a bit of an adhesive during the baking process.

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Sara’s Sandcastle Retreat Cake

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This was wild! I had never made a sandcastle cake before. BUT! Sara enjoys tropical holidays. She sports enough beach pictures to fill an impressive travelogue! Besides that, “Sara” means “PRINCESS” in Hebrew. Sooo, I went with the theme and made our Princess a beach castle she can hide away in for some R&R. I dunno about that starfish, though. How did he get on the beach resort guest list? :O Looks suspicious!

I really wanted this to look like something someone made on the beach so I forwent using things like fondant and stuck with a spatula and my hands, instead!

This is a three-tier cake for 75. The bottom tier was a traditional white vanilla cake infused with guava and lime. The middle tier was my favorite — Strawberry and Chocolate swirl! It tasted exactly like Neopolitan ice cream! The top tier was a strawberry cream bundt cake.

Frosting! The top tier was frosted in a coconut-pecan glaze that gave the “sand” an awesome wet-sand look after application. The middle and bottom tiers were frosted in lemon/lime/orange zest infused buttercream.

The sand is a mixture of pulverized vanilla wafer cookies, graham cracker cookies and these gingersnap type things I bought. Those made the darker sand where I wrote “HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARA”!

I also bought the candy pearls sprinkled everywhere. 🙂 ~And the candles!

The shells, starfish and misfits invading Sara’s castle are all handmade with white chocolate. Very yummy!

The towers are, of course, ice cream cones — decorated! :p

Sara’s Facebook name is “Tweetie Bird” so I had to invite Tweety to the party!

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This is how cake was served. Here is my favorite of the three: a slice of strawberry/chocolate swirl atop strawberry cream and guava/ancho chili infused chocolate drizzle, decorated with pink and lavender sugar sprinkles — and served with a quenelle of mango sorbet. On top is a red candle with a red flame, a white chocolate sea shell and one of the cookie “castle battlements.”

The sweets didn’t stop there! Considering Sara turned FIFTEEN and TAYLOR SWIFT wrote a song called FIFTEEN, it stood to reason to make some T-Swizzle inspired treats!

Taylorific Orange Infused Cheesecake w/ Raspberry Puree

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Taylor (I call her Tayters!) has said her favorite food is cheesecake. Nothing easier, more fun or yummier than that! This is an orange infused cheesecake with graham cracker crust, served on a bed of raspberry puree w/ an orange peel twirl, orange zest & mint leaf garnish. Decadent, silky, lovely!

Parmesan Dusted Sara Tots w/ Horseradish Vegenaise Dip

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TAYTER TOTS! Growing up, that was Taylor’s nickname and what I still call her. FOR THE OCCASION, though, I believe we can call these “SARA TOTS!” :p These are Yukon Gold potato “Sara Tots” dusted with Parmesan cheese and pepper, served with a luscious Vegenaise and horseradish dip. For any of you who want to cut down on the mayo, definitely go out and get some Vegenaise! It’s great and better for you!

Sarastrone Soup

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This is my traditional recipe for minestrone soup. I like fixing it vegan-style, and fully embrace the bean broth as the base of this hallmark dish. The incorporation of the shell pasta ties into Sara’s beach-themed gala, and that makes it SARASTRONE instead of minestrone!  ;p

Saravera Primavera Martini

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This was good! This is a medley of kale, watercress, baby asparagus tips, PAPAYA (omg yum), Korean garlic-chili sauce and quinoa spaghetti noodles quickly sauteed in sesame oil. Once in the martini glass, I drizzled a very clean celery/onion broth with a hint of low sodium soy sauce over it all, garnished with a scallion curl and fresh flat leaf parsley — AND PAPAYA PEPPER! NEVER throw away your papaya seeds! All you have to do is soak them, husk them, dry them and grind them! Then, you have the healthiest “pepper” you could ever hope to find!

FYI, I no longer use any other pasta but the quinoa stuff! Quinoa is a real super food. The health benefits are astounding!

The Princess Sara (Cocktail)

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Can’t have a party without a cocktail!

I made two versions of this; one for the under-21s (like our birthday girl! :p ) that was just as delicious as the one for us over-21s. This cocktail is inspired by the traditional red tea from South Africa, Rooibos Tea, and fuses some tropical influences into it with crushed mint (mojito style!) and fresh mango juice — and rum! I used coconut rum. :p

Sara said one of her favorite fruits is mango so this recipe felt natural. Rooibos is SO good for you! See here. I served this in a glass that could facilitate four Lite Cubes for the neon rave effect you see pictured. All garnished with fresh mint!

So, basically, smush a mint leaf at the bottom of the glass. Removal of the deceased leaf is optional. Lite Cubes go in. Then, start building! 3 parts mango juice, 2 parts Rooibos tea, rum to fill, mint garnish. Enjoy!

SARA! I pity people who don’t know you. You have an uncanny essence & energy that lights up any room and turns any frown upside down. I’m SO thankful we met because I firmly believe that, to make the most of life, we must surround ourselves with bright, ambitious, successful people who keep the goal of living life to its fullest at the top of their to-do list — people like you. There are LOTS of people who love you — including me! — so never forget that the more you smile and the brighter you glow, the more people you’ll inspire around you, with everything you do. Just look at all the yummy treats you inspired me to make! :p

Cheers to this next round of your life! At fifteen, the party is just getting started!

Happy Birthday, Princess! ~(=^-^)= ♡♥♡♥♡♥

OH! And here’s the DJ we had! ~(=O_O)=

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And here she is after the feast! 🐱

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Recipes for all these will be posted soon on my upcoming Tumblr dedicated to my yummies. 🙂 Stay tuned!

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St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Cobbler

March 19, 2011

Of course, had to make green things for St. Patrick’s Day 2011! 🙂

Here’s a super easy cobbler; recipe jacked off Paula Dean. It doesn’t get more simple than this and the results are exquisite! Comforting, sweet, fruity; rather reminiscent of what we call, in Spanish, Capirotada.

Also, building off the principles of Vegan baking, I subbed in some of these ingredients (via LIVESTRONG). (Sorry, Paula! :p)

Ingredients

1 Cup Self-Rising flour
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup diced peaches
1 cup diced pears
1/2 stick vegan butter
1 cup water
Pinch Cardamom
3-4 Pinches Cinnamon
2 Pinches powdered ginger
All Natural Green Food Dye (I use Seelect or make my own.)
Mint leaf for garnish
Coloured Sanding Sugars for Garnish (I made yellow and green). I don’t think India Tree Sanding Sugars are Vegan so make your own this way. I do!

For Pudding:

1 cup plain (or vanilla, your call) Almond Milk. (You may use Coconut Milk or Soy, as well.)
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp extract of your choice. I used Pistachio Extract).
1 tsp Agave Nectar
Pinch of salt
Minced pears, peaches, sweetened dried cranberries
1-2 drops green food dye

Here we go!

Slice up Vegan Butter, place in 9×7 baking dish (I use one of my favourite pyrex vessels). Place in oven to melt completely. (Baking dish is not set in stone. You may bake this in something similar sized and feel free to adjust ingredients to bake larger batches in larger vessels).

Meanwhile, combine peaches, pears, water & half-cup cane sugar in sauce pan. Simmer, allow to reduce by half. The water, fruits and sugar will make a nice syrup.

While that’s working its magic, combine flour, cane sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and salt in bowl and stir to combine. LISTEN TO YOUR ELDERS & BETTERS! JUST LIKE MISS PAULA SAID, YOU WILL RUIN THIS RECIPE WITH THE WRONG FLOUR! If you don’t have self-rising flour, add a few teaspoons of baking powder and a pinch of salt to whatever you’re using. 2 or 3 tsps of baking powder should do the trick.

Slowly pour milk into dry ingredients and stir as you go. Stir with a spoon or whisk, your preference, till lumps are gone but don’t beat it to death.

Carefully remove baking dish from oven. Pour batter directly onto the butter. DO NOT STIR!

Next, ladle fruit directly onto batter in a bit of a scatter. ONCE AGAIN, DO NOT STIR! (It’s good to get a good amount of syrup in there, too, so your cobbler will be nice and juicy if you prefer it hot. Personally, I don’t use too much of the syrup but feel free to play with the ratio and find your comfort zone with baking this dish).

Sprinkle some coloured sanding sugar over the top for a bit of drama on the finished product.

Bake at 375-400 F (190-200 C) for 45 minutes. May be served piping hot, warm, room temperature or cold. In the pictures below, I chilled mine in the fridge and served it cold. I love the set state’s appearance. :p ~Also, serve with whatever you like; ice cream, whipped topping, fruit compote, jam, drizzles, plain. I served it with pudding!

For Pudding:

COMPLETELY dissolve cornstarch in bowl with 1 cup of milk.

Combine arrowroot, other cup of milk, agave nectar & salt in sauce pan. Stir to dissolve arrowroot powder. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Stir in cornstarch slurry and continue to simmer until thickened. It’s gonna happen fast so watch for it!

Remove from heat, add extract, cranberries, pears, peaches and a few drops of green food dye. Stir to combine. Pour into dish and cover lightly with plastic wrap so that the plastic touches the surface of the pudding. This prevents a film from forming on the top. Put in fridge to cool.

You can cool till the cobbler is done and top with semi-set pudding or wait till later and top fully set, cold pudding on a cooled cobbler. If, when you remove your pudding from the fridge and it seems it separated in any way, just stir it up again and it’ll be fine.

ADDITIONALLY, YOU MAY USE ANY STORE BOUGHT VEGAN PUDDING, such as Zen Soy. It will save you a lot of time. Vanilla is a good flavour to build on for this but Banana works awesome, too. Just dump your pudding in a bowl, add minced fruit, food dye, stir to combine, reserve till ready to serve.

Plate Cobbler. Top with pudding. Garnish with a mint leaf.

Post-Bake:

Plated & Ready for Face-Stuffing:


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Fashion Week Yummy Treats – Lunch on Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week

February 23, 2011

I’ve been taking a bunch of pictures of goodies I’ve been making since Fashion Season (Autumn/Winter 2011-2012) began but I haven’t blogged any of it! So! Here’s what I made today, the first day of Milan Fashion Week:

Blueberry, Wheatgrass, Tangerine, Apple, Mango, Almond Milk Smoothie

Super easy here!

Handful freshly clipped Wheatgrass
1/2 pint blueberriees
2 red apples
2 mangoes
2 tangerines
2 cups almond milk

Combine almond milk, blueberries and wheatgrass in a blender. Blend about 30 seconds. Strain. Reserve juice, dispose of pulp.
Next, juice apples, mangoes, tangerines and reserve pulp for use in anything, really! Cakes, breads, pies, fritters, empanadas, even a fruity vegan burger of some kind.
Pour blueberry/wheatgrass/almond milk into glass. Fill with mango/apple/tangerine juice. It will make that cool looking orange-ish effect at the frothy top. Garnish with a tangerine round and tangerine zest and enjoy!

Alternatively, you can make your wheatgrass juice and blend it with everything else in a Vitamix. But I wanted more of a juicy-juice w/ the only “smooth” component being the almond milk, (which itself is actually a juice. Just… milky!)

Now, I say to strain out the wheatgrass/blueberry because the wheatgrass itself is non-digestible by humans. I didn’t know that when I first started messing with it and chewed it up, no problem AND never had any stomach or digestive issues. I still like to nibble on the blades sometimes but I’ll take the advice of elders and betters and not gobble down the grass itself. :p Only juice!

Spring/Summer Sauté

This was a super fast and super delicious saute to toss together, especially if you’re cramped on time or just don’t feel like a multi-hour ritual in the kitchen.

1 yellow zucchini
1 cup fresh green beans, ends trimmed, cut in half (or not, your call. French them if you want!)
1/2 purple onion, sliced
handful cilantro
Juice of 1 tangerine
sprig of rosemary (run your fingers down the sprig to remove the rosemary. No need to chop it but you can if you want).
pinch of cardamom
2-3 pinches regular or Hungarian paprika
1-2 grinds of red pepper flake mill
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste (or grains of paradise instead of pepper)
Tangerine zest
Good olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced (dice, mince, even add whole and remove at the end if you prefer. Depends on how strong a garlic flavour you enjoy but I like it hearty so used fresh, sliced garlic).

We want to work quickly here.

First, heat olive oil in a skillet. Sauté onion 1 minute. Add pinch of sea salt. Add garlic and sauté an additional minute.
Add green beans, squash, rosemary, cilantro, all the spices and sauté aggressively for 5-6 minutes. Keep things moving so it all cooks evenly.
Add tangerine juice and sauté another 3 minutes, aggressively. Check for seasoning. If no further salting or peppering is necessary, move on.
Plate. Garnish with fresh tangerine zest, bushel of cilantro and rosemary sprig. Serves 2.

I was starving so I ate the whole thing. :p

This is a yummy seasonal dish! Feel free to add nuts when the spices go in, if you like. Macadamias would be really good. Or almonds! Anything you enjoy, really. 🙂

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Vegan Beet Bundt Cake – Celebrity Birthday Series – Olivia Wilde

September 2, 2010

So, I’m dorky enough to enjoy putting together birthday dishes for notorious folks I admire. 03-10-2010, my favourite Princess in all the galaxy turned 26; Olivia Wilde (real name Olivia Jane Cockburn). I’m so floored by the look of her and her politics and her humanitarian heart and her veganism. Sincerely, one of my most adored people on the planet!

I made this Vegan Beet Bundt Cake to celebrate her special day and it was really, really good! Now some words of caution – Vegan baking is tricky! We’re all so used to doing everything the old-fashioned, standard way but what I’ve learned through vegan baking experimentations is that one really DOES NOT need eggs or milk or any of that to pull off delicious, moist, succulent pastries. Just look at the successes of Sarma Melngailis at OneLuckyDuck, Erin McKenna at Babycakes, the award-winning delights of Chef Chloe Coscarelli and everything fabulous Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows does. These women — among so many others — prove how wonderful vegan baking really is.

Vegan Beet Bundt Cake

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup Beet Puree + 1/4 cup Prickly Pear Juice
1/4th cup melted coconut oil (canola or sunflower or any neutral oil will suffice)
1/2 cup Agave Nectar
1 cup Apple Sauce
1 cup Coconut Milk
1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. White Vinegar

Dry Ingredients:
3 cups Unbleached Cake Flour
3 tsps. Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsps. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Cream pf Tarter
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cardamom

For Icing:
1 cup Vegan White Chocolate Chips
1/3rd cup Coconut Milk (eyeball it, might need to go 1/2 or more depending on your chip brand)
1/2 cup Organic Powdered Sugar
*Optionally*
After Icing, quickly sprinkle the top w/ roasted, crushed pistachios. Pistachios and beets go interestingly well together! (Not pictured, though).

Fresh Strawberries, blueberries & Orange ribbons for garnish.

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Roast or boil beets (2-3 yield about a cup) for 30-45 mins. When done, set aside to cool. Then, peel and dice. Next, peel prickly pears and juice. ~Puree and set aside.
Sift together all dry ingredients into a large bowl.
Combine all wet ingredients in a large bowl. Then, slowly pour into the dry ingredients and fold/gently mix together. Careful not to over-mix. Once everything is married, pour into a 8-cup capacity non-stick bundt pan prepared with cooking spray.
Bake at 375-degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and slip out of pan onto a vessel of your choice. A toothpick inserted probably will not come out clean but don’t be alarmed. It’s a wildly moist cake. Allow to cool enough so that the icing won’t melt and run when applied.
While cooling, make the icing. Setup a double-boiler and add coconut milk. Allow to warm for a minute. Then, add powdered sugar. Stir till smooth and dissolved. Next, add chocolate chips and gently agitate with a wooden spoon or spatula till entirely melted and smooth. Feel free to add more or less of any icing ingredient based on your results. Some augmentation may be necessary.
Once smooth, drizzle over top of cake and allow to run decoratively. Use as much or as little as you like. I like to ooze it up, hence the photo above. :p
Garnish with fresh Strawberries, Blueberries & Orange Ribbons.
Allow to set a bit, then slice and enjoy!

If any of you lot give this a go, please feel free to let me know what worked and what didn’t and what you did differently to yield the most ideal results! I’m still in the process of “perfecting” my Vegan baking and it’s one of the most fun, most delicious endeavors I’ve ever undertaken!

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A Very Veggie Day Today!

August 25, 2010

So, today was sooo all up on the veggieness!

Morning started w/ my usual lemon water, followed by herbal tea, (Orange Blossom today) and a few raw almonds to snack on as a light breakfast till my brunch guest arrived. I was going to make something elaborate — like broiled shrimp tossed in lemon & tarragon and wilted escarole — but when choices came up, my guest shouted “Veggie dogs!” ~So Hot Dogs & Champagne it was! :p Marlene Dietrich proudly shone down on us from Heaven! (FYI: Hot dogs & champagne was her favourite meal).

We had these lovelies with some bubbly! 🙂 Beneath the Veggie frank is some all natural ketchup, all natural mustard and on top is my favourite all natural salsa from Sun Harvest and an organic dill pickle flank wedged into the side. Served ’em with some organic cherry tomatoes.

Lunch was mountains of fruit. Sad to say, I didn’t take pictures but I had enough kiwis and oranges to turn me various shades of orange and green! So refreshing and yummy.

Dinner rocked. I fixed vegan pasta w/ tomato & basil sauce full of baby spinach, flat leaf parsley and garlic w/ a side of Tofurky Vegan Italian Sausage. They’re my favourites! The texture is insanely good. Very firm, very satisfying for people (like me) who love to chew things. >:D

Here’s the pasta I used. It’s made from Quinoa which is REALLY awesome! Here’s the company site.

Pretty shameless product feature but they’re sooooo good!

Finished off with some Hazelnut coffee spiked with coconut milk. Was a great day! 🙂

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Raw Vegan Adventures Day 2

July 24, 2010

So all these “Raw Vegan” days were a bit ago, (2 weeks maybe?) but I never got around to posting all the pictures. So, I’ll gradually toss them up and when anyone searches this blog or clicks a tag, they’ll come up in order! 🙂

My wheatgrass of choice.

My chia seeds! I put these in everything, as well. Sprinkle on salads, cereal, they’re always in my Green Monsters. This + Wheatgrass = awesome Super Foods!

Breakfast canteloupe. Super juicy, refreshing & super sweet! 🙂

I had a smashingly good Green Monster that morning! Made with:
Coconut water from 2 fresh coconuts
18 purple grapes,
2 tbsp. Chia Seeds
12 Arugula Leaves
Liberal handful of flat-leaf parsley

Top sprinkled with freshly grated coconut. Garnished w/ a chunk of coconut, some wheatgrass blades, parsley sprig & Arugula leaf (as seen in the middle picture).

 

Gigantic salad of Mango, Kiwi, Arugula, Baby Spinach, freshly ground mixed pepper, golden flax seeds & radishes, tossed in red wine vinegar & a some sea salt. This was a perfect lunch.

Dinner!

Squash Ribbon “Pasta” with Broccoli

Something I love to do. I take the vegetable peeler to some squash (used baby zucchini here) and make long ribbons. They’re an excellent substitute for pasta! I tossed them with some fresh broccoli crowns, apple cider vinegar, chia seeds, golden flax seeds, sea salt, freshly ground mixed pepper & crushed red pepper flakes. Garnished with some parsley. It was SO substantial. Took awhile to finish this bowl!

Over the course of the day, I snacked on nuts and berries between main dishes so by nightfall, I was stuffed and ready for a coma to kick in. 😀

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Raw Vegan Adventures (Part Deux) Day 1

July 6, 2010

Apologies for a lack of posts lately! Been a bit busy which forced me to neglect daily Raw Vegan Adventures posts but I’ll get ’em all up now that things have settled down! 🙂

I decided to do a week stint with Raw Veganism. I enjoy trying different diets, experiencing different regimens. They keep me entertained and allow me to explore my body’s wants and needs. As a chef, I have every kind of food known to the human race around me on a daily basis. In the past, it was easy to get into the habit of eating whatever I wanted. That kind of behavior can become quite senseless and I would notice my my body feeling sluggish, strange, even bored. So! I began experimenting with detoxes, cleanses & diets. Fast forward to today, these regimens have become a lifestyle for me. It’s like I’m fine tuning myself and I never felt better than when I was on a raw vegan diet. Of everything I’ve tried, the energy level raw veganism gave me was unprecedented. It was like I was HIGH on healthy! ~Do any of you ever feel that way with the dietary disciplines you follow?

So, I wanted to re-experience that awesome feeling. Here are the comings and goings of my latest foray into Raw Veganism and it was fantastic!

Day 1!

Breakfast! Big bowl of organic grapefruit. There’s much to be said for how juice SPRAYS across the room when having at one of these. :p I love it! I paired that with a tart Granny Smith.

Green Monster! Baby Spinach, Arugula, Flat Leaf Parsley, Cilantro, Lemon & Lime Juice and water. 🙂

Lunch! I made a kind of vegan taco thingie. The filling is a mix of diced extra firm tofu, strawberries, tomatoes, chia seeds tossed in red wine vinegar, sea salt and freshly ground mixed peppercorns. Topped w/ shaved carrot, side of red grapes. I had two of these and was entirely stuffed. ~_~

For dinner, I made a Tofu & Tomato Napoleon on a bed of mixed baby greens, topped with some frisse & littered with chia seeds and golden flax seeds. Sprinkled w/ rice wine vinegar, sea salt, freshly ground mixed peppercorns.

Throughout the day, I had some snacks; Almonds and grapes, mostly. Raw okra is another favorite snack of mine! 🙂 I’ve also gotten ADDICTED to red wine vinegar shots. >.> ~I dunno how kind that is on my esophagus and digestive system but I LOVE shooting 1-2 oz. of straight vinegar. The feeling is AMAZING. Seriously, it feels like an orgasm. Every nerve in my body tingles in unison and it’s just LOL ~well, it’s orgasmic! :p

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