Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cyber Monday deals on books

Apparently you should look for Cyber Monday deals on The paperback books make terrific stocking stuffers.  You can get 25% off right now on any orders by using the code HOLIDAYNOW when you check out. 

I like theStimulating Stories, Tips and Recipes

Stimulating Stories, Tips and Recipes 

It's got terrific recipes as well as useful tips and relatable true tales.  It's not a book you need to read from cover to cover but can have fun flipping around and just picking a short random excerpt.

The short story is there for a contest they had on the site so don't bother ordering it.  It's super short and was specific to the contest details. 

You can look at the contents of each book.  Be sure to note which item you are clicking as they now have the print books separate from the ebook versions.  I always like a paper copy I can have in my hands but the books are selling far better for ipads.  I would guess you can gift those as well but it's still far more fun to have things to physically open.  With 25% off you can enjoy giving a few.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Day After Thanksgiving

Today isn't the only day we have leftovers.  It's the only day when most people in America have the same sorts of leftovers.  For many this is terrific and only requires some reheating.  Leftovers can be planned overs.  In fact I wrote an entire article on leftovers revised.  If you absolutely can't stand having more of the same or you are trying to impress someone with your culinary savvy, there are plenty of creative ways to have a whole new gourmet experience with the pieces of yesterday.

Take the turkey.  Yes, the whole leftover carcass will make a terrific soup.  It's the backbone of fowl that creates a rich broth, so boil those bones with plenty of vegetables and herbs then strain it all an hour or so later and use that stock when sauteing onions, turnips, carrots, celery, greens, sea salt, and adding some of the meat back in towards the end.

If you are vegan, I'm sorry but Tempeh has no backbone.  You could make a stew and crumble your leftovers into it.

Sweet potatoes can be mixed with a soft cheese or tofu, salt and pepper or your favorite spices to make a great raviloi filling.  Buy some prepared wonton wrappers, fill with the mixture and just seal by moistening the edges of the wantons before pressing them together.  Boil for a few minutes and just add to your stew or soup from above. 

Bread dressing could become a main for breakfast or dinner, mix with egg and fry in a pan like a pancake or fritatta. 

One woman I knew took leftover cranberry sauce and made dessert parfaits by placing layers of the sauce with chocolate syrup and ice-cream.  You could easily do another version with whipped cream or tofu whip, alternating layers in a tall clear glass.

Let me know about your own creations.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Brussel Sprout and Chestnut recipe lovely for entertaining

Brussel Sprout & Chestnuts

Presoak 6 - 8 hours desired amount of Dried organic chestnuts.  (Dried are sweeter and can easily be mail ordered.)  For two people use 1/2C. Chestnuts soaked in 1 1/2 C. water and about six or seven brussel sprouts.

Wash the brussel sprouts.  Chop them in half.  Place a two inch strip of kombu in the bottom of a sauce pan.  Add the chestnuts with their soaking water. (be sure you have removed any of the dark red outer shell pieces that may cling to your chestnuts and discard)  Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low to simmer for 20-30 minutes.   Add a little more water if needed.  Add the brussel sprouts and simmer until liquid is almost gone.  10-15 minutes.  Sprinkle with sea salt and simmer just a couple of minutes more.  Serve warm.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Make a fast Tempeh for those who don't want Turkey

Tempeh “Turkey”

The gravy in this recipe is great with beans or to top millet mash…

1 package Tempeh cut into triangles
1 Cup Safflower oil for frying
1-2 Cups button mushrooms
1 onion diced
2-3 Cups water
2 Tablespoons miso (country barley is a good one)
1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. Sage
1/4 tsp. Rosemary
1/2 tsp. Thyme
1/2 tsp. Marjoram
2 Tablespoons Kudzu

Heat the oil in a heavy fry pan and fry the Tempeh until golden brown. Drain on brown paper bags.  Place the fried tempeh, mushrooms and onions in a saucepan.  Mix the other gravy ingredients, except the kudzu, and pour over the Tempeh and veggies.  Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Dissolve the Kudzu in a small amount of cool water and then Stir into the Tempeh mixture until sauce thickens.  Serve hot.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Seasonal Drink Experiment with Pumpkin and Chocolate

Here is a recipe that is just an idea.  I have not actually make it yet or tried it out.   It was an idea I saw made with ingredients I do not use and I wondered what it might be like if I switched it up a bit and gave it a name.   It could be nice with alcohol added, like rum or whiskey.  A cross between hot cocoa and some sort of toddy.  Hot toddy's were supposed to ward off colds.  My mother believes that. 

My mother who is the daughter of a doctor and believes she knows as much as someone who did their time in Medical school, internships and residency.  She believes she knows what doctors know and she believes in the powers of a hot toddy or the good feelings that come from warm drinkable chocolate.  I'm sure she read these things in women's magazines. 

I do believe in the power of experimentation.  I like to experiment.  My experiments in New York are more limited due to space, the cost here and the flow of people to taste test with.  While I get to see people far more often, it is not in my kitchen.  A space that is smaller than a broom closet where I am situated just now in the east village.   In California I had wonderful neighbors willing to taste test just about anything. 

I remember coming back from a class I taught at Air New Zealand's West Coast headquarters.  I had made several dozen crispy shortbread cookies decorated with chocolate.  The class was not as huge as I anticipated and I came home with many cookies.  I knocked on Rob's door in the first apartment.  He gladly took a few but didn't want more than that.  I knocked on SJ's door and she took more and then Robin took the few that were left.  They always gave me their honest opinions.  A little more ginger for my pumpkin pie or get that strawberry flavor stronger for a sauce.  I saw them daily and I lived a different life.

So I doubt I'll be creating a big batch of drinkables to try out as I prefer cookies and pie myself as treats.  I just leave this idea here as a springboard for anyone who wants to play with a fun Holiday type of drink.  I'm sure you could try it hot or cold like a shake.  Let me know what you come up with and give it your own name.

Hot Pumpkacolate

2-4 Cups soymilk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
2 -3 tablespoons Agave
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 T cocoa powder

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie (it's even vegan for those who want to avoid eggs or cane sugar.)

Pumpkin Pie


3/4 C. unbleached white flour
3/4 C. whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 tsp. Sea salt
1/4 C. safflower oil
1/4 C. brown rice syrup

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Mix the flours and salt in a mixing bowl and then add the oil using a fork to mix until you have beads of dough.  Add the rice syrup and mix using your hand just until mixed.  Please do not over mix the dough.  Gather the dough and form into a ball.  You may refrigerate to make it easier to roll out.   Roll out thin between pieces of wax paper.  Peel off the top layer of wax paper and flip it into a pie plate.  Trim the excess with your hands and save the dough to make cut outs.  Using a fork put a few pricks in the bottom of the crust.  Flute the edges of the crust with your fingers or make tracks with the fork.

Roll the crust trimmings into a ball and then roll out just like the pie crust.  This time use a small heart or star shaped cookie cutter to make small crust cut outs.  Transfer to a baking sheet with a parchment paper on it.  Keep rolling up excess dough to form a ball and then roll out in the same manner to keep making cut-outs until all the dough is used.  You will get about 21 small cutouts. Bake for 15-20 minutes until just golden brown.


2 cups Pumpkin puree or 1 can of organic pumpkin
3/4 lb. Tofu
1 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ginger
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
3/4 C. Brown Rice Syrup
1/4 plus 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/3 C. light vegetable oil

Blend all filling ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy.  Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake for 1 hour. (Note: you may need foil so as not to burn the outside crust, just apply to crust about ½ way through cooking or start with foil and take off after 30 minutes.)  Top with the cookie cutouts if desired.  Let cool and chill in refrigerator.  Use Tofu whip topping to decorate.

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup
Pick the darkest looking squash you can find so that when you cut into it the color is deep orange.  That is when they are the sweetest.

1 large red onion, sliced
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks with seeds removed
1 Tablespoon dried basil (optional)
1-3 Tablespoons olive oil
White miso paste
Good water
Nutmeg (optional)

In a good sized pot, sauté the onion for several minutes in the olive oil and add the basil.
Add the squash and enough water to cover the vegetables with approximately 1 tsp. Sea salt.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Process in a food processor or blender into a smooth creamy soup.
Adjust the salt/miso to taste and garnish with nutmeg.

For an even richer holiday soup add pressure cooked or boiled dried chestnuts to the mixture before blending.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Simple Sage Gravy and Millet Mash

These quick and easy to do recipes are great all year long - use them now and long after Thanksgiving.

Simple Sage Gravy

2-3 Tablespoons oil
1/3 C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 C. water or stock
1-2 Tablespoons Shoyu (soy sauce) (plus 1 teaspoon sea salt instead of on of the Tablespoons Shoyu)
1 – 2 teaspoons sage

Simply heat the oil over med. to low heat and add the flour creating a thick paste.  Add water or stock by small increments stirring constantly.  You may use a wire whisk if that makes it easier for you to avoid lumps.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Keep stirring until desired consistency is reached.  Stir in fresh minced parsley if desired towards end. 

Another version is to simply dilute 1/2 Cup sunflower butter with water, stir over medium heat adding the shoyu and sage.

Millet Mash

1 C. Millet sorted and washed
1 small cauliflower
3 C. Water
Pinch of Sea Salt

Boil the water and add the millet and cauliflower and the salt.  Put lid on and turn down heat to a simmer.  Cook for 20 min.  If you have a potato masher use that other wise a fork will do.  Mash the millet and cauliflower together.  You may wish to add chopped onion from the beginning or add sautéed onion during the mashing.  It’s great by itself or top with gravy.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's that time of year again - Let the Thanksgiving recipes out

Every year I post some Thanksgiving recipes.  The ones that will get posted here this year are my staples.  I might dip into a different recipe from year to year but I always come back to these because I love them, others love them, even my family loves them and that is saying a lot from a picky bunch who really want old fashioned dairy or sugar laden stuff I can't eat.   With only one week to start getting geared up - I'll start posting.

Cranberry Sauce

1 1/2 lbs. Fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 cup sweetener.  ( use all maple syrup or some maple and some rice syrup)
Pinch of sea salt
Zest of one orange (optional)

Simply stir the cranberries and salt over low heat for approx. 30 minutes.  The cranberries will soften and the liquid will form a syrup.  Add the sweetener and orange zest and keep stirring until desired consistency is achieved.  Cool completely and then chill before serving.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

The winter squash this fall are exquisite.  The flavors are strong, sweet and satisfying.  I'm looking forward to making my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie but then I thought first I want to make these moist, delicious muffins.  They freeze well and I've done them so many different ways, always with delightful results.  Add some fresh blueberries for example or sprinkle the top with dried fruit.  Get the breakfast cookbook they are in and make a quick tofu cream cheese to spread on them.  I love breakfast foods and this recipe seems to make everyone happy, so don't tell those you share them with how they are low in sugar and fat and full of healthy pumpkin.  Just let them savor the flavors and fawn over your cooking skills.

Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins.

Dry ingredients:
1 ½ Cup Oat flour
1 ½ Cup Barley flour
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 ½ Tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Nutmeg
¼ to ½ tsp. Clove

Wet ingredients:
2 Cups Pumpkin puree (usually 1 small pumpkin will yield 2 Cups)
½ Cup Safflower or other vegetable oil
½ Cup Maple syrup
½ Cup Barley malt

½ Cup or more raisins (optional)

To make the pumpkin puree:
Cut the top of a baking pumpkin like you were making a jack-o-lantern.  Scoop out the seeds and replace the top.  Place in a 350° oven and bake for 1 hour or until the pumpkin is soft inside.  Allow to cool and then scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and place in a blender or food processor with a little water and blend to a puree.

For the muffins:  Preheat the oven to 350°.
Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl.  Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until all the flour is moistened.  Fold in the raisins.
Drop the batter into lined or oiled muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes.  The muffins will become golden in color and crack a bit when done.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

To Your Taste

I just finished an incredible salad I made for lunch.  Arugula, mint, roasted parsnips, carrot, dulse, lentils (I just made.) with an ume and oil dressing.  It was so quick, simple and divine.  Plus it was different from the others I did this week with Arugula, fennel, artichoke, avocado and a thick tofu creamy dressing, also Divine.  As I sat chewing the variety of textures and flavors wondering why salad bars are so boring or when there might be a restaurant with a whole variety of things that are simple and gourmet and easy to accommodate for varying tastes?  I hope someday the Cafe M model expands and other people take the principles of eating well and create restaurants with exceptional food, great ingredients everyone can feel good about and a lovely place to sit.

For now, your kitchen is probably the best food in town.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Beauty Comes In All Sizes - Health Doesn't

I just saw a FB post that was being liked, applauded and re-posted.  It made me angry. The attractive woman in the picture is holding a lit cigarette and has a bored rocker chick type expression, heavy make-up and a 1950ish, Mad Men wardrobe and hair.  The copy next to her has this woman explaining she loves food, hates exercise and wants to make an amazing album and be fabulous not skinny.  I look at her puffed out lips, languid expression and of course the lit cigarette and think - If you are not healthy how are you going to have energy and stamina to perform and be fabulous. 

Being healthy has nothing to do with being skinny and neither does being beautiful.  In fact my personal trainer friend is always on my case to gain weight.  She is from Jamaica and thinks a little bigger is far more beautiful.  It's the culture she grew up with. I grew up with Twiggy. 

This poster or what ever it is is fun, toungue and cheek and helps women who might have been rejecting their extra pounds feel a little better, but do you remember the 1950's? We have a retirement age of 65 simply because at that time it was the average age men died.  People smoked, didn't exercise or eat well and they aged far faster, had more ailments and died sooner.  It sounds so romantic to live how you want, be a rebel and do your down and dirty art.  The reality is it doesn't feel good and is not as much fun as living well.  You don't need to suffer to make good art.  Life will give you enough obstacles to have a well to pull from.

You also do not need to be model thin or perfect features to be beautiful.  When you are healthy and happy and doing things you love you will shine and be beautiful.  It's kind of cliche but true.  The wishing to be something you aren't is what keeps you stuck in trying to always fix something.  So maybe this girl could give up smoking, take some walks or learn to dance for her performances and start having a healthy image that makes her feel good about herself.  Just her statements alone that she would rather weigh a ton and make a great album rather than be skinny like Nicole Richie means she is comparing and bitter and feeling less than great about herself. 

Live well not sized.  I hope she makes her fabulous album and stops complaining.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dinner Pancakes that are Lightening Fast To Make - Divine to Eat.

Pancakes are one of my favorite things.  Thick, thin, savory, or sweet, there is just something satisfying about a bread batter fried in a pan.  My dinner pancake last night was particularly wonderful with a crisp side, and fluffy, gooey dough surrounding perfectly cooked onions and broccoli with just a drizzle of a sweet soy sauce sauce.  It was pancake perfection.  Yes, I made a Japanese Okonomiyaki.  A street food that I learned to do in Australia.  Usually made with eggs, I have done them with tofu as well.  I like the egg batter better but if you are unable to eat les oeufs, you can still enjoy your creation. 

One of the best reasons to make this meal in a pan is how fast it goes.  In ten minutes you have a meal and only one pan to clean up.  The translation means "what you want," as far as I know.  You can put anything inside or on top of the simple treat and eat like a pizza.  I prefer to make them rather on the thick side using a lid when cooking to make sure they get cooked all the way through.

It's just one of the terrific recipes that are in the Stories, Tips and Recipes book you can get here:

Japanese pancake - Okonomiyaki

Roughly translated into “What you like” so use this as a springboard for you to create all sorts of fun creations.  Add seafood or chicken or any vegetable combinations that you can dream up.  This dish can really be a whole meal and is good any time of day.  If you don’t eat eggs just use some tofu instead.  This makes about 2 good sized pancakes.

2 eggs
2 cups flour (I used freshly ground spelt or whole wheat pastry flour)
7oz Dashi broth (or water or broth of your choice)
1/2 small green cabbage, shredded
4-5 green onions, chopped
Rice bran oil (or other oil to cook with)

To make the Dashi, place one small packet of Bonito flakes (about 1-2 Tablespoons) in 3-4 cups of water with a 1” piece of Kombu and bring to a boil.  Simmer for a minute or two and then let cool.  Strain out the Bonito and Kombu and use the broth.  It’s a nice soup stock so be sure to keep the leftover.

Slightly beat the eggs and add to the less than one cup of Dashi.  Place the flour in a mixing bowl and then add the egg mixture to the flour and mix with a whisk.  Add in your other ingredients.  Heat a skillet and add enough rice bran oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  Place about 1/2 cup of the batter in the pan and spread out to form a thick pancake.  Allow to cook over medium/low heat until brown and then flip and cook the other side.  A cast iron pan works very well for these pancakes.  Garnish with Nori flakes, pickled ginger and sweet soy sauce (recipe below).

Sweet Soy Sauce
Feel free to make your own sauce.  You might like to add wasabi powder or more sweetener for example.

2 T. Organic Tamari
2 tsp. Organic brown rice syrup
1 tsp. veganaise or other mayonnaise

Mix ingredients and drizzle on the hot pancakes