Last night we celebrated Morgan’s birthday…a dear friend who is so fabulous in every way… she’s loving, smart, loyal, caring, funny and easy going – I know, a catch right?! The plan was to start at my apartment with Light Bites, Moscow Mules and Cupcakes before making our way down the hill to a few dive bars… well we ended up talking well into after the time for last call… That’s what happens in good company, you loose track of time. Sending much love to my wonderful girlfriends!
Loving the use of almond meal lately in place of regular white flour. It adds so much more depth, texture, flavor and not to mention is better for you than wheat. Almond are packed full of vitamins and minerals whereas nutritionally, wheat flour doesn’t have too much to offer.
2 eggs, 1/3 cup maple, 1 t lemon juice, 1/3 cup safflower oil, 1 T vanilla
1 t baking soda, 1/2 t salt, 1 cup almond meal, 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (can use only 1.5 cups of almond meal if you do not have rice flour)
Mix the wet with a fork. Mix in the dry.
Makes about 9 cupcakes. Probably would have been 10, but I ate a lot of batter (hey, the eggs were organic and local, it’s all good!)
1 cup butter, 1/2 t salt, vanilla, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 6 T maple syrup
Mix in a blender until smooth – adjust the ingredients to get the correct smooth consistency .
At my parent’s house with nothing on the agenda for the afternoon, an avocado on the counter I’d been admiring for a day and a nutty/bready consistency sounding very comforting. The result was a loaf worth sharing…for having had thrown literally every grain, seed and nut they had into a bowl, this turned out surprisingly well.
I would have liked for it to have sliced better and not crumbled so much…I’ll keep working on perfecting this…I think another egg would have done the trick. Bonus: gluten free and packed with vitamins, omegas (from chia seeds and flax) and full protein (quinoa and grain + seed + nuts! here)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup sun flower seeds
1/4 cup sun flower seeds
1 cup Gluten Free Flour
1/4 cup Brown Rice Flower
1/4 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup quinoa crisps
1.5 t baking soda
1 t good salt
separately mix wet ingredients:
1 T sweetener (maple, honey, sugar)
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup walnut oil
MIx wet and dry ingredients together. Grease a loaf pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes
I had leftover rosemary butter I made on Thanksgiving and dolloped it on top before baking.
I catered a lunch yesterday with a menu that I am so excited about! It was such a beautiful representation of what you’d find at a Farmers Market in July – so fresh and delicious – I have to share. If you are not a big meat eater – I think salmon would substitute nicely for the skirt steak.
Figs and Prosciutto over Ricotta, Drizzled with Honey
(For the non pork eaters substitute chopped pistachios for prosciutto)
Grilled Peaches with Toasted Walnuts, Pt Reyes Blue Cheese in a Balsamic Dressing
Skirt Steak over Fresh Corn Polenta
Sun Marinated Heirloom Tomato (soaked in a bowl of olive oil, balsamic, basil and garlic – Amazing and can go on anything! This is my summer staple)
Fresh Chopped Salad of Summer Squash, Zucchini, Wax Bean and Haricot Vert Swith Lemon Zest, Basil, Pine Nuts and Fresh Grated Parmesan
Dessert (not pictured) Short Cakes, Vanilla Ice Cream and Plum Compote
Prep Ahead Tips: Day Before: prep, chop and blanch your summer veggies Steam corn for polenta Make your dressing and marinades Start Marinating your Tomatoes Chop nuts make Shortcakes for dessert
Morning Of: Make crostini Grill the peaches Grill the Steak (only to rare – let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and divide on 2 small baking pans. Reheat in the oven for your guests right before serving – this will finish the cooking too. I divided the meat between 2 pans so that one batch would be brought up to med-rare and the other batch I left in the oven a bit longer to bring the meat up to med) Fill a large pot on the stove with broth and line up your polenta ingredients to throw in and make cooking/hosting as easy as possible (4 cups broth, 1 cup polenta. 1 cup parm, 2 cups fresh corn steamed and cut off ear)
Skirt Steak Marinade: So good- I need to write this down so I don’t forget what I did Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Chopped Garlic, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce
Nike touches down in SF on their Journey for a Better World… and guess who was asked to provide the vegan snacks?! That’s right, Sugar & Spice!
Athlete Jason Lester has embarked on a running and biking journey from COAST to COAST for a whopping 4,800 miles in 102 days! That’s 32 marathons and 3,800 miles biked!
On Tuesday I received an email from Nike. As you can imagine, I was not that excited, as I assumed the email had probably been sent to hundreds of other vegan/vegetarian SF caterers…
I responded with “Thanks for contacting me. I’m interested” not expecting a reply…
I got a response within minutes saying “Great, Claudine. When can I call you to discuss details”
Now I’m excited, “Tomorrow between 9-12 I can chat. Thanks.”
Believe it or not, Jason is a vegan! To the matcho meat eating men out there Jason proves that you DO NOT have to eat animals to reach your full athletic potential! (for a list of vegetarian proteins click here)
So, I’m a little hesitant to share the recipes because they turned out so darn good I’m thinking I should package/sell them…
But, as my contribution to making this world a better place, through sport and food, I believe everyone should have a healthy energy bar recipe on hand
I made two bars for the Nike event and each only have 4-5 ingredients!
This is a take on a Peanut Butter and Jelly sando
Take on an Oatmeal Raisin cookie
Peanut Butter n Jelly Energy Bar Recipe
The picture does not do these justice… These are pure heaven, I’m telling you! Imagine all the greatness that comes with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then add crispy, crunchy, deliciousness to it, and what you’re left with are these amazing energy bars!
You could make these healthier by substituting almond butter for peanut butter or adding chia seeds (dang, I should have done that!)
These are also a full protein because when you combine a grain (quinoa and rice) with a legume (peanuts) you get a complete protein (all 9 essential amino asids)
2 Cups Peanut Butter
1 1/2 Cups Brown Rice Syrup
1 t vanilla extract
6 cups Quinoa Crisps
2 Cups Brown Rice Cereal Crisps
2 Cups Jelly (flava of choice!)
about 2 cups chopped Peanuts
Warm the first 2 ingredients in a sauce pan.
Add the vanilla
In a large bowl add the quiona and rice crisps
Pour the warm PB and Rice Syrup mixture over the dry contents and mix well.
Get ready to get diiiirty
Now that you have mixed the gooeyness with the crispyness, line a sheet pan with parchment paper
Firmly pree the mixture down into the pan.
I used the back of a spatula
Spread the Jelly over evenly
Sprinkle with Chopped nuts
Press down well again to be sure the nuts adhire to the jelly
Let rest in the fridge over night
(I was praying that they settled and firmed up- and they did!)
Cut into square… I had to make a couple hundred so I cut them into bit size pieces…
Oatmeal Raisin Energy Bar Recipe:
These taste JUST like an oatmeal raisin cookie… my favorite by the way if you ever want to make me cookies … only they’re healthier because I don’t use eggs, suga’ or flour – making these vegan, gluten free and diabetes friendly because there wont be a spike in your blood sugar… whoop whoop loooooove using fruit as a sweetener!
2 Cups Golden Raisins
2 Cups Walnuts
2 Cups Raisins
4 Cups Oats
4 Cups of Oats (yes 8 total)
1/2 cup Brown Rice Syrup
2 t vanilla extract
Spices to taste like cinnamon, cloves, allspice
In the Cuisinart combine the first 2 ingredients until well combined
Add the red raisins and 4 cups of oats and set aside
Meanwhile, warm the Syrup in a sauce pan and add the vanilla extract
In a large bowl combine it all and get ready to get dirty, get in there and MIX everything really well with your hands!
Line a sheet try with parchment paper
Press your mixture down into the pan very well and firmly
A few years ago discovered quinoa crispy cereal. Woah I know…exciting right?! It’s like rice crispy, only made from quiona. 1 ingredient: organic quinoa! I love using it in homemade power bars and granola. Mix in chia seeds and hemp hearts for extra nutrients, vitamins, minerals and protein.
I added a little extra salt to bring out the maple
Salty + Sweet = Party in my mouth!
1 1/2 cups old fashion rolled oats
1/2 cup quinoa crisps
1 cup pecan pieces
1/4 cup nut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 t fresh ground salt (you can use less. I just like the salty/sweet combo!)
Hemp heart and chia seeds to taste…
Line a sheet tray with parchment paper
combine, oats, pecans and salt
whisk oil and maple
pour over dry ingredients and mix well
spread oats evenly on baking tray
Bake 1 – 1.5 hours, stirring every 15 minutes
Mix in the seeds during the last 10 minutes.
Granola should be light brown and getting crispy
it will get crispier and hard as it cools…
I can’t have granola in my house…it’s like crack to me so I make it and give it to friends in cute little jars. Makes a good little gift with local yogurt and maple.
Serve with yogurt and sprinkled granola!.
Or I also like to simmer almond milk and pour over granola
Amaretto is an Italian, sweet, smooth, almond liquor. It is wonderful in cookies, and cakesor even savory dishes like lamb. My dad is a retired Italian man, which mean the 3 liquors always on hand are: grappa, limoncello and amaretto. A couple other kitchen staples of my parent’s are bananas and plain Greek yogurt. One morning I was staying at my parent’s house and decide to throw these flavors together for breakfast. This is shaping up to be a deliciously spiked Sunday….
The Amaretto and honey are so delicious together! Beware though, I kept making more and before I knew it I had the munchies :o)
I put this over greek yogurt, but how delicious would this be poured over pancakes!?
Serving for 2
Equal parts Honey to Amaretto (up to you :o) )
I did 1/4 cup of each
2 bananas sliced at an angle
1 cup Yogurt
Slivered Almonds for garnish
Preheat the broiler
In a bowl mix the honey and liquor
add the bananas and toss gently
leaving the extra sauce in the bowl, use a fork to gently place on a baking sheet
Broil for 3 minutes
Meanwhile, divid the yogurt among serving bowl and drizzle with the extra sauce
Take the bananas out, gently turn each banana slice over and return to the broiler
Broil and Additional 3 minutes
Divid the slices among the yogurt and top the Slivered almond
Get creative with the fillings. Really anything works in Nori Rolls. I used quinoa to make this a full protein lunch and a raw almond and sun-dried tomato spread to add healthy fats, protein and flavor. Once you get the hang of rolling and assembling you’ll be amazed at how easy it is and wonder why you don’t make them more often
You can lay the seaweed out on parchment paper if you do not have a bamboo roller (I just didn’t feel like getting mine down from storage- how often does one really roll seaweed!?)
Thin layer of spread, followed by a grain then veggies
Easy a 1-2-3!
Nori Rolls: Seaweed Sliced Veggies Grain (quinoa or rice are my favorite) Directions: Have a little bowl of warm water near by. You will be using this to dip your finger into when securing the seaweed roll closed Lay a piece of seaweed down on bamboo (wax paper…) Working in the third closest to you Top with a thin layer of spread (Almond Pate, Hummus, Tahini with lemon and watered down a bit, peanut sauce…) Top with veggies Roll Tightly Dip your fingers into the water and run them across the last 1/2 inch of seaweed Press the wet seaweed against the roll
Almond Pate: 1 cup Almonds Soaked 8-24 hours Sun-dried tomatoes 1/2 cup fresh basil 1 T fresh squeezed Lemon juice 2 t Tamari, soy sauce or shoyu Cayenne for a kick (optional) Salt and pepper Directions: Drain the almonds Place Almonds into a food processor and blend until smooth Add the remaining ingredients and process until well mixed and blended.
Notes: Use a grain that is cooled completely. If you must- throw it in the freezer for a few minutes if you’ve just cooked it. If you do not have rolling bamboo (I’m sure there is an actual name for it) you can use wax of parchment paper.
Cut into bite size pieces, these little guys make pretty party appetizers
This cookie recipe has been passed down in our family for years. Momo is my great Grandmother on my mom’s side. A family gathering is not complete with out a batch of Momo’s cookies served.
My mom, Aunt Izzy and Nana were headed on a road trip for Mother’s Day and I sent them on their way with a box of Momo’s and Brown Sugar Nut Shortbread cookies to munch on in the car. My favorite cookies for my favorite women!
A few things that make these cookies extra delicious: Surprise, there’s a nut in the date! Sour Cream in the dough Browned Butter frosting
The browned butter frosting is SO delicious!
Rich, sinful, and unexpected- you’ll love it!
I’ll admit, they are not the most aesthetically appealing cookies. But, you’ll forget all about looks the moment the first tastes of browned butter and sweet date hits your lips. Anyway, didn’t your mother teach you, true beauty is on the inside.
Also, check my notes below the recipe. I had a few mishaps…
Ingredients: 1/4 cup butter 1/2 t vanilla 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 1/4 cup flour 1/4 t salt 1/4 t baking powder 1/2 t baking soda 1/2 cup sour cream 1 egg 2 1/2 dozen (about 30) Medjool dates Pecans or walnuts. Same number nuts as dates
Frosting: 1/4 cup butter 1 cup powdered sugar 1/2 t vanilla (little water if necessary)
Preheat oven to 400 Stuff the dates with a nut and set aside Combine the dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside Cream the butter and sugar Add the egg and mix until just combined Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the sour cream Wrap dough around the date Bake for about 10 minutes Cool on a sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a cooling rack
Meanwhile, make the frosting. Melt the butter until brown Add the sugar and vanilla If looking a little too thick, add water, a tad bit at a time. Frost the cookies and enjoy! I know you will!
Notes: 1. When wrapping the date with dough: You don’t need to use too much dough. It is alright if a little date is peaking through the dough. The dough will melt around the date while cooking. I made the mistake of wrapping too much dough around the dates the first time I made these) Also, the dough is also sticky, that’s ok, it’s suppose to be. 2. When Browning the butter: This is tricky. You will be waiting for the butter to go from melted to browned for what may seem like an eternity. Then, the second you get board and turn your back on the stove it’ll burn! So, eyes on the melting pot of butter at all times! 3. They can last for a week in an air tight container. I know this because I sent a box to Europe to my favorite Turkish mom for Mother’s Day, and were still tasty when they arrived a week later (well, most importantly, no one got sick!). The date and nuts remind me of flavors in Middle Eastern recipes too.
I have been wanting to experiment with rhubarb lately so I thought a good place to start would be with my mom’s basic jam bar recipe (see here) Another inspiration for making these bars is that I’m still working on using up the lb of slivered almonds left over from an event I catered 3 months ago.
Ingredients: 2 sticks butter (can use earth balance to make vegan) 1 cup sugar 2 cups flour 1 cup coconut 2 cups Almonds (ground)
Rhubarb Filling: 3 cups Rhubarb chopped 2 T Lemon 3/4 cup sugar 2 T cornstarch
Preheat the oven 350 Grease an 8X8 pan
Cream the first 3 ingredients Add the coconut and nuts and mix Pat 3/4 of your dough into the bottom of the pan and bake for 20 minutes In the meantime, make the Rhubarb Filling In a large sauce pan cook the rhubarb and lemon until nice and tender, about 10 minutes Add the sugar and cornstarch and turn up the heat. Continue cooking for 1 minute Spread over the baked dough and crumble the remaining dough over the rhubarb mixture Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes
Ok, the pros and cons of not having a television: Pors: Obvious Cons: will it rain or shine?
I woke up this morning to the smell of wet pavement. Yes, I do love this smell, it brings me back to childhood for some reason, but, come on, it’s April!
My plan was to head to my favorite neighborhood cafe, Crave, order a Cafe Au Lait and work on my computer for an hour or so… But, I think I’ll stay in this morning…
Ingredients to make a perfect Comfy Cozy Morning: A warn bowl of gooe and coffee covered in foam!
Warm bowl of gooe Yields 2 serving Ingredients: 1/3 cup Quinoa 1/3 cup Oats 1 1/5 cups Almond Milk (or what ever you have) cinnamon stick 1 t vanilla extract 1 T ground flax seeds (optional) 2 T Pecans (or any nuts yo have on hand) toasted and chopped drizzle of honey
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a sauce pan Bring to a boil Reduce heat to a simmer and cover Cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes Divide evenly in 2 bowls Top with extra milk, honey and nuts
There is nothing more blissful than warm foam touching my lips!
I recently discovered how to make FOAM at home and have been walking on sunshine since!
Heat your milk in a small sauce pan Pour into a french press Pump vigorously voila!
This was only about 1/4 of the way full, the rest you see here is the magical foam
Vary the herbs according to your preference; try dill, thyme or basil
I have a TON of almonds left over from an event and I’m enjoying experiment with them in many different dishes. Almonds, and nuts in general are so versitile. They can be use in any course, during meal and with almost all ingredients! Breakfast, lunch, dessert, savory, sweet…
Not to mention, nuts are super good for you
1/4 cup sliced almond
2 T fresh chives, chopped
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 t lemon zest
2 slices of bread
Salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
Preheat the oven to 400
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a fod processor, along with some salt.
Process until finely chopped
Sprinkle Salmon with salt and pepper
Top the salmon evenly with the breadcrumb mixture and gently press to adhere
Place the salmon on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray (or on parchment paper)
Bake for 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Since August I have eaten squash at least 3 times a week… I know, 5 months later I am just now deciding to write about it.
My favorites are Acorn, Butternut and Spaghetti Squash.
Mindee’s beautiful blue and white China, classy.
This Sunday my cousin and I took a stroll to our lovely neighborhood Farmer’s Market at Fort Mason– and it was here that I came across these adorable little baby size butternut squash.
To help understand the petit-ness of the squash, I served them on 6 inch plates.
Because butternut squash does not have a very large opening in the middle with seeds (see photo below) you will have to scoop out extra to make a larger space, big enough to fill with your yummy pilaf. Leaving about 1 inch of the “meat” around all sides.
Butternut Squash (or acorn squash)
1/4 cup quinoa
1 T butter
A few fresh sage leaves chopped
A handful of pecans, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375
Cut the Squash lengthwise
Scoop out the seeds and using a knife, make an even larger opening.
Place cut side down on a baking sheet and prick many times with a fork (this allows steam to escape when baking)
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the quinoa.
Rinse the quinoa well before adding to a sauce pan. Add double the amount of water as quinoa, and a pinch of salt to the sauce pan of quinoa, cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer, partially covered, cook for 15 minutes- viola!
For the good stuff:
Add the butter to a small skillet, melt and let burn a little, add a pinch of salt sage and pecans.
Cook for a minute until sage and nuts become fragrant.
Add the Quinoa to the pan, coat and mix well with the butter.
Stuff the baked squash with the warm quinoa pilaf and top with a pecan half for a little extra touch.
If I were making these for a crowd (or men) I’d probably serve skirt steak and sauteed dark leafy greens too. But for my cousin and me, this was plenty for dinner.
These last a few days in the fridge. Today after the gym I reheated my last half in the oven for about 30 minutes at 300 while I was in the shower- and viola- lunch is served :o)
Not to mention, this is a good source of full protein after a workout.
In a large bowl beat the butter, sugars, vanilla and salt.
Add the eggs and beat well
Stir together the flour and soda, gradually add to the butter mixture
Stir in white chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop teaspoon size balls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes
Cool slightly on cookie sheet before allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
Note: take the time to cook in small batches and rotating the cookie sheets halfway through baking. This will ensure evenly baked cookies.
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What Our Clients Are Saying
Thank you so much for the absolutely perfect event last week. Many guests said it was a truly "old-fashioned Christmas party!" The delicious family-style meal made it so! — Ann McNamee
Claudine is a master when it comes to making healthy food gorgeous and delicious. — Sarah Jenks, Weight Loss Coach
First, Thank you so much. Recreating the dinner you taught me was surprisingly very enjoyable and easy for me today (which is a huge testament to you) and secondly, every single bite was consumed and thoroughly enjoyed. Salmon dish was a HUGE hit. We all toasted you. — Lauren Irons, Mother of 3
Just finished salmon with roasted garlic and parsnip purée - brilliant! Everything tasted great and was perfectly filling. Truly, you are the best gift I've ever given myself - thank you! — Karyn Barsa