All posts in vegetarian


Nori Rollin!

Nori Rolls are a great healthy lunch option for while on the go.

If you haven’t tried making Nori Rolls before, I suggest you give it a shot… once you get the hang of rollin, they are super simple and you can fill them with practically any vegetable and grain!  Roll them  right into a piece of aluminum foil and just turn over the ends.  Perfect for a for easy grab-and-go lunch and you can enjoy like you would a burrito – pulling down the sides of the foil as you munch down.

Limy Miso Ginger Dressing:

These are a few ingredients I always keep on hand – they last for ages in your fridge and you can have fun playing with the ratios….

Miso Paste (made of chickpeas, soy free gluten free), Organic Honey, Rice Wine Vinegar, Amino Acids, Crushed Ginger, a little Sesame Oil and Fresh Squeezed Lime.

Easy Peasy!

 

Meatless Monday: Crispy Rice Patty, with Sautéed Beet Greens and a Fried Egg

Back to reality.  Back to the grind.  Back to the fog.  Oh how I missed the San Francisco.

After 3 weeks of vacation (Nantucket and Baja pic here), the things I am happy to come home to:  that leaf blowing on the ground is NOT a cockroach, a shower warmer than the ocean,  and oh, you can flush the toilet paper!

On my last day in Mexico I threw together this breakfast just with what we had on hand.  Was ready in 5 minutes and was so simple I feel silly even writing the recipe.  The beet’s came from Logan’s farm, the eggs were SO local and organic that there were still feathers on them, and the rice was made the day before with our Chicken Mole dinner (I’ll post recipe later…used the chicken we slaughtered).

This is a FANTASTIC breakfast for a hangover! There’s really something to be said for a greasy fried egg after a night out…. truly magical.  Plus, the starch from the rice and vitamins in the greens… add a sprinkle of chia seeds and a glass of coconut water and you’re game!

Shredded Beet and Carrot Salad with Desert Cattle Cheese, Toasted Almonds and Honey Dressing

Recipe

Mix about 1/2 cup cooked rice with an egg white.  Form into 2 patties and fry.  Sautee Beet greens, red onion and garlic.  Fry an Egg. Done and Done!

 

 

Meatless Monday: Roasted Veggie Gazpacho

Gazpacho is one of our family favorites in the summer time.  My Nona is famous for her recipe she picked up while living in Seville, Spain, along with my Popa and their 6 kids! The secret trick (according to the Sevillians) is to chill the gazpacho in a ceramic pitcher for hours.

My cousin Laney was in town this weekend which calls for a great reason to get together for family dinners.

Family Dinner Menu:  Gazpacho with Grilled Quesidellas and BBQ Flank Steak Salad Photo From Laney’s Blog

The secret to Gazpacho… besides for chilling in a ceramic pitcher:

Roasting Tomatoes and Bell Peppers add Depth

Balsamic Vinegar or Rice Wine Vinegar is a must

My Recipe HERE

 

Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Crust Pizza & a couple last week favorites…

Every week I offer 5 vegetarian and gluten free meals to clients through out the Bay Area.  Menu changes weekly and is based on what’s in season! Want health delivered right to your door? Drop me a line HERE

 

AH this is gooood.. even if you do not like cauliflower…you will like this! Who would have thought that cauliflower, flax seed meal and eggs could make a crust.

Pesto:  Basil, Walnuts and Parmesan Cheese

Tomatoes: Toss in olive oil and Roast at 415 for about 10 minutes, toss with Herbs de Provence crushed garlic and roast 5 more minutes

Was inspired by Beard and Bonnet for the crusHERE 

First bake the crusts for about 10 minutes.  Add the pesto and already roasted veggies, more herbs, chopped walnuts and bake for another 5 minutes. I topped with Fresh parmesan and basil before serving.

A couple other hits last week:

Ricotta Pea Puree, Roasted Zucchini with Lemon Zest and Basil on a Cornmeal Crust

Zucchini Ribbon, Chickpeas and Quinoa Salad with Feta and Lemony Mint Dressing

 

 

Meatless Mondays

Coming at you from BAJA BABY where I’m practicing the importance of what it means to LIVE what you LOVE  (because when my best friend living here presented me with the opportunity to be a guest chef at his Food and Wine Festival, how in the world could I say no!?) So far lot’s of fish tacos, wine, surfing and dancing!

Cornmeal Crust Tarts with Baby Kale, Currants and Pine Nuts

Meatless Mondays: Every week I create a vegetarian seasonal menu of 5 dishes (also gluten free!) and deliver to 6 clients here in San Francisco.  Last week I had the pleasure of cooking for a few wonderful local bloggers too:  Vanilla Extract, vmac+cheese, Polish My Crown and  Sweet & Spark.

I have really been enjoying coming up with a new menu every week and having a chance to get creative with local, seasonal, Bay Area flavors.  If you are new to my site, let me quickly explain my cooking style and philosophy… I keep it simple, fresh, clean and  easy.  You don’t need a measuring cup, ingredients can easily be modified to fit your taste preferences and you most definitely do not need to allocate your entire evening to making dinner.  I use the most basic ingredients and techniques so even the newbie-chef will have supper on the table in no time.

Check out Last Week’s Menu.  Was so delicious and worth sharing a few of the recipes:

Balsamic Roasted Portobellos, Raw Kale, Lentil and Pecorino Salad (BEAUTIFUL PIC)

Preheat oven to 425.  Drizzle Portobello mushroom with balsamic and roast for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile combine chopped kale, cooked lentils and pecorino.  Dressing: Lemon, Balsamic, Honey, Mustard, Garlic, and Olive Oil. Slice the Portobello and top with the salad.

Half Avocado topped with Fava Bean, English Pea Feta and Mint Salad (PIC)

Shell the English Peas Fava beans and blanch for a couple minutes.  Drain and toss with lemon, olive oil, chopped mint and lots of lemon zest.  Gentle mix with crumbled feta.  Serve over an avocado

Asparagus and Ricotta Crustless Quiches (adapted from William Sonoma)

Preheat to 300 and grease muffin tins.  I used mini tins.  Chop and Sauté 1 onion and 1 bunch asparagus (minus tips) in coconut oil. In a bowl combine 1 cup Ricotta, 1/4 cup Goat Cheese and 2 eggs.  Mix in cooked Asparagus and Onions. Pour into muffin tins and bake for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile sauté the remaining aspargus tips.  When the quiches are done cooking allow to cool in tins for a few minutes on a wire rack before inverting upside down onto a plater to cool completely. Serve with the sautéed asparagus tops.

Cornmeal Crust Pizza with Chèvre, Sautéed Baby Kale, Currants and Pine Nuts

Cornmeal Crust Recipe HERE (note: I made in a sheet pan and cut into squares)

Meanwhile, soak currants in a little boiling water.  Sauté chopped garlic and shallot in coconut oil.  Add the Baby kale in batches.  Add the water from the soaking currants to help steam the greens. mix in currants.  Spread chèvre over the crust is still warm. Top with the greens.  Wipe out the sauté pan with a paper towel and toast the pine nuts.  Garnish the pizzas with the pine nuts.

ENJOY! All of these recipes are perfect examples of meals that can be easily modified that ingredients swapped to fit your likes/dislikes… donot make it too technical… you can’t go wrong here… BE CREATIVE!  Chard in place of Kale.  Almonds in place of pine nuts.  Parmesan in place of pecorino.

 

 
 

Sliced Seedy Bread

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)

Ingredients:

Mix Dry:

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:

4 eggs

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.

 

So what do you eat??

Is the question I get all the time, accompanied by the look of whaaaat the heeeeeck, when I tell people what it is I do not eat.

And my response is “Everything from the eaaaaaarth!”

What it is I do not eat:  Gluten, Soy, Sugar, Processed/Packaged Foods (which usually contain all of those ingredients), pigs and animals raised inhumanly on factory farms.

What I do eat:  Absolutely every single fruit and vegetable I love.  There isn’t one I don’t like.  Actually, I’m not a big truffle fan.  I think I must have had too much truffle oil on a hot summer day and now the smell gives me the willies.  Well, maybe not the willies, but I’m just like, “eeeeh no thanks”.  Love all gluten free grains: millet, rices, quinoa, cornmeal, amaranth, buckwheat.  Now just imagine all of the amazing combinations we can make with these ingredients woohoo yummy!

I know cutting out packaged/processed foods may seem intimidating or overwhelming at first, but just take a look at what I ate today – you’ll be surprised at how simple it can be! Living a whole, clean, earth based life is delicious, healthy and easy!  Bonus: everything I ate today can be prepped on Sunday and stored/enjoyed for about 5 days.  I’m telling you, I don’t even get out a knife or cutting board during the week – all veggies, fruit and grains can be prepared ahead of time.  Because honestly, who really has the time to spend making BLD (breakfast, lunch, dinner) every day?!  Try starting off with these 20 staples to help get you on your way to whole livin’!

Breakfast: Cut fruit.  Lately I’ve been enjoying grapefruit, kiwi and pineapple.  ChiaChatta is a chia seed pudding that tastes like horchata.  It’s so simple to make and can be made in a big batch on Sunday and enjoyed until Friday.  Combine 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1/4 cup oats 1.5 cups almond milk, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon.  Mix well and store in a glass container.  Read here all the amazing benefit of chia seeds. You should start enjoying them daily!

Lunch: I usually like to stick to a salad with plant based protein during the day (check out veg/protein combinations here).  On Sunday I always prepare a grain (this week brown and black rice) and throw in a vegetable towards the end of cooking (this week edamame).  Also, cabbage is soooooooo good for you and stays fresh for awhile.  It’s just a real winner.  So, a big bowl of cabbage with a few spoon fulls of rice and edamame.  Then I was feeing a little Asian inspired and added avocado, black sesame seeds, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.  Done.  2 minutes tops! Packs well for work too.

Snack: The perfect combination of fat, carbs, protein and sugar are medjool dates filled with almond butter.  They pack well, can be made in advance (do I need to keep mentioning that?) and are sooooo delicious.  I actually can not walk down the bulk aisle and not put my hand in the date bin and take one. I seriously begin salivating as I approach them.  So awkward getting caught mid bite, ek!  Hard boiled eggs also make a great snack on the go.  Don’t eat them in meetings though, please.  They may be the most disturbing food to watch people eat – eeeh – actually deviled eggs are worse.  I think my mom is the only person who still brings them to every occasion and holiday party.

Dinner: Usually a cooked vegetable and animal protein.  Today I just cooked some green beans I had on hand in a little coconut oil  (make coco oil your new cooking staple – it has so many health benefits), added a little of that already made rice and edamame, throw a fried egg on top and viola! So yummy and again, only 2 minutes.  Another way to reheat the rice and cook fish at the same time – check this recipe out and while you’re there read up on how Eating Healthy is Easy and Cheap!

Start small you guys.  Maybe try just one new vegetable a week.  Or replacing that roll with your salad with a whole grain, like rice.

I also start every morning off with a shot of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (aaaah painful) and end my day with Natural Calm, A Relaxing Magnesium Supplement.

Dr Weil’s Food Pyramid.  I replace the tofu with red wine.  You gotta get your antioxidants, right!?

Oatmeal is also a great way to start off your morning.  I assembled these for my friend who’s a nurse and would buy oatmeal every day at work.  She was spending $3 every morning, plus the oatmeal she was buying was packed with sugar, preservatives and ingredients that you can’t even pronounce.  I spent $20 on ingredients at TJ’s and assembled 20 baggies-to-go (a waste of plastic, I know, sorry).  Plus, they were way healthier because I added chia seeds and cinnamon (so many health benefits) and no sugar or preservatives were added.  10 minutes on Sunday will save you money, time waiting in line and your waistline!

 

Brunch!

Hi There! I thought I’d share a couple pics from a brunch I catered last weekend.  
Beautiful photographs by Shea McGuier

Maple Pecan Granola and Straus Yogurt in Jars

Green Bean Bundles and Herb Aioli
Eggs Baked in a Bread Bowl

 Maple Bacon

 Fork and Spoon Wrapped in a napkin and placed in a jar for water- adorable!
 

Happy Day 4… To A New You!

Today was a whorl wind and it’s only getting windier… I just got home from my client’s house at 9pm having to write this post (scratch that) wanting to write this post and my camera is acting up… Anyway, today was a perfect example of the inspiration for todays topic…

How to have healthy food in your fridge all the time, that you only have to prep on Sunday, or whatever day works for you.  Making it super easy for you to just grab and reheat a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner.
So, I had 3 hours between coming home from teaching classes at the gym and going to Marin to cook for clients in their home, to create, cook and photograph the 3 meals.

Not to mention I’m on 4 hours of sleep!  That Italian meetup happy hour I went to last night was a blast!  After 3 hours and 3 glasses of wine my Italian was flowin like a native and I ended up at an Italian restaurant in North Beach with 8 bello Italian men :) So far I’m  LOVIN meetup!

Breakfsat:
Crustless Quiche

Here’s an example of something you can make on Sunday and they will keep 4 days in the fridge.
The Combination possibilities are endless.  My mom taught me how to make these crustless quiches, and she would make them in muffin tins.
Broccoli and eggs go really well together.  I did spinach and tomatoes because that’s what’s on hand.
So, chop up your veggies and place them in the dishes.  Beat eggs and pour it over veggies.  Bake and you now have crustless quiches all week long.
It takes 5 minutes to assemble and 15 minutes to bake at 350.

Lunch:
Roast Acorn Squash Stuffed with Qunioa and Beans and Sprinkled with Toasted Walnuts

I love stuffing vegetables.  Acorn squash, eggplant and portobellos are my favorite.
They freeze really well and reheat really wonderfully.
I chose the acorn squash because they are amazing just by themselves.
Rice and chickpeas make a great combo, along with the pesto kale (that you’ve already made) and chopped nuts on top.
It is just as easy to make 1 acorn squash as it is to make 4 halves.  So why not just make 4. Why not make 12 crustless quiches.  It’s just as easy and it saves you time during the week.
They pack great and reheat really well at work.  Super filling and satisfying too.

Dinner:
Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Spinach Patties

These are A-mazing, I’m going to tute my own horn for a second here.  I made up the recipe and they are freakin fabulous.  So moist inside ad they have that crunch on the outside because I put them in gluten free bread crumbs before pan frying them and baking them.
So, really easy… black bean, steamed spinach and sweet potatoes and you already have your whole grain in the fridge. Cumin, grama masala and a little cayanne for a kick and some fresh squeezed lime.  Add 2 eggs, mix it all together and voila!
And now you have 8 patties.
Place on the slaw that you already have ready to go in the fridge.  Mix with a little lime juice too.
Cabbage does not get enough good credit.  It actually provides tons of Vitamin K and C, B6, folate and magnesium….just to name a few.  You can read up here.
Top with Tahini Sauce.  Typically Tahini sauce is made with lemon and water, but we’re using limes because we squeezed in the limes in the patties and slaw.  Plus sesame seeds.
So again, we are pairing the sweet potato in the burger with the sesame tahini because that’s the vitamin A and zinc combination that is really powerful for your body.

So there you have it.  Todays 3 meals that can be made on Sunday.  I know we’re al busy and we don’t want to be cooking for 3 hours every day, so just cook for 3 hours on Sunday.  And you know what, hey, you might have the same lunch all week, but that’s fine :) that’s how you stay healthy.  And then you switch it up the next week.
 

Eggplant Cannelloni

ok, I get it, this is not really cannelloni.  The only true similarity between this and cannelloni is that tube shapes are stuffed and baked- plus lots of tomato sauce, parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
Anyway, my version is healthier, vegetarian and gluten free! wooohooo!

My girlfriends and I try and get together once mid-week for a girls night.  This week, we decided to stay in at one of our houses and have a potluck.
My girlfriends and I are all healthy foodies, meaning we loooove good/whole food (none of that processed sh*t) lots of seasonal veggies, eating out at new SF restaurants, and we especially enjoy the cuisine of all cultures.  With that said, a lot of my girlfriends choose to eat vegetarian for health, animal rights and environmental reasons.

I actually was not a big fan of this eggplant cannelloni, I don’t like mushy food, I like my meals to have a crunch and some texture.  Everyone loved it though, so I thought I’d share it anyway.
I used Quinoa for the filling instead of ground meat (keeping it a full protein too).

Ingredients:
2 globe eggplants, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup ricotta (full fat)
pesto and sun dried tomatoes (store bought is fine)
Chili flakes
1 Jar of tomato sauce
Fresh basil chopped
Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375
Brush 2 baking sheets with olive oil and place the eggplant in a single layer
Brush both sides with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt
Roast for 10 minutes, flip the slices over and switch the pans in the oven
Continue roasting for 6 minutes
Let cool
Meanwhile, combine the quinoa, ricotta, pesto sauce and chili flakes to taste
Pour a little sauce into the bottom of your baking dish
On a clean surface, roll th eggplant around 1/4 cup of the filling
Arrange neatly in the baking dish
Top with tomato sauce, parmesan cheese and fresh basil
Cover with foil
Bake for 1 hour.
Remove the foil and continue baking for 15 minutes
Let rest for 15 minutes before serving
Top with fresh basil and cheese.  An arugula and radicchio salad would be perfect served along side.

Buon Appetito!
 

Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes

I feel as though the only recipes I post are sweet/dessert recipes…which is not a good representation of the foods I really love and enjoy.
So I am going to start making a conscious effort to post what I really eat, on the day-to-day, the healthy whole veggies and grains!
We’ll start with a couple of eggplant dishes.  I love cooking with eggplant because there are a lot of different options, roast, stuff, puree…

So, the story behind this delicious dinner: My best friend (slash, roommate) from my days when living in Milan came to SF for a two week visit! Cecile is such an amazing person and fills any room that she’s in with love and positive vibes.  Unfortunately, for me, she is still living in Milan (running the marketing for a very high end jewlery/accessory company!) but we still manage to meet every year somewhere in the world!

The day after she touched-down into SF we took a day trip up to Napa Valley for a little wine tasting.  Something all guests love doing when visiting, and something I never get tired of “tour-guiding”
On our way out of Napa we passed a big beautiful produce stand and stopped to load up on goodies for the house (after having already loaded up on the vino!).
Japanese eggplants, asparagus and cherry tomatoes were among the many things we grabbed (great low prices too)

This is a simple dish to make when you don’t want to spend a lot of hands oh time- plus I did it all on the same pan in the oven.
Serve this on a whole grain (I used this) or over pasta or polenta

Serves 2 for Dinner or a 4 for a side
Ingredients:
2 medium Japanese Eggplants
1 cup tomatoes
1 garlic clove thinly sliced
olive oil
Fresh Basil
Parmesan Cheese
Sea Salt fresh Pepper
10 spears of Asparagus
Lemon zest

preheat the oven to 375
Chop the eggplant into about 1 inch cubes
Halve the tomatoes
toss in a bowl with olive oil, garlic, good salt and pepper to taste
Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 8 minutes.
In the meantime trim the asparagus toss with a little olive oil, minced garlic and salt and pepper
Up the temp to 400
Toss the veggies and scoot them to one side of the baking dish
Add the asparagus in a single layer
Roast for 10 minutes, tossing halfway through

I like to toss my veggies in lemon zest because I am obsessed with it.  It is so fresh and clean feeling, I love it, but definitely optional
Serve the Eggplant and omato over your starch of choice and top with fresh basil.

 

Squeeze In One More Summer Lunch

Photo courtesy of Downtown Romantic

First, I must explain my recent 3 week disappearance… My best friend from Milan touched down in SF for a great 2 week visit.  We were so busy sight seeing and eating, I didn’t get a chance to stay connected.
We managed to eat out at some great San Francisco hot spots, play an American game of Sloshball and even party in LA for the weekend.  I will soon share some of the great recipes and meals enjoyed along the way, but for now, here is one dish that was inspired by Cecile’s Milanese-ness!
Risotto… famous in Italy and it is no wonder why.  It is rich, creamy and incredible satisfying. Risotto is always a crowd pleaser and perfect served anytime of the year made with what ever happens to be in season!
With that said, when I was asked to cater a small birthday lunch, I knew a Summer Risotto must make its way onto the menu.

I’ll post the recipes soon, but for now here is the Risotto recipe courtesy of my cousin who volunteered her afternoon to help me in the kitchen.  Helane was home visiting from New York where she works for in Fashion Media and when feeling inspired writes on her blog

Summer Lunch Menu:
To Drink:
Mint and Strawberry Lemonade (spiked with vodka if you are feeling up for it!)
Light Bites:
Melon, Prosciutto and Manchego
Appetizer:
Summer Squash and Zucchini over Pesto and Feta Puff Pastry
First Course
Crab Cakes topped with Herb Aioli on a Bed of Lamb’s Lettuce (recipe)
Secondly:
Summer Risotto (recipe)
Something Sweet
LemoCrème brûlée 

 

Warm Avocado and Pesto Crostini

I feel so sorry for avocados.  They have such a short life.  Really, only one perfect day to be enjoyed at its best.  And once you cut in, there is no going back.  It’s only downhill for the little lady from there.


My beautiful little Hass Avoacodo had been sitting on my windowsill for a couple days now, just waiting to ripen to perfection under the sun light.  This morning, I reached up to give her a little squeeze and she waaaaaaas perfect!

Now my favorite part of being a chef begins… coming up with something delicious and creative with a few given ingredients.

My culinary wheels did a little spin that went something like this:
Basil on it’s last leg of life, why not pesto (my recipe made with brazil nuts),
Marinated feta I’m currently obsessed obviously must be smothered on top (recipe)
A big hearty slice of bread, because what’s better than crostini?
And all put under the sizzlin broiler to let the flavors really melt together!
Oh, and of course finished with fresh ground black pepper, sea salt and a drizzle of extra aged balsamic!

Please don’t end!

I was not planning on having an entire avocado for lunch today, but honestly, I didn’t feel I had a choice :o)

For those of you who like to eat gluten free when possible, you have got to try this bread.
I keep it in my freezer and cut off pieces as I like
And this is my favorite Balsamic, from Napa Valley

 

Marinated Feta

Spread over warm crostini and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic


Mindee and I were first introduced to marinated feta in Greece this summer.  You know the Greeks…they looooove their feta!

Since then, we always have a bowl of this deliciousness marinading in the fridge.  It has become my new favorite condiment, and I’m sprinkling it on almost everything these days, from my poached egg in the morning to my crostini with grilled asparagus (recipe) at lunch

 

There are only a few ingredients here, so choose good quality cheese and oil! I used sheep feta but goat is just a yummy. I think next time I make this I will use a harder cheese.  This brand happened to be a little too soft, which has great flavor but you want the cheese to keep its shape more than mine did.
Ingredients:
20 oz feta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T garlic infused extra virgin olive oil
1 Heaping T of Herbs de Provence
1 t black pepper corns
1/2 t sea salt, or to taste
Directions:
Cube the cheese and set aside
Whisk the remaining ingredients in a bowl
Add the cheese and gently toss
Let sit for 30 minutes before serving
Serve at room temperature
Transfer to a container with a lid so you can keep it in the fridge
Enjoy- I know you will!