All posts in vegan

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


Journey for a Better World!

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 
Let harden in the fridge over night

My Summer Soup has a name and it’s “Pistou”!

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I love making fresh vegetable soup with a mix of beautiful seasonal veggies.  I had no idea that the product of my mornings trip to the farmer’s market is a specialty in Nice, France.  You see, I belong in France!

You can get creative with the ingredients and ratios.  Do not make this so technical.  If you want more of one veggie than the other, go for.

I didn’t use a recipe, becaue like i said, it’s usually just a random combination of seasonal market finds, but here is one I found that is very similar and will work lovely
Cookbook: Mediterranean, a taste of the sun in 150 recipes
1 small shallot, chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 boiling potato chopped
8 oz can of chopped tomatoes
5 cup vegetable stock
1 zucchini chopped
8 oz can of white beans (optional)
1 cup green beans, cut into 1/2 ince pieces
1/2 cup peas
4-6 T Pesto
1 T sun dried tomatoes
sea salt and fresh pepper
Fresh parmesan (optional)

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large pot
Bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 20 minutes
Meanwhile chop up the sun dried tomatoes and combine with the pesto, set aside
Add the green beans, peas, beans and zucchini
Season with salt and pepper
Cook until the beans and zucchini are just tender
Cruncher is better than soggy, in my opinion
Ladle the soup into individual bowls
Top with pesto and fresh parmesan

Pasta shells or rice is nice here too.  If using rice add it in the first step.  For pasta add it with the beans.

Bon Apetit!

Eggplant with Cinnamon, Pine Nut and Currant Pilaf

main entree, vegan 0 Comments

The funny thing about cooking all day for a living is that by the time you get home, the last thing you want to do is cook for yourself.  In an attempt to try and eat more well rounded meals (how long can I live off of Greek yogurt honey and walnuts) I thought a good place to start would be to make something that I can cook in advanced and reheat during the week.

Stuffed veggies are a great option for vegetarians
Big, hearty and healthy, plus they reheat well!

The combination of pine nuts, raisins and cinnamon was inspired by a dish I had in Turkey this summer.

Side dish or light lunch for 4
4 small eggplants
2 T olive oil
3 T pine nuts
1 onion, chopped
1 t coriander
1/4 cup currants
1 T dried dill
1 tomato seeded and shopped
1 1/2 cup of grains (I did a combo of rice and quinoa)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350
Slice the eggplant lengthwise
Rub a little olive oil on the cut sides, place face down on a cookie sheet
prick with a fork
Bake for 25-30 minutes
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and stir in the pine nuts, cook until golden
Add the onion, and soften
Add coriander and currants
Add the sugar, cinnamon, dill and tomato
Toss in your grain and mix well to coat
Pour in 3 cups of water, add a little salt
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer slightly covered for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked

Scoop out the inside of the eggplants, leaving at least a half inch
Chop up the insides and mix into the rice
Season with good salt and fresh pepper
Stuff back into the eggplants
Garnish with chopped parsley, pine nuts and currants

These also freeze well.


Quinoa Tabbouleh

All the times I enjoyed tabbouleh in Greece and Turkey this summer, I thought, “how nice would this be made with quinoa as oppose to bulgur”

Well, quinoa has yet to find its place on shelves in Turkey, but it is available anywhere rice is sold here in California.  I assume always use quinoa in a recipe that calls for a grain.  Not only because it is gluten free but it is also a complete protein, making it the ideal grain for vegetarians.

I added chickpeas and stuffed into heirloom tomatoes (sorry no pic) and garnished with lemon zest and a mint leaf for a light lunch
For dinner, omit the beans to keep it as a side dish, serve along grilled salmon and and asparagus, oooo and lots of lemon zest! Perfect!

Serves 6 side or 4 main
1 cup quinoa
1 large cucumber, chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded and cubbed
2 cups parsley, finely chopped
1 cup mint, finely chopped
1 can Chickpeas, rinsed well

Lemon Dressing:
1 lemon, juiced
1-2 garlic cloves, to taste, minced
3 T good quality olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Cook the quinoa.  set aside in a bowl, even in the fridge, to cool completely.
Whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside

Meanwhile, prepare all the vegetables.

Toss the quinoa with veggies with the quinoa and gently toss with dressing
Season with sea salt and pepper
Garnish with lemon zest and whole pretty pieces of mint


Roll into Spring

appetizers, vegan 0 Comments

I am so overwhelmed right now with food, I don’t know where to begin.
Lists. Lots of them. Big ones.
Recipes I’ve made and need to share.
Recipes I’ve had on recent travels and need to share.
Recipes that look delicious and I must make, devour and share.

Checking off a recipe from my “I’ve made and must share list” are these fresh little bites of springtime.  Fresh Herbs are the key ingredients, but really anything seasonal and fresh will be great.  The filling possibilities are endless!

The creamy nut sauce is so good, you may just eat it on its own

I make these for vegan clients for their lunches and as appetizers at private parties.  They can last a couple days in the fridge with a wet towel around them.  Therefore, I recommend making a bunch… rolling takes a while to get the hang of, so the first few may be a little wobbly looking, and the assembling is easy once you have all the ingredients laid out and ready to go.
Don’t let the rice paper intimidate you, like it did me at first. Soaking them in water for 20 seconds is all it takes

Ingredients for Asian Rolls:
Rice Paper
Rice noodles Tossed in Sesame oil
Bell peppers
Shredded Carrots
Cilantro and scallions
Tofu (optional)
Sprouts for garnish

Ingredients for California Rolls:
Quinoa tossed in a almond oil
Shredded carrots
Basil and mint
Shrimp (optional)
Sprouts for garnish

Have ready:
Big shallow pan for dipping the papers in (I use a big skillet)
All your veggies to one side in bowls
A work surface for assembling with a a damp cloth
Cutting board
Place a rice paper in the water and rotate for about 20 seconds
Lay it on the damp towel
Place your grain or noodles across the bottom third in a thin line
Top with a few veggies
Tightly roll and set aside
After you have a few made, cut them at a diagonal
Top with sprouts and Peanut sauce

Asian Peanut or Californian Almond Sauce:
3 T Creamy Peanut or Almond Butter
3 T rice vinegar
2 t soy sauce
2 t brown sugar
red pepper flakes to taste 1/2 – 1 t

Whisk together and enjoy


Turkish Sultains Ate Beans Too

beans, vegan 0 Comments
Turks and Beans go hand in hand
Vegetarians and Beans go hand in hand
Me and Turkey go hand in hand

I admit, I can be a foodie brat sometimes.  And the fact that I don’t eat wheat, factory farm animals and processed foods make it all the more difficult to please me.

With that said, I am more than happy with a well seasoned, perfectly cooked bowl of beans and rice  Not to mention, beans and rice make a complete protein.

These Turkish bean dishes satisfy the foodie in me for sure
The picture above is of one of my favorite meals in Istanbul, a restaurant right outside the walls to the Istanbul University in a beautiful plaza on a beautiful afternoon.  It was 2 pm and very table was occupied by groups of friends from the university: well dressed and well mannered.
Our meal ended with Turkish coffee and what other than…baklava!
Here I’ll share my two favorite Turkish bean dishes
Green Beans with Tomatoes and Dill

So fresh and clean tasting, you can serve at room temperature with rice on a hot summer day or serve warm with crusty bread on a chilly night
Adapted from The Turkish Kitchen
1 Onion Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves
2 T Olive Oil
1 1/4 lb Green Beans
1 T Sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
Handful of fresh Dill, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper

In a large sauce pan, cook the onions, garlic, and oil over low heat until softened
Toss in the Green Beans, coating them in the onions and oil
Add the sugar and lemon juice
Add the tomatoes to the pan and bring to a boil
Lower the heat and add the dill
Cook for 35-40 minutes, or until beans are cooked and sauce is thick
Season with salt and pepper

White Bean and Tomato Soup
Photo: 2 tl for 1 kilo = 50 cents for 1 lb
This traditional Turkish soup is o simple yet incredibly satisfying
It’s no wonder they have been making it for hundreds of years
Serve this soup with a little parsley sprinkled on top and steamed rice on the side

Adapted from the Sultan’s Kitchen
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1 onion chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Large tomatoes, diced
2 T tomato paste
1 1/2 cups white beans
4 cups vegetable broth
1 carrot diced
1 celery diced
1 t red pepper flakes (I add more- I love spice!)
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup Parsley

In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil and butter
Cook the onion until softened, about 2-5 minutes, add the garlic
Add tomatoes, paste, and beans
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes
Add the carrot, celery, and red pepper
Cook for another 15 minutes or until the veggies are cooked
Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley

Before : 

Chickpea Balls

On mine and Mindee’s first night on Sifnos, Greece, we had a wonderful dinner at O Argiris in the port of Kamares.
We started our dinner with chickpea balls and a Greek salad followed by melt-in-your-mouth slow cooked lamb called Mastelo, all Sifian Specialties!

Chickpea balls are similar to falafel only not as spicy.  Falafel is made with cumin and coriander where chickpea balls call for fresh herbs and potato 

This recipe was adapted from a cookbook written by a Greek woman living on the island that does just about everything…. from wedding planning, dance lessons, ceramic classes, hike tours and cooking classes.  The cookbook is not very specific with ingredient measurements and cooking times… which just goes to prove the easy-going, laid-back mentality of the Greeks :o)

1 part chickpeas
1/2 part potatoes, boiled and peeled
1/2 part onions chopped
Parsley, dill, marjoram, mint
2 garlic
Red wine to kneed
Flour to roll in and oil to fry

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a blender
Put into a large bowl
Add a little wine at a time and kneed to combine
Roll about 1 heaping tablespoon
Roll in flour
Set aside
Fry about 5 at a time in oil
Drain on paper towels

Our view from the restaurant 

Nori Rolls with a Raw Almond and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

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:
Sliced Veggies
Grain (quinoa or rice are my favorite)
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
Drain the almonds
Place Almonds into a food processor and blend until smooth
Add the remaining ingredients and process until well mixed and blended.

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


Almond and Coconut Berry Tart

I’ve been waiting for an excuse to experiment with coconut flour and coconut butter for some time now.
So, when my friends and I decided to take a trip to Tomales Bay to BBQ oysters, I thought, “What better opportunity?  If I happen to not like oysters, I’ll still have an entire tart to enjoy!”
Well, I happened to love BBQ oysters, especially the butter and hot sauce smothered on top (check out the BBQ here)

Not only is coconut flour gluten free, but it’s high in protein and fiber too.  Coconut butter is a good substitute to cow’s butter if you are looking for a vegan option.
Coconut flour and honey make this delicious dessert vegan and gluten/sugar free!

For the Crust:
2/3 cup Almond Meal (our almonds ground to a powder)
2/3 coconut flour
1/3 cup honey
3/4 cup coconut butter

For the Ganache:
12 oz good quality chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut butter
3/4 cup almond (rice or coconut) milk

Preheat the oven to 350
Butter a spring tart pan
In a food processor combine the crust ingredients.
Do not over process, it will look a little dry, that is fine
Pour the mixture into the pan and press firmly down
Bake for about 7-10 minutes until lightly brown

Meanwhile make the ganache filling
In a double broiler melt the chocolate chips
Remove from the heat and add the butter and milk
mix well until well incorporated

Pour the chocolate ganache mixture over the crust and return to the oven for 15 minutes
allow to cool completely on a wire rack
Add berries
Top with shredded coconut (optional.  After I did this I thought it looked a little silly.  But it is a nice reminder to the eaters that coconut is incorporated in the crust and chocolate ganache too!)
I let mine sit over night on on a cooling rack and in the morning added the berries.
I added one nice line of berries along the border, pressing down a bit to hold them in, and then filled it in a little more casually.   I like food to look and more natural and not so uniform and perfect, but it’s up to you.  A mixture of berries would be lovely too.


Green Curry

I am currently obsessed with Thai Curry!  What’s better than a big bowl of warmth with a bit of a kick!?

I have started making curry daily for lunch AND/or dinner.  I have discovered that using almond milk, as oppose to coconut milk, gives the nice creamy texture without all the fat that comes with coconut milk.

The vegetable, grain and protein combinations here are endless.  Really, once you get the hang of making it, you can pretty much use a combination of whatever is in your fridge and pantry to make a wonderful curry.
I will give the recipe for this combo because I happened to photograph it, but I’ve made many and will list other possible combinations below

Serves 2
3/4 – 1 cup of a cooked grain (use your Basic Grain recipe that you should always have ready and on hand)
2 T Thai Curry Paste (red or green)
Handful of edamame beans
Handful of Snap Peas, cut crosswise
Handful of Cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 Baby Bok Choy, roughly chopped
2 Cups Almond Milk or one can Coconut milk

In a sauce pan, combine your grain, beans and peas, curry paste and about 2 T milk.
Saute for awhile so the vegetables really get a chance to cook in the curry and absorb the flavors
Add the remaining milk and bok choy
Simmer partial covered for a few minutes or until vegetables have reached desired tenderness

If you are making your grain at the same time, do not add it to the curry.  Simply pour your warm curry over your warm garin.  I mixed my grain into my curry because it had been in the fridge and needed to be warmed.
If you are using a meat, add it to the pan during the first step with the curry paste.
My Other Favorite Ingredients:
Shredded Carrot
Any type of beans
Japanese Eggplant
Can easily be doubles, tripled…  You really can not mess up here… So simple and delicious!

Carmel Graham Cookies

dessert, vegan 0 Comments

My Aunt Izzy is the inspiration behind my love affair with food and cooking.  I have many childhood memories of summers spent in the kitchen whipping up treats with Izzy and Mindee (my cousin).
These Graham Crackers were a favorite of mine and Mindee’s and were requested often.
With only 4 ingredients, these tasty treats are super easy to make, even for kiddies

24 Graham Crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350
spread 24 graham cracker on a cookie sheet
In a heavy sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar
Bring to a boil. allow to boil for about 5 minutes
Pour evenly over crackers
Sprinkle with chopped nuts
Bake for 10 minutes
Cool for 10 minutes
Cut between each square


Rhubarb Bars

dessert, nuts, vegan 0 Comments

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.

I don’t often feel this way about recipes I come up with, but I must say, I whipped up a couple tasty things today (Rice with Broccoli, Pesto and Pine Nuts too)!

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

Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting


ingrained in your memory…your Basic Grain Pilaf

Actually, there is not even a recipe for this post!
The point is, we need to always keep cooked whole grains on-hand in our fridge!
The first step to eating healthy:
Stock your fridge with healthy,  pre-made (by you) foods!
There are many verities for grain pilafs, my favorite is quinoa 
with this rice medley I buy in bulk (brown, red and black)

Having this on hand will keep you from turning to processed foods like toast for breakfast, croutons on your salad at lunch or pasta with your fish at super.  And it is always available and ready to eat, which mean NO work for you! And, it can keep in the fridge for days!

I know we all complain about “not having enough time to cook”… well, you can’t use that excuse anymore!

For example, you can use your already made Basic Grain Pilaf for:
Cook with eggs in a frying pan (2 minutes)
Heat up in a pot with milk, cinnamon, vanilla, raisins and almonds for porridge (2 minutes)

Throw on your salad (timeless!)
Mix with bean and wrap in a tortilla (1 minute)

Throw into your soup instead of pasta (I do this with Thai curry too yum yum)
Put in a baking dish with white wine, top it with fish, rosemary, tomatoes, capers etc and bake

If you know that you will be using your Basic Grain Pilaf for savory dishes only, substitute the water for broth and even cook up a chopped onion in the pot before adding the rice.
This will really add a lot more flavor.
I usually choose to make mine with water (and no onion obviously) so I can have the option to make porridge in the morning too

Get creative with your combinations, portions and quantities of each grain.
Combinations I enjoy:
Millet and Quinoa
Rice and Amaranth