I recently had chia seed pudding at a terrific restaurant in San Francisco and was totally smitten. I love the stuff! It is healthy and light, but filling and satisfying. It is amazing to see the story of the chia seed in the United States: it evolved from a gag gift to a highly trendy superfood. Though I tend to dislike trends, I am fully on board with chia seed pudding!

Chia Seed Breakfast Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Fresh fruit & nuts

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Let sit for 15 minutes. Stir once or twice during that time.
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Serve topped with fresh berries, bananas, sliced almonds and walnuts.
  5. Enjoy!

 

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creamy corn dip

01Jul14

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This recipe was inspired by another recipe that was inspired by Mexican corn on the cob, or elote. I love elote. The tanginess of the lime and the crema, the saltiness of the cotija cheese, the spiciness of the hot sauce and the sweetness of the corn is the perfect combination. I wanted to bring that complexity to a simple appetizer — something tangy, fresh, creamy and delicious!

Creamy Corn Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 4 ounces can of green chile
  • 16 ounces of corn, fresh off the cob is best, but frozen works too
  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon jalepeno, finely minced
  • 1/8 cup cilantro, finely minced
  • 1 small avocado, diced

Instructions:

  1. Heat the veggie oil on medium-high heat in a medium-sized sauce pan.
  2. Finely mince the shallots.
  3. Sauté shallots in oil until translucent, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add chili powder and paprika. Cook 2 minutes more.
  5. Add green chiles and salt and pepper. Stir. Cook 4 minutes more.
  6. Add corn. Cook 3 minutes more for fresh; 5 minutes more for frozen.
  7. Take off heat and let cool.
  8. Add greek yogurt, lime juice and cheese to a blender. Add cooled corn mixture and blend for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth but still chunky.
  9. Pour into a serving dish. Stir in jalepeno and cilantro.
  10. Dice avocado. Add as garnish.
  11. Serve with corn chips.
  12. Enjoy!

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I was inspired to develop a creative mac & cheese recipe because the local cookbook store, Omnivore Books (how lucky am I, by the way, to be living in a place where there are such things!), was hosting a mac & cheese contest this past weekend. I wanted to take the recipe in a different direction, and I started my brainstorm by shifting the type of cheese from classic cheddar to blue. I also wanted to add some additional ingredients, and I immediately thought of pears. From there, I needed to round out the flavors by adding caramelized red onions. The combination was headed in the right direction, but was still too sweet. I decided to deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar to help balance it out. 

Blue Mac & Cheese with Pear & Balsamic Red Onions

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups large macaroni
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 ounces gruyère
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar
  • 2 ounces blue cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Thinly slice red onion.
  3. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-low heat.
  4. Add onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  5. Deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar, cook for 5 minutes, and then remove from heat.
  6. Cook macaroni according to the directions on the box, reducing cooking time by 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
  7. Thinly slice pears.
  8. Grate gruyère and cheddar cheeses. Break apart blue cheese into small chunks.
  9. Melt butter of medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan.
  10. Add flour and stir to combine.
  11. Add milk when the butter-flour mixture is slightly browned and has taken on a toasty smell.
  12. Add cheese, stirring until melted.
  13. Add macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir until evenly coated.
  14. Butter medium-sized casserole dish.
  15. Layer onions on the bottom of the dish.
  16. Top onions with a layer of sliced pears.
  17. Pour pasta over the pears.
  18. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with panko so that it is evenly coated.
  19. Bake in the oven until the bread crumbs are browned, about 30 minutes.
  20. Enjoy!

vegan borscht

23Feb14

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I love borscht! I love beets. I love carrots and celery. I love soup. Borscht was made for me! It is a healthy, filling soup that satisfies. The version I developed here is a kind of hybrid between a traditional borscht and a sweet-and-sour cabbage soup. I crave the tang of the vinegar and the balance of the sugar added here.

Vegan Borscht

Ingredients:

  • 8 beets, washed, boiled, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 6 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 small red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, washed and chopped

Instructions:

  1. Wash and boil beets until soft. Let cool and peel. Chop into small pieces.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot.
  3. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add carrots and celery and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes.
  5. Add cabbage and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.
  6. Add spices, stir and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add sugar, vinegar, tomatoes and broth. Stir.
  8. Add chopped beets.
  9. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.
  10. Cook until all flavors have been incorporated, about 20 minutes.
  11. Let cool, about 5 minutes.
  12. Garnish with parsley and greek yogurt (optional).
  13. Enjoy!

vegan bolognese

09Feb14

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I have been making a version of this hearty spaghetti sauce for years. The classic combination of celery, carrot and onion (mirepoix) adds a robustness to the flavor of the sauce that might otherwise be missing without meat or cheese. I chop the celery, carrot and onion using the bruniose technique of dicing the vegetables into a small dice, so that the vegetables cook through and begin to disintegrate. Once the sauce is assembled, I simmer the pot for as long as possible to deepen the flavors. To finish the sauce, I use an immersion blender to create a smooth, silky texture.

Vegan Bolognese

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, bruniosed
  • 3 carrots, bruniosed
  • 6 stalks of celery, bruniosed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, washed and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cheap red wine
  • 2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 28 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 6 ounce can of tomato paste

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
  2. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add carrots and celery and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add herbs and spices and cool until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add wine to deglaze the pan. Cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Add tomato products, stir and bring to a simmer.
  8. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour (ideally 3 hours).
  9. Remove bay leaves.
  10. Blend until smooth using an immersion blender.
  11. Serve over spaghetti.
  12. Enjoy!


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To counter the more traditional granola recipe I just published, here is an edgier, more experimental version. For this recipe, I was inspired by a trip to one of the world’s most amazing grocery stores, Rainbow Grocery. I am thankful every time I shop there that I get the pleasure of spending money at this institution in a regular way. I was walking by their immense dried food section and noticed persimmons.

I was introduced to persimmons while living abroad in China. I love their mild flavor and beautiful color. The dried version in China is much more supple and sweet. The persimmons at Rainbow looked like the perfect ingredient for granola.

I added in pepitas, cashews, orange liqueur and warm spices (ginger and nutmeg) to round out the recipe.

Persimmon Cashew Pepitas Ginger Granola

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix oats, coconut, crystallized ginger, pepitas, cashews, and brown sugar.
  3. In another bowl, mix agave, orange liqueur, vegetable oil, salt, nutmeg, and ground ginger.
  4. Mix together dry and wet ingredients.
  5. Pour mixture out on a cookie sheet and spread evenly.
  6. Cook granola for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The granola should be evenly browned and toasty smelling.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  8. Stir in dried persimmons.
  9. Store in a cool, dry place.
  10. Enjoy!

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Here’s my latest — long-delayed, I realize. Apologies for a crazy few months getting in the way of posts to Veg Here!

I continue to experiment with granola. My colleague had given me feedback on the last batch that it was too wacky. What she really loved in granola was a hearty, healthy, wholesome flavor profile. So, in honor of her (her initials are CBA), I made this mostly fruit and nut variety. I added a little dark rum to punch up the flavors, but otherwise this is a classic version.

Cranberry Blueberry Almond Granola

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup dried shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 1/8 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried blueberries

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix oats, almonds, coconut and brown sugar.
  3. In another bowl, mix agave, rum, vegetable oil, salt and vanilla.
  4. Mix together dry and wet ingredients.
  5. Pour mixture out on a cookie sheet and spread evenly.
  6. Cook granola for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The granola should be evenly browned and toasty smelling.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  8. Stir in cranberries and blueberries.
  9. Store in a cool, dry place.
  10. Enjoy!


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