Tuesday, October 30, 2012


This is what I did during Hurricane Sandy. Got some hunkering down supplies- practical stuff like non-perishables and wine but then I realized I didn't think about things like dessert. Luckily I had some ingredients that I was able to throw together to make a cookie I would have never made otherwise. It was kinda like a Chopped challenge. 

I had some free samples of Dandies marshmallows that have been hanging out in the cupboard for a while, I had flour, sugar, coconut oil, some spices. So what I came up with was a sort of a Coconut Marshmallow Snickerdoodle, if you will. Marshmallows got me thinking about Ghostbusters so then I just threw some spirulina into the mix and I ended up with... 

Ectoplasm Stay-Puft Cookies

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
about half tsp spirulina powder
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 + 2 TB vegan milk
vegan marshmallows (2-3 per cookie) 24 will work.

mix dry ingredients minus sugar and marshmallows, then mix wet in a separate bowl with sugar. Pour the wet into the dry and mix. fold in marshmallows at the end. make into about 12 balls including about 2 marshmallows per ball. flatten balls between you palms gently, then place on cookie sheets. bake for 12 minutes at 350.

Nerd Alert! The Ghostbusters car was in front of a movie theater one night when we lived in Los Angeles. As soon as Joe heard about it, we had to walk down there and get a picture.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Let The Right One In (vegan mofo)

Butternut Squash Swedish Pancakes topped with Rosemary-Apricot Cashew Ricotta and a Molasses Popcorn Candy Tower 
Let the Right One In
Let the Right One In is a story of Oskar, a 12 year old boy and Eli, a seemingly 12 year old girl who live next door to one another. They develop a sweet friendship and over time, Oskar learns that Eli is a vampire and requires the consumption of blood to stay alive and healthy.  I see it as a very dark and sweet story of friendship and it's one of my favorites of the genre. So I wanted to invite Eli and Oskar over for brunch when I heard the new chopped challenge. Eli has special dietary needs I have to work into the meal, being a vampire and all. So I actually had 5 chopped ingredients I had to work with. They're Swedish so I thought it would be nice to make them something from their country. I came up with Butternut Squash Swedish Pancakes (Pannkakor) Topped with with Rosemary-Apricot Cashew Ricotta and a Molasses Popcorn Candy Tower. And we don't want to go around killing anyone so I made a Lemon Rosemary Bloody Mary.

Butternut Squash Swedish Pancakes topped with Rosemary-Apricot Cashew Ricotta and a Molasses Popcorn Candy Tower
Swedish Pancakes
1/2 cup roasted butternut squash
1/2 cup vegan milk
1/2 cup water
3 TB safflower oil
3 TB maple syrup
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Put everything in a blender, heat a little oil in a pan and pour some batter out. Pannkakor is similar to a French crepe. So do your best to spread out a thin layer. Flip when one side is golden brown. When fully cooked, fold in half, then fold in half again and plate.
Rosemary-Apricot Cashew Ricotta
I make my cheese in bulk. I use 2 pounds of raw cashews (soaked), blended in the vitamix with enough water to puree. Add sea salt. I add vegan probiotics and let ferment for a couple of days and then refrigerate. Take 1/2 cup ricotta, stir in 4 tsp of apricot preserves and 1 and 1/2 tsp of finely chopped fresh rosemary.

 *Note- many probiotics are not vegan but are derived from cow's milk. (they won't tell you this on the label) But there are a couple that are vegan that get their bacteria from plants. Make absolute sure your probiotics are vegan or learn to make rejuvelac to be safe in which you would be making the bacteria at home with wheat berries.

Molasses Popcorn Candy Tower
pop your pop corn and set aside and lay out a scattering on some parchment paper. Take a knife and dip it into you molasses, wave your molasses knife back and forth and across in a splattering style. Sprinkle sea salt. Set aside. In a somewhat large pot, heat 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of brown rice syrup and 1/2 cup of water. Boil until it reaches 300 degrees. If you don't have a candy thermometer, you can give it your best guess, let it boil for a bit and remove from heat but if it's not hot enough it won't reach it's "cracking point" and if it's cooked too much, it will be too hard to eat. 
Let cool partially while stirring and let it thicken. Take a fork and dip it in the sugar mix, make all sorts of crazy lines on the popcorn parchment paper, making sure there will be a good bond with the popcorn. Let cool completely and peel it right off the parchment paper carefully as to not break the candy too much. Top your pancakes with ricotta and stick a popcorn tower in the middle.

Lemon-Rosemary Bloody Mary
 Tomato Juice 
lemon juice
fresh rosemary sprig
fresh cracked black pepper
splash of pickle brine (just trust me on that one!)
Vodka (optional)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Birthday Breakfast- Cheesecake Stuffed Raspberry French Toast (vegan mofo)

I usually don't like to make a post without sticking to my blog's concept of movie and menu pairings BUT this breakfast I felt was just too epic not to post. I made it for my birthday morning which was actually back in April. Maybe pair this with a green smoothie and sauteed collards with tempeh bacon because there is no doubt, this is a sugar fest, it will be nice to balance it out with something savory and something with nutrients.

This was six months ago, so I don't remember the exact measurements I came up with. But I made a classic cashew based cheesecake filling with soaked cashews, maple syrup, coconut oil and lemon juice. For the french toast part, I like to use Chloe Coscarelli's recipe, it's always done right by me. And for the raspberry topping- just some pureed frozen raspberries in the Vitamix with a little maple syrup and lemon.

And look who gets to sit back and relax while I do all the work ;) . Henry has an excuse because he doesn't have thumbs but my husband needs to learn how to cook! In all fairness, he did offer to make me pancakes because he knows how to do that. But I insisted on making the breakfast.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

With a Friend Like Harry - Rustic French Countryside Grub (vegan mofo)

With a Friend Like Harry is a French Hitchcockian thriller from 2000. A couple are fixing up their country cottage when they run into a supposed high school friend of Michel's. Harry boasts with details about their friendship even though Michel doesn't remember him, he can't help but welcome him into their lives. Harry and his girlfriend begin to live with the couple at the cottage where he goes from a charming old chum to a creepy obsessive dude raising suspicion and suspense.

Most of the movie takes part in the French Countryside, so I thought I'd cook up something Frenchy and rustic.

French Baguette with Cashew Cheese & Crispy Sage

one large crusty baguette
1 bundle of sage
vegan butter
sea salt
Cut the baguette in half longways and spread on the cashew cheese. Melt some butter in a pan, take the sage leaves off the stems and crisp them in a pan. When crisp, top the bread with the leaves.

French Lentils with Balsamic Glaze

I can't say I have an exact recipe to give you for this one. I made this for lunch last week and just didn't think to plot out a recipe. So I'll tell you what is in it and just cook with your heart from there :) it's a fairly easy one to improvise.

French Lentils
Napa Cabbage (shredded and sauteed)
Caramelized Leeks
Soy Sauce 
Liquid Smoke (or Tempeh Bacon)
Balsamic Glaze - Pour balsamic vinegar in a pan, heat slowly until liquid is reduced to a glaze. Drizzle this on last before serving.

Serve up with a big piece of crusty bread. 

Bon Appetite, Mes Amis!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vegan Mofo - Bird in a Nest and Bodega Bay Chowder for Hitchcock's, "The Birds"

"The Birds" is the story of a peaceful seaside town in Northern California that receives an onslaught of birds upon the arrival of Melanie, a woman who paddles her way across the bay, seeking out a fella. The bird attacks get worse, injuring and killing the people of Bodega Bay. An "Aflockolypse" if you will. The reason for this sudden avian wrath? Well, I would love to see this movie through a different analysis from the one I hold, because I love this movie. It's a vastly held opinion that Hitchcock is not a fan of the female of our species and it's apparent through his films. In this particular film, many believe the birds are an embodiment of women, full of rage and vengeance destroying everything around them including themselves. The movie contains three female characters "flocking" to the same man, "squabbling" with one another and "ruffling feathers." Any other interpretations? Let me know your take on it!

So... on the menu! There is a little diner in the movie that I am going to imagine I own. And I am creating today's special. "Bird in a Nest" a take on the classic diner menu item, just remove the cruelty and cholesterol and you got yourself a vegan greasy spoon special. It's a nice little bayside town where I caught me some fresh sea vegetables to make my Bodega Bay Chowder on this chilly fall day. Both are Gluten Free, Enjoy!

Bird in a Nest

About 6 yukon gold potatoes, peeled (use any kind, really)
4 TB Vegenaise
2 TB water
1/4 tsp black salt + another 1/8 tsp (separate)
1 TB nutritional yeast
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp agar powder
safflower oil
sea salt (to taste)

Shred potatoes with the shredder blade in the food processor or grate them on a box grater on the side with the biggest holes. pour a couple of tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and fry the potatoes on medium high until golden brown. sea salt to taste. in a sauce pan, mix the almond milk, 1/8 tsp black salt and agar powder and heat until bubbly, reduce to simmer and let thicken. pour a thin layers of the mixture into drinking glasses or small bowls, and let chill in the refrigerator. Mix your "runny yolk" by wisking together vegenaise, water, 1/4 tsp black salt, nutritional yeast, and tumeric (until desired yellow color).

Take a serving of hashbrowns and form your nest. Place one of your agar "whites" in the center and spoon in your "yolk" I like to add extra yolk after the presentation (because it's good!)

*Note- It won't taste like eggs if you don't use black salt. You can get it at a fancy pants store. If you don't like eggs, just use regular sea salt and it will taste good, just not eggy. If you've never had black salt before, fix to get your mind blown, It tastes exactly like eggs. Recipe makes about 4 servings.

Bodega Bay Chowder

3 cups cubed potatoes
4 celery hearts, diced
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1/2 pound of raw cashews (2 cups)
1 and 1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
1 and 1/2 cups water
2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
2 sheets nori seaweed
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Safflower oil

Put about 2 TB safflower oil in a pot along with potatoes, celery and onions. Cook in the pot, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze the pot and add vegetable stock, bring to boil, then simmer for about 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender. In a blender, blend cashews with 1 and 1/2 cups of water, pour into soup pot. cut nori sheets into tiny pieces and mix in along with dill and thyme. Top with fresh chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)

Recipe makes about 4 bowls

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Colcannon Pancakes over Caraway Roasted Cabbage

I chose Once (2006) for my Irish (St. Patricks day) movie because I have such a strong affection for it. It's a beautiful understated film set in Dublin, Ireland that follows a Czech immigrant and a street musician who meet one evening and begin to write songs together. We see over the coarse of a week how their unique love develops.

I paired this movie with an Irish classic called Colcannon, which is essentially mashed potatoes mixed up with curly kale and scallions. So here's the special recipe I made for this classic.

Colcannon Pancakes

Makes about 3 good servings (12 small pancakes)

4 russet potatoes
1 bunch of curly kale
1 bunch of chopped green onion
1 cup vegenaise
roughly 2 and 1/2 Tablespoons of fresh grated horseradish (optional but recommended)
1 tsp sea salt (to taste)
safflower oil
1/2 cup flour of choice on a plate

Peel and cut potatoes into small pieces and boil until soft (about 15 minutes). mash the potatoes with sea salt and vegenaise (and horseradish if opting for it). Cut kale into manageable, bite size pieces and steam, boil or braise. I sauteed the kale with a bit of safflower oil then braised in some leftover pot liquor. This is also how I cooked my green onion. I realize not everyone just happens to have some pot liquor in their fridge, but maybe look at the ingredients ( in Baby Doll post) and see if you can't throw some of that together for a braising liquid.

Stir in the kale and green onion. Coat a frying pan with safflower oil, form colcannon into palm sized patties, coat in flour and pan fry on medium until golden brown on both sides.

Roasted Cabbage

One head of green cabbage, sliced
safflower oil
sea salt
1 Tablespoon of caraway seeds

coat cabbage with oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Sprinkle caraway seeds over the cabbage. Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes, flipping half way in between.

"I don't know you, but I want you all the more for that"

"Words fall through me and always fool me and I can't react"

"What's the Czech for 'Do you love him?"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Baby Doll - Pot Liquor Grits with Collard Greens & Caramelized Leeks

Baby Doll is a nineteen year old girl living in Mississippi, married to Archie, a middle-aged man who owns a cotton gin business. When Silva Vacarro brings an updated cotton spinning machine into town, it pushes Archie out of business which leads him to burning down Silva's new machine. When Silva suspects Archie of the arson, he conducts a plan to seduce Baby Doll.

It's a Tennesee Williams story, so you'll get a lot of southern drama, but also themes that were very shocking for the time. Baby Doll was a very controversial film and there were strong efforts to ban it for it's "indecency." Well, don't expect anything too taboo by today's standards, but look at it through the lens of 1956 and you might just get a touch of the vapors!

Pot Liquor Grits w/ Collard Greens & Caramelized Leeks

There's a scene in the movie that I love, where Baby Doll and Silva are eating collard greens and he teaches Baby Doll about "pot liquor" which is the cooking juices from the collard greens. He told her, you dunk your bread in the pot liquor, she tried it and she said in her deep southern accent, "I looove pot lick-uh!"

So I had to have some pot liquor somewhere in the recipe, because I also looove pot lick-uh. So I just decided to put together a dish more southun' than a june bug on pokeweed...

Greens & Pot Liquor

Pot liquor is essentially a bunch of fat, smoke and salt with some flavoring from the greens. How this was traditionally accomplished makes me sad :,( so this is my kinder way of making pot liquor.

2 bunches of greens ( I used a mixture, 1 bunch of collards, one bunch of kale)
about 10-12 cups of water
2 Tablespoons liquid smoke
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 cup of stout or porter beer
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tsp white miso
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
* if using some of your pot liquor to dunk your bread in, put some earth balance butter in there. I didn't do this because I wanted to save the butter to top off my grits. (and didn't have bread).

Chop the greens roughly into manageable pieces and throw them in a big pot with the rest of the ingredients. Boil and bring to a simmer for about 30 minutes.


6 cups of pot liquor
2 cups of polenta cornmeal

Bring pot liquor to a boil , then add cornmeal, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a simmer and continue to whisk frequently to avoid lumps. Simmer until creamy and fully cooked (about 5 minutes)

Caramelized Leeks

2 stalks of leeks- sliced thin- stop at the dark green part.

Coat the pan with olive oil and put sliced leeks in. Add a heavy pinch of sea salt and sautee until soft and sweet.

Scoop out grits into a bowl, top with earth balance butter and salt (if needed), then top with greens and caramelized leeks.

Makes about 4 servings

Everything's Gone Green - A Piece of the Green Pie

"Everyone's in on a scam, or creating something nobody really needs, to sell to people who are too stupid to care or notice. Whatever happened to just being real. Why aren't we content to just be middle class."

Ryan is a corporate underling, cubical jockey, but loses that job around the same time he hears news of his parents winning the lottery. Ryan calls in the winning lottery ticket, only to find out that his parents mistook the numbers and didn't win after all. On the bright side, Ryan gets offered a job at the lottery bureau interviewing and photographing new lottery winners. Through his new job, he's tempted by a shady offer and gets caught up in a Japanese mafia money laundering scheme. As he acquires more and more money, he becomes less and less desirable, especially to the woman of his affection.

I love this movie, I've seen it at least a dozen times now. And it's the perfect time to recommend it. The movie has such an accurate depiction of the affluence of money and what it does to the spirit. I love how it illustrates money as a curse, which is why I think it's a great topical post to do right now. Occupy Cinegrub!

From Canada, Everything's Gone Green- 2006, currently streaming on Netflix!

A Piece of the Green Pie, otherwise known as Spanakopita...

Phyllo dough (thawed) - (freezer section, read the ingredients to make sure it's vegan! They usually are though.)
2 lbs frozen spinach
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
1/4 fresh chopped parsley
1 bunch chopped green onion
3 chopped garlic cloves
2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tsp nutritional yeast
pinch of salt

Thaw and sqeeze out water from the spinach. saute the spinach in the olive oil with the green onion, add garlic, salt and nutmeg. Stir in about 1 and 1/2 cups of cashew chz until blended. Remove from heat and allow to cool off. Add the dill and parsley. In a mini food processor (or crush with the back of your spoon), grind the pine nuts, nutritional yeast and salt, with a bit of fresh squeezed lemon if you have it on hand.

To fill your pies, first brush your sheet of phyllo dough with olive oil, then place a scoop of spinach mixture on the bottom right corner, top with a few pieces of cashew chz, sprinkle with pine nut mixture and fold. To fold your pies- look to diagram for instructions. Bake 350 for 20-25 minutes.

"Yesterday, life was so average and boring. Now today it's like a mystical experience. It's like life is somehow better."