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!

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Wedding!

So here's the deal, I missed the first week of Mofo because I was busy getting married and stuff! Can you believe I chose a wedding date right at the beginning of Mofo's month of food!? I have some catching up to do! Luckily there was tons of delicious food we stuffed our faces with at our wedding that I can talk about. Actually, our venue was a vegan restaurant! The V-Spot in Park Slope, Brooklyn! They were in the middle of renovations for their new back patio about 3 months before our wedding (we still had not planned a single thing yet!) when we stumbled upon the sign- patio coming soon! So we told them we were looking for a wedding venue for 30 people and asked if we can use their patio. They said, sure! And it was the absolutely best venue we could have ever asked for. It was perfect, very "us" and we were honored to be their very first wedding out on a patio which I'm sure will hold many more events. Also, my sister Jeannette of JP Searcy Photography was our wedding photographer!

Everything about our wedding was vegan, the food of course, the venue, our attire, even our officiant! My mom came up to New York to take me dress shopping. I had a budget of $500, which I thought was a ridiculous amount to spend on a piece of clothing, but apparently this is very cheap for a wedding gown. We started at David's bridal and I found one that was just okay, but would have worked, it was $500 and vegan. My consultant told me the problem was my budget, she couldn't find much for me in my price range. So onto the next shop which was a non-profit where designers donate their gowns and the money made from the dresses goes to charity. So I found one that I absolutely fell in love with. I asked my consultant what the material was, she poked around to find the tag and low and behold, it was 100% silk. No bueno. I then told my mom that we can make this dress ourselves! A look of panic came across her face and after much persuading, she agreed. So the dress I am wearing looks a lot like the $600 one I tried on only mine is a better color, it's lacking a speckling of sparkle on the bodice like the one in the shop, it cost about $100 to make and it's cruelty free! My mom made the majority of it and I put a couple of finishing touches on it.

Joe's suit is from Top Man who uses many man-made materials. It was hard to find a non-wool men's suit! We also requested that if our guests purchase any attire for our wedding that the articles be vegan. This only managed to piss 2 people off. Not bad only 2 out of 30! We are so glad we requested this though because our guests kept coming up to us showing us their new vegan shoes, or belt, their polyester dress, what have you! And most were very pleased they were able to do that for us :)

Originally the plan was (since I was about 12 years old) that both of my partner's parents would walk him down the aisle and both of my parents would walk me down. I thought this removed the sexism out of the tradition of a father's ownership of his daughter and passing along the ownership to her husband. Well, I got half of what I wanted. Apparently both of Joe's parents sharing that moment together was out of the question. So at least I had both my mom and dad walk WITH me down the aisle (not give me away!!!)

Great reaction from my husband to-be as I walk down the aisle :)

We had our friend, Jessi VanPelt of Peace to All Creatures Zine and Blog, officiate our ceremony. Jessi, being one of the only 2 vegans at our wedding almost didn't have a choice, the ceremony was heavy with the vegan values so we wanted someone to officiate that was connected with those values and stood behind the words she was saying. We kind of sprung it on her a few days prior that she would be officiating. Thanks for pulling through, Jessi!!! Melanie Joy recently officiated a wedding and posted her ceremony online. So, we loved it of course! And used most of it, while writing a little ourselves. Thanks Dr. Joy!!!

We wanted to do a romantic comedy movie poster pose as a joke, the whole back to back over the shoulder look. "They hated each other at first but ended up being perfect for each other." But it turned out to be really good and one of my favorites! We even tried to get the smirks down. His saying "how did I get tangled up with this crazy woman" and mine saying "I'm so much better than him, although he slightly amuses me" By the way, we never had the rom-com relationship, we always liked each other!

Now this shot was taken by my friend Matt, who has a great eye! I love it so much. Classic, New York :) Our venue was spectacular. It wouldn't have fit very many more people so it was perfect for an intimate wedding. We were surrounded by these charming apartments and fire escapes. Someone even had their laundry hanging out to dry on the fire escape, I loved that.

This was taken the next day at Top of The Rock at Rockefeller Center. The benefits of being related to your photographer, we got in our wedding attire the next day and took more photos! There were these awesome stormy clouds out which made it look really cool.

I think what I wanted most were some subway shots.

We were excited about this one!

Wanna know what we ate? It was buffet style with Summer Rolls, Empanadas, Tacos and an awesome asian noodle dish. I forgot to tell my sister that vegans need pictures of every single thing they eat so they can show everyone ;) so we didn't get any shots of the food, but no complaints here, I love our pictures! I pulled these pics off the internet, they are pics of v-spot food, just like what we had at the wedding.

That was my charming little wedding! I am so happy with the way everything turned out. We were able to stay under our $4,000 budget for everything which is apparently unheard of in New York City, with a low budget wedding starting at $35,000! So my advice to couples planning a wedding, get creative, and pull your resources. Seek out a place that doesn't do weddings typically, because if they are in the wedding business, you're looking at tens of thousands of dollars. DIY, little things like the day of, we went to a sidewalk vendor to buy some flowers, I picked up a bouquet of pink baby roses for $7 and made my bouquet out of it, I used scrap fabric from my dress to wrap it. Saved me about $100 easy. The things that we will remember about our wedding are not things like centerpieces or whether my dress was good enough or any other million little things we pour massive amounts of money into because we want our wedding day to be perfect. What makes it memorable and perfect are the moments, the celebration, the dancing, being with your loved ones who chose to share this special day with you.

I love him so much and I can't believe how lucky I am to have found a partner so wonderful to share this crazy life with. And can you believe, he chose me too! Go figure :)

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