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Showing posts from 2016

Sriracha Brussels Sprouts

These are addictive and can be served as a side dish or over pasta. They are simple to prepare and packed with flavor. Better still, they are vegetarian  and vegan if you sub out the honey with agave syrup. I find brussels sprouts to be very versatile. Even people who claim not to like them are won over by these. Eating your veggies never tasted so good. Ingredients  2 lbs Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and sliced in half.  1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1/4 cup Rice or Champagne Vinegar 3 Tbsp Honey or Agave Syrup 2 Tbsp Sriracha Sauce, more if you want it spicier.  1/8 tsp Sea Salt, or to taste.  Freshly ground Black Pepper Preheat oven to 400F and mix together your sauce ingredients, place prepped brussels sprouts into a large bowl and pour sauce over them and mix until they are well coated.  Pour into a large oven proof dish, which will allow them to be in one layer. Drizzle any remaining sauce over the top and into the oven for 15 minutes. B

Pesto Broiled Shrimp

I can't imagine a dish easier to prepare than this one. It has a fresh basil pesto taste and slightly crunchy crust.  It works very well with Costco's Kirkland brand pesto, which I must say, is very good. I prefer my own freshly made, but I never feel the basil in the winter is really up to the task.  One suggestion, try to get larger sized shrimp. A 21-25 count is perfect. If you're not familiar with this phrase, it means you will get 21-25 shrimp in one pound. A smaller number would mean the shrimp would be bigger.  Ingredients 1 lb Raw Shrimp, shelled and cleaned.  1/3 cup Pesto 1 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated Freshly ground Black Pepper Preheat you oven broiler. Take the raw shrimp and make sure they are patted dry.  Add them into a large bowl and add the pesto. Toss well to coat, then add the Parmesan cheese and the black pepper and toss again.  Place them onto a foil lined baking sheet and put under the broiler. Broil for 3 minu

Savory, Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash

This is so decadent and additive. It's like having your dessert first. It is very easy to make and is quick to cook. It is a little rich, but it is that time of the year. Best of all it's vegan and no one will ever know. I've yet to meet anyone that doesn't like this. However, if you have a real squash hater, you can sub out with sweet potatoes. Ingredients 2 lbs Butternut Squash, cubed to about 1 inch.  3 Tbsp Earth Balance 3 Tbsp Maple Syrup 1/8 tsp Chili Flakes 1/4 tsp Sea Salt A few grinds of Black Pepper Preheat oven to 400F and arrange all ingredients in a Pyrex baking dish. Ideally, they should be in one layer, but a little overlap is okay.  Bake for 20 minutes, stir things around a bit and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until done.  Note: You can adjust the maple syrup and chili flakes to make it more or less sweet and more or less spicy. 

Vegan? Vegetarian? What's the deal?

I am often asked why I post vegan, vegetarian and some older recipes including meat on my blog. Well, it's fairly simple, a 100% vegan diet is a bridge too far for some people. To be frank, sometimes it's a challenge for me as well. Do I occasionally eat dairy, eggs and very rarely some seafood? Yes I do, but must admit I feel better when I stay closer to vegan. I never intended for my diet to be a political statement. I am enthusiastic about it, but try not to be preachy. Sometimes I probably get too animated about it, but that's me. Haha! My goal has always been to encourage and inspire people with healthy non meat recipes and options and to also make the case for a more plant based diet. Some will notice that some of my much older posts contain recipes with meat. I considered deleting them when I changed to a non meat diet, but decided that whatever brings people to my blog is a good thing, as it shows people that they have non meat options. Even encouraging pe

Cajun Fish and Rice

This is a fantastic one pot meal. It's not difficult  to throw together and can feed a fairly large group. It's packed with flavor, and has a nice soft spicy flavor.  A few things to remember. You need a thicker filleted fish and a fish that has some fat. Cod is perfect, as are hake and monkfish. Halibut could work, but tuna would be a bit too dry.   Ingredients 1 1/2 lbs Cod, cut into fairly large pieces. Dusted with Old Bay Seasoning or a Cajun spice mix (Tony Chacheres is perfect) on both sides.  4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil 3 cloves Garlic, sliced 1 Large Onion, chopped  1 Red Pepper, chopped 1 Stalk Celery, chopped  1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper 1/2 tsp Thyme Pinch of Cloves 3 Bay Leaves 2 cups Medium Grain Rice 4 cups Vegetable Broth  Salt and Pepper to taste  Preheat your oven to 375F/190C/Mark 5. Heat 3 Tbsp of oil a heavy Dutch oven (Le Cruset is perfect), that has a cover and can be put into the oven. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Sauce

This is a wonderful sauce for pasta, noodles or brown rice. Its simplicity is the key. It's only 6 ingredients. Olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, red peppers and cherry tomatoes. With this basic sauce you can do whatever you like. It's very good on its own, or you may add wine, chilis, basil, the list is endless.  Slow cooking concentrates the flavors and creates something akin to a vegetable confit. I use produce from my own garden, but if you don't have a garden, just find the freshest organic produce you can find. I particularly like using my Corno de Toro peppers and sweet cherry tomatoes. Ingredients  2 large Red Peppers, or 4 -5 Corno de Toro peppers, seeds and membranes removed. 2-3 cups of Cherry Tomatoes 4 Tbsp Olive Oil 1 clove Garlic, crushed with side of knife. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt Freshly ground Black Pepper Optional: Wine, Chilis, Basil, Thyme, Capers, Lemon, grated Ginger Root. Slice the peppers and bring the olive oil up to temp in a large sauté pan. Add

Chu Chee Seafood Curry- Southern Thai Goodness

This is one of my favorite Thai curries. I first had it in the south of Thailand in Surat Thani at the bus station on my way to Phuket. It had every kind of seafood imaginable. Some of the seafood had been grilled, so it was epic.  My version is much simpler, and although it sounds a bit involved, it really isn't. Just have everything ready to go and you will be rewarded with a wonderful meal which is bursting with flavors.  Feel free to add whatever seafood you like and if you are allergic to shellfish, it is just perfect with fish. Or, if you want to make it vegetarian, just add deep fried tofu or broccoli. Ingredients 1 lb Fish, cut into 3 inch squares. I use cod.  6 Large Shrimp, shelled.  6 large Scallops, scored.  1 4oz can Chu Chee Curry Paste, easily found in Thai or Most Chinese markets.  1 13.5 oz can Coconut Milk 3 Tbsp Oil 4 Thai Chilies, whole or chopped, if you like it very spicy. 2 Tsp Sugar 1 1/2 Tbsp Fish Sauce 1 1/2 Tbsp Lime Juic

KFC Fried Chicken with 11 Herbs and Spices

Here's the back story. The Chicago Tribune was interviewing Harland Sander's nephew, and in a scrapbook he showed the reporter a hand written recipe for the original KFC.    "The recipe came to us (Chicago Tribune) by way of Colonel Harland Sander's nephew, Joe Ledington of Kentucky. He says he found it in a scrapbook belonging to his late Aunt Claudia, Sanders' second wife. Ledington, 67, says he used to blend the spices that went into his uncle's world-famous fried chicken, and the recipe in question is the real deal." So, here you go: Ingredients   2 cups all-purpose flour 2/3 Tbsp Salt 1/2 Tbsp dried Thyme 1/2 Tbsp dried Basil 1/3 Tbsp dried Oregano 1 Tbsp Celery Salt 1 Tbsp ground Black Pepper 1 Tbsp dried Mustard 4 Tbsp Paprika 2 Tbsp Garlic Salt 1 Tbsp ground Ginger 3 Tbsp ground White Pepper 1 cup Buttermilk 1 Egg, beaten 1 Chicken, cut up, the breast pieces cut in half for more even frying Expeller-presse

Coconut Rice - Pure Comfort Food

I'm not sure if this is more of an southern Indian dish, a Southeast Asian, or Carribean dish, as I have had it in many countries with slight variations, but either way, it is a fantastic side dish which is the perfect foil for so many main dishes. Its easy to prepare and very good indeed. I will include the variations at the end of the recipe, as there are so many options, but here is my basic recipe and you can let your creativity flow from there. Ingredients 2 cups of high quality Jasmine Rice, such as Hom Mali. 1 14 oz can of Coconut Milk 1 1/2 cups of water 1 tsp Sugar Pinch of salt 1/4 cup of toasted Coconut, sweetened or unsweetened. Begin by rinsing the rice well in cold water. Then drain and add in all ingredients except the toasted coconut. Bring to a boil and then cover with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat and allow to cook for 15 minutes. While the rice is cooking, toast the coconut in a 375F oven on a baking sheet and then remove and set aside. 

Vegan Fish Tacos - No Guilt!

These are very good, good for you and will fool most anyone into thinking they are having authentic fish tacos right on the beach in Baja California Norte.  This is not just a dish for vegans, but also for anyone who is allergic to seafood or fish. If you don't yet have access to Gardein products, use another suitable vegan fish filet. You may also prepare these grilled style, rather than a fried style.  Note: Many Chinese markets have a good selection of vegan meat substitutes in their frozen case. Additionally, if you are unable to find soft corn tortillas, you can substitute the hard tortilla shells, but wrap them in a warm flour tortilla to hold it all together.  Ingredients 8 soft Corn Tortillas 4 Gardein Vegan Fish Fillets, cooked and cut in half 1/2 cup Shredded Cabbage 1/4 cup Cilantro, coarsely chopped.  Lime wedges, to serve on side Slice of Avocado, optional Sauce: 4 Tbsp Vegan Mayonnaise 1 Tbsp Green Onion, finely chopped  1

Brown Rice Veggie Bowl

This is a Korean/Sichuan fusion dish, due to the use of gouchujiang, hot bean paste, Sichuan peppercorns and Chinkiang vinegar. It is a wonderful spicy veggie dish and is healthy and filling, It can be made with most any veggies you have in the house, but I believe the combo below is quite good.  Ingredients Sauce   1 Tbsp Gochujang Paste 1 Tbsp Hot Bean Paste 1 Tbsp Chinkiang Vinegar 2 tsp Shaoxing Rice Wine 1 tsp ground Sichuan Peppercorns  2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil 2 Star Anise, whole  2 inch piece Ginger Root, peeled and sliced into matchsticks.  4 Tien Tsin Chilis, whole 2 cups Broccoli Florets, steamed for 2 minutes.  1 cup Red Pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  1/2 cup Onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  1/4 cup Carrots, shredded 2 tsp Sesame Oil 1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds 2 Tbsp of finely chopped Green Onion Steamed Brown Rice Begin by preparing your brown rice. When it is finished, give a stir and set it aside while you prepare

Guacamole - Avocado Goodness

This is such a simple dish with very few ingredients, yet I've had more average guacamole than really good. I think thats because many recipes over complicate it and add so many ingredients that you loose the beautiful flavor of the avocado. I've developed this recipe over many years and it is always well received. It goes fast, so a double batch is a good idea. Ingredients 3 Avocados, medium/soft to the touch. 1 medium Tomato, chopped 1/4 cup Onion, chopped 1 small clove of Garlic, crushed Juice of one Lime Salt and Black Pepper to taste 1 Tbsp Cilantro loosely chopped-optional. Begin by slicing the avocados in half and scoop out the flesh and put into a medium bowl. Save one seed and set aside. Mash the avocados with a fork or a potato masher, until there are no large chunks. Fold in all other ingredients and adjust for salt. Drop in the retained seed and mix it in. This will keep the guacamole from turning brown. Finish with cilantro, if desired. Allow the guacamole to

Mushroom Stroganoff

This is a rich and flavorful dish, which has a wonderful creamy texture. It is vegan, or can be easily modified to be vegetarian if you prefer.  The key to this dish, is the layering of the flavors. By adding the ingredients in stages, you maximize the depth and richness.  Ingredients 6 cups of brown Mushrooms, sliced. About one pound. 4 Tbsp Earth Balance or Butter 1 clove Garlic minced 1/2 cup Onions, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces. 1/2 cup Red or Yellow Pepper, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces. 2 Tbsp grated Carrot 1/4 cup Madeira wine 1/4 cup Vegetable Broth 1/4 tsp Sea Salt 1/4 tsp Black Pepper 1/8 tsp Nutmeg 1/2 cup non dairy Sour Cream 1/4 cup non dairy Parmesan Cheese or more to taste. 1 lb of Pasta (Fusilli or Farfalle are perfect) or Egg Noodles Begin by slicing your mushrooms and chopping onions and mincing your garlic. Melt the spread/ butter in a large sauté pan and add the onions and garlic and sauté gently until they soften. Add your peppers and grated carrot. Continue

Fuchsia Dunlop - The Marcella Hazan of Chinese Cooking.

If you want to learn to cook Italian you could go to Marcella Hazan, French you could go to Julia Child, Elizabeth David or Jacques Pepin. But, if you want to learn to cook Chinese, you go to Fuchsia Dunlop. "Fuchsia Dunlop is a cook and food-writer specialising in Chinese cuisine. She  is the author of  Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking;  Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China , an account of her adventures in exploring Chinese food culture; and two critically-acclaimed Chinese cookery books,  Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook , and  Sichuan Cookery  (published in the US as  Land of Plenty )".  ‘The best writer in the West… on Chinese food’  Sunday Telegraph ‘Fuchsia has a rare ability to convey an encyclopaedic knowledge of Chinese cuisine in a compelling and totally delicious way.’  Heston Blumenthal ‘Fuchsia Dunlop joins the ranks of literary food writers such as Elizabeth David and Claudia Roden.’ Independent

Sichuan Shrimp - Spicy, Salty, Sweet and Sour

This is a very good dish and easy to prepare. As with all Chinese food, it is critical that you have "mis en place". Everything in it's place before you begin. I can sit a read a Fuchsia Dunlop cookbook like a mystery novel. I think she is an amazing Asian chef. I often find inspiration for dishes and use bits and pieces from her recipes to inspire and cobble together my own. I particularly enjoy "Every Grain of Rice" and "Revolutionary Cooking"  I guess this should be called Sichuan Shrimp ala Fuchsia Dunlop! Ingredients 2 whole Star Anise 3 cloves Garlic, sliced 1 inch piece of Ginger Root, minced.  6 dried Tien Tsin Chilis, or to taste 3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil Sauce   2 Tbsp Hot Bean Sauce 1 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine 1 Tbsp Fermented Sweet Black Vinegar 2 tsp Sesame Oil 1-2 tsp Sugar 1/4 tsp ground/crushed Szechuan Peppercorns  1/8 tsp Black Pepper 3/4 lb Shrimp, shelled and deveined. Retain the shells.  1 me

Vegan Cacio e Pepe, perfect Roman simplicity!

Ah, the creamy interplay between the cheese and the crushed black pepper. This is one of my favorite Roman dishes. A monument to simplicity.  I struggled to make a vegan version of this dish, as the lack of dairy tended to make it a bit dry. You need that creaminess to soften the bite of the black pepper.  I kept at it and finally found the key to create the creamy texture, vegan cream cheese.  Note: One additional benefit of vegan dishes is that they are non dairy, as such, they are also good for anyone who is lactose intolerant.  Ingredients   1/2 lb Spaghetti  2 Tbsp Earth Balance 2 Tbsp Tofutti Cream Cheese 1 tsp Go Veggie Parmesan Cheese 1/4 tsp salt 2 tsp - 1 Tbsp freshly ground or crushed Black Pepper. To taste.  Pinch of Sugar, I add this as some non dairy products can be slightly bitter. I find this creates a more dairy like richness.  Bring water up to a boil, add some sea salt to the water and then add the spaghetti. While the spaghetti is

Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

These are easy to make and very good. They can made within an hour and require no special equipment or canning supplies.  The spices in the recipe can be altered to suit your taste, but I must say, this recipe is quite good. Ingredients 2 lbs Cucumber, thinly sliced, 1/4 inch. 2 Onions, quartered and sliced. 2 Jalapeño, sliced in half. 4 Garlic cloves, peeled. 4 Sprigs of fresh Dill 3 cups Sugar 4 1/2 cups White Distilled Vinegar 2 tsp Sea Salt 1/4 tsp Black Pepper 1 1/2 tsp Mustard Seed 1 1/2 tsp Celery Seed Prepare and then place cucumbers and onions in a large bowl in layers. Set aside.  Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook and stir just until the sugar is dissolved. About 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; allow to cool.  Put mixture into two one quart jars, making sure to get at least 2 sprigs of dill, two halves of jalapeno and two cloves of garlic in each jar.  Pour the remaining syrup into each jar. Cover tightly and r

Khai Jiao -Thai Omelette

When I'm craving this dish, nothing else will do. This a true Thai comfort food. Normally, it is served over steamed jasmine rice as a one plate meal. It's not typically a breakfast food, but rather a quick meal often purchased from a street vendor or whipped up by your Mom.  There are many versions and some people add meat, seafood and other ingredients. I'm going to make a simple non meat version, which is my favorite. If you are a strict vegetarian, you can omit the fish sauce and substitute a mushroom soy sauce. It will give you the umami punch, without the fish sauce. Ingredients 3 Large Eggs 1 tsp Fish Sauce (Red Boat or Three Crabs are both top brands) 1/4 tsp Lime Juice 2 Tbsp finely minced Onion 1 tsp thinly sliced Shallot Freshly ground Black Pepper 2 -3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil Steamed Jasmine Rice Chopped Green Onion Heat your oil in the wok to a very high heat. It should be just starting to smoke. While your oil is heating, beat your eggs to a frothy texture a

Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding - A Southern Classic

This is very easy to prepare and incredibly tasty. It's rich, filling and perfect for a picnic or BBQ.  In a clinch, you can skip the time in the refrigerator, but it does improve the final result, if you have the time to spare. Ingredients  8 -9 large Croissants, torn into 1 inch pieces. 5 eggs, plus two egg yolks 2 cups Soy or Whole Milk 1 cup Heavy Cream (Whipping Cream) 2 Tbsp Bourbon  2 tsp Vanilla Extract 2 cups White Sugar 1/2 cup Raisins 1 cup Pecans Freshly grated Nutmeg, approx 1/4 tsp 1Tbsp Butter for greasing the pan Begin by greasing a large Pyrex baking dish (approx 10 1/2 x 15 1/2) with the butter. Then tear the croissants into 1 inch pieces and set them into the baking dish. Sprinkle on the raisins. Beat together the eggs, extra yolks, then add the soy milk, heavy cream, bourbon, vanilla extract, nutmeg and finally the sugar and combine. Pour this mixture over the croissants and push down with a fork. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Preheat oven to 35