Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sweet potatoes & sage

It's the first cool morning of Fall, and it came late this year! Apparently today is a morning of firsts, as I have my first smart phone in hand, and am making my first post in months!

I've been working on changing up my business plan lately. I started Sorella 1 year ago as an In-home Classes, Catering & Private Chefwork business. Those are all jobs that I am still interested in pursuing, in fact I love them all! But it doesn't give me much opportunity to work with the public. I have so much good food & knowledge to share that I feel strongly about having more consistent visibility with the community.

For the last few weekends I have set up a "concession stand" at local fairs selling sandwiches, snacks, salad & salsa. It went extraordinarily well. Now I am working to be a more permanent fixture in the Farmers Markets in town, and am dreaming up product lines. I am strongly considering Gluten Free Baking as a option, since there is such a great demand. We'll see!

1 Sweet Potato
1/2 red onion
handful raisins
6-8 leaves of garden sage, crumbled
sea salt
Drizzle coconut oil
handful Kale

Start with the oil. Add the diced sweet potato & salt. Once it is about halfway cooked add the rest of the ingredients, except for the Kale. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked through, remove from the pan. Add 1/2 cup of water to the hot pan, and toss in your kale. Itll be bright green and tender in under 30seconds.
Serve potatoes on top of Kale. Enjoy.

Chocolate Stuffed French Toast

French Toast - Egg free! - even better than the traditional egg battered version?! We think so!

I've got nothing against happy chickens laying happy eggs. But eating those eggs, just doesn't agree with my digestion. I didnt figure this out until "egg class" in Culinary School. We cooked eggs about 20 different ways, and since then eating them makes me nauseous. It was a bummer at first, but I manage! Anyways, enough about that! PLANT BASED FRENCH TOAST!!

1 banana, fresh or frozen
1 c milk, what have you
pinch sea salt
blend well

Dredge your toast of choice in this delicious concoction.. and fry it up. Baking would probably work too, but I would use parchment. Make sure your pan is nice & hot, and add a drizzle of oil. Keep your eye on these, they sometimes stick. Getting the pan hot & using oil liberally (I use coconut) will help.

Once theyre about to come off the stove, sprinkle chocolate chips on top of one slice, and place the 2nd slice on top.. like a sandwich! Those chips should be melted in no time, and its ready to eat!! With maple syrup, of course.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Juice Feast

Basically, these recipes were developed as I was cleaning out my fridge. They're variations on drinks I make all the time. They're freaking delicious. You should make your own!

Pink Juice
3 Grapefruit
1 large bunch grapes
handful kumquats
3 tangerines
1 lime
1 mango

Green Juice
2 apples
2 cucumber
3 celery stalks
1 lime
2 inch ginger
2 bunches kale stems

1 cucumber
8 small apples
3 stalks celery
1 lime
1 bunch kale

4 small beets
2lbs carrots
4 apples
6 oranges

3 grapefruit
2 mango
8 oranges

1lb carrots
3 oranges

Arugula Pesto Stuffed Shrooms

12 Crimini or Baby bellas
1 colored bell pepper
2 c arugula
1/2 c pecans
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 small red onion
1 T hemp oil
1 T miso
mushroom stems

Place all the ingredients, except the mushroom caps and 1/2 of the bell pepper, into food processor and blend until smooth. Fill caps with the smooth pesto and place in a glass dish with a touch of water for moisture. Make at 400 for 15 minutes. dice the remaining 1/2 of the bell pepper and use as garnish.

Blueberry Lavender Smoothie

2 c blueberries
1 T lavender
2-3 c coconut kefir or almond milk
1 big handful spinach
pinch sea salt
1/2 vanilla bean

Monday, February 11, 2013

Avocado Chocolate Truffles

Say what? Chocolate Avocado Truffles don't sound so good to you? Allow me to explain.

First, stop thinking about guacamole. Think smooth, simple, creamy, fatty, avocado. Thats the base for the creamy center of these truffles. Avocado, blended with cocoa, vanilla, maple syrup.. til it forms the consistency of a rich chocolate pudding. Way healthier than Russel Stover. Healthier means more bio-available nutrients, good fats that quickly burn into energy, plus its easy to metabolize & digest. Okay? Great!

This concept was 1st introduced to me 3years ago by a dear friend & uber talented culinary classmate, Ms. Kristy Butts. Many thanks to Ms. Butts for the many truffles she fed me over the 2years I lived in Austin.

         frozen avocado creme before being dipped in melted chocolate

Chocolate Avocado Truffles
4 small-med avocados
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 c almond milk
1/4 C maple syrup
1 vanilla bean
1 T cinnamon
pinch salt

1 bag high quality chocolate chips

Blend everything except the chocolate chips in a food processor until smooth. Set a peice of parchement on top of a cutting board or tray (somthing that will fit in your freezer) and place small 1/2 T size dollops the mixture onto the parchement. Place in the freezer for an hour.
Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave for 10second intervals, stirring between each interval.
Once the avocado creme has set in the freezer & your chips are melted, carefully drop the avocado centers into the melted chocolate, one at a time, then place on a clean sheet of parchment. They'll take another minute to set, then are ready to eat! Store in the fridge or freezer.

Banana Cacao Smoothie

1.5 frozen banana
2 T cacao nibs
2 T cacao powder
1 t cinnamon
1 T maca powder
2 c almond milk
1 T real maple syrup
pinch sea salt

Almond Milk
3/4 c raw almonds soaked overnight
pinch sea salt
1/2 vanilla bean
dash real maple syrup

For the Almond Milk:
Soak the almonds in a bowl of water overnight. Drain. Pop the almonds out of their skin. Discard the skin, and toss the white almond centers into a blender. Add 4c water plus the remaining ingredients and blend on super high. Pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve and discard the almond pulp. Keep the Almond milk in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

6-8 corn torillas
4 small-med sweet potatoes
1/2 c black beans
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1/3 zucchini, diced
1/2 c broccoli florets
drizzle maple syrup
chipotle powder to taste

Enchilada Sauce
1T GF flour
1T oil
1/2 T cumin
1/4 onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 T chili powder, or to taste
1.5-2 c water or broth
3 T Tomato Paste

Coat the tortillas lightly in oil, place in the oven at 350 for 6-8 minutes, remove, cover with a towel and set aside.

Bake the sweet potatoes, with holes poked in them, until soft. Scoop the flesh, mix in the black beans, maple syrup, chipotle powder and set aside.

In a small pan, heat 1 t oil and add the onion, bell pepper & zucchini. Cook for a few minutes, then add the broccoli, garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add this to the sweet potatoes and beans.

For the sauce, in a small pot heat up the oil, and add the flour, cumin, onion, garlic and chili powder. Stir continouisly for 2 minutes then slowly whisk in the liquid and tomato paste, adding a little liquid at a time to thicken the sauce.

Fill the corn tortillas with the sweet potato filling, top with sauce and enjoy.


1 red onion, diced small
1 carrot, shredded
1 stalk celery, diced
1/4 lb green beans, cut into small peices
1 zuchinni, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 can tomato paste
4-5 c vegetable broth
1 c white beans
Italian herbs

Heat 1 T oil in a large pot and add the onion, carrot and celery.  Season with salt and cook until tender, about 5minutes. Then add the green beans and zuchinni and cook for a few additional minutes. Now add the garlic, stir well, cook for an additional minute, then add the tomatoes, paste, broth and white beans. Let this simmer for 30 minutes with a lid on. You can toss in the kale and herbs at the very end.

Shepards Pie

1/2 yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 sweet potato
5 radishes cut into quarters
1 zuchinni, chopped into large rounds
1/2 c green beans, chopped
1/2 c frozen sweet peas
2-3 cloves garlic
1 c mushrooms, chopped
2 T tomato paste
1 c cooked lentils
3 russet potatos
coconut oil

Start by peeling the russet potatoes, chopping them into uniform size & dropping them into a pot of salted cool water, then bring to a boil until tender. While the water is coming to a boil prepare the stew. I chopped these veggies into much larger pieces than I would normally use for a soup or a sauce, because I wanted it to be super hearty, like the stews I ate growing up.

Heat about 1 T oil in a pot and add the onion, carrot, sweet potato, radishes and celery. Keep a lid on it, and stir frequently, for about 10 min. If the pot is super dry, add a little water or broth just for moisture. Now add the rest of the vegetables & garlic, 1/2 a cup of water and the tomato paste. Stir well until everything is coated with the tomato paste and put the lid back on. Stir frequently for the next 8-10 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking you can mash the russets with coconut oil, a bit of water or milk and salt.

Then transfer the vegetables and lentils to an oven safe dish and top them with mashed potatoes. Place in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then broil for 5-10 minutes to brown the tops of the mashed potatoes. Top with scallions and enjoy!

Neat Loaf w mushroom gravy

 Okay. Let me start by saying... I've made a lot of Neatloafs and I'm trying to master a gluten free version. Here are some ingredients I've tried as a base: (..you know, rather than ground beef.)
oat flour, oats, GF breadcrumbs, quinoa flakes, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, lentils, organic TVP.

I've learned a few things. Most of these ingredients tend to really soak up flavor.. so you have to keep adding more seasoning until the batter tastes right. Also, it is best to use several of the above ingredients rather than just 2 or 3 because it add texture.. so rather than eating a bean loaf, oat loaf or lentil loaf.. you're eating a lentil-bean-oat-nut-seed loaf. Got it? When these all bake together the moisture tends to soften everything, so it shouldn't be crunchy or overly soft, but be able to hold its shape and provide a small variety of texture components. I used to add ground flax seeds, because they make a good egg replacer, but I dont think its necessary. Everything will bind regardless, and the flax makes it kind of mushy.

1 c garbanzos
1 c pinto
1 c lentils
3/4 c oats
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, shredded
1 c mushrooms, chopped
1/2 bell pepper diced
3 cloves garlic
1/3 c sunflower kernels
1/3 c walnuts
1/2 T cumin
1/2 t coriander
2 T Tamari
1 lemon, juice
salt & pepper
fresh parsley

other additions you may want to try adding: sage, thyme, rosemary, mustard, apple, raisin, vegan Worcestershire.

Sauce to Top
1 part ketchup
1 part apple butter
dash of balsamic vinegar

You can pulse all of this in a food processor until it is coarsely mixed, but not mushy. Don't make a paste!  Taste it. If it doesnt have good flavor now, it may be bland when it is done baking. Chances are it may be a little starchy and bland now, and a lot of the flavors will develop more in the oven.. but still.. dont be afraid to add more tamari, cumin, mustard or herbs. Then stir together the Sauceand set aside.

Line a loaf pan, or whatever your using, with parchment and spray it. Pack in the neatloaf batter & generously top with the sauce. Bake in the oven at 425deg for 40minutes. Sometimes I will pull it out, cut the loaf into 4 or more pieces, then stick the peices back in the oven on a tray (try to stand them up) to crisp up more of the edges.

Hot N Spicy BBQ Kale Chips

2 Bunches Curly Kale
1 c cashews, soaked 1-3 hours
enough water to cover cashews in blender
1.5 cloves garlic
2 T nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon, juiced
chili powder blend to taste
1.5 T maple syrup or honey

Wash and de-stem the Kale, trying to keep the leaves large and intact. Combine the rest of the ingredients into a high powered blender until smooth & creamy. In a large bowl, massage the cashew mixture into the kale, and then place the leaves onto Dehydrator trays.  Its okay to have them overlapping. Overnight in the dehydrator should do it. Try to keep the temp under 120deg to keep the living enzymes intact.
These chips are crispy, crunchy, and absolutely packed with flavor.

Greek Quinoa Salad

I love making salads like this in the winter and fall. You could really use any grain. I use quinoa because it is gluten free, it soaks up flavor so well, and its a fluffy little nutritional powerhouse. Anything that you would put into a regular green-leaf salad, you can chop up & stir into quinoa. Remember to season with salt, pepper, a little citrus or dressing and then let it sit in the fridge overnight.

2 cups cooked quinoa
cherry tomato
red onion
bell pepper
1 T balsamic
3 T hemp oil (or olive)
1/2 t mustard
1/2 t honey
salt & pepper

combine the cooked quinoa with the olives and veggies. Then whisk together the remaining ingredients and stir into the salad. Its best to let this sit overnight to let the flavors soak in. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Italian Tempeh Stuffed Peppers

1/4 onion, diced
1/2 c mushrooms chopped
8 oz package tempeh
1 T fennel seed
1 t dried basil
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/2 t dried sage
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T tamari
1 T oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 green bell peppers
1 c marinara sauce

Crumble tempeh in a pan with 3/4 c water. Simmer until the water cooks into the tempeh. Add the diced onion and oil and cook for several minutes until the onion is tender. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for another minute or two.  Stir in the marinara sauce and fill halved peppers. Place the peppers in a covered dish with 1/4in water at the bottom. Bake at 350 for 35-40minutes.

Brown Rice Crispy Treats

I discovered this recipe from a fellow Vegan Food Blogger named Angela Liddon. Her site is ohsheglows.com. I really love a lot of her recipes & I think we have a similar cooking style, so I occasionally check in to see what she is up to! I've made a couple substitutions from her original recipe, my rendition is as follows:

1/2 c almond butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 c brown rice syrup
1 fresh vanilla bean or 1 T extract
1 T coconut oil
1/2 t salt
3.5 c Puffed Brown Rice Cereal
chocolate chips, melted, to drizzle

Line an 8 x 8 dish with parchment paper.
In a pot, combine almond butter, brown rice syrup, coconut oil, vanilla bean (just the scraped seeds or extract) and salt. Stir until heated through and well combined.

Remove from heat, transfer to larger bowl and stir in brown rice cereal until completely coated.

Spoon the mixture into the parchment lined dish and push down firmly, so that it fills the pan & has a flat surface. Let it set in the fridge for 30minutes-hour, then cut and drizzle with melted chocolate.

Pistachio Citrus Pad Thai

6 T PB2 (or 4T Peanut Butter)
1/4 c fresh lime juice
1/3 c fresh orange juice
2 T tamari (I always use reduced sodium)
red pepper flakes - to taste
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t fresh ginger, minced
2 T sesame oil
1 t chili powder

Rice Noodles
bell pepper
1/4 c pistachios, chopped
orange zest
fresh basil, chiffonade

Have you heard of PB2? Its pretty much way cool. PB2 is peanuts that have been smashed into a powder, and most of the oil & fat has been extracted. So you buy it in powder form, rehydrate with water, aaand you have peanut butter. No, its not the same thick & sticky texture you're used to.. but the flavor is there and it spreads. And it contains 85% less fat. So, I'm down with PB2.

Start by re-hydrating the PB2 with a little water, not too much because next you are going to add citrus and tamari. Stir to combine, then set aside.
In a pan or wok, heat the sesame oil and add the onion. Cook for a few minutes, until the onion is soft & transparent, then add ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for an additional minute, then stir in the peanut-citrus-tamari mixture. Add the chili powder. It should thicken pretty quickly. If it is too thick, then ass a touch more water, a little at a time until your desired sauce consistency is achieved.

You can cook Rice Noodles like regular pasta, they just dont need as much time. 6 minutes should do it. Make sure you stir them often, or else they'll stick together.

I like to blanch or steam my broccoli and lightly saute the bell pepper. Toss the noodles in the peanut sauce, top with the veggies, scallions, orange zest, basil, pistachio and serve.

Falafel Bites

2.5 c cooked chickpeas
1 small red onion, chopped
1/4 c fresh parsley
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
2 T oregano, dry (or 1/4 c fresh)
1 lemon, juiced
1 t cumin, ground
1/2 t coriander, ground
1 t salt
fresh black pepper
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/4 c + 2 T chickpea flour

Preheat oven to 400

Combine everything except the baking soda and chickpea flour into a food processor. Pulse until combined, but do NOT make a paste. You definitely want to leave some texture. Trust me. After many falafel trials... please, don't make a paste. Cool? Okay. Carry on.

So, transfer to a large bowl, and mix in the flour and baking soda. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, then lightly spray it or rub it down with oil. Now, you can start pattying the batter into small rounds, and lining them on the try. I also lightly rub the patties with a little oil.

Bake for 10 minutes, flip, then bake for another 10minutes. Awesome!