Saturday, March 24, 2012


I was just discussing with my brother (as he, the omnivore, made me and my mom a beautiful vegan Shabbat dinner :) ) how guacamole is one of those dishes that seems oh so impressive - but really it is the easiest thing in the world.  This time around I played with it a little bit based (as always) by what I had around.  Also based on the fact that I don't like my guac crunchy, and often recipes will call for diced red onions.  I got a little bit of that flavor by using onion powder (just a little, as onion powder is also not my favorite thing), and created a wonderful easy guac.  So wonderful that I may have eaten the whole bowl for dinner.  I wanted to pass the "recipe" on to you here, because a good guacamole should be in any vegans repertoire.  And it's so easy!


Ready to serve!  And devour.  :)

Single Serve Guacamole
Feel free to increase the portions to have enough to bring to, and be the hit of, a party.

1 avocado
1 plum tomato
2 T crushed pineapple
1 T diced garlic
1 t onion powder
1/8 t cayenne pepper

1.  Cut open avocado, and remove pit.  Scoop insides out and cut up into smallish pieces.

2.  Chop tomato.

3.  Mix avocado, tomato, and all remaining ingredients.  Smash as needed to get guac to your desired consistency.  


Thursday, March 15, 2012


Okay I know it's a week late, but I only got to make these the day *after* Purim, and then went rock climbing outside in the beautiful weather Sunday instead of sitting down to blog.  Sue me.  :)  Figured at that point Purim had already passed anyways!  I will make sure to post this again next year before the holiday starts, but they were too good not to share now.

Hamenstaschen are the traditional food for the Jewish holiday of Purim, representing the 3 cornered hat of the villain of the story, Haman.  Or at least, that's the version of the story I learned.  :)  Whatever the reason, we bake them for Purim, traditionally to deliver as gifts to friends and neighbors.  I always made them with my mom growing up, and I decided this year it was time to veganize the family recipe.  And what a success!  They were a little crispier the first day than I would have liked, but they softened up nicely overnight and were absolutely devoured by my friends who were over for my birthday.  (Yup, I'm a Purim baby - my name is not a coincidence!)  I may tweak the recipe a bit in the future, but it is well worth trying out now.  Hag Sameach! (Happy Holiday! :) )

Makes a little over 2 dozen
Please note: dough must chill for at least 2 hours, so plan accordingly.
3/4 C sugar
2 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 C shortening
1 flax egg
2-3 T orange juice
1 can apricot filling (or filling of your choice - poppy seed is the most traditional but apricot is my favorite)

1. Mix sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.  Work shortening in with an electric mixer.  Add flax egg and orange juice, mixing until a dough is formed.  Start with 2 T of orange juice and add more as neceessary.

2.  Chill overnight or a minimum of 2 hours.

3.  Roll out 1/8" thick on lightly floured board.  Add flour if sticking, and flour the board as well.  Cut into 3" circles.  Please 1 heaping teaspoon filling in center, and pinch 3 edges together, leaving a small opening.

4.  Place on greased or non-stick cookie sheet.  Cover with cloth and set aside for half an hour.  While waiting, preheat oven to 400.  Bake 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  If you have more than one tray, bake one tray at a time on middle rack.


So pretty.  I didn't have a circle cookie cutter, but these worked out quite well.  :)

The old family recipe is actually from the kitchen of a family friend.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry Pie

Today.  Today I became a chef.  4 years ago I started cooking for real, 3 years ago I became vegan, 6 months ago I became a food blogger, and today… today I finally became a chef.  I consider myself a good cook, even maybe a great cook.  I love almost everything I make.  But today it was different.  This *week* it's been different.  I made this tart on Tuesday evening, and it was good, but nothing amazing.  Before even finishing dinner I was contemplating what I would do to it to make it sing.  (Sing?  Think I've been watching too much Top Chef maybe??  :) )  By the next morning I had moved on to making it an entirely different dish, different flavors, same basic techniques.  By today I could. not. stop. thinking. about. it.  My plans for the evening were cancelled, and there were so many wonderful things with which I wanted to fill that sudden gift of free time.  But all I wanted to do, all I possibly *could* do was get in the kitchen and turn my vision into reality.  I have made up dishes on the spur of the moment before, I've even blogged about them.  But this was the first time that I truly had a vision, a creation that I thought about, considered, and put together into something amazing.  I am finally able to take a dish and "make it my own," as the American Idol judges would say.  For the first time in my life I feel like all I need is an idea, no recipe necessary.  And that, I think, makes me finally have graduated to being able to consider myself a true chef.  

Sweet potato and spinach curry pie

olive oil
One small onion, diced
One sweet potato (I used the kind with purple skin and white insides)
One T fresh ginger, diced
2 T coconut oil
3/4 fresh pineapple, cubed
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cubed
sea salt
6 cloves garlic, peeled

2-4 T curry paste, depending on your spice level preference
1 t sea salt
1 t garam masala
1 T lemon juice
1 T rice vinegar
1/4 C nutritional yeast
3 T tomato paste
1 T brown sugar

1 C frozen spinach, thawed enough to stir into mixture

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C crisco
4-6 T cold water

1. Cut sweet potato in half, microwave for 6 minutes to soften.

2. Preheat oven to 450.

3. Heat olive oil in skillet.  Once hot, add onions to pan and saute over medium to medium low heat.  Cube half of the sweet potato and add to the skillet.  Add the diced ginger and saute until onions are soft and translucent and sweet potato is soft, approximately 10 minutes.  Add the coconut oil and heat until melted and mixed in.  Remove from heat.

4. While things are sautéing, cube other half of the sweet potato, and add to a baking dish with the cubed pineapple and red pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt.  Place the garlic in the pan as well, off to the side if possible.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, making sure to keep an eye that nothing burns.  

5. Place the mixture from the skillet in a food processor.  Add the roasted garlic from the pan in the oven.  Add all other ingredients from curry paste to brown sugar, and blend until smooth.  

6. Place the mixture from the food processor in a large bowl.  Add all of the roasted ingredients from the oven, and the spinach, and stir until well combined.

7. Turn the oven down to 375.

8. In another large bowl, cut the crisco into the flour until an even crumble consistency.  Add water as needed, slowly, until reaching a dough consistency.  Pat into a 9" pie pan.  

9. Fill the crust with the sweet potato mixture and smooth out so the height is even all the way around.

10. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until filling starts to brown.