Archive for December, 2010


Mmm!  Amazingly decadent and seasonal breakfast food was on the menu this week because of the holiday.  I don’t post many breakfast recipes because we tend to eat very simply in the mornings and usually end up throwing together a quick Vega smoothie.   I wanted to treat H to a special breakfast on Christmas morning for a variety of reasons, including that she took on the task of preparing Christmas Eve’s dinner for us this year.   I figured that If I was going to treat her I’d need to go all out and thoroughly indulge her sweet tooth.   I also knew that this would probably  involve tackling a dish that I’d put on the back-burner for a long time:   vegan French toast.  I only wish that I’d put my imagination to work on this sooner because it turned out wonderfully and earned me some serious brownie points!


Spiced Pumpkin French Toast


2 cups non-dairy milk [I used So Delicious Original unsweetened coconut milk]

½ cup pumpkin purée [I use Farmer’s Market Organic brand]

2 heaping T finely-ground flax meal

1 T pumpkin pie spice

pinch of salt

1 loaf fresh ciabatta cut into ½ inch slices

¼ cup pecans, toasted

maple syrup


Add the milk, pumpkin purée, flax meal, pumpkin pie spice and salt to a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside for at least 15 minutes to thicken.  [I made mine the night before and placed in the refrigerator and it worked brilliantly.]

Dip the bread into the pumpkin milk and coat evenly.  Remove any excess by brushing the bread along the sides of the bowl after dunking.  Place on a hot nonstick griddle and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes on each side until the bread has set.

Serve hot with warmed maple syrup, a sprinkle of powdered sugar and toasted pecans.

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Curried Lentil and Quince Soup



Every year on Christmas Eve we renew a dinner tradition.  We share our meal together very late at night,  and it is always a soup.  This is the soup that I shall be making this year in order to help celebrate this open-hearted season. 


Curried Lentil and Quince Soup


1 medium onion, medium dice

2 carrots, cut into medium-sized pieces

2 quince, peeled, cored and cut into medium-sized pieces

2 large cloves garlic, chopped

1 ½ cup lentils [I used red lentils, brown lentils would work just as well]

1 ½ T curry powder

2 quarts veg or faux chicken stock

1 tsp red pepper flakes

olive oil

sea salt

pumpkin seeds, for garnish

fried onions, for garnish


Drizzle a bit of olive oil into the bottom of a soup pot and turn the heat to medium.  Once hot, add the onion, carrots, quince and garlic.  Sauté until the edges have caramelized a bit.  Add the curry powder and red pepper flakes.  Sauté for a couple more minutes.  Add the lentils and stock.  Bring to a low simmer and cook until the lentils are soft [~20 minutes].  Transfer the contents by batch into a blender and purée until smooth.  Return to the stove and taste for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  At this point you could also add more curry powder or red pepper flakes if you wish a stronger flavored soup.

Serve hot garnished with pumpkin seeds and fried onions.



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A little while back, a friend gifted us with an astounding abundance of chanterelle mushrooms and requested a mushroom burger.  I already have a go-to mushroom burger recipe for when I want a substantial and satisfyingly savory burger, so the challenge was to create one that was entirely different and celebrated this more delicately flavored seasonal ‘shroom.

Multigrain Mushroom Burger

Makes ~8 burgers


2 lb chanterelle mushrooms , chopped

1 cup oat groats, soaked overnight

⅓ cup bulgur wheat

½ cup sliced almonds

⅔ cup millet

1 large leek, sliced thinly

6 cloves garlic, sliced

½ cup dried cherries

¼ cup tarragon

1 red bell pepper, medium dice

2 ½  cups mushroom broth, divided

2 T garbanzo bean flour

½ cup vital wheat gluten

Salt and pepper


Bring 2 cups mushroom broth to a simmer and add the bulgur wheat and millet.  Reduce heat and cover until the broth is absorbed fully and the grains are fluffy.

Sauté the mushrooms, leek, garlic and bell pepper in a drizzle of olive oil until softened.

Add the oat groats to a food processor and pulse a few times.   Add the cooked mushroom mixture, dried cherries, almonds and tarragon.  Process until the mixture is well combined and any larger pieces are broken down.  Season with salt and pepper.   Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the garbanzo bean flour and wheat gluten and work through until evenly dispersed.  Form into 8 burger patties.  Cook over medium heat for a few minutes per side.

I garnished this burger with pan-seared apple slices rather than using a faux mayo.


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Kharcho Bites



It occured to me that in the midst of the holiday party season, people would be clamoring for new, unusual and easy to make  appetizer variations.  This nosh is basically a potato skin with an eastern european flavor thrown into the mix that will undoubtedly delight the taste buds of your holiday guests.  Kharcho has become one of my favorite spice blends and I’m sure it shall become one of yours as well. 


Kharcho –Spiced Eggplant and Pear Stuffing

I stuffed small new potatoes with this filling, but you could just as easily use zucchini or a pastry cup as a vessel.  If you want to use the potatoes, select smaller, bite-sized potatoes and after washing, poke once with a knife.  Steam for ~20 minutes until softened and set aside to cool.  Once cooled, cut in half and use a small spoon or paring knife to cut a well in each half.  Lightly mist with olive oil and pan-sear until the cut side is golden.  Stuff with ~one teaspoon of filling and place on a platter.

[Yields ~3 cups]


2 cups eggplant, small dice

1 medium onion, small dice

1 pear, small dice

½ cup frozen petite peas, thawed

¼ cup pistachios, chopped

¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

12 dried apricot halves, small dice

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp Kharcho

¼ tsp dried red pepper flakes

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

olive oil


Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Sauté the onion, garlic, eggplant, pear and apricot halves until softened.  Add the peas, pistachios, Kharcho, red pepper flakes and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper. 

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