Is it just me, or do you also occasionally just want a giant pile of mashed potatoes for dinner? If so, this is your dish. It’s steamed vegetables whipped in a food processor with a heavy drizzle of truffle oil until it becomes a silky smooth pillow of plant powered goodness.
This is an amazingly fast, versatile and delicious vegetable mash. Since most of us are used to the pale, creamy color of mashed potatoes, I’ve used cauliflower and turnips in this recipe. But you could truly use any starchy vegetable: celeriac, jerusalem artichoke, sweet potatoes, etc.
Steam the cauliflower and turnip until they are soft and easily pierced with a fork.
Transfer your steamed veggies to the food processor. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and blend until silky smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times in order to blend everything thoroughly.
I love French food. I had the amazing fortune to study abroad in Aix en Provence, and find myself returning again and again to this beautiful country. I am captivated by their culture, especially their food culture. Meals are transcendental celebrations that synergistically elevate ingredients into sublime territory.
But French food is not always vegan friendly. Let’s talk about pâté. It’s a rich, spreadable meat paste. What makes it delicious is the savory, fatty richness of the whole thing. It’s easy to replicate this with plant ingredients.
This pâté has all of the savory richness of the traditional recipe with none of the harm. Walnuts provide richness, lentils provide body, and mushrooms provide umami. Whizz them all up in the blender with a few spices and you have a delicious, spreadable French treat. Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy!
In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and sautee until caramelized. Add the mushrooms, garlic and herbs and cook, stirring occasionally until they are starting to stick to the pan. Deglaze with the port wine. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse together lentils, walnuts, lemon juice, tamari, sugar , cayenne and remaining oil until smooth. Add the mushrooms and continue processing until smooth. Taste and season accordingly.
Transfer to mixture to small ramekins. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
For a nut allergy, use sunflower seeds in place of walnuts.
For a soy-free option, omit the tamari and replace with sea salt.
A couple of years ago, Eric and I decided to invent our own holiday. As best as I can remember, we were talking about what to do for Halloween.
Suddenly, Eric says “Octuberfest.”
“Octoberfest?” I ask.
“Octuberfest,” he clarifies. “The celebration of eight potatoes.”
From there we were off. The idea of throwing a party to celebrate potatoes was right up my alley, and before we knew it we were crafting an invitation, planning menus, and carving potato lanterns.
This year, we are throwing an Octuberfest celebration in our tiny New York apartment. When you cram a bunch of people into a small room, they want cool food and drinks. Vichyssoise is the perfect thing for such a party- a cool, creamy, chilled potato soup.
Vichyssoise is French and is traditionally made with lots of butter and cream. This vegan version is just as rich and decadent, minus any animal products.
A few weekends ago, Eric and I went to Governor’s Island for a Unicycle Festival. We discovered the festival around 11:48am on a Saturday, and the festival began at 1pm. Now, usually I am a snob about jarred peppers. But we had some on hand, and I wanted to quickly whip up a picnic lunch so we could get on our way. I threw everything in the blender, grabbed some bread and a few cut up veggies, and we were on our way.
The Unicycle Festival turned out to be disappointingly tiny, but the dip was delicious! And given how ludicrously simple it was to make, I have since been persuaded to change my snobbish ways.
This makes a delicious accompaniment to the Chesapeake Cakes, but it’s also a fantastic picnic or party dip.
I was a seafood fiend when I was little. One of my mother’s favorite stories to tell is about the time I ordered Oysters Benedict off an adult menu when I was barely past toddlerhood. I grew up in Virginia, not too far from the Chesapeake Bay, where seafood was abundant. And crabs were particularly plentiful.
But crabs, particularly Blue Crabs, have been under threat lately in the Chesapeake Bay. According to The Chesapeake Bay Program, blue crabs are particularly “vulnerable to pollution, habitat loss, and harvest pressure.”
Lucky for us, we have artichokes. Yes, artichokes. If you pulse up a combination of artichokes and hearts of palm in the food processor, mix with a few spices and a bit of seaweed, and fry them up, they taste remarkably like crab cakes! Serve over a healthy dollop of Muhammara (recipe coming next time), and you have a delicious, extravagant appetizer or light supper.
But why would you want to make crab cakes without the crab? Because it’s not really the crab you’re after. It’s that taste of the ocean, the richness of ingredients, and the familiarity of the flavor and texture. All of this can be achieved, without causing any harm to the environment. If this former seafood fiend can find satisfaction in a plant based party cake, I know you’ll love it, too.
Adapted from Chad Sarno's Hearts of Palm "Crab" Cakes
1 sheet nori
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1 can hearts of palm, drained
1/3 cup oil, for frying
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup celery, minced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
3 tablespoons vegan mayo (ex: Just Mayo)
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon cane sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
fresh black pepper, to taste
1 cup breadcrumbs
Toast the nori by holding it about 8 inches over an open flame and turning it until it becomes dry. Crumble the toasted nori into a spice grinder and grind until a fine powder forms. Set aside.
Place the artichoke hearts and hearts of palm on a clean dish towel and press to remove any excess liquid. Place in a food processor and pulse a few times. Be careful not to over process. You want the pieces to resemble lump crab meat.
In a small pan, saute onion, celery and jalapeno in about a teaspoon of oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine nori, sauteed vegetables, mayo, Old Bay, nutritional yeast, sugar, cornstarch and black pepper.
Gently fold in the artichoke hearts and hearts of palm until thoroughly incorporated.
Chill the mixture for at least 1 hour.
Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the mixture and form into a patty. Dredge in the breadcrumbs until coated. Place the breadcrumbed patties on a tray and chill an additional hour.
When you're ready to fry, heat the remaining oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Toss a few breadcrumbs into the oil. When they sizzle and turn golden brown, you're ready. Gently lower the patties into the oil and cook until the edges turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and allow to cook an additional 3 minutes on the second side. Remove from the oil and set in a warm oven until ready to serve.
For a gluten-free diet, use gluten-free breadcrumbs of pulse up gluten free crackers in a food processors until a breadcrumb like consistency is reached.
I just don’t understand how people survived without air conditioning. I really don’t. Our little window unit struggles to keep our tiny NYC apartment cool enough to be tolerable. And it is definitely not strong enough to combat the added heat of the stove.
My mission this summer has been to create meals that require absolutely no added heat. No stove, no oven, not even a toaster oven. I want food that is cool and hydrating. That means we’ve been eating lots of smoothies, hummus, tapenades, and ice cream.
Raw food cuisine is also perfect for this kind of weather. Personally, raw food as a dogma is not my thing. It’s simply not true that raw fruits and vegetables are better than cooked fruits and vegetables. We need both. But I really appreciate raw foods innovative and creative approach to ingredients, and I am grateful for the source of inspiration!
This sushi recipe is totally raw. The rice isn’t rice- it’s a mixture of white vegetables, almonds, ume vinegar, agave nectar, and fresh ginger. It’s surprisingly delicious! Of course, the fillings can be whatever you like. I love avocado and cucumber. You could throw in some smoked tofu, sundried tomatoes, julienned beets. Really, anything you want or anything you have on hand.
This recipe is super flexible, allergy friendly, whole foods based, and gluten-free! I hope it helps keep you cool during these sweltering summer days.
6 cups white vegetables (daikon, cauliflower, jicama, white carrot)
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 tablespoon ume vinegar or lemon juice
2 teaspoons agave of other liquid sweetener
1 inch ginger, minced
10 sheets toasted nori
1 avocado, sliced
1 carrot, jullienned
1 bunch scallions, cut into 3 inch pieces
1 cucumber, julienned
In a food processor, pulse white vegetables until they break down into pieces the size or rice.
Pulse the almond flour, vinegar, agave, and ginger into the white vegetable rice until eventy distributed.
Transfer the vegetable mixture to a clean dish towel or fine mesh cheese cloth. Squeeze some of the liquid out of the rice. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Lay a piece of toasted nori with the shiny side facing down on a sushi mat or piece of cling film.
Press 1/2-3/4 cup vegetable rice onto the sheet of nori. The vegetables should be pressed firmly into the nori, so that they stick together. It should be an even layer, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick, which covers about 3/4 of the sheet of nori. Leave 1/4 of the nori untouched.
Lay slices of your vegetables parallel to the edge of the nori in a single line. Be sure not to overstuff!
You are ready to wrap the sushi. Brush a bit of warm water on the exposed 1/4 of the nori sheet. This will allow it to adhere to the roll.
Using your sushi mat or cling film, begin to roll the sushi in a tight, even log. Be sure to press along the way. Once you reach the end of the nori, press the damp edge into the log to seal it. Give the whole sushi a firm squeeze to compress the vegetables together.
Using a serated knife, cut the sushi into bite sized pieces. Serve with soy sauce.
For a nut allergy, replace the almonds with ground sunflower seeds.
This was my catch all category of delicious and colorful little nibbles. I love all the chapters, but this one may be my favorite. Because this is my favorite way to eat- easy, fresh, fast. I can (and do) often make a meal out of just the sorts of bites in this chapter. They include:
arugula salad with sherry maple vinaigrette
kale caesar salad
roasted beet, avocado + grapefruit salad
orange + olive salad
kalamata olive + black fig tapenade
cilantro pumpkin seed pesto
arugula pistachio pesto
sweet potato hummus
french radish and whipped avocado
hasselback beets with lime
roasted brussel sprouts + carrots with tahini miso vinaigrette
When I was in second grade, we did a unit on Stone Soup. Do you remember this story? A few travellers arrive in a village with nothing more than a soup pot. They fill the pot with soup from a stream and plunk a stone into it. As the villagers walk by, each contributes what they have to the soup- a few carrots, a potato, an onion. By the end of the story they’ve come together to create a delicious meal for the whole town.
I want to pause here and offer thanks to everyone who threw their spare time, energy, and talents into my soup chapter. Thank you to my dear friend Chris for his gorgeous photographs (his work is featured above), Meaghan for her tireless testing, and Frankie for her generous editing. I think we made one delicious chapter together!
This chapter features:
Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque
Spicy Carrot Soup with Cilantro Pumpkin Seed Pesto Toast
The idea for this cookbook came to me about two years ago. And when it came, it came with a pulse. The ideas and the drafts poured out of me. I spent endless hours making, testing, remaking, retesting, re-remaking and photographing dozens of recipes. The joy of making it lit me up like a Christmas Tree.
Until, abruptly, it didn’t. Life took over and suddenly the project that had filled me with joy dropped to the bottom of my to do list. I moved to a new city, started a new job, moved in with Eric- all wonderful, fulfilling things that happily and necessarily diverted my attention.
But I found that once I returned to the manuscript a few months later, it’s pulse had weakened. In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the moment when inspiration fades from your work. It’s that moment when you realize the thing that once had a life of it’s own is all of a sudden becomes dull and lifeless. The Inclusive Table was on that brink.
In an attempt to revive it, I sent query letters and sample chapters away to publishers. A few weeks later, I received some very kindly worded rejection letters. This was actually ok. I’m not trying to be all macho about this- it wasn’t surprising that my first attempt at traditional cookbook publishing didn’t work out.
While waiting to hear back from the traditional publishers, I’d also been attempting to format the book for self-publishing. But I found myself procrastinating the whole tedious process more and more. Does anyone know what I’m talking about? When the joy of the making is over, and you just can’t seem to power through to the end?
It was the strangest thing, being so close to completion and yet so entirely unmotivated. But I was so close to finishing the damn thing, I needed to find a way to get it out into the world quickly before it became the dreaded unpublished manuscript that died in my digital drawer.
Then one day, in the middle of a yoga class, it struck me: I can release the book as a series of PDF chapters. This idea had energy and vitality to it and re-animated me toward the journey of completion. I knew I had arrived at my answer.
I poured my heart into reformatting these chapters as easy to download PDFs. They are imperfect to be sure- only edited by me- but they are complete. And I am so excited to offer them to you.
Over the course of the next seven weeks, I’ll release The Inclusive Table to you one chapter at a time. The first chapter is breakfast. I can’t tell you how much I loved writing this chapter. It’s filled with:
Cucumber and Cantaloupe Salad
Raisin and Coriander Granola
Apricot Breakfast Bars
Mint and Avocado Toast
Champagne Pancakes with Raspberry Compote
Challah French Toast
Salted Caramel Doughnuts
Meyer Lemon and Candied Ginger Scones
Apple and Blackberry Oatmeal Crisp
You may see reference to recipes that are in later chapters. Don’t worry, they’re coming.
So, here it is: The Breakfast Chapter from The Inclusive Table. I am so, so glad that it’s finally yours. Let me know what you think!
This year for Christmas, my Mom gifted me with white truffle oil and licorice sea salt. I know licorice can be a divisive flavor, but I absolutely love it. And who doesn’t love truffles?
To use my gifts, I decided to try out a recipe I’ve been eyeing from Alicia Silverstone for Radicchio and Truffle Oil Pizza. I altered her recipe only slightly, creating a puffy, maple, whole wheat base, tossing the raddichio in a dash of lemon juice for acidity, and dusting the whole the whole thing with licorice sea salt. If that’s not your thing, or it is your thing but you’re having trouble finding it, regular sea salt is just fine.
1. Stir together yeast, warm water, and maple syrup in a glass container. Set aside until the yeast begins to foam, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, stir together flours and sea salt.
3. When the yeast mixture has proofed, stir into the dry ingredients. Knead by hand or machine (using a dough hook), until the dough forms a smooth ball. This will take 2-3 minutes by machine, and closer to 10 minutes by hand.
4. Set the dough aside in an oiled bowl to rise for 90 minutes.
5. After the dough has risen, you can transfer it to the refrigerator until you are ready to use, or use it immediately.
For the focaccia:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. On an oiled cookie sheet, stretch the dough into approximately a 16 x 12 inch rectangle.
3. Bake the dough for 10 minutes.
4. While the dough is baking, toss together radicchio, lemon, olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of truffle oil.
5. After the dough has baked for 10 minutes, pull it out of the oven and spread the radicchio mixture evenly to the edges. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
6. After 10 minutes have passed, increase the heat by putting your broiler on high. Broil for an additional 2-3 minutes.
7. Remove the bread from the oven. Drizzle with remaining truffle oil, sprinkle with salt and black pepper.