Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Lovin'. Summer Grillin'.

Grilled flat breads are an easy way to utilize yummy ingredients from the farmers markets in a simple and healthy way. This summer I have made these quite frequently. It's a great throw-together appetizer when you have company and it makes for a lovely entree served with a salad. Here are two recipes made with less than five ingredients to serve at your next barbecue or with after-work cocktails...

Tomato and Basil Flat Bread

whole wheat pita bread, 4 small discs
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
handful fresh basil, sliced
splash extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

In a small bowl, toss the tomatoes and basil with the olive oil, salt and pepper and set aside. Place the pita discs on the grill for about 2 to 3 minutes until they start to toast. Top the pita discs with the tomato mixture, piled high, and continue to grill until just warm. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if using, and quarter the pitas with a pizza slicer. Serve immediately.

Truffle Radicchio Flat Bread

This recipe was inspired by Alicia Silverstone's Truffle Radicchio Pizza recipe. The flavor combination of the poignant truffle and peppery radicchio is incredibly addicting. I like to serve this as an appetizer with a good creamy cheese (for the non-vegans) and sliced fresh fig.

whole wheat pita bread, 4 small discs
1/2 head of radicchio, sliced
splash of truffle oil
splash extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, toss the radicchio with the olive oil, truffle oil, salt and pepper and set aside. Place the pita discs on the grill for about 2 to 3 minutes until they start to toast. Top the pita discs with the radicchio mixture, piled high (as it will wilt down), and continue to grill for about 7 minutes until just warm and slightly wilted. Sprinkle with addition sea salt to taste and quarter the pitas with a pizza slicer. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I [heart] Coconut Macarons

Stay tuned...coming soon to the O'Cookies family...

Raw. Vegan. Gluten-free. Sugar-free. You will never believe it....

Summer Test Kitchen!

In the kitch testing some new recipes last week, my girls and I came up with some fun creations...not much to say just yet but I thought I'd share some pics. Think of this post as a "food for thought" blog. Made with all natural ingredients, these cutie-pie cupcakes are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free! Perhaps a recipe will be soon to come? One hint: the icing base is made with avocados! Yep, and sweet coconut lime cakes packed with nutrition!

ThinkFood Cookbook Campaign

ThinkFood Cookbook has officially launched their Recipe of the Week campaign and I am excited to be a part of it as a contributor! The cookbook brings together 50 passionate food bloggers - each bringing to the table one recipe highlighting a brain-food-healthy ingredient. Sign up to receive the 50 ThinkFood recipes for free as part of the Recipe of the Week campaign.

About ThinkFood Cookbook...

*ThinkFood features 50 brain-healthy recipes from bloggers around the globe
*Thinkfood cookbook has snacks, appetizers, sides, salads, entrees and desserts
*The goal of this project is to take an integrated approach to brain health that includes brain training and brain healthy eating
*ThinkFood cookbook is sponsored/published by Posit Science.
Posit Science's Mission is to apply breakthroughs in brain research to enhance human performance and to promote brain health.

Find Posit Science here:

Twitter Handle: @PositScience
Facebook Page:
More About Posit Science.

Join the Free Recipe of the Week Campaign! Sign up here: It's free!

Beginning on June 16, one recipe will be distributed every Wednesday for the next 50 weeks. When you sign up, you will have access to the print version of the recipe, which includes more information about the brain healthy ingredient - plus additional cooking tips!

Check out the
50 Contributors to the ThinkFood cookbook. Their blogs are all incredible and worth following for future recipes as well!

ThinkFood Contributors

Posit Science

Ambitious Deliciousness
Esther Chai

Erica Policow

Carrots ‘N' Cake
Tina Haupert

Food Loves Writing
Shannalee T'Koy

Cooking with Amy
Amy Sherman

Super Healthy Kids
Amy Roskelley

Healthy Everythingtarian
Holly Whittlef

A Southern Fairytale
Rachel Matthews

Local Appetite New York
Jen Bernstein

Dixie Caviar
Nealey Dozier

Dine & Dish
Kristen Doyle

Brown Eyed Baker
Michelle Norris

Hangry Pants
Heather Pare

Fake Food Free
Lori Rice

Food Blogga
Susan Russo

Project Foodie
Pam Thuman-Commike

Chocolate Shavings
Jennifer Bartoli

The Lunchbox Bunch, Healthy Happy Life
Kathy Patalsky

Soma Rathore

Gourmet Fury
Melody Fury

O'Cookies Wholesome Bites
Erin O'Leary Stewart

Best Fruit Now
Tom Kovacevich

Off The Broiler
Jason Perlow

Stone Soup
Jules Clancy

Anne's Food Blog
Anne Skoogh

Eclectic Recipes
Angelia McGowan

Seriously Good
Kevin Weeks

Laurel On HealthFood
Laurel Moll

Make Life Sweeter
Linda Kovacevic

Michael Natkin

Wild Yeast Blog
Susan Tenney

My Sweet Vegan
Hannah Kaminskly

The Arugula Files
Mary Cunningham

Napa Farm House 1885
Diane Padoven

Lisa's Kitchen
Lisa Turner

Pink Bites
Rita Turner

Katie Cakes
Katie Deacon

Tastes Like Home
Cynthia Nelson

Dash & Bella
Phyllis Grant

Greedy Gourmet
Michelle Minnaar

Daily Unadventures In Cooking Wright

Sugar Bar
Davina Lim

For The Love Of Cooking
Pam Nelson

My Cooking Hut
Leemei Tan

Closet Cooking
Kevin Lynch

The Leftover Queen
Jenn DiPiazza Campus

Apples and Butter
Jessica Durff

Sassy Radish
Olga Massov

Off The (Meat)Hook
Karen Merzenich

La Note Restaurant
Denise Ravizza

Stay tuned for my recipe of the week...I'll be posting it here when they launch it!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Baja Tacos

It's officially summer and Sunday Night Taco Night is a staple for us. Simple, fresh, quick and easy, it's the ultimate "get-ready-for-your-week" yet still feel like you're enjoying yourself kinda meal. You can make it your own, which is ideal for James and I. He adds the cheese and the shrimp and I usually keep things vegan-ized. Left-over tomato salsa can be used to top salads later in the week or used as the base of a quick tomato sauce. Great to have in the fridge for weeknight dinners.

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lime
course sea salt
corn tortillas
fresh guacamole
1 can black beans
1 garlic clove
Fresh Tomato Salsa (see recipe)
crumbed cotija cheese (optional)
hot sauce (Cholula is my fav)

Start with preparing the black beans by simply pouring into a small saucepan with one crushed garlic clove and a pinch of sea salt. Simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or as long as it takes to prepare the rest of the meal.

Fresh Tomato Salsa
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
3 Tbsp finely chopped white onion
course sea salt
squeeze of a lime
finely chopped jalapenos, depending on how hot you like it

Combine the tomatoes and onion in a bowl and season with salt and lime. Add the jalapeno in small amounts until it reaches the heat of your liking.

Preheat your grill over high heat. Toss shrimp with a splash of olive oil, lime juice and pinch of salt. Grill until cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side.

To serve, heat the tortillas in a dry frying pan and wrap in a kitchen towel to keep warm. Pile a few shrimp on top of each tortilla and serve with the tomato salsa, squeeze of a lime, guacamole, black beans, dash of hot sauce and an optional crumble of cojita cheese on top. Easy as pie!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

James Beard Foundation- Vegan Summer Dinner!

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a summer vegan event at the James Beard Foundation – a nonprofit organization that aims to preserve America’s diverse culinary heritage and future. They invited Philadelphia-based vegan restaurant Horizons for the second time to host a dinner at the legendary Beard House in New York City. This was the first time in 23 years that the James Beard Foundation was recognizing vegan cuisine as just that, a cuisine. Definitely something to celebrate!

Hors d’oeuvres were being prepped as I walked in the kitchen and I couldn't help but take my camera out. They were almost too beautiful to eat! My favorites included fritters of hearts of palm with pickled asparagus rémoulade and a bruschetta with tofu, pickled daikon and charred shishito peppers. Incredible! My non-vegan friend who came with me was in awe that no dairy was used in any of these recipes.

Grilled seitan and horseradish crèpes with braised butter lettuce also set the tone for the evening...

We were escorted to the dining room to be seated for what was to be the most incredible 5-course meal. An amuse of an silky asparagus soup came first. Salt-Roasted Golden Beet Carpaccio and Tartare then kicked off the meal with applewood-smoked tofu, avocado capers, pumpernickel and cucumber-dill cream that delightfully surprised my non-veg friend, once again, for a dairy cream! Paired with a Handley Gewurztraminer, the presentation was exquisite. The flavors, perfection.

Next, a shallow bowl of mustard croutons bursting with flavor and upland cress was filled with warm, savory Sunchoke and Horseradish Bisque. Paired nicely with a 2008 Pfaffenheim Pinot Blanc. Mouth-watering just thinking about it...

A third course of Glazed Nebrodini Mushroom with Seaweed Caramel, Chinese Broccoli Puree, Smoked Miso and Cucumber Sashimi. The Tozai Snow Maiden Junmai Nigori Sake boasted a light and airy composition and harmonized quite well with the earthy flavors of the mushrooms and miso. At this point I was trying not to finish each plate, as I knew there was more to come, but it was seeming to be impossible.
The fourth course, an entrée of Catalan Grilled Tofu, sent us into a tangy world of garlic salsa verde, dried olives and raw ratatouille. The gigantic bean puree and pioppini mushrooms that accompanied the protein had an exceptional taste and texture. I am not usually a fan of grilled tofu as a main component but this dish was hearty, flavorful and I could not get enough of the bean puree.

Save room for dessert? Not at all, but a vegan dessert is not something I ever pass up. The final course of Strawberry-Sorrel Bread Pudding with Saffron Ice Cream and Rhubarb Nectar might have stolen the show for me. It would have been easy, I imagine, for the complex flavors of the bread pudding to upstage the strawberries or overpower the bashful hints of saffron in terrible and unjust ways, and yet it did not. Instead, the delicate pudding served as a sponge of taste, soaking in each ingredient and delivering bite after bite of perfect synchronicity. I almost ate the leftovers at the table...along with the last drops of 2008 Rivetto Moscato d’Asti that was served as an accompaniment.

A memorable night at the Beard House and such an honor to be a part of something so relevant. James Beard himself would have been surprised and yet impressed to see an incredible vegan event hosted in his home.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Vegan Baked

Just completed Fran Costigan's 5-day intensive Vegan Baking Boot Camp at the Natural Gourmet Institute and man did I learned a lot! I was completely inspired that I had to share this with you all. Here are just a few of the many fabulously delicious dairy-free, egg-free desserts that we created. All to die for!

(Chocolate Cake to Live For with Chocolate Frosting)

(Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Frosting and Luster Dust)

(Fran discussing Cake Day)

(Vanilla Cake with Pecan Coconut Filling and Chocolate Ganache)

(Carrot Cake)

(Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie)

Vegan Baking Boot Camp Grads 2010