Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

Snow Day Menu


Image: James Jordan

Hi, loves.

I’d like to be a snow shut-in for one day more.

Yesterday was sunny and bright and busy in Los Angeles and I missed the thick blanket of white that quieted our Chicago days.

Friends invited us for a ladies lunch one blustery afternoon.  There was prosecco, a Concolor Fir Christmas tree, the citrus scent of which bursts forth from between your fingers exactly like the juice of a clementine as you peel, and sweet Lily, a gentle giant of a dog with a grizzled face.

Claudia and Catherine served a perfect snow day menu starting with grapefruit and avocado salad, soft polenta topped with (Top Chef) Stephanie Izard’s mushroom ragout and ending with chewy chocolate chip and dried cherry cookies.

The ragout was sweet and smoky thanks to the addition of miso paste and harissa, two of my favorite ingredients that I’d never considered combining.

Here are links to recipes for a similar snow day menu, including Orangette’s take on Judy Rodger’s polenta recipe from The Zuni Café Cookbook, my all-time favorite cookbook for reading.

The ragout and cookie dough can be made the day before.

This makes a good rainy day menu as well.

Snow Day Menu

Raw Kale Salad with Apples and Currants

Mixed Mushroom Ragout

Zuni Café Polenta

Thin & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Add the zest of 1 orange to the dough


Meatless Monday: Tofu Lettuce Cups


tofu lettuce cup

I created this recipe years ago at work when some (last minute, eek) weekend guests requested Vegan fare. This dish satisfies all the textures of the rainbow with the soft warm tofu filling nestled in a cup of cold crisp iceberg lettuce. Monday morning the guests requested the recipe and we’ve been making these ever since.

tofu lettuce cup fixings

Tofu Lettuce Cups

serves 2-4

1/2 red bell pepper, minced

1 small carrot, minced

1/2 a small zucchini, minced

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

3 scallions, minced

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 lime, juiced

1 tablespoon sesame oil

8 oz baked tofu (Thai or Teriyaki flavored options work well), finely diced

1 small can of water chestnuts, drained and finely diced

1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 head of iceberg lettuce, cut in half and separated into “cups”

sriracha chili sauce for garnish (optional)

fried mung bean noodles for garnish (optional)

Prepare the friend mung bean noodle per the package instructions and separate the iceberg lettuce into cups and set aside. In a saute pan over medium heat saute the diced red pepper, carrot, zucchini and scallions in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Add the fresh ginger, tofu, hoisin sauce, lime juice and sesame oil to the pan. Turn the heat to low and gently mix until well incorporated and the tofu is warmed through. Taste for seasoning and add salt and black pepper if needed. Off the heat toss in the diced water chestnuts. Serve a heaping spoonful of warm tofu mixture into a cold lettuce cup and garnish with fresh cilantro, sriracha and a sprinkle of fried noodles. Serve with extra hoisin sauce too.

tofu lettuce cup close up

Quinoa and White Nectarine Salad


This recipe was inspired by my friend Jessica who made a similar quinoa salad for us last fall using diced persimmon and fresh pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, feta cheese and mint in a quinoa salad! It as so unusual and yummy, that pop for sweetness from the fruit in an otherwise savory salad was not to be forgotten. This is my take on a summer version featuring crunchy cucumbers and floral white nectarines. I also added garbanzo beans for extra protein.

Quinoa and white nectarine salad

Quinoa and White Nectarine Salad

serves 4-6

Quinoa is high in protein and gluten free so this is a very hearty and healthy salad perfect for lunch or a fresh new BBQ side. Omit the feta and it’s also vegan!


2 cups of dry quinoa cooked according to the package instructions

1-2 Persian cucumbers, diced

1-2 white nectarines, diced

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans

3 tablespoons red onion, minced

10 leaves of fresh mint, finely sliced into ribbons

5 leaves of basil, finely sliced into ribbons

1 cup crumbled feta (optional)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, juiced (about 1 large lemon)

3 tablespoons good olive oil

salt and pepper

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts for topping


Cook the quinoa per the instructions on the package. Fluff and allow to cool to room temperature. Juice the lemon and add a teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper to the juice and set aside so the salt can dissolve in the lemon juice. Dice all the fruit and vegetables and toss into a bowl with the cooled quinoa. Whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil into the lemon juice and dress the quinoa salad in stages checking as you go. You may not need all the dressing or you may need a bit more. Toss in the fresh herbs and the feta if you are using it, mix well and then season to taste. Serve room temperature or chilled topped with toasted pine nuts. I served it on a bed of arugula as a lunch salad with extra dressing on the side for the greens.

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