I admit it, Umami is what I crave over every other flavor. You can take your sweets and keep them, I’ll take the savory, deep, earthiness of Umami any day - and any time of day.
Simply said, our tongues have receptors that respond to a compound called glutamate which is found in fermented foods, mushrooms and cooked meats. It’s a flavor I seek out like a hound and love creating that rich Umami flavor but without the meat component.
12 c water
2 c Dried shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 T Better Than Bullion Vegetarian
3 T Low sodium Tamari sauce
½ c White miso (I love Cold Mountain Hawaiian Mellow Miso)
Bring all ingredients together (except miso) to a boil in a large stock pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, then whisk in the miso and turn off the heat.
½ c Soy Vay, Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce (or any good, natural Teriyaki sauce)
14 oz Organic extra firm tofu, sliced into thin rectangles
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Drain the tofu and blot dry with a paper towel.
Slice and marinate with the teriyaki sauce in a large zip lock. I like to marinate for at least 4 hours, but can be done longer or shorter based on your time.
Drain the Teriyaki sauce and place tofu slices on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes turning the slices every ten minutes. Set aside.
Red Cabbage Quick Slaw
4 c. Red cabbage thinly sliced
1 T Sugar
1 T Salt
In a large bowl massage the salt and sugar into the cabbage for about 1-2 minutes. Set aside for 15 minutes or refrigerate until needed. Keeps up to two days in the fridge.
The Garnish and Noodles
2 c Snow peas sliced diagonally
1.5 c Beech or Enoki mushrooms (see photos below)
8 oz packages of Shirataki Noodles, blanched in boiling water. (I estimate about ½ to a whole package of noodles per person depending on portion size.)
Arrange your beautiful ramen with all of its components and... so delicious, healthy and filling!
Mushrooms have a great deal of nutritional value, are full of micronutrients, low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.
Often grouped with vegetables, mushrooms provide the nutritional power of produce, with the hearty weight of meat, beans or grains. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten free, very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D, and more.
Sometimes I struggle to find a vegan meal that isn’t a salad.
I want a meatless, healthy meal that is hearty and filling, but doesn’t put me into a half-napping-zombie-post-carb state. It's indisputable these days that incorporating vegan eating (partially or fully) into one’s diet is beneficial, so....
...that led me to develop this hearty vegan stew - it's creamy, rich, filling and beautifully free of grains (trust me you won’t miss them!)
I also wanted to use my favorite new find, jackfruit. "What's jackfruit?" you ask...
This stew is like a hug in a bowl! Plant based, made from sustainable ingredients, healthy and comforting:
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 lg. Idaho potato, peeled and cubed into bite sized pieces
6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 (14 oz.) can Jackfruit, drained, rinsed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 (13.5 oz.) can full fat coconut milk
1 (13.5 oz.) can lite coconut milk
1 (13.5 oz.) can water
2 T. Nutritional yeast
2 tsp. “Better Than Bullion” vegetable base
Ready for the easiest directions ever?!
Combine all ingredients in a soup pot, bring to a boil then turn to simmer for 40 minutes until nicely thickened. Enjoy!
I have been a chef and cooking instructor for many years and I always get asked what my absolute favorite type of food is and what I most love to teach.
The answer is ALWAYS and unequivocally, Asian – all Asian. I know it’s an entire continent full of nuanced flavors but I happily dive into every detail, country-by-country and region-by-region.
Not only is Asian food the most craveable for me, but also where I feel both the most challenged and the most creative as a chef.
I created this sauce with depth of flavor and ease in mind.
The perfect marriage of sweet, salty and tangy goodness. The “magic” in the sauce is that my kids (and hopefully yours) will magically eat every vegetable cooked in it!
Shrimp and Broccoli
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, butterflied and deveined (cut deeply down the spine of the shrimp)
About 8 c. or 2 heads of fresh broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
1 T. Coconut or vegetable oil
1 c. water
4 c. cooked Jasmine rice for serving
Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion (optional)
In a 12-inch (nothing smaller but can be bigger) non-stick sauté pan with a lid, bring the cup of water to a boil. Add the broccoli, cover and wait until it turns bright green (about a minute).
Toss the broccoli into a colander and douse with cold water to stop from cooking and lock in the color. Set aside.
Wipe pan and return to heat. Add oil, swirl and add shrimp, cooking until they turn pink and curl.
Add broccoli until just warmed through (about 1-2 minutes – don’t overcook the broccoli, you want it crunchy and bright green)
Add sauce and mix until it thickens. Taste to make sure everything is heated through.
Serve immediately with steamed Jasmine rice and garnished with sesame seeds and green onion (if using).
Easy but much more healthy "Chinese take-out" flavors at your fingertips for any meal - substitute chicken, beef, tofu or any fresh veggies any night, making YOU the family magician!
Recently I have become slightly (mostly) obsessed with creating creamy sauces from raw cashews.
What’s amazing about this nut is that once it is soaked and pureed it likens the cheesy creaminess of dairy without a hint of the nutty bitterness that sometimes comes from using almonds or walnuts.
At home we’ve been slurping this sauce with fresh pasta all summer, but recently I made it with my students and substituted the fresh pasta with good-old macaroni for a protein packed, out-of-this-world mac-and-cheese!
The success of this sauce depends on really well-soaked cashews, so make sure to throw your cashews in water (enough to cover them) for at least 6 hours in the fridge (I often leave them overnight so I don’t forget to soak in the morning for that evening’s meal).
1 ¼ c Raw, unsalted cashews, soaked for a minimum of six hours
1 lg or 2 smaller garlic cloves, peeled
½ c Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, finely grated (you want the cheese to be grated to a powdery consistency)
1 c Water, room temp
1 lb Pasta of your choice (I love it with fresh linguine)
Drain nuts and rinse with water. Add the nuts, garlic, cheese, salt, pepper and water to a blender. Blend on the highest speed until everything is smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Toss with pasta (preferably just drained and hot). Serve immediately with a fresh garden salad.
This is the time to savor the delicious freshness of the harvest - quick and easy!
We are in the swing of harvest season with tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini available at every farmer’s market and falling off the vines in many backyards. I personally think a quick Gazpacho is the best way to create an easy and satisfying fresh meal.
I make a batch whenever I can and often eat it as a snack.
6 medium tomatoes, cut into quick, rough chucks
¼ red onion, cut into quick, rough chunks
1 medium garlic clove
1 small zucchini, cut into quick, rough chunks
1 small handful of basil leaves, no stems - they are bitter
1 small handful of parsley leaves
1 medium cucumber, cut into quick, rough chunks
1 T. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. balsamic vinegar, the best you’ve got
1 (33.5 oz.) box on Hunts tomato sauce
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Throw all the ingredients in a large blender (if you only have a smallish blender divide the recipe in half and make two batches). Blend on the lowest speed until you get the consistency you like. I love my gazpacho fairly pureed without large chunks but with still a bit of crunch.
Enjoy right away, or chill for later. Great for up to 3 days.
I believe cooking and eating should not be a source of anxiety in your life. It is the simplest of pleasures and should, at its core, remain simple.