Poke Bowl with Compressed Watermelon

Poke Bowl with Compressed Watermelon

Years ago, before a Cardinal’s baseball game, I went to a cool restaurant here in St. Louis called “Pieces.” They have hundreds of board games and tons of great vegan food options. After perusing through their superb vegan menu, I settled on their Midwest Poke Bowl. The taste was so delicious and complex, but not complicated! I was blown away by how well the simple combination of flavors came together. Anyway, a few days ago, the Post Dispatch had a Poke bowl on the cover of their “Let’s Eat” section, and it brought back the memory of the delicious bowl I had eaten at Pieces. It seemed like the perfect time to make my own.

If you don’t know, Poke, pronounced “POH-keh,” is a two-syllable word that means “cut into chunks” in Hawaiian. The compressed watermelon replaces the traditional raw chunks of ahi tuna or octopus and is marinated and compressed in a delicious ginger sesame soy sauce. I used my vacuum sealer to compress the marinade into the watermelon. Why compress it? Because flavor, flavor, flavor is the key to this recipe! Compressing any porous food concentrates its flavor and adds a depth and dimension you wouldn’t get otherwise. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer or sous vide machine, you can use this method for compressing. 

While some recipes use regular rice, I decided to use seasoned sushi rice with wakame or seaweed. I also topped the edamame with a Togarashi spice mix comprised of seaweed, orange zest, ginger, sesame seeds, and chili powder. The recipe is finished with sriracha aioli and black sesame seeds. It’s soooo yummy and healthy! One last thing! Be sure to make your watermelon and aioli ahead of time, as they needs time to sit and get happy!


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Poke Bowl with Compressed Watermelon

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 hrs
  • Total Time: 36 minute
  • Category: Bowl
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This bowl is so delicious and satisfying.  It’s sure to become a staple in your culinary repertoire!!!  

***You will want to make the watermelon ahead of time, either the day before or at least 4-6 hours before use.  

****To save time, aioli can and should be made ahead of time.  


Scale

Ingredients

Compressed Watermelon Poke:

  • 2 lbs of seedless watermelon, cut into 1” chunks
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut nectar, (or other vegan sweetener such as agave syrup)
  • 1” cube of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 whole lemon zested, and 1/2 juiced (should be about 1 Tbsp of juice)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup liquid aminos (or other soy sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp salt

Sushi Rice:

  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • water 
  • 1 tbsp wakame, or kombu (this is optional, but definitely builds the flavor profile)
  • 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp vegan sugar
  • 1 tsp fine grain sea salt

Sriracha Aioli:

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise 
  • 12 Tbsp sriracha (depending on heat preference)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt to taste

Bowl:

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/8” slices
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise, (I used a mandolin set a 1/8″)
  • 1 carrot, julienned (or, you can buy carrots pre-shredded)
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 10 oz bag edamame, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 Tbsp Togarashi spice mix for edamame, (or, 2 tsp red chili flakes)
  • French fried onions (optional)
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Lime, sliced into 6 wedges

Instructions

  1. d all ingredients except the oils to a blender and blend on high speed until mixed well. Turn blender down to low speed and slowly add the oils until combined. 
  2. Add watermelon to a vacuum bag and compress using a vacuum sealer, sous vide machine or the ziplock method. Compress watermelon and seal the bag. Refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 4-6 hours.

Sushi Rice:

  1. Rinse rice very well under cold water, until water runs clear, about 2 minutes. This step is essential. Shake until almost dry.
  2. Cook rice according to package directions. I used my Instant Pot to cook the rice, and it works well. 
  3. Add wakame to rice and water before cooking. Again, this is optional but highly recommended. 
  4. While rice is cooking, add rice vinegar, sugar, and sea salt to a small saucepan and cook on medium-high heat until the mix reaches a soft boil and sugar and salt have fully dissolved. (You can also microwave).
  5. When rice is done cooking, spread evenly onto a baking sheet and let cool—drizzle rice with sushi vinegar. 

Sriracha Aioli:

Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Bowl:

  1. When ready to assemble, remove watermelon from the bag and reserve liquid.
  2. Add rice to a bowl and divide watermelon accordingly. 
  3. Add spice mix to cooked edamame.
  4. Divide avocado, onion, edamame, cabbage, carrots, and cucumber between bowls and drizzle with reserved liquid and aioli. 
  5. Top with black sesame seeds, french fried onions, lime wedge, and scallions. 
  6. Serve! 

Keywords: Vegan Poke, Watermelon Poke

Vegan Crab Cakes with Creole Ravigote

Vegan Crab Cakes with Creole Ravigote

Yesterday was my mother-in-law‘s birthday. She was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, a city near and dear to my heart. We were supposed to go down for Mardi Gras in NOLA next month. But, because of Covid, we had to cancel our plans. So alas, if we can’t go to New Orleans, I thought it only appropriate to bring New Orleans to us. We started the evening with these delicious vegan crab cakes drizzled in a spicy Creole Ravigote! Our main was a Cornmeal Encrusted Tofu Po’ Boy with a Creamy Coleslaw! The key to this recipe is the hearts of palm! However, there is a lot of concern about the sustainability of hearts of palm, and for a good reason.

The problem with hearts of palm.

Harvesting the “heart of palm” kills most palms. So wild harvesting can very damaging if done on a widespread basis. The hearts of palm that I buy is the “Native Forest” brand. Here is a quote from their website—”Here we rely upon the Euterpe precatoria, or huasaí palm tree, which grows profusely throughout this vast Amazonian rainforest.

Long term leases secure approximately 240,000 acres of pristine native forest for the wild hearts of palm ecological project, thereby protecting the land from any rain forest-destructive development. In addition to preserving the region’s ecology, this project brings needed employment to those who live deep in the Amazon basin, providing them the opportunity to work closer to their families and their ancestral homes.”

But not all brands are as conscientious as Native Forest, and it’s best to check. The  Environmental Working Group’s page is an excellent resource for checking everything from sustainability, to child labor, as well as products that contain pesticides, GMO’s etc,

So back to the recipe! The hearts of palm are a perfect replacement for crab meat. These little gems are crispy on the outside and flaky and moist on the inside. My mother in law (who is not vegan) was completely blown away! You can pan fry, air fry, or oven fry them, whatever your preference. Just be sure to heat your oven to the lowest setting and add them to the oven as you make them to keep them warm.


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Vegan Crab Cakes with Creole Ravigote

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 3-4 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minute
  • Yield: 1012 cakes 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Diet: Vegan

Scale

Ingredients

CRAB CAKES 

  • 1 14-oz can chickpeas (reserve bean juice, aka aquafaba)
  • 1 14-oz cans hearts of palm, chopped into large pieces
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • ½ sizeable red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin
  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp Creole (can also use spicy brown) mustard
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs + ½ cup more for coating
  • Salt and pepper

 

CREOLE RAVIGOTE

  • 3 Tbsp of Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp of capers, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp of cornichons (pickles), chopped
  • 1 tsp each of dried parsley, chervil, and tarragon 
  • 1 Tbsp Creole mustard or coarse ground spicy brown mustard
  • 1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 Tbsp of shallots, finely chopped
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

CRAB CAKES

  1. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and pulse. Don’t over process just enough to break them down.  Remove from food processor and set aside.
  2. Repeat process with hearts of palm. You want a crab-like texture. Do not over-process.  Remove and set aside.
  3. Dice jalapenos.
  4. Add chickpeas, hearts of palm, and jalapeños to a large bowl.  Add celery, bell pepper, and scallions.  Mix well to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the reserved chickpea liquid until foaming – this will take a few minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except bread crumbs. Stir well to combine.
  6. Add liquid mixture to crab cake mixture and mix well. You may need to use your hands.  Add breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. 
  7. On a lined baking sheet, form the mixture into 2” balls and flatten with a spatula or your hand.
  8. Chill cakes, uncovered, for ½ hour to help set.
  9. Place the remaining ½ cup of panko in a shallow dish.
  10. Coat each cake with the remaining panko.  Lightly brush with remaining aquafaba. 
  11. Heat an oil-coated skillet on medium-high heat.
  12. Lightly pan fry for 3 minutes on each side. (You can also air fry for 10 minutes at 400°).
  13. Do this with the remaining mixture. I usually fit 4-5 patties on the skillet at a time. When they are cooked, transfer them to a plate covered with a paper towel.
  14. Serve with a dollop of the Ravigote. lemon wedge, and fresh greens.

CREOLE RAVIGOTE

  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until evenly combined.
  2. If you’re like me and you like your Ravigote sauce extra spicy, you can add cayenne pepper to taste.

Notes

Makes between 10-12 crab cakes.  

Spinach and Mushroom Gnocchi with Cashew Béchamel

Spinach and Mushroom Gnocchi with Cashew Béchamel

Gnocchi is an Italian pasta made from potatoes. I love gnocchi, it’s so yummy, and there are some delicious freshly pre-made packages out there! Be sure to check, though, because some varieties do contain eggs. There are so many ways you can make it, too. In the spring, I love making it with fresh basil pesto and toasted pine nuts!

This savory mushroom and spinach version is simmered in a rich and creamy Cashew Béchamel! It is a perfect weeknight meal taking only 20 minutes and a handful of ingredients! Yup! Folks will think you spent all afternoon on it! I won’t tell if you won’t! 😉 I will be working on a simple, from-scratch sweet potato gnocchi in the next week, so stay tuned!


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Spinach and Mushroom Gnocchi with Cashew Béchamel

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch

Scale

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pack of organic Crimini mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, julienned
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 oz spinach
  • 1 package of fresh Italian Gnocchi
  • 1 teaspoon each dried parsley, sage, thyme, and rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Add cashews to a sauce pan and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. 
  2. While cashews are boiling, clean mushrooms and cut into 1/2 slices.
  3. Peel and slice onion in half widthwise, and then Julienne. 
  4. Peel garlic clove, crush with the back of a knife and mince.
  5. Warm skillet over medium heat. When warm, add oil. When the oil has warmed to a shimmer, add onion and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add sage, parsley, thyme, and rosemary. Sauté until mushrooms have softened and onions are translucent. Add spinach and cook until spinach has wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
  6. In a medium saucepan, add gnocchi to boiling water and cook until gnocchi begins to float, about 3-5 minutes. 
  7. While the gnocchi is cooking, add cooked cashews to a blender with 1 1/4 cup water. Add garlic powder and salt. Blend until smooth. 
  8. When gnocchi is done, drain water and add to onion/mushroom mixture, add cashew béchamel sauce. Simmer over medium heat until sauce begins to thicken.  Taste for seasoning.  
  9. Serve warm!  
  10. Garnish with fresh parsley and vegan parmesan. 

Curried Dal with Spinach and Sweet Potato

Curried Dal with Spinach and Sweet Potato

We are so fortunate to have the best Indian grocery store not too far from our house. There are aisles upon aisles of spices, rice, and about a hundred kinds of dal! Dal is often translated as “lentils” but refers to a split version of various lentils, peas, chickpeas (chana), kidney beans, and so on. If a pulse, or bean, is split in half, it is called a dal. So the chana dal that I used for this recipe is a split chickpea! 

To me, the best part of this recipe was the addition of whole spices. Imagine how good your kitchen will smell while sautéing onions, cloves, a whole cinnamon stick, and cardamom. Delicious! You can use any green on hand, I just happened to have some spinach that needed to be used, but kale is a great option, too.

This is an easy recipe for the Instant pot too. Use the sauté feature to cook the onions and spices. Then pick-up the recipe at step three and cook on high for 15 minutes. I cubed and browned my sweet potatoes before adding them to the lentils. If you don’t roast them or brown them first, you run the risk of them becoming mushy. 


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Curried Dal with Spinach and Sweet Potato

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 68 cups 1x

Description

Curried dal is deliciously satisfying and super easy to make!  You will also have plenty of leftovers!  Serve with warmed naan or toasted bread. 


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dal
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger
  • 1 Serrano chile, stemmed and finely sliced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed 
  • 1/3 cup yellow curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 10 oz fresh baby spinach
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 full 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • Rice
  • Garnish with yogurt, and cilantro, and smoked paprika

Instructions

  1. Rinse the lentils in a strainer in cold water until the water runs clear, then place in a medium bowl, cover with water, and set aside. Using the side of a knife, carefully crack open the cardamom pods.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil into a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Cook for about a minute, then add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are browning and soft. Add garlic, ginger, and chile and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. 
  3. Drain lentils and add to the pot; add turmeric, curry paste, and 4 1/4 cups of hot water. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once they are boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft and creamy.
  4. While lentils are cooking, warm a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, and when shimmering, add sweet potatoes. Brown potatoes on all sides and cook until they are almost fork tender. Remove from pan and set aside. 
  5. In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat and, when shimmering, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the reserved onion mixture and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the spinach, shredded coconut, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt—Cook for 1 minute. Add the lime juice and stir.
  6. When the lentils are soft and creamy, add the coconut milk and remaining salt.  Add spinach mixture and sweet potatoes—taste for seasoning.  Cook for 5 more minutes, or until potatoes have warmed through.  I added just a bit more curry paste to mine, but I like heat!  Serve in a bowl, and spoon over rice. Top with yogurt, cilantro, and smoked paprika.

Potato Mushroom Galette

Potato Mushroom Galette

I’ve been on a French food kick lately. To me, the rich, flavorful, savory cuisine exists in a completely separate dimension in the food world. Every night for a week, I made a different dish, a Mushroom Bourguignon, a Ratatouille, and a Leak and White Bean Cassoulet. My final dish was this delicious Potato Galette. 

Originating in Norman times – when it was known as a gale – the term galette simply refers to a ‘flat cake’ filled with either sweet or savory thinly sliced ingredients. However, depending on what part of France you’re in, it can mean something totally different. In Brittany, a galette saucisse is basically a crepe. The galette de rois, is a cake made for Epiphany, or the end of the Christmas season, and is made of two circles of puff pastry sandwiching a frangipane (almond-flavoured sweet pastry cream ) filling. Each comes with a crown and always has a trinket, called a fève, or bean, baked into it. This galette Bretton is essentially a pie made without a pan and uses fines herbs (pronounced feen), a mainstay of French cuisine, a blend of tarragon, chives, chervil, and parsley.


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Potato Mushroom Galette

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch

Description

This savory galette is a perfect meal for a cold winter’s day! 


Scale

Ingredients

Pate Brisee:

  • 2 1/2 cups Organic All-Purpose Flour (To make gluten-free use Bob’s Gluten All-Purpose Free Flour add ¼ tsp xanthan gum for every cup of flour used) 
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks or 3/4 cup) vegan butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons of ice cold water*

 

 Filling:

  • 2 cups thinly sliced sweet onions
  • 10 ounces Russet potatoes, scrubbed and cubed in 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 medium potatoes)
  • 2 medium leeks (white and light green parts, cut into half-moons and rinsed well)
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms (wiped clean and quartered)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (roughly)
  • 4 Tablespoons Fines Herbs
  • Pepper, as desired
  • 2 cups cashew cream
  • 4 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Flour

 


Instructions

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and preheat the oven to 400°F.

Pate Brisee:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar together. Cut in the butter using a fork, kitchen sheers, or pastry blender until it is grainy and reaches the consistency of sand. Add the ice cold water, starting with 5 Tbsp, and mix it with your hands until uniform. The dough should be moist but not soggy. Add remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time if still crumbly.  Form the dough into ball and divide in half.  Cover the bowl, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

 

  1. To make the galette: Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium pan (I used a 10-inch cast-iron skillet) over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides-about 5-7 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
  2. In a the same pan, add in about 1/2 c of vegetable broth. Once heated, add the sliced onions, mushrooms and thyme and cook down, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes. You will need to add more vegetable broth (1-2 tablespoons at a time) as time passes to prevent burning, but they KEY to perfect caramelization without oil is to only add more broth and once all of the previously added liquid has completely cooked off.  Once onions are done, add potatoes and garbanzo bean flour, and cook for one minute.  Making sure to mix well.  Add in cashew cream and mix until combined.
  3. Once the dough has chilled, roll each dough out into a rough circle, about 1/3” thick. Transfer it to the lined baking sheet.
  4. Divide mushroom/potato mixture over each pastry, leaving about 1” around the edges of the pastry. Sprinkle with more fines herbs and pepper as desired. Fold in the galette crust. Pleat about every 3 inches.  I used 2 tablespoons of *aquafaba mixed with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to brush the crust. 
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is crispy and golden brown. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

*Be sure the water is ice cold so that the butter does not melt while mixing.

*Aquafaba is the viscous water that comes from a can of legumes such as chickpeas. 

Easy Vegan Nosh Platter

Easy Vegan Nosh Platter

The holidays are a great way to showcase your artistic side! Making a great vegan charcuterie board such as this just a few years ago would have been much more complicated than it is now! There are so many great choices out there for vegan meats, cheeses, sauces, and even plant-based meats!

The key is knowing how to put it all together! To me, variety is the spice of life! So I like to find a variety of hard cheeses, soft cheeses, dips, and crackers. Daiya makes a great Farmhouse style block cheese, and of course, Miyoko Schinner, the original Queen of the Vegan Cheese, makes some pretty amazing cheeses that will blow your vegan minds!  I like to slice the cheeses in different ways. Cubed, quartered, triangled, wavy, or ribboned, there is no wrong way to slice! In face the more the merrier!

Other accouterments might include olives (if you can find olive branches, they make a great garnish), pimentos, any variety of nuts, seasonal fruits, fresh figs, and don’t forget your garnishes! Sometimes, I will slice and use a toasted baguette! In the photo above, I made a sun-dried tomato cheesecake with rosemary. As a garnish, I used fresh sprigs of rosemary with some fresh cranberries for a festive look!

The other key to a good board is to have things spread out evenly. If you have a spread on one side, make sure you have one on the other side too! Balance is key! The best part is that it will allow you to showcase your artistic side and delight your guests! Don’t forget to add a few cheese knives and picks! I like the stainless steel picks because they can be reused! Whatever your style, have fun and enjoy!

Sun-Dried Tomato Cheesecake

Sun-Dried Tomato Cheesecake

Christmas is my favorite time of year! And this is one of my favorite appetizer recipes. I used to make a non-vegan version with eggs and dairy, so I was worried that I might lose some consistency; however, this cheesecake did not disappoint! It is so good and will be gone in a flash!

If you make your own cream cheese, you will definitely save a buck or two. But if you don’t, I would encourage you to spend the money on a good vegan cream cheese. I used Kite Hill Chives cream cheese and was delighted! Serve with crudités and crackers and few copies of the recipe!


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Sun-Dried Tomato Cheesecake

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch

Description

This savory cheesecake will be gone in a flash!  Served with crudités and crackers it will be the hit of your holiday table! 


Scale

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 3 (8-ounce) containers vegan cream cheese, softened 
  • 2 tablespoons plant-based milk (I love oat milk)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup julienne-cut, sun-dried tomatoes with herbs packed in oil, drained
  • 1/3 cup cup toasted pine nuts
  • Assorted crackers and crudité
  • Garnish with:
  • Fresh rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes small diced, micro-greens, fresh rosemary

Instructions

Instructions

  1. For the crust: Pre-heat oven to 350°. Pulse together the walnuts, flour, and salt to a fine meal in a food processor. Pulse in the butter until it forms a crumbly dough. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 7-inch springform pan. Place on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  2. Beat cream cheese on medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Blend in milk and next five ingredients, mixing on low speed. Fold in Parmesan cheese and rosemary; spoon over crust and spread to pan edges. Bake 45-50 minutes or until center is just set when jiggled. Remove from oven and gently run a paring knife between the cheesecake and pan. Cool 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours.
  3. Place cheesecake on a serving plate. Toss together sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts in a small bowl. Spoon mixture over cheesecake and garnish with micro-greens and fresh rosemary. Serve with crackers and crudité.

Onion Soup Gratinée

Onion Soup Gratinée

This soup is not mine. I wish it were because it might be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I had always loved French Onion soup. So it was no surprise when my friend took me to a French restaurant in Soho called Balthazar that I ordered their Onion Soup Gratinée. These were my pre-vegan days, of course, and for weeks afterward, I only dreamt of this soup. It was so unbelievably satisfying that I finally reached out to my friend Kate and asked her to get me the Balthazar cookbook. The day I got the book in the mail, I went to the store, bought a 3-pound bag of onions, and went to work.

Now that I’m vegan, there were only a few small modifications to make. I am thrilled to say the flavor has not been altered at all. The trick is to make sure that the onions are deeply caramelized. Cooking the onions may take longer than expected, about 40 minutes. Be sure to keep the heat at medium and stir frequently. You do not want the onions to burn. The other key to this soup is the cheese. I used Miyoko’s Mozzarella cheese and grated it over the toasted sourdough bread.


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Onion Soup Gratinée

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch

Description

A quote from the Balthazar’s cookbook…”Borrow a custom from Bordeaux and spill a little red wine into the bottom of your nearly empty soup bowl.  The tradition, down known as chabrot, dictates a quick swirl of wine into the tail-end of the hot broth and then a hearty gulp right from the bowl.” 


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved through the stem end, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted vegan butter
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 6 slices of sourdough bread, about 1 inch thick, toasted
  • 2 cups Miyoko’s vegan mozzarella, coarsely grated.

Instructions

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add the onions and, stirring frequently to prevent burning, sauté until they reach a golden color, approximately 30 minutes.

Add the butter, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the white wine, bring to a boil, and reduce the wine by half, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock and simmer for 45 minutes. Preheat the broiler. Remove the thyme springs and bay leaf, and swirl the port into the finished soup.

Ladle the soup into the 6 ovenproof bowls.

Fit the toasted bread into the bowls on top of the liquid, and sprinkle 1/3 cup of Mozzarella onto each slice. Place under the broiler for 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts to a crispy golden brown. Allow the soup to cool slightly, about 3 minutes, before serving.


Easy Vegan Potato Latkes

Easy Vegan Potato Latkes

Happy Hanukkah to all of my wonderful Jewish friends! I am a potato lover through and through…soooo making my Potato Latkes seemed like the most obvious choice for today!  Some recipes use eggs. This one is a super simple recipe with only six ingredients! 🌱 🌱

These potato pancakes (called latkes) are meant to symbolize the miracle of Hanukkah, when the oil of the menorah in the ransacked Second Temple of Jerusalem was able to stay aflame for eight days even though there was only enough oil for one day. The symbolism comes in the form of the oil in which latkes are fried.

Just a quick tip…after shredding your potatoes, immerse them in cold water to keep them from discoloring. If you’re using a hand grater, you can shred them directly into the bowl of water. Soaking the shreds helps to keep them from turning brown; it also has the added benefit of making crispier latkes. Tart and fruity applesauce—unsweetened is best—cuts through the grease and lightens them right up, leaving you feeling perfectly satisfied, but not stuffed!


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Easy Vegan Potato Latkes

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch

Description

No eggs needed!  The starchy potatoes when combined with the flour make the eggs unnecessary!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes peeled, grated and squeezed dry (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt), plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, divided, for frying 

Instructions

Instructions:        

 1. Using a food processor with a coarse grating disc, grate the potatoes and onion. Transfer the mixture to a clean dishtowel and squeeze and wring out as much of the liquid as possible.

1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Scoop 1/2 cup potato mixture into skillet and use a spatula to flatten and shape the drops into discs. Repeat. Fry patties 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Cook remaining latkes in batches of 2, adding 1tablespoon of oil to skillet each time.

2. To drain, transfer latkes to wire rack on top of baking sheet lined with newspaper. Sprinkle with salt while still warm. You can also place latkes on pan in oven to keep warm. Serve with vegan sour cream or applesauce! 


Spicy Shiitake Ramen with Crispy Tofu

Spicy Shiitake Ramen with Crispy Tofu

When I was in college, like most other kids my age, I lived on ramen noodles. And I’m talking about the $.25 per package ramen noodles. They were easy, cheap, and filled me up! It wasn’t until I lived with my vegetarian roommate Judy that I realized I could add things to my ramen and make it even better. I think I started by just adding scallions. Pretty soon, I added sautéed mushrooms and garlic. Eventually, my recipe became more and more complex. When I became a vegan, the beef became tofu, and the recipe had evolved again

The best part of Ramen is that you can make it in an infinite number of ways. I like mine spicy, but if you don’t, you can leave out the gochujang, and it will be just fine! Gochujang is a Korean chili paste that may make dishes spicier (depending on the capsaicin in the base chili) and make dishes sweeter and smokier. Or if you like spicy but don’t want to buy something new you can use any hot sauce. You can add your favorite ingredients or whatever you happen to have on hand. There is no wrong way to make it. The key is a rich and flavorful broth. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!


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Spicy Shiitake Ramen with Crispy Tofu

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x

Description

A delicious bowl of ramen is the ultimate comfort food.  And the best part is that you can make ramen an infinite number of ways!  This recipe happens to be my favorite, but you can use whatever ingredients you love or happen to have on hand.  Some additional toppings might include:

  • daikon radish
  • finely shredded cabbage
  • steamed bok choy
  • mushrooms (smoked are nice- see below!)
  • baby spinach
  • scallions

Scale

Ingredients

  • 12 to 16 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons thin matchsticks peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 6 ounces)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock 
  • 1 sheet Kombu seaweed, rinsed
  • 1/8 cup mirin ( Japanese cooking wine)
  • 2 Tbsp Gochujang 
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon vegan soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • pepper to taste
  • 4 heads baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 Fresno chile pepper, seeded and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 12 ounces somen, udon or ramen noodles

Instructions

Make the Broth:

  1. In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, saute the onion in 1 tablespoon oil until tender about 3 minutes. Turn heat to medium, add the garlic and ginger and continue cooking the onions until they are deeply golden brown about 3 more minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan; cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, a sheet of kombu, mirin, gochujang. Bring to a Simmer.

Make Tofu: 

  1. Cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes. Warm a skillet over medium heat, when heated add 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil. Add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes until lightly browned and crisp on all sides, turning occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together 2 tablespoons miso, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon water. When the tofu is browned, turn off heat and carefully pour sauce over tofu (be careful, it splatters!). Stir sauce onto tofu and cook additional minute over medium heat until fragrant.

Assemble:

  1. Add the bok choy and ramen noodles to dutch oven. Cover and cook, stirring halfway through, until the boy choy is wilted and the noodles are tender, about 4 minutes.  Add Tofu. 
  2. Top each bowl with chili.
  3. Serve Immediately. 

Notes

If you cannot find fresh shiitake mushrooms you can use dried.  Just be sure to chop or slice them into small pieces. 


Nutrition

  • Calories: 400
  • Fat: 13.8
  • Saturated Fat: 1.8
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 59.8

Keywords: Vegan Ramen, Bok Choy, Shiitake

Holiday Truffles

Holiday Truffles

Making cookies and candy around the holidays always puts me in the best mood! It also reminds me of being a kid. Back then, I cut out sugar cookies and made those green cornflake wreaths with red hots. Remember those? Mostly I just loved being in the kitchen with my mom and my brother and listening to my mom sing Christmas carols.

We each had our cookie job, and my mom’s job was to make my dad a dozen or two of his mother’s rum truffles. My brother and I were never allowed to have any (although we managed to sneak one or two without any notice), so my mom would make us some sans the rum! They were delicious and usually gone within a day or two! 

This is a vegan version of her truffles! Enjoy!


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Holiday Truffles

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 5 hours (Refrigerate)
  • Total Time: 6 hours
  • Yield: @ 60 Truffles
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

These truffles are incredible!  Incredibly easy and incredibly delicious!   This batch will make approximately 60 truffles.   You can use the basic truffle recipe and modify anyway you want! 


Scale

Ingredients

Basic Truffle Mix
 
  • 2 cups (about 16 oz) 100% unsweetened vegan dark chocolate  
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
For Chocolate Orange Truffles
 

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffles

For Vanilla White Chocolate Truffles
 
  • Basic Truffle Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup vegan white chocolate (for coating truffles)
  • Shredded Coconut, White Nonpareils, or Sparkling Sugar
 
 

Instructions

     To make the truffle mixture:
 
  1. To make the basic truffle mix, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a glass dish over boiling water. Stirring constantly.

  2. Remove dish from the heat and whisk in coconut milk, maple syrup and sea salt.

  3. Divide the mixture into 3 bowls, one for each of the flavors. 

  4. For the chocolate orange truffles add the orange essence. Mix well. 

  5. For the dark chocolate raspberry truffles add dark rum and raspberry essence. Mix well.

  6. For the vanilla truffles, add the vanilla essence.  Mix well. 

  7. Put all three bowls in the fridge for at least 5 hours to fully firm up.

  8. After the truffle mixes are firm, use a teaspoon to spoon out mixture and roll in your hands to make small balls, about half the size of golf balls.

  9. Set out the truffles on parchment lined baking pans. Just make sure you know which flavor is which.  Freeze for at least 3 hours.

    To decorate:

  • In a glass bowl over boiling water, melt chocolate to cover the truffles in.

  • For the orange truffles, and the raspberry truffles melt the dark chocolate. For the vanilla truffles, melt white chocolate. 

  • I like to use this chocolate dipping tool, but you can also use a fork. Dip truffles one by one into the melted chocolate, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Immediately decorate each truffle, while the chocolate is still melted.

  • For the orange chocolates, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and orange zest, or edible gold dust powder. You can also add two thin slices of candied orange across the top. For raspberry truffles, dust in cocoa powder and ground dried raspberries.  For vanilla truffles, sprinkle with coconut or white sparkling sugar (blue sanding sugar is also very pretty). 
  • Put all covered and decorated truffles in the fridge for an hour or so to set. Then they can be served. 

     


Notes

The truffles will last in an air tight container the fridge for 2-3 weeks. They can also be frozen. 

Shaved Fennel Salad with Asian Pear and Pomegranate

Shaved Fennel Salad with Asian Pear and Pomegranate

The salad is almost too pretty to eat. Every time I make it, I just want to stare at it or take pictures of it.

Not only does it come together quickly, but it is also very hearty and satisfying. The creamy plant-based goat cheese alone is to die for! Trust me. This salad could be a meal in itself. As for the pomegranate, I prefer to clean my own. It’s a task that my youngest daughter has taken over. She finds it deeply satisfying to pull out every last aril!

I like the arugula and pomegranate for color, but you can use various fruits and greens to achieve your Christmas colors. My favorite addition to the salad, and one that I would not skip, is the fresh dill weed. No matter the toppings used, the dill brings it together!


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Shaved Fennel Salad with Asian Pear and Pomegranate

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch

Description

Easy to assemble, this salad will not only be a delectable accompaniment to your holiday meal; it will also serve as a perfect floral centerpiece!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (fronds may be saved for salad garnish)
  • 2 small Asian pears, or 1 large pear, sliced length-wise
  • 1/2 cup herbed vegan goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • Arils (seeds)  from 1 pomegranate
  • 6 fronds of dill, stemmed
  • 1 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thin, halved

Dressing:

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut nectar (can also use maple syrup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

 

  1. For the dressing: Gently whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.  Season to taste, and add extra sweetener, vinegar or lemon juice as needed.
  2. Arrange the arugula, on a medium sized platter or large flat bottomed bowl.  Add the fennel, red onion, and pears.  Sprinkle with pecans, pumpkin seeds, and arils.  
  3. Top salad with dill fronds.  
  4. When ready to serve, drizzle with ginger dressing.  
  5. Serve and enjoy! 

Continue reading “Shaved Fennel Salad with Asian Pear and Pomegranate”

Loaded Vegan Chili

Loaded Vegan Chili

I love a good chili recipe. For a little bit of effort, you get a massive bang for your buck! This version is the fourth and final incarnation. The addition of the cocoa powder initially went against my traditionalist chili mentality. But a friend of mine insisted that I add it at least once. I was oddly skeptical at first but utterly amazed by the complexity added! Much like salt and pepper, the cocoa powder enhances the flavor of the other spices! I promise you’ll love it!


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Loaded Vegan Chili

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch

Description

This chili is a family favorite!   It comes together perfectly and quickly!  The addition of the cocoa powder adds a depth of flavor to the beans, tomato sauce, and chili powder making the chili itself taste richer!


Scale

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped into small pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed (or finely minced)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth 
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2/ tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano

Instructions

  1. Warm dutch oven over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, then add oil.  Once oil is warmed, add onion and bell pepper. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently and being careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add spices, coating vegetables well. Cook for about 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Increase heat, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes. The longer the chili cooks, the more flavor it will have. So, if you’ve got the time, let it very gently simmer on the stove for an hour or even up to 2 hours. If you cook it for several hours, you may need to add in just a bit more broth or water.
  5. Once ready to eat, take off of the heat and garnish with some vegan sour cream, green onion, avocado, etc.
  6. ENJOY!

Vegetable Demi-Glace

Vegetable Demi-Glace

One of the first things you learn in culinary school, or in any professional kitchen worth its salt, is how to make the five classic French “Mother Sauces.” I am a sucker for these sauces, with my favorite being the béchamel. This white sauce is versatile and can be used in various pasta dishes or as a drizzle over roasted vegetables. It also serves as a base for my other favorite sauce, the Mornay, aka the béchamel sauce plus cheese. I love a good vegan fondue. But enough about the white sauces. We are here to talk about the classic brown sauces, and my friends, this is a labor of love.


Sauce Espagnole and demi-glace are both rich brown sauces, but the latter derives from the first. After a Sauce Espagnole has been made, it can easily be used in a 1:1 ratio with brown stock, then reduced by half and finished with wine—resulting in an intensely flavored demi-glace sauce. It can be stirred into soups, stews, and risottos. 

A demi-glace is a brown stock reduced by prolonged simmering combined with an Espagnole sauce or one of the five classic mother sauces of French cuisine. A classic demi-glace is made with veal, but beef and poultry is sometimes used. But we are using a combination of hearty vegetables! The “demi,” meaning half, signifies that the reduced stock (glace) is combined with the Espagnole sauce in a half-and-half ratio. 

You can use whatever you have on hand—provided you combine sweet vegetables with more savory plants for balance. Use too much of the sweet stuff, and the demi could become way too sweet and syrupy.


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Vegetable Demi-Glace

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: Approx. 2 hours 30
  • Total Time: 58 minute
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Sauces
  • Method: Reduction
  • Cuisine: French
  • Diet: Vegan

Scale

Ingredients

Vegetable Stock:

  • 1 small eggplant, washed and shaved with mandolin
  • 1 celery root, thick sliced
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced (white parts only) 
  • 1 large stalk celery, sliced in half length-wise
  • 2 large carrots, sliced in half length-wise
  • 2 medium beets, peeled and sliced root to stem
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms (cut mushrooms in half)
  • 1 medium onion, medium slice
  • 1 head garlic, sliced in half (don’t worry about peeling)
  • 1 lemon, washed and sliced in half width-wise 
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (sherry or cabernet is preferred)

Instructions

  1. Toss vegetables and peppercorns in a large bowl with tomato paste, coating well.  Oil bottom of pan—this step is optional but will prevent sticking.   Transfer to a deep hotel pan or other deep (at least 4″ oven safe pan.  Place vegetables in the oven and roast for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check your veggies every 20 minutes or so, stirring and rotating as needed to prevent edges from burning. 
  2. After roasting remove from oven.  Add wine, scraping any brown bits. These caramelized morsels of concentrated juice, called the fond—literally, the foundation—will enrich the stock from the bottom of the pan.  Carefully, add 6 cups water to vegetables and return to oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Strain the stock through a sieve into another pot, pressing the vegetables with the back of a ladle to extract all the juices.
  4. Over high heat, combine 1 part Espagnole to 1 part Vegetable stock, boil for 10 minutes or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

Notes

* I used this 4” deep hotel pan. 

Vegan Sauce Espagnole

Vegan Sauce Espagnole

Sauce Espagnole is a basic brown sauce, and is one of Auguste Escoffier’s five mother sauces of classic French cooking. Typically made from stock, mirepoix, and tomatoes, and thickened with roux. This easy and basic brown sauce can be used as a base for other French sauces.

According to Alan Davidson, in The Oxford Companion to Food, “The name has nothing to do with Spain, any more than the counterpart term “allemande” has anything to do with Germany. It is generally believed that the terms were chosen because, in French eyes, Germans have blonde hair and Spaniards have brown hair.”

It is also easy to freeze and use as needed! This simple recipe is an adaptation of the great Thomas Keller.


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Vegan Sauce Espagnole

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch (Adapted from Thomas Keller)
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x

Description

Basic brown sauce that can be used in a variety of ways. 


Scale

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups hot vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup canned tomato purée
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
 

 


Instructions

  1. In a heavy-bottom saucepan set over medium heat, cook the carrots and onion in the butter with a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, add the flour, and cook the roux, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until golden brown in color, 6 to 10 minutes.
  3. Using a whisk, add the hot stock in a fast stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Add the tomato purée, garlic, celery, peppercorns, and bay leaf.
  4. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring often to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorch. Reduced the liquid by about one-third, until sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. Pour sauce through a sieve into a bowl, discarding solids.

Notes

*Can easily be frozen and thawed when needed. 


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 cups

Cherry Smoked Portobello Mushrooms with a Marchand de Vin Sauce

Cherry Smoked Portobello Mushrooms with a Marchand de Vin Sauce

I am in love mushrooms, but my favorite mushrooms are big juicy portobellos. Add in some thyme, red wine, and onions, and I’m all yours.

When immature and white, this mushroom may be known as common mushroom, white mushroom  button mushroom, cultivated mushroom, table mushroom, and champignon mushroom. When immature and brown, it may be known variously as Swiss brown mushroom, Roman brown mushroom, Italian brown mushroom, cremini/crimini mushroom, chestnut mushroom, and baby bella.

When marketed in its mature state, the mushroom is brown with a cap measuring 4–6 inches. This form is commonly sold under the names portobello mushroom, portabella mushroom, and portobella mushroom. Thank you, Wikipedia.  Who knew? 

I wanted to add a portobello mushroom recipe to my cookbook but lamented on the best way to prepare them. I got out my handy dandy cast iron, but then I remembered that I had my little-used  Cameron stovetop smoker. Within minutes I had fired up my gas stove, added some portobello mushroom caps and cherry wood chips, and 25 minutes later, I was floating in mushroom heaven. And no worries if you don’t have a smoker. If you have a medium pot with a lid, a steamer basket, some foil, and some wood chips, you’re set! Just so you know, there may not be a lot of variety, but you can buy wood chips at almost any grocery store. 

Finally, I went back and forth between topping it with a simple red wine sauce, or a cabernet demi-glace, aka a Marchand de Vin Sauce. I opted for the latter. It didn’t disappoint, either. With just a tang of the sherry vinegar marinade shining through the cherry wood’s mild and fruity smoke, it was the perfect balance of flavor. I didn’t make my own demi-glace, but you certainly can. I will work on that recipe next!


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Cherry Smoked Portobello Mushrooms with Cabernet Demi-Glace

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch

Description

The key to this recipe is the marinade.  Mushrooms are highly porous so you don’t need to marinade them long.  I also use a great mushroom brush to remove any dirt.  


Scale

Ingredients

  • 45 Portobello mushroom caps, brushed with stems removed.

For the Marinade: 

  • 1/3 cup dry sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp smoke paprika
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp steak sauce (I like this one)

Red Wine Demi-Glace:

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • One bouquet garni made from 1 celery stalk, 2 fresh thyme sprigs, 2 fresh parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf * (see note section)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock  
  • 1/4 cup classic roasted vegetable demi-glace
  • 1/2 cup cabernet sauvignon 
  • 1 tsp salt kosher
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper ground

Instructions

Marinade:

Whisk marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Add mushrooms to a shallow baking dish or a gallon size ziplock bag and top with marinade. Set aside and allow to marinate for 30 minutes. 

While mushrooms are marinating, make the demi-glace. 

  1. Warm a medium-size sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add butter. When butter begins to foam, add shallots, salt, and white pepper and bouquet garni. Sauté until shallots have softened, about 5-7 minutes. 
  3. Add vegetable stock, demi-glace, and wine. 
  4. Stir well and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil. 
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the stock has reduced by half, about 20 minutes. 

Mushrooms:

  1. If using a smoker, add wood chips to the bottom of the smoker. If using a pan to smoke, jump down to the notes section. 
  2. Place the drip tray on top of the wood chips inside the smoker base. Spraying the tray with non-stick vegetable spray, or place a sheet of aluminum foil to make for easier clean-up.
  3. Place the wire rack on top of the drip tray. Remove mushrooms from the marinade and arrange them on the wire rack. Slide lid closed.
  4. Smoke for 20 minutes over medium heat. 
  5. Remove bouquet from demi-glace and taste for seasoning. Carefully remove mushrooms from the smoker and transfer them to a cutting board.
  6. Slice mushrooms into 1/2″ slices. Plate the mushrooms and spoon 3-4 Tbsp’s of demi-glace over the top.  
  7. Enjoy! 

Notes

Never wash mushrooms with water! They are like a sponge and soak up water lowering the flavor. People think it’s dirt that’s on them, but it’s peat moss, and it’s all pasteurized. Portobello’s are usually pretty clean, but I use a mushroom brush for other types.

A bouquet garni is simple to make.  Place herbs together in a small stack and tie stems together with a short bit of kitchen twine.  Tie it tightly, as the herbs will shrink as they cook.  

If pan smoking:

Place a double layer of foil in the bottom of a medium pot. Place wood chips on top, in a little mound. Place strainer basket over top. Place mushrooms in the strainer basket.

Place the pot on the stove and turn to medium high or high heat. Leave uncovered until you see smoke.  When you see smoke, tightly cover. Wait 30 seconds, then turn heat to medium.

Mushroom Lentil Faux Gras

Mushroom Lentil Faux Gras

I am a sucker for French food and French wine. To this day, my favorite cookbook is still Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” A few years ago, I bought a vintage 20th edition copy released in 1971, the year I was born. The book has what looks to be wine stains across its pages, likely from the valiant efforts of another brave epicure hoping to recreate her world-famous bourguignon. I say valiant because if you’ve never seen Julia’s bourguignon recipe, let me just say it is a three-page lesson in patience. But alas, I digress.

The very first vegan cooking class that I taught was Vegan France. This recipe, along with my mushroom bourguignon, were two of my favorite recipes I shared with the class. A traditional molded foie gras is made with goose liver. It is salty and savory, and let me just say when I was a meat-eater, one of my favorite indulgences.

This recipe is an adaptation of Rebecca Leffler’s recipe from her vegan French cookbook. This “faux” gras is made with mushrooms, french green lentils, rosemary, thyme, walnuts, cognac, and a beet puree added in for color. Sure to satisfy even the most die-hard fin gourmets, I like to serve it with nice French Bordeaux and a traditional Pain de Campagne Bon appétit!


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Mushroom Lentil Faux Gras

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch (Adapated from Rebecca Leffler)
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minute

Scale

Ingredients

  • 24 medium-sized (200g, about 2 cups) button mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter salted or unsalted
  • 2 small onion peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 cups (800g) cooked green lentils
  • 2 cups (280g) toasted walnuts or pecans
  • 4 tablespoons liquid aminos or tamari
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 4 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh sage or flat leaf parsley
  • 4 teaspoons Cognac or brandy
  • 2-teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 34 tablespoons beetroot puree (recipe below)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Wipe the mushrooms clean. Remove stem end and slice them.

 

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet or wide saucepan. Add the onions and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add mushrooms, rosemary, thyme, sage, and Cognac/brandy and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and cooked through, another 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

 

  1. In a food processor, combine the cooked lentils, brown sugar, and cayenne. Scrape in the cooked mushroom mixture and process until completely smooth. Fold in beet puree. Taste. Add salt, pepper, additional cognac, soy sauce, or lemon juice, if it needs balancing.

 

  1. Scrape the pâté into a small serving bowl, top with a thin layer of vegan butter if using, and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.  (If you’re making it on the fly, feel free to freeze it)

 

For Beetroot Puree:

 

  • ½ pound roasted red beets
  • ¼ cup Grapeseed oil
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoons water
  • ¾ teaspoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • ¾ teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of black pepper

 

Place beets, Grapeseed oil, shallots, 1 tablespoons water, cilantro, vinegar, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt in a blender, and process until blended, about 5 seconds. Add beets, and process until smooth, about 40 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Stir in black pepper.

 


Spicy Louisiana Style Jackfruit Gumbo

Spicy Louisiana Style Jackfruit Gumbo

I love all things, New Orleans. It is a city near and dear to my heart, and it is unlike any other place in the US. New Orleans has its own language (the YAT dialect), music (the birthplace of jazz), and its own food (Creole and Cajun). And when it comes to gumbo, the great debate in the Big Easy is Creole gumbo vs. Cajun gumbo! My favorite is both the Creole and the Cajun style. A typical Creole roux is made from butter and flour (as in France), while a Cajun roux is usually made with lard or oil and flour. This is partly due to the scarcity of dairy products in some areas of Acadiana (Acadia + Louisiana) when Cajun cuisine was being developed. 

Creole and Cajun dishes are both built on the “holy trinity.” An aromatic base of sautéed bell peppers, onions, and celery, it is Louisiana’s version of mirepoix, or the mix of carrots, celery, and onion used in French cooking. The trinity was a result of the region’s strong French influence. Creole food, on the other hand, has its roots in Caribbean cuisine. Okra itself is an African ingredient incorporated into Creole dishes. Filé, or ground sassafras leaves, is a gumbo thickener, similar to cornstarch today, and comes from Native Americans. These have all become staples of Louisiana food and essential parts of the Louisiana cooking puzzle.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!


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Spicy Louisiana Style Jackfruit Gumbo

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch

Description

They key to a good roux is to cook it “low and slow.”  Keep the heat just south of medium heat and stir often.  A good gumbo roux will take anywhere from 8-10 minutes to make. You’re looking for a nice chocolate color. I like to serve this over rice with a huge slice of my cornbread! As is the case with most gumbos, this dish is best prepared either early in the day it is to be served, or even the day before, thereby allowing time for the flavors to marry. When reheating, stir often!


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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, miced
  • 1 can drained picked through green jackfruit
  • 1 pack vegan andouille sausage
  • 1 quart vegetable stock or broth
  • 1 16oz. can chopped tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons pickapeppa sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (liquid aminos)
  • 2 Tbsp Voodoo Magic Creole Spice Mix
  • 2 Tbsp Filé powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups sliced okra

Instructions

  1. In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil , add the okra and sauté over medium high heat for about 10 – 15 minutes or until all the “ropiness” is gone. This step may take a little longer if fresh okra is used. Frozen vegetables are usually plunged into boiling water and blanched before freezing, so they are partially cooked.  
  2. Place oil in a large (8 quart) heavy bottomed non-reactive Dutch oven type pot. Add the flour and, over a medium high fire, and make a dark brown roux. As soon as the proper color is achieved, add the onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally until tender.
  3. During this process, allow the vegetables to stick to the bottom of the pan a bit, then scrape the bottom with a metal spoon or spatula. This allows some of the natural sugars in the onions to caramelize, rendering great depth of flavor.
  4. Stir in jackfruit and sausage, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the veggies begin to soften.
  5. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, okra, Worcestershire, Creole mustard, pickapeppa sauce, liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, and soy sauce.
  6. Add Voodoo Spice Mix, bay leaves, and filé. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth is thick and the veggies are tender, about 30 minutes.
  7. Remove bay leaves. Taste for seasonings.
  8. Serve over rice, and enjoy!  

Vegan Clam Chowder

Vegan Clam Chowder

Years ago, I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Newport, Rhode Island. I  loved it there and can’t wait to go back someday.  As a foodie, of course, my first mission was to find the very best clam chowder I could find. So every restaurant I went to, I ordered their clam chowder.  The winner was from a restaurant called the Black Pearl. Their version had a perfect balance of creaminess, texture, and flavor that I’ve never forgotten. 

Now that I am a vegan, of course, I refrain from seafood. But my love for clam chowder has never faded! And I don’t think I’m the only one!  The most downloaded recipe on my blog with nearly 7,000 views is my vegan lobster bisque recipe made with lobster mushrooms! So it occurred to me that maybe it was time to try my hand at a vegan version of clam chowder.

My recipe is made using oyster mushrooms instead of clams and seasoned with dulse flakes and a delicious vegan fysh sauce. I promise you’ll be in bisque heaven! 


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Vegan Clam Chowder

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x

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Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced ( or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 6 oz oyster mushrooms, small dice 
  • 3 small russet potatoes, small dice
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme, thyme sprigs leaves removed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups veggie stock 
  • 2 Tbsp Fysh sauce
  • 2 Tbsp dulse flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dill weed

    Cashew Cream 

    • 1 cup raw cashews
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • dash white pepper
    • 1 cup water

      Instructions

      Make Cashew Cream—Add cashews, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, white pepper, and 1 cup water to a high speed blender, blend until smooth.  Set aside. 
       
      Warm dutch oven over medium heat.  Add 2 Tbsp vegetable stock, onions and celery.  Sauté until onions become translucent, about 7-8 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season with 1 tsp salt.  
       
      Add mushrooms and thyme. Sauté on medium heat for 6-8 minutes, adding additional vegetable stock 1 tbsp at a time if vegetables begin to stick. Deglaze pan with white wine.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until wine is absorbed.  
       
      Add potatoes, vegetable stock, fysh sauce, dulse flakes, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.  Bring ingredients to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are softened.  
       
      When potatoes are done, add cashew cream sauce and dill weed.  Stir well.  Taste for seasonings.  Add additional salt and pepper as needed.
       
      Serve with croutons or oyster crackers.  

       

      ENJOY! 

       
       


      Nutrition

      • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
      • Calories: 531
      • Sodium: 96g
      • Fat: 16.2
      • Saturated Fat: 3.2
      • Carbohydrates: 71.3
      • Protein: 22g
      • Cholesterol: 0

      Kombu Veggie Stock

      Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

      Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

      This has been a challenging year for all of us. For me, the year began with my father passing away from Parkinson’s disease. A few months after that, Covid hit, and the whole world fell apart. Thank God for my yoga practice. It has kept me grounded, patient, focused, and strong. I am working on a cookbook, homeschooling my two youngest kids, and just finished a half-marathon that I began training for in mid-summer. With so many things on my plate, being grounded and balanced are keys to life for me.

      Tree pose is one of the best ways for me to find my footing! Trees have long been considered symbols of longevity, strength, courage, and determination. They show us how grand we can be if we stick to our goals. One little seedling can become a mighty oak tree with enough determination and focus. Trees are also a sign of peace, growth, and reliability, providing a link between God or spirituality and the Earth.

      Holy men called sadhus would meditate in this posture for long periods of time as a practice of self-discipline. This ancient, reliable pose is often the first balance posture you learn, since it’s relatively simple and strengthens your legs and spine and opens your thighs and hips. When you practice balancing poses, you learn some practical lessons in how to get grounded, find your center, stay focused, and steady your mind. Plus, the process—falling and trying again—helps develop patience and persistence, humility, and good sense of humor.

      1. Stand firmly with your feet planted on the ground, back straight, and gaze forward. Put your arms by your side. Be sure to distribute your weight evenly across the soles of both feet.
      2. Slowly shift your weight onto the left foot, then bend your right knee upward. Rest your right foot along your inner left calf, or reach to grasp your right ankle and guide it to your thigh. Find a comfortable place to rest your foot, either above or below the knee, just not directly over it. Do not lock the standing knee.
      3. Either keep your hands on your hips or bring them together in a prayer position at chest level. Choose your Drishti, or a point directly in front of you to focus your attention and gaze.
      4. As you settle into Tree pose, press the right foot into the left leg, and the left leg into the right foot. This will help you find equal pressure and ensures that your hips are squared toward the front.
      5. When you are stable and steady, breathe in and raise your arms overhead with your fingertips pointing to the sky. You can stay here with palms facing each other, fingertips splayed, or choose to bring the palms together in an overhead prayer position.
      6. Take 5-10 breaths, the lower your foot and repeat on the other side.
      7. Don’t worry if one side is more comfortable than the other one. That’s why it’s called a yoga practice! It’s not uncommon for the body to be unbalanced or off-centered. The goal is to work on strengthening and balancing both sides of the body.
      8. Namaste!

      Easy Vegan Whipped Cream

      Easy Vegan Whipped Cream

      When I first became a vegan, I couldn’t find a non-dairy whipped cream anywhere. Now you can buy it pretty much anywhere, but it costs a small fortune, and my last two cans quick working with half of the cream still in the can. While making the sugar whipped aquafaba for my cornbread recipe, it occurred to me that if I added cream of tartar, vanilla extract for sweetness, that I would have a vegan whipped cream!

      If you’re looking for an easy whipped cream recipe for a yummy Thanksgiving pie, I’ve got you covered! Be sure to add this to your dish right before serving. The whipped cream will deflate after a few hours, but you can re-whip it again and again and it will come back to peaks in 2-3 minutes.


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      Easy Vegan Whipped Cream

      • Author: Stephanie Bosch

      Description

      Looking for an easy and inexpensive whipped cream?  If the answer is yes, this recipe is for you! 


      Scale

      Ingredients

      • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained, reserve liquid
      • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
      • 1 tsp vanilla extract
      • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar

      Instructions

      Drain garbanzo beans and keep the liquid (aquafaba). Set beans aside for another use. Add aquafaba (I use all of what was in the can) to a mixing bowl (I used a stand mixer).  Mix on high for 5 minutes, or until mixture begins to foam.  Add cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.  Mix for a few minutes more until soft peaks begin to form, about 3-5 minutes.  Taste for sweetness and adjust to preference. Do not overmix, or the whipped cream will fall and flatten out. 


      Conchiglioni with Pumpkin Sage Ricotta

      Conchiglioni with Pumpkin Sage Ricotta

      This recipe is one of my favorites. Admittedly, a lot is going on here. Part savory and part sweet, the complexity of spices makes for a simple yet flavorful combination. Most recipes using pumpkin ricotta are strictly savory. This recipe, however, has a sweetness that lingers for a bit in the background. I love how the pumpkin mixes flawlessly with the sage’s earthiness, and how that combination balances perfectly with the aromatic baking spices and sweet maple syrup. Served with my cashew béchamel sauce, this would be a perfect recipe for anyone wishing to do something a little different for Thanksgiving. No Turkey? No Problem! Also, this pairs very well with either red, or white wine. I would serve this with a nice oaky chardonnay.


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      Conchiglioni with Pumpkin Sage Ricotta

      • Author: Stephanie Bosch
      • Prep Time: 20
      • Cook Time: 20-25
      • Total Time: 2 minute
      • Yield: 6 servings 1x

      Description

      Part savory, part sweet, this recipe covers all the bases!  Some recipes do not have you press the tofu.  Pressing the tofu removes an additional 1/2 cup of water, and this prevents it from being too runny. 


      Scale

      Ingredients

      • 1 (16 oz) package of organic Conchiglioni Pasta, or other egg free large shell pasta
      • 1 (12 oz.) package of extra firm organic tofu, pressed
      • 3 Tbsp (6g) nutritional yeast
      • 3 Tbsp fresh sage, minced (do not omit, and dice a little extra for garnish)
      • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
      • 1/2 tsp dried sage
      • 1 tsp sea salt 
      • 1/8 tsp black pepper
      • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan, plus additional 1/4 cup for topping
      • 1 lemon, juiced (2 Tbsp juice)
      • 1 tsp baking spice mix (can also use pumpkin pie spice mix)
      • 3 Tbsp organic maple syrup
      • 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree
      • 2 cups cashew béchamel 

      Instructions

      Preheat oven to 350°

      Cook pasta according to package directions.  Be sure not to overcook!  Drain and set aside.

      After the tofu has been pressed, crumble and add to a food processor.  Add nutritional yeast, fresh sage, oregano, dry sage, vegan parmesan, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

      Pulse until ingredients begin to combine into a ball stage.  Remove from the food processor and add to a medium-size bowl.  Fold in pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and baking spice mix—taste for salt.  Mix well. 

      Give the pasta noodles a good rinse (they might be a little sticky).  Shake off excess water.  In a 9″x12″ glass baking dish, spread 1 cup of béchamel sauce on the dish’s bottom.

      Carefully remove a conch shell and place it in the palm of your hand.  Gently squeeze each pasta shell until it opens.  Using about 2 Tbsps of filling, fill each shell until your pan is full.

      Drizzle with remaining 1 cup béchamel sauce, being sure to coat all of the noodles well.  If using, top with additional parmesan cheese.

      Bake for 20-25 minutes. Turn oven up to broil and carefully watch until the parmesan cheese has melted and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. (Be careful not to walk away from a broiler as it can burn very quickly).

      Let cool and plate.  Drizzle shells with remaining béchamel sauce from pan. 

      Taste for salt and pepper. 


      Notes

      *Be sure to check your pasta label for eggs. 

      UPDATE:**I walked away from the broiler one hour after writing this. Sheeshhh. 


      Nutrition

      • Serving Size: 6
      • Calories: 224
      • Sodium: 390
      • Fat: 4.3g
      • Saturated Fat: 0.6g
      • Carbohydrates: 34.5 g
      • Fiber: 2.8
      • Protein: 13.6 g
      • Cholesterol: 0
      Pumpkin Sage Ricotta

      Invictus

      Invictus

      When I was a kid, we moved around a lot. And I mean, a lot. For instance, when I was in the 5th grade, I went to 2 different schools in one week. I won’t go into all the reasons why we moved. But between mom’s restless nature and money issues, I lived in a total of 18 different houses until I left for college. No joke. Every time I started to establish firm roots, I was plucked up and planted someplace else. Sometimes I was lucky enough to be in the same school district. Other times, I was not. And like flowers in a garden, you either learn to adapt and become so strong that nothing can kill you or you wilt and die.

      So it’s not hard to imagine there were some real gaps in my education. I was a good student and usually enjoyed school. But I always felt like I was either behind or ahead of everyone else and mostly kept to myself. I left home at sixteen when they decided to move again and lived with friends until I graduated a semester early. Looking back now, I’m surprised that I did as well as I did. I also realized moving around a lot was an education in and of itself. Making me more flexible and resourceful, I learned to assimilate into any new situation quickly, how to ask for help when I needed it, and grew to be so damn determined to be the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.

      Little did I know that one day, because of a global pandemic, I would homeschool my kids, and many of those gaps would begin to fill in. One of the best things about being my kid’s teacher is that I can take my time and stick with a topic until they have fully assimilated it, which is critical for my son, who has high functioning autism. While his IQ is somewhere north of 130, he struggles with learning new material, which makes school a problem for kids like him since they are allowed only so much time to learn the material. In elementary school, his grades were not excellent, but not bad. They were also not predictive whatsoever of his actual intelligence. They say that gifted kids also have a learning disability. So while he could memorize a 32-page book word for word, he couldn’t tell you the context of the story or its meaning.

      As with a lot of spectrum kids, reading comprehension is a significant issue for him. And it remained his biggest issue until he got to middle school, where things changed for the worse. You see, the other critical components of Aspergers kids are that they struggle with peer assimilation and social cueing. For example, something that you or I may just “pick up on” won’t even register with him. So he often speaks out of turn and talks about subjects that seem random and out of place. To him, what he’s saying makes perfect sense, but to others, not so much.

      Unfortunately, this cognitive deficit led to relentlessly bullying, which often left him in tears. He ate lunch alone and developed a strategy for choosing which corridors to walk down to avoid his tormenters. His teachers saw him withdraw, and his grades began to plummet. Never one to run from problems, I decided to hire a private tutor, set him up with a private counselor, had a girl removed from two of his classes, and sought a resolution with the other bullies from the school counselor and the 6th-grade principal. Just as things seemed to turn the corner, covid hit. And when I became his teacher, the real heartbreak set in when I realized just how far behind he was. So I put everything else aside and took on the role of a full-time teacher.

      It goes without saying that when you are a teacher, you have to know the material before you can teach it.  So for weeks before starting school and every night afterward, I became a student again.  In some subjects, I am re-learning material that I’d forgotten.  But in other subjects, I am learning things I never knew.  And I have to say it’s pretty cool.  I certainly appreciate the knowledge that I’m gleaning, way more than I did when I was a kid. I also kept my youngest child at home too.  She is just the opposite of her brother.  A social butterfly, often bored in school because she isn’t being challenged enough. 

      And I am teaching them so much more than math and reading, science, or social studies.  I’m teaching them to think critically and not believe everything they see, read, or hear.   I am teaching them that the victors write the history books, but there is always more to the story.  We are learning about poets, artists, and activists.  We take field trips to the art museum and hike through the woods.   Cooking is science class, and math is everywhere we look. 

      When he was young, a school counselor told me that my son had a limited learning capacity and would likely never go to college. I am proud to say that he is catching up, and not only is he doing well, he is flourishing. He will begin taking dual credit college courses in two years and will graduate from high school with an associates degree. But most importantly, he’s happy and knows that by putting in the hard work, he can learn. He also knows that no matter how hard it is, and no matter how bad it gets, life can always get better. My 2nd grader is doing 3rd-grade work now and has taken over, reading to me every night. I’m pretty sure that if I’ve ever had a life’s purpose, I’ve found it in teaching my kids.

      And in case you don’t know Invictus, here it is.

      Out of the night that covers me,
            Black as the pit from pole to pole,
      I thank whatever gods may be
            For my unconquerable soul.

      In the fell clutch of circumstance
            I have not winced nor cried aloud.
      Under the bludgeonings of chance
            My head is bloody, but unbowed.

      Beyond this place of wrath and tears
            Looms but the Horror of the shade,
      And yet the menace of the years
            Finds and shall find me unafraid.

      It matters not how strait the gate,
            How charged with punishments the scroll,
      I am the master of my fate,
            I am the captain of my soul.

      — William Ernest Henley

      Voodoo Magic Creole Spice Mix

      Voodoo Magic Creole Spice Mix

      The end all be all of the spice mixes! I use this in so many recipes that I get in a panic when I start to run dry! It keeps well in an air tight container for up to six months. I use it in my gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya, and my black-eyed pea recipes! When I use this mix, it replaces the salt in all my recipes.  


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      Voodoo Magic Creole Spice Mix

      • Author: Stephanie Bosch

      Scale

      Ingredients

      1. 3 tablespoons paprika
      2. 2 tablespoons onion powder
      3. 2 tablespoons garlic powder
      4. 2 tablespoons dried oregano
      5. 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
      6. 1 tablespoon dried basil
      7. 1 tablespoon dried thyme
      8. 1 tablespoon black pepper
      9. 1 tablespoon white pepper
      10. 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
      11. *3 tablespoon kosher salt (optional)
       
       

      Instructions

       

      Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Store in a mason jar for up to 6 months.


      Creole Smoky Black-Eyed Peas

      Creole Smoky Black-Eyed Peas

      Growing up in a southern family, eating black-eyed peas was a part of every Sunday meal at our house. I don’t quite remember, but I think Grandma just opened a can of beans, threw in a ham bone, and called it dinner! My recipe has evolved over the years, and this one is my favorite! This vegan version pays homage to my New Orleans side of the family, and its creole influence lends a rich, creamy, and super smoky deliciousness!

      Though called a pea, black-eyed peas are a variety of the cowpea and are technically a bean. In the South, this dish is referred to as Hoppin’ John, and while a traditional Hoppin’ John is made with bacon, a ham hock, or fatback, this vegan version uses liquid smoke.

      It is customary to make black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck and prosperity for the New Year in southern culture. Served with greens (collards, mustard, or turnip greens, which vary regionally), the peas represent coins, the greens represent paper money. Cornbread is often served with black-eyed peas and greens, represents gold.

      Serve over rice, with a piece of cornbread, and enjoy! Oh, and don’t forget the hot sauce!


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      Creole Smoky Black-Eyed Peas

      • Author: Stephanie Bosch
      • Prep Time: 2 hours
      • Cook Time: 25 minutes
      • Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
      • Yield: 6 servings 1x

      Description

      I like to use dried beans because most canned black-eyed peas are simmered in a ham broth. Or they contain Disodium EDTA, which is a preservative used to promote color retention. It is synthesized from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde, and sodium cyanide. EEK! But you can use canned beans in a pinch, or if you don’t want to wait! When I used canned beans of any kind, I like to use the Eden Organic brand.


      Scale

      Ingredients

      • 4 cups dry black-eyed peas
      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • 1 large onion, diced
      • 1 red bell pepper, diced
      • 2 ribs celery, minced
      • 4 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1  jalapeno pepper, minced
      • 2 (15-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes 
      • 5 cups vegetable stock 
      • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
      • 1 tbsp voodoo magic spice mix*
      • 1 tsp salt
      • 1/8 tsp liquid smoke
      • 1 bay leaf
      • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
      • Tabasco, parsley, and green onions, for garnish

      Instructions


        • Rinse dried black-eyed pea beans, pick through and discard any debris or bad beans. Add beans to a stockpot and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 1-2 hours.
        • Warm a large, heavy skillet (I use cast iron), add 2 tbsp oil. When the oil is shimmering, add onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and jalapeños, sauté the mixture for 3-5 minutes. Add voodoo seasoning mix. Sauté until mixture has softened, about 3 minutes. 
        • Add vegetable stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, and bay leaf.
        • Drain the soaked beans, rinse, and add the beans to the pot. 
        • Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
        • At this point, if using, add collard greens, and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally,
        • Cook until beans are tender and slightly thickened.
        • Add more stock or water if the mixture becomes dry and thick. The texture of the beans should be thick, somewhat creamy but not watery.
        • Remove the bay leaves.
        • Taste and adjust for seasonings with pepper, seasoning, and salt if needed. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with green onion.
        • Add lots of Tabasco and enjoy it! 


      Nutrition

      • Serving Size: 6
      • Calories: 210