Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Balsamic Roasted Tofu!

I think the food I get asked about the most being a vegetarian is tofu! It seems many people, especially veggie newbies, have trouble getting used to our friend the soybean curd. That being said, it's one of my favorite products and I eat it almost daily. There are definitely a few tips to getting this versatile product flavorful. It has a pretty bland flavor on it's own so it's ready to take on whatever flavor profile you can dream up. The texture can also be off putting for many. I prefer to use the freshest tofu I can get my hands on, preferably the firm variety by a company called The Bridge which you can usually find at health food stores and Whole Foods. It's very clean and fresh tasting on it's own and has a beautiful firm texture. I also advise draining tofu very well and pressing it between paper towels to improve the texture even further. Try it roasted in this tasty balsamic based marinade. Perfect with your freshly picked summer tomatoes and basil! Yummy.

Balsamic Roasted Tofu:

  • 2 cubes Extra firm tofu such as The Bridge, drained, pressed(see above) and cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup aged Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 10 leaves basil(I used opal)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • dash agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  1. Place all ingredients besides tofu into a food processor and blend on high until well mixed and chopped.
  2. Place tofu sticks in a large flat dish and cover with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to an hour. 
  3. Place marinated tofu on a baking sheet covered in tin foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.
(I used the remaining marinade as a dressing to drizzle over the tofu, fresh chopped tomatoes and basil)
Serves 6

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Hippie Summer Strawberry Cocktail!

Happy Summer everyone!! I dreamed up this refreshing summer cocktail while lying in the sun gazing into the lovely Long Island Sound last week. I can't get enough fresh strawberries this time of year since they're at their peak here. This really simple strawberry syrup can be used for anything from pancakes to iced cream and cocktails galore(yes, I cheated on my diet for this). Perfect for that Dad's Day brunch you're planning for next week. Enjoy while lying in the sun with an awesome book! Cheers!

New Hippie Summer Strawberry Cocktail:

  • 2 cups organic strawberries, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bottle Prosecco, chilled

  1. For the syrup: place first four ingredients(including vanilla bean pod and seeds)in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. 
  2. Turn heat to low medium and simmer for about 15 minutes until berries are mushy and losing their color. 
  3. Drain syrup in a fine mesh strainer pressing solids to release as much juice as possible. Discard solids. 
  4. Place syrup back in saucepan and simmer for an additional 10 minutes on medium heat until syrup thickens and sticks to the back of a wooden spoon. Allow to cool.
  5. For the cocktail: in a pitcher or decorative bottle, pour cooled syrup, lemon juice and Prosecco and stir well. Serve chilled with sliced strawberry garnish.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Vegan Chicken Waldorf Salad!

I finally have some time to share more recipes after a busy few months shooting cookbook photos!
After spending most of my life being a vegetarian, it is important to me to continue to educate myself on the food production industry in order to gain inspiration for recipes as well as to continue making choices that align with my beliefs. Most recently my inspiration has come from the new book by Gene Baur "Living The Farm Sanctuary Life". The book contains lots of amazing stories about the farm animals that have been rescued along with tasty recipes and advice on making choices that align with one's values. Before I finished the last page I had decided to move towards a more vegan diet starting with this delicious salad which was inspired by the vegan Waldorf salad in the book. This recipe uses vegan chicken strips by Beyond Meat which is one of the few meat alternative products that happens to be gluten free as well as vegan! So tasty! This salad is perfect for your next summer picnic.

Vegan Chicken Waldorf Salad:

  • 12 oz package Beyond Meat Grilled Chicken Strips, cubed
  • 1 organic Fuji apple, cubed
  • 1/2 cup red grapes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup celery sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Spectrum Light Vegan Canola Mayonnaise
  • Juice and grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 TBSP fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper 
  • Dash agave nectar (optional)
  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. 
  2. Serve cold