Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

Lemon “Caviar” Spaghetti with Fried Lemon Slices!

Oh Ikea. How much I love thee. Where else can you buy a new futon and go home with elderflower syrup?! I’ve always wondered what the Swedish must think of Ikea… Anyhoo, I digress. Recently, my friend Mariko Corella told me that Ikea carries a vegan version of caviar. After picking my jaw up off the floor, I immediately dashed over to Ikea to check it out and sure enough it exists and for only $1.99!!! Seriously! $1.99, are you out of your mind!? I immediately picked up 5 jars and made Ina Garten’s recipe for lemon capellini with caviar. I used spaghetti instead of capellini as I love the texture of it much better and I added thinly sliced fried lemons to make it a real party. 🙂 Zak claimed this as his new favorite and has asked me to make this 3 nights in a row. As it’s amazingly easy & light, I had no problems fulfilling this request from the hubby! I hope you all go get your TANGKORN (I will never get used to the product names at Ikea or at least say them without a chuckle) today and try this dish out! 🙂

Servings: 6

Time from start to plate: 25 minutes

Olive oil

1 bag of spaghetti (16 oz)

1 stick of butter (Ina’s recipe calls for 2 sticks but I found that half the amount works just fine)

3 lemons (2 to zest & juice for the pasta & 1 to slice very thinly to fry up)

Tangkorn (vegan caviar from Ikea)

1/4 cup of flour

Garlic powder

Vegetable oil

Salt & pepper to taste

This is how we do:
Here is Ina’s original recipe for the pasta.  While your water is boiling & your pasta is cooking, you can fry up your lemon slices. Quick tip for cooking pasta – add a lot of salt after the water has started boiling. Adding salt before it’s boiled makes the water take longer to act up! Also, my other domestic hero, Nigella Lawson always says that “the water you cook pasta in should be as salty as the Mediterranean” and I completely agree!

In a small bowl, add your flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder and mix. Coat your thinly sliced lemon slices in the mixture and in a pan, heat up some vegetable oil. Throw your lemon slices & and let them get brown & crispy!

When you’ve put together your pasta & caviar dish, add your crispy lemons and enjoy!


Portobello Sliders!

It seems that I’m super into mini sliders lately! I came up with this while reading a recipe for a portobello burger in this month’s Rachael Ray magazine. It’s extremely easy & fast to assemble and Zak has now proclaimed this as his new favorite! These are great to serve as appetizers at your next party or if you make a few, you can have them for dinner (and because they’re tiny, you won’t feel so guilty after eating say 10)!

Servings: 6 mini sliders

Time from start to plate: 40 minutes

6 mini portobello mushrooms, stems removed

6 mini slider buns

Balsamic vinegar

Olive oil


1 jalapeño, veins & seeds removed & diced

1 onion sliced very thin





This is how we do:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, pour some balsamic vinegar & olive oil (about 1/4 cup of each). Dunk your mini portobello mushrooms and let them soak for a minute in the balsamic mixture. Place them on a foiled baking sheet with the opening of the caps facing up. Fill each cap with some diced jalapeños.You can add more than one jalapeño if you like a lot of heat but even just one gives a good strong kick. Fill each cap with daiya shreds and then pop the baking sheet into the oven. Let them bake for about 20 to 25 minutes (the daiya cheese should get nice & melty).

While your caps are cooking, you can sauté your onions! You can also choose to grill them if you prefer.

Once your caps are done, turn your oven off but leave them in until you’re ready to assemble your sliders. Toast your buns and then add layers of veganaise, dijon and ketchup. Then add some arugula, sautéed onions, and finish with your slider. Garnish with a cornichon (they are a MUST to complete this dish). 🙂 Try not to eat more than 5 in one sitting.

Shut the front door! Bread in 60 minutes?!

fast bread

You heard me. That’s right. Bread in 60 minutes! When I found this recipe, I couldn’t believe it. I’d tried No Knead Bread before when my friend Jena Mainey introduced me to it, and was amazed. But when I found this recipe, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. Everyone should try it! It’s super easy & very yummy. So the next time you come home from work and your tired and all you want is some delicious, steaming hot bread to go with your Earth Balance & vino, MAKE THIS BREAD!easy bread







K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Spaghetti!


This is a quick & easy but super flavorful pasta that I make when I have little time or am craving something savory with a kick! The ingredients are very simple & basic (hence the “keep it simple” idea) and you can totally add to it like lemon zest or other fresh herbs. Because it’s super simple, there are no exact measurements for the ingredients. Enjoy with a glass of red vino!

Servings: about 6-8 (depends on how much pasta you like as a serving ;))

1 package of spaghetti (16 oz)

Olive oil

4-5 cloves minced or 1-2 tbsp of garlic powder

Crushed red pepper

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped



This is how we do:
Start by cooking your pasta until it’s al dente. Whenever cooking pasta, I always add a a few dashes of salt into the boiling water as it adds flavor to the noodles. I also stir the pasta quite frequently to prevent it from sticking. I used to add oil to the boiling water as I once heard that it helps the pasta from sticking together, but it actually just creates really oily noodles.

Once the pasta is done, drain it but reserve about a 1/4 cup of the water.  In the same pot, toss the pasta with the pasta water & olive oil over medium heat and saute. Add more salt, pepper & the garlic and continue sauteing. Add the crushed red pepper a dash at a time (be careful not to add to much of this as it can make your pasta VERY spicy). Turn the heat off and add the fresh parsley and toss everything together some more. Plate & enjoy! 🙂




Potato Salad

Recently, my lovely friend Juliette told me about a French-style potato salad that her mother always made her. She described a very light & delicious dish filled with potatoes, onions, mayo & vinegar. I then remembered the Japanese-style potato salad I grew up with – potatoes with peas, cucumbers, carrots, mayo and a hint of hot mustard. I then thought, why not create a mixture of both! Below is the recipe I came up with. It combines the light, yet creamy sauce of the French-style, while adding texture and kick from the Japanese-style. I hope you guys try it out and enjoy! 🙂

Servings: 6

Time from start to plate: 30 minutes


About 1 lb. of potatoes, cubed (I used fingerlings)

1 cup of peas

1/2 an onion sliced very thinly

2 cucumbers (peeled and thinly sliced)

1/2 cup of vegan may (I LOVE Vegenaise)

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (you can try white too, I just had this variety on hand)

1-2 tsp of hot mustard

salt & pepper to taste

This is how we do:
Boil potatoes in salted hot water for about 10 minutes or until they are ready (you’ll know they’re ready when you can pick a piece out, rinse under cold water, and easily bite into it). When your potatoes are ready, drain and rinse under cold water. Let cool for a few minutes. In a bowl, add the potatoes, onions, peas, cucumbers and mayo. Add a little by little the vinegar and hot mustard and mix. If you want the sauce to be lighter and acidic, add more vinegar. If you want more of a kick, add more hot mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once you have the right consistency and amount heat desired, EAT!!!

Oatmeal Risotto with Peas and Lemon Zest

oatmeal risottoI know, I know, you’re probably thinking, oatmeal risotto?!?! Savory oatmeal?! When I first heard of this idea, I too thought, wait a minute, could it be? A different way to eat the grain that is usually reserved for breakfast and made bland or sweet?! NO WAY! When I first saw someone make this on an old episode of Chopped, I knew I had to try it. I have since seen it occasionally on a few restaurant menus, and maybe it’s trending? It definitely came out yummy and Zak has now claimed this as his favorite. It’s definitely a VERY EASY meal to make and you don’t feel super guilty enjoying it as everyone knows, oatmeal is good for you! 🙂 Plus the ingredients are usually items that you may already have in your pantry! This recipe is super basic and you can add other items into it like herbs, other veggies or cheeze! If you choose to add other veggies, add them in with the onions to saute a bit. If you choose to add fresh herbs or cheeze, add those items in last. Enjoy and go for seconds (because it’s sorta guilt-free)!

Servings: 4

Time from start to plate: 30 minutes


2 tbsp of Earth Balance butter

1 onion chopped (you can use shallots or any other onion-like veggie)

1 cup of steel-cut oats

3 cups of veggie broth (I love to use Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base – once you use this stuff you will be hooked and never use anything else)

1 cup of frozen peas (place in warm water and let sit while you are prepping your ingredients and starting your cooking, when you are ready to use them, drain them before placing them in your mixture)

zest from 1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

This is how we do:
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add your chopped onions and saute for about a couple of minutes until they start to sweat. Stir in the steel-cut oats and continue to coat them in the butter/onion mixture. Continue to saute and stir over the medium heat for about a minute. Add in one cup of broth and stir. Let the broth simmer but stir constantly so that the broth absorbs evenly in your mixture. When it looks as through the broth has been absorbed, add another cup of broth and stir again while it simmers. Do this one more time with the last cup of broth. Once the broth has been absorbed and your oats are thick in consistency, add the drained peas and stir. Add the lemon zest and stir again. Add salt & pepper to taste and serve!

Soft Cheeze Topped with Pea Puree, Crispy Mushooms and Garlic Basil Olive Oil

Recently some friends and I dined at the very delish Bottega in Napa.  Chef Michael Chiarello is amazing! Obviously, there was a great deal that I couldn’t eat, but I definitely walked away feeling very inspired. I especially was blown away by his Mozzarella Burrata with English Pea Puree dish. I immediately began thinking of ways I could veganize this dish and enjoy it with the hubby. Below is what I came up with. I hope you all give it a try with the vegan cheeze version or with real creamy mozzarella. If you end up going with real mozzarella and can’t get your hands on burrata, I think you can get away with making this with super fresh mozzarella or real cream cheese.

Servings: 6-8  (this recipe comes out with 3 stacks, each of which provide portions for up to 3 people)

Time from start to plate: 1 and 15 minutes

1 8-0z tub of Toffuti Cream Cheese

2 cups of frozen peas (I usually soak these in warm water and keep doing so to defrost them to keep them from being overly cooked or soggy)

1 tbsp of white vinegar

2 tbsp of minced garlic

1/2 tsp of truffle oil (optional)

olive oil


lemon pepper

1 bunch of fresh basil, thinly chopped

Micro greens

2 small Portobello mushrooms

This is how we do:
Begin by preheating your oven to 250 degrees F as you will need about a full hour to make your crispy Portobello mushrooms. Slice your Portobello mushrooms very thin and coat with olive oil & sprinkle with salt. Lay the mushrooms flat on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Let these bake in their while you prepare the rest of the dish. About halfway through though (after about half an hour), take the dish out and flip each mushroom slice to make sure that both sides get crispy. Check on these guys from time to time while you work on the rest to make sure you don’t burn them.

Now onto the soft cheeze. Empty the Tofutti cream cheese into a bowl. Drizzle about 2 tbsp of olive oil & 1 tbsp of white vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and mix. You don’t have to mix it well just make sure that all of the cheeze is well coated in the mixture. Place and refrigerator until you are ready to plate.

For the pea puree, once you have thawed them, place them in a food processor with 1 tbsp of minced garlic. Add some salt & lemon pepper to taste as well as the 1/2 tsp of truffle oil. Puree until it turns into a nice, thick mush. Refrigerate this until you are ready to plate as well.

In a smaller bowl, place 3-4 tbsp of olive oil (you can replace 1 to 2 of the tbsp of olive oil with DHA/flaxseed oil – this is my way of always trying to sneak this stuff into our diet as vegans need to supplement as much DHA and omega fatty acids as possible). Add salt & pepper to taste, along with 1 tbsp of minced garlic & 1 bunch of chopped basil. Let this sit out (don’t put it in the fridge) until you’re ready to drizzle onto your plate.

When the mushroom has been sitting in the oven for about an hour and is done crisping, you can plate your dish. Take the mushrooms out of the oven and let them cool off.

Now take out the pea puree & softened cream cheese out of the refrigerator. Place a steel round form (or a round cookie cutter if you don’t have a form) on the center of your plate. First pat down a layer of the cheeze (about 1/2 inch thick). Then add the pea puree on top (about 1 inch thick). Top with micro greens and garnish sides with the crispy mushrooms. Drizzle the garlic basil oil on top and serve!