Posts Tagged ‘easy’

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.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

chocolate caramel cupcake

This is the second type of cupcake I made for the east bay vegan bake sale. Salted caramel is definitely a trend that I LOVE and often CRAVE! Though it sounds decadent, it’s actually fairly easy to make! Enjoy! 🙂

Servings: 12 cupcakes

Time from start to plate: 1.5 hours

Ingredients for chocolate cupcakes:
1.5 cups of flour

1 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup of canola oil

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 cup of water

Ingredients for the frosting:
1/2 cup of Earth Balance (or 1 stick)

1 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of mimic creme (or almond/cashew milk but mimic creme is best as it’s like a substitute for heavy cream)

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1/2 cup of vegetable shortening

3-4 cups of confectioner’s sugar

Sea or Kosher salt

This is how we do:
Start by making the cupcakes! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a cupcake pan with liners. In a bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and mix. Then add the rest of the ingredients (oil, vinegar, vanilla extract, water) and mix until there are no lumps and it’s smooth. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full and place them in the oven.  Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes and stick a toothpick down the center to see if they’re ready (if you can cleanly pull out the toothpick, then they’re ready). If they’re not yet ready, check on them every 2 minutes because nothing makes a cupcake drier than being overbaked! Once they’re ready, let them cool before icing.

While your cupcakes are baking & cooling, you can prepare your frosting. In a pan over medium-high heat, melt your butter with the brown sugar and stir. Continue to keep it over the heat until it start to boil. Once it starts to boil, continue to stir & cook for about a minute, until the color turns into a darker caramel color. Remove from heat and add the creme and vanilla extract and stir until nicely mixed together. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat the Earth Balance & shortening with 2 cups of the confectioner’s sugar. Add about half of the caramel sauce into the Earth Balance/shortening/sugar mixture and use a hand mixer to blend until ice & creamy. You can either add more confectioner’s sugar or caramel depending on how you want your frosting.

Once your cupcakes have cooled, frost them with your caramel buttercream. Take the remaining caramel sauce  & drizzle on top. Then add a few light sprinkles of sea salt (or kosher salt). ENJOY with a friend! 🙂


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! 🙂




Mexican Corn!!

Mexican corn
When the weather gets warmer & corn is available at every store & farmer’s market you go to, it’s time to make this! Eating grilled corn this way totally reminds me of 2 happy moments in life: 1) when I was a kid, a man would sell corn in my neighborhood and slather it with butter, mayo, chili powder & cotija! 2) Eating this with my trouble maker buddies, Jerelynn & Heather in NYC at Cafe Habana. Below is my veganized version of it. Please enjoy and IT MUST BE SERVED WITH A BEER. If you don’t eat this with beer, La Llorona will get you!!!

Servings: 4 corn cobs (I might say this is a serving for one….)

4 ears of corn

Vegan butter

1/4 cup of veganaise 

Chili powder

Nutritional yeast powder

1 lime

This is how we do:
Grill your corn! While those guys are getting their grill on, mix the following in a small bowl – the veganaise, zest from the lime & the lime juice. Once your corn is done grilling, smother it with some butter and then the veganaise mixture. Dust nutritional yeast & chili powder all around. CHOW DOWN!

Banana Cupcakes With Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter

Recently, my friend Jenn Palbusa introduced me to a product I now refer to as “crack” – Peanut Butter & Co.’s Dark Chocolate Dreams.
If you have not tried this yet, I would recommend that you do but only if you are willing to forever be addicted to a product that will make you eat spoonfuls of peanut butter throughout the day and dream of endless ways you might incorporate it into your food. My mouth is watering just talking about it now! Ok, so because a person can only eat so many spoonfuls of peanut butter daily without getting looked at funny, I decided I need to figure out some alternatives to eat this. After tons of ideas and more spoonfuls, I finally made this banana cupcake with peanut butter frosting. The cupcake recipe is a veganized & slightly adjusted version from THE MARTHA because you know, she does everything perfect. I hope you guys enjoy it but please be warned it is SUPER decadent & rich. Definitely not for the faint of heart!

Servings: about 11 cupcakes (I know almost a dozen!!!)

Time from start to plate: 50 minutes

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

3/4 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon of baking powder (make sure it’s a full teaspoon because vegan cupcakes can get all the rising help they can get)

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (again, make sure it’s a full 1/2 teaspoon)

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of melted coconut oil

1 1/2 cups of pureed very ripe bananas (I took 4 super ripe bananas and gave them a party in my food processor until it was smooth and creamy)

Vegan egg replacer (the equivalent of 2 whole eggs)

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Ingredients for frosting:

1 cup of Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chcolate Dreams Peanut Butter

1/2 cup of vegetable shortening

1/2 cup of powdered sugar (or more depending on how much sweeter you want your frosting to be)

This is how we do:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium mixing bowl, add all of your dry ingredients (everything in the ingredients list for cupcakes from flour through salt). Mix all of the dry ingredients together thoroughly. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients mixture and add the coconut oil, pureed bananas,  egg replacer and vanilla frosting. Mix everything together.

Fill your cupcake liners with the batter up to 2/3 or 3/4 full (your batter should allow you to fill up 11 cupcakes). Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Make sure to check on your cupcakes towards the last 5 minutes & do the toothpick test – if you can stick a toothpick in the center of the cupcake & pull it out without getting any cake or batter sticking to it, then it’s ready! Set aside to cool!

While your cupcakes are baking, make your frosting. In a medium bowl, add together all of the ingredients – the peanut butter, shortening and confectioner’s sugar. Using a hand mixer, mix everything thoroughly. Adjust your frosting by adding more of any of the ingredients.

Once your cupcakes have cooled down, frost those bad boys and then enjoy! Don’t forget to share though! Baked goods always make an awesome gift!