Plum Tarragon Crisp.

I love plums. Ripe delicious plums that is. Unripe plums can kindly stay out of my life and mouth until they are ready. I fell in love with plums as a kid. We always used to take them to the beach. Along with p.b. & j sandwiches, Twinkies, and black cherry Shasta….all delicious beach foods.

The farmer’s market is bursting with plums, so I bought a couple of pounds along with some fresh tarragon and made a crisp.

Plum Tarragon Crisp

Ingredients:

2 lbs plums, chopped

1/2 c golden brown mascobado sugar

1 tbsp + 1 tsp arrowroot

1 tbsp fresh tarragon, minced

pinch cinnamon

juice of one tangerine

3/4 c oats

3/4 c unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 c pistachio meal or chopped pistachios

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 c unbleached cane sugar

heaping 1/3 c So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt

1/3 c melted Earth Balance

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss plums with all ingredients listed up to the tangerine juice. Toss the plums well and pour them into an 8″ baking pan of your choice.

For the topping, combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the Earthy B and coconut milk yogurt and stir to combine. Distribute the topping evenly over the plums. Bake about 25 minutes until filling is bubbling. Non-dairy ice cream would be a good addition 🙂

Heywood Grilled Cheese Shoppe.

I miss living in Echo Park. I moved from there to an area in LA called Franklin Village. While it’s super cool that you can see the “wood” of the Hollywood sign from the backyard, I miss my old stomping grounds. Something about the eastside is just….I don’t know how to explain it….I just miss it.

I still go over to my old neighborhood for work. I have been passing by Heywood Grilled Cheese Shoppe in Silverlake for at least a few months now. I could see from their sign that they were a grilled cheese shop. I remember thinking to myself that they had a great concept with that. People love grilled cheese! It’s a classic comfort food combining everyone’s favorite things; bread, butter and cheese. And then my heart sinks a little because I don’t eat butter or cheese. Boo.

But I booed too soon. It suddenly occurred to me while driving by that I live Los Angeles…where many places that offer meat and cheese will also cater to vegans. Low and behold I check their menu and YAY. They totally have Daiya and therefore have several different sandwich options for vegans. Excited and full of joy, I decided to place a lunch order to pick up while visiting Angelino Heights for work. I ordered the “Bill Clinton’s Epiphany” straight from the menu. It has “vegan cheddar cheese, roasted red peppers and avocado melted into a country white bread”. While I don’t normally eat white bread, I splurged on it and couldn’t be happier that I did. Absolutely freaking deliciously nomtastic. Say that five times fast. The guy who was working was also very kind, friendly and accommodating. They made my grilled cheese as quickly as possible (Daiya takes a lil minute to get really melty). All of the yummy sammies come with a fresh side salad, and a tomato dipper–this is like a tiny cup of tomato soup to dip your sandwich into. Brilliant. They top it with cheese, but without even asking the guy made sure he topped mine with vegan cheese. I love him. I love Heywood. Go to there right now and order some of their fantastic grilled cheese!

Excuse the car shot, I had to eat on the go 🙂
The best close-up I could get of the delicious.

Heywood Grilled Cheese Shoppe

3337 1/2 W Sunset Blvd (on the corner of Sunset & Micheltorena in Silverlake)
Los Angeles, CA 90026

inquiries@heywoodgrilledcheese.com

They have no listed phone number–their only detriment in my opinion. I would have preferred to call in my order so they could have had it ready for me, but regardless I will be back for many more yummy sandwiches! 🙂

Meyer Lemon Strawberry Whipped Cream Pie and Honey Balsamic Strawberry Galette.

Strawberries were my favorite as a kid. They have always captivated me with their bright red colors and tiny seeded flesh. I enjoy the juicy sweet varieties and even like the not so sweet ones too. There’s just something about them that I have always loved. I like to eat them in their raw state (sans powdered sugar or sweetener—ew). It was only two or so years ago that I made my first strawberry-rhubarb pie and have been enjoying strawberries in cooked desserts ever since. Of course I still enjoy them in uncooked desserts too.

Strawberries are definitely one of those fruits that you should buy organic/chemical free. It shocks me how much poison they dump all over conventional strawberries. I’ve been growing them for years and I find them both disease and pest resistant without much help from me.

This is my Chandler strawberry plant. I also grow Sequoia strawberries.

For the first strawberry dessert of the season, I made this Honey-Balsamic Strawberry Galette. I saw the recipe over on Honey & Jam. The recipe is almost vegan, but if you don’t want to use honey, sub brown rice syrup or agave.

With the next batch of strawberries came this incredibly rich pie. This pie reminds me of strawberry shortcake with a touch of lemon, only pie. It’s really easy to make, super rich and creamy like mousse, but with a touch less air.

Meyer Lemon Strawberry Whipped Cream Pie

Adapted from Eat the Love

Ingredients:

1 recipe pie crust (use your favorite recipe: the one from Vegan Pie in the Sky would be great here)

For the filling–

1 box MimicCreme Healthy Top

1/4 c confectioner’s sugar

pinch sea salt

zest of one meyer lemon

1 tbsp meyer lemon juice

2 pints strawberries, divided

2 tbsp apricot jam

Method:

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Roll out your crust and place it in a 9″ pie plate. Take a fork and poke some holes in your crust for ventilation. Place a piece of parchment paper in your crust and add pie weights, dry beans or rice. Bake your crust until it starts to turn golden. Depending on what recipe you use, the exact baking time will vary, but it should take around 15 to 20 min. Once your crust is cooked, remove from oven and let cool completely.

For the filling, chill your Healthy Top for about 30 min. Once the Healthy Top has chilled, pour it into the bowl of your standing mixer. Add meyer lemon zest, salt and sugar. Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment and turn to a high speed. Whip according to package direction or until peaks form. Take 1 pint of your strawberries, hull, stem and slice them. Fold them into the whipped cream.

Transfer your whipped cream to your pie crust. Stem the remaining strawberries and arrange them on top of your pie. Drizzle with meyer lemon juice. Heat your jam for a minute in the microwave; once melted, brush the jam over the berries. Serve and enjoy!

Apple & Beet Pizettes.

I saw these apple and beet pizettes on an episode of Giada At Home. I decided they need to be in my mouth and hence they were made. I found them quite delicious and I think you will too.

Apple-Beet Pizettes

Ingredients:

1 medium or large beet, sliced thinly with a mandoline or vegetable peeler

1 medium or large apple, sliced thinly with a mandoline or vegetable peeler (I used Pink Lady, but if you’re making these in the fall, Honeycrisp would be perfect)

about 1/2 c Daiya Mozzarella style shreds

1 recipe vegan fontina or creamy tofu ricotta (there are TONS of tofu ricotta recipes out there)

1 recipe pizza dough (I decided on a whole wheat dough) You can also use store bought dough from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods

herbes de provence for sprinkling

a touch of cornmeal

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Roll out your dough into a big circle. Using a biscuit cutter or pint glass turned upside down, cut out as many dough circles as you can. Spread some vegan fontina or ricotta onto the circles. Top that with some Daiya shreds. Sprinkle on some herbes de provence and then top each pizette with a sliced beet and apple. Sprinkle on more herbes de provence if you please. Place pizettes on a pizza stone or baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Bake about 12 to 15 minutes until Daiya is melted and dough starts to turn golden around the edges.

Apple-Lavender-“Goat Cheese” Galette.

Herbs and fruit, I loves it. Add a tofu based vegan chèvre and some wine and you have yourself an afternoon. 😉

This is a pretty loosey goosey recipe. It really was thrown together with leftovers of all sorts. I used this recipe for the tofu goat cheese. It’s getting more and more difficult for me to accurately remember the specific tastes of certain non-vegan foods. I have to say, this probably doesn’t taste exactly like goat cheese, but I thought it to be a damn fine substitute and healthy to boot. Give it a try and see if you like it.

Apple-Lavender-“Goat Cheese” Galette

Ingredients:

1 pie crust

2 golden delicious apples

sugar to taste (I added enough to coat the apples)

a few splashes of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 or ½ tsp dried lavender buds

tofu chèvre to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Peel, core and slice apples. Place them in a bowl and squeeze some lemon juice on them and stir to coat. Add sugar and toss the apples once more. Add lavender buds and stir. If you feel like it, add a lil splash of vanilla extract.  Roll out your pie crust on a piece of parchment. Place your apples in the center of the crust. Gently fold over the edges of the crust, creating a free-form pie. Transfer the parchment paper (along with galette) to a baking sheet. Bake for 10 min at 400°F. Lower heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes or thereabouts.

Blood Orange Chiffon Cake.

To be honest, I can’t remember ever eating chiffon cake before. Supposedly it’s very fluffy and rich, made so by being full of eggies.

When I saw this Blood Orange Chiffon cake, I knew I wanted to make it. I have been really inspired by blood oranges this year and have made several desserts featuring them. I don’t know what got into me. Beauty maybe? Because, oh my, blood oranges are gorgeous. I’m not sure I think them more delicious than say, a Valencia orange, but the colors, the colors! I could just look at them all day.

But fast forward to chiffon cake….vegan chiffon cake….I searched everywhere for leads and came up with nothing. I knew I was going to have to experiment on my own….which I like doing, but you see I only had a limited number of blood oranges left for treats. I’m positive I got the absolute last ones of the season and I they had to used for something really special. I couldn’t go just wasting them on ruined vegan chiffon cake. Lucky for me, I used Irvin’s base recipe and just subbed out some things and added some other different things. And more things! I think I came up with something successful. I fed it to some omnivorous friends who seemed to enjoy it. It’s a slightly involved cake, feel free to make the blood orange butter a day or two in advance and then it seems like less work.

*Feel free to double this recipe for two full 9” cakes. The cake pictured is one recipe, baked in two pans. Each layer was then cut in half and then layered with the blood orange fruit butter (recipe follows).

Blood Orange Chiffon Cake

Adapted from Eat the Love

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup unbleached cake flour (I like King Arthur brand)

2/3 cup white whole wheat flour  (I like King Arthur brand)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp cream of tartar

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

2/3 cup water

1/3 cup pure olive oil

1 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

zest of two blood oranges

Method:

Preheat oven 350°F.

Place all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Place wet ingredients into separate mixing bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until combined being sure not to overmix.
Pour batter into a greased 9″ cake pan or split between two pans. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, using the toothpick test for doneness. If you’re splitting the recipe between 2 pans, check on the cakes after about 18 minutes.  Again, use toothpick test for doneness.

 

Blood Orange Fruit Butter

Ingredients:

¾ c plus two tbsp fresh squeezed blood orange juice

¾ c palm sugar

1 tbsp blood orange zest

pinch sea salt

1 ½ tbsp coconut milk (the full fat canned variety)

1 ½ tbsp tapioca starch

1 ¾ tsp coconut oil

Method:

In a small saucepan, combine the orange juice, sugar, orange zest, and salt over medium heat, stirring well until the sugar dissolves.

In a very small bowl, whisk the tapioca starch with the coconut milk. Combine with sugar and juice mixture and cook and stir until mixture starts to thicken. Add the coconut oil and stir until combined. Remove mixture from heat. Let cool completely and store in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours. If you like canning, you can pour this butter into a jar or two and process it to use at a later date. Double the recipe for a bigger yield—I originally made twice the listed amount and got almost 4 pints, which was a little two much for one person. I ended up canning the remaining stuff.

For the frosting, I just made a vanilla bean vegan buttercream. Feel free to use your favorite recipe.

Gilcrease Orchard & Farm Fresh Apricots.

The last time I was in North Las Vegas, my friends and I attempted to visit one of the only local produce farms, Gilcrease Orchards, for some u-pick goodies. Unfortunately, they were not yet open for the season so we didn’t get to explore. The good news is, on my most recent Vegas jaunt, the farm was open for business and u-pick vegetables and apricots.

Looks like they’ll have some yummy pears soon 🙂

I was really looking forward to the apricots as their season in California is typically very short and I never knows how the cots will be each season. I haven’t had a good apricot in the past two years. The past two seasons I have bought them (from farmer’s markets and Whole Foods) they were just too sour for anything. I tried cooking them, as apricots on the tart side usually bake well, but no. Sour as could be and not in a delicious Granny Smith sort of way. I am extremely pleased to report that the apricots I picked at Gilcrease Orchards were sweet and delicious. This orchard is not certified organic, but they don’t use any pesticides on the fruit. You can tell, as the cots are a bit on the small side, but what they lack in size, they make up for it deliciousness.

Tree full of Apricots.

Farm Fresh Apricots.

And with these gorgeous and juicy cots, I decided to make Honey-Apricot Bakalava Strudel (adapted from Sunset magazine). I used holistic farm fresh wildflower honey, cardamon, pistachios, almonds and whole wheat filo. I have to admit though, I do enjoy true vegan baklava (with agave or brown rice syrup) a little more than I enjoy it made with honey. It was still really good it that sticky sweet kinda way.

Gilcrease Orchard

7800 N Tenaya Way

Las Vegas, NV 89131