Vegan “Gouda” Mac and Cheese w/ Peaches & Veggie Pancetta.

Every year, I always dread the arrival of summer because it gets so hot in Los Angeles. I am lucky enough to have air conditioning and a covered carport, which means my apartment stays comfy enough to cook inside with the oven on and my car doesn’t become an oven itself sitting out in the sun. It’s a good life.

When summer finally does roll around, I find that instead of lamenting how hot it is, I am totally and completely inspired because all of our California produce is so incredible. We have tomatoes in almost every color of the rainbow and stone fruit that outshines even the rarest of gems. While I love all stone fruit, peaches edge out cherries as my favorite. There is nothing better than a plump, juicy, sweet summer peach and there is nothing worse than a hard, dry, out of season peach. They are perfect for eating on their own, lend themselves beautifully to baking up sweet treats and are surprisingly complimentary to many savory dishes.

M&M Peach Ranch a couple of years back.
M&M Peach Ranch a couple of years back.

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Vegan Peaches & Cream Pie.

Last year I had the pleasure of acquiring some very sweet, very juicy peaches. My favorite variety ended up being a 49er peach that had a beautiful red starburst on the inside with a yellow-red blush on the outside. They were a revelation. I went a bit overboard and after making a delightful Peach-Vanilla Jam with Bourbon, I knew at least a few pies were also in order. As always, it’s a wonderful day for pie. 😉

First, inspired by one of my local favorite eateries, Good Girl Dinette, came this Licorice Peach Pie. I made this pie with cane sugar only, no brown sugar and then added licorice powder. Licorice powder is made from licorice root, dried and then pulverized into a fine powder. I wouldn’t say it was the best peach pie that I’ve made, but it was unusual and tasty. Plus, it gave me an opportunity to play with flavors and try something new, which I love doing.

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