Vanilla Bean Bay Leaf Ice Cream.

Homemade ice cream; it’s the best, what can I say. I always get the best results from using canned coconut milk or cashew cream for the base. It’s turns out super creamy and velvety. I saw a version of bay leaf vanilla ice cream over at my fav, Eat the Love and it sounded delicious. I went on over to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market to get some fresh bay leaves—which are great because whatever you don’t use, you just air dry and store them for soups and stews and things.

The flavor of this ice cream is really amazing. I don’t know quite how to describe it, but it tastes like a cold fall night in front of a warm fireplace….or something…..Now if only we could get some actual fall weather here in LA….

Vanilla Bean Bay Leaf Ice Cream



3 c canned coconut milk, full fat, not light

2 fresh bay leaves

2 tbsp arrowroot powder

1/2 c coconut milk creamer, So Delicious brand

1/2 c Earth Balance, melted

1/2 c unbleached cane sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped. Reserve the pod–

1 tbsp vodka


In a small bowl, mix 1/4 c coconut milk with the arrowroot powder. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the remaining coconut milk, bay leaves, coconut milk creamer, Earth Balance, sugar and vanilla bean pod. Bring mixture to a gentle boil, making sure not to get it too hot. You just want to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and add in the arrowroot/milk mixture. Next whisk in the vanilla bean and vodka. Pour everything into a large metal or glass bowl. Chill in the fridge until ice cream base is cold. Once the mixture is chilled, scoop out the bay leaves and vanilla bean pod. Use this mixture in your ice cream maker and mix according to the directions.

I like to store ice cream in a loaf pan, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap, then cover again with a sheet of foil.

Just a Cheesey Apple Muffin.

I love, love, love apples and cheese. There are other fruit/vegan cheese combos that I love, but apples and vegan cheddar were meant for each other in the best kind of way. Since apple picking, I had an insane amount of apples that needed to be created into something delicious and preferably with vegan cheddar cheese. Since, I’ve done everything from scones, grilled cheese and a buckle, I thought hey!! How about a cheesey apple muffin?!? And then cheesey apple muffins were made.

 Cheesey-Apple Muffins


1 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1c whole wheat flour

1 tsp sea salt

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp cinnamon

½ c unbleached cane sugar

1 c unsweetened non-dairy milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (I used So Delicious Almond Plus)

1 tsp Ener-G egg replacer (dry–not mixed with water)

½ c neutral tasting oil (like safflower or canola)

1 c Daiya cheddar style shreds

2 apples, chopped ( I used Honeycrisp–that I bought at the orchard. They don’t offer u-pick on those as girls like me would devour the entire orchard in like….an hour…… but Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or many others would work just as well)


Preheat oven to 375°F.  Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the vegan buttermilk (non-dairy milk + apple cider vinegar) as well as the oil. Stir until just combined. Then add the cheese and apples and fold in to combine. Using a ¼ c as a measure, scoop batter into prepared muffin tins. You’ll end up with a little extra batter, so you can prep an additional muffin tin for a few extra or mini cake or loaf pan if you’d like something with a different shape. Bake for 18-20 min.

Muffins are delightfully moist from the apple bits, not too dense. 🙂

Gluten Free Maple-Oat Cookies & Vegan MoFo 2012.


It’s here. The vegan month-0f-food has arrived again. Last year was my first year participating. I did well the first week and a half and then lost a lil of my fire. Let’s see if I can help that this time around!

Another delicious recipe seen on Eat the Love that needed some veganizing. They are referred to as shortbread on Irvin’s blog, but my cookies were something else. Almost shortbread, but not too buttery. They have a really nice crumb and texture and the flavors are delicious, but subtle. I decided to omit the cherries because I just felt like I wanted maple-y goodness in its pure form.

Trader Joe’s has been selling small packs of organic maple sugar on the cheap, which is awesome. Maple sugar has set me back almost $11 in the past for a pretty small quantity so I really never used it that often. When I saw it all cheap-like at TJ’s, I knew I had to buy a bunch and it would eventually get used in some treatage. Total treatage. Then Irvin, who I swear reads my mind, made up these little maple goodies.

If you’d like to know how to make these vegan, well, I’m going to tell you. Right now:

Okay, so first we start by subbing out butter for equal part Earth Balance or your favorite non-dairy, non-hydrogenated buttery spread margarine product.

Then omit the salt because our good pal Earth Balance has enough salt to cover us.

When you reach the part of the recipe that call for an egg, an a tsp of Ener-G egg replacer dry….also known as don’t whip it with water like the box tells you two.

At that point, I added about a tsp of 100% pure grade B maple syrup.

That’s it. It’s that easy. Follow the rest of the given instructions and in the end, you can invite all of the poor wayward souls that cannot eat glutens over and you can all rejoice in delicious gluten free fall cookie splendor.


Nectarine Elderflower Pie w/ a Hint of White Pepper.

Summer is now technically over. It still feels a lot like summer weather wise, so we still have a good deal of stone fruit hanging around at the farmer’s market. I hadn’t really picked up any nectarines this year, so I gathered a bag of white and yellow mixed together. They were super beautiful and fragrant and I wanted to make them into something.

I have been making a lot of my own liqueurs lately–nocino, limoncello, vanilla extract (that’s not really a liqueur, but it’s still boozy so it counts). I was thinking that next spring I’d like to try my hand at making my own elderflower liqueur like St. Germain. I know a few spots around LA where there are some great elderflower trees that generally produce a ton of flowers. I harvested some a few years ago and made elderflower syrup from them which I ended using mostly to make spritzers….yeah I said it.

Anyhow, where I’m going with this whole elderflower business is that I ended up having a Waitress moment and knew that elderflower and nectarine had to come together to make a pie. I went out and bought a tiny bottle of St. Germain since I won’t be able to make my own until next year. I also acquired some organic dried elderflowers and a pie was born.

Nectarine Elderflower Pie w/ a Hint of White Pepper


1 heaping tbsp dried elderflowers

2 pie crusts, use your favorite recipe–while adding the dry ingredients, add the dried elderflowers. Continue to make your crusts using your usual methods or method called for in the recipe you’re using. I like Martha Stwewart’s Pate Brisee, or the buttery double crust recipe from Vegan Pie in the Sky.


5 c mixed nectarines, pitted and sliced

1/2 c unbleached cane sugar

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 vanilla bean, scraped

1 tbsp St. Germain elderflower liqueur

1 1/2 tbsp arrowroot powder

1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper

Method: Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl and give it a mix. Roll out your bottom crust and line your pie plate. Pour the filling into the plate. Roll out your top crust and make lattice shapes, or just cover you pie (remember a pie bird or to cut vents for steam). Bake for 15 min at 425°F. Lower oven temp to 350°F and bake for about 45 minutes. Let pie cool completely if you want it to hold a slice. If you don’t care, just let it cool enough not to burn yourself and go for it!

Apple Pickin’ + Apple-Cherry Pie w/ Cardamon & Black Pepper.

I had another glorious day on a farm last weekend. Just….glorious. A few friends and I headed to the Oak Glen area of Yucaipa to get our apple pick on. My favorite farm in the area is Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho, so that’s where we went. I’ve been to other farms out there and again, this one has been my running favorite for the past few years. Not only are they super helpful and friendly, but they have the best fruit. They offer u-pick raspberries, strawberries and several varieties of apples. While Riley’s is not a certified organic farm, all of the fruit is chemical free. I went a few years ago and got the best Gravenstein apples I’ve ever had, but they are no longer available for u-pick. The farm did have Granny Smith, Spartan, Red & Golden Delicious for u-pick when we visited though. Score. Super sweet 4 variety of u-pick apple score. 

We arrived at the tail end of raspberry season, so pickings were a little slim. Danielle and Brian combed the through the raspberry bushes and were able to get a pretty decent yield. The photos above are from a few years ago when I hit up the farm at the very beginning of apple season and the berries were out of control amazing. My friends and I left with a ton of them and I had to end up freezing a bunch because I went overboard.

Gravensteins from days of yore

On our recent visit, we were blessed with a beautiful, slightly overcast but cool day. It was the perfect backdrop for the day.

First up we headed to the Red & Golden Delicious part of the orchard.

Red Delicious Perfection. Photo by Danielle of Look Pretty.
Golden Delicious

The gangs all here picking Granny Smiths: Danielle, Brian, Michelle
Granny Smith




I’m always happy at a farm. 🙂
The yield: The two little ones in the bottom left corner are the only Spartans I was able to get. I took home a ton of Granny Smith & Red Delicious, as they were the most ripe.

And you know I wouldn’t go apple picking without making a pie when I got home! 😉 This is the third Apple-Cherry pie combo, I’ve attempted. While the others weren’t awful, I think this one def hits the spot!

Apple-Cherry Pie w/ Cardamon & Black Pepper


2 pie crusts (use your favorite recipe)

3 c Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced

2 c tart cherries

1/2 c plus 2 tbsp unbleached cane sugar

1 1/2 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour

1 tbsp cherry brandy

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cardamon

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

pinch salt

a few shakes of freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium or large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Roll out your crust and lay it into your pie plate of choice. If you’re feeling fancy, roll a little bit of black pepper into your crust. In retrospect, I should have done that and probably will next time. 🙂 Once you’ve got your bottom crust in your pie plate. Go ahead and add the filling. If a lot of juice has accumulated in your mixing bowl, add 3/4 of it and discard the rest. Now, you can do any type of top you like. I did lattice and cut out some little leaf shapes with the scraps. Feel free to just cover up the whole pie though if you don’t feel like lattice or shapes, but remember to cut some vents for steam.




Peche! My favorite non-english word for peach. Thanks France!

Recently I had the pleasure of returning to M&M Peach Ranch where some friends and I picked Bing cherries earlier this summer. Their Ryan Sun peaches ripened up at the end of August so a visit was in order. We took the longish drive out to Lake Hughes and delighted in picking the most delicious organic peaches. It was an absolutely lovely day, with lovely friends.


Before going home, we pulled over to frolic in this beautiful field of flowers. It was pure joy. 🙂

Photo by Phil Warren.
Me and my friend Mike. Photo by Phil Warren.

I went home and decided that my peaches ought to end up in a peach and blueberry buckle infused with tempeh bacon (inspired by Eat the Love of course!). They also ended up in a delicious Apple-Peach Pie w/ Bourbon and Rosemary Crust (recipe below). The remaining peaches that were not eaten were blanched, peeled and frozen. I think this new ice cream recipe from my favorite non-vegan baker extraordinaire may be order—veganized of course! 😉

The buckle is easy. Just roast your peaches with tempeh bacon and a drop or two of liquid smoke per Irvin’s instructions found here on his original post. Make the topping listed on Irvin’s site, subbing out the butter for Earth Balance and omitting the salt. For the cake, I just used the buckle recipe from Vegan Pie in the Sky, which is great. Don’t bake according to those instructions though, as they are a little different. You won’t be inverting this buckle as that book instructs you to do. Just use the batter in place of the non-vegan version and voila, BUCKLE in your mouth.

Apple-Peach Pie w/ Bourbon and Rosemary Crust

It’s hard to see the peaches in there with the apples, but I promise they are there in all of their juicy splendor!


1 recipe of your favorite pie crust with one tbsp chopped fresh rosemary incorporated into the dough—I like the one from Vegan Pie in the Sky and Martha Stewart’s made vegan. Martha’s is the first crust I’ve ever made in a food processor. Kind of easy! I still like making it by hand though 😉

2 ½ c apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2 ½ c peaches, blanched, peeled and sliced

1 tbsp bourbon

1 ½ tbsp unbleached all purpose flour

½ tsp cinnamon

½ c unbleached cane sugar

1 tbsp brown sugar

splash of fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake for about 10-12 min. Lower heat to 350°F and continue to bake pie for about 30-40 min.

Sweet Potato Chowder w/ Smoked Cheeze.

Even though it’s been rather hot here for a while, I decided to make soup anyway. It just sounded good to me. I think I just like anything that’s been smoked. Wayfare’s We Can’t Say It’s Cheese in the hickory smoked spread is so delicious and I never thought about incorporating into a “cheese” soup before. Add tempeh bacon for extra smokey goodness. SO GOOD and super easy.


6 slices tempeh bacon, store bought or homemade

1 1/2 tbsp safflower oil

1 yellow onion, diced

1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 large orange fleshed sweet potatoes cubed

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1 fresh bay leaf

2 1/2 c low sodium vegetable stock

1 c So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer

1/2 package WayFare We Can’t Say It’s Cheese in smoked hickory

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a large dutch oven heat the safflower oil, cook the tempeh bacon until browned. Add in the onions and the mushrooms and saute until the moisture from the mushrooms is released and the veggies start to golden, about 10-15 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and garlic, stir to combine. Add the thyme, bay leaf, and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf from the soup. Using an immersion blender, blend a bit of the soup. I like soups chunky, so I don’t puree mine too much. Add the So Delicious creamer and the WayFare cheese. Simmer for a few more minutes, incorporating the WayFare. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.