Charred Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are another food I’ve actually been a fan of since way before going vegan. They were a staple in any salad I ever made; in fact, they were my preferred salad tomato– way more so than actual salad tomatoes, which ironically are now my favorite salad tomatoes. But I never really sought out variety in the tiny little orbs of juicy tomato goodness, and it wasn’t until after I was vegan that I became aware of all the beautiful variations cherry tomatoes had to offer. I used to be embarrassed to talk about how limited my food knowledge was pre-vegan, until I realized two things: 1) I wasn’t alone. There are plenty of people who don’t have a vast knowledge of these things, plenty of people who grew up eating like crap and living in a bubble when it came to fresh food awareness and knowledge. 2) I didn’t want to feel like a poser, pretending to know about all the varieties of fruits and veggies that exist out there, as if I was some great food God gifted with all the knowledge of plant-foods, never needing to learn and grow like everyone else. So why not be honest about everything I learn about along the way, hopefully inspiring others to grow their fresh, whole-foods knowledge as well? Wow, who knew cherry tomatoes could be so powerful?

charred cherry tomatoes closeup

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of rainbow cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh parsley to garnish
  • 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fire source such as a stove burner, torch, or other safe source that can provide a flame*

 

What to Do:

  1.  Turn stove-top burner on medium to high heat.
  2. Poke a very small hole at one end of the tomato with a fork. This hole is for ventilation.
  3. Remove fork and puncture the tomato again with another tiny hole, this time leaving the fork inside to hold the tomato.
  4. Place tomato directly over flame, holding it in position for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Rotate tomato around flame to char the other sides of the tomato. The skin will pop and peel due to the heat. It may also make some noise, but this is normal — make sure you have the vent hole in each tomato!
  6. Repeat this process with each tomato. This may feel a bit time consuming but it shouldn’t take longer than 15-20 minutes, depending on how many tomatoes you are charring. If you have a metal skewer stick, you can place multiple tomatoes on it at once to make the process quicker. Make sure you are using metal and not a wooden skewer, as the wood will burn.
  7. Transfer charred tomatoes to a serving dish. Add olive oil and gently mix into tomatoes.
  8. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

 

 

 

* I used a stove-top burner for this recipe. I believe most chefs use a torch to char food, so it may be easier to use that method. If you have a torch on hand, by all means use it! If you have another fire source that can achieve the same affect, use that!. I think a stove-top is the most economical way to make this recipe. It also feels like making tomato s’mores, so that’s always fun.

 

Date posted on Instagram: 9/3/2018

Hazelnut and Cacao Milkshake

I recently got a container of vegan protein to start making shakes with. I barely liked protein shakes before I was vegan, but I was curious as to how this one would taste and also to see if it was truly filling (it has 20 grams of protein per serving). The flavor is amazing and it doesn’t have a slightly weird after-taste which I remember other non plant-based protein shakes having. And it does keep me pretty full. Because the flavor was so on-point, I thought– why not make a milkshake? You kill two bird with one stone– you get a sweet, flavorful dessert, and also filling protein that’s healthy for you. Yep, I’m a genius. This was also my first time trying Elmhurst brand’s hazelnut milk. So. good. The idea here was to make a Nutella shake– it was a fail. But the outcome was still tasty!

Hazelnut and Cacao Shake top

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 scoops of a vanilla flavored, plant-based protein powder (I used Kos Naturals)
  • 12 ounces of hazelnut milk (I used Elmhurst brand)
  • 1 medium-sized banana, cut into four pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 3-4 ice cubes

What to Do:

  1. Place milk into blender along with protein powder, banana slices and ice cubes.
  2. Blend (on medium speed if your blender has different speeds) for about 15-20 seconds.
  3. Remove lid and add cacao nibs.
  4. Replace lid and blend again for about 20 seconds.
  5. Pour shake into a glass.
  6. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of cacao nibs on top of shake to garnish, and serve. Bon appetit!

Date posted on Instagram: 6/4/18

Fresh Bruschetta

Basil is one of my favorite herbs. I incorporate it in so many of the pasta dishes I make. But the fragrant and powerful herb is truly a standout star in this classic dish– the bruschetta. I put a spin on my bruschetta and made it the odd-ball by not dicing up the tomatoes and by breaking up the “mozzarella” into chunkier pieces– the end result was like the classic proper bruschetta’s deconstructed, bad-boy brother ;-).

And on a side-note, I have become completely enamored with exploring vegan cheeses! There are tons of opinions on this topic– you’ll find review videos online about different types and brands of cheese, how well they melt and how they taste. Let me just say that vegan cheese has come a long way!

Fresh Vegan Bruschetta

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 5-7 thinly sliced pieces of your favorite hearty bread (think sourdough loaves or french bread or baguettes — I used the IPA beer bread from my restaurant)
  • About 1/4 of a ball of Miyoko’s Italian-style vegan mozz
  • 1-2 medium plum tomato(es), sliced
  • Several basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 3-5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3-5 tablespoons olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Lightly toast the slices of bread (I put my slices in the oven for about 3-5 minutes on 350 degrees).
  2. Place bread flat on serving dish and top with tomato slices.
  3. Slice (or break apart with your hands!) the mozz and place a few pieces on top of the tomatoes– be creative!
  4. Sprinkle the chopped basil over each piece of bruschetta.
  5. To finish, drizzle the olive oil and balsamic over each piece of bruschetta. Bon appetit!

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 5/18/18

Mediterranean Snack Plate

I love to snack. A lot. Like seriously, a lot. I’ll look for almost any excuse to have food– that’s why good snacks are so important to me. This snack plate is inspired by Mediterranean fare and has some of my favorite items in it, except hummus– why did I not add hummus??

Meditteranean Snack Plate

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 whole Pita or flatbread
  • 1/4 cup of Trader Joe’s olive tapenade
  • 1/4 cup of Trader Joe’s eggplant garlic spread with sweet red peppers
  • 1/2 cup of canned black olives, drained

 

What to Do:

  1. Lightly toast the pita or flatbread.
  2. Slice into 4 segments and arrange on serving dish.
  3. Spread tapenade alongside pita/flatbread.
  4. Spread eggplant spread alongside tapenade.
  5. Serve with side of olives. Bon appetit!

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 3/16/18

Apple and Almond Butter Snack

A quick and easy snack that is filled with fiber so it will help keep you full and fueled for your day!

Apple and Almond Butter Snack

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 medium organic granny smith apple
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

 

What to Do:

  1. Cut apple into 8 slices.
  2. Place apple slices onto serving dish.
  3. Spread almond butter across apple slices.
  4. Sprinkle chia seeds and ground flax seeds over apple slices.
  5. Serve and enjoy — Bon appetit!

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 1/18/18