Sunday, September 29, 2013

Spago in Las Vegas before Elton John Show

Oh the life we have
I was in Vegas for a trade show and had the chance to see Elton John at Caesar Palace 
As I am the only one in my family to like him, my friend Naomi join me flying from Seattle for the show and back to Seattle early next morning.
We start our evening at Spago  I was looking to get to Cut but as Naomi flight arrive late afternoon and the show at 7:30  Spago was a great choice 
We start with 

 Corn Agnolotti 
Mascarpone, parmesan reggiano, summer truffle

 My beautiful friend Naomi

Spinach, Corn Purée, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Cipollini Onions, Carrot, farmers market plums

Summer Squash, Fennel, Arugula, Heirloom Tomato-Cucumber Vinaigrette, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Basil

 Elton John  at Caesar Palace

Wow what a amazing performer  the show was so good  I really enjoy it after we did get to Payard for some dessert.
What a great evening 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Grape Kiwi harvesting time

 It Harvest time for my Grape Kiwi
a bumper crop this year 


a nice little dinner with my favorite beans in tomatoes and herbs stew

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Double Chocolate Sin. For everyone.

The Gourmandise School Logo
 The Gourmandise School  
 Sweets and Savories

Double Chocolate Sin.  For everyone.
This cookie was developed by a high school student at Ventura HS a few years back. I revisit the cookie once a year, not that it needs improvement, and this year, it was prompted by a very efficient class. 

Our Baking with Olive Oil class was so speedy last week that we quickly had to rally to add a few more recipes to the course.  Enter these sinful, melt-in-your-mouth-yet-won't-fall-apart cookies (We didn't have any blood orange olive oil, so we zested a half an orange into the olive oil).  They are so easy to make and the dough freezes really well.  As with all our cookies, we recommend scooping the dough into little 'pucks' and freezing them, then allowing the pucks to sit on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes before baking.

I was on my third (ahem, fifth), cookie when it donned on us that this cookies' texture would marry perfectly with grain-free flours.  Hadley'sGluten Free recipes are moving more into the grain-free sphere and are getting harder and harder to differentiate between conventional and GF.  These flours (almond, coconut, etc) in various ratios and combinations offer a shockingly similar texture to wheat flour without processed gums or additives.  To make these cookies grain and gluten free, simply replace the 2 cups of all purpose flour with 1 cup of almond flour and 1/4 cup coconut flour.  Let the dough rest for 15 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb some of the liquid and firm up before scooping and baking.

Double Chocolate-Blood Orange Cookies
Place in the bowl of a stand mixer:
1 stick butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar

Set aside:
1/3 cup blood orange olive oil
2 eggs
2 tsps vanilla

Whisk together:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Set aside:
1 cup chocolate pieces/chunks/doesn't matter so long as it's good chocolate *

1) Cream butter and sugar with a hand held mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy; this usually takes 3-4 minutes.
2) Add olive oil, eggs and vanilla and beat for another minute, or until well combined.
3) In a medium bowl, whisk together your flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Toss in the chocolate pieces.
4) Add this flour mixture to the batter and stir until just combined (and I mean it, JUST combined, or I will make my way to your kitchen and scold you for trying to turn these into chocolate hockey pucks).
5) Drop by scoop or spoonful onto parchment-paper lined cookie sheets and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, or just until the start to set on the very edges of the cookie.  They will continue baking after you remove them from the oven.

* Try buying chocolate bars instead of chips.  Chips tend to be stabilized so they keep their perfect 'kiss' shape and don't taste quite as good.  I like buying bars or discs of great chocolate (Valrhona, Cordillera, etc) and chopping them into shards.

Have a delicious day!
Clémence and Hadley 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Earthy fall stew

We really had the best summer in Vancouver and Whistler this year and it still going strong as september is always fabulous here but ear me out, I did have a craving for a good earthy stew with lots of veggies and chorizo
All the wonderful roots vegetables, squash, mushroom, heirloom tomatoes, garlic, onions... are now at the farmers market all around the Country. Enjoy it,
it is fantastic to eat local 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Carrot Ginger Soup

The Gourmandise School Logo
 The Gourmandise School  
 Sweets and Savories

A carrot gingerly approaches the spoon.
God I love carrots.  Makes great cake. Lovely soup.  A nice crunchy snack. Grated, adds some texture to salads. Roasted and smashed with some shallots and olive oil, add a bit of tarragon...Mmmm.  Like most of our produce, we pick them up (and save a bundle) at farmers markets.  

When purchasing carrots, be sure to keep the greens if possible.  The stems keep the carrots from drying out and make a great addition to juices and pesto (same goes for beet greens, which can be sauteed as you would chard or collard greens).  Purchasing these in large bunches from the farmers market will save you money, and they won't have those terribly dry cracks you're used to seeing from the thicker carrots found in 5 lb. supermarket bags.  The fresher they are the sweeter they taste.

This recipe is from our Raw/Vegan instructor Kirsten Gum, who stops in to teach series of classes when she's not touring the country doing the same.  The texture of this soup is sublime, and the nutrients stay perfectly intact.  If you're interested in the learning the basics and science of Raw foods, Kirsten's Intro to Raw class is taking place on Sept. 27, followed by Raw Mexican that evening.

Carrot Ginger Soup
3 cups carrot juice
1 small ripe avocado
1/2 cup coconut meat
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 drops of ginger oil (or 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp avocado-lime oil for garnish
few sprigs of cilantro, mint or basil for garnish

1) Place all ingredients except avocado in a high-speed blender and mix until completely smooth.
2) Add the avocado and puree just until incorporated and the mixture is your desired consistency
3) Garnish with your favorite herb and nut.
4) Will keep in a sealed glass container for up to 5 days. Note there may be some color change as the avocado will oxidize over time.
Have a delicious day!
Clémence and Hadley 

Banana Cherry Garcia Soft Serve from The simple veganista

Banana Cherry Garcia Soft Serve

Cherries + dark chocolate is always a winning pair. Here I have continued my love of banana based ice creams and have added the duo to make this Banana Cherry Garcia Soft Serve ice cream. The inspiration comes from one of Ben & Jerry's top selling ice creams 'Cherry Garcia'. Here I have veganized it using simple ingredients that come together making a quick and easy soft serve to enjoy during the coming summer months. Gather some of the season's cherries, freeze some bananas and get your chocolate ready...all in the name of good health and a tasty treat that you will enjoy time and time again. Eating healthy and cruelty free is as delicious as can be!

Dark chocolate can happily be a part of your healthy diet as long as it's enjoyed in moderation. I usually have a small chunk every night with a dollop of almond butter as my dessert. Some of the benefits of dark chocolate/raw chocolate are its powerful anti-oxidants. These anti-oxidants may help to control blood sugar levels by helping the body use its insulin more efficiently. This in turn may help with reducing the risk of diabeties. It also can help improve and lower cholesterol. Dark chocolate has flavanols that may lower the risk of Alzheimer's and slow the onset of dementia. These same flavanols may protect your skin from UV damage. It's also rich in vitamins and minerals, can improve your mood, and reduce your stress.. These are just some of the benefits associated with dark chocolate. It's best to consume chocolate that is 70% cocoa and above or pure raw chocolate, as it will have the most benefits. And to the men out there, it has been found that men benefit most from eating dark chocolate in moderation. So enjoy your dark chocolate without feeling guilty. For more information: Web MD...Dark Chocolate For Health Benefits, Huffington Post: Chocolate Benefits & Men Benefit Most From Eating Dark Chocolate

And then there are cherries, the real star of the recipe! Cherries, known as a 'super fruit', are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin, an antioxidant that helps regulate heart rhythms and the body's sleep cycle. These little red beauties are also packed with antioxidants called anthocyanin's which aid in the reduction of heart disease and cancer. This same anti-oxidant can help reduce inflammation and swelling associated with arthritis and gout. They are a perfect post work-out snack for those looking to reduce pain and joint soreness, like runners and heavy training athletes. Cherries are abundant in vitamins C, E, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, fiber and contain 19 times more beta carotene than strawberries and blueberries. They are perfect for any healthy lifestyle. For further reading take a look at these: Huffington Post: Cherries For Health & Seven Benefits of Cherries

Banana Cherry Garcia Soft Serve

  • 2 frozen bananas, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and frozen (divided)
  • splash of unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
  • scant 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (70% +), cacao nibs or raw chocolate chips

Place banana chunks, 1 cup cherries and splash of milk into blender/food processor and blend until just combined. You may need to scrap down the sides a few times or add another splash of milk to help the mixture move. Add in chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup cherries, pulse until just combined. Serve immediately as this is a soft serve ice cream. Top with shaved dark chocolate, cacao nibs or raw chocolate chips. Serves two generously.

Notes: It helps to freeze your serving dish beforehand if possible. Will keep your soft serve chilled a bit longer.

Variations: If you don't want any chocolate chunks try adding 1 heaping teaspoon of raw or dark cocoa powder instead. Adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract never hurts either. It adds another flavor level.


A note on bananas

These are perfectly ripe bananas and just about ready for the freezer. I usually wait until they're a bit more ripened before storing as that is when they are the sweetest and coincidentally have the most health benefits. Using them in their sweetest state means the less added sweetener you will need. So let your bananas ripen well before storing. I freeze mine whole and slice, or break in half, for the recipe if needed but you can just as well cut them into chunks before freezing. Having these on hand you can add them to smoothies, shakes and ice creams. They will stay well in the freezer six to nine months.

Quinoa & White Bean Veggie Burger from The simple veganista

Quinoa & White Bean Veggie Burger

It's burger time...

I haven't done a veggie burger in almost a year. It was time to add a new one to the list and this one is as delicious as it gets. These patties are loaded with protein and fiber as well as other beneficial nutrients, and they are very filling. As far as veggie burgers go this is fairly easy. I have to admit that I'm a pretty lazy cook and don't like a lot of steps. I prefer to spend as little time as possible preparing a meal as well as cleaning it up. Fyi, you can make this recipe even simpler by using a pre-made flour instead of processing oats like I did. The patties came out fantastic and held up great without falling apart, and they were not dry at all, nor were they mushy. The texture, taste and visual appeal all hit the mark. Once layered with all the extra goodies this burger was supreme and the best veggie burger I've ever I biased...maybe, but these were divine! And, if you don't feel like having it on a bun, by all means top your veggie burger on a bed of fresh leafy greens with a squeeze of lemon, some avocado, salt and good just like that! 

I loaded this beauty up with leafy greens, slice of heirloom tomato, sliced red onion, whole grain mustard, mashed avocado and a nice drizzle of sriracha. Lot's of flavors going on and I loved it. As the saying goes, "Eat like you mean it!" :)

 mash your beans   
And now for the money shot! Having fun with my iphone and the VSCO Cam app, managed to create this final mouthwatering picture...veggie love at first sight!

Quinoa & White Bean Veggie Burger

Ingredients (makes four patties)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I used tri-color)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons thyme, divided (oregano would be good too)
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, optional
  • 1 can (15 oz.) white beans (I used cannellini), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen (about 1/2 fresh corn off the cob)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced (about 1/2 bell pepper)
  • 1/2 cup shallot, finely diced (about 1 medium) or red onion
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup oat flour, or flour of choice 
  • Ener-G egg replacer or 1 flaxegg (1 Tbs flaxseed meal + 3 Tbs water)*
  • mineral salt & cracked pepper, to taste
  • coconut or olive oil, to grease

To Serve:
  • tomato, sliced
  • leafy greens
  • avocado, sliced or mashed
  • red onion, sliced
  • whole grain or dijon mustard (hummus or vegan mayo is great too)
  • sriracha or Sriracha Cashew Cream (use the sriracha cream in place of mustard)
  • burger buns of choice

Start by making your flaxegg or ener-g egg replacer and set aside. If baking in the oven, turn oven to 375 degrees F. (It's helpful to read instructions first before making the patties)  

In a medium pot, bring water, quinoa, garlic powder and 1 teaspoon thyme to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Once done, remove cover and let set for 10 minutes.

While quinoa is cooking, prepare your corn, shallot and red pepper. Be sure to dice your onion and red pepper fairly fine, they should be about the same size as the corn kernels.

Next, mash your beans. I mashed about 3/4 of the beans leaving a quarter of the batch whole or somewhat whole.

Once quinoa is ready, add the quinoa to the beans along with the shallots, red pepper, corn, remaining 2 teaspoons thyme, smoked paprika and optional chipotle powder and lemon juice. Mix well. Add in the flour and egg replacer, mix well again. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more of the other spices. We all vary on how strong we like our can't take out but you can always put in.

Now to divide and make your patties. I like to pat my mixture into the bowl a little and divide it with a knife into 4 sections, making a plus sign if you will. Take each section and pack it tightly into a ball in the palm of your hands. It should be about the size of your hand. Flatten with your palms and place on hard surface. Cup the edges with your palms and tighten them in a bit and flatten the top to the desired size. Mine were about 1/2 inch thick by 3 1/2 - 4 inches.

Cook one of two ways:

In the oven at 375 degrees on a greased or parchment lines cookie sheet for 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes. I also added a sprinkle of himalayan salt to the top before baking.


In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil over medium to medium high heat. Cook patties about 4 - 5 minutes on each side.

I cooked both ways and had no preference. They both held up well and cooked great. (pic shows skillet cooked)

Serve on bun or bed of leafy greens with choice of toppings!

Notes: The patties can be made ahead of time and stored covered in the refrigerator for a couple days prior to cooking.

*I have a sneaky feeling that this can be made without the use of any egg replacer if you don't have it available. I have it here for good measure until I try without. If you decide not to use an egg replacer, when adding the flour, just try adding two - three tablespoons of water instead if needed...the amount may depend on the flour your using.

For mashed avocado, cut open avocado, remove seed and using a fork, mash the flesh right in the's like a bowl. 

I hope this makes you want to get in the kitchen and cook.
I encourage you to make these soon and often...