Posts tagged with san diego scene:

Restaurant Review & Interview with Juan Miron of JUKE

For several years the "MIHO Gastrotruck" has a fixture on the San Diego foodie scene. They were the first “gourmet” food truck to hit the scene back in 2010, & inspiring single handedly inspired the San Diego Food Truck movement. Prior to MIHO rolling around in their artfully designed truck selling delicious hand-crafted farm-to-table street food, about all you’d see on the streets were “roach coaches” that you were better off avoiding. MIHOs arrival changed everything. I remember tracking them down at the Adams Avenue Art Walk, their very first weekend in business, ordering a vegetarian "Bahn Mi" & sang its praises here. Not only was the food awesome, the guys behind the wheel/kitchen/concept were awesome too. MIHO started showing up all over town, & soon you were fighting off long lines & big crowds in the hopes of reaching the counter before the good stuff sold out. The best part…they always offered a few vegetarian/veganizable items on the menu. So imagine my disappointment when I heard the announcement that the truck would be semi-retiring. The truck would still be available for private catering events, but no longer making the weekly rounds. Major sadface.

All was not lost, however, just re-imagined, as Juan & Kevin, the duo behind MIHO, partnered up with Bottlecraft in North Park to open "JUKE", a small farm-to-table “cafe” counter hidden in the back of the shop. Their culinary concept focuses on a “neo-traditional” menu that highlights internationally inspired street foods. For those of us of the veggie inclined about 1/3 of the menu is vegetarian &/or veganizable. While it’s not a physical restaurant, communal style seating is available outside.

About Juke: 

JUKE is a new school of thought on what, how & why we eat. This means a healthy balance of ingredients, an honest way of cooking, & a more conscious approach to the composition of each dish. JUKE’s neo-traditional menu draws inspiration from the beloved flavors of California, Baja, Asia & the Mediterranean. With a bedrock of local farms & sustainable food practices, JUKE features a menu that celebrates vegetables & grains, but is still in many ways an homage to the casual, international street food that MIHO is known for.

Last month, Juan graciously invited me to JUKE to try out their veganizable options & of course I jumped at the chance! I was treated to the "Cauliflower Steak" with roasted cauliflower, curry-apple sauce, herbed couscous, toasted marcona almonds, & greens, & the "Bibimbap" with roasted tofu, forbidden rice, pickled shiitake, greens, radish & gochujang, made vegan by holding the poached egg. Both were super fresh, flavorful & delicious. If I have to play favorites, the cauliflower steak it is! As I am a fan of every component of this dish, it was an easy choice. Sweet roasted cauliflower over a mild, yet tangy, green curry, fluffy couscous, tender greens & crunchy marcona almonds? Sounds like my kind light, yet satisfying meal. While I, gracefully, stuffed my face, Juan & I chatted about MIHO, JUKE, & the future:

Vegenista: The MIHO Gastrotruck really helped to shape the San Diego Food Truck scene. How did you get involved in the food business & what led you to launch a food truck? 

Juan Miron: Kevin & I have always been super passionate about food, where it comes from, how its prepared & the experience it creates. My wife & I were hosting underground beer supper clubs since 2006 as a creative outlet for both of us. In 2008 I started working at The Linkery, SD’s original farm to table restaurant, that’s where I met Kevin & soon enough he & his fiancé joined Farra & I on the beer dinners. We did that for a couple of years & ultimately, we knew we wanted to strike on our own & pursue a business opportunity. That’s when we caught wind of the food truck scene in other cities & instantly we knew that was our next step.

V: You recently retired the highly successful food truck & launched JUKE inside of Bottlecraft North Park. What inspired you to make the change? How did the concept of a counter & the partnership with Bottlecraft come about?

JM: For us every decision is all about progressing & enhancing the experiences we offer. We left the streets at the beginning of 2013 as we had planned to transition into a full time catering company. The essence of the food truck scene had evolved & was not fulfilling anymore. Catering had been an area of our business that we always enjoyed, creating memorable experiences around food for special events, this just felt right. A year later the opportunity to reconnect with our followers came when Brian from Bottlecraft mentioned that he was planning on putting a kitchen & would love us to do it. We then decided to open up JUKE. 

V: Thank you for offering vegetarian & vegan friendly menu items! How would you describe the style of food you are serving at JUKE & how is it different from MIHO?

JM: MIHO is internationally inspired street food., where JUKE is a new style of food, “neo-traditional” as we call it. It’s our take on traditional dishes, with our twist, while maintaining our bedrock of sourcing from local farms & using a sustainable approach to all that we do. It’s a reflection of the styles of food we enjoy eating, baja, mediterranean, asian, with a conscious thought on balancing greens, grains & meats, with a few vegetarian & vegan items too. 

V: Do you have any other exciting plans/projects in the works that you would like to share?

JM: Yes, we just launched our cocktail catering company, "Please & Thank You," & we thrilled to be able to add that on as another service under the "A MIHO Experience" brand. Again this was another project where it just seemed natural for us to offer bar catering for all the events that we do. 

A few days later I was back for more, bring my friend Anna along for a Sunday afternoon brunch. I’d had some cocktails the night before, so a strong pour-over coffee & a belly filling meal was calling my name, so naturally, I was drawn to the "Chilaquiles," - hold the carnitas add tofu - with vegetarian refried beans, tortilla chips, avocado, roasted tofu & gochujang. While it was tasty enough, it doesn’t quite rival the vegan chilaquiles masterpiece from Gracias Madre, but it was just what the doctor ordered to ease my hangover. Need I say more? Anna went for lighter fare & ordered the "Romesco Salad" with roasted root vegetables, manchego, toasted hazelnut, raisins, greens, & romesco dressing. If you wish this to be vegan, hold simply omit the cheese. She enjoyed the fresh & flavorful salad, however, as I’ve read in other reviews, it was a bit overdressed causing the greens to get a little soggy. Romesco is a rich dressing, so just a dab will do ya! Maybe order it on the side? As we were finishing up our coffee, another patron sat beside us with the most beautiful bowl of fresh fruit & cashew “yogurt.” We decided that our bellies could expand just a little bit more to make room for that delicious treat…Cashew Parfait” topped with homemade granola, seasonal fresh fruit & mint. As expected, it was divine. I could definitely taste the cashews, as I use them for various creams & sauces around here, but never thought to make it a thick, yogurt consistency. It was definitely rich! But the fresh fruit & mint helped to lighten it up a bit. I will most certainly be back for more of that! 

So, if you are in the San Diego area & have not made your way over to JUKE, why wait any longer? They’re open Tues-Saturday from 11am-9pm, & from 10am-7pm for Sunday Brunch. Remember, they are located INSIDE Bottlecraft in North Park, between 30th & Ray Street. Keep up with JUKE on their website, Facebook, & Instagram

A big thank you to Juan, JUKE, & the MIHO family for the hospitality invitation to check out this exciting new establishment! #EATJUKE

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San Diego Kale Festival 2014
Sorry for the shot notice on this friends, as it has just come across my radar! If you love KALE, you’re in San Diego, & your Saturday hasn’t already been jam packed with activities…then check out the "Kale Festival 2014”at the San Diego Peace Garden. There will be demos, workshops, yoga, films, children’s activities, FOOD, & more!

WHEN: Saturday Februarary 22nd 9am - 5pm
WHERE: SAN DIEGO PEACE GARDEN
3850 Westgate Place, San Diego, CA 92105
FESTIVAL MISSION:  The Kale Festival is a day to celebrate & learn about local & sustainable food through workshops & demonstrations. We come together to envision a better & more just food system.

Get more details & the full family friendly schedule here. 
HAIL TO KALE!

San Diego Kale Festival 2014

Sorry for the shot notice on this friends, as it has just come across my radar! If you love KALE, you’re in San Diego, & your Saturday hasn’t already been jam packed with activities…then check out the "Kale Festival 2014at the San Diego Peace Garden. There will be demos, workshops, yoga, films, children’s activities, FOOD, & more!

WHEN: Saturday Februarary 22nd 9am - 5pm

WHERE: SAN DIEGO PEACE GARDEN

3850 Westgate Place, San Diego, CA 92105

FESTIVAL MISSION:  The Kale Festival is a day to celebrate & learn about local & sustainable food through workshops & demonstrations. We come together to envision a better & more just food system.

Get more details & the full family friendly schedule here

HAIL TO KALE!

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Sunset Cliffs Beach Cleanup & Yoga Jam! 
San Diego friends! Join me this weekend for Local Earth’s Sunset Cliffs Beach Cleanup & Yoga Jam
When:  Saturday February 22nd from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM          
Where:  Sunset Cliffs State Park
Sunset Cliffs has a special place in my heart. I spent my early years in Ocean Beach living with my Mom, & after we moved out to the “country” I would return to OB to spend time with my Dad. My Dad was an “avid surfer” & still is today - in his 60s (he lives in Costa Rica, go figure). Most of my time spent with my Dad was on the beach. I’d play in the sand while he surfed, then we would picnic on the cliffs with chips & sandwiches. Those are some of my fondest memories of time spent with my Dad, who doesn’t have much of a presence in my life anymore. You’d think going to the cliffs might make me sad, but it’s just the opposite - being there brings me peace. It’s one of 2 places in San Diego (the other is Self Realization) that I go when I want to sit in nature & decompress. Being as it is one of the “sweet spots,” I was so happy when I received this invitation. Environmental activism, yoga, organic/vegan potluck, community, music, & dance. Sign me up!

Local Earthlings, we are so excited to join together in community once again! Our February Beach Cleanup social is an event that you don’t want to miss! It will be a day to connect with the earth, each other, and the power of the breath.
We are starting our spring cleaning a little early this year with the Sunset Cliffs Beach Cleanup & Yoga Jam taking place Saturday February 22nd from 10:00 AM till 4:00 PM at Sunset Cliffs State Park in Ocean Beach. The plan is to meet in the Sunset Cliffs parking lot around 10 AM, spend a few hours cleaning up the trails in Sunset Cliffs park breaking around noon to share some delicious organic food that will energize our bodies for what’s coming next. At 1:00 PM there will be a community taught yoga class with live guitar, followed at 2:30 PM by an amazing immersive yoga Samba dance experience led by Elka Haeckel. So bring your hands, a willingness to get a little dirty, some yummy food, & the light of your smile. We can’t wait to share your presence coming together to beautify our community, flow through asana, connect with our breath, drink in the sunshine, & dance to the vibrant beats of some live percussion….together.

The weather has been pretty close to perfect around here, so I expect this will be a gorgeous day! Hope to see you there!

Sunset Cliffs Beach Cleanup & Yoga Jam! 

San Diego friends! Join me this weekend for Local Earth’s Sunset Cliffs Beach Cleanup & Yoga Jam

When:  Saturday February 22nd from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM          

Where:  Sunset Cliffs State Park

Sunset Cliffs has a special place in my heart. I spent my early years in Ocean Beach living with my Mom, & after we moved out to the “country” I would return to OB to spend time with my Dad. My Dad was an “avid surfer” & still is today - in his 60s (he lives in Costa Rica, go figure). Most of my time spent with my Dad was on the beach. I’d play in the sand while he surfed, then we would picnic on the cliffs with chips & sandwiches. Those are some of my fondest memories of time spent with my Dad, who doesn’t have much of a presence in my life anymore. You’d think going to the cliffs might make me sad, but it’s just the opposite - being there brings me peace. It’s one of 2 places in San Diego (the other is Self Realization) that I go when I want to sit in nature & decompress. Being as it is one of the “sweet spots,” I was so happy when I received this invitation. Environmental activism, yoga, organic/vegan potluck, community, music, & dance. Sign me up!

Local Earthlings, we are so excited to join together in community once again! Our February Beach Cleanup social is an event that you don’t want to miss! It will be a day to connect with the earth, each other, and the power of the breath.

We are starting our spring cleaning a little early this year with the Sunset Cliffs Beach Cleanup & Yoga Jam taking place Saturday February 22nd from 10:00 AM till 4:00 PM at Sunset Cliffs State Park in Ocean Beach. The plan is to meet in the Sunset Cliffs parking lot around 10 AM, spend a few hours cleaning up the trails in Sunset Cliffs park breaking around noon to share some delicious organic food that will energize our bodies for what’s coming next. At 1:00 PM there will be a community taught yoga class with live guitar, followed at 2:30 PM by an amazing immersive yoga Samba dance experience led by Elka Haeckel. So bring your hands, a willingness to get a little dirty, some yummy food, & the light of your smile. We can’t wait to share your presence coming together to beautify our community, flow through asana, connect with our breath, drink in the sunshine, & dance to the vibrant beats of some live percussion….together.

The weather has been pretty close to perfect around here, so I expect this will be a gorgeous day! Hope to see you there!

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LOVELIKEBEER’s “Brûlée”: Vegan French Brunch!

I meant to post this weeks ago. Oops, better late than never I suppose?

A few weekends ago, LOVELIKEBEER brought something to San Diego that you don’t see everyday around here. Three words. Vegan. French. Brunch. And let me tell you…

If you know me, you know I am a shameless & self proclaimed Francophile. I love Paris. It’s probably my favorite place in the world, & it’s hard to believe it was 7 years ago that my Mom & I celebrated my 30th (now you know how old I am!) birthday in "The City of Light"Tais Toi Mon Coeur.  So when word got out about the theme of their next event, I was thrilled. And when I heard the event would be titled Brûlée, my mind went to many a sweet spot — creme brûlée French toast, perhaps? And while my mind wandered not too far off, I was right about one thing…French Toast…Brûlée, actually I was told, was more of a play on words,  as in "Brew-lée" ….ah yes, I get it. Since LOVELIKEBEER is all about artisan food & craft beer, it makes sense. So clever, those boys. And, while I didn’t get my creme brûlée French toast (a fabulous idea if I do say so myself), I certainly did have my fill of delightful French inspired food. 

But to start…as you’re always safe in showing up early to a LOVELIKEBEER event, they had something special set up out in front of Toronado, the brunch venue, which was Mostra Coffee serving up fresh pour over coffee & hot apple cider. A nice warm jumpstart to Sunday Funday! I had planned, & failed, to have a quick brunch with some coffee & no alcohol so I could carry on with a productive Sunday, I was quickly distracted by two words…”beer mimosa.” Okay, just one, I suppose. I mean, a mimosa made with Modern Times Beer, a brand new & vegan owned local brewery, is enough to at least make one take pause, right? So ordered it was, & smoothly down it went. Followed by my favorite meal of the brunch the “Savory Crepe” with asparagus, soyrizo & meyer lemon hollandaise. Mmmmm…crepes! So quintessentially French, & not an easy feat to prepare, especially vegan, & I should know, as I own a crepe pan & have spent many a Sunday morning trying to perfect them. These pillowy crepes were stuffed with spicy soyrizo & topped with a creamy & zesty vegan hollandaise that I would love the recipe for (hint, hint)! Yum-o. And, as rumor has it, this might just make it on Toronado’s regular brunch menu, & oh no, then here we go…Sunday Funday, every weekend. Thanks, thanks a lot. 

After the crepe came the French toast, a “Hazelnut Stuffed French Toast,” mind you, with a dark chocolate drizzle & raspberries. Can you say, decedent? Why, yes…just take some crusty bread, stuffed with homemade nutella, topped with melty dark chocolate, garnished with tart raspberries & lest I forget washing it down with Modern Times’ Black House Oatmeal Coffee Stout. Yes, you heard me. Quite a pairing, indeed! 

Next arrived the “Potato Pave 5 Spice Scallop with Wild Mushrooms, Beets, Butternut Squash & Puffed Grains,” which I didn’t try myself, but was enjoyed by my friends, & which I must say was the most beautiful presentation of the day…food imitating art imitating food. Now I wish I’d had a bite. 

Finally came the “Carrot & Coconut Cake” that we just absolutely could not say no to, especially since it was paired with the “bright, peppery, & velvety” saison, which is one of my favorite beers. The cake was so moist, with a wonderful balance of carrot & coconut…not to sweet, but not too “crunchy” if you know what I mean. A delightful way to end the meal.

Too bad we can’t to this every weekend. Unless we move to Paris!

À bientôt.

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Earth Squeeze on Kickstarter

Hey San Diego readers, you must check out this fundraising campaign for Earth Squeeze, our fine city’s newest pop-up juice stand that uses only locally grown, farm-fresh produce & sells at farmers markets all over the county!

Here is what founders Mike & Lauren have to say about their awesome concept: 

Earth Squeeze is going to be a mobile, “pop-up” juice stand in San Diego. This means that we will travel among farmers markets in San Diego county with our juicers, buying local, farm-fresh produce & juicing it on-site to order. We also plan to juice produce purchased by farmers market customers.  

Our goal is not only to teach our customers about the benefits of incorporating live, raw juice into their diets, but also to promote the value of buying local organic produce from San Diego farms. We are strong believers that the future of the food revolution is going to be centered on strong local agriculture, & we hope to strengthen this movement with our efforts.

We have found the commercial kitchen we will be using to store & prep some of our produce. This has allowed us to move forward with applying for all of the necessary licenses & permits we need to vend at farmers markets.  We have already launched full speed ahead into our social media advertising campaign, & are quickly developing our name in the community. Our recipes are ready to go, but before we begin…

We need your help! We are turning to Kickstarter for help raising funds to pay for a centrifugal juicer, a whisper generator, & other equipment necessary to sell at a farmers market. We are grateful & appreciative of any & all pledge amounts.

Thank you!

I cannot wait to visit them at the markets & get my fresh local juice on. So what do you say? Why not watch their video, & back their project if you can? They have some sweet rewards for backers. Click here to show support for Earth Squeeze!

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Vegan Tasting Menu at Alchemy

'Twas the night before Thanksgiving…

I’ve always been a fan of Alchemy in the sleepy, but trendy South Park neighborhood of San Diego. I love their approach to cultural faire, small shareable dishes, & their “Dirty Pickle” martini is my favorite cocktail in town (extra dirty, extra pickle!). So when their PR team contacted me & invited me & a guest to attend their “Thanksgiving Before Thanksgiving Vegan Tasting Menu,” how could I resist? Oh but, Thanksgiving eve! Shouldn’t I be to be prepping for my own Thanksgiving feast? Perhaps, yes, but it sure is fun to be catered to once & a while! So I called up my pal, Nichole & we headed out for a pre-no-turkey-day treat. And what a treat it was! 

To start, we were served a cup of "Tomato-Fennel Bisque with Almond Milk, Fennel Fronds, & Roasted Garlic Oil." Wow…this was so flavorful! Tomato & fennel is such delicious combination, with the subtle anise flavor of fennel bringing a bit of sophistication to the classic tomato soup. The garlic oil drizzle, made the soup rich & savory. Oh, if only there were some crusty bread to dip in. But, then again, I’m so happy the bread basket doesn’t exist in this restaurant. No thank you, carb-overload! I’ll have enough of that come Thanksgiving.

Our second course was an "Artichoke Salad with Pickled Purple Artichokes, Watermelon Radish, Jonagold Apples, Oro Blanco Espuma, & Pedro Ximenez Reduction.” The presentation was beautiful, & the dish itself had so much potential. But… I love pickled anything, so when I read the words “pickled” I was excited, but upon tasting the dish, it didn’t seem as though the artichokes were “pickled” at all. So I was slightly underwhelmed.I absolutely love watermelon radish, & the apples were crisp & tart yet we agreed that the components of the dish didn’t seem “cohesive.” If I were to make this myself, I would serve it on a bed of peppery arugula, with a bit of crumbled cashew “goat cheese.”

The third course was a gem. "Manicotti with House Made Vegan Ricotta, Broccoli Rabe, Crudite, Cilantro Pesto, & Pepitas.” Me oh my. That ricotta! I would like the recipe please. It was so creamy, with a slight sweetness to it. At first thought it was tofu based, but now I am thinking perhaps it was cashew based? I’d sure love to know, it was delightful & I can imagine it in all sorts of culinary creations. Along with that delightful ricotta, the filling consisted of broccoli rabe, which added a bitter bite, & zucchini cappelini, which imparted a sweetness & unique texture. The manicotti was topped with a zesty, herbaceous cilantro pesto & baby garden carrots. So cute. I enjoyed the wine pairing with this dish which was a glass of Nicole Chanrion - Cote de Brouilly.Oh, how I do love a French wine. It was dry & spicy, with a dark plum & blackberry finish. An interesting choice to pair with a pesto dish, as I usually prefer a crisp white wine, but I enjoyed it. I like wine, so I am easy to please. 

The final course was the always anticipated dessert course. "Guava Shaved Ice with Brûléed Forelle Pears & Crystalized Hibiscus." The shaved ice was light & refreshing, with a hint of rosemary that I really enjoyed. I’d expected the pears to be a bit more “brûléed.” We were also treated to the cocktail pairing which was a "Hibiscus Port Wine Cooler" that was sweet & lovely. It was a beautiful pairing, but left me wanting more. It would’ve acted a a perfect palette cleanser before a warm, rich dessert. It was a Thanksgiving dinner after all — bring out the pumpkin cheesecake, or some coconut cinnamon ice cream with baked apples! Perhaps they thought we’d prefer to save our calories for the big day? I find this happens a lot when I go to vegan dinners & non-vegan restaurants & it’s frustrating, especially when I know how incredible vegan desserts can be. I wish these chefs would be a bit more adventurous in the dessert department. I was just listening to the latest Compassionate Cook podcast & CPG mentioned the same thing. In her case, she sent a copy of her book Joy of Vegan Baking to help inspire the chef. Bold! If only I had a cookbook to send! 

All in all, it was a very enjoyable meal, & I appreciate their enthusiasm & effort. Not many restaurants in San Diego cater to vegans, let alone prepare an entire menu for them one night a month. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking to have an elegant vegan meal. The restaurant is nestled on a quite corner in one of the cities best neighborhoods, so enjoy a vegan meal, some delicious wine & a stroll around the streets lined with darling little craftsman bungalows. Sounds like a perfect date night to me. 

Also, a very kind thank you to Alchemy for hosting me & my friend. We are so grateful for your invitation & hospitality. I will certainly be back for another tasting. 

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Plant Powered Thanksgiving with Katie’s Healing Kitchen

Before I get to the lovely food & photos above, I need to share a bit of a back story. This past summer a good friend, invited me to a vegan cooking class at a wine bar in her neighborhood. Of course I accepted the invitation - vegan food & wine? Totally up my alley! Who knew that class would be the first of many & the start of some great new friendships?!

The classes are taught by plant-based chef, Katie Gluck, who is a recent graduate of The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts (my dream cooking school) where she was trained in the art of vegan, macrobiotic, ayurvedic & raw cuisine. Upon graduating, Katie returned to her home town of San Diego & launched Katie’s Healing Kitchen. Katie teaches monthly cooking classes at The Wine Vault & Casa de Luz, caters small scale events, & hosts private cooking classes & kids’ cooking parties. In addition, she kindly volunteers her time with the International Rescue Committee’s “Youth Food Justice,” an after school gardening program at local high schools, where she teaches healthy cooking classes to students using the organic produce they grow. Katie is passionate about harnessing the power of food to heal disease, & her it’s her lifelong goal to inspire others to make the connection between the food they eat & its effect on their body, the environment & the world. I am so inspired by Katie & the wonderful work she is doing. Her recipes are always vegan, gluten-free, & refined sugar-free. She has a gentle spirit & a genuine enthusiasm for spreading the good word about living a healthy & healing lifestyle. Her classes are fun & informative & her food is delicious. I have made many of her recipes over & over in my own kitchen. If you are San Diego based, I highly recommend visiting Katie’s site & signing up for her newsletter so you can get up to date info about her class & event schedule. And FYI, space is limited at Katie’s classes & they fill up fast! 

So back to the food you see above! Last weekend’s theme was "Plant Powered Thanksgiving," the faire for this festive fall menu was scrumptious: Roasted Carrot Soup, Squash Mac & Cheese, Wild Rice & Lentil Stuffed Squash topped with Mushroom Bacon, Maple Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Simple Steamed Kale, & Apple Crisp with a dollop of Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream & a surprise Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle. And yes, it was certainly as delicious as it looks! Katie’s recipes are healthy, yet hearty, thoughtfully crafted, easy to follow & absolutely delectable. I enjoyed each & every one of these dishes, but the star of the evening for me was definitely the stuffed squash, which will be making an appearance at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. And if you are still in search of a main event for your turkey-free celebration, look no further, ‘cause you’re in luck! Katie graciously allowed me to share the recipe! 

Wild Rice & Lentil Stuffed Squash from Katie’s Healing Kitchen

Yield: 8 Servings

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • Sea salt or tamari to taste
  • 4 winter squash, delicata, acorn or kabocha
  • avocado or olive oil

Instructions: 

  1. Squash - Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash down the middle, & scoop out the seeds. Place squash cut-side down on the baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until squash is tender. Remove from oven. 
  2. Onion - warm saute pan (with a fitted lid) over low heat, cover the bottom of the pan with oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion & cover with the lid. Stir every 5 minutes until onion is caramelized (about 40 minutes) 
  3. Rice - In a medium pot, over medium heat, cover the bottom of the pan with oil. Once oil is hot, add the garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add rice & vegetable stock to pan & bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer & cover, about 40 minutes or until rice is done. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, cook lentils according to package directions. 
  4. Combine caramelized onion, lentils, & rice together. Season with salt or tamari. Stuff squash with lentil rice mixture & bake at 400 for 10 minutes 

What a perfect centerpiece on a compassionate Thanksgiving plate! Katie served the dish topped with simple steamed kale, a sprinkle of mushroom “bacon,” & a side of maple dijon roasted brussels sprouts. Yum! When I recreate this dish, I’ll likely add some chewy dried cranberries to the rice & lentil mixture. 

Now before I set you free to go whip up this lovely dish for yourself, I want to introduce you to the talented photographer behind the gorgeous photos you see above. Amy Angelo, of Amy Angelo Photography, is a San Diego based photographer who specializes in babies & children, but also takes beautiful wedding, event, family & food photos. Amy is responsible for all of the photography on Katie’s website, helping to bring her dishes alive on film. Amy is also vegan, a cat lover, an activist, & makes a delicious raw pumpkin pie! If you are looking for a photographer who is as compassionate as she is talented, then Amy is your gal!

I am super grateful to have these talented ladies as friends & am so excited to share the wonderful work they do to spread wellness, beauty, & compassion. 

If you are San Diego based, why not join us for Katie’s next class, "Make Your Own Christmas Presents." We’ll sip on minty hot cocoa & nibble on Christmas cookies while we learn how to make vegan friendly giftables, (think vanilla coconut body scrub, hot chocolate gift bags, baking mix). Also includes: adorable packaging and take-home recipes. Visit katieshealingkitchen.com/classes/ for more info. Hope to see you there!

(Recipe courtesy of Katie’s Healing Kitchen. Photos courtesy of Amy Angelo Photography).

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Brûlée Brunch Menu Sneak Peak!
A few weeks ago I shared the news about LOVELIKEBEER’s upcoming brunch event, & now I get to offer you fine readers an exclusive sneak peak!!!
Hot off the vegan press! Behold, the menu for "Brûlée!"All I can say is, best come hungry & put your stretchy pants on, because it’s gonna be mighty hard to turn down anything on this delectable menu. I mean…"Hazelnut Stuffed French Toast? Savory Crepe? Spiced Carrot Coconut Cake?" Don’t mind if I do! All for me :) 
Wow! These boys have outdone themselves with this one. Vegan. French. Brunch. That is all. Unless you missed the memo…you can catch all the thrilling details here. 

Brûlée Brunch Menu Sneak Peak!

A few weeks ago I shared the news about LOVELIKEBEER’s upcoming brunch event, & now I get to offer you fine readers an exclusive sneak peak!!!

Hot off the vegan press! Behold, the menu for "Brûlée!"All I can say is, best come hungry & put your stretchy pants on, because it’s gonna be mighty hard to turn down anything on this delectable menu. I mean…"Hazelnut Stuffed French Toast? Savory Crepe? Spiced Carrot Coconut Cake?" Don’t mind if I do! All for me :) 

Wow! These boys have outdone themselves with this one. Vegan. French. Brunch. That is all. Unless you missed the memo…you can catch all the thrilling details here

  • k 41 notes

Vegan Thanksgiving Tasting Menu at Alchemy

Hey, hey San Diego! Alchemy in South Park is hosting a 4 course "Night before Thanksgiving Vegan Tasting Dinner & Pairing” next Wednesday & I am super lucky, honored, excited & grateful to have received a personal invitation from the restaurant, treating me & a friend to the meal. Sometimes being a blogger truly rocks!

On the last Wednesday of every month, Alchemy hosts a "Vegan Tasting Menu", & Sous Chef Troy Oftedal creates a skillfully prepared “farm to table menu” featuring fresh, local ingredients & a seasonal theme. November’s theme? “Thanksgiving Before Thanksgiving” vegan style! I have always wanted to attend one of these dinners, & couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to try this menu…

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Alchemy/Vegan Celebration/11.27.13/Thanksgiving before Thanksgiving

  • 1st  Tomato-Fennel Bisque - Almond milk / Fennel fronds / Roasted Garlic oil. Paired with – Broadbent “Rainwater” Madeira
  • 2nd – Purple Artichoke Salad - Pickled Purple Artichokes / Watermelon Radish / Jonagold Apples / Oro Blanco Espuma / Pedro Ximenez reduction. Paired with – Gloria Ferrer, VA De VI, Ultra Cuvee, NV
  • 3rd – Manicotti - House made Vegan Ricotta / Broccoli Rabe / Porcini Mushrooms / Zucchini Capellini / Crudite / Cilantro Pesto / Pepitas. Paired with – Nicole Chanrion – Cote de Brouilly, 2011
  • 4th – Guava Shaved Ice - Bruleed Forelle Pears / Crystalized Hibiscus. Paired with – Hisbiscus White Port Cooler

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OMG! Feed me now! The cost of dinner is $35, with beverage pairings at $6 each or $16 for the whole meal. It will start at 5:00pm & run until 10, unless it sells out before then.

Alchemy will also be teaming up with Project Raw, who will be on site to hand out material, chat about their project & act as a collection site for the night. Project Raw is a social venture based on the belief that raw food can positively change our personal health, our communities, & our environment. By collecting produce that would otherwise go to waste, they have come up with a unique way to provide nutrition to local homeless shelters. I think this is absolutely wonderful!

I am, obviously, looking forward to this & plan to lug my camera along so I can share the celebration with y’all! I’m bringing along my pal Nichole of VeganSpin, so be sure to check in for her review as well. And if you’re local, hope to see you there! 

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Seasonal Recipes from “Cooking with CSA”

People living their passions, that’s what life is all about, right? And what if you could live your passion in your work? Win win! I can’t wait to introduce you to two inspiring folks doing just that…

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A few months back, I received a friendly email from the lovely Sarah O’Toole, a recent San Diego transplant & the creator, along with her fiancé Peter, of Cooking with CSA introducing me to their program & offering to share some of their seasonal plant-based recipes with Vegenista readers. As I learned more about their program, inspiration, & philosophy, I more than welcomed the offer to share their awesome work here. I’ve been a local CSA (community supported agriculture) subscriber for the past 4 years, & feel strongly about eating as locally, seasonally, & organically as possible, so the notion of “Cooking with CSA” is right up my alley. Also, as you may remember, I am an educator, so as I learned more, I realized we shared an even greater passion - educating children about healthy food - I was even more excited to share their mission. As a speech-language therapist in the public schools, I am often astonished & astounded by what I see children consuming - whether it’s from the school lunch program, or their own lunch boxes. Most kids don’t know what “real food” is or where it comes from. It’s such a shame, & there has got to be another way! And fortunately Sarah & Peter intend to pave that way…

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Cooking with CSA was born out of Sarah & Peter’s mission to educate kids, inspire teens & empower young adults to take responsibility for their health. They wanted to show younger generations how fun eating healthy could be, so they began teaching plant-based cooking classes in San Diego schools for children. And they admit, at first it was hard, while being armed with “Kale Juice, Collard Wraps & Quinoa Salad” often evoked strange looks. But the students eventually embraced it, & those who only ate white pasta were asking for kale juice by the end of the program! While the classes were great, as time went on more & more parents approached Sarah & Peter asking for recipes & support, because they did not know how to make kale chips or green smoothies their kids were asking for. They had no idea where to buy these products or how to cook them. And if they didn’t have the resources they needed…healthy eating couldn’t happen! 

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Cooking with CSA now offers a Seasonal Recipe Subscription site which gives parents all the resources & tools they need to get their family to eat healthy & love it.Their goal is to get people to shop locally & really take advantage of all the wonderful farmers’ markets we have here in sunny San Diego, cook more, & use fresh, local, organic ingredients. That is certainly something I can get behind!

And, in the kind spirit of Thanksgiving, Sarah lovingly offered these two beautiful recipes, full of healthy, but tasty, organic ingredients. These dishes are very likely going to grace my holiday table, & will be a healthful treat to the whole family! Enjoy!

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"Pumpkin Seed Salad"

(Makes 1 large salad, serves 2-4)

Ingredients:

Salad -

  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 of a red onion
  • 2 carrots
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

Tempeh - 

  • 1 package flax tempeh 
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika (or 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke)
  • 1 Tbsp. tamari (or water)
  •  Tbsp. garlic powder

Dressing -

  • 3 Tbsp. olive or flax oil
  • 2 lemons juiced
  • 2 Tbsp. honey (maple syrup or agave, if vegan)
  • 1 tsp. cumin 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • dash of sea salt

Preparation:

  1. Chop tempeh into small cubes. Place in a medium bowl. Add remaining tempeh ingredients. Stir well and set aside
  2. Chop lettuce, tomatoes, onions & grate carrots. Place in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Next make the dressing: grind pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder. Place pumpkin seeds in a glass measuring cup or medium bowl.
  4. Mince garlic & add it along with the remaining dressing ingredients to measuring cup or bowl. Mix well.
  5. When ready to serve, add tempeh to bowl and then top with dressing, mix well. Add salt & pepper if desired.

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"Rich Chocolate Cake with Fresh Apples"

(Makes 1 loaf)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp. flax meal to 3 Tbsp. water)
  • 1 cup coconut buttermilk (add one lemon wedge to milk and stir, let sit for 10 minutes)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder (or cocoa)
  • 1/4 cup toasted carob powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 dash sea salt
  • 2 apples

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F & line a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Make the flax egg & coconut buttermilk, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, use a silicon spatula & mash the coconut oil until smooth. Add the sugar & mix until smooth.
  4. Add the flax “egg” & mix even more, then add the coconut buttermilk & vanilla.The batter will look a bit uneven & will separate, that’s normal.
  5. Sift the flour, cacao, toasted carob, baking soda, baking powder & salt together into the wet ingredients. Stir well with a metal spoon, but don’t over mix.
  6. Scrape the sides of the bowl, making sure that all the ingredients are well blended. Then pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  7. Top with 8-12 thin apple slices, laying them two by two, they will overlap slightly. Bake in the oven for 60 minutes.
  8. Cool in pan on a rack for about 15 minutes, at which point you can remove cake from pan & slice.

I hope you enjoyed meeting these inspiring healthy eating crusaders & encourage you to visit their website, learn about their programs, & check out their calendar of events. And, if you’re local…

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Come celebrate at the CSA Holiday Party! For the first time ever they’ll be gathering members from ALL the different CSA’s in San Diego! Meet others facing the same challenges, but gaining the same benefits, learn secrets to making the most out of your box, get a packet of Cooking with CSA’s favorite fall & winter recipes - perfect for the upcoming holidays - & get their top 5 kid friendly CSA Recipes! Learn more here.

***(photos courtesy of Cooking with CSA)

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