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Posts from the ‘EAT’ Category

Funghi Pizza + Ribolla Gialla…

Everyone is entitled to a few guilty pleasures from time to time + this is one of our favorites…

In my last post I recommended Piccino’s in the Dogpatch where the funghi pizza is to die for. After moving to NYC we missed our little pizza joint until I met Jim Lahey the owner + chef at Co. + Sullivan Street Bakery. His vegan mushroom pizza was the star at an event he was cooking at + I was gobbling slices up like everyone else. This recipe is an hybrid adaptation combining the technique from the Master himself + the delicious topping from our favorite haunt. We served this at home with my friends family’s wine…The 2010 Grassi Ribolla Gialla.  A gorgeous wine with notes of meyer lemon, white flowers,  a touch of earthiness + minerality with a lasting finish. The Grassi Ribolla Gialla is a beautiful example of what a solid producer can do with an indigenous Italian varietal in Napa Valley.


1 portion Pizza dough (store bought or Jim Lahey’s recipe*)

*Here’s a link to Jim Lahey’s No Knead Pizza Dough + a video on how to knuckle it out!

4-6 cups of mixed mushrooms (shiitake, button, portobello etc)

1/4 more or less of quality olive oil

1-2 shallots

1-2 garlic cloves

1 tsp fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish

Pinch of red chili pepper flakes

Salt & Pepper to taste

*Set up is key with this recipe!

Bring pizza dough to room temperature  about 2 hours before baking…this will make for a crispier more bubbly crust.

Place a clean pizza stone (such as this one) about 4-5 inches from the broiler feature in your oven. Ours is electric but this works the same for gas.

Preheat oven to it’s highest temperature, usually 500 degrees F with stone in oven.  Heat oven for 1 hour then switch on the broiler to 500 degrees. Some ovens have a failsafe switch preventing the oven from getting hotter than 500 so to trick it open the oven door slightly for a moment or two.

In a food processor blend 4-6 cups of raw or sautéed mushrooms, shallots, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme + red chili pepper flakes until consistency of chunky tapenade. You can add walnuts like Chef Lahey does if you want a heartier pie. (Note: sautéing the mushrooms, garlic + shallots will result in a richer paste)

Flour all work surfaces well.

Walk out your pizza dough onto a pizza peel by stretching the edges out first…then “knuckling” the dough until it’s thin + slightly see through.

Spread a mushroom mixture over the pizza dough leaving some small spots of dough peeking through.

Slip the pizza off your pizza peel or plate onto the hot stone. Cook until crust is bubbling with burnt little bubbles.

Remove + place onto your peel again, slicing into pieces. Top with fresh thyme + a drizzle of truffle or olive oil.


Cheers to everyone this 4th of July! Have a wonderful + safe holiday!



Napa…how to eat, drink + see the valley

As a native Californian + former Bay Area resident, I am often asked where is it that I go when back in Napa. So here is my ideal weekend trip to San Francisco + Napa. *Note: You have to make appointments at the wineries listed!

Off Minnesota Street in the Dogpatch is my favorite cafe, called Piccino’s. Order a bottle of white burgundy or the like, the fungi pizza, whatever salad is fresh that day + a plate of the pickled veggies.

Next up, The Ferry Building! Mecca to all SF foodies. Just go and wonder…

Next, make your way North to Napa via the Embarcadero. As you breach the Golden Gate, roll the windows down even if it’s foggy, it is some of the freshest air you can breath! Once you head up the hill, make sure to look back at the City…

As you drive through the Marin Headlands up toward Napa Valley you’ll hit Highway 37 which brings you to Sonoma/Napa. Once in Napa stay at The Westin Verasa, it’s not as posh as Meadowood but it’s centrally located and a block from the Oxbow Public Market. At the Oxbow, make sure to try, The Hog Island Oyster Co. The sweetwaters are their specialty…Another Napa hot spot not far from Oxbow, is Oenotri, fantastic charcuterie + perfect hand slung flatbread pizzas!

A morning tasting is to be desired at Domaine Carneros. Owned by Taittinger, this house is my personal favorite when it comes to bubbles in California + it has one of the most peaceful views of surrounding vineyards. Try a little smoked salmon plate to pair with their wines…

Escaping the tourist route, head up to Chappellet Winery. One of the most impressive vineyards overlooking Lake Hennessy. Just follow their directions online to avoid getting lost.

Take a stroll through Yountville, on your way to lunch at Bouchon. Thomas Keller’s favorite food is french bistro style cuisine + as a long time resident of Yountville, he does dine there from time to time.

The epitome of high design, Cade Winery sits at 1,800 feet of elevation + promises to be the gem in your memory box with it’s breathtaking views almost 60 miles south down the valley.

If you find yourself in St. Helena, try to pull up a chair fireside at Farmstead. Everything is grown or cultivated in house at the Long Meadow Ranch so relax while you nibble on freshly baked potato rolls right out of the oven.

Lastly, don’t forget to be a responsible drinker…



Miss Piggy say’s “thank you…”

As my journey back to veganism unfolded, I found myself diving deeper into the pool of raw foodism…

When I say I dove in, I really dove in…I invested in the greatest raw foodie kitchen device, the dehydrator! Armed with a Excalibur 9 tray dehydrator I was ready to take the plunge.  Surprisingly, it’s been easier than being vegan and what shocks me the most is how simple and delicious it has been!

For some reason the stigma of being vegan is that of weird earthy crunchy freaks who cover their walls with PETA posters and rally outside of wholefoods…but being vegan for me initially was for health reasons, morphing into more of an empathy for the entire food chain. It’s difficult to gobble down a BBQ’d pulled pork sandwich when you know how it got to your plate. So for me, the decision has been simple…every day someone tells me I have great skin, hair or a glow, and everyday I feel more energized and alive with not a single bit of bloating, constipation or headaches. That is enough for me to not miss eating little Miss Piggy one bit. Besides, she was always my favorite character. 🙂

That’s why for this post I wanted to give you one of the first recipes I tried and experienced my ah-ha moment.

Carrot Ginger soup has often be my go-to soup of choice when the weather sucks, I have a cold, or if I am trying to “be good” pre vegan/raw. A soup of boiled carrots blended with freshly grated ginger in a broth of veggie stock. Super easy, but it always felt a bit one-dimensional to me. So when I tried this live recipe, I fell in love.

Raw (Live) Carrot Ginger Soup *recipe adapted from Raw Food Real World by Sarma Melngailis

3 cups raw organic carrot juice (freshly juiced if possible)

1/2 cup raw organic young Thai coconut meat  (you can learn about & buy it here)

1 ripe organic avocado peeled + cubed

1-2 inch chunk of fresh ginger root, grated

1/4 cup raw organic agave syrup

1 1/2 +/_  cups raw organic coconut water (harmless harvest my favorite brand)

1-2 organic limes juiced with a reamer

Couple of pinches of cayenne pepper to taste

1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt or to taste

Drizzle of your favorite oil to garnish (I used a basil infused olive oil)

Add all the ingredients to a big mixing bowl or blender. Blend until creamy and smooth with an immersion blender or high-speed blender. Garnish with oil or fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley. Stores in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a glass mason jar or plastic container as metal will spoil this soup almost immediately (found this out the hard way).

Note: If you want this soup warm, try warming the serving bowl first in the microwave or dehydrator or oven.

Since this soup has a bit of a kick, try it with a glass of Riesling or a cold glass of coconut water.




New Chapter…Veganism

With lots to fill you in on, I’ll start from the beginning.

I have dabbled with vegetarian/veganism for several years with some success but would usually fall off the wagon due to feelings of embarrassment in social situations. However, the straw that broke this camels back was an unfavorable blood test back in November. With pretty much every disease a risk for me due to family history it was the first real warning signal from my body. Fortunately I have a wonderful and open-minded doctor who is a cardiologist as well. With his advice to cut out animal products and embrace a plant-based diet, I embarked on a new chapter with food…

Keep in mind the timing of this news was right before holidays when butter, meat and excess are at their peak. I roughed through the holidays with a vegetarian regiment except for the real holiday meals until after the new year and our move. Once settled into our new place I scrapped all the “fat” and headed to the book store.

Now I’m a very visual person, so food has to look AMAZING or my taste buds won’t get excited. I’ve always loved bright colorful dishes and generally cook that way but something in my mind kept telling me this might be harder than before. To my surprise (and my husbands), a plant-based diet has been fun, delicious and easy even when eating at non-vegan restaurants! I even  managed to get my 50-year-old parents to try it while visiting us in NY. (Besides, it gave them something to talk about when they returned home, “can you believe we ate tofu sausage!”)

But, I must confess, this isn’t my first rodeo with veganism leaving little shock reason for me. However, I did learn from the last time that you should go easy on the soy products since they tend to pack on the pounds if not balanced with tons of greens and grains.

Armed with several new cookbooks and a few new kitchen items, I made the switch to Vegan. A month and a half has passed with a vibrancy I can’t even begin to explain, oh yeah, and you are going to eat and love hearty breads & grains again…in moderation of course! Just remember, you control your body through the foods you eat so why not give it the best you possibly can?

Here’s my list of books:

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone One of my favorites for those of you dabbling with the idea and all the way to full fledge vegan. Her website is a fabulous resource too…

Detox 4 Women by Natalia Rose The book that changed my thinking and started this path a few years back.

Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow by Matthew Kenney Super delicious and really sexy vegan raw food, a perfect book for those of you foodie types.

BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery by Erin McKenna Honestly, I can’t make enough when I bake from this book. Try the raspberry scones, you won’t be disappointed!

Veganomicon: The ultimate vegan cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz Not a ton of pretty pictures for inspiration however, the “ricotta” recipe can fool any non vegan. Try making lasagna with this next time and you’ll see what I mean…

And my list of cool vegan stuff I’ve found along the way:

Dr. Cow Cheese Ridiculously yummy stuff, try the Go Granola as well as the cheeses!

Korin Japanese Kitchen Tools + Knives This is where you can order your Suribachi!

Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor Your new BFF if you don’t have a neighborhood juice bar…I’ve had my juicer for 4 years now and LOVE it!


Next week, the dish on vegan wines, what that really means and why I don’t worry too much when it doesn’t say that on the label….


Cardboard + Crudité…

The holidays were a blur segueing into January with little reprieve from our busy schedules, not to mention we were moving! I know, we just got to our New York apartment in March but our landlord was selling his place so that meant while you were enjoying your holidays, I was searching for new apartments between my husbands busy travel schedule and holiday parties… ugh!

With all of this, comes crazy stress so my culinary juices were pretty dried up and frankly I’d drink just about any bottle of wine that was around because shopping for that “great bottle” was simply too much of a bother. Procrastination was rampant as the mountain of cardboard and packing paper plagued me from across the room. Two weeks out the packing started and the daunting task of what stays and what goes began. I made one last trip to dean & deluca for some green juice and veggies to energize our efforts without sacrificing the gourmet experience.

Two recipes for your disaster day, I mean moving day, that are going to rock your world next time you move and all you need is one pot, a microwave and some paper picnic ware. Light a candle and pop some champagne cause it’s packing time!

One Pot Veg Soup:

1 head of cauliflower

1 white onion

1 clove garlic

1 bay leaf

Himalayan Salt

Fresh cracked pepper


Olive oil

Grab that large dutch oven one last time before packing the kitchen… drizzle some olive oil in the bottom and crank up the heat to medium. Chop the onions into bits and smash the garlic (take out your frustrations of packing on this onion/garlic if you like…it’s going to all get pulverized later) Add the onions, garlic, bay leaf, pinch of salt/pepper to the pot and cover with a parchment lid (make like a 6 year old and cut out a pretty circle same size as your pot with a hole in the middle) Sweat them until they are soft and clear, about 10 minutes or so, just make sure they don’t color. Discard the parchment lid and bay leaf…Clean the head of cauliflower and remove the green bits. Pop the whole head into the pot and pour in a cup or so of water. Cover with the lid to steam for 15 minutes. Add the rest of the water and boil it until the cauliflower is tender and falling apart. Now get your immersion blender (or regular blender) and blend all of this to a beautiful silky smooth soup. Serve it in whatever dishes are not packed with a hunk of baguette and a drizzle of olive oil. Save the rest for the next couple of nights, it will beat the hell out of take-out!

Serve it with the Raventos Brut Rose, no corkscrew needed and at under $20 a bottle you can’t go wrong.

Crudite Salad (It will save your life)

1 small bag of baby carrots

1 bunch of celery

1 avocado

1 bunch of radishes

1 bunch of grapes

1 box of cheery tomatoes

1 cucumber

1 package of hummus

Now the french have it right, this “salad” is my lifesaver when life is getting a bit overwhelming and I just need to eat “something” but really don’t want to skimp on my healthy eating habits. It’s all finger friendly, great for kids too. You can change up the veggies to suit your own tastes or seasons but this is what we have been living on while wallowing in our sea of boxes.

Wash all the veggies unless they are already washed of course. Cut up any that need it like the cucumbers or avocado. (Asparagus is another good one, just snap the woody ends off and enjoy raw) Open the package of hummus…take the slices of avocado and  drizzle  with olive oil, salt and pepper. Gobble up the veggies with the hummus and treat yourself to some grapes in the end. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated while packing…I promise it will all be over soon!

The Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey + Gravy

Thanksgiving is probably my most favorite time of year for cooking. I adore roasting chestnuts and brining my turkey for days. This recipe will become your family tradition as it has become mine thanks to Chef, Mark Sullivan of Spruce in San Francisco. This recipe was gifted to a few aspiring chefs and home cooks a few years back and I couldn’t have Thanksgiving without it! Thanks again Mark, you are the best!!!


Prep Time: 30-45 minutes

Rest Time: 2-3 days


3 onions, sliced

3 fennel bulbs, sliced

30 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced

3 oranges, sliced

3 lemons, sliced seeds discarded

1/2 cup olive oil

1 gallon water, brought to a boil

18 oz. kosher salt

12 oz. honey

3 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted

4 bay leaves

3 sprigs rosemary, bruised

12 sprigs of thyme, bruised

6 juniper berries, bruised

2 gallons of ice water

1 16-18 pound  organic turkey

* see bottom for cooking temperatures and recommended USDA temperatures

Preparing the Brine….

Sweat the onions, fennel and garlic in olive oil for 20 minutes over medium heat in a covered stock pot, careful to not color them.

Cover with the boiling water and whisk in the salt and honey so that they disperse into the water. Add all the other ingredients ( citrus, herbs and spices) then turn off the heat to steep for 30 minutes.

Chill the brine by adding 2 gallons of ice water.

Rinse your turkey under cold water and place in a large vessel or pot. Pour the chilled brine over the bird and refrigerate for two or three days.

Roasting the Bird….

Remove the bird from the brine and place in a vessel covered for one hour.

Heat your oven to convection heat at 400 degrees. If using a still oven add 50 degrees to all the temperatures for this recipe. Note: use a quality thermometer preferably with a timer to gauge internal temperature.

To properly roast a 16 pound bird you can plan on a 5 hour time span from start to finish. One hour to temper the bird by bringing it up to room temperature after removing it from the brine, 2  1/2 – 3 hours to cook the bird and a final hour to rest the bird after roasting. Tempering, roasting, and resting are the key to a perfectly roasted turkey or poultry for that matter.

Stuff your bird with your preferred stuffing (I use a wild rice stuffing that I’ll post next), truss the bird with kitchen string. Season the bird liberally with salt and pepper. Roll out aluminum foil with parchment paper  rolled out on-top of it. Then place the bird breast side down on the paper. Wrap the parchment around the bird and then the aluminum foil around that. It should look like a silver ball of sorts when done. Place the bird again breast side down into your roasting pan rack.

Place the bird in the oven for 30 minutes only… then turn the oven down to 200 degrees for one hour.

After one hour at 200 degrees, remove the turkey from the oven and open the foil and parchment. Flip the bird over and tightly close up the parchment and foil again. Return to the oven at 200 degrees and roast for another hour.

After this next hour, you’ll need to be especially aware of the internal temperature before finishing the bird in the oven. Measure the temperature by piercing deep into the thigh. Look for a final temperature of 142-148 degrees. (148-160 for more doneness)

Remove the bird after the two hours at 200 degrees and remove the parchment and foil allowing the juices to pool in the roasting pan. Crank the oven up to 375 (425 for non convection) and return the bird (breast side up again) to the oven until well browned and cooked to your desired cooking temp of 142-148.  Expect a touch of pink near the joints for these temps but if you prefer a less moist bird you can cook it further. See above.

Note: USDA recommends 180 for poultry, sadly this will result in the dried out birds of our childhoods…

Once the bird has reached temp remove and place the turkey on a wood cutting board or platter to rest for one hour! Don’t forget to tip the bird in the roasting pan, you want to make sure to get all of those juices out for gravy… Resting for an hour will allow all the juices to disperse back into the flesh and give you the perfect crown jewel of the table this holiday, so don’t skip.  If you can keep the bird in a warm area while resting (90-105 degrees) it’s best but if not tent it lightly with foil.

Carving the Bird…

Make a cut along the middle of the breast bone, let your knife slice just the side of the bone releasing the breast from the carcass. remove the entire breast and slice on the bias, plating on the platter. Repeat on the other side. Remove the legs using the tip of your knife to release it from the joint. Remove the wings and any under meat if you like or save those parts for left overs.

Making the Gravy…

Drippings from the roasted turkey

1 1/2 cups dry white wine 

1/4 cup flour

2 1/2 – 3 cups broth or potato water (super easy if you are making mashed potatoes with your turkey)

3-4 shallots, minced

2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped fine

Pour the drippings from your roasting pan into a sauce pot, set aside.

Set the roasting pan directly over medium high heat on your stove.

Add the white wine to the pan, careful it will sizzle and pop. Scrape the pan with a wooden spoon while the wine is sizzling, this will deglaze the pan releasing all the little bits into the liquid.

Add the shallots and thyme, keep scrapping and stirring for 5-6 minutes…

Place the sauce pot on a medium-high heat burner. Once hot add the flour and stir until well combined and the flour is smooth.

Continue to stir briskly while slowly adding the wine and shallots mixture. Add in 1/2 cup increments the  potato water to achieve the desired consistency. Keep in mind you may need to adjust the temperature to keep the gravy gently bubbling.

Let the gravy simmer for about 10 minutes before tasting and seasoning with salt and pepper.

The gravy will thicken when cooled at the table but adjust thickness with flour or water for thicker or thinner gravy.

Serve alongside of your perfectly roasted turkey and don’t blame me (or Chef Sullivan) if your guests are not much for conversation, they will be too busy enjoying your turkey!



The “R” word… Riesling, a Pre Holiday Guide to Wine

Quite frankly this year has flown by, in a true “New York minute” , so I can’t believe it’s already October with Halloween around the corner! This marks the start of the holiday season which is fun, wonderful, stressful and sometimes overwhelming so I wanted to share some wine tips along with a time-saving recipe that will leave you with time to relax.

During the holidays we often say to ourselves, “if I only had more hours in the day…” but how often do we say, “me, myself and I are going on a break!”? It’s challenging with all of life’s responsibilities to be thoughtful about ourselves, however, without this precious luxury we fall out of balance. Now I know we all experience a little guilt when taking “me time” but trust me, it will be your saving grace this season and with this recipe you’ll find you might just have that time… to relax!

For this recipe make a batch on Sunday and you’ll have lunch/dinner ready in minutes leaving time for that glass of wine!!!



6-8 large carrots, peeled

2-3 large yams or sweet potatoes

4 cups vegetable stock

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 large shallots

1-2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (skip/add to taste)

1 teaspoon ground ginger (add more to taste)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 handful of flat leaf parsley

1 package fresh goats cheese

2 baking sheets

1 blender or food processor

1 sauce pot

Set your oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the yams and place them on a baking sheet completely naked. Peel the carrots and place them on another baking sheet again naked. Roast the yams and carrots until when pierced with a knife there is no resistance. (I found that my carrots took longer than my yams so keeping them separate will give you better control) Although, if you like your soup a bit more rustic, cook the carrots until they are almost done, they will grind up a bit courser than the potatoes.  Once the vegetables are cooked to perfection, take a pairing knife to slit open the yam skins and peel them off, careful to not burn yourself. Set aside…

In a saucepan, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Set the pan to medium high. Zest the garlic and shallots with a microplane into the olive oil (now you don’t have to chop or blend up the  mixture!) Once it’s lightly golden brown you can reduce the heat to low and begin blending the soup.

Adding the carrots and yams in batches, blend with enough stock to make it loose. Once all the carrots, yams and stock are blended together, return the soup to the saucepan with the garlic and onions. Add the spices except for the salt and pepper, stir to combine. Add the maple syrup and taste…then add the salt/pepper. Return heat to medium to heat through.

At this point you could spoon yourself a bowl but this soup will only benefit from a night in the fridge…just cool before storing.

Serve with a garnish of goat cheese, basil oil, and fresh parsley, serve hot!



Riesling is best known for its German roots however, other countries like France produce some amazing bottles. Feel free to explore, you will find Riesling from all over the world  with benchmarks coming from Germany and France… Things to keep in mind, not all Riesling is sweet but it is generally high in acid and sugar with low alcohol.

On the label you will find one of these terms. This will give you insight to how ripe these grapes were at harvest and respectively, that equates to sugar content.

Trocken = dry

Tafelwein = Table wine…a bit harder to find as most imported Riesling is at least Qualitatswein or higher.

Qualitatswein = Quality wine…somewhat subjective here so ask your wine shop geek if they have tasted this before buying

Kabinett = First off the block in delicious dry quality Riesling. It’s dry, not sweet and generally fantastic with seafood or light game, hint, hint, like turkey.

Spatlese = Harvested riper than Kabinett, the term Spatlese means “late picking”. It’s sometimes sweet and sometimes not, so ask your wine shop if a particular bottle is sweet.  Try pairing the dry with poultry and lobster and the sweet with indian food, the sweet plays well with heat!

Auslese = Almost like a late harvest wine, its name means “out picked” since the berries harvested are hand-picked berry by berry. Most often, this wine is sweet and slightly fuller bodied (thicker) but some are dry and incredibly complex. The acid in this wine disguises the sugars so feel free to experiment with pairings…Perfect for spicy foods, but the dry could charm a pork or veal chop beautifully.

Berenauslese = A favorite of mine…this sweet high acid wine is the perfect pairing for rich foods like foie gras and pork belly.

Trockenberenauslese = Alas, this wine get’s its intense consentrative flavors from botrytis, a noble rot that sucks the moisture out leaving a perfect raisin in its place. Once pressed this tiny berry has just a drop or two to give but what it gives is legendary! Referred to as the “Sauterne” of Germany, entirely botrytised, this super sweet wine is amazingly balanced with striking acid, it’s perfection in a glass.  Savor this wine with a cheese plate post Thanksgiving dinner and your guests will be raving about it for years! (If you want to save a few bucks, go for a similar approach with the berenauslese, just make sure it’s sweet)

So there you have it, Riesling is not that complicated now that you know what to look for and since you have a spare moment thanks to my time-saving soup recipe, you can finally relax!