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Chef Barry’s Pecan Mousse and Sweet Potato Chips

From the story A Vegan Holiday Feast Illustration by Julia Cost

2 cups pecans 
1 small yellow onion, diced small
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Salt and pepper 
Safflower or vegetable oil
1 sweet potato, thinly sliced on the bias

To make the mousse: Preheat oven to 350°. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes.

Caramelize the diced onion by heating 1 tablespoon oil to medium-high in a sauté pan. Add the diced onion and lower heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally until the onion has become a rich golden brown.

Place caramelized onions in the jar of a blender along with the toasted pecans and maple syrup. Blend the mixture, adding water as needed to get a smooth consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the chips: In a pot, heat as much oil as you need to keep the chips submerged. A cooking thermometer is recommended to keep the oil temperature at 375°. Using metal tongs, place each sweet potato slice in the oil. You can add as many as will fit with room around each. They will float and change color fairly quickly. Fry the sweet potato chips until crispy and golden on both sides.… Read More

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Chef Colleen’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Toasted Pistachios

From the story A Vegan Holiday Feast, Illustration by Julia Cost

Serves 4 to 6

1½ pounds Brussels sprouts (about 40 sprouts), ends trimmed and cut in half, if large
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons nondairy butter, such as Earth Balance
4 small-medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup pistachios

Preheat oven to 425°.

Place the Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet, and place on center oven rack.

Roast 20 to 40 minutes, shaking pan several times for even browning. Brussels sprouts should be dark brown when done. 

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or sauté pan, melt the nondairy butter over low-medium heat. Add the onions and sugar; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions turn dark golden brown and are caramelized, about 30 minutes.

While the onions and Brussels sprouts are cooking, toast the pistachios at 200° in a toaster oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool, and coarsely chop.

Toss cooked onions and Brussels sprouts with the toasted pistachios and serve hot or at room temperature in a pretty serving bowl. 

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Chef Barry’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy

From the story A Vegan Holiday Feast, Illustration by Julia Cost

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 medium russet potatoes, large dice
3 tablespoons vegan butter
¼ cup hemp milk
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Slice the top off the garlic head to expose the tips of the cloves. Brush the bulb with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes.

Place diced potatoes in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cooking until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat, drain potatoes, and place in a mixing bowl.

Remove the baked cloves of garlic from the peel by squeezing them into the bowl of potatoes. Add the vegan butter and hemp milk and mash until thoroughly mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mushroom Gravy
¼ cup vegan butter
1 onion, small dice
1 cup crimini mushrooms, chopped
Several sprigs fresh thyme (use leaves and discard stems)
¼ cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon salt
1½–2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the vegan butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté 2 minutes.… Read More

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Roasted Watermelon Radishes

From What’s in Season by Barbara Kobsar  Illustration by Caroline H. Gould

 

Serves 4

1 pound watermelon radishes, trim off top and root
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon minced thyme, rosemary, or basil (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut prepared radishes into ½-inch wedges. Mix radishes with olive oil in a 2-quart baking dish and dot with butter. Roast, stirring occasionally, until fork tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and herbs to serve.

Veteran journalist Barbara Kobsar has authored two cookbooks focusing on traditional home-cooked meals using local produce. You’ll find her each week at the Walnut Creek Farmers’ Market selling her Cottage Kitchen jams and jellies made from farmers’ market produce.

Berkeley-based illustrator and musician Caroline H. Gould is a transplant from Brooklyn, New York. She is especially fond of illustrating desserts. carolinehgould.com

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Perfumed Matsutake Rice

From Urban Forager: Matsu=Pine, Take=Mushroom by Anthony Tassinello

3 cups Japanese rice
3 cups water
2 or 3 small “number one” matsutake
1 abura-age – fried tofu (optional)
¼ cup sake
¼ cup soy sauce

Begin by washing the rice in several changes of cold water, repeating the process until the water becomes clear. Drain the rice thoroughly. Add rice and water to rice cooker and let stand for 30 minutes. In the meantime clean the mushrooms of all loose dirt using a firm brush or paring knife. You may peel back a bit of the thin outer layer if overly dirty. Using the large holes of a box grater, shred the mushrooms lengthwise into long strands. Alternatively, if using your hands, pull apart into small rough pieces of the same size. If using the optional fried tofu, cut into strips. Add the mushrooms, tofu, sake and soy sauce to the rice cooker, cover and follow manufacturer’s instructions for cooking.

Serves 6 as part of a larger meal

Resist the urge to treat matsutake in a western style cooking fashion (i.e., sautéing or frying in fat) as the essence of the mushroom will be lost and will result in a bland, tough dish.… Read More

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Zucchini, Two Ways

 
As the weather warms up, zucchini and other summer squash are plentiful at local farmers’ markets. Chef Maria Capdevielle, a cooking instructor at Kitchen on Fire, shares two of her favorite zucchini recipes to enhance your summertime meals.
 
Roasted Zucchini with Mint Pesto
 
For the pesto:
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup loosely packet fresh mint leaves
1 large clove fresh garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  
For the zucchini:
4 zucchini
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon pepper
 
To make the pesto, process all the pesto ingredients together in a food processor or blender.
 
To make the zucchini, preheat oven to 400°F. Thinly slice zucchini lengthwise, brush lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper. Roast 25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Alternatively you can grill them one minute on each side. Remove and cool. Spread about 1 teaspoon of pesto on one side of each grilled zucchini slice; roll up and serve.
 
 
Zucchini Blossom Fritters


 
Chef Capdevielle recommends these fritters as a perfect summer appetizer.… Read More

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The Fork’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Toma, Peach Chutney, and Basil


Makes 4 sandwiches

Peach Chutney:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
4 firm but ripe peaches (about 1½ pounds), pitted and cut into 1-inch chunks
½ teaspoon salt

Sandwich:
8 slices whole wheat sourdough bread
8 ounces Point Reyes Toma, shredded
4 ounces Point Reyes Fresh Mozzarella, drained and pulled apart
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
4 tablespoons butter, softened

To make the chutney: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and sauté for about 30 seconds, until they begin to pop. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 3–4 minutes. Stir in sugar, vinegar, ginger, and pepper flakes. Cook until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Add peaches and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fruit is tender and a thick syrup has formed. Stir in salt. Remove from heat.

To make sandwiches: Spread four slices of bread with a tablespoon each of chutney. Distribute Toma and mozzarella evenly over chutney. Finish with fresh basil. Press remaining bread slices firmly on top. Butter outside of the top and bottom slices of bread.… Read More

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Citrus Braised Fennel

From the story What’s in Season? Fennel by Barbara Kobsar

This recipe come to us from Bay Wolf Restaurant in Oakland, where monthly menus highlight the season’s prime ingredients, often following traditional uses from the regional cuisines of the Mediterranean. Michael Wild, founding owner and executive chef, confirms our accolades for fennel and dedicates a whole month to this versatile vegetable.

 

citrus-fennel-22 fennel bulbs
Chopped zest and juice of 4 oranges
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoon honey
2 thyme springs
1 cup white wine
black peppercorns
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut fennel into ¼-inch slices, coat with olive oil and season well. Arrange in a single layer in an ovenproof dish. Roast the fennel for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, in a saucepan bring to a boil the orange juice, vinegar, honey, thyme and black peppercorns. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Strain the orange juice mixture and pour over the fennel cook for another 20 minutes.

Remove the liquid left to a saucepan and reduce to a glaze, then pour back over the fennel.

Can be served hot or room temperature.

Serves 8

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Tian of Fennel and Kabocha 

From the story What’s in Season? Fennel by Barbara Kobsar

This recipe come to us from Bay Wolf Restaurant in Oakland, where monthly menus highlight the season’s prime ingredients, often following traditional uses from the regional cuisines of the Mediterranean. Michael Wild, founding owner and executive chef, confirms our accolades for fennel and dedicates a whole month to this versatile vegetable.

Bay Wolf Chef de Cuisine Louis Le Gassic

Bay Wolf Chef de Cuisine Louis Le Gassic

2 bulbs fennel cut into ¼ inch slices
½ kabocha peeled and seeded and sliced into ¼ inch slices
1 small red onion sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
4 tablespoon grated Reggiano

Toss the cut fennel, kabocha and red onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place into an ovenproof baking dish and drizzle the water throughout the dish. Put into a preheated 350-degree oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the fennel and kabocha are soft.

Top with breadcrumbs and Reggiano. Return to oven and bake until golden brown. Serve hot.

Serves 8

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Squash Blossom ‘Poppers’

Photo by Cheryl Koehler

Photo by Cheryl Koehler

By Barbara Llewellyn Catering and Event Planning

12 unopened squash blossoms (edge of tip removed)
½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup goat cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoon each: chopped chive, parsley, thyme, dill
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt

for batter:
4 egg whites beaten to soft peaks
½ cup milk
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt

Mix cheeses, cream, herbs and salt and pepper together with a whisk until creamy. Fill a pastry bag and pipe in cheese mixture (approx. ½ tablespoon) into each blossom. Push tip with finger to seal.

Mix flour and milk, add salt. Gently fold into egg whites. Dip filled blossom into batter and fry in oil (350 degrees) for 2 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with lemon zest and parsley and serve warm.

Barbara Llewellyn Catering & Event Planning
434 25th St., Oakland
(510) 832-1967
www.BarbaraLlewellyn.com

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