Vietri Desserts

This past week, I was lucky enough to work on a custom project for a store in Eton, La Bella Vita.  La Bella Vita sells many different kinds of beautiful hand crafted plate wares, and they had an event coming up for an incredible Italian line they carry, VIETRI.  Barbara approached Vegan Sweet Tooth with an idea to create cupcakes and cookies that emulate the painting designs on the plates that they sell. It took three bakers/artists three days to hand paint these fondant pieces, and pipe the words on the cookies.  It is clear that all the hard work paid off, and the founder of Vietri, as well as the owner of La Bella Vita were blown away!  I took a few images to show you…Enjoy!

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Fresh Lemon Quinoa-Slaw with Baked Salmon

Today Cleveland was an uncommonly sunny, and 65 degree day, and the entire city was out enjoying the amazing weather.  If there is one thing about Clevelanders, it is that they know how to take advantage of a warm day in March.  I had an incredibly busy weekend helping my boyfriend’s sister move, and today the day off was well deserved.  I spent the day pretending like spring had arrived and I could not stop imagining the crisp salads, and light meals that come with warm weather.  So, after the two-hour walk with the golden retriever Samantha, it was decided that we were going to have a fresh, crisp, lemony healthy dinner, in honor of the spring like weather.

As usual, I spent a fair portion of the afternoon perusing numerous websites, pinning on pinterest, and compiling my personal recipe in my head.  I am never satisfied with just one, so I combine them all, and that is how I came up with my “Lemon Quinoa-Slaw”.  I essentially combined a vinegar based coleslaw recipe, with a Tabboulah recipe, while replacing the Bulgar with Quinoa. Let me begin to explain the process.  I started with 1 cup of quinoa, and 1 cup of vegetable stock boiling and then simmering on the stove for about 15 minutes.  While that was working, I chopped up the parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, and red pepper, and combined it with the shredded cabbage.  After all the chopping was done, I made the vinaigrette for the salad.  I combined the juice of 2 lemons, with 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, and whisked in about 3/4 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  At that time the quinoa was finished, I fluffed it, and tossed everything together.  When you ate a spoonful of it, you immediately got a burst of citrus from the lemon, and was followed with the tangy vinegar.  The texture of the coleslaw, with the quinoa worked perfectly.  Each bite was crisp, savory, and tangy at the same time.  DELICIOUS!

I paired the Quinoa-Slaw with Balsamic Baked Salmon, and roasted broccoli.  I cranked the oven up to 375*, threw the broccoli on on side of asheet pan with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper, and the other half of the sheet pan was the salmon drizzled with balsamic vinegar.  Bake for 15 minute, and you have yourself a meal.

This meal was crisp, fresh, clean and delicious.  Not to mention it provided came along with essential amino acids from the Salmon, loads of protein from the quinoa, and my vitamins that I need from the broccoli.  It is also a meal that is friendly to my boyfriends Crohn’s disease as well.  So it is a home run in my book!

Food is Art is Life.

Vegetable Lasagna

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Vegetable Lasagna was the challenge today, and I succeeded.  I live by the motto “Food is Art is Life”, and I work it into my everyday as much as possible.  My life is surrounded by food, considering I own a vegan bakery.  But today on a not so lazy Sunday I decided to take my lasagna to a new vegetarian level.  I spent hours reading different recipes from all over the web, and decided to come up with my oven vegetarian/vegan able version, and by that I mean, this recipe can EASILY be vegan if you substituted vegan cheese.  I used earth balance butter, and almond milk to make my bechamel sauce, considering that is what I use everyday.  I used regular Ricotta cheese, regular mozzarella cheese, as well as parmesan cheese, but if you substitute those out for the vegan versions you could have a vegan winner.

The process was a bit lengthy, as is any Lasagna, so you may want to pour yourself a glass of wine and set aside two hours.  I started with cooking the noodles for 5 minutes in salted boiling water.  While that was working I chopped all my veggies.  I used 1 zucchini, 2 carrots, 1 sweet vidalia onion, 1/2 small container mushrooms, 1 red bell pepper, and a HUGE handful of fresh baby spinach.  I sauted those with 3 cloves of minced garlic and olive oil for about 5 minutes.  I was very careful not to over cook the veggies so they did not turn to mush in the oven.  After I drained the pasta, and cooked the veggies I set those both aside and began the bechamel sauce.  My version is not a classic version, I “veganized” it a little bit.  By that I mean, I made a roux with 2 T of Earth Balance vegan butter, and 2T of flour and cooked that for about two minutes stirring out the lumps.  I then whisked in 2 cups of almond milk, that is a personal preference because I do not drink cows milk anymore.  While whisking constantly I raised the temperature to medium high, and let the sauce thicken.  I then stirred in 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, and set aside to cool.  After I finished the sauce I shredded my mozzarella cheese, got a tub of ricotta out and was ready to assemble.  You know the drill..noodle…sauce…cheese…veggies…noodle..sauce…cheese…veggies etc, you get the point.  I topped it with a final layer of noodles, and cheese, dollops of “butter” and in she went to my pre heated 375* oven.  I baked her for 45 minutes covered, and 20 minutes uncovered.  Once she was nice and bubbly I let her rest on the counter (while I took pictures) and made a salad to go with it, and Voila!

This one is going in the files for the future cook book that may or may not ever happen 😉

Food is Art is Life

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To pinterest or to not pinterest…

I have been trying to figure out what to do with my photography lately, and haven’t had much time to work on it, so I thought I would post some of my older images to inspire you, and hopefully inspire myself!   ENJOY!

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirlooms from Lincoln Square Market

Now is the time in Chicago where all the markets, festivals, and events are in full swing.  My favorite part is the markets.  I live in Lincoln Square, and we now have two markets a week with fresh vegetable, flower, cheese, and sweets.  You name it, our market has it.  The one thing that caught my eye last week, were the heirloom tomatoes.  Clearly the colors of the tomatoes were what initially caught my eye.  The market was filled with them, so many reds, purples, greens, and ZEBRA colored tomatoes.  I must have been standing at the basket of tomatoes for 15 minutes trying to decide which colors were my favorite.  While I was standing there, the workers began to notice my unavoidable interest and inability to make a decision, so they started talking to me about the tomatoes.  It is so nice to be able to literally talk to the farmer that grew the food that you are buying.  I started asking how heirloom tomatoes come about.  The farmer broke it down for me, essentially telling me about seed saving.  The farmers save the seeds of the tomatoes, clean them, and reuse them.  Upon doing so, the tomatoes start to change in a way that no others can.  They form the different colors, and have an incredibly different shape.  The tomatoes above were cultivated by seeds that have been saved and used for over 50 years!  INCREDIBLE!  I couldn’t wait to get home and take pictures of these bad boys.  I had a great time at the farmers market learning about Heirlooms and now I get to share my little knowledge of them with you.  I had a salad last night with them in it, and they taste amazing.  They have much more flavor than most tomatoes I have bought at the supermarket.  Granted, they are more expensive, but the visual appearance, and the taste are well worth the extra $1.  So go to your local market and have fun…I know I did.