Sunday, December 27, 2020

Pignoli Cookies

 From my italian American friend who gave me homemade pignoli Cookies for Christmas, here's the recipe:

I was amazed at how unique these taste. Then after baking them I am now amazed at how easy they are to make.  
I didn't have enough almonds nor any almond extract, so I added orange zest and a dab of honey (both options I found in different recipes for this cookie). 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Vegetarian Pho


Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
3 Frontier whole cloves
2 star anise
1 large white onion*, peeled and quartered
4-inch piece of fresh ginger*, peeled and halved lengthwise
4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable stock or broth
4 cups water usually it uses 8 cups stock/broth... since combining with water make sure to use salt!
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
6 ounces (one large handful) rice noodles
1 tablespoon avocado oil, mild extra-virgin olive oil or your neutral-flavored oil of choice
5 ounces thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms

Mung bean sprouts
Sprigs of fresh basil (use Thai basil if you can find it) or cilantro
Sprigs of fresh mint
Thinly sliced green onions (mostly green parts)
Very thinly sliced fresh jalapeño (omit if sensitive to spice)
Small wedges of lime

  • Pot 1 "30 MINUTES" Warm a medium soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. 
    • Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise and toast until fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. 
    • Add the onion, ginger, vegetable stock, water and tamari. 
    • Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. 
    • Simmer for 30 minutes to give the flavors time to meld.
  • Pot 2 In the meantime, prepare your rice noodles by cooking them according to package directions. Set them aside.
  • Pot 3 To prepare the shiitake mushrooms, warm the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and a few dashes of salt. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, about 4 to 6 minutes, then set them aside.  Or maybe I can use Pot 2 for this part once the noodles have been strained and set aside.
  • Back to Pot 1 Once the broth is done cooking, strain out the onions, ginger and spices (this is easiest with a small metal sieve, but you can also strain the mixture through a colander into another large bowl). Season it to taste with extra tamari and/or salt until the flavors of the spices really shine.
  • Ladle the broth into bowls, add cooked noodles and mushrooms, and fresh garnishes to your heart’s content (don’t forget the lime!). Serve immediately, with chopsticks and soup spoons.

*FOR EVEN MORE FLAVOR: Char your onions and ginger before adding them to the pot. If you go this route, just slice the onion in half (instead of quarters), and don’t peel the ginger. You have a few options on how to char them—you can supposedly char them with metal tongs over a gas flame (I don’t have gas, so I couldn’t try this), or broil them, cut sides down, on a baking sheet, or—the most reliable method—roast them, cut sides down, on a baking sheet, on the upper rack in a 500 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
**Receipt from Cookie + Kate

Friday, November 13, 2020

Vegan Mushroom Pie (Tastes like Shepard's Pie)


2 tablespoons + 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided (30 mL + 45 mL, divided)

2 onions, chopped

4 cups white mushrooms (700 g)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp ground allspice (2.5ml)

2 tablespoons soy sauce (30 ml)

1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons tomato paste (30 ml)

1 can (14 oz/398 ml) coconut milk (full fat, do not use light)

salt and pepper to taste

4 sheets phylio pastry (instead of phylio pastry, I put a layer of mashed potatoes below and above)

4 cups baby spinach (110 g)

For added protein, you can also add in one of the layers either cooked lentils or vegan 'meat' crumbles


1. Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C).

2. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons (30 mL) oil. Brown mushrooms and onions for 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Add garlic, allspice, soy sauce, maple syrup, and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for 2 minutes.

4. Stir in coconut milk, mix well and COOK UNTIL THE SAUCE THICKENS , about 10 to 15 minutes.

5. On a lightly floured surface, using 3 tablespoons (45 mL) oil, lightly brush one sheet of phyllo with oil. Cover with a second sheet and brush lightly with oil again. Repeat for all 4 layers of phyllo.

6. Place prepared phyllo sheets in 9X5 in. (23X13 cm) bread pan, making sure one side overlaps (allowing you to fold it over once mixture has been added).

7. Pour mushroom mixture over phyllo and garnish with spinach leaves.

8. Fold phyllo dough over and lightly brush with oil.

9. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

10. Note: Canned coconut milk should contain only coconut or sometimes a thickening agent like guar gum but no sugar ao anything else added.

Recipe from The Buddhist Chef.

Pairs well with oven roasted fire salted brussels and red wine.