Vegan Tomato Basil Soup

Vegan Tomato Basil Soup

I’ve been feeling like a refresh and reset—on this soup. Coming off the cleanse and back into my old eating (and drinking fine wine) habits, I’ve definitely noticed a shift in my mood, my energy and my ability to slip into my jeans. It’s probably time to go back to clean eating. So step one is to refresh and find new ways to clean-up my old recipes, starting with an old favorite: this tomato basil soup. Instead of using heavy cream, I subbed in plain coconut yogurt that gave this soup a tangy taste that I definitely don’t hate. It was actually a nice take on this heartier soup, just in time for spring.

Vegan Tomato Basil Soup
Ingredients

2 lbs. tomatoes (Romas are so good!), quartered and deseeded
4 cloves of garlic
1 yellow onion, halfed and sliced
2 tbsp.  olive oil
1 cup of coconut yogurt (your substitute for heavy cream!)
2 handfuls of basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups water
Cracked red pepper
Salt & pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and coat the onion, garlic and tomatoes with the olive oil and salt & pepper. Place in a heavy, oven-proof pot or a cookie sheet.

2. Cook for 45 minutes. They’ll be ready for soup once they’re mostly broken down and crumble at the touch of a spoon.

3. Transfer your baked goods into a pot on medium-high heat. Add in your water, chopped basil and cracked red pepper, boil then simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Once your soup has simmered, transfer your soup into a blender or use an immersion blender to puree your soup. Before you blend, add in your coconut yogurt for that trademark creaminess. Blend away and enjoy!

Hearty (But Healthy) Sausage & Bean Soup

Hearty Sausage and bean soup

It’s been a week since our plane touched down from an 8-day stint in Oaxaca City. Per usual, San Francisco welcomed me back with it’s chilly, grey arms then initiated started a 24-hour downpour as the cherry on top. At this point, spring just seems like a mythical season that San Franciscans can only dream of.  To warm up my hardened black heart towards this city and its weather I looked to the queen of organic luxury, Gwynnie P., for a soup recipe to get me through the next few days. I’m usually crafting up my own, but GP is just such an inspiration that I had to spring for the $5 vegetable broth to get this recipe exactly right.

Hearty (But Healthy) Sausage & Bean Soup (c/o Goop)
Ingredients

2 spicy sausage links (pork or chicken)
1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of mini carrots, diced
1 bunch of swiss chard, de-stemmed and torn
1 Tokyo turnip, diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can of cannellini beans
1 tsp. red chili flakes
1-quart vegetable or chicken stock
Cracked black pepper and salt to taste
4 tbsp. cold pressed olive oil

1. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot (hi, dutch oven!) on medium-high and add in 2 tbsp. of your olive oil. Meanwhile, remove your sausages from their casings and break your sausage up into half-inch chunks. Brown your sausage bits in the pot, then promptly remove from heat and set them aside in a separate bowl.

2.  Don’t waste those delicious sausage drippings! Leave them in the pan, then add the onions, garlic and dried thyme. Caramelize these for 10 minutes (or until they’re a translucent tan), then add your carrot bits. Saute the carrots for another 10 minutes.

3. After you’ve sauteed until your heart’s content, add in your diced tomatoes, turnip, butternut squash and stock. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low to simmer for 45 minutes.

4. Once your turnips and butternut squash split with the touch of a fork, add in your already cooked sausage, cannellini beans and swiss chard. Simmer on low for another 20 minutes then you’re ready to serve. Enjoy!

Kimchi Deviled Eggs

Kimchi Deviled Egg recipe

Three weeks has quietly flown by, like a tiny little sparrow. Just kidding, I was gritting my teeth every time I saw anything resembling a pastry. Every time I walked by a coffee shop, I had to talk myself down from the ledge of caffeine. This week, I’ll start the reintroduction phase, but I’m going to throw it back to the start when I was totally jazzed on the elimination diet and whipped up these elimination diet-friendly eggs.

Kimchi Deviled Eggs 
Ingredients

6 large, free-range eggs
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/3 cup kimchi and kimchi juice
2 tsp. coconut aminos (sub for soy sauce)
1 tbsp. black sesame seeds
1 tbsp. gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)*
Salt, to taste

1. For perfect, hard-boiled eggs, bring water to a boil then add your eggs. Let them cook for 10 minutes, then promptly remove them and place into a bowl of ice water.

Tip: When it’s time to crack your eggs, crack them from the bottom! Trust me—that wider end has a hollow spot that makes it easy to peel off the shell.

2. Use a food processor to finely chop your kimchi. Combine your egg yolks, sesame oil, kimchi, kimchi juice, coco aminos and gochujang together and use a fork to blend until smooth.

3. Create a makeshift piping bag by cutting a small corner off of a Ziploc bag. Spoon your egg yolk mixture into the bag, then fill your boiled eggs up. Top off with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and enjoy!

*I was on a nightshade-free elimination diet plan. So if you are too, skip the gochujang!

Chimichurri Roasted Salmon

Chimichurri roasted salmon recipe

Week one of Elimination Diet 2017 has been going. Well? Can’t say that—but I can say that I have gone through it with resolute strength at that creamy, roasted smell of the coffee shop on my corner every morning. Plus, I haven’t even grabbed a slice of pizza or deliciously buttery pastry at my weakest! Instead, I’ve been a slave to my diet and cooking everything du jour dans ma cuisine. Plus, I’ve embraced rabbit food salad as an actual lunch food group. Every time I pick up an unfamiliar snack or go grocery shopping, I pick everything up and read the nutrition label on the back—I must look like the confused math lady. But, it’s been somewhat fun figuring out what I can and cannot eat, plus I’m actually really impressed with myself that I haven’t caved (fingers crossed it won’t happen tomorrow). I  guess I’m not doing a great job at selling this elimination diet.

Read this part if you want to know the good parts: I cooked this delicious roasted salmon recipe and ate it with mashed sweet potatoes on the side. It’s totally elimination diet-friendly (no dairy, no gluten, no nightshades) and protein-packed. Another benefit of this diet? My jeans are feeling a little less snug!

Chimichurri Roasted Salmon
Ingredients

1 salmon filet
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

1. Preheat your oven to boil. To make your chimichurri, combine all of your fresh herbs, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper into a food processor. Process until your herbs are finely chopped.

2. I like to cook any fish in parchment paper or foil—it keeps it really moist and flavorful. Set a piece of foil, large enough to fold into a tent over your salmon, in an oven safe pan or tray. Coat your salmon in your chimichurri mix and bake for 10-12 minutes. An easy tip to make sure salmon is cooked? If it’s flaking easily with the touch of a fork, it’s ready to eat. Enjoy!

White Bean and Beef Chili

Chipotle White Bean and Beef Chili

I’m two days into an elimination diet. It’s going well, thanks for asking. What’s been the hardest thing to cut out? Hm, I would have to say my morning coffee (esp. when you stayed out till 4 a.m. this weekend). For the next 21 days, I’ll be avoiding all things dairy, soy, alcohol, coffee, non-grass fed produce, grains and processed food. While I’ve been planning my diet-friendly meals, I realized that most of what I eat aligns with the elimination plan. Really, it’s all about eating whole, fresh and seasonal. But back to this chili—even though it was a three-day weekend, I was all about staying at home, getting caught up on some records that I needed to listen to and hunker down from the cold. So I reached for my adobo-soaked chipotles (my current favorite) and grass fed ground beef and went to chili-town.

White Bean and Beef Chili

White Bean and Beef Chili 
Ingredients

28 oz. canned and peeled tomatoes (try to get a BPA-free jar!)
20-23 oz. cooked and drained pochas beans (or you can use cannelli or navy beans)
1 adobo-soaked chipotle pepper
1 lb. grass fed ground beef*
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and cracked black pepper
Olive oil

1. In a heavy bottomed pan on medium-high heat, saute your onions, garlic, bell pepper, chipotle pepper and spices together until the onions are slightly translucent or about 10 minutes.

2. Heat another pan to medium-high heat and brown your ground beef with salt and cracked black pepper. Browning meat takes a solid 15 minutes, you want your meat to look edible, so look for a taupe-brown color, not a light grey. It’s called browning for a reason!

3. Once your onions and spices have seared, add in your canned tomatoes and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes, then break apart your tomatoes with the back of a spoon.

4. Once your meat has browned, add it to your tomatoes, then add in your beans. Simmer for another 15 minutes and then take out the chipotle chili before serving.

5. If you’re not on a cleanse, serve it with cheese or sour cream on top. Or if you’re like me, try it with avocados. Enjoy!

*Grass-fed beef is cleanse-friendly! Cattle feed often contains soy and other additives which make it’s way into your meat.

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Kale and Chorizo

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Chorizo and Kale

It’s raining, it’s pouring and I was snoring until 10 a.m. on Sunday. The biggest storm of 2017 (I hope) is hitting San Francisco, which made it optimal soup weather but not optimal leave the house weather. But when a soup craving calls, I have to pick up the phone. This soup is creamy, but has no cream, is spicy, but doesn’t burn your taste buds off and is hearty, but won’t make you feel sluggish. Plus, it only takes an hour tops to prep and cook.

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Kale and Chorizo
Ingredients

1 1.5 lb. sweet potato, cubed
1 tsp. ground cumin
3 cloves of garlic
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
3 cups vegetable broth
1 link of organic chorizo, sliced
3 cups of chopped kale
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Preheat your oven to 450°. Get your sweet potatoes ready for roasting by coating them with olive oil, cumin, cracked black pepper and salt. Add in your garlic cloves and adobo-soaked chipotle. Pop into the oven for 25 minutes or until soft and slightly golden.

2. In a separate pot, bring water to a boil and blanch your chopped kale for 30 seconds to tenderize them.

3. Once your sweet potatoes have roasted, use a blender or immersion blender to puree the potato, garlic and chipotle pepper in batches. Gradually add in vegetable broth as you blend.

4. In a heavy bottomed pot, brown your chorizo, then add in your newly pureed sweet potato broth and add in your blanched kale. Simmer for 15 minutes, then enjoy!

Mexican Beef Stew

Mexican Beef Stew Recipe

It’s getting frosty over here in San Francisco! It’s officially coat, cuffing and cooking soup season so there’s a 100% chance that I’ll be in the kitchen trying to warm up. The first winter soup to make the cut was this Mexican Beef Stew with rice. Think: Tender beef, a citrusy kick and a subtle spice that’s not too overwhelming.

Mexican Beef Stew
Ingredients

5 tomatillos, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 lb. beef stew meat
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp.chili powder
4 dried chili de arbol
1 jalapeno, sliced thinly
1 bunch cilantro stems
6 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp. honey
Salt and cracked red pepper
Lime wedges

1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, bring your vegetable broth, dry spices, chili de arbol onion and cilantro stems to a boil. Bring them back down to a simmer and add in the beef, cilantro stems, onion, jalapeno, tomatillos and honey to the mix.

2. Meanwhile, use a rice cooker or a pot with equal parts water and rice to whip up some rice. You’ll be putting this at the bottom of your bowl when you serve up your soup.

3. Cook soup for about an 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the stew meat is fully cooked. Spoon rice into your bowl, then cover with soup. For an extra tangy kick, squeeze in some fresh lime juice and garnish with a few cilantro leaves. Enjoy!

Spicy Clam Linguine with Roma Tomatoes

Clam Linguine Pasta with TomatoesBack at it again with another easy to make, but will quietly blow someone’s socks off meal. In my humble opinion, if you add seafood and herbs to anything, the meals instantly upgraded from #basic to “oooh, you fancy”. This recipe is perfect for putting on some good tunes (or podcast), cracking open a bottle of wine, using some of it for this recipe and then drinking the rest. This pasta sauce is meant to be spicy, but you can tone it down or up depending on how much wine you plan on drinking. 

Spicy Clam Linguine with Roma Tomatoes
Ingredients
1 lb. Manila clams
1 cup, unsalted butter
1 cup, dry white whine
5 roma tomatoes, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 handful of linguine pasta

Clam cleaning tip: Before you cook your clams, let them soak in a bowl of water for at least 20 minutes. Once they’ve soaked, scrub them with a soft bristle brush under cool, running water. There you have it, grit-free clams! 

1. In a large pot, bring enough water for your pasta and a pinch of salt to a boil. In a separate pan, begin to melt the butter on medium heat. 

2. Once your stick of butter is about halfway melted, bring the heat down to medium-low. Add in your tomatoes and garlic to the mix. 

3. Once your water is boiling, add in your pasta and cook for 8-9 minutes, or whatever you prefer. Drain and rinse with cool water. As for the sauce, before all of the butter melts away add in the clams, white wine, pepper and thyme. 

4. Bring the sauce down to low and allow the clams to simmer with the sauce. 

Tip: If some clams don’t open up within 15 minutes, they have died and gone to clam heaven. AKA, they’re no good so don’t even try to open them! 

4. Add in your freshly cooked pasta to the sauce pan and mix everything together. Cover with some fresh Parmesan and serve. Enjoy! 


Skillet Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Skillet Egg in Spicy Tomato Sauce

I’ve done it. I’ve found the one, the breakfast dish that I’ll make for any and all morning visitors that I have. It’s easy, requires less than 10 ingredients and is perfect alongside one or two cups of coffee. First, you let the sauce simmer with a bunch of herbs and spices, then you take a few eggs to throw in there so that you can scoop them up later with toast. Visitors and houseguests, you are welcome in advance.

Skillet Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Ingredients

3-5 eggs
1 can unsalted and peeled Marzano tomatoes
1 tsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. cracked red pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Chives, finely chopped

1. In a cast iron skillet or a heavy bottomed pan, mix your tomatoes, garlic and spices together and bring to a quick boil with just a few bubbles popping. Once it gets to a boil, bring it down to a simmer on low heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Once your tomato sauce has simmered and gotten flavorful, use a spoon to make small craters in the sauce. Crack your eggs directly over the pan and let them fall into those little craters. Top with a little bit more cracked red and black pepper and let them cook until the egg whites are white (duh).

3. Serve the skillet eggs directly out of the pan with toasted bread with butter. Enjoy!

Banana Mango Chia Seed Smoothie

Banana Mango Chia Seed Smoothie

After a weekend away in Seattle, a stream of plates being served to me at Walrus and the Carpenter, Bateau, Kin Khao and Nojo Ramen (okay, and takeout sushi, let’s not kid ourselves here), I was craving something fresh and homemade. On top of that, embracing my last month on the young side of my twenties has let me drink some really great cocktails and wine.

Once upon a time, smoothies were my go-to breakfast, until they were replaced by even quicker grab-and-go options. But with this most recent bout of stuffing my face, I’ve returned to my blended roots and whipped up a protein-packed smoothie to help me start the day (whether it’s at 7 a.m. or noon).

Banana Mango Chia Seed Smoothie
Ingredients

2 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 cup milk kefir
1/4 cup mango juice
2 bananas, frozen then sliced
1/2 cup frozen mangoes

For this smoothie, I tried out milk kefir—a tangy, thick variation of milk made from kefir starters that resemble the consistency of cottage cheese. It’s lauded as being better for those with sensitive stomachs and packs in probiotics to boot. And chia seeds? Did you know that these pencil-tip sized seeds are packed with protein, calcium, antioxidants and fiber.

1. In a small bowl, combine your milk kefir and mango juice with your chia seeds. Let these rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours—the seeds will expand and get soft!

2. Once your chia seeds have soaked, combine all of your ingredients into a blender and enjoy!