vegan food

chef to farm dinner!

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This past Friday I was honored to be Max Restaurant Group’s guest chef for their final chef to farm dinner of the season at Rosedale Farms in Simsbury, CT. This was the first vegan dinner they have ever done, and it was sold out!

In collaboration with Max’s Oyster Bar’s executive chef & culinary genius Scott Miller, we created a delicious five course gourmet seasonal vegan menu. Everything was local- from the gorgeous produce and wine from Rosedale Farms, to the kettle baked tofu from The Bridge, aged cashew cheese from Dr. Cow, and gluten free breads from Dee’s One Smart Cookie. It was a celebration of farmers, foodies, veggies and nutmeggers! Below are some of the photos from the evening. A big heartfelt thank you to all who attended and supported this amazing event!

Rosedale Farms & our chef to table dinner tent nestled within the vineyard
Rosedale Farms & our chef to table dinner tent nestled within the vineyard
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no farm is complete without a chunky red barn
guests enjoying hors d'ouvres & cocktails before dinner
guests enjoying the hors d’ouvres & cocktails before dinner
vegetable foodscapes with roasted red pepper hummus & herbed cashew ranch dip
vegetable foodscapes with roasted red pepper hummus & herbed cashew ranch dip
there was so much love and support from everyone, especially my beautiful mom
feeling so much love and support from everyone, especially my beautiful mom
tofu ceviche. avocado puree. corn nuts.
tofu ceviche with avocado puree & corn nuts.
all of the wine was made right here at Rosedale Farm!
all of the wine was made right here at Rosedale Farms!
plating the amuse bouche- roasted beets, smoked cashews & my homemade herbed cashew brie
plating the amuse bouche- roasted beets, smoked cashews & my homemade herbed cashew brie
baby kale salad with tahini caesar dressing, fried tofu croutons, toasted sunflower seeds & aged cashew cheese shavings
baby kale salad with tahini caesar dressing, fried tofu croutons, toasted sunflower seeds & aged cashew cheese shavings
giving my thanks and explaining the meal
giving my thanks and explaining the meal while trying to keep my delicious beet negroni from spilling
the entree tasting plate: celeriac lasagna with tofu ricotta and arugula walnut pesto, fritto misto of oyster mushrooms with eggplant puree & fried sage leaves, & grilled corn polenta with romesco sauce
the entree tasting plate: celeriac lasagna with tofu ricotta and arugula walnut pesto, fritto misto of oyster mushrooms with eggplant puree & fried sage leaves, & grilled corn polenta with romesco sauce
175 guests embracing a night of veganism :)
175 guests embracing a night of veganism 🙂
our menu
our scrumptious menu
what a spectacular night!
what a spectacular night!

seaweed issues / mango avocado rolls

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DSC_0324So I’m not really a fan of seaweed. Translation: I think it tastes and smells like a dead fish. But it’s annoyingly good for you and whenever I tell people that I don’t like it they look at me with shock as if because I’m vegan and advocate for a whole foods plant based diet without refined flours and sweeteners…blah blah blah…that I must be a seaweed lover. Nope, not a chance. And generally speaking, if something doesn’t taste good, I don’t care how amazing it is for you, I’m not going to eat it. I believe that if a food tastes unappetizing, your body is trying to tell you something…and you should always listen to your body.

However, that being said, I don’t mind a little seaweed if it’s really fresh, like I-just-rolled-this-sushi-in-the-last-60-seconds fresh. And believe me, you don’t have to be from Japan to roll sushi. I am far from gifted at food artistry and let me tell you, I can roll me some good looking sushi. Note to the ignorant: sushi doesn’t = raw fish, in the same way that gluten free doesn’t = vegan. Just sayin’…

On a side note, there is a spectacular vegan restaurant called The Ravens in Mendocino California (residing within the walls of the awe-inspiring eco-lodge Stanford Inn By The Sea) that harvests its own sea palm. With this strange looking palm tree wannabe seaweed, the masterful chefs at Ravens make the most amazing entree called sea palm strudel. And I love it. It’s stuffed full of seaweed and I love it. I can’t explain why, but perhaps it’s due to the freshness of this locally harvested gem. So I suppose I should amend my first statement: I kind of like seaweed (a little), but it has to be farm-to-table style seaweed…or more appropriately, ocean-to-table.

DSC_0314Mango Avocado Rolls

4 sheets nori seaweed

1 cup short grain brown rice + 2 cups water + 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar

1 avocado, pitted and sliced

1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1 mango, hedgehogged

2 scallions, sliced thin

1/2 cucumber, cut into matchsticks

for the dipping sauce, mix together the following:

1/4 cup tamari

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Splash of mirin

Optional toppings: wasabi (you can buy horseradish powder and add water to make wasabi) & pickled ginger

In a small saucepan, add rice and water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce flame to a simmer, and cook for 40 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked. Pour cooked rice into a bowl or half sheet pan and toss with the brown rice vinegar. Set aside while you prep the veggies and fruit. To roll, place a nori sheet, shiny side down, on a clean table. Lay brown rice over top 1/3 of sheet (dip your fingers in warm water to keep rice from sticking to your fingers). Now add the filling ingredients over the rice in a tight pile. Roll the sheet away from you, taking time to tighten the roll as you continue. When you’ve reached the end of the sheet, dab it with a little warm water and seal by gently rolling back and forth. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut sushi into six to eight rolls per sheet. Repeat until you’ve run out of ingredients. To serve, pour tamari dipping sauce into a shallow dish and use chopsticks (or your fingers!) to dip rolls. Top with wasabi and pickled ginger, if desired. Makes enough for 2-4 Japanese-wannabe unicorns.

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