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Peppermint Patties



After my friend Alice from smokin’ tofu posted “How to make vegan cream cheese suck less” I began to think how vegan cream cheese could be applied in other ways.  When we were still living together in Norwich, England I once ate 11 chocolate bars at once…somehow I maintained a figured back then! So when looking to incorporate cream cheese I wanted Chocolate to play a huge role.

I must admit I am someone who opens 3,000 tabs at once all related to vegan baking.  I get lost and come out the other end with a million ideas but I always take one and make it.  I was inspired to use cream cheese as a base after reading a post about peppermint patties.  Being vegan can be hard when it comes to sweets, especially those of us who miss peanut butter cups and peppermint patties.  The original recipe called for vegetable shortening which I am assuming is not available in most places as an organic entity. Besides, I would rather use something a bit more natural and less processed so I substituted it with coconut oil. Add a small amount of coconut flakes on top of the patty and we are in business.

Some notes on what I learned doing this the first time:

1.Using a pyrex measuring cup to pour the chocolate works well.

2. Flattening the peppermint filling allows you to use less chocolate and have the filling actually fill the whole patty.

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Peppermint Patties:

Makes 9

For the Peppermint Filling:

1 1/2 T vegan cream cheese such as Tofutti or Vegan Gourmet

1 1/2 tsp coconut oil

1/4 tsp mint extract

splash of vanilla extract

1/8 cup coconut flakes

1 cup powdered sugar

For the Chocolate:

2-  12 oz of your favorite dark chocolate (avoid chips like I used as they have other additives to help them hold their shape in high temperatures)

9 parchment muffin cups


1. First mix all the ingredients except the powdered sugar and coconut flakes for the filling in a stand mixer or using a hand mixer.  Once the ingredients are homogenized slowly incorporated the powdered sugar until combined, add the coconut flakes and turn off the mixer.

2. Roll tablespoon sized pieces of filling into balls and flatten.  Place all of these in the freezer, you will have some left over peppermint filling depending on your balls and the size of your muffin liners.

3.  Temper/melt the chocolate over a double broiler.  I rig one by using a stainless steel bowl over a pot filled with an inch of water.  Turn the heat on low and using a rubber spatula fold the chocolate pieces continuously.  When about 2/3rds of the chocolate has melted turn off the heat and take the bowl out from on top of the pot.  Continue to fold until all the chocolate has melted, if you keep the chocolate over the heat you will over temper the chocolate.

4.  Once the chocolate is melted pour a small bit to cover the bottom of your liners (see above photo), it will be a messy process but it just allows you to lick your fingers ;).  After that is complete take the flattened pieces of filling out of the freezer and place one in each of the 9 liners.  Fill the liners up with more chocolate until the filling is completely incased.




Dairy Free Babies


My good friend Tara messaged me yesterday that her family was going dairy free for awhile.  She is a nutritionist and knows many good recipes but asked my advice for blogs that would have recipes her child could eat.  I took this message as a challenge and in my kitchen began to create for the first time since I lost myself at my current job. This week is all about vegan friendly child food that adults can eat as well! The best part about these are that they can be whipped up and cleaned up in 30 minutes flat. So all you busy moms out there make these and enjoy your child a bit more 😉

This message coincided with me attending my local farmers market for the first time to discover the many fruits and vegetables that are now in season! I love spring/ summer and the bounty of variety it offers and being trained at Chez I love to stick with what is in season.  Hence this recipe for zucchini fritters, they not only are baby friendly, but you can spice your adult ones up with some hot sauce, mustard, or your favorite dairy free mayonnaise.

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Zucchini Fritters:

Makes 12-15


3-4 small summer squash (I like to use a combo of colors) grated

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

3 Tbsp Flax Seed mixed with 9 Tbsp Water

1 Onion grated

3 garlic cloves minced

1/8 cup fresh parsley

1/2- 1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp salt

fresh ground black pepper

olive oil for frying

1. Grate the Zucchini and onion either by hand or with the grater attachment on the food processor. Put the grated vegetables into a nut milk bag or cheese cloth and squeeze out the excess water (see above photo).

2. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.

3. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes.  Then spoonful by spoonful (I used an ice cream scoop) add the zucchini mixture to the pan and spread out to a thin layer.  Fry each side for 3-5 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Top with your favorite non dairy spread and enjoy!

Cinnamon Beignet-Muffin-Doughnut.


As you know from my previous posts, I LOVE cinnamon.  Cinnamon and sugar are one of the classic food combinations that bring me back over and over again to desserts.  I found a recipe on Food 52, a food community focused on recipe contests and creative food education.  The problem is that even though I get a lot of ideas, most of these recipes are not vegan.  Part of me loves this as it allows me to be creative in the kitchen and create a veganized version of these dairy packed desserts and dishes.

I am not usually one to use commercial egg replacers, but in various recipes I do end up using Energy Egg Replacer.  Most of the recipes I use it in use a strong spice like cinnamon, all-spice, etc.  I also find in various cakes like my cinnamon crumble cake, the commercial egg replacer gives a great crumb and a light airy texture.

These melt in your mouth Cinnamon Beignet-Muffin-Doughnuts are perhaps my new morning coffee ritual.  Make sure to eat these warm fresh out of the oven with your morning tea or coffee, and take care not to eat all twelve…no just eat all twelve I know we did this morning! I mean, come on, who doesn’t love dessert for breakfast? I gave these three names as they are a fusion of these three delicious desserts!

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Cinnamon Beignet-Muffin-Doughnuts:

Makes 12

1/3 C Vegan Butter (like Earth Balance, the sticks allow for a more precise measurement)

1/2 C granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp Energy Egg Replacer + 2 Tbsp water mixed well

1 1/2 C  sifted all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground allspice

pinch ground cloves

pinch ground ginger

1 tsp orange zest

1/2 C + 2 Tbsp soy milk at room temp

For the coating/glaze:

6 Tbsp melted vegan butter

1/2 C sugar

1 1/4 tsp cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Measure out milk and allow to sit out so it will be ready to use.  Grease a muffin tin well for baking, no need to line with parchment or liners.

2. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan on low heat and let it cook until it begins to brown and smell nutty (about 3-5 minutes). Set aside to cool down to room temperature.

3. Meanwhile mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, salt, spices).

4.  In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer cream the butter, sugar, and egg replacer together.  Add slowly alternating between the flour mixture and the milk.  Mix until well combined and then evenly distribute into the twelve muffin molds.  I use an ice cream scoop to do this to ensure equal baking.  Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean!  These won’t brown so you can also feel to see if the top has a crust!

5. Place the melted butter in a small bowl and mix the sugar and cinnamon in another.  With the tip of the knife pop the muffins out right out of the oven, they should come out very easily.  Roll them in butter and then roll them butter covered into the cinnamon sugar. Serve warm and repeat! 😉

The Power of Restaurants


I finished another day at work and I realized how sad of a place I am working. The head chefs treat me like I am a complete idiot and yell a lot across the room at me and their other employees. I am not the kind of person that works well in a para military kitchen because I question authority.

I thought back today why I don’t feel that way about Chez Panisse and I realized that it all has to do with family. Chez Panisse is incredible because it isn’t just a restaurant it is an institution, a home that aims to teach each generation a simple, local, and delicious revolution. I was never yelled at or made to feel dumb for simply asking a question.

Restaurants have the power to radically change and inspire their employees to greatness or they can keep them down in boxes and make them feel worthless. I wonder how many talents are out there being abused and made to feel less than all because of egos in the restaurant industry. I for one will not be abused or abuse others. I hope to be a great teacher and knowledgeable chef who can teach the next generations just as Alice Waters has done.

It is why I have decided to throw in my butcher apron and replace it with a smaller restaurants waist apron, one with a bit more soul.  Boot and Shoe is located in Oakland and is also a part of the Chez Panisse family, not to mention its only a few blocks from my house!  They even have a vegan pizza on the menu!  This new job will allow me time to work at Chez Panisse again as an intern and regain control of my life and who I am as an individual.

One of the things that is very important to me is food ethics, and it is why I am please to announce the March Against Monsanto coming your way on the 25th of May!  For years Monsanto has sat in the background pulling strings like a puppeteer, and this March means education.  Get involved, it is the most important battle of our generation.  For more on Monsanto click here.

For now its time for a Chez Panisse cake recipe veganized….

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Vegan Ginger Cake:

2 1/2 C All Purpose Flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 C Molasses

1 C Granulated Sugar

1  C Grape seed Oil

1/4 c organic non-gmo soy milk

1/4 c applesauce

2 tsp baking soda

1 c boiling water

4 oz fresh ginger (chopped and then processed, do not grate or you will end up with fibrous strands, see pictures. When you cut it width first before processing or mincing it the fibers will be broken and it won’t feel like you have eaten a hair)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees (yes 300)

2. Sift together dry ingredients in a medium bowl (flour, cinnamon, and clove).

3. Whisk or put your wet ingredients into a stand mixer for a few minutes until fully combined.  In a few batches add the flour mixture until fully incorporated.

4. Pour your baking soda into the boiling water and add it along with the ginger to the batter until it is just incorporated.  Pour the batter into a spring form that has been greased and has parchment on the bottom and bake for 50 minutes.  After 40-50 minutes turn the temp up to 350 and bake 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I served mine with a bit of house made blood orange banana sorbet and some candied kumquats…but you can pair it with whatever you want.

Serves 12 🙂

A New Chapter


I must admit my current job is taking a lot out of me, I have barely cooked or baked at home for the last month which is terrible as my kitchen is where my muse lies. I sense a new chapter coming in my life, one where I do a little bit of summer cleaning and get back to learning simple rustic desserts.

The chez panisse crew and I are heading into the tcho chocolate factory tomorrow to have a private tour. Tcho is a company based in sf that states clearly on their packaging “no slavery”. Most of the chocolate in our country is produced by slaves and it is why most chocolate bars cost $1.  Sometimes as vegans we get so caught up in animal rights that we forget we are animals too, and there are plenty of animals out there…humans that are slaves too.   I first learned of this when my brother was in the theater program at his high school.  Every fall they made each theatre student sell a box of sees candy chocolate bars to help support the theatre program.  When he tried to sell one to a guy he respected at school he responded by saying he didn’t eat chocolate picked by slaves.  My brother was freaked and when he went home he researched in depth to find out that it was in fact true, that majority of chocolate in the US is picked by child slave labor….let me repeat that… child slave labor.

Being twelve I still understood this was wrong and cut unfairly traded chocolate from my diet.  Today we have many options in this country to choose from, and I urge those of you who care about animals to take the same care with humans!  There are many resources online if you google fair trade chocolate, and a lot will deliver in the cooler months of the year!

To celebrate fair trade chocolate this is a recipe I made for my brother on his birthday this year. Not the best cake design but definitely a delicious vegan fair trade chocolate cake!  I am sorry for the poor picture quality on this post, I had no idea I was going to share this with the world. This recipe is adapted from Isa Chandra’s chocolate cake recipe.

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Vegan Fair Trade Chocolate Cake:

Makes 1- 8 inch round cake

1 cup almond milk 
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

1 C peanut butter

2 C confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)

Almond milk as needed

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2.Mix the milk and vinegar in a bowl to curdle in a large bowl. Meanwhile sift all your dry ingredients into another bowl.  Then add the sugar, oil, vanilla, and almond to the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches making sure each addition is well incorporated before adding more.

3.”Butter” an 8 inch spring form pan lightly and pour the mixture into the pan. I personally also like to cut out a  8 inch round parchment to lay over the bottom after I greased it for easier removal from the spring form. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  If you want a layered cake. Cut the cake in half before you frost!

4. While the cake is baking make the frosting.  Using a hand mixer mix together the powdered sugar and peanut butter.  Add a little at a time of the almond milk until the mixture comes together and is a smooth and spreadable frosting. Be careful not to add too much milk as the mixture will become to runny, too little and you will break the cake when you try to frost it.  Remember to let the cake cool completely before frosting or you might be giving your loved one a big mess of a cake!


Vegan no-hamburger buns


I admit sometimes life gets in the way of writing recipes, in fact, all the time.  I cook so much more than I write, and I often forget to take pictures (at the annoyance of my boyfriend). Sometimes I just want to eat and forget about taking any photos.  But today I have a bit of time so here it goes:

Chez Panisse is closed, at least until April 1st, but probably longer.  There was an all staff meeting this week where we discussed the cleaning that needed to be done etc.  The city of Berkeley said they would turn around permits in no time and approve a new design for the facade.

I am part of the clean up crew, and I found myself handed a toothbrush and some non toxic cleaner to scrub the corners of the room. It was nice to see everyone in normal clothes, and to talk to people who normally are working upstairs or waiting tables.  The family gets stronger when events like the fire happen, and I am grateful to be apart of such a weird and wonderful family.  I will keep you all posted on the comings of Chez, but in the meantime here are some interior photos.

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I love burgers, who doesn’t?  It seems to be ingrained in our American consciousness.  I do miss the days of in-n-out burgers, even the grilled cheese is incredible in its own right!  Sometimes I just crave a burger.  I must admit I have never made hamburger buns before, I always had Brendon run to the store when I was creating a beet burger, cauliflower burger, etc.  Today I was determined to create a burger bun without dairy or egg and eat it too!

This recipe I adapted from Holy Cow one of the best vegan blogs in this world. Check it out her writing and recipes are ones that generations of new plant eaters will crave.

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Whole Wheat No-Hamburger Buns:

Makes 6 buns

Time 4 hours largely unattended- longer if refrigerated

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cup All Purpose (or bread flour for a denser bun!)

1 Tbsp vital wheat gluten

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 c warmed water

2 tsp sugar

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1. Combine a half cup of warmed water with the active dry yeast and sugar. Stir and then let sit for 10-15 min or until the top begins to foam. If this reaction doesn’t happen your yeast is dead so either don’t continue or run to the store!

2. Meanwhile sift the flours, vital wheat gluten, and baking soda into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Pulse a few times to incorporate the ingredients together. When the yeast is activated dump it into the bowl along with the vegetable oil and turn on the food processor.  Through the top tube pour in the rest of the water till it becomes a homogenous ball of dough that has picked up the rest of the dough from the sides of the bowl. The sides of the bowl should be cleaned by the dough ball and should not be a sticky wet mess.  If this is the case add a quarter cup of flour.  You may need to add a bit more flour or water depending on the dough.  The ball should be sticky but should not readily stick to your hands.

3. Fold dough into a rough ball and set into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let this rise for 2 hours, or put it in the fridge and let it rise for 4 or more hours.

4. After 2 hours punch the dough down and separate into 6 equal size pieces, a scale works great, and that way you can make sure they are cooking evenly!  Shape the equal size pieces into buns by folding the dough down underneath itself.  Then place each piece on a pre floured baking sheet several inches apart pressing with your fingers to flatten the tops of the rolls slightly.  Cover with a floured towel and let rise for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees fahrenheit.

5. After an hour place them in the oven creating steam. Then set a timer for 22-25 minutes. Take them out and brush them with olive oil sprinkling with sesame seeds and poppy seeds and then let them cool on a wire rack.


In other news, my dear friend alice of Smokin’ Tofu has been nominated for UK VegFests awards for best blogger so check her website out and vote! Congrats Alice!

Wake and Bake Hemp Seed scones with orange zest


I must admit I am a wake and baker, though not of the pot smoking kind. I think scones are the best thing to wake up to in the morning, especially with a cuppa. My boyfriend is always thinking up new and crazy combinations to put together and last night he suggested hemp seeds in my coconut milk scones. WHY NOT? Hemp seeds are incredible, they have an equal balance of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for humans. They are a complete protein having all essential amino acids, have tons of magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium…aren’t convinced yet? Just try these scones!

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2 1/2 c All Purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 c sugar

1/4 cup hemp seed

1 generous cup of canned coconut milk (full fat and unsweetened)

1 tsp vanilla extract

zest of one orange

1. Preheat oven to gas mark 425 Fahrenheit. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and then add the rest of the dry ingredients including the help seed. Add in the rest of the ingredients pouring slowly until coconut milk is combined.

2. On a floured workspace take the dough out of the bowl and flatten into a 9 inch round. Cut the round into 8-12 pieces depending on the size you like. Place on a baking sheet and lightly coat with more coconut milk and a dash of raw cane sugar. Place in the oven for 15-20 min or until outside feels hard and the edges begin to brown!

3. Get Sconed!

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