Vegan Gruyere and Beet Carpaccio

Below, find the fun sort of things I do in my classes

Oh, Miyoko! Our supper club guests were swooning over your version of vegan gruyere… I demoed it, but all the credit goes to you. I will add that if you want to make this exactly like what you tasted at Thought-Design, folks, use 2 T of South River Chickpea miso and you’ll need to learn to make rejuvelac, too. It’s not so pretty, but it is tasty!


So if you want something really pretty and really delicious, try the roasted beet carpaccio I brought. I garnished it with beluga lentils (you can use du puy!) and an almond ricotta. I put the overlapping flower shapes on squares of wax paper and then composed the salad on site. Voila!

February 2014 Supper Club 192

Here’s how you do it…
Salt-roasted Beet Carpaccio with horseradish ricotta and French lentils
(serves 4-6)

1 box Kosher salt
3 medium beets, rinsed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Put a layer of salt, ¼ inch deep in a loaf pan. Place clean beets on salt. Do not let them touch.
Pour salt over beets until covered.
Roast in oven for about an hour. Remove pan from oven and let sit until cool.
Peel off skins and slice beets thin with a mandoline. Place them in an overlapping flower pattern on wax paper to keep until ready to assemble.

2 cups water
1 cup du puy lentils, rinsed and drained
1 veggie
bouillon cube (preferably no MSG)

Put all ingredients into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and quickly lower to barely a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes and remove from heat. Let cool 15 minutes.

Horseradish Ricotta
1 cup whole, blanched almonds, soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight
2 T lemon juice
1 tsp. horseradish, or to taste
¼ cup plain yogurt
½ tsp. sea salt
Several grinds fresh pepper

Place all ingredients in food processor and run until it has reached a consistency you like. You will probably have to stop and clean the sides with a spatula a few times.

To assemble:
Lay each beet ‘flower’ on a salad plate. Spread ¼ cup ricotta in the center and sprinkle with drained lentils. Garnish with sunflower shoots of flat-leaf Italian parsley.


Red Quinoa Salad with Veggies

There are so many delicious dishes at every supper club, but a few start to get a buzz around them and those are the ones that get recipe requests. Unfortunately, we don’t always get a beautiful photo of each sought-after dish, so you’ll just have to imagine what this one looks like.


Sue Smith’s Quinoa Salad with Veggies

1/2 cup red quinoa
1 cup water

1 green pepper, diced
1 1/2 cup carrots, small dice
1 cup diced red cabbage
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup minced sun-dried tomatoes (from an oil-packed jar)

2 T red wine vinegar
4 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup almond/cashew feta cheese. Find a video/recipe for that here or use your own. Personally–this is Sue speaking–this one looks pretty good. You might try a little kalamata olive juice in place of the oil or the water.

Simmer the 1/2 cup quinoa in the water for about 15 minutes until water is fully absorbed.

Set aside to cool while you finish dicing veggies.

Whisk together red wine vinegar and next three ingredients. Combine almond/cashew feta with quinoa. Fold in veggies. Sprinkle with dressing and fold all together. Voila! P.S. In the montage below, you can see Sue’s empty dish!

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The Perfect Potluck Dish

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You can never have enough delicious hearty mains to take to potlucks. If you’re eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet and you want to make sure there’s something that will give you every delicious food group, make this salad and bring it along. I promise you, it will be gone very quickly, so go to the head of the line. If you’re are eating oil-free, you can substitute the oil in this recipe with a chia oil replacement (provided at the bottom)

I love looking at old cooking magazines and this was inspired by an advertisement recipe that used a whopping 1/2 cup of olive oil. It’s not necessary. The dish is delish and very filling.

Mediterranean Lentil/Quinoa Salad

3 cups water
1 beef-flavored bouillon cube (I favor cele-fibr)
1 cup French or du puy lentils
¾ cup dried quinoa
2 T olive oil (or chia oil substitute*)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ T freshly grated ginger
¾ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. dried pepper flakes
½ cup pine nuts
6 cups spinach

Bring water and bouillon cube to a boil. Add lentils and stir. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer for 17 minutes. Add quinoa, stir again, and simmer for another 9 minutes. At this time, most of the water will be absorbed. Turn off heat and let sit until cool.

Whisk ingredients from olive oil through pepper flakes thoroughly. Toast pine nuts in an iron skillet and set aside.

Once the lentil/quinoa mixture is completely cool carefully drain off and reserve any cooking water and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add 2 T cooking water to dressing and pour over mixture. Toss carefully to meld flavors. You want to keep the lentils intact. If the salad seems dry, add either a little more olive oil or cooking water.

Place the spinach on a platter, mound the lentils on top and sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts. You can also decorate with chopped red pepper or heirloom tomatoes or roasted veggies like asparagus or green beans in season.

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*in a small bowl, mix 1/2T chia with 2 T water. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken.

Garden Party

Well, friends, it takes a little longer to wrap things up in the summertime. So much time taken up at the Farmer’s Market. We had a chance to chat with Jerry Adams (far left, above), West Michigan FarmLink co-founder, at our last get together. Thank you, Jerry! Please take some time to learn what FarmLink does and how it efficiently brings organizations, restaurants, chefs and others together with farmers, allowing farmers to spend more time in the field. We are so fortunate to live in this agriculturally rich area.

Next special guest will be Angela Topp of Tree Huggers, a plant-based grocery store that is package-free and zero waste. Customers bring reusable containers for purchasing from the bulk bins, such as Ball canning jars. Tree Huggers also recycles many items the city is not able to take. This seems like a great time to gratefully acknowledge the gift of ‘Every day ware’ from Suzie and Johnny MacKeigan’s 1969 wedding set. It is called ‘Market’ and was made in Norway. We love every bit of it, including the chips and cracks earned after years of loving service.

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FarmLink and Tree Huggers really symbolize the wonderful work we like to see here in west Michigan. Thank you two for all you do. In the meantime, we continue to be responsible consumers. So here’s how we make use of the wonderful food and the re-usable containers.

But first, my caveat. I wasn’t feeling that well, so I sat back and didn’t collect as much info or photos as I usually do. I am deeply grateful for all who helped out that evening. Wow. MVP award goes to Shandy Longcore who supervised clean-up and Tillie the sometimes wandering German shepherd. More thanks go to Nancy McQuate and Morgan Doane for taking photos. (So basically if I don’t talk enthusiastically about your dish it’s because I didn’t keep the card!)

Here’s Shandy, balancing it all with aplomb!

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Okay, let’s start with dessert. Morgan Doane kindly re-baked her blueberry cake after the first one fell to the bottom of the oven. And newbie Erin Brennan wowed everyone with the beet brownies with beet icing. I know the dish in-between was delicious, too.

Geoff Fields has been waiting try out his paella pan with the veganistas in mind. Home run, as usual.


Beets were popular! Catherine Frerichs kindly contributed her beet salad recipe when asked (scroll to end of post).


There was lovely sangria.


Wonderful salads and dips


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and Shandy made a beautiful vegan lasagna.


I tried my hand at jackfruit carnitas with avocado cream


The garden is so lush this time of year and Roger does such a nice job setting it up for guests, but look how empty it is without people to enjoy it.

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Which is why you should all come on the third Wednesday of August (August 21st to be exact) and bring a nice friend.

Beet/Quinoa Salad: (adapted from an NYT recipe for a beet and bulghur salad)
6 servings
1/2 lb. beets
1/3 c. plus 1 T. olive oil
1/4 t. salt, more as needed
black pepper as needed
1 c. quinoa
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 and 1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1/3 c. canola oil
3 T. fresh chopped tarragon or dill
3 T. fresh chopped parsley

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place beets in a baking pan and drizzle with 1 T. olive oil, a couple of tablespoons of water, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cover beets with foil and bake until tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes for medium-sized beets. Let beets cool, then peel and dice.
2. Cook quinoa–put 1 cup in two cups of water and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Place quinoa in large bowl. In a medium pot, combine 2 c. water with diced beets. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Strain beets, reserving liquid.
Measure out 1 and 1/4 c. liquid and season with 1/4 t. salt. Pour over quinoa. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit until liquid is absorbed, about 1 hr. (Pour off any excess liquid.)
4. Transfer beets to a blender. Whisk together vinegar, mustard, and large pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in remaining 1/3 c. olive oil and the canola oil. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
Pour dressing over beets and pulse until mixture forms a coarse puree. Add half to 3/4 of beet vinaigrette to quinoa and toss well. Toss in parsley and dill or tarragon and more salt and pepper if needed. (The remaining vinaigrette is wonderful on another salad.)
Serve at once or refrigerate up to two days.

Bean Can Man to the Rescue!

Another exciting installment in the life of Bean Can Man

I came home from the gym…starving. BUT I wanted exactly what I wanted, which was a taco salad. I wanted crunchy, creamy, chewy. Anyway. I started with Vertical Paradise baby greens.

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Talk about Paradise! It’s February in Michigan and I can get my hands on this stuff. We’re working on YOU getting your hands on this stuff. Come to next week’s supper club and lobby Tim Sharer, owner of Vertical Paradise Farms. Here’s Tim (holding his stash).

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Back to the salad. I chopped up peppers and onions, heated a little water in a non-stick pan and sauteed them. After a couple of minutes, I sprinkled on some chili pepper and cumin. Another minute went by and I tossed in two small zucchini (diced), some frozen corn and a half a cup of salsa. I gave it all a stir, turned the pan to low and my attention to the dressing. Into my blender went a half a box of tofu (silken lite firm tofu), 1/2 of a big–ripe, people!–avocado, juice of one half lime, 2-3 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk (you could use water) and whir away until it is perfectly smooth. I wanted to add just a little salt, but when I tipped my jar of himalayan sea salt, a big chunk fell out into the blender. Drat! I tasted it. Like the rim of a margarita. What to do?

As I was sitting there, fretting, apron over my head, a can of Eden Organic No Salt Black Beans fell into my lap.

Bean Can Man with his faithful sidekick, Lime Boy

Bean Can Man with his faithful sidekick, Lime Boy

“Trouble, young lady?”
“Oh Bean Can Man, I am so SO sad. I just put too much salt in my creamy dressing.”
“Don’t worry your pretty little head. Why not offset too much salt with my salt-free black beans? I assume I was destined to make it into your salad anyway.”

Yes, he was. So I mixed the dressing with the beans, which I had rinsed and drained. I chopped the lettuce and put on a layer of creamy beans, topped that with some sauteed veggies, another dollop of creamy beans and salsa. Looked like this:

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How do you say Yum! in Spanish? Add some super-thin and crispy Xochitli chips and you are fueled to save the world–one can at a time! Thank you Bean Can Man.

xo chips

Can’t Stop the Chop!

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Okay, I am in love with chopped salads. I have dabbled before, but this time I’ve fallen hard. These are the salads for people who don’t think salads are hearty enough to be the centerpiece of the meal (a.k.a. the former me). These are salads that seem gourmet and take minutes, miraculously transform your leftovers and make your life easier. They might even pay your bills if you let them.

You need a few simple tools: a large tree stump (or a v. big cutting board); a sharp knife and a pancake turner. I will provide you with my very favorite and oft-requested dressing recipe, the technique and some suggestions to set the salad artiste in you free. You must go boldly beyond and send me photographs for my facebook page (stirthepotgr…of course).

Chopped Salad with Peppercorn Dijon Dressing

Mixed greens to equal 10 cups, washed, dried and roughly chopped
Roughly chopped vegetables to equal 6 cups (celery, carrots, broccoli)
½ can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Fun add-ins, to include: sunflower seeds, shelled pistachios, hearts of palm, tart apple, jicama, leftover grains or vegetables or beans or seeds or nuts–nothing too mushy. Use your imagination!

Using the biggest cutting board surface you can find, begin chopping the greens and vegetables together. Continue to toss the ingredients from the outer edges into the center. Your goal is to fully incorporate the ingredients and chop the vegetables into small pieces. But not to make a mash! After a few minutes, add blobs of dressing onto your pile and begin to incorporate. Add the chickpeas and other add-ins. Keep chopping and rearranging until your salad is of uniform consistency.

There’s something about all this chopping that gets the men to volunteer. Here, Brian Doane demonstrates technique at a recent dinner party.



Peppercorn Dijon Dressing
(serves 2, double for a party)

1/3 cup plain unsweetened soymilk
1 T lemon juice
1 T nutritional yeast
¼ cup almond meal, pre-ground or make your own by whirling whole nuts in a spice grinder
½ tsp. coarse salt
several grinds of pepper
1 T chia seeds
1 T whole grain mustard

Curdle the soymilk by combining with the lemon juice. Let rest for about five minutes. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Let rest another five minutes to meld and thicken. Best to put this in a jelly jar and shake it until your arm starts to vibrate on its own–this will ensure that the almond meal is fully incorporated. it will really thicken if you can put it in the fridge for a half hour or so.

At a recent cooking class, Joe and Gary took over and were very proud of their results.

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Sadly, we didn’t have enough dressing for this 24 person salad. That is a shame, because it’s just not good without a lot of delicious dressing…and the dressing doesn’t have to be caloric, either.

Here’s an example of where you can take this. I used peppery baby greens, leftover falafel and tahini dressing (that will be another post…promise!) It looked like this in the beginning…

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Don’t forget the dressing (and plenty of it).

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Two minutes later… I call it lunch.

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Happy Healthy 2013

Our supper club kicked off the new year with a big healthy bang! Below, find some of your most-requested recipes from our creative cooks. In addition to amazing food, we welcomed Jennifer Pohlmann and her husband, Tom. Jennifer is the owner of Sip Organic Juice Bar and was on hand to answer questions about juicing, detoxing, Sip’s new locations in Eastown and more.

Our fellow supper club attendee, Medha Rode, has launched an Etsy site, featuring her beautiful new jewelry line. You must check it out. Medha brought necklaces for us to model. Below, see how perfectly Morgan’s necklace fits her outfit.

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The food was delicious, of course. I only got a few pictures up close, but you can see the table is loaded with offerings; the crockpots with soup and chili lined the kitchen counters.

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So, here are the recipes you coveted:

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Massaged Kale Salad with Sweet and Sour Dressing
Adapted from Bon Appetit, this one was a winner at my Meijer Garden “Healthy New Year, Healthy You” cooking class. The true winner, of course, was the Tuscan baby kale, from my friend Tim Sharer of Vertical Paradise Farms. If you visit the website or facebook page, you can find out how you can enjoy this local-fresh-delicious-nutritious green.

2 T dried cranberries
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 T toasted pine nuts
3 T white balsamic vinegar, divided
1 T unseasoned rice vinegar
1 T honey
1 T olive oil
½ tsp. salt (or to taste)
2 bunches kale (preferably baby kale or Tuscan or dinosaur kale)

Remove leaves from stems and chop into ribbons. Place in salad bowl. Drizzle olive oil, 1 T balsamic vinegar and salt over kale and work the ingredients in with your hands. Think of kneading someone’s shoulders. Set aside.

Place cranberries in a small dish with orange juice. Microwave for 40 seconds at half power. Set aside. Toast pine nuts in a dry, heavy-bottomed pan. Don’t walk away! This should only take a few minutes and you don’t want to burn them. Toss them in the pan over medium-high heat until browned and aromatic.

Whisk together remaining liquid ingredients and toss with kale. After they are fully incorporated, toss nuts and cranberries into mix.

This salad is best made an hour or two ahead to let flavors meld and kale break down.

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When Kathy Harwood arrived with this dish, I thought I was going to have to give her a primer on the ‘rules’ as they looked so much like deviled eggs. However, she was just having one over on me. The creamy, chickpea puree centers of this appetizer, do remind me of deviled eggs. But the red potatoes are what give them their new name:

Red-Devil ‘Eggs’

Dash of black salt (I don’t have black salt. Just used a dash of sea salt)
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ cup hummus
6 small red potatoes
dash of paprika
dash of hot pepper sauce (optional)
¼ tsp. Dijon mustard

Boil potatoes until fork-tender, then let cool completely. Meanwhile, mix hummus, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt together (and hot pepper sauce, if using). Taste and add more of any of these to suit your taste. I pressed a small clove of fresh garlic into the mix when I did it, I love fresh garlic! Once potatoes are cool, slice in half and use a spoon or melon baller to scoop out a small circle of potato. Mix the scooped out bits into your hummus mixture, mashing it all together well. Spoon mixture into the scooped out holes and garnish with paprika. These taste best when allowed to chill awhile before serving.

There’s more to come…. Check back for one of Medha’s popular dishes!

The food is just one reason we come together, of course. In this picture, you see the ski lodge fireplaces and Roger’s amazing music mix make the evening pleasurable. There’s good wine and good company.

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New people come every week and so there is always someone interesting to meet. I would be remiss if I didn’t add how touching it was for Roger and me to get so much help with the clean-up. Because we try to make our party a zero waste affair, there are a lot of dishes to wash. A team of organized people–Kathy Harwood, Diane Cisler and Trish English–came early last Wednesday to come up with a plan for getting all the dishes clean. Roger and I would not have initiated it. As it turned out, Trish volunteered to oversee the clean-up that evening. Yes, she looks sweet, but she has nerves of steel and she informed the group if she didn’t get volunteers, she would volunteer individuals herself.

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Fortunately, that wasn’t necessary. The boys took over their own kitchen and raced the girls to the clean-up finish line. Yes, that’s another of our famous cooks, Geoff Fields, proving he is equally adept at wielding a nozzle sprayer.

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Dave and I got caught up during this period–not everyone can fit in the kitchen! Notice my mobile necklace. You have to visit Medha’s shop. Thank you, one and all, for another great evening. Special thanks to Melissa Koski for the pictures!

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