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.


Morgan’s maple-roasted almond butter

Morgan Doane shared a quick and easy–and delicious–way to make maple-roasted almond butter at our February supper club. Check out the directions below!


Maple-roasted Almond Butter
16 oz. raw almonds
2-3 T maple syrup
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix raw almonds together with maple syrup and pour onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, pulling the sheet our every five minutes to stir. Allow to cool slightly—not too cool or they will be hard to handle. Pour almonds into the food processor and begin to process. This can take a long time (10-20 minutes) depending on the size of your processor and your motor. Stop every so often to scrape down the sides with a spatula. The almonds will go through many stages, including coarse sand, sticky dry mass, clumping mass and finally smooth butter. When is begins to move from clumping together to smooth butter, add the cinnamon and salt. Process until fully incorporated.

February 2014 Supper Club 204

Pepita Pesto Dip

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You asked for it, you got it! This rather unassuming looking dip was a major hit at our supper club and many of you asked for the recipe. The pesto recipe is mine, developed for my class on pumpkin and squash at Meijer Gardens. It becomes swoon-worthy when paired with Miyoko Schinner’s Cashew Cream Cheese, which I found the recipe for here. Miyoko is one of my favorite plant-based cheesemakers. She’s brilliant. Please buy her book “Artisan Vegan Cheese.” If you like, you could also pair this with goat cheese or cream cheese.

Pepita Pesto
1 cup pepita pumpkin seeds (these are hulled seeds)
10 fresh sage leaves (big ones if you can)
1 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley leaves
1 head roasted garlic
¼ cup almond parmesan (this is a decent recipe, but do yourself a favor and use almond meal and maybe 1/2 the amount of nutritional yeast)
1/4 tsp salt to taste
1 cup cashew cream cheese

Roast the pumpkin seeds in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Continue to stir the seeds until they start to pop. You want to smell a nutty aroma and see the seeds begin to brown. Keep shaking and stirring while this is happening. You will get a feel for this. You do not want smoking and burning. Move seeds to a food processor. Add the sage, parsley, roasted garlic, parmesan and salt to taste. Process until it is a coarse puree, and all ingredients are evenly distributed, stopping the processor and scraping the ingredients back toward the blades if you need to.

Mix pesto with 6-8 ounces of your choice of cheese until fully combined. Serve with crackers. Practice humility when people swoon over it.

Indian Summer

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One of my very best friends called in a panic from Georgia hoping my husband Roger would have an Indian dish for her to make for a special dinner party. Roger is an accomplished Indian cook, having studied with an Indian caterer in her kitchen. Narbada never used any measurements, so he had to follow her everywhere with a notepad (this makes getting recipes out of him a bit difficult. Here’s a classic. It’s so good! Amy’s party was divine. If you’ve never made Indian food, but love it, go to a specialty store and buy these ingredients. They are much cheaper than at a regular grocery store. Use the flavors you love. Make it as hot as you like.

Vegetable Korma

4 T oil
4 T broken cashews
2 T golden raisins
2 bay leaves
2 in. cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods
14 whole cloves
½ t. white peppercorns
½ c. broken cashews
4 medium onions, chopped
4 T chopped ginger
4 T chopped garlic
Green chilies, chopped
1 T cumin powder
2 T coriander powder
Red chili powder
10 oz. coconut milk
1 c. vegan yogurt
14 oz. cubed tofu
2 large tomatoes
4 carrots, sliced/cubed
4 c. cauliflower, in small pieces
4 medium potatoes, cubed
2 c. frozen peas
2 c. green beans, in 1-in. pieces
1 c. cilantro, chopped
4 c. water

• Brown 4 T cashews and raisins in the oil, then remove them, leaving the oil.
• Add bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, peppercorn, and ½ c. cashews.
• Add onions and salt, and then turmeric. Stir, etc.
• In micro bowl, add cauliflower, peas, and carrots, with a little salt. Mix and add 1 c. water, cover, and microwave for 3 minutes, mix it up, and go another 2 minutes. Cook to firm.
• To onions, add ginger, garlic, and chilies. Stir and cook a bit. Let it cool down before grinding.
• Transfer micro veggies into a larger bowl. In the original micro bowl, add potatoes, salt, and about ½ c. water. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring after about 3 minutes.
• Add potatoes and water to veggies. Add green beans, lightly salt, and add ½ c. more water.
• Grind onion mixture, and then return to pan. Cook, stirring, and then add cumin, coriander, and chili powders. Add about ½ c. water to the mixture as it cooks.
• Add the tofu and chopped tomatoes, cooking a bit more.
• Add coconut milk and mix it all in.
• Add yogurt, a little bit at a time, stirring and cooking.
• Add vegetable and mix all together. You can add more water if you need it. Bring to boil, cook for about 5 minutes.
• Add chopped cilantro and the fried cashews and raisins.

My Squeezy Cheesy Sauce

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Well, I hail from Wisconsin on both sides–Green County–mind you. It’s like the epicenter of cheese curds. My Swiss grandparents ate cheese at every meal, so I’m a girl who likes her cheese. When I fell in love with vegetarianism at 19, I just cleared my plate for more cheese! So when I became a devoted plant-based eater several years ago, the cheese thing was a problem. I dedicated a good part of my early study to cheese alternatives and I love teaching other people how they can choose plant-based alternatives to cheese. My next class, in fact, is at Uptown Kitchen on October 3rd. I hope to see you there!

What follows is my go-to cheese sauce. We put this stuff on everything! including brown rice, veggies and, slivered almonds (shown above); on taco salads; in breakfast burritos with sauteed tofu… the possibilities are endless! You can modify it to your own taste by changing the amounts of ume plum vinegar and lemon juice. Or add more or less squash to make it creamier. Also, if you don’t have a high-speed blender, check out my modification below.

Sue’s Favorite Cheesy Sauce

2 medium yellow squash (12 oz.)
½ cup cashews soaked in filtered water 4-6 hours
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2T mild miso (I use chickpea, but brown rice is fine)
1-2T ume plum vinegar
1-2T lemon juice
½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. chili powder

Steam the squash for 5-7 minutes, or until firm tender.
Drain the cashews and rinse.
Add cashews and the rest of the ingredients, including the squash, to the blender. Blend until creamy.
Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

If you do not have a high-speed blender, grind the *dry* cashews in a food processor until they are a coarse crumb texture. This can be loud and long, but don’t go too long or you’ll get cashew butter. Then soak for a couple of hours and proceed as directed.

Make Spring Come Now

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Pretend like you don’t care that it’s snowing in April. Pretend like all you want to do is have a delicious warming soup to eat. Hey, I’ve got an idea. Make this one! When I read that the owner of the Wynn Resorts became a vegan, I figured he’d hire him some pretty big name chefs. Tal Ronnen is a culinary superstar and and his ‘clam’ chowder is really inspirational. But I needed to adapt it for home cooks. If I told my students, we’d be using a stovetop smoker, they’d think I was smoking something! So I replaced Tal’s smoked mushrooms with re-hydrated dry shitake mushrooms that are then massaged with a little liquid smoke. Suddenly it’s do-able. This is one of those recipes, so warm and creamy and comforting, that friends will say “I’d eat vegan, too, if I could eat like this.”

In fact, I promised to post this for the Meijer Garden Book Club. Here you go, Ladies!

If you don’t have a high-speed blender, try grinding up the cashews to the consistency of a powder in your food processor (like fine bread crumbs…don’t go all the way to peanut butter),then soak in one cup of non-dairy milk, then proceed with the recipe. Alternately, you can proceed as below and, if you want the soup perfectly smooth, you may have to pour the cream through a filter.

Ocean Chowder
One cup raw cashews, soaked (see below)
1-2 cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
½ tsp. white pepper
One cup dried shiitake mushrooms
½ tsp. hickory seasoning (optional)
2 2X3 inch pieces of kombu seaweed and one sheet toasted nori
1 large onion, ¼ inch dice
2 medium stalks celery, ¼ inch dice
2 medium carrots, ¼ inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ waxy yellow potatoes diced in ½ inch cubes
¾ tsp. coarse salt, divided
Salt and pepper to taste Tempeh bacon (optional)

To make the cashew cream:
Place cashews in a bowl of filtered water. Cover by at least two inches and let soak 3 hours or overnight. Rinse and drain cashews and place in a blender (preferably high speed) with 1 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk and the white pepper and the rest of the salt. I use Westsoy plain unsweetened. Locally, look for it at Harvest Health. Blend for a minute or so on high speed until mixture is completely smooth.

To make the ocean stock:
Bring 4 cups filtered water and seaweed to a boil. Turn off heat and let steep while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Strain out all seaweed. You will have a clear fishy smelling broth.

Rehydrate mushrooms:
Place mushrooms in a bowl with water to cover and bring to a boil in the microwave. Let steep for at least ten minutes. When cool, drain mushrooms (you can reserve the soaking liquid for use in rich soups or gravies) and chop roughly. Sprinkle hickory smoke over mushrooms and massage it in with your hands.

Heat a heavy-bottomed soup pan over medium heat for a minute or two. Sprinkle ¼ tsp. coarse salt on the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the onions and celery on top. Let cook for a minute or two undisturbed. When the vegetables begin to give up their juices, stir and cook for another minute or two until they soften. Add the garlic and carrot and continue to cook and stir for a few more minutes. Add the potatoes and the ocean stock and simmer for ten minutes or so until the potatoes are tender (you really don’t want to overcook the potatoes). Add the mushrooms and the cream. Depending on how thick you want your chowder, add small amounts of milk until you have reached the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle soup into wide bowls. Add a few grinds of fresh pepper and a tablespoon of tempeh

Tempeh Bacon
1 block tempeh 2 tbsp tamari or shoyu (soy sauce)
2 T coffee or black tea 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce 2 tsp. sesame oil
1 T tomato paste 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp maple syrup

Cut one block of tempeh into thin slices and lay singly in a shallow platter. Whisk together marinade ingredients and pour over tempeh slices. Allow to marinate for half hour or so.

Preheat oven to 275. Lay slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. ‘Paint’ any remaining marinade over each slice. Bake for about an hour, flipping the slices halfway through. When they reach the dry crispy consistency you want, remove from the oven and cool. Crumble into a bowl and store in a covered container until ready to serve.

Looks like I added some chopped kale to this batch as well as garnished it with a little ancho chili powder and freshly ground black pepper.

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My friend, Kathy Roth, who is an excellent healthy vegan cook, shared this chowder recipe with us. It’s similar but different from mine. Try them both. Thank you, Kathy!

Ocean Chowder

Half cup raw cashews, soaked (see below)
1-2 cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
½ tsp. white pepper and 1/2 tsp sea salt
Four containers of oyster mushrooms, remove all stems
½ tsp. hickory seasoning (optional)
about 5X5 inch pieces of kombu sea vegetable
1 small onion, ¼ inch dice (optional)
2 medium stalks celery
¼ inch dice 2 medium carrots, ¼ inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
about 7 small Yukon Gold potatoes diced in ½ inch cubes
¾ tsp. coarse salt, divided
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the cashew cream: Place cashews in a bowl of filtered water. Cover by at least two inches and let soak 3 hours or overnight. Rinse and drain cashews and place in a blender (preferably high speed) with 1 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk. I use Almond milk plain unsweetened. Blend for a minute or so on high speed until mixture is completely smooth.

To make the ocean stock: Bring 4 cups filtered water and seaweed to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes.Turn off heat and cover. Leave on stove overnight. Strain out all seaweed and cut into little pieces to add to the soup. You will have a clear fishy smelling broth.

Chop oyster mushrooms and saute in a little olive oil with onions and the garlic until a little brown. Add celery and carrots. Add Kombu broth and potatoes and cook until potatoes are cooked (about 15 minutes. May have to add a little more water to cover potatoes. Add hickory seasoning, salt and pieces of Kombu. Add cashew cream and cook on low until warmed. You can add more almond milk if it is too thick.
To serve, ladle soup into wide bowls. Add a few grinds of fresh pepper. ENJOY

Makes 5 one cup servings
about 160 calories per cup.

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.

taco salad 001

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