Pizza with Vegan Cashew Cheese: Inspired by Gather Restaurant

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Gather is one of my favorite restaurants in Berkeley.  The restaurant has this great cozy ambience with lots of cool details.  The menu has a great mix of comfort foods, and incredibly creative pairings.  (Their vegan charcuterie is always fascinating, and while I can’t always figure out every component despite the helpful tableside guide, everything tastes amazing.)  Plus their cocktails are creative and multi-faceted and just fun to try.  My favorite thing at Gather though, is their vegan pizza with kalamata olives and cashew puree.  The cheese is melty and drippy, and tastes like… cheese.  I can’t explain it.  It’s … Continue reading

Cranberry Tea

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The name cranberry tea doesn’t properly explain how wonderful this drink is.  The first time J had it, he described it as nectar.  It’s sweet and tart with just a hint of spice.  To me, it’s completely synonymous with the holiday season. My family had cranberry tea for the first time one night when we had dinner at a neighbors’ house.  Susanna and Alan lived next door to us in the new neighborhood we had just moved to.  Susanna is an amazing cook, and had actually published a collection of her recipes.  She grew up Pennsylvania Dutch, and her cookbook … Continue reading

A Vegetarian Riff on Stovetop Stuffing

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I grew up on Stovetop Stuffing.  The red box was totally integral to our holiday season.  My sister and cousins and I could demolish two or three boxes of Stovetop Stuffing all on our own.  We called the kids’ table the “black hole” completely in reference to our ability to eat stuffing. Look familiar?  Yes, I was that crazy person taking pictures of groceries in Target with her phone.  I’ve missed Stovetop stuffing since I stopped eating meat.  But really, it’s not made with the most recognizable ingredients. As I experimented with this stuffing recipe, I found that the dominant … Continue reading

Baguette French Toast with Pomegranate Seeds

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I adore pomegranates.  I tend to buy them this time of year, and then they sit in a bowl on my kitchen table for at least a week while I psych myself up to deal with them.  Luckily, pomegranates are very patient fruit, and will wait for you to get up the mental energy to deal with them.  They will just sit there calmly, reminding you how delicious they are, without going bad two days after you buy them (kiwi, I’m looking at you). I follow this very aptly named method from Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point: Opening a Pomegranate … Continue reading

Mashed Potatoes and Turnips with Blue Cheese

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We are strongly attached to our traditions in my family, especially traditions that are associated with food.  We’ve been eating approximately the same Thanksgiving and Christmas for as long as I can remember.  We’ve added dishes over the years, but nothing can be subtracted.  I can only imagine the mutiny that would ensue if we tried to mess with the mashed potatoes at our house. Mashed potatoes are a particular specialty of ours.  We always fight for the leftovers, but somehow mashed potatoes almost never make it past the first round of leftovers.  They are nothing fancy, just potatoes mashed … Continue reading

Grilled Cheese with Sharp Cheddar, Apples and Whole Grain Mustard

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So I’ve written about this sandwich before.  But really, it merits a second entry.  It was one of my very first blog posts, and I wasn’t even attempting to take food pictures at that point.  Plus, it’s been nearly a year, and I still look forward to this sandwich. It’s super simple to make, but incredibly satisfying.  I press it on a Foreman grill, but you could definitely butter the outside and grill it like a more typical grilled cheese. Simply slice up some of the sharpest cheddar cheese you can find, and half an apple (I always eat the … Continue reading

Comfort Food: Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce

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This dish is pretty new in my comfort food rotation.   Others, like my perfect grilled cheese sandwich or a simple breakfast for dinner have been making last minute appearances at my dinner table for years.  I’ll admit that I was skeptical about poaching eggs in tomato sauce, but several months ago I was on a poached egg kick.  Poached eggs on sandwiches, on salads, on grain bowls, you name it, I’d topped it with a poached egg.  So while I was skeptical, I simply had to try it. The preparation is so simple.  Just heat up tomato sauce (I doctor … Continue reading

Breakfast for Dinner: Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Roasted Potatoes

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When you’re tired or just don’t have that much time to cook, breakfast for dinner comes together so easily.   Breakfast for dinner just feels more casual.  Like you should be eating it on the couch with your pajamas on, probably curled up with a loved one and a blanket.  On the nights that I go to run club and J is busy, we’ll often have this for dinner. I come in the door and cut up the potatoes, drizzle on some olive oil and Lawry’s seasoning salt, and toss them in the oven at 400 degrees.  By the time I’ve … Continue reading

Taco Night and Making Your Own Corn Tortillas

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Taco night is something J and I both loved as children.  J says he loved how interactive the meal was, that everyone was reaching around, having fun together and adding things to their tacos.  I remember my sister and I chorusing “Tacos!” whenever my mom asked us what we wanted for dinner.  I also liked any excuse to add shredded cheese to just about anything.  We had friends over for taco night last night, and I thought I’d complicate the proceedings by making my own corn tortillas. I’ve recently started reading Gluten-free Girl and the Chef.  I’m always on the … Continue reading

Individual Mushroom Pot Pies

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I have adored mushrooms ever since I started cooking them properly.  There’s a scene in Julie and Julia where Julie is cooking in her tiny kitchen.  To paraphrase, she’s just learned that you shouldn’t “crowd the mushrooms, otherwise they won’t brown.”  She exclaims that she’s been cooking mushrooms wrong her whole life.  When I first read the book (and later saw the movie) and saw that passage, I had the same “aha!” moment.  Since then I’ve always been very careful not to “crowd the mushrooms” because the browning really develops a much deeper flavor. I had mushrooms on the brain … Continue reading