Fresh Bruschetta with Tomato, Basil and Red Onion

Love SUMMER!!! Fresh farm fresh veggies, picnics, vegan BBQs, pot-lucks and lots of family and friends FUN!

There is something so special about heading over to the farmers market and picking out the best and brightest fresh-picked veggies. Tomatoes are especially the best find since there is nothing like fresh summer tomatoes! Here is a perfect recipe for enjoying those fresh, juicy summer tomatoes. Yum!!

Fresh Bruschetta with Tomato, Basil and Red Onion

  • loaf of fresh bread, sliced (we used olive bread)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or the best freshest looking tomatoes you see)
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch of basil, chopped
  • Coarse salt
  1. Rub sliced bread with garlic and olive oil.
  2. Combine tomatoes, onion and basil in a bowl. Add extra olive and salt to taste.
  3. Spoon onto sliced bread and enjoy!

Make it a party and add a fresh Salad, Guac & Chips and fresh summer corn! Even just the thought of fresh summer corn has me ready for the next party! The best!

NYC Food Update

What a great couple of food outings I have had over the last couple of weeks! YUM! Some goodies but oldies and some that I have been wanting to try out and finally made my way over to. Love that!!

My Babies Blessing Party at Candle 79. Awesome!! Always an amazing time there 🙂

Quintessence in the East Village has always been a solid stand out as far as vegan raw food. I have been totally craving Caesar salads lately and they make such a great one! I have actually had that and their raw tacos twice over the last 2 weeks haha. So good! The Caesar dressing is amazing with a generous amount of avocados in the salad to make for salad perfection! YUM! Plus the tacos are just super awesome too. I love that you can order just one.

Dirt Candy is also in the East Village and I have been wanting to go there since Amanda Cohen opened it up a few years ago. FINALLY we were able make it there! It was actually pretty hard to get a decent time reservation but luckily I planned this one in advance and there we were 🙂 It is a pretty tiny, yet adorable place but of course the main reason why we were there was the OUTSTANDING food! As you know I am quite the foodie and been to many many restaurants but I have to say – I was beyond impressed with everything we ate! I am really hoping to go back super soon and try the other half of the menu!

We started with the Jalapeno Hush Puppies served with maple butter (how could we not!) and the Mushroom! dish portobello mousse, truffled toast pear & fennel compote, incredible! Complex, creamy and of course deelish! Then we moved on to our entrees. I have to say, everything we had was well thought out, very creative, visually stunning and sooo tasty! Chardchard gnocchi, grilled chard, garlic granola & drunken fig jam and Cauliflower buttermilk battered cauliflower, waffles,  horseradish, wild arugula. And although we were getting pretty full how could I not try their dessert after such an incredible meal! Popcorn Pudding salted caramel corn. The other desserts had more of an out there sound to them, and although I am sure they were deelish, I had to go with this one. Suffice it to say, there was no disappointment here 🙂 We will for sure be back and are just sad that it took us this long to finally make it there!

Cauliflower - buttermilk battered cauliflower, waffles,horseradish, wild arugula

Chard - chard gnocchi, grilled chard,garlic granola & drunken fig jam

Lula’s Sweet Apothecary is another East Village fabulous vegan stand out when you are craving some amazing dessert. This awesome warm weather we have been having was just the perfect excuse to head over for some ice cream. They have a ton of fabulous flavors and I have tried many of them but I am sure as a lot of people would agree with – the Cake Batter soft serve is not to be missed. This is the first time I tried it with a topping and I had to go caramel sauce. So happy I did that! haha YUM!!!!

Cake Batter Ice Cream -- photo from http://www.theurbanhousewife.com

Gingersnap’s Organic  is another amazing new raw place to open up in the East Village. It just opened up in November and I am so happy I didn’t wait too long to make it over there! The owner, Jamie, is super awesome, friendly and down to earth. The place itself is really cute, comfortable and they specialize in food on the fly. So although they have an awesome full menu, you can can just grab pre-made food and run. I had already eaten lunch when I went but wanted to try one of their raw vegan dessert specialties. OH MY Chocolate Ganache Cake! It was seriously the best raw food cake I have ever eaten! I am sure this would pass to anyone for a master slice of chocolate cake. I love raw food, but I know the thoughts and feelings many people have about them as desserts, and this one seriously measures up! YUM! I am excited to come back here and try the rest of the menu and their cool looking cleanse as well. Welcome to the neighborhood Gingersnaps!

Gobo is a West Village mostly vegan restaurant that has a cool vibe to it. I have been going there for years and years! It was always the, parents taking me out go-to restaurant, for so long 🙂 But it had been maybe 2 years that we have been there and it was super nice to revisit. I always start with their Scallion pancakes with homemade mango salsa. Then we moved on to the natural Seitan medallions in sizzling spicy citrus sauce and the Organic king oyster mushrooms in sizzling basil black bean sauce. I typically would not order a mushroom dish as an entrée but last time I was here my friend ordered it and I was lucky to get a taste. So deelish! The king oyster mushroom is such a star! My very favorite dish there is the Pine nut vegetable medley with lettuce wraps, which I could not help ordering to go for my lunch the next day 🙂 Absence does make the heart grow fonder, it was nice to go back. Yum!

Pine nut vegetable medley with lettuce wraps

Marisa’s Babies Blessing Party

Candle 79 is one of the best restaurants ever as far as I am concerned! It’s on the UES so a bit of a hike for us, but makes the ultimate date night spot. Romantic, Cozy and deelish!! Check out my review from 2009.

But I went there for a very different reason recently. I had my fabulous Babies Blessing Brunch Party there. SO much fun, a bunch of beautiful girlfriends and the best food to celebrate the almost arrival of our little kiddos 🙂 Benay, the manager, was amazing in helping me set up this event and everything went super smooth. The food of course was deelish!

My mom made fabulous favors: Super cute planters all prepped with organic soil and seeds and a super cute flower on top 🙂 So perfect!!

Thanks ladies! Such a great day to celebrate!!!

We had a great menu!

APPETIZERS


Guacamole Timbale
chipotle black beans, caramelized onions, cucumber-jicama salsa, tortilla chips, ranchero sauce

Steamed Dumplings
seitan, shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, sesame-soy-ginger sauce
Angel’s Nachos

corn chips, mozzarella, tomatoes, refried pinto beans, chili-grilled seitan, guacamole, salsa, tofu sour cream, romaine lettuce

ENTRÉE


Stuffed Avocado Salad
baby greens, quinoa, zucchini, cucumber, radishes, black beans, toasted pumpkin seeds, grape tomatoes, chipotle-avocado dressing

Black Bean-Pumpkin Seed Burger
mixed lettuces, avocado, polenta fries, chipotle ketchup


Home-Style Pancakes
seasonal fruit, cranberry butter, gingered maple syrup

Wild Mushroom-Squash Risotto
cashew cream, pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs, frizzled leeks

Seitan Picatta
creamed spinach, grilled potato cake, oyster mushrooms, lemon-caper sauce

Check out my version of this famous dish 🙂

and then Dessert 🙂

Live Sweet Potato Parfait
nut granola, huckleberry ice cream


Cannoli
vanilla cream filling, coconut-chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate sauce


Apple Cranberry Pie
toasted oat crumble, french vanilla ice cream, berry
coulis, candied almonds

There were lots of fabulous beverages going around. I was super happy to have ordered the Coconut-Mint Frappe avocado, coconut water, agave, mint, lime. AMAZING!! I have been craving this drink ever since!

Yummy Protein Goo Ball Bites

I have been doing my best to get as much protein as possible lately. (Thank goodness for Brendan Brazier’s Vega Bars!) I have made many versions of this snack throughout my life, but never added protein powder before and it really was such a perfect addition! I made both vanilla and chocolate versions to enjoy 🙂 Awesome!

These were so super fast to whip up and even faster to eat haha so make sure you make some extra for the perfect on the go snacks.

Yummy Protein Goo Ball Bites

Chocolate Version

1 scoop chocolate protein powder (as I mentioned above – I love Brendan Brazier’s products from Vega and his Shake & Go Smoothie Chocolate is amazing!!!!)
2 tablespoons Artisana coconut butter (this is the best stuff ever!)
2 teaspoons honey or agave
1 heaping teaspoon organic peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1/4 cup light coconut milk

Vanilla Version

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (my absolute favorite vanilla powder – Life Time Lifes Basics Plant Protein)
2 tablespoons Artisana coconut butter
2 teaspoons honey or agave
1 heaping teaspoon organic peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1/4 cup light coconut milk

Combine all ingredients. You might need a little more protein powder or coconut if too wet or some coconut milk if too dry. Roll into balls in your hands.

Optional add ons:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • Extra shredded coconut

Melt chocolate over a double boiler and dip the bites in the bowl. Then sprinkle coconut over and freeze until firm.

Avocado Kale Salad #3

I recently had a not so great Kale Salad at a restaurant. The menu ingredients sounded fabulous but with Kale you need to massage it a bit with your hands so it “wilts” and this one wasn’t. Here is my take on it, yum!!

We like a lot of kale salad and it keeps really well for a few days. But if you don’t want as much just half the recipe.

Avocado Kale Salad 

  • 3 heads lacanato kale, chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3-4 tablespoon Braggs, tamari or nama shoyu
This is just a base…Combine and Massage the avocado, lemon juice and braggs into the kale. Then add whatever is fresh, you have in the house or love in a salad.

The Base - before adding the toppings

I added — raw sunflower seeds, diced raw red onion, shredded carrots and diced red pepper.

Zucchini and Green Zebra Tomato Lasagne with Basil-Pistachio Pesto

I have made this dish many times over the last couple of years, sorry for waiting so long to share it with you! It is one of my faves!! And you can use each component on its own in other dishes as well 🙂 SO versatile and deelish! A total crowd pleaser – beautiful and amazing! Plus it has been one of their top sellers at the restaurant for years!

Zucchini and Green Zebra Tomato Lasagne with Basil-Pistachio Pesto
Recipe by Matthew Kenney of Pure Food and Wine
Serves 6

Lemon-Pignoli “Ricotta”

2 cups raw pignoli nuts, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons water

Place the pignoli, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt in a food processor, and pulse a few times, until thoroughly combined. Gradually add water, and pulse until the texture becomes fluffy, like ricotta. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
Tomato Sauce
2 cups good-quality sun-dried tomatoes (dry-packed), soaked in water for at least 2 hours
1 medium ripe tomato, diced
1/4 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon agave
2 teaspoons sea salt
Pinch hot-pepper flakes

Place all ingredients in a Vita-mix or high speed blender, and process until smooth.
Basil-Pistachio Pesto
2 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup raw pistachios
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a Vita-mix or food processor and process until well combined but still slightly chunky.

Lasagne
3 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
3 medium green-zebra tomatoes (or other heirloom variety)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of sea salt and fresh pepper

Garnish: whole basil leaves

  1. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, shave zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices, then cut in half crosswise. Cut the tomatoes in half, and each half into thin slices.
  2. Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with two layers of zucchini slices. Brush the zucchini lightly with olive oil, spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce over it, and top with small dollops of “ricotta” and pesto, using 1/3 of each. Layer on 1/3 of the tomato slices, and sprinkle with 1/3 of the oregano and thyme. Add another double layer of zucchini and repeat twice more with the tomato sauce, pesto, ricotta, tomato slices, and herbs. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic and let sit at room temperature for a few hours. Garnish with basil. (or make individual portions by layering into square shapes on plates)

Honeydew Gazpacho

This was super simple and a perfect pool day lunch. It was HOT last week as many of you know 😉 and this was a great light lunch to cool us off. So simple yet very complex flavors. Deelish!
Honeydew Gazpacho
Serves 4
  • 2/3 cup slivered blanched almonds, separated
  • juice of 1 1/2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 6 plum tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 honeydew; cut in half – 1 half seeded, peeled and chopped &
  • other 1/2 diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Blend 1/3 cup almonds, lime juice, vinegar, tomatoes, and chopped honeydew until smooth. Either serve right away or chill. When serving, place diced honeydew and almonds in a bowl and pour soup over. Enjoy!

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