Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Vegan Chef's Mushroom Pizza with Cashew Cream White Sauce

Here's proof that you don't have to compromise on richness when making a vegan pizza!

Millennium cooking class buddy, C and I, made this delicious pizza with fresh vegan pizza dough, a cashew cream white sauce made with shallots, white wine, nutritional yeast, truffle salt and white pepper. Topped with Mycopia Organic Chef's Sampler mushrooms (consisting of King Trumpet, Velvet Pioppini, Alba clamshell and Forest Nameko mushrooms), sauteed with olive oil, fresh rosemary, green garlic, salt and pepper.

We added pea greens post-baking to provide a wonderful fresh contrast to the rich creamy extravagance of the pizza.

Needless to say, there were no leftovers!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rutabaga & Potato Soup with Pea Greens

I love rutabagas or "swede" as we call them in England. I couldn't care less about turnips, but rutabagas mashed with butter and salt are a comfort food to me. Thinking back, the first comment I ever posted to a food blog was in defense of rutabagas. And reading and posting comments to other food blogs, quickly inspired me to create Albion Cooks. So finding a comforting rutabaga and potato soup recipe here should come as no surprise. Rutabaga lovers, unite!

This soup was simple, humble and delicious! The pea greens, added at the end, provided a lovely freshness to the comforting pureed soup. Watercress would be a good substitute if pea greens are not available.


Rutabaga & Potato Soup with Pea Greens:
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and small dice
1 medium russet potato, peeled and small dice
1/2 cup vegetable broth
water (as needed)
salt and pepper
pea greens

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the diced rutabaga and potato and cover. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes to avoid sticking. Add the vegetable broth, water (as needed), salt and pepper. Partially cover and cook until tender. Puree with an immersion blender. Adjust seasoning.

Add fresh pea greens on top when serving. Stir in the pea greens and enjoy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tri-Color Roasted Cauliflower

This lovely combination of white, green, and purple roasted cauliflower with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a few garlic cloves is a little tribute to a colleague who is moving on (to, most likely, less chaotic professional waters).

D. has directed me toward some great vegetable recipes (the chiffonade brussels on this pizza), gifted me with delicious and beautiful tomatoes from her garden, and been a tireless partner for enthusiastic discussions about food and cooking.

Although there were initially a few bumps (D. has a baker's precision, while I prefer a "let's just wing it and see what happens" approach), we really came together as a food-loving team.

This delicious recipe is her oven-roasted cauliflower. Simply, break the cauliflower into florettes, mix with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet with garlic cloves (and fennel, if you like) and roast in the oven (425), stirring occasionally so that you achieve uniform browning (approximately 25 minutes). She recommends serving this with pasta and cheese. A sprinkle of pine nuts would be an awesome addition.

I'm going to miss D.'s daily food camaraderie, but hope to keep the food conversation open.


With spaghetti, feta, pine nuts and red pepper flakes - delicious!:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Alive! Vegetarian Cuisine in San Francisco

I recently enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Alive! restaurant on Lombard Street in San Francisco. It was a dark and wintery night, and the restaurant lighting is calm and subdued, so my pictures really don't do the dishes justice. Above, their signature dish of King Trumpet mushrooms with capers, sea palm, romanesco, cauliflower and almonds in an almond cream sauce was an amazing melding of super fresh raw vegetables with a knockout almond cream sauce.

Below, their flaxseed flatbread with cashew cream, tomatoes, and avocado:

Looks simple, but it was so perfectly delicious, I was tempted to run out and buy a dehydrator and try the raw breads myself!

The restaurant is tiny. It has a wonderful combination of mellowness and urban hipness. The staff were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I didn't see it, but they also have outside garden seating for warmer weather.

The focus here is on very fresh ingredients and creative combinations. While I wouldn't take a steak-lovin' cowboy here, it's a must-try for vegetarians/vegans in the area!

They also frequent the local Farmers Markets as I discovered today at the San Rafael Civic Center market:

Check out their website for upcoming special events, menus and catering.