I would love to take the credit, but…

Greetings everyone!

This is my Mom’s recipe, and it’s amazing.


Portobello cappelini Limone aglio con prezzemolo!

2 large portobello mushrooms quartered and sliced
2 shallots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and diced or crushed
1 sprig fresh basil chopped fine
1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped fine
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted pine-nuts
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 pound cappelini pasta (cook as directed)
1/4 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped (remove the stems)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup white wine
course fresh ground black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper (to taste)
salt (to taste)
1/2 cup Shaved Parmesan, Romano & Asiago Blend (Trader Joe’s brand)
1/4 cup fresh finely-grated Romano cheese

In a large skillet, sauté the shallots, the mushrooms and the garlic in 1/4 cup of olive oil, until the shallots and mushrooms are wilted. Add the wine and cook for 2 more minutes. Next, add 1/2 of the chopped parsley, the chopped basil, the pine nuts, the fennel seed, the cayenne, and the salt and pepper, and sauté for 3 more minutes. Add the remaining oil the lemon juice and lemon zest, and remove from heat.

In a separate pan, boil the water for the cappelini, and cook as directed on the package. Remember, cappelini cooks very quickly, and the noodles are definitely better “al dente!”

In a large pasta bowl, put the cooked cappelini, and add the sauce/oil mixture, the remaining chopped parsley and add the Shaved Parmesan, Romano & Asiago Blend and the fresh finely-grated Romano.

Toss and serve with a green salad, and a fabulous white wine.

Your tummy will say, “Thank you.”

Buon appetito!


Still grilling in California

I’ve been enjoying the weekend immensely, and part of my joy is weather-related.  It’s been in the high 70’s the last few days in Santa Barbara, so we’re still drinking lemonade and grilling in So Cal.  After enjoying an evening hike, I made quite a feast last night.  The menu included my addictive Organic Tomato Fennel Soup, steamed artichokes with aioli dipping sauce, spinach salad with lemon garlic dressing and grilled cauliflower, which was off the charts!  In fact, I ate the leftovers for breakfast.  🙂

Grilled Lemon Parmesan Cauliflower


1 large head cauliflower (sliced — I used purple and yellow cauliflower)

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cloves pressed garlic

1 tablespoons fresh basil (minced)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Sea salt & black pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Let’s Get Started!

Rinse and pat dry the cauliflower.  Separate the stem, removing outer green leaves from cauliflower.  Starting at the top head of the stalk, slice into 3/4-inch steaks. Place the sliced cauliflower onto a plate.  Mix remaining ingredients and brush oil mixture onto the sliced florets, and place them on a medium-hot grill.  Grill on both sides until browned.  Add additional Parmesan cheese until melted and browned.

*Note:  These work wonders on the George Forman grill, especially because it grills both sides at once.

photo (1)

Smell and taste Harvest

Even though I live in Santa Barbara, fall is upon us.  For those of us who have experienced a “real” fall, you know how the air shifts — you can actually smell it in the air.  I can smell fall in the air today, and it excites me.  Fall time makes me want soups and stews.  Of course, I always love a good salad, but I enjoy warmer foods when the climate changes.

Today I made Organic Tomato-Fennel Soup, and it’s FABULOUS!  There’s nothing like fresh fennel and organic vine-ripened tomatoes. Couple it with a spinach salad, a slice of gluten-free sourdough bread, a glass of white wine, and you’ve got a great light meal.

So, here’s the recipe!

Organic Tomato – Fennel Soup (Vegan)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium or large fennel bulb (trimmed, cored and chopped…save the feathery leaves)

2 large garlic cloves

4 medium shallots, finely chopped

2 large parsley springs, finely chopped

2 small carrots, finely chopped

3 fresh vine-ripened organic tomatoes, diced

1 16 oz. can organic fire-roasted tomatoes, diced (Trader Joe’s)

3/4 cup organic vegetable broth (low sodium)

1 cup water

1 teaspoon Braggs seasoning salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed aniseed

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium-size stock, place the oil and the fennel, carrots, shallots, garlic, and parsley and cook over medium-low heat (stirring occasionally) until vegetables are softened, but not brown.

Add the fresh tomatoes, the vegetable broth, the fire-roasted tomatoes, the water and the seasonings.   Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes.

Either transfer the mixture to a blender or use a high-power hand blender and puree.

Serve hot garnished with chopped fennel feather leaves.

*Note:  A sprinkle of fresh grated Romano cheese is also a nice touch for non-vegans.

Buon Appetito!


Organic Tomato – Fennel Soup

It was one of those evenings…

I had a really long day today, and worse still, I hadn’t eaten much, so by the time dinner time rolled around, I was ravenous! I needed to make something that didn’t take a lot of time–I don’t do hot dogs, nor do I buy frozen dinners, so…

I decided on Stuffed Tomato & Garlic Portobello Mushrooms, Kale With Roasted Pecans, Cranberries & Garlic  (V) and Sweet Potato Fries.  It was splendid, and quick and easy! 🙂

Stuffed Tomato & Garlic Portobello Mushrooms (Vegetarian)


1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped

3 large leaves fresh basil, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 large portobello mushrooms, whole

1/4 cup (1-ounce) part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

3 tablespoons fresh grated romano cheese


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine tomato, cheese, olive oil, garlic, parsley, pepper and half of the balsamic vinegar (2 tablespoons) in a small bowl. Remove mushroom stems, dice and add to stuffing mixture. Continue to remove gills from underside of mushroom by using the side of a spoon and scraping them out.  Combine 1/2 teaspoon oil, lemon juice, and the rest of the balsamic vinegar in a small bowl; brush over both sides of mushroom caps. Place the mushroom caps, undersides facing down, in a large baking dish coated with cooking spray, and bake for 10 minutes. Flip mushrooms over and spoon 1/4 tomato mixture into each mushroom cap. Place back in oven and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is melted and mushrooms are tender.

Yields:  4 servings


The stuffing



1 bunch organic kale, chopped (Trader Joe’s sells kale by the bag)

1/2 cup pecan halves

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 cloves pressed garlic

1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles (optional)

sea salt to taste

pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil


Place the pecans in a large skillet and roast in the pan, add the oil, cranberries, garlic, salt & pepper and kale.  Stir fry, cooking until the kale is mildly limp.  Remove from heat and place in a bowl.  Add goat cheese and stir.  Talk about fast and easy!!!


The finished product!

Buon Appetito!

Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

TASTE…and See

Valentine’s Day = Love + Chocolate & Roses

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 
― Charles M. Schulz

url-1Valentine’s Day approacheth, and while it’s nice to receive a beautiful flower bouquet or box of chocolates, sometimes it’s really cool to take the time and make something special for someone.  Ladies, have you ever thought of making chocolate candy for your valentine?  This Valentine’s Day, I’m making Vegan Chocolate Almond Butter Cups, with love, of course!  They’re a healthier option, delicious and really easy to make.   It will be hard to eat just one!

Let’s Get Started!

Vegan Chocolate Almond Butter Cups


1 package vegan chocolate chips (Trader Joe’s carries these)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons crunchy raw almond butter  (adding a little shredded coconut is a fun little option)

8 drops liquid stevia

Candy liners (I often purchase these online–ShopBakersNook.com)

Mini muffin pan


Place 1/2 cup chocolate chips and the sea salt in a double boiler (water in the bottom half) on the stove.  Turn on burner and stir gently while the chocolate melts.

Place liners in muffin tray and distribute a teaspoon of melted chocolate in each candy liner.  Spread evenly around.o spread evenly around.  Allow the chocolate to fully cool and harden in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes.  Mix the stevia drops in with the almond butter.  Once hardened, scoop 1/2 teaspoon of crunchy raw almond butter in the center of each cup.

Melt the remaining chocolate and cover each cup completely with the chocolate.  Use a knife or spatula to spread the chocolate evenly around. I like to grind a little course sea salt on the top.  There’s nothing like chocolate with a little salt.  If you decide to do this, make sure you grind it before the chocolate hardens.

Place the cups in the refrigerator for an hour.  Once completely hardened and cooled, you can remove the candy liners (or not).

This is an easy, quick way to make someone smile, while enjoying a little bit of heaven!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

TASTE…and See

Another Qunioa moment!

Whew!  I made it through the holiday’s in one piece, and we’ve nearly completed the first month of 2013!  Yay!  I hope the New Year has gotten off to a good start for everyone.

After basically 2 months of rich, calorie-laden foods, I thought I’d share a fabulous healthy recipe–in fact, it’s one my favorites!  If you happen to live in Southern California, accessing ripe avocado’s mid-January is not an issue… In fact, here in Santa Barbara, I have friends and family who have them falling off trees in their yards (no kidding).  We’re going to make “Lemon Quinoa Tomato Avocado Salad, and I guarantee, this recipe will be a keeper!


Lemon Quinoa Tomato Avocado Salad (Vegan)

Ingredients for the salad:
1/2 cup cooked, dry (cooled) organic quinoa
2 cups organic vegetable broth
1 can organic garbanzo beens (drained & rinsed)
1 cup ripe grape tomatoes cut in half
2 avocado’s diced
1 cups organic baby spinach
1 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup red onion (diced or food processed)
2 large cloves garlic
Fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste

For the dressing:
Juice from 2 lemons
Lemon zest (1 lemon)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp.  cumin
Dash of fresh ground pepper & sea salt

Here We Go!

You want to cook the quinoa first, using the vegetable broth for liquid according to directions.  Once it’s fully cooked (don’t dry it out), then remove it from the heat, cover it and set it aside to cool.

In a food processor, add the spinach and cilantro and process the greens until they are finely diced.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can dice them by hand, but make sure they’re really “diced.”

Put the processed greens in a large bowl and set aside.  Take the red onion and the garlic cloves and put them in the food processor as well.  If not, then dice by hand.  Add this to the greens mixture.

Next rinse and drain the garbanzo beans.  Add them to the mixture and stir, making sure everything is mixed.  If the quinoa is cooled, then add it to the mixture.  Don’t add the tomatoes and avocado’s until the very end.

Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the salad.  Mix this until fully saturated.  Add the tomatoes and avocados and carefully mix them in.

Set in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy, it’s so YUMMY!

Lemon Quinoa Tomato Avocado Salad

Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

TASTE…and See


Vegan Almond-Pecan Raspberry Thumb Prints

Here’s another holiday favorite.  Hard to get through the month of December without making these wonderful traditional cookies.  The great thing about this recipe, is that it’s vegan and so tasty.  Go figure…

So,  without further adieu…

Almond-Pecan Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies (Vegan)

Yield: 14-16 cookies.


  • 3/4 cup + 2/3 cup stone-ground kamut flour (using this flour really does make a difference)
  • 1/2 cup  finely crushed blanched almonds in food processor
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp almond milk
  • Approx 1/3 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/2 cup pecans, crushed in food processor


Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or non-stick mat.

In a large bowl combine the flour, crushed almonds, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and whisk until blended.

In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients: maple syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla, almond extract, brown rice syrup, and almond milk. Stir well.

Lightly mix together the wet and dry mixture.

Roll the dough into balls and then lightly dip your fingers in a cup of water, tap off excess, and then roll the ball in your wet fingers. Now roll the ball in the crushed/processed pecans. This little bit of water helps the pecans stick to the ball. Now place the ball that is now covered in crushed pecans onto the baking sheet.

Use your thumb, or something that will help you to press a thumbprint size hole in the middle of the cookie (approximately 3/4 inch in diameter).  Be careful NOT to go all the way through.  Shape it with your fingers, pinching the edges as you go around. Fix any cracks that may form in the dough with your fingers.

Fill the hole with a generous amount of jam- about 1/2-1 tsp. Place cookies about 1 inch apart.

Bake in the oven at 350F for 17-18 minutes. The cookies should be slightly firm to touch. Cool for about 15 minutes on the baking sheet. Next, place them on a cookie plate, and cool them completely in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.

*NOTE:  These cookies freeze well.



Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

TASTE…and See