Alison Lockhart's Lobster Rolls

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I started watching The Affair a few months ago and instantly became hooked.  Aside from the total drama and the amazingly multi-dimensional characters, the gorgeous East Coast beach scenes and fashion stole my heart....along with the dinner that Alison and Noah meet at in Montauk: the Lobster Roll, which is famous for their...lobster rolls. Now, I've never actually had a lobster roll, but I have had my share of lobster and since (duh) I no longer eat meat, I decided to finally make a lobsterless version.  My favorite substitutes for sea food are mushrooms and hearts of palm.  I made hearts of palm sauteed like scallops a few nights after I made these rolls and DAMN.  But then again I generally just love anything cooked in copious amounts of butter (my dad's family is Southern).

So before I get to the food, who else is a fan of The Affair?  I'm really hoping they add Whitney's POV to the 4th season. I LOVED Whitney in season 3.  I've always been curious about her character and I'm glad they really explored the effects of everything on her in the finale.

Loved this scene at Furkat's loft.  His place was so great and Whitney looked so chic. Of course he sucks and this scene didn't end well....but it looked good.

Oh yeah, the food.


For your lobster:
1 can hearts of palm, salad cut
half a red onion, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 tbsp. vegenaise
celery seed
onion powder
old bay seasoning
garlic powder
2 tsp capers

For serving:
hot dog buns
lemon wedges
fresh dill

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Drain your hearts of palm and toss in a dish with the dried spices, making sure to coat evenly.  Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until they start to get golden.  Take out of the oven and  transfer to a bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients and pop this in the fridge to chill completely.

Toast your rolls and spoon in a heaping amount of the lobster mix.  Squeeze lemon wedges over the top and set to the side of the plate.  Garnish with dill.

These are perfect with fries or thick cut potato chips (though I served mine with vegan shells and cheese) and honestly, if you really wanna set the mood, an iced tea or white wine spritzer outside on a nice summer day.

One of my favorite simple meals and Alex approved!

Outlander-inspired Pigeonless Rolls with Truffles

Monday, August 7, 2017

I'm a die hard Outlander-obsessed crazy Sassenach fiend.  It's really no secret and I torment Alex with getting wrapped up in the show when it's on and shushing him whenever anyone speaks on the show (which is often).  By the way, the 3rd season is premiering in September and I'M LOSING IT OVER WAITING FOR IT TO START (watch the trailer here).  I purchased the Outlander Cookbook during the holidays and I've only just begun to really start adapting these recipes to being plant based, and I decided to start out with the recipe for Pigeon Rolls with Truffles. The recipe calls for chicken, but I decided to use a Gardein brand meatless meatloaf cut up and cooked with the veggies for a meaty, savory, rustic taste.  I served these rolls with grilled asparagus, but I'm going to make them with mashed potatoes and gravy during the holidays.  I also ate one of these rolls the next day for breakfast and used my hands.  Perfect.

My recipe is also slightly different in preparation.  I use a lighter puff pastry than the called for bread dough, and I cook my filling before blending it and I don't freeze the mixture...I just roll it right up and bake it.  It also doesn't call for you to cook your mixture, but I like to let the flavors mingle a bit.



8oz crimini mushrooms
3 carrots
dried forest mushrooms (boiled)
3 celery stalks
rosemary (recipe calls for thyme)
bacon flavored bits (the recipe calls for bacon)
puff pastry (you will need two sheets), defrosted overnight
splash of Worcestershire sauce (make sure it's vegan, it traditionally has anchovies), even smaller splash of liquid smoke
1 large shallot, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp vegan butter
Gardein brand meatless meatloaf, chopped into cubes

In a large pan on medium heat, melt your butter and add in your shallot.  Saute until transparent and then add in the rest of the veggies.  Add in the Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke, as well as rosemary and salt and pepper.  Finally, add in the cubed meatless meatloaf and cook until it is soft.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (or whatever your puff pastry calls for).  Once your mixture has finished cooking, spoon it into a blender or food processor.  Blend until it is sausage consistency.  Cut your pastry into roll-sized rectangles, and spoon the mixture into the middle and roll up.  The original recipe calls for the mixture to be frozen, and the dough rolled around the frozen meat, then cut into rolls.  I found my way to be easier for a quicker recipe and also working with my ingredients.

Pop these babies in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or so until the pastry is golden brown and flaky.

Let cool for just a bit and then DEVOUR. 

Thyme Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom and Sage Gravy

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Right about this time of the Summer I start to crave Autumn.  Comfort food is my favorite and I have a mental log of all the stuff I want to make beginning in the Fall and extending all the way through the Winter.  Last year, my Thanksgiving feast was the stuff of legends.  It was my first time cooking an entire vegan holiday meal, and I crushed it.  I had all the classics, with amazing stuffing, pink peppercorn gravy, roasted mushrooms, broccoli salad (that I lifted from the Outlander Cookbook...) and an amazing Field Roast en croute.  Not once did I miss having Turkey.

Last year's Thanksgiving.

So anyway.  I've been craving these heavy and satisfying foods lately, and of course I've been practicing for the holiday parties I'm planning on having.  So this weekend, I made mashed potatoes (a request from Alex) with gravy.  I added thyme leaves to the water while the potatoes boiled and it really had a great effect.  The gravy is pretty much like gravy I always make, except this time I used mushroom broth instead of vegetable broth for a more earthy, hearty taste.  I also added in some dried foraged mushrooms and WOW.  I'm definitely making this one for the holiday menu.


Mashed potatoes-
6 red potatoes, quartered with skin
sea salt
about 3 tbsp. vegan sour cream
about 1 tbsp. vegan butter

8 oz. crimini mushrooms
dried forest mushrooms (any dried mushrooms will do)
dried ground sage
1 scallion (a lot)
sea salt
1 tbsp vegan butter
2 cups mushroom broth

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil, sprinkling in salt.  Add in the quartered potatoes and thyme and stir well.  Allow to boil until potatoes are easy to pierce with a fork.  Drain and mash roughly with a hand masher.  Add in enough sour cream and butter to make creamy, but still lumpy. Salt and pepper to taste.

For the gravy, heat butter in a medium pan and add in mushrooms and scallions (before butter browns).  The dried mushrooms will stay hard until you add in the broth, so don't worry.   Add in sage per your taste.  Let sauté until the mushrooms are tender and add in the broth stirring well.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Once the dried mushrooms are soft, whisk in flour slowly until gravy thickens.

Serve the gravy atop the potatoes and enjoy.  I served mine with highly fried "turkey" cutlets and sautéed spinach.

Chef or Cook - What's in a Name?

Search the hashtag "chef" on Instagram and you're bombarded with a lot of different images.  There are moms cooking for their kids, professional chefs working in restaurants, but of the images are amateur cooks sharing photos of the things they make in their home kitchens (these are my favorite).

So what's the difference between a chef and a cook?  They both do the same thing right?

Well, not exactly. And kind of. But not really.  Um....ok.

So technically a chef is someone who has received culinary training.  A chef is someone who cooks in a restaurant and has creative control of the menu.  A chef has either gone to culinary school or has studied under another chef and has received education that is equal to a formal degree.  If you are a "chef" odds are you are in a supervisory role in your restaurant.

A cook on the other hand, is me.  I have not trained in a restaurant or under a chef (unless you count asking my parents questions because they are both bomb ass cooks) and I don't have any formal education.  Everything I have ever made in the kitchen, has come from me.  I study on my own with the amazing resources we have these days.  I have a trillion cookbooks, books on cooking technique, and spend most of my free time reading up online about food and cooking.  But unless I decide to go back to school (I graduate this semester from an MFA the odds on that aren't great), I will never be considered a chef.

But who cares?  There is definitely a hierarchy in restaurants, but I don't intend to work in one.  My goal is to show people that cooking is easy and FUN and you don't have to have studied in France to be able to cook a delicious meal and share it with other people.  Also, I would probably have an anxiety attack and die if I had to work in a restaurant kitchen.  The only reason my Instagram says "personal chef" is because "personal cook" wasn't an option.

So I may take a class or two, or ask people who are chefs for advice, but I'm a cook.  And I'm proud of that.

Black Bean and Beyond Meat Enchiladas

Saturday, July 29, 2017

My mom makes some really incredible chicken enchiladas.  I used to love them as a kid, and now that I don't eat meat, I have to find a way to make all of the foods from my childhood meat free.  While, these are decidedly different (I used red instead of green sauce, and make them more of a "beef" version) they still tasted so familiar and definitely something I'm going to be making more often.  This is also a really great dish to bring to a potluck, party, or any other gathering where people bring and eat food.  You can dial up the spicy level if you want, but just be careful that you don't set your hands on fire with serrano pepper juice like I did....that stuff hurts.

This dish is so easy and tastes like meat so just roll some tortillas around some meat-like stuff and chillllllll.


2 cans sliced olives
1 can green chilis
red enchilada sauce
3 garlic cloves, diced (once again, adjust this to your taste, I effing love garlic)
2 green onions, chopped
8 tortillas (I use a carb balanced brand)
1 can black beans
1 package Beyond Meat beefy crumbles (or your preferred brand, this is mine)
cayenne pepper
salt + pepper to taste
parsley (fresh or dried)
olive oil-1tbs

Heat up the olive oil in a pan and then add in the garlic.  Stir for just a minute then add in the Beyond Meat and cook until the "meat" browns (it will be frozen when you put it in).  Add in the black beans, green chilis, and olives (only one can, save the other for later). Stir and season with cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly coat a casserole dish with a thin layer of red enchilada sauce (this is so the tortillas don't stick to the bottom).  Remove your meat mix from heat when it's done and let cool for just a bit.  Begin rolling your tortillas with the mixture. I do this by laying a tortilla down in the sauce, putting a couple spoonfuls of the mixture inside and rolling it from one side to the other.  This will make sure that your open ends are facing down.  Continue with all 8 tortillas and top with the rest of the red sauce, the 2nd can of olives, and your green onions.

Pop in the oven for about 20 minutes.  You can also add cheese or cheese substitute on top if you prefer, but I left mine as is and it was sooooo satisfying.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about this right and and I might have to make it tonight again.

Let me know if you like it, and if you have any ideas or suggestions!!


Alex got busted eating the leftover meat mix....

Winter is Here: Game of Thrones Inspired Menu

Friday, July 21, 2017

Game of Thrones came back last that means my life will be consumed every Sunday from here until 8 weeks from now and also that I'm going to be lusting after Cersei's badass B wardrobe (see photo below).  Oh yeah, and I'll be cooking GOT inspired meals!

Damn girl...slay.

Premier night was pretty amazing, I must say.  My sister and I teamed up to make an amazing menu of GOT foods and they were all AMAZING. I'm going to post her recipes as soon as I get them from her (hurry up...).  But for now, here are mine.  I made a variation of the pot pie I posted previously, and mock-lamb meatballs which taste surprisingly lamby.  Without further ado...I bring you a fest fit for a Westorosi King or Queen.

Brienne of Tarth's Mock-Kidney Pie

3 medium carrots, sliced
8 oz mushrooms, halved
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
8 oz or so fingerling potatoes, sliced roughly
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves (more if you're like me and insane and love garlic)

dry rubbed sage
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup sherry
splash of Worcestershire sauce (vegan)
1 tbsp vegan butter
splash of liquid smoke
Vegan puff pastry (I don't have patience to make it myself, so I get it at Whole Foods...I'm realistic)
1/4 cup of flour (added in slowly, you may not use all of it)

In a large pan, melt your butter and toss in the shallot, green onion and garlic.  Sauté until the shallot is transparent and then toss in the potatoes, then the carrots and celery.  These veggies will take the longest to cook, and also need to absorb a lot of the flavors.  When these flavors mingle a bit, add in the mushrooms. Add in your seasonings and herbs.  Simmer until the potatoes cook through (until you can slide a fork in easily).

Preheat your oven 400 degrees.  Bake one sheet of the puff pastry in your pie pan until golden brown (maybe like 20 minutes depending on the brand).  This will make a nice base for the pie (it'll be heavy!). When it's done, remove and cover with a cloth.

Once the potatoes have cooked through, add in the broth, sherry, worchestershire, and liquid smoke.  Simmer for a while, then whisk in your flour. Again, SLOWLY. I struggle with patience when thickening sauces.... Once the sauce is thickened, remove from the heat.  Pour this into your pie crust and top with the 2nd sheet of pastry dough.  Add whatever embellishment you want on top, or none, whatever, it's your pie!!

Bake another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and just made a pie that my sister thought about all day after we ate it.

Unsullied (mock lamb) Balls

Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage
splash of Worcestershire sauce (vegan)
splash of liquid smoke
olive oil
1/2 cup sherry
1/2 cup vegetable broth

1 green onion, chopped
 onion powder
poultry herbs (marjoram, thyme, rosemary)
dry rubbed sage
garlic salt
mint jelly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine sausage, worchestershire sauce, liquid smoke, green onion, olive oil and all spices (sans herbs) in a bowl.  Mix well with your hands and form into meatballs.  place them in a single layer in a roasting or baking dish.  Pour in the sherry and broth and stir so that it coats the meatballs.  Put the herbs on top of the meatballs and pop in the oven.  Bake for around 30 minutes until the meatballs are browned, stirring periodically.

Serve with mint jelly and I'm telling you, you'll feel bad because they taste like lamb but then you'll remember they are totally cruelty free and you'll be sooooo stoked.