This recipe was inspired by pastry chef extraordinaire, Will Goldfarb. I read this in Bon Appetit magazine a few years ago and then altered and adapted it to become gluten and dairy free. Sometimes adaptions work and sometimes they are a bust. This time, I am extremely happy to report, it is f***ing brilliant. Yes, I am tooting my own horn. And so will you after you make this incredible dessert. It’s that good.
Photographer V Blak
Merry merry jolly jolly to you all! Almost time to celebrate. The tree trimming, the lights sparkling, the festive decorations hanging, the fireplaces crackling, the soups simmering, the stews slowly brewing, the spiced apple cider steaming, the rich hot chocolate warming, the bread baking…mmmmmm I could go on and on….love the holiday season. Always have. And I especially love love love to bake, to brew, to stew and to create something new everyday in my warm toasty kitchen.
When I was a vegan (yes, I said ‘was’) I decided to take the 6 month chef’s training program at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School in NYC to learn how to cook vegan style. The focus was on cooking with whole foods and how important it is, especially if you are vegetarian, vegan or RAW to learn about how to eat a balanced diet. For example, when I was RAW for over a year I felt great for awhile but then I became totally imbalanced, tired and even lost my period. I was eating a tremendous amount of dried and fresh fruits or raw desserts to try and gain energy. I later learned it was a sign my body was craving protein. It took me a bit to get over my militant RAW food obsessions and transition out of that diet but when I did, I immediately felt better. I just did. I didn’t want to admit that eating a little organic animal protein balanced me out but it did. And it still does. So now, I like to call myself a Flexatarian — which is roughly translated to mostly vegan sprinkled with raw goat dairy, some organic meats and eggs. But I am getting off on a tangent now, so back to the holiday meal! Jeeezzzzzzz….. :)
One of my teachers at the Natural Gourmet was chef and cookbook author Myra Kornfeld. She wrote one of my favorite vegan cookbooks “The Voluptuous Vegan” A cookbook I always seem to go back to time and time again. I bring Myra and her book up because truth be told, this recipe is heavily inspired by a recipe of hers, which I have made many times over the years, for my family and friends. Not only does it look beautiful but it tastes incredible.
All of your guests (vegan or not) will be unbelievably nourished and satisfied. I am not a fan of serving up a veggie meal ladened with all those fake processed vegan meats. Tempeh is a whole food yes, but tofu is not and who the heck knows what’s in those vegan sausages and that damn Tofurky, right? If ya ask me, it’s a bunch of man made crap that will cause much unfortunate digestive upset… ;)
So….try this recipe out for a delicious whole food holiday meal alternative. Believe me, your vegan, vegetarian, and yes, even carnivore friends will be feeling the delicious holiday spirit and will leave your table very jolly!
Red Kuri, Buttercup, Kabocha or Delicata are my favorites squash’s to use for this simple and delish recipe. This is a beautiful festive compliment to any meal; mix it into a mixed winter green salad, put it over cooked grains, sautéed greens, sprinkle some toasted pumpkins seeds over it…basically anyway you wanna serve this, you gotta wonderful sweet seasonal treat… :)
Yummy yummy elegant goodness is abundantly found in this soup. The sweetness from the squash and the smoky nuttiness from the chestnuts are a decadently delicious combination — a perfect compliment to any holiday dinner party or lunch. You’ll be amazed at how easy this is to make and how easy you will WOW your guests…
Photographer: Callie England
I have two passions in life: Health and Art (in the sense of being creative and working with my hands). My goal: To eventually figure out how to merge the two together. How the hell I do that, still to be decided. I could write about all the options I’ve considered in my head, but then you’d just see me as a bipolar mess of a child. Literally, it expands from culinary school in France (to learn and embrace the emotional aspect of dinning/eating – which I think is SO important in our over-all health) to furthering my education in Natural Health – Like I said, two opposite ends of the spectrum. Pretty much, if you could jump inside my head, you’d beg to get out – as everyday it’s seems to become more and more a cluster f**k of ideas. Creativity truly is a blessing and a curse
In the meantime though, I’ll stick to the undecided route – i.e. cooking (or, playing) with healthy food!
Yesterday’s playtime included squash (told ya you’d be seeing a lot of this) and cookie cutters… Which I heart, because cookie cutters equal perfect shapes and perfect shapes make this perfectionist, perfectly happy.
At first I thought, “ravioli!” Which was then immediately followed by, “boring!” So instead, I went for a mix between lasagna and ravioli – A ravioli stack. Easy, but elegant. What more could a girl want!?
Photographer: Julia Morris
I wonder, will you secretly judge me if I admit to you that I don’t really like pie? Every year I’m reminded of my pie-oriented “skeleton in the oven,” thanks to all the holiday festivities. You can usually spot me fighting a cringe, as one pie after the next is passed before me, and I have to spontaneously compose a new, polite way to decline.
I can’t help it — I don’t like traditional pastry crust (boring), I don’t like perfectly good fruits smothered in some sugar goo, and I’m terribly sorry, but that pretty lattice pattern adorning the top isn’t going to do anything to get me more excited. Luckily there is, however, one exception to my no-pie rule: pumpkin pie.
I really get amped over a good pumpkin pie. (To be honest, I invariably get amped over a good pumpkin “anything.”) But as much my love is genuine, I can’t help but feel our favorite orange globes have enjoyed a little too much pop-star-style dependence in the winter squash world. Pumpkins continually overshadow a vast, deliciously endowed, and diverse spectrum of beautiful winter squash, time and time again in recipes.
I can’t help it — I don’t like traditional pastry crust (boring)
But not this year.
I don’t know who decides the “chic food trends,” but nonetheless this has really been the year of winter squash. These different “pumpkin cousins” have been the new darlings of farmer’s markets and chefs alike, and I am all too happy to participate in the fun. I have so many favorites: delicata, butternut, acorn, and for making pies, the undeniable winner in my book is kabocha squash — aka the “Japanese Pumpkin.”
With a pumpkin-esque shape, and bright beautiful orange flesh, kabocha appears to be very similar to a traditional pumpkin, with the exception of its dark green exterior skin. Where it really trumps other pumpkins though, is in its flavor. Kabocha is one of the most inherently flavorful squashes of all — which makes it ideal for a pie! What I love most about it though, is that it enables using a fraction of the amount of sweetener compared to a traditional pie recipe . . . and in this case that sweetener is healthy molasses-like yacon syrup. Together, these ingredients ensure that this pumpkin pie is not only superbly tasty, but that it also has something to truly be thankful for: health! Now that’s my kinda pie. Continue Reading / See Additional Photos