Dear Friends of Tasha. Kitchen,
Happy New Year!
My wish for you is to Live Better, Strive Harder, Be Bolder, Dream Bigger, Climb Higher and Seek Greater.
These too are wishes for myself and in the pursuit of this at the end of the year I took some time out to self reflect on all I have learnt over the last year.
In 2018, I completed my certificate in Plant Based Nutrition with Cornell and have used this and some great books (e.g. how not to die – Gene Stone and Michel Greger), articles and blogs to learn more about the hard science behind food and disease. Many of you may have seen my blog evolve over that time, from broad based healthy food to more of a plant-based blog. This is a reflection of my learning and has caused me to sit back and think about what my own philosophy is and what the blog should centre around.
After much study, contemplation and a recommitment to both my followers, and myself I am pleased to announce a new blog coming soon. The blog will be dedicated to Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw recipes with a focus on Plants and Whole Foods to maximise the nutritional content. There will also be a new section where I will share scientific research, so you can learn with me.
The blog will be called PlantToTable.com and exists today but with a redirect to Tasha.Kitchen until it is ready for launch in early 2019. Tasha.Kitchen will resume this Saturday and an announcement will be made when the new blog is ready.
I hope that this news allows you to forgive my absence and I look forward to continuing our journey together.
This dish is from the north of India and is normally served with lentils, rice and yogurt.
My grandma had a special dish for everyone, cheese rolls for my brother, rice porridge for me and green beans for my cousin Sabrina. I actually think Sabrina is the only person I know, as well as my grandmother who loved these green beans. They would eat them together, laugh and talk. It was something special to see.
This is my first attempt at a green bean recipe and there will be a few more to come until I get the right one. This recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey’s Vegetarian India, it is vibrant, spicy, tasty and takes no time at all.
- 1 LB green beans, topped and tailed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tbsp. oil
- ½ tsp. asafoetida (optional)
- ½ tsp. whole cumin seeds
- 1 green chillies, chopped
- 2 tsp. ginger, chopped
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. coriander, powder
- Plunge the beans into boiling water 3-5 minutes and then drain, leaving them al dente
- Put the oil in a medium frying pan, set on a low heat, add the asafoetida, add the cumin
- Take the pan off the heat and add the ginger and chillies
- Put back on the heat, add beans, salt, coriander powder and 2 tbsp. water
- Cook for another 5 minutes
- Eat with rice and roti
This is a great recipe from the kitchen at Vedge in LA. It is a take on the classic spanakopita, (which means cheese filled) and uses tofu as the substitute.
As I talked to a few people about this recipe, it became clear that there is a version of this pie across the world including knishes, Bourikas, calzones, samosas and dim sum to name a few. This means I had some pretty tough tasters. The best comment I got back was from my Albanian taster who said this tasted like his mums back home. Score!! It was only then that I told him that there was no cheese only tofu. (I am not sure if he will mention that to his mum).
The key to a successful pie or layered pie isn’t whether you use tofu or cheese; it is about how you spice the filling. The onion, garlic, dill, salt and pepper all add to a delicious filling that you could stuff into anything, or quite frankly eat on its own. So make sure you are happy with the flavour and everything else will fall into place!
Mr B was a definite fan of this dish, given his love of all things Greek (apart from me, of course, he loves me despite of my non-Greekness)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for brushing the Phyllo
- 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
- 1 cup onions, finely chopped
- 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. pepper
- 5 cups of tofu cream cheese
- 2 tbsp. chopped dill
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- Half a pack of organic vegan Phyllo, thawed
- Preheat the oven
- Brush a casserole dish with olive oil
- Bring a pot of water to the boil, add salt
- Blanch the kale for 5 minutes, drain
- Heat the olive oil in a deep pot, add the onions, garlic and cook for a few minutes until brown
- Add the crumbled tofu, salt and pepper. Stir until browned and the moisture is gone, c. 10 minutes
- Combine the kale and tofu mixture in a large bowl. Add the tofu cream cheese, dill and lemon juice
- Layer 3 sheets of Phyllo on the bottom of the dish. Add one third of the mixture, layer another 3 layers on top, add the next third, add Phyllo, the next third and finally top with the remaining Phyllo. Brush the top layer with olive oil and bake until golden brown, c. 15 minutes.
- Cut the dish into portions before baking, this will make it easier to serve
- Serve warm
Chole Masala (Chickpea Curry) (GF, Vegan)
Food is love when words are inadequate
My grandma always made you feel like she had been waiting for you all day and when you arrived her day was now complete
The first thing I had to do after taking off my shoes and putting away my bag was to taste what ever my grandma had been creating all day in the kitchen
This is a dish that you can smell as soon as you walk into the house, as it is rich in spices. It is also low in calories but high in protein so it is a great staple
A lot of my grandma’s dishes took a long time to cook, but this one is a 30-minute meal. As with most Indian dishes however the longer you cook down the spices the more concentrated the dish and the longer you leave the dish the more intense it tastes, so remember to leave some for the next day
I used two chills for this as Mr B has a spicy palate, but you should adjust to your own taste
My grandma used to serve this with rice; I like it on its own. You can also serve this to your guests as a canapé in a Phyllo cup or on top of a chickpea pancake (see earlier recipe)
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 4 tsps. Finely chopped ginger
- 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 chilli’s
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tsp. garam masala
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 2 cans chickpeas
- ½ cup of water
- Heat the oil in a large pan, add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant
- Add the onions, ginger, garlic, chilli’s and season with salt
- Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent
- Add the garam masala, coriander powder, salt and turmeric, stir until well combined
- Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and water
- Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce slightly thickens
- Serve in a phyllo cup, with rice or on a chickpea pancake
Vegan Crab Cakes (GF, Vegan)
What to cook for game day? Vegan crab cakes of course! These are a pretty tasty treat, with the heart of palm being the substitute for the crab. However in my opinion this is a case of when the understudy is better than the original actor.
I used old bay seasoning for this to replicate the authentic taste and vegan mayonnaise for the texture. I used gluten free breadcrumbs, which I seasoned with garlic, onion and paprika. Panko also works nicely if gluten is no concern.
Mr B loves jumbo crab cakes, like you get in the steak houses in New York City and so I’ll make him a larger sized, but it is easier to get them crispy with a smaller portion. I use an ice-cream scope to get an even portion size, but you could use the palm of your hand for a rough approximate.
- 1 can, hearts of palm
- ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tsp. old bay seasoning
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- ½ cup chives, finely chopped
- 1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350f. Line a baking tray with parchment
- Thinly slice the hearts of palm lengthwise, then crosswise
- Transfer to a bowl and break up using your hands, add the vegannaise, bay, salt and pepper, chives
- Sprinkle half the bread crumbs into the mixture and mix thoroughly
- Form into 14 portions
- Spread the remaining bread crumbs into a small dish and cover the cakes pressing down a little to make sure the crumb adheres
- Paint the parchment paper with a little coconut oil
- Place the cakes down with a little spacing inbetween
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
Nori Macadamia Nut Cheese (Vegan, DF, GF)
What do you do when you can’t eat dairy anymore but you love cheese…make your own of course!
Some of you may think that this sounds a little extreme, but I used to eat so much cheese that my brother nicknamed me, cheese please! I therefore had to work out a way to reintegrate this into my diet and the best thing about making your own, is that you can make it to your own palate
You may think that making vegan cheese sounds difficult but it is really a blender recipe with just a few ingredients. I got this recipe from Plantlab, my favourite raw plant power recipe book, which just blows my mind with every recipe. I love learning the new techniques and intensity of flavours you can achieve through raw preparations. You’ll need a dehydrator for this, but an oven on low will work just as well.
Mr B couldn’t work out what this was at first glance, but once he decided to try it, he loved the smooth texture and tangy taste
For the cheese
- 3 cups macadamia nuts, soaked
- ½ cup of water (just enough to blend thoroughly)
- 1 probiotic capsule
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp. lemon juice
For the nori powder
- Pulse nori in blender until it becomes a powder, about 1 minute
- Blend the macadamia nuts, water and probiotic capsule in a high speed blender until smooth, about 3 minutes
- Place the mixture in a shallow glass bowl and cover with cheesecloth. Let it sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours to culture
- Mix in the sea salt, nutritional yeast and lemon juice
- Roll the cheese into a cylinder by first placing a 12-inch piece of plastic warp on a flat surface
- Place half a cup of cheese in the middle and flatten it out into a rectangular shape
- Carefully roll the plastic wrap over the cheese and twist the sides to create a tight cylinder
- Tie the ends securely, starting with one and then twisting the other carefully and tightly before tying
- Place the cylinder in the freezer for 2 hours
- Remove the plastic wrap, roll the cheese in the nori powder and dehydrate for 115f for 24 hours to develop the rind
- Refrigerate until ready to use
Wild mushrooms on Kombu (Vegan, DF, GF)
The intensity of the smell as this is cooking will make you want to take it out every five minutes to eat it, but the longer you leave it, the more concentrated the flavor. The Kombu brings an extra savory tone to the dish giving it a smoky depth
I took this recipe from Matthew Kenney’s Plantlab, creating the future of food. I would say that this is definitely going to be a part of my future and am looking forward to try other vegetables in the same way. I will have to at least try this recipe again, as Mr B wasn’t home, so I ate it all myself. Shhh…..
- 1lb of wild mushrooms (I used trumpet mushrooms)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. thyme
- 2 tbsp. rosemary
- ½ tsp. garlic salt/sea salt
- Large pieces of Kombu, pre-soaked in water
- Preheat the oven to 350f
- Wash the mushrooms and cut into roughly equal slices/sizes
- Toss in the oil, thyme, rosemary and salt
- Place the kombu on a baking sheet
- Spread the mushrooms on the kombu in an even layer
- Cook mushrooms for 30 minutes in the oven