Spinach Mushroom Risotto with Pecans

vegetarian risotto
Spinach Mushroom Risotto with Toasted Pecans
Chiffonade of Fresh Spinach Garnish

Combining two favorite risotto dishes – spinach risotto and mushroom risotto, into one – and adding toasted pecans plus an unexpected garnish of fresh spinach ribbons equals one bright and satisfying vegetarian meal. Crunchy toasted pecans contrast the creamy risotto, earthy caramelized mushrooms complement tender wilted baby spinach. A sprinkle of Parmesan and glass of wine were the only accompaniments.

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The Vegan Gutbuster

creative cooking crew, vegan sausage recipe, hearty vegan sandwich, gutbuster

The Vegan Gutbuster Sandwich
In Honor of My Alma Mater, The University of Illinois

Homemade Vegan Italian Sausage on a Toasted French Baguette
Green Bell Pepper, Onion, Mushroom, Tomato
Spicy Tomato Sauce, Vegan Mozzarella, Basil Chiffonade

Last summer my Alpha Phi sorority sisters met in Champaign, Illinois for a PHI-abulous reunion. Over 80 members who graduated between 1976 and 1982 took a trip down memory lane for the weekend, we visited some of our old haunts, and had a blast reconnecting and rekindling old friendships. We slept and ate in the sorority house, so fun ~ and our contributions for staying there helped to raise funds for the chapter. Thank you for the hospitality, ladies!

alpha phi university of illinois

One of the fond memories from our college years was pizza. Garcia’s Pizza. And the Gutbuster was their famous 3/4-pound slice with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. Something we all remembered with affection…It had been many years since I even thought about the Gutbuster, but since our reunion weekend, I have been pondering a makeover of our beloved pie.

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New Korean Salad: Chrysanthemum Greens, Chestnut, Persimmon

korean salad, persimmon salad
Fresh Chrysanthemum Greens, Roasted Chestnut
Semi-Dried Hachiya Persimmon, Fresh Fuyu Persimmon Wedges
Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette
Pomegranate Arils, Toasted Pine Nuts, Roasted Laver

Inspiration from two separate dining experiences sparked the idea for creation of this delightful salad. First, an outstanding meal at Jun Won in LA, a gem of a restaurant that features regional Korean cooking from the province of Chungcheongnam-do. I was captivated by their salad of chrysanthemum greens (sukgat) with chestnut jelly. A week later we attended an event highlighting the “Tastes of the Korean Forest” including sanchae (wild vegetables grown in the mountains), oak mushroom, chestnut, and persimmon.

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Curried Broccoli Latkes, Preserved Lemon Sour Cream

broccoli latkes
Curried Broccoli Latkes with Carrot, Scallion & Dried Cranberry
Preserved Meyer Lemon Sour Cream

May you be strengthened by tradition,
Warmed by the Hanukkah lights,
And may your life be touched with miracles.

We eat foods fried in olive oil to commemorate the ancient miracle that occurred in the second century BCE. A jug of olive oil, which held enough oil to last for one day, burned for eight when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated.

I make latkes every Hanukkah. And they are always a little different. Almost always the base is potato, but not this year. 5773 is the year of the broccoli latke!

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Purple Cauliflower Salad & Thanksgiving Flowers

purple cauliflower salad
Marinated Purple & White Cauliflower Salad
Roasted Red Bell Pepper, Kalamata Olive, Scallion
Olive Oil, Lemon, Oregano, Parsley

thanksgiving flowers
I asked the florist to make 8 petite arrangements for my Thanksgiving table. This year in softer hues ~ focusing on green, yellow, brown and pink.  For no other reason than I wanted a change from bright orange & red, and I happened to have candles in those colors. They were just delightful! And in looking through my holiday photos, the flowers looked curiously like the purple cauliflower salad…

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