Monthly Archives: October 2009

Red, Red Wine Caramel Apples

Recipe from Gourmet. I used soymilk creamer in place of the heavy cream.

red wine caramel apples

These were monstrously gooey, and I was careless and ended up with a bubbly, uneven caramel. Still, the red wine caramel is very tasty. I saved the leftovers for dipping apple slices into.

red wine caramel apple


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Butternut Sage Risotto with Mushrooms

For me, autumn means uncontrollably incorporating winter squash and apples into just about everything I make. However, the butternut squash that goes into this risotto is justifiable not only because of its sweet taste and orange color, but the grated strands melt into the dish to help make it thick and creamy with little fat. Butternut squash also adds vitamins A and C, while all that garlic will help keep you healthy as the cold season befalls us. Or I like to believe it does. In any case, this dish is tasty, creamy, and filling which will make you feel good all on its own.

Notes: I used a mixture of fresh crimini and dried oyster mushrooms in this. It may take more or less broth, I can’t say for certain.

butternut risotto3

Butternut Sage Risotto with Mushrooms

Serves 8

2 Tbs olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
15 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped sage leaves
2 cups short-grain white rice
12 oz fresh mushrooms
1 butternut squash, grated
1/4 cup dry white sherry (warm or room temperature)
6-8 cups vegetable broth, mushroom broth or water
pinch of saffron (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine
black sea salt (optional)

1. Heat broth/water in a tea kettle or a pot over medium heat. Keep your liquid at a simmer as you make the risotto.

2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until translucent. Add garlic and sage; cook about 2 minutes.

3. Add rice to saucepan and stir for 3 minutes to toast and coat rice with oil. Add in mushrooms, butternut squash, sherry, and 3 cups of the liquid (broth). Stir in saffron, salt, and pepper. Continue to stir gently and frequently as the rice absorbs liquid. When rice gets thick and less soupy, add in another cup of your simmering liquid and stir. Keep adding liquid, stirring, and cooking until rice is al dente, around 30 minutes (give it a taste to see if it’s done).

4. Remove from heat and stir in margarine. Serve sprinkled with black sea salt.

butternut risotto

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October – What’s in Season Here in California?

october produce

  • Fruits
  • apples, Asian pears, cherimoyas, figs (black mission), grapes, honeydew melons, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, tangerines, Valencia oranges

  • Vegetables
  • broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, winter squash

Search by state to find out what’s local near you:
Natural Resource Defense Council: Eat Local State Seasonal Produce Guide

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Favorite Recipes for Fall


Some of my favorite warm & spicy recipes for fall (clockwise from top left in photos):

  • Sherried Kabocha Soup with Spiced Pepitas from Vegetarian Times. This soup is incredible: creamy but not heavy, full of squash flavor with a sprinkling of spicy pumpkin seeds that are so delicious on their own.
  • Ginger Cinnamon Caramels from Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn. I replaced the heavy cream, butter, and ginger extract with equal quantities Wildwood soymilk creamer, Earth Balance margarine, and ground ginger powder.
  • Soy-Glazed Squash from Better Homes and Gardens. This makes for a zingy appetizer or vegetable side dish.
  • Applesauce Spice Bars from Good Eats ‘n Sweet Treats. I replaced the butter and eggs with Earth Balance margarine and 2 tsp cornstarch. These were positively scrumptious, but mine turned out too moist and gooey (yum) to be actual bars. Be sure to bake them long enough; the center of the pan should not still look like batter. These taste better the next day.

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Summer in San Francisco

My two visits to San Francisco this past summer were unfortunate only in that they did not number more. The brief days I spent there were like eating two potato chips and then being forced to stop. So tasty, so sad.

The City by the Bay is a delicious destination for the seeker of vegan edibles, with plentiful options for any mood, craving, and budget. It was my first time seeking out animal-free meals and the options were blissfully overwhelming. Here’s just a taste of my favorites.

houses off haight

A random shot from Haight St.

my peasant pies

Peasant Pies on Irving. The several vegan options are clearly marked, and $6 gets you two tasty handheld pies after a few minutes’ wait. My favorite was the black bean and tofu (oh so tasty, reminded me of a barbecue-pork bao bun, but better) while my boyfriend favored the curried potato. Strybing Arboretum at Golden Gate Park is a few blocks away and makes a lovely place to walk off lunch.


I’ll admit I didn’t think raw foods went much beyond salads, zucchini pasta and date brownies before having supper at Café Gratitude on Harrison and 20th St. My own meal consisted of a raw cheeseburger (with a really good salad) and the most sweet and divine tiramisu with chocolate ice cream, plus I had a few bites of my boyfriend’s raw pizza and key lime pie. I would swear they used real cheese in that pizza, and the coconut-laced key lime pie was so rich and smooth it was depraved.


I’ve eaten at the Millennium Restaurant three times, and I can say for certain that the three best meals of my life have been at the Millennium Restaurant. Maybe I just don’t get out enough. If you ever have the opportunity, do yourself a favor and dine here. You can dress up or walk in off the street in jeans and sneakers. If you don’t have a reservation, they can probably seat you at the bar (same menu) or get you a table on a weeknight. You’ll spend about $24 for your entrée and $9 for dessert (you will want dessert), and it will be so worth it. When I die, I want to be laid to rest in a coffin of lobster mushroom risotto. Then I will come back to life and eat it, for that is my idea of heaven.

mkt st

To get in the know about the best vegan eats in SF, check out these blogs of native San Franciscan vegans:

  • vegansaurus! lets you find restaurant reviews by neighborhood. They’re so fun to read, just go through them all.
  • Eats Well With Others made a list of “San Francisco’s 50 Vegan Things to Try Before You Die.”

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