Category Archives: Vegan

When Life Gives You Giant Yellow Cucumbers, Make Pickles: Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

I absolutely love pickles. Even when I was young, I would beg my mother to buy me a jar of sweet pickles at the grocery store.  They were like crisp tangy candies that I couldn’t wait to get home and crunch between my teeth.  Years later, as a twenty-something living in New York City, I discovered the Japanese versions of my favorite treat. And for many years, I couldn’t eat at a sushi restaurant without ordering a giant plate of Tsukemono to start.

My favorite place to eat Japanese food, however, is not any of the myriad of NYC spots I frequented over my eight years in the Big Apple. It’s my sister’s house in Massachusetts. She and her husband Takeshi have the most impressive artillery of Japanese sauces, vinegars, spices, and seasonings that an ingredient-hungry cook like myself has ever seen. They also, amazingly, are members of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). So on a recent visit, when my sister reluctantly pulled out a huge bag of giant yellow cucumbers they had received from their farm-share, I knew just what to make. We served them Miso-Glazed Cod, white rice and an avocado salad and they were delicious!

Enjoy!

Heather

Japanese Pickles. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Nephew and Japanese Pickles. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers served here with Miso-Glazed Cod. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

 

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers

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Filed under Dinner, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, Lunch, Raw, Salad, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Perfect Pantry: Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Hazelnuts. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

I was heavier in college. Or as my mom would say, “you look healthy!” Her sweet voice going up one octave as she tried to be honest and sensitive at the same time. The pitch of one’s voice always rises while stretching the truth.

It’s a common phenomenon, the so-called “freshman fifteen.” Or in my case, the freshman twenty-five. It makes perfect sense now. I had left the comfort of my home to be nourished only by strangely globular and flavorless cafeteria food followed by a tall sugar cone filled with sugary soft serve with sprinkles. Gross, I know.

Another contributing factor to the college chub was my chocolate addiction.  Addiction seems like a strong word but that’s really exactly what it was. I often walked many New York City blocks out of my way to purchase the high-end German milk chocolate bars with hazelnuts at the  specialty corner markets. I was hooked. And though I have loved hazelnuts for many years, this was my only association with them; those damn chocolate bars that made me fat at NYU.

But in recent years, I have discovered that these wonderful little brown nuts have a place in a lot of  healthier  fare. I love them roasted and sprinkled on salads of beets and goat cheese, on chicken like Skillet Chicken with Heirloom Tomatoes, Foraged Mushrooms, Arugula and Hazelnuts. and most recently on Seared Scallops with Chickpea Couscous, Warm Summer Tomatoes, Hazelnuts and Tarragon Aioli. And yes, once in awhile I still enjoy those delicious milk chocolate and hazelnut bars…just not every day.

Hazelnuts. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Hazelnuts. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Hazelnuts. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Hazelnuts. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

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Filed under Gluten-free, Heather Platt, Perfect Pantry, Vegan, Vegetarian

Jelly in a Jam: Homemade Guava Jam

Now would certainly not be an appropriate time to criticize the weather here in Los Angeles. And though my aversion to the seemingly endless California “summer” (it’s almost November) of scorching heat leads me to a deep longing for foliage and the brisk and blustery transition into winter in the Northeast, now is not the time for such nostalgia. This week I watched from afar as a storm of epic proportions bore down on my  former home, the magnificent city of New York. And as friends, family and loved ones all over the Northeast sent me pictures of a grey daunting sky and updates as the wind picked up and the power  went out, I couldn’t help feeling a bit guilty for not being there, for looking out my window to see a clear blue sky above swaying palm trees and the Hollywood sign. When I explained this guilty feeling to a California friend, she replied, “You’ll get back at them with an earthquake soon.”

Since I can’t be on the east coast to help, I can begin by being grateful for where I am. And what California lacks in dramatic seasonal weather changes, it makes up for in produce. And that is one thing, without a doubt, I love about California. Every fall our house gets overrun with smell of guavas. Our neighbor’s Javier and Lucina’s tree outside our front door fruits so many of  the little round tropical treats that many of them fall to the ground and squish beneath our feet. One year during my birthday party an inebriated chef friend was so excited to “discover” the tree that he packed many handfuls into his pockets. Rumor has it that he drunkenly absconded with so many guavas he woke up in his bed the next day surrounded by a sea of the sticky fruits. This year, I grew  tired of seeing them go to waste. So I made guava jam. It’s delicious, much easier than I expected and seems like a good thing to have on hand if there’s an earthquake.

Stay safe east coast!

Lots of Love,

Heather

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Filed under Fall, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Vegan, Vegetarian

It’s Not About the Glass: Christiaan’s Kumquat Margaritas


Cinco de Mayo might be over. But my love for margaritas is not. In fact, with summer steadily approaching, it’s about time we have some refreshing summer cocktails up our sleeves for all of those barbeques and beach parties around the corner. And the only thing more refreshing than a margarita, is a margarita with kumquats in it. This idea dawned on me on Cinco de Mayo while I stood at work, day dreaming about the margaritas I would like to be drinking that night. And to my great fortune, my friend, co-worker, and cocktail-maker extraordinaire Christiaan Rollich was there for reference. And before I could say “Kumquat Margaritas,” he had scribbled on to a cocktail napkin the exact measurements for the perfect kumquat margarita. Christaan was recently officially named Bar Chef for all of the Lucques restaurants and catering. A couple hours of his cocktail expertise is worth more than what most people I know pay for rent. But for a more affordable version of his drinks, check out Christiaan’s blog http://www.itsnotabouttheglass.wordpress.com.

Enjoy!

Heather

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Filed under Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Spring, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian

Blended Bliss: Coconut Kale Smoothie

There’s a juice bar, oh excuse me, a “wellness” bar down the street from me here in Silverlake, LA that serves this smoothie. It’s the most creamy, delicious and quite frankly addictive blended drink I’ve ever tasted.  One hot summer afternoon on a post-yoga hydration hang, Anna introduced me to this sweet green mix of coconut and kale (yes, kale!). It was a point of no return. Once I had savored every last drop of the bright green concoction and was rudely and loudly slurping the remains of it through my straw, hoping that more coconut-kale smoothie would suddenly appear in the bottom of my plastic cup, I was hooked. How could something so delicious be so healthy too? And only blocks from my house?! But there’s one catch. My experience at said “wellness” bar goes something like this. When I approach the small store front I see a line of people out the door, any time of day (most people in this neighborhood don’t work nine-to-fives apparently). I decide, because the craving is so strong that I shall wait. Ten minutes later I’ve  made my way inside the building. The smell inside brings me back in time to the old-school food co-ops we would go to when I was kid in Vermont. It’s some combination of sweet, overly ripe apples, wheat-grass and carob chips (if they had a smell.)Everyone seems to know each other. Except me. I’m just there for my fix. The bearded guy  behind the counter is friendly, in fact he seems to be close friends with every single person standing in the line that only moves every ten minutes or so. He’s handing people shots of brightly colored liquids. For a split second I think I’m at tequila bar. Twenty minutes into my juice bar line, the pretty girl with I-just-rolled-out-of bed hipster hair,  ripped t-shirt, and the “I haven’t smiled since 2006” expression, asks me if I’ve been helped yet. At this point, feeling like a pathetic  juice-junky I order my coconut-kale smoothie. It’s $8.00, worth every penny and every second I spent awkwardly waiting in line for it.  But it finally occurred to me recently, I have a blender. I could make this at home!  The hardest part is opening the coconut. Be sure to blend it on high to get it as smooth as possible.

Enjoy!

Heather

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Filed under Breakfast, Brunch, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian