Category Archives: Vegetarian

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

The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook: Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing

The VT farm table cookbook 3mbb

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm Organic Kale. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm Organic Kale. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm. Pittsfield, Vermont. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm. Pittsfield, Vermont. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

A few months ago, I received an exciting email from a woman named Tracey Medeiros. Tracey lives in Vermont and is a freelance food writer, food stylist,  recipe developer and tester. She is quite frankly, my dream job personified.  She had  found me  on the internet and, noticing that I’m a food-oriented person from Vermont, asked  if I would like a copy of her latest cookbook The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook.  Once my palpable envy of her career/life  subsided, I responded with an obvious and extremely grateful “YES and thank you!” The truth is that I already owned her first  wonderful cookbook Dishing up Vermont. It was one of those cookbooks that I’d flipped through over and over again. The charming pictures of Vermont farm animals, inns, restaurants and the beautiful dishes it’s chefs had created with the local and seasonal produce, cheese, eggs, meat and poultry would make me hungry and homesick all at once.  When I received The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook in the mail from Tracey’s publicist, it had the same effect on me.  With a strong urge to make hearty winter dishes like Vermont Cheddar Soup, Sauteed Sea Scallops in a Smoked Bacon and Maple Cream Sauce and Amber Ale-Braised Highland Chuck Beef Roast, I ignored the 90 degree weather and the palm trees swaying outside the window of my Los Angeles apartment and headed to my local farmers market. The results,  albeit weather-inappropriate were always delicious.

Now, several months later, I am here in this magical moment in Vermont known as late June. The mountains are more verdant than ever, the buttercups are decorating the fields like yellow sprinkles on a bright green cake, the humid heat of summer has not yet arrived but the cold is long gone. The sun seems like it will never set and a cool breeze makes for restful nights. So what better time to continue cooking from my new favorite Vermont cookbook? And seeing as I was married last weekend here amidst the glory of the green mountains and proceeded to  happily indulge in food (I can’t seem seem to get enough cheese!!) and beverage, it seemed appropriate to eat a salad made of local kale.

Almost of the ingredients for this refreshing and nourishing salad were purchased at the East Warren Community Market in Warren, Vermont. This is my all-time favorite place to buy food. Everything on the shelves is made locally with love and the store is so perfectly curated that the manager once told me that she didn’t carry a certain kind of popcorn because she didn’t like the packaging. The feta I used is from Maplebrook Farms in Bennington, Vermont and I substituted pine nuts for the pepitas.

Enjoy!

Heather

 

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Massaged Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing

by Tracey Medeiros

serves 4

  • 1/3 cup pepitas (or walnuts or sunflower seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bunch green kale, stemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup Asian Peanut Dressing (recipe follows)
  • 2 small peaches, pitted and diced
  • 2 ounces Maplebrook Farm feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)

Place the pepitas, oil and salt in a medium skillet and toss to coat. Toast over medium heat until the pepitas turn light brown and start to pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside on paper towels.

In a large bowl, combine the kale and 1/2 of the dressing. Using your hands, massage the kale until it is bright green and slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more dressing to taste. Top with the pepitas, peaches and feta. Serve at once.

Asian Peanut Dressing

Makes 1 1/3 cups

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 4 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

Whisk together all the ingredients until combined.

Post wedding pics 055

 

maplebrook farm, feta

east warren community market

East Warren Community Market. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

East Warren Community Market. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

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Filed under cookbooks, Dinner, Heather Platt, Lunch, Main Course, Raw, Salad, Side, Vegetarian

Suzanne Goin’s AOC Cookbook Preview: Little Gems with Reed Avocados, Cara Cara Oranges, and Cilantro

 

Little Gems with Reed Avocados, Cara Cara Oranges, and Cilantro. Photo Credit:  Heather Platt

Little Gems with Reed Avocados, Cara Cara Oranges, and Cilantro. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

 

I love this salad so much that I’ve made it three times since Suzanne emailed me access to the AOC Cookbook draft. With so many incredible recipes to try, it sounds crazy to be making one of them multiple times. But it’s made up of two of my favorite things, Cara Cara oranges, which are the most special and delicious of oranges, and avocados, which have become a staple in my California kitchen. This salad really is the perfect winter salad to brighten up a table full of hearty and rich winter fare. It is refreshing, light and crisp and since it’s Cara Cara season right now, why not make it while I can? And if possible, get your lettuces from Coleman Farms at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.  They have the most beautiful lettuces in California. And don’t be dissuaded by Farmer Romeo’s serious exterior. He’s so nice that his nickname is “The Jolly Green Giant.”( I prefer to call him “Romeo, Romeo”). In any case, Coleman Farms is where the Lucques chefs go for lettuce. And I suggest you do too!

 

Coleman Farmers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Coleman Farmers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Romeo Coleman of Coleman Farms, the best place to get lettuce! Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Romeo Coleman of Coleman Farms, the best place to get lettuce! Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Cara Cara Oranges. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Cara Cara Oranges. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Limes for the avocado dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Limes for the avocado dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

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Filed under Appetizer, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Salad, Vegetarian, Winter

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

Kumquat Fix: Roasted Carrot, Kumquat and Avocado Salad

I’ll admit it. I’m a kumquataholic. This time of year kumquats are bountiful at the restaurant where I work. There’s a giant tub of them in the walk-in refrigerator and the bartender always has a perfect glass cup filled with halves of the adorable little citrus fruits. And whether I’m dressed in a white chef’s jacket helplessly searching for Tat Soy in the walk-in, or up front welcoming guests, the little orange gems are calling to me.  Normally, admitting that you have a habit of taking something that isn’t yours while others aren’t looking is a shameful confession. But with something as irresistible as the kumquat, can you really blame me? And quite frankly, no one does. Especially Farmer Peter Shaner himself, who grows the flawless kumquats we serve at Lucques. So when I saw at my local farmer’s market last week, a bushel of what appeared to be equally delicious looking kumquats, I bought a lot of them. And instead of hurriedly popping them in my mouth for just a moment of undeniable pleasure, I made this salad.

Enjoy!

Heather

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Filed under Appetizer, Dinner, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Lunch, Salad, Side, Spring, Vegetarian