Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 was certainly the tastiest year so far!

Vegan cooking is so creative if you get into shopping for global flavors with herbs and spice blends,  fresh seasonal produce and specialty ingredients from specialty markets.  Orange County is culturally diverse so thankfully we have an abundance of fresh international markets, health food stores and farmers markets. 

I was interested in recreating a Moroccan Stew a client requested so I Googled Moroccan spices and a few Middle Eastern recipes, wrote some notes and went shopping.
I've wanted an authentic vegan recipe for Pad Thai Noodles using raw almond butter, shittake mushrooms, snappy vegetables and a pungent ginger, Thai basil sauce.  This recipe was so perfect and it even froze and reheated well. 

When shopping I group the ingredients together for a particular recipe or by cultural flavors. Flipping through my favorite cook books, with lots of sexy color photos, I write down ingredients for the dishes and portions I want to create, improvising and multiplying the recipe, then I finish a menu as I shop based on what's in season and looks fresh.  

One of my favorite Mexican dishes is Chili Relleno so I roasted winter vegetables and created a fiesta rice with corn and turnips, red beans, root vegetables in a roasted tomitillo sauce.  I added dark chocolate shavings for a rich mellow tone that made this a spicy winter classic.  Get organized before shopping and have your list planned, take some extra time and try an international market or the local farmers market.

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