Spring has been a long time coming to New York this year, but once it starts to bloom there are few places more spectacular than Central Park. I took these photos over the weekend after running the loop.
I look forward to these cherry blossoms every year.
I veganized my classic chocolate layer cake recipe by using soy milk and Ener-G Egg Replacer in the cake batter, and shortening in place of butter in the frosting. Unlike most of my desserts this one is loaded with sugar, white flour and calories - a rich, decadent treat that is free of cholesterol and trans fats.
I prepared these baby artichokes simply, with lemon zest and olive oil. They are quick and easy to clean and prep for the grill, so it's possible to make a bunch in no time. After pulling off the tough outer leaves I trimmed the stems and cut an inch off the tops. I then steamed them, cut them in half lengthwise, tossed them with the other ingredients and grilled them cut side down. I served them alongside roasted beets.
I am still amazed by how beautifully my Vitamix purées vegetables. I don't know how I ever got along without it. The results are always velvety and smooth, without even the tiniest of lumps. It takes very little liquid to reach the perfect consistency, so the flavors remain intense. To the cauliflower I just added salt and pepper, and to the peas I added a handful of whole mint leaves, which became perfectly unified. Both of these purées could easily be thinned and served as soups.
Working with gluten free pizza dough was a bit of a challenge at first. There is no stretch to it, so it tears apart easily. I had to use a rolling pin to flatten it between parchement paper and plastic wrap, and then slide it onto a pizza stone using a peel. I made six small pies, and by the end I had become quite efficient. The hot stone produced a flavorful, crispy crust.
Tonight's vegetable topping, which I combined in different ways, were heirloom tomatoes, Japanese eggplants and grilled baby artichokes. The tiny artichokes were a cinch to clean and prep compared to the giant globes, and would make an excellent side dish with lemon and chopped mint.
I also added dollops fresh cashew mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil, a chiffonade of basil, and plenty of sea salt and pepper.
For added protein I sauteed tempeh in a roasted red pepper-tomato sauce with smoked paprika.
After culturing a batch of cashew cheese with a bit of my homemade rejuvelac for 48 hours, I formed it into small balls of "mozzarella", which I then soaked in a brine until chilled. The resulting texture was like that of a salty, rich burrata that practically melted into the dressing on this salad.