Watch Ashley make it

Vegan Bisteeya


½ onion small dice  (approx ¾ cup onion)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon saffron
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 packages (8oz. each) of seitan, chopped (you can also use 4 Gardein chick’n filets if you prefer)
cover with broth, approximated 2-3 cups
½ cup golden raisins
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ package of 8-ounce package of tofu
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in water
1 cup slivered blanched almonds, toasted in dry pan
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

half package of phyllo dough (defrosted)
olive oil for brushing

Garnish (optional)
Powdered cinnamon
Powered sugar

Preheat oven to 400
In large pot, sauté onions with olive oil till translucent and soft. Then add to onions then broth, seitan (or Gardein chick’n strips), ginger, saffron, cinnamon and golden raisins. Bring to boil and then simmer fro 30 minutes. With slotted spoon or sieve separate the liquid from the solids. Let the liquid cook down till it’s about 2/3 cup. Whisk the tofu into the broth mixture over medium heat till it’s nice and creamy. Whisk in the cornstarch with water until it thickens and comes together. Stir back in the seitan and solids that were removed before and the chopped parsley and cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

Sauté the almonds with olive oil over medium heat until golden brown. Remove from heat and toss with sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Prepare your phyllo dough by unwrapping it and keeping it covered with a moist towel to keep it from drying out. Take care when working with the phyllo dough, as it is very delicate. Brush a round 9-inch pan lightly with oil. Line the bottom of the pan with a couple of sheets of oiled phyllo dough, with the dough hanging over the sides. Lightly oil 6 sheets of phyllo dough so you have six corners hanging and place in the pan. Leave an overhang of phyllo on the edges. Put seitan mixture on top of phyllo dough. Then cover with four more sheets of oiled phyllo dough. Sprinkle nuts on top. Top with 2 more sheets of oiled phyllo dough. Then fold the edges of phyllo dough over the top. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Carefully flip over on a flat plate the pie and then slide it back into the pan to back for 15 more minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully flip pie out and let cool on a wire rack.

Sprinkle powered sugar and cinnamon on top with a sieve. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Zesty Tomato Soup

1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (you can add more if you like it spicier)
¼ teaspoon Chipotle chili powder (you can add more if you like it spicier)
½ teaspoon Paprika
1/2 cup heavy cream, optional
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, to taste and roast until caramelized, about 15 -20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic; cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, vegetable broth, bay leaf and spices. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the cream, if using. Salt and pepper to taste.

To Serve
The soup can be enjoyed the usual way in bowls. But I like to serve them in cute 2-3 oz. tall shot glasses as an appetizer. You can best fill the glasses by using a small funnel and poring the soup in. Serve hot in the shot glasses with a Grilled Cheese Stick on the side and enjoy.

Grilled Cheese Sticks
6 pieces Pumpernickel bread (any bread will do though)
3 pieces sliced Havarti cheese
3 pieces sliced Provolone cheese
Fresh basil (4-6 pieces)
¼ cup melted butter for bread

Heat a griddle or frying pan on medium to medium-high heat. Spread the melted butter on one side of each of the pieces of bread. Place one buttered side down on the griddle or frying pan, layer 1 slice of Havarti and one slice of provolone on each, top with a piece of basil or two (as you like it) and the other piece of buttered bread (buttered side up). Cook till each side is crispy and the cheese is melted inside.
To Serve
You can enjoy this as a regular grilled cheese sandwich cut into two and served with a bowl of the Zesty Tomato Soup. But I like to serve these sliced into long thin sticks (crusts on or off as you like) and with a nice shot glass of the Zesty Tomato Soup as a delicious appetizer.

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nicoise salad

Watch Ashley make it

Serves 4

  • 1/2 pound small red new potatoes, scrubbed and boiled in salt water, cooled

  • 4 large eggs, hardboiled and sliced

  • 1/4 pound haricots verts or French green beans, stems trimmed, shocked and blanched

  • 1 pound fresh sushi-quality tuna

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ pint teardrop or cherry tomatoes

  • ½ red onions thinly sliced half moons

  • ½ cup Nicoise olives (pitted)

  • several leaves of romaine and red leaf lettuce

  • 1 cup pesto (recipe below)

  • ¾ cup balsalmic vinagrette (recipe below)

Make the pesto (see below)  and toss the pesto with the red potatoes and green beans and set aside. 

Pat dry the tuna. Lightly coat the tuna with olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Grill tuna for good sear marks on a very hot grill pan or grill, about 2-3 minutes each side (this can be done in a sauté pan if no grill pan or grill is available). 

Make the balsamic vinaigrette and set aside. 

Slice the tuna into thick long strips. Arrange lettuce leaves on the plates and place on top the pesto potatoes, pesto green beans, sliced eggs, tomatoes, sliced red onions, olives and sliced seared tuna. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.


• 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
• 1/4cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts
• 1 -2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Lightly toast in a dry sauté pan the pine nuts tills they are golden brown. Then put all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend till smooth.

Balsamic vinaigrette

•  ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
• ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
• 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallots
• dash honey
• salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Whisk all the ingredients together till it’s well blended.

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Champagne Julep Cocktails
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3 shredded mint leaves
2 dashes of bitters
1 oz lemon simple syrup (see recipe below)
1 oz peach schnapps
1 oz fino sherry champagne
Garnish: grilled lime slice

Fill a champagne flute with crushed ice. Pour all ingredients into the glass and top with champagne. Garnish with grilled lime slice (this can be done on the grill or on a grill pan). Serve with a sexy straw.

To make the lemon simple syrup:

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
½ c fresh lemon juice
A few pieces of the lemon rind no white part)

Put all of the ingredients in a pot. Heat slowly and stir till combined. Set aside and let cool. Strain out the lemon peel and it’s ready to use. This will make more than you need for the recipe, but is great to keep on hand for use in other cocktails. Keep refrigerated.

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Mango Upside Down Cake
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For mango topping:
2 (1-lb) firm-ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

For cake batter:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, 2 of them separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup orange juice


Make topping:

Slice around the pit of the peeled mango and cut into thick rectangular 3/8 inch slices. Be careful doing this, since peeled mango is very slippery. Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, and then stir in brown sugar. Simmer, stirring, until butter is incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread mixture in bottom of a buttered 9- by 2-inch round baking pan and arrange mango on top, overlapping slices. Making it into a pretty arrangement of your liking.

Make batter:

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, powdered ginger and salt.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
Add whole egg and yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in vanilla.
Add half of flour mixture and mix at low speed until just combined.
Mix in orange juice, and then add remaining flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
Beat egg whites in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold stiff peaks, and then fold into batter gently but thoroughly.

Gently spoon batter over mango topping and spread evenly.

Bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 55 to 60
minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes.

Run a thin knife around inside edge of pan, then invert a plate over pan and invert cake onto plate. Cool completely on plate on rack.

You can dress it up by topping it with bright and fun colored fresh fruits on top and fresh whipped cream. I also like to drizzle on top of all that with some simple lemon syrup.

Lemon Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, lemon juice, and lemon zest over medium heat.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally,
Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool, about 20 minutes.
Use this to drizzle on top of the mango upside down cake.


Watch Ashley make it


Makes about 24 rolls

For the rolls:
1 lb. green beans with the top snipped off (preferably haricots verts)
1 sheet of thawed puff pastry
2 eggs whisked with 1 T water (for egg wash)
flour  (for dusting)

For the mushroom sauce:
1 T butter
2 T finely chopped shallots
1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms (half crimini and half shitake)
2 t dry sherry
1 ½ c heavy whipping cream
1-2 t chopped fresh tarragon
salt/pepper to taste

For the crispy fried onions:
1 ½ c thinly sliced onions (cut onion in half then thinly slice half moons)
1 T flour
oil for frying (use canola, corn, or vegetable oil and  fill halfway up a medium saucepan)

Preheat oven to 400

1. Blanche the green beans in salted boiling water for three minutes then shock them in a bowl of ice water. Drain and pat dry and set aside.
2. Roll out the thawed (make sure it is thawed in the fridge and doesn’t get to warm) puff pastry on a lightly floured surface till it’s about 1/8 in. thick and larger in surface size.
3. Cut into four equal sections (4 rectangles).
4. Separate the green beans into 4 equal parts and put each group lengthwise onto the top of each puff pastry and roll each one down very tightly like a sushi roll, till the dough is completely covering and smooth all around. Pinch the middle seam of puff pastry to bond and seal the rolls.
5. Cut off ends of green beans that are poking past the pastry. Then slice into five rolls about 1 in. thick. Carefully place flat onto flat sheet pans lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Do this for the rest of the rolls.
6. With a pastry brush, brush the egg wash heavily on the rolls.
7. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes till they are puffed and golden brown
8. In sauté pan, melt the 1 T butter and sauté the shallots over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and sauté till they are soft and slightly browned about 5 minutes.
9. Add in the sherry to deglaze the pan. Add in the heavy whipping cream and turn the heat up to medium high heat and let the cream come to a rolling boil. Let it cook down till it has reduced by half and is thick.
10. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add in chopped tarragon. Set aside.
11. Fill medium saucepan halfway up with oil and set over medium high heat. Toss the onions with the flour till lightly coated. To test if oil is hot enough, throw in one piece and see if it sizzles. If ready, fry the onions in batches till dark golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt.

On top of the rolls, spoon a small bit of the mushrooms sauce and top with the crispy onions. Serve and enjoy!

 Recipes © 2011


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