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Vegan Miso Pumpkin Soup {RECIPE}


The new year has come. We’ve indulged plenty over the holidays, and now seek healthier dishes to go along with our workout routines. But you know, I’m not ready for it. I am still in winter mode. I crave butter, cheese, creamy pasta sauces, bread, and thick spoonfuls of squash soup. Eating mostly a vegan diet, I have found luxurious ways to make healthy versions of all things craveable, and this soup is a perfect example. 

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Weekend in Ojai


On our weekend trip to Ojai, we relished in the landscape as we drove along highway state route 33 from Ventura. Rugged chaparral covered hills, eucalyptus and oak trees blur by the car windows. Admiring such idyllic beauty, a sense of wonder opens the heart. Only 14 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean isn’t so far to go for some soul refreshing.

We took the time to browse the boutique shops along main stretch of Ojai Avenue, ate lunch at a local vegan cafe, and snuck a quick peek inside a wine tasting room before sipping on a flight of handcrafted green tea kombucha. The city of Ojai has a relaxed Californian vibe with the sort of easy-going elegance you can embrace. You  might call it bohemian, or modern hippie, perhaps. There’s a genuine aspect of being completely real here, without any pretensions or façades. Ojai has its own kind of style.

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A Mushroom Risotto with Love from Paris


This mushroom risotto recipe arrived in my inbox all the way from Paris. Michelin Star Chef Yves Mattagne of Seagrill in Brussels is in collaboration with Longines Masters, serving his fine cuisine at the dining tables of the world class horse show. Today is the opening day for the Longines equestrian event in Paris, where my Parisian friends are seated in the dining area overlooking the course. I can just taste the beurre et fromage in the risotto aux champignon des bois from here in Los Angeles. Chef Mattagne’s exquisite dishes are still in my sensory memory. It was a pleasure to attend the Longines horse show in Los Angeles recently, so making this recipe allows me to celebrate the event in Paris from afar. 


And how I long to be there… so in my kitchen I made this creamy mushroom risotto and shared a glass of wine with my friends in Paris!

Mushroom Risotto 

This risotto is adapted from Chef Yves Mattagne’s recipe which uses freshly picked morels. I’ve replaced the morels with small shiitake, cremini, bunshimeiji, and dried porcini, as I could not obtain morels. If you are able to make this with fresh morels, you are in for a delicious treat. The morels melt in your mouth when simply enhanced by good butter, white wine and the earthy broth for the risotto. Also, you may use vegan butter if you’d like a vegan risotto, just omit the Parmesan or find a gourmet vegan cheese to pair with it. 


  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 5-6 cups mushroom broth, as needed
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced fine
  • 2 leeks, sliced fine, whites only
  • 1/2 cup white wine, pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
  • 2-4 tbl unsalted butter, more as needed
  • 2 tbl olive oil, more as needed
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan 
  • 1/4 cup dried porcini, pulsed fine, rehydrated in hot broth
  • 1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced fine
  • 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced fine
  • bunshimeiji mushrooms, tips only
  • few sprigs of thyme, stripped
  • 1 small bunch of basil, chopped fine
  • black pepper, to taste
  • sea salt, to taste


Bring broth to a simmer in a saucepan. Make sure stock is kept simmering on the stove. 

Rehydrate the dried porcini in hot broth. *You can pulse the dried porcini in a coffee grinder or food processor first to make the dried porcini more of an essence, then add to the broth. This will lend a wonderfully intense mushroom flavor to the mushroom broth as you cook the risotto.

Heat olive oil and a pat or two of butter in a wide non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and leeks and cook gently until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Turn up heat slightly and add all of the mushrooms, stirring into the onions and leeks. Continue to stir occasionally until the onions and leeks begin to turn translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes, then splash in a small amount of white wine and add in some thyme. Allow the onions, leeks and mushrooms to cook, stirring, until fragrant, about two minutes.

Season mushrooms with thyme, sea salt and black pepper, and a little bit of butter. Continue to cook over medium heat until tender. Taste with a spoon and adjust, but remember the parmesan will add a saltiness to the risotto, so take care not to over salt. *I used a black truffle finishing salt. 

Add the rice to the pan and stir until grains begin to crackle and turn golden. Add a splash of white wine and cook, stirring, until wine has evaporated. Stir in a ladleful of simmering stock to just cover the rice. The stock will bubble slowly.

Cook, stirring often until stock is almost absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of stock and continue cooking at a medium-slow pace, stirring often and adding more stock when rice is almost dry, for 15 minutes.

Continue to add stock and stir for another 10 minutes. Rice should be tender all the way through but with an al dente tack. Taste and adjust seasoning or add more broth if undercooked. Awareness of the balance between al dente and overcooked needs to be heeded— when the rice is just about cooked, it is perfect. 

Add another ladleful or two of stock to rice if needed. Stir in Parmesan and remove from heat. 

Season with fresh black pepper, basil, thyme, and slivers of shaved Parmesan on top.

Serve warm in wide soup bowls. Bon appetit!



Creamy Cauliflower Soup {Vegan Recipe}

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Thanksgiving is here, friends. Only a few days away until everyone is gathering around for the holiday feast, so what to serve those that don’t partake in meats or dairy? This creamy cauliflower soup is luxuriously creamy (sans the cream) and pairs well with Thanksgiving fare. Not a touch of dairy— only plant-based goodness in a bowl. You can whip this up, no problem. 

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Pumpkin Cheesecake {Raw Vegan Recipe}

raw vegan pumpkin cheesecake

Since Thanksgiving is almost here and the holidays are bountiful with recipes for feasting, we are all wondering about how to eat healthy and enjoy the pleasure of eating good food at the same time. That is why I am so excited to share this raw vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe with you.

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