Best of Oakland & East Bay…Please Vote

Every year, Oakland Magazine holds a Best of Oakland & East Bay contest where readers vote for the best in various categories. I am so humbled and thrilled to be nominated in the category of caterer for Best of Oakland & East Bay by Oakland Magazine. The Vegetarian Gourmet Catering has made it past the first round and is on the official ballot.

As a small business owner, this type of recognition is exciting.  I invite you to vote for The Vegetarian Gourmet Catering in the Catering category.  Voting will end March 10th. Thank you so much for all of your support!


Here is the official link: {…/Best-of-Oakland-and-the-East-Bay…/}


Do the Right Thing!

Whether you’re about to pop the question or just the cork, treat your Sweetie to some chocolate this Valentine. Chocolate mousse is a fabulous choice and easy to make. Want something vegan and gluten-free . . . no problem! Try this very easy recipe with coconut cream, powdered cocoa, sweetener and vanilla extract.

Purée some cold (refrigerate beforehand) coconut cream with unsweetened cocoa powder and powdered sugar (to taste), and a dash of vanilla. Keep mixing until you reach desired consistency. Fill into a small dish or ramekin and top with a little berry and lots of love!

For more ideas – send us a quick note.

A Healthy Diet . . .

 . . . on a limited budget?? Yes – it’s completely possible – think rice and beans. Look for organic grains and beans sold in bulk at places like Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl. The combination of grains and legumes provides lots of protein (all the essential amino acids), and other nutrients, at a bargain price. In one form or another, it is the staple diet for much of the world.

Boring? Naw, not with your prolific imagination . . . your options are endless. Experiment with familiar grains like rice, bulgur (cracked wheat), barley, quinoa, maize – or try something different, like faro or millet. The variety of beans is seemingly endless – and the best prices are always in the bulk section. Soak the beans overnight, rinse, and then cook in fresh water until the beans reach the desired consistency.

A favorite of mine is Mujadara, a delicious Middle Eastern dish which combines rice and lentils, and is seasoned with toasted cumin, garlic and caramelized onion. For optimum effect, cook the onions slowly over low heat in olive oil and sea salt. Mujadara can be served as a side dish, or it can be a meal in itself – perhaps with a dollop of plain yogurt and chopped cilantro.

Polenta with a Latin Twist for Your Holiday Table

Not sure what to serve your vegetarian guests at your Holiday Table?

Polenta is always a wonderful choice on a cool day – filling, comforting and gluten-free! Try this version with a Latin twist:

  • Cook the polenta according to package directions and pour into an oven-proof serving dish.
  • Sauté thinly sliced onion, garlic, chilies, bell pepper in olive oil, and pour over cooked polenta.
  • Add fresh chopped cilantro, cream, fresh cheese (queso fresco or feta), and pecorino. Place into a hot oven until heated through

We offer in-home cooking classes of your choice. If you’d like to learn more about our gift certificates, contact us.

We are here to serve – contact us if you need help during the Holidays or any other time. We make it easy, and we make you look good.

Rock Those Leftovers!

In our haste for convenience, we often overlook some of the delightful ways of “repurposing” left-over foods. Many of our comfort foods had their origins in creating something tasty from food that had lost its freshness, e.g. over-ripe fruit, old bread, etc. Over-ripe fruit gets turned into jam, compote, cider or hard alcohol. Stale bread can be turned into bread pudding or plum pudding. In Switzerland, my grandmother used up old bread to make “Rösti” with apple or plums. Here’s how: the sliced fruit is steamed in some butter, with a little added sugar. Remove the fruit from the pan, add more butter and toast the thinly sliced hard bread, until brown and crisp. Add the fruit back to the pan, with a pinch of sugar, lemon zest and juice. Serve warm, with a splash of cream.


. . . what more could you want? This fabulous “chwockwat” mousse (as my granddaughter calls it) is high in fat and calories, made with real butter, eggs and real cream. It’s a treat – so you eat a small portion and savor it. There is no comparison between REAL FOOD and processed low-fat, low-everything STUFF! Try it, you’ll like it . . .

Delicious and Tropical!

Chips and salsa, anyone?

Here’s a summer recipe that’s guaranteed to be a hit at your next party – Avocado-Mango Salsa!

3 ripe, firm avocados

1 lb fresh or frozen mango, cut into chunks

1 medium size jicama, cut into large chunks

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1 small chili, jalapeño or serrano (finely chopped)

½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped

Juice from 2-3 limes

Sea salt, to taste

Place the jicama in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not puréed. Add the avocado and mango and pulse until blended. Fold in the minced garlic, chopped chili, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Makes about 3 cups. Serve with corn chips, quesadillas, or fish tacos.

Eat Like a King . . .

. . . with this fabulous salad from Joan Nathan’s latest cookbook King Solomon’s Table. It combines two grains (barley and wheat), and five fruit (grapes, olives, dates, pomegranates and figs) – foods that were eaten during biblical times – with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some seasonings. I chose a quick-cooking barley and freekeh (a delicious green wheat) for the grains, and seasoned them with extra virgin Bariani olive oil, a little sea salt and a splash of balsamic vinegar. The cooked grains were combined with organic microgreens and then topped with the sliced fruit. It makes the perfect meal for a summer evening – filling, yet light with an exotic twist.

A Cool Meal on a Hot Day!

Now that the weather has gone from zero to sixty in record time, light summer meals are back in vogue. As a chef, I love learning about different cuisines from around the planet, as the foods of a region reflect its history of cultural influences and cross-pollination. Marrying into a family of Eastern Europeans, I came to appreciate many of the Lithuanian specialties prepared by my mother-in-law. Many of the dishes combined pickled or smoked fish with cooked vegetables and dill, and I found a similar dish more recently in a book of Tunisian cuisine – just one example of how foods travel across cultures.

For this dish, combine cooked carrot, potato, beet, and turnip with a vinaigrette dressing, dill, cooked egg and smoked herring . . . a most satisfying and light meal on a warm day!