Tag Archives: chocolate

(virtual) Vegan Chopped!! Gemelli w/ Mint Pesto & Herbed Beanballs


…Remember that time that that I didn’t blog for like six months and then one day I did…like nothing ever happened?

So, everyone’s favorite vegan chefs over at the PPK proposed a challenge to all of us wanna be cheffers. May I present (virtual) vegan CHOPPED! Like the famous cooking show, each contestant is presented with weird ingredients that don’t seemingly go together well, a pantry full of kitchen staples, a course specification, and a time limit.  Now since this is a virtual competition, we’re on the honor system here. We’re being judged by creativity, presentation, and taste (or what you’d guess it would taste like, rather).

MYSTERY INGREDIENTS:  fresh blackberries, mint, (canned) black eyed peas, bittersweet chocolate

COURSE: entreé

TIME: approximately 40 minutes


My entry:

Gemelli with Mint and Herbed Beanballs:

Gemelli pasta w/ a fresh mint pesto accompanied by herbed beanballs in a sweet & sour balsamic reduction on bed of toasted pistachios



1lb gemelli

1/2c toasted chopped pistachios

fresh or frozen petite pois

for the pesto:

lots of fresh mint

olive oil






for the beanballs:

black eyed peas

vital wheat gluten

water/almond  milk


tarragon (my favorite secret weapon!)







for the reduction:

balsamic vingear

bittersweet chocolate

fresh blackberries

hot sauce

ketchup (don’t doubt me on this one)

cayenne powder

chili powder


It’s a little tough to write and cook and guess and create and measure and cross your fingers all at the same time. Luckily I had the help of D, my favorite  kitchen elf, to at least keep track of the ingredients I used and the order of the steps I took. Exact measurements would have to come from a second (or 3rd) go at this recipe. My apologies! Besides, cooking is so much more fun on the fly anyways… If you’re brave enough to attempt a recipe like this, I’m sure you’re brave enough to wing it.

1) Cook pasta al dente. Set aside. Blanche peas.

2) put all ingredients in food processor for pesto. Process until you have a creamy paste, adding olive oil and/or water as needed to thin it out.

3) mash beans. add a bit of oil and seasonings to get a crumbly but moist texture. Add VWG and knead until gluten activates.  Form into balls and fry in olive oil in cast iron over med low heat, turning so they brown on all sides ( you could also bake but it will take longer).

4) while doing this, make the reduction. Bring vinegar to a simmer adding in chocolate and berries (2:1 ratio vinegar:chocolate). Stir often. When berried begin to break down, add hot sauce, cayenne, ketchup, and chili powder to taste. Remove from heat when sufficiently thickened. DO NOT BURN CHOCOLATE!

5) Mix pesto, peas, and pasta together.

6) to plate: a scoop of pasta sprinkle with a few pistachios for crunch. place beanballs on a bed of pistachios and top with a drizzle of the reduction and a small mint leaf. Garnish with a few blackberries and mint leaves because they’re pretty, dammit!

7) eat and amaze people with your weird food combination!

*** I bet this would be lovely paired with a refreshing summer cocktail of muddled fresh mint leaves, blackberries, simple syrup/sugar, and vodka/gin.  CHEERS!


Double Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Who doesn’t love a cookie? Really? I mean what kind of heartless bastard are you if your heart doesn’t just melt at the thought of a decadent cookie?

Some days just call for ’em. I feel like this may be one.

Oh and these are surprisingly easy.

P.S. this makes 40 plus normal sized cookies. You might want to half this recipe , or just make them big and still eat 3 or 4 at a sitting.

**note,  I used NRG egg replacer to make these, but feel free to try out any method you prefer. Vegan Society offers many great options for egg replacing on their site.



2  1/4c flour

1/3c unsweetened cocoa powder

1t baking soda

1/2t salt

3/4c brown sugar

3/4c sucanat or white sugar

1/2c earth balance

1/2c plain unflavored crisco or other shortening

2t vanilla extract

2c (1 bag) vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips  – I use ghirardelli, but always read the bag to make sure they didn’t start adding milkfat

1c sliced almonds

1T NRG egg replacer

1/4c warm water


1. Mix the egg replacer and water in a small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside for about 10 minutes.

2. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

3. In another large mixing bowl, combine sugars, earth balance, and shortening. Beat until creamy (I use an electric hand mixer for this).

4. Continue mixing, adding in the egg replacer first then the vanilla.

5. SLOWLY and gradually add your dry flour mixture to the big bowl, making sure it’s well blended.

6. At this point, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

7. Add almonds into your cookie dough. Mix well. Go ahead and get dirty, best method is to use your hands for this part.

8. Add in your chocolate chips.  Keep using your hands to mix. They’re already covered in dough.

9. Now that your dough is all mixed, you can was (read: lick) your hands and get the cookies ready for baking.  Drop the dough by tablespoon sized balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving about 3/4″ between each one.  Flatten them slightly with your hands until they’re cookie shaped.

10. Bake about 15 minutes. They will seem like they might not be done, but they probably are!

***while your first batch is baking, prepare your second cookie to go in the oven***

Leave on the cookie sheet about 5 minutes to cool, then move to a cooling rack.

I think I want to try these with some peanut butter or coconut in them next time…Or maybe go crazy and do both! We’ll see.

Enjoy with a glass of crunk juice (aka soymilk- “because anytime you say ‘soy juice’ you actually start to gag”) and about 20 of your closest friends.