This is a recipe that my friend, Terri, developed many years ago. (You might recall that I wrote about Terri in my July 4, 2017 blog.)

In addition to be a wonderful friend, Terri was an avid vegan activist and excellent cook. She prided herself on her original recipes; and I was blessed enough to have her share this one with me.

I recently shared this recipe in one of my Veganification Boutique Culinary Demonstrations/Tastings, and everyone absolutely raved about it.

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As the sun sets here in the Sedona area, the crisp air settles in.  Perfect time for a warm bowl of soup.

I love how the fragrant aroma permeates the kitchen when a pot of soup is on the stove.  It’s comforting.  It’s home.  It’s the anticipation of dinner.

I went to the farmer’s market.  The plethora of autumn harvest vegetables had me spellbound. As I perused the bounty, I saw It!  There it was! My inspiration for tonight’s dinner!

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For those of us who remember Star Trek, The Trouble With Tribbles provided figurative thorns in Captain Kirk’s side. Not to dissimilar is the predicament with prickly pears, except that they provide literal thorns.

Prickly pear cacti, a member of the opuntia genus, abound here in the Southwest. The cactus itself is a paddle with spines. In the summer, they first burst with beautiful flowers, and by mid-September, they are bearing the most fascinating fruit, aka Indian fig. When ripe, its skin is a vibrantly-rich maroon thick exterior ensconced with even more spines. These spines are hair-like prickles, the smaller ones almost invisible to the naked eye; and the more mature ones looking like barbs ready to strike. Touch one, and those almost invisible spines will not-so-politely remove themselves from the prickly pear and insert themselves into your penetrable skin. And that’s when the fun begins. Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself.

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I absolutely adore entertaining and feeding people. But I also want to enjoy their company when they arrive rather than being held captive in the kitchen, thus missing out on all the lively conversation.

If you’re like me, I have just the answer for you! A vegan charcuterie platter and a make-ahead entrée.

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Looking for a quick and easy dessert? It really doesn’t get much simplier than this one, especially with the wonderful fruits that are in season. A fresh fruit tart with a cookie crumb crust and a custard filling is just the thing to whip up when you need a dessert with only a couple hours notice.

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I have been craving mushrooms for the past two months. I cannot seem, no matter how much I try, to get enough of them. All kinds, from the everyday button mushroom to the more exotic—such as lobster, enoki, chanterelles, hen of the woods, etc. Whatever I can find, I’m in. I’ve roasted them in the oven, sautéed them on the stovetop, relished ones done in the air fryer, all to my sheer and utter delight.

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One of my favorite sandwiches EVER is a Reuben. Having been vegetarian since 1983 and before becoming vegan in 2007, the version I would order at the diner (Heck, I’m from Jersey, so you know that I know all about diners and diner food J) would be a meatless Reuben.

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May 4, 2017 was a beautiful and balmy evening in Old Towne Cottonwood, Arizona (just a stone’s through from Sedona). After a couple months of planning, the evening finally arrived. Veganification and Verde Valley Vegans, the Meetup Group that I sponsor/organize, converged upon Abbie’s Kitchen, a quaint, intimate artisan restaurant

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One of my favorite things to do is read cookbooks and recipes as well as watch food television shows, all of which provide me with incredible inspiration and creative challenges, most especially when the recipe is not a 100% plant-based recipe.

In addition, friends and loved ones are constantly sending me recipes that they stumble upon. My partner’s daughter, Erika, forwarded this amazing recipe for a blood orange olive oil cake.  It was on the web, and although I’m not sure exactly when it was published, it was from the NY Times.  Ah, butter, buttermilk or yogurt, eggs, honey, whipped cream — ingredients called for in abundance in the original recipe as published in the NY Times By Melissa Clark.  I knew I had to immediately veganify this recipe; and have to tell you that the results were stellar.

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My version is stuffed with scrambled Vegan Egg, vegan mozzarella cheese, air-fried potatoes, but be creative. Add fresh herbs, some hot sauce, vegan faux meat, beans, jalapenos, etc. This is a great meal to recycle your leftovers in disguise, so no one would recognize them.

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Making Meatballs Meatless

My maternal Great-Grandma Felicetta and her daughter, my Grandma Mary before (whom I’ve written about before), were infamous for their Italian meatballs, strife with a plethora of animal products.

It was a challenge to come up with a version that forsakes these ingredients without abandoning their amazing flavor and texture.  It took a while to come up with this version; but as best I can remember (I haven’t had one of their meatballs in over 34 years—they have long passed away, but my father, Dutch by birth but Italian through osmosis, continues the tradition), this recipe absolutely fits the bill.

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