Monday, April 14, 2014

Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew

Keeping up a food blog is hard. For me, the fun part about putting together a post—the sweet spot—is the point when your dish is ready, the photography set is good to go, and it's time to plate, style and shoot. But as much as I'd love to get in there and pay super-close attention to every minuscule detail, something inevitably comes up to remind me that I'm shooting for a tiny, very personal food blog in my home and not in a fancy test kitchen for Bon Appétit: The cat gets sick, the doorbell rings, or a text comes through from a friend who wonders why I can't hurry up. And so it goes.

But no matter how rushed, there's still something wonderful about having the freedom to explore and expand the possibilities when it comes to what I post on Kitchen La Bohème.

I pulled this recipe straight from the pages of Bon Appétit's March 2014 issue this weekend, and then applied some tweaks that made ingredients easier to source and the recipe quicker to prepare. If you're like me and love the fiery sinus-clearing goodness of Korean food, this will be a favorite recipe. For a simple Kimchi Tofu Rice Bowl, skip the tamari and water, and serve the stir fry over rice. And while I encourage everyone to go vegan, if you're lacto-ovo you can't go wrong with cracking an egg over the top of the finished dish.

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager

Sunday, February 09, 2014


If you'd asked me this time last year if there would ever be a slimy pancake bacteria and yeast culture floating in a jar of sweet tea on my kitchen counter, the answer would be a resounding, "No!" Because, gross. And yet...

Throughout my six years of dietary veganism and culinary experimentation, I hadn't been very interested in kombucha. In fact, I couldn't even bring myself to try it — too many stringy, yeast floaters for my liking. So I never did. Until this past December. And let me tell you, once I tried kombucha, I was almost instantly hooked.

Something about the dry, sweet-tart effervescence of this fermented wonder drink satisfied a long-unsated craving that only commercial soda had ever been able to touch. Not only that, I began to feel absolutely wonderful. I noticed my skin beginning to glow, I felt happier and less downbeat when stressed, and overall, just generally... Better. With store-bought bottles reaching the $4 mark, my new daily drink quickly became an expensive habit. Like many others before me, I made the decision to figure out how to brew my own 'buch.

The result? Only two batches into my home brewing, I'm beyond excited. I grew my own SCOBY (that slimy pancake bacteria and yeast culture I never imagined having in my life) from a store-bought bottle of GT's Original flavor Classic kombucha (the kind now in amber bottles) and let it grow, grow, grow until it was big enough to use for making a first half-gallon batch. I named it Scoby Bryant, fed it Oolong sugar tea and since then my SCOBY has given me two tasty, pleasantly floral brews. You can see Scoby Bryant floating in my current brewing container below.

I'm still experimenting with flavoring and bottling, but a handful of fresh ginger slivers and a 3-4 day second fermentation has been giving me wonderful carbonation and flavor.

What are your secrets for brewing 'buch? Let me know! If all continues to go well, I'll be graduating to brewing a continuous full gallon shortly.

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Brownies

I started Kitchen La Boheme in 2010, a year after I turned 30. I'm not sure which is more to blame—my becoming the founder of a food blog or hitting that milestone birthday—but pretty soon, I started to notice some changes. Suddenly my clothing started to feel a little snug...

It's no surprise that over-indulging in the leftovers after each food shoot contributed to some weight gain. Pure vegetarian treats are no different than any other treat, and the purpose of KLB has always been to prove to naysayers that a cruelty-free, environmentally friendly meal sans meat and dairy can be just as luxurious and tasty as it's more traditional counterpart; not to create an ultra-strict diet blog. But somewhere along the line I realized a change was in order.

In general, I've always been prone to excess. I never pass up dessert. And while I stick to recipes that are pure vegetarian, I'm not exactly of the deprive yourself mindset. I want everyone to feel like giving up meat and dairy isn't even worth a second thought, it's that easy and delicious.

So yeah, I'm not about to go all hardcore on you and start serving up recipes for plain granola and dry salads. But I do know that I can begin eating even better and incorporating more of that into the recipes I post here, starting with dessert.

The brownies in this recipe came about because I wanted to create something sweet without a whole lot of flour. Better yet... How about no flour? Turns out almond butter and flax meal "eggs" work together with cocoa to yield some of the best brownies I've had in a long time. Not only are they melt-in-your-mouth and pure veg, they're also gluten free—the perfect go-to when you want something sweet and a little more guilt-free.

I whipped up a boozy blackcurrant compote to accompany the brownies when I shot them, and while it adds some sugar, this would be a fantastic way to serve them at a dinner party or other gathering. No one would ever know that they're flourless and eggless.

A note on gluten free and alcohol:
All distilled spirits are gluten free—the gluten is left behind in the distillation process—as long as they are not flavored with something that contains wheat, rye or barley (malt).

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Mulled Apple Cider Mimosas

Unfinished bottle of bubbly after the big party? No problem! Stick a spoon in it and refrigerate it — the effervescence will keep and you can use it to make fancy day-after apertifs like the Mulled Apple Cider Mimosa pictured above.

To make the cocktail:
Soak two cubes of candied ginger in orange bitters and drop them into a champagne glass. Add one ounce bourbon, two ounces mulled apple cider that has been cooled to room temperature (I like to make my own by juicing apples and then heating the raw juice over the stove with spices), and top glass with Champagne or other sparkling wine.

Style tip: Using vintage books as cocktail coasters, a la Stumptown Coffee's Duane Sorenson, is a sure way to turn heads!

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy (Almost) New Year

If I have to see the late-summer kale and white bean recipe in the post below one more time... It's been a long, strange year — one during which I've hardly been able to find the time to keep up with all the cooking, baking and shooting that goes into KLB. But I haven't been entirely happy about that, and I'm hoping to change it in 2014.

In the meantime, I'm pulling out one of my favorite wintry recipes from the recent archives: Spinach and Chickpea Stew... Perfect to warm up with on a cold winter day.

See you next year!

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager

Monday, August 05, 2013

Kale with Veggie Sausage and White Beans

The best thing about eating vegan is that you get to try all sorts of interesting foods and ingredients you otherwise probably never would. And you get to use them to change mindsets and make dishes sing. I got a new taste of being able to change mindsets last summer, when I started slipping kale into nearly every side dish or salad I made for barbecues and gatherings. After I'd been doing it for a few gatherings with some of the same crowd, a burger-eating, veggie-free regular came up to me and asked if I'd give her the recipe for my Kale and White Bean Salad.  "Sure!" I said.

Over the past year I've been keeping up my kale employment and still like to add it to nearly everything: salads, sautés, stir-frys, juices... And I've grown incredibly fond of this still of-the-moment nutritional powerhouse. My favorite kind? Curly. So, in the spirit of all things kale, here is one of my most-often-made cooked kale dishes that can be served as a meal all on it's own.

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Making Pizza, Out of the Box

Whenever I go to The Garden, a wonderful healthy gourmet market in Brooklyn on Greenpoint's main drag, there is without fail a new local, artisan, organic, or vegan product to be discovered. This week it was GalloLea's pizza kits.

I have a notorious soft spot for pizza. Soft, fresh tofu-cashew ricotta, heirloom cherry tomatoes, veggies and plenty of fresh ground salt and pepper, all laid out on top of my secret homemade crust is my usual go-to. But preparing that tofu-cashew ricotta and homemade crust takes time.

And that's the thing about homemade pizza: Good homemade pizza requires homemade crust; and homemade crust is time consuming to prepare. Which is exactly where one of these pizza kits comes in handy.

I added salt and a tiny bit of sugar to my crust mix prior to mixing because I found it a bit bland; and this opens me up to thinking about what else I could do to further season and customize the mix. The sauce was great—deep, rich, tasty. And once you've got the two together, you're looking at a quick and easy blank canvas for the perfect pizza.

The recipe below uses a few items I had lying around that were calling out to be used: Arugula, garlic, a shallot, and Field Roast Italian sausage. Add some fresh mozzarella with a light touch if you're vegetarian, or Daiya if you're vegan, and after a half hour you've got homemade gourmet pizza. The only thing more satisfying would be having a beautiful brick oven to cook it in.

To find out more about GalloLea's artisan pizza kits and buy online or find a location to purchase them near you, visit their website.

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager.