FOOD fit for a Rockstar

Deena Kamm's recipe book and always evolving food philosophy
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My Mom’s (Cooking) Vegan(?) Eggplant Salad!


My beautiful Mom is the wizard of all wizards in the kitchen!!  She has been whipping up amazing meals from scratch just about every night of the week since I was a kid.  I don’t ever remember a time when my mom had any trouble in the kitchen… with anything.  She’s a Culinary Savant.  She’s confident, fearless, and intuitive, and you can taste it in everything she makes.  She also taught me everything I know… that is until I went vegan and was forced to leave her in the meat & dairy farm dust with all that animal protein floating around everywhere.  Achoo.  Sorry Mom.

But LATELY Mom (AKA Diane) has taken to cooking with considerably less meat and animal products throughout the week.  Which is funny and strange because for the first time in my natural born life my mom is calling ME for quick answers and tips on how to prep and combine things instead of the usual other way around.  I know this won’t last long because she is now sending me her vegan recipes that worked out well so that I can try them.  Lucky you – here is one of her latest from the Diane Fonteboa No-Meat Test Kitchen straight out of the San Fernando Valley, California… totally vegan, totally satisfying, totally original and delicious!
Roasted Eggplant with Brown Rice and White Beans
1 large eggplant-peeled & cut into squares
2 cups cooked /chilled brown rice
1-Sm. roasted red pepper, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 can Cannelini Beans-washed & drained
Red onion, diced- you decide how much I used about 2 tbs
2 tbsp dice Italian parsley
Place eggplant on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper.
Cook at 400 for about 20 min. or until golden brown.
While that is roasting, in a large bowl add all other ingredients and mix together with your favorite vinaigrette.  Toss the eggplant in just before serving.  It is so good when crispy.
Serve with my fabulous wheat bread…..oh wait I haven’t given you that recipe yet!!!
I would only like to add that my mom grows her own (mostly organic!) veggies including Eggplant so hers will be better by default. Unless you are harvesting your private crops too, and I hope you are.  Organic organic organic!!  Makes everything a little bit better.

Mom and my Niece Scarlett... NOT cooking.

Thanks Mom – and I’ll be needing that bread recipe next.  I had it last time we were in California and I know it’s a five star rating all over the place with both boys and me.  Do I see a regular guest blogger in the future??  I hope so!!

Peanut Butter Cookies for Katie


Okay Katie! Here you go… (sorry it took me so long to get this to you.)  Let me know if you have any problems (you won’t).  It’s a pretty small recipe – I usually double it.  This recipe will make about 12 small cookies.  It’s really easy and really fast to make.  I sometimes have the cookies ready to go before the oven is even preheated.

1/2 cup Peanut Butter (I have used both TJ’s with or without nuts – organic.)
1/2 cup Earth Balance softened
1/4 cup Agave
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
2tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer – dry, or 1 eggs (I have never used eggs so I don’t know how much it will change it) I have tons of this if you want to use it without buying some.
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour

Beat the Peanut Butter and Earth Balance together in a mixer until smooth.
Add Agave, Maple and Vanilla. If you’re going to use eggs then throw those babies in now and mix them too!
(by the way – I’m not suggesting that they are literally babies. I’m pretty sure not all eggs hatch into chickens.)
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl (including the egg replacer if you’re going to use it) and gradually add the dry ingredients into the mixer (low speed speed works well)

I use a small scooper to get a pretty consistent size going otherwise some will be too dry. I have made them where I leave them in a ball and cook them like that (they won’t flatten) and I also make them where I flatten the ball slightly with my hand on the cookie sheet and then use a fork to do the traditional crisscross thing.  Nothing fancy or perfect, I do it really sloppy actually.

Bake in a preheated oven at 325° for 15-20 min. I have cooked them at 375° for about 10 minutes but they came out a little dry. I think you can get away with that though if you are going to use eggs. Either way they should be slightly golden brown, not too much. They end up a little dry if they are overcooked (I think because of the lack of sugar)
Anyway – tell me what you did, what you used and how they came out! If they aren’t good I’ll make some and bring them over ASAP.
As for the rest of you – ENJOY these!! They are the most requested family favorites.


Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “These cookies make me wish there was a sixth star.”
Kid Rating 4 smiley faces “I want to eat one for breakfast.”

Do you CSA?


So after I moved to beautiful Bend, Oregon about a year ago a good friend of mine referred me to a CSA membership that she belongs to and suggested I try it out.  I signed up and was told I had to wait until the following season because they didn’t have enough food for me.  I liked it already – that meant they were really planning things out – thinking about sustainability, making sure they didn’t short change someone else in order to sign-up another subscriber…. I wanted in!!  I waited, got my application, sent in my money and almost six months later got my first box of Organic, homegrown, “Community Supported Agriculture”!!!

Yippe!  I’m really going hippie now….

So at first it was GREAT!  I was making things, eating things, trying things, learning about food that I never even noticed before.  (Like the Fava Bean takes fucking forever to prepare and a HUGE bag ends up being about a half a cup of  beans that really aren’t that much different from say, Edamame or English Peas.  But now I know…)  I was getting really adventurous, and loving the forced education that I would otherwise be way too lazy to give to myself about food that I should be eating – SEASONAL food that is local to my area.  All that good green hippie propaganda you read about in all the good green hippie books and magazines.  But there was a problem….

We were getting so much food every week (that was already paid for and not cheap at that) that I was constantly in the kitchen trying to keep up with my soon to be rotting veggies and moldy berries.  You can’t pick what you get or how much of it – you just sign up and get what you get!!  I was feeling overwhelmed with responsibility NOT to waste a single spec of what was in this box.  As if it was more important than any other thing in our lives.  I started feeling obligated to LIKE the stuff that I didn’t.  I was getting horribly bitchy (a trait I magically lost moments after leaving LA for good – now back!!  Just like that!  How??) Then there came ANOTHER problem  – We were getting salad greens and potatoes and garlic and green onions every week.  We don’t eat potatoes!  We don’t eat salad!  We eat daikon and parsnips and squashes and healthy greens like kale, collards, bok choy, etc… And how much garlic and green onions can you eat in a week?  We eat a lot and we still had TONS left over.  So now Zeke and I are getting fat, because we can’t eat simple salad without his home-made pizza (it’s a rule) and these potatoes are really really good, and in the house all day long, and calling out to us bake me and load cheese on me!” “but we try not to eat cheese unless it’s on pizza!”  “then slice me really thin and fry me in a pan with olive oil!” “but that’s not dinner or good for you!” “Mash me with butter and garlic and more CHEESE” and on and on…  What’s worse is our 2.5 year old son won’t touch a potato or anything made with a potato because he’s never had them until now.  So he makes us feel like big fat Americans every time we are shoving them manically in our mouths and he’s patiently asking for “food.”

I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that I was so excited that a CSA membership was going to really health it up for us and expand our regular routine, and I was so disappointed to find that even the CSA people aren’t really growing food that is good for us.  I know salad and potatoes aren’t BAD for you, but every night of the week?  Not good.  Even twice a week is not good in my book.  So… I mentioned my dilemma via email and they generously offered to let me out of my contract.

This falls squarely in the category of “white people problems,” I realize this.  I realize this is a GREAT problem to have.  Let’s re-cap:  I have to eat amazing fresh food that was handpicked that morning with love and delivered one block away from me and tastes like nothing I’ve ever had before, and I have too much so my cupboards are overflowing with nutritious happy feel good veggies and fruits!!  If only my life were a little better.  White People Problems.  None-the-less, I canceled.  Now we decided to try to buy more from the farmers markets (an extra one block away from our house!) and less from Whole Foods (my favorite store in the world – there is no place better) and always buy at least one thing at the Farmers Market that we have never used or seen, and learn about it and try it out!  So far, we haven’t made it to the Farmers Market, but that’s because I’m still trying to get rid of this god-forsaken bunch of celery that’s taking up all the space in my crisper drawer first!

No more CSA for me.  You?

Quinoa Cabbage Salad


Oh my – this was a total serendipitous, no-plan, thrown together, cleaning out the crisper drawer dish, but MAN was it GOOOOOOOOOOOD!  It’s my new favorite salad of the year.  Here goes:

This was super easy and fast…

Cook 1 cup of Quinoa (Rinse 1 cup Quinoa and add to a sauce pan with 2 cups cold water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer for about 20 minutes.)

Steam 1-2 sliced carrots and thinly shredded Kale (about 4-5 medium sized leaves with steams removed from entire length of leaf)

Shred or cut up about 1/2 head of green cabbage

Shred one carrot

Chop about 1/2 cup of Italian Parsley

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. (Give or take a little on the Quinoa – I didn’t really measure and I had some leftover)

Combine about 1/2-3/4 cup Veganaise with about 1 cup or so of Braggs Liquid Amino Acid.  Whisk to combine well.

Add the dressing to the salad and mix well, leaving some reserve for people like my husband who like to drown their food!

I only served it with fresh corn on the cob, and we were still full! I think it would be great with some fresh baked bread though like this one: Country Style Yeast Free Bread.  Enjoy!!!

Husband Rating 4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “I would have given it a 4 1/2, but there was too much parsley for me.”

Soba Sesame Noodles


I am currently working on this entry – I am stealing this recipe from M De Chaya Cafe, at Zeke’s request. Hopefully it will go with us on a picnic tomorrow at the Getty Center. I’ll give an update asap.
Here’s what I found so far:
soba noodles, napa cabbage, red peper, carrot, scallion, fried tofu, sesame seeds, and sesame dressing.

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