Living the Artigianale Life

Renata and Gretchen with homemade fusilli

I just got back from a week where I tasted the flavor of life from a hundred years ago. The pace of life is much slower in Cilento, Italy, a region about two hours south of Naples. The region is officially a national park dotted with ancient, stone villages atop rugged mountains that plunge into lush, multi-hued valleys. Vineyards, olive groves, and farms add color and texture to the bucolic portrait. The rustic landscape seems frozen in time, a far cry from the manicured hillsides of Tuscany that have always seemed a bit too similar to what I see daily in northern California. I was honored to be a guest for the week for Vegano Italiano 2015, a tour offered […]

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To Italy with Love (and You, Perhaps!)

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“I must have been Italian in my past life, because I love all things Italian. Not just my morning cappuccino or hand-rolled silky pasta, but the quirky music of the accordion, Enrico Caruso, the lilting voice of the waitress as she says, “Allora!” and the landscape from the heel to the top of the boot. The rest of America must be as smitten, because so many Italian dishes have become staples here. What pantry doesn’t have pasta of different sizes and shapes and a bottle or two of marinara? But it doesn’t stop there. There’s polenta and risotto, and other sauces like Bolognese and vodka…” And ever so much more! This is from the introduction to the “Magic and Pasta” […]

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Food, Fun, Travel in 2015, and My Favorite Recipe of 2014

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Let’s cut to the chase (or cheese): 2014 was a pretty damn good year for me. Sometimes the gods decide not to rain on your parade, and you actually get to march in it, dressed in full regalia, twirling that baton and flashing that big smile at everyone. This was that kind of year. In times past, it had sometimes felt like more than a few lightning bolts were tossed my way by the gods of Mt. Olympus, but last year, if any were thrown, they merely set me on fire in a great way, and enabled me to finish writing  my next book and launch Miyoko’s Kitchen, my new vegan cheese company. Of course, I got more than a […]

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Say “Cheese,” Please

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  Who would have thought when I first published Artisan Vegan Life that I would be starting an artisan vegan cheese company? Well, some of you may have, but that was the last thought on my mind. But that’s exactly what happened. I know that the picture is a bit blurry, but we were certainly clearheaded as we hung the banner in front of our soon-to-be vegan cheese shop. The retail store in Fairfax, California won’t be open for some months, but here’s the good news now: production is in full swing, and online sales HAVE JUST STARTED!!! What am I talking about? I mean Double Cream Chive, French Style Winter Truffle, Aged English Smoked Farmhouse, and more (in fact, […]

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Almost at the Finish Line

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March 1, the deadline for my new book, fast approaches! Yes, I’m getting a little nervous and stressed, even though the book is in fairly good shape. Still, there’s a lot of tweaking and refining to do to bring it to fruition. The Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples (Ten Speed Press, 2015) has been a marvelous book to write, and a big chunk of the reason is because I’ve had a lot of help. This “help” comes in the form of my kitchen angels. In early November, I realized that I had a lot of ground to cover in testing recipes, sometimes multiple times, to complete the book. While I have some wonderful folks around the continent testing recipes, I realized that I […]

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The Best Little VegFest in Texas

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I had one of those “who’d have thunk?” weekends. I presented at a vegfest in a little town in Texas no one has ever heard of. When Chef AJ first told me about the goings-on in Marshall, Texas, my first reaction was, “Where?” And that’s the reaction of everyone I told, too. Well, you can blame it on the mayor of Marshall – the Honorable Ed Smith – and his lovely, vivacious, smart-as-a-whip wife, Amanda. They got it into their heads that since this vegan thing was so great for them, they’d tell everyone else about it, too, and maybe get the whole town to go vegan. So they created this thing called “Get Healthy, Marshall.” Well, what they’ve done […]

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What the Heck Have I Been Up To?

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I have never been accused of bombarding people’s mailboxes with too many newsletters or blog posts. In this day and age when we are supposed to be digitally connected 24/7, I am a social media party pooper. It isn’t that I don’t love seeing what others do on Facebook – in fact,  the connection it brings with people around the world is what I love most about it. But otherwise, I prefer tinkering in my kitchen, teaching, engaging with a live audience, or otherwise doing the real stuff my work involves, rather than reporting to the world about what I’m up to every ten minutes.  On the home front, my kids have berated me over the years for not snapping […]

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Spanish Chickpeas with Saffron and Smoked Paprika

spanish chickpea stew

I am looking forward to a fun-filled weekend in Hood River, Oregon, home of Tofurky. No, there’s no Tofurky in the chickpea stew, but I cooked up a pot just now so that I can leave my family with something to eat while I’m away enjoying the revelries during their grand opening celebration of their new plant. And yes, I’ll be teaching a couple of classes as part of the festivities, as well as serving up a platter or two of my cheeses. But looking around in my fridge for something quick to cook up before I get on a plane later today, I found some chickpeas I had cooked up a few days ago. And my husband’s beautiful tomato vines […]

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Handcrafting Food and Music – One Man’s Rendition

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Recently, I was given a precious gift – homemade tempeh – by a Bay Area chef, Philip Gelb. I was introduced to Philip several years ago and immediately knew we had a connection. First of all, we both often eschew processed vegan staples for the homemade version. Secondly, Philip plays a Japanese flute called the shakuhachi (if you’ve seen Kurosawa films, you’ve heard the eerie-sounding bamboo instrument), something that I myself studied for several years in Japan. Visit Philip’s Oakland loft, where he regularly presents underground restaurant dinners, and you won’t find jars, bottles, and packages of store-bought goods, but fresh, handcrafted tofu, tempeh, pickles, and bread. We’ve had a connection based on our respect for the handcrafted and homemade (and […]

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Sukiyaki on National Television – Watch Vegan Mashup!

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How do you like my new “do”? Okay, so it’s a wig. But filming Season 1 of Vegan Mashup put me in such a happy mood that I literally burst into song and dance. And then I got hungry, so I made some Japanese comfort food, sukiyaki. Of course, all of this was done on set. Sukiyaki is a savory concoction invented after the Japanese figured it was okay to eat cows (for centuries, it was considered savage to eat 4-legged creatures, almost as uncivilized as wearing shoes in your house). Traditionally, it features thinly sliced beef simmered in a sweet soy broth with tofu, vegetables, and that miracle zero-calorie noodle, shirataki. Luckily, it’s not really about the beef, and a […]

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