Take a Stand…A Vegan Stuffed Standing Rib Roast, That Is!

DSCN2380You will love my whimsical and novel take on a standing rib roast.

When I got the idea–in response to my aunt serving an actual standing rib roast for her holiday meal–I could find no other vegan standing rib roasts online, so I had fun creating my own.

Baked in a bundt pan with rosemary sprig “bones,” my version was just featured on the inimitable Nava Atlas’s Veg Kitchen website.   “Like” VK on Facebook HERE.

It takes just a little more time in the kitchen than what most of us would prepare for a weekday meal, but it is perfect for a holiday–say, Easter or, of course the winter holidays–or a dinner party.

Just follow the link to my tasty and easy, but impressive, recipe for Vegan Standing Rib Roast with Shiitake and Kale Filling and Shiitake Gravy with your tongue firmly in your cheek!



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Trio of Vegan Valentine’s Treats: 1 Savory and 2 Sweets

Since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow(!), I wanted to direct you to three oldies-but-goodies that I created in years past to celebrate the national day of love.  Just click on the title to be taken right to the post with that recipe.  Happy Valentine’s Day from the Blooming Platter!

Savory Vegan Sausage and Red Bell Pepper Heart Tarts









Vegan Chocolate Truffles










Vegan Peppermint and Chocolate Patties


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Heart Healthy Valentine’s Treats: Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Dried Apricots with Crunchy Coating and an Uncle Sam Cereal Product Review

Well, if our dog, Huff’s, national Superbowl celebrity hadn’t overshadowed almost all else, I would have made these for our Superbowl party last Sunday and posted the recipe as part of my “Crash the SuperBowl Snack Recipe” countdown during the week leading up to the big event.

But alas, I didn’t make them until Monday night to take to my AP art students’ critique on Tuesday. We call them Critique Treats.  However, I also had Valentine’s Day in mind.

These confections are as nutritious and delicious as they are beautiful.  And though each one looks like a precious gem, they are super-simple to make.  Another of  their best features is their texture contrasts: plump chewy dried apricots, silken dark chocolate and crunchy wheat berry flake and flaxseed cereal coating.

This recipe–which is more of a procedure than a true recipe–was inspired by a gift of Uncle Sam Toasted “Original” Whole Wheat Berry Flakes and Flaxseed Cereal from Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree, who also does some online marketing for Attune Foods.  When she asked if I’d be interested in reviewing a couple of cereals, and invited me to choose which ones I wanted, she happened to mention that my choices were good “recipe cereals.”  So that got me thinking in terms of what I could do with the cereal besides eat it.

Though eat it I did.  I put a little in my mouth and closed my eyes to try to get in “tune” with its distinctive flavor.  I thought I detected the pleasantly subtle taste of barley malt, checked the box and, sure enough, there it was in the very short list of wholesome ingredients.  Otherwise, Uncle Sam is deeply nutty in flavor.  It just tastes wholesome, with pleasant texture contrasts.

So, next I poured a little unsweetened soymilk over it and tasted it before doctoring it up in any way.  I decided that–and this admittedly sounds odd–it would be tasty with a sprinkling of both nutritional yeast and natural sugar to create the same sort of savory-sweet appeal of Kettle Corn.  I loved it.   Be advised, though, that, even without the nutritional yeast and sugar, Uncle Sam’s is calorie dense. I recommend measuring out the cereal so as not too meat too much.  Because it is so healthy and tasty–10 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein with less than 1 gram of sugar per serving–it would be very easy to go overboard.

Not being much of a cereal eater–I get a little carried away with it in the house and don’t know when to stop eating–I opted for making the treats mentioned above.  Still thinking in terms of dried apricots and nuts from my morning hiking in Back Bay Wildlife Refuge/False Cape described in a previous post, and with a bag of vegan chocolate morsels in the pantry, I decided to dip the apricots halfway into the melted chocolate and then roll them in the cereal.  The resulting color contrast of shimmering translucent orange and dark ebony brown chocolate studded with lighter brown flecks was just beautiful.

I can scarcely think of a more appealing nor unique box of Valentine’s treats than these combined with my Peanut Butter Brown Rice Cereal Treats with a Dried Apricot-Almond Surprise.

Vegan Chocolate -Dipped Dried Apricots with Crunchy Coating

Yield: 24 confections

24 plump dried apricots

12 ounces vegan dark chocolate (you won’t need this much, but I like the melted chocolate to be deep so that dipping is easy)

approximately 1/2 cup Uncle Sam’s cereal

Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper and set aside.  in a small microwave safe mixing bowl or a 1 quart saucepan set over a double boiler, gently melt chocolate.  While chocolate is melting, pour cereal into a small bowl.  Holding each apricot between your thumb and forefinger, dip halfway up in the melted chocolate, gently roll in the cereal, and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Store in the refrigerator between layers of waxed or parchment paper in an airtight container, but allow to come to room temperature before serving.

For 150+ more recipes for holidays and every day, please check out The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

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The Bloomin’ Best Red Velvet Pancakes

If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend, you’ll want to wake up your sweetie tomorrow with these not-too-sweet, but almost-too-good-to-be-true Red Velvet Pancakes.

The recipe isn’t in The Blooming Platter Cookbook (though 150+ mouthwatering recipes for special and not-so-special occasions are!), so just click here to go to the original post for the short back story and complete list of ingredients and instructions.

Ever since childhood, I have loved to have the occasional breakfast for dinner, especially in the winter.  So, since Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday this year, and since–if you’re like me–breakfast during the week is a soy-something-or-other from Starbucks, why not enjoy these beauties for dinner with a side of fruit and a glass of soymilk?

I plan to post retro-recipes from my blog for other Valentines favorites along with a brand new creation, but I encourage you to search “Valentine” to see what goodies pop up that might grab your interest.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Blooming Platter!

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Just When You Think It Can’t Get Any Better…Vegan Cookbook Author Bryanna Clark Grogan Claims “Betsy DiJulio Saved the Day”

Photo Credit: Bryanna Clark Grogan

While my husband and I are still riding high on our dog, Huff’s, meteoric rise to fame as the co-star of a locally-produced commercial that garnered it’s director and our friend ONE MILLION CLAMS by virtue of being chosen by USA Today’s Ad Meter Poll as the No. 1 ad on the Superbowl, beloved vegan cookbook author, Bryanna Clark Grogan, writes this in her Superbowl post on her website:

“…Betsy, author of The Blooming Platter Cookbook, is one of my favorite vegan cookbook authors (see my review here to find out why!)…”

Follow this link for her entire post.

Wow.  Just when you think it can’t get any better!

Thank you, Bryanna; I bow in your direction.

Note: You can learn all about the big win in the Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” Commercial Competition here.  Thank you WAVY TV 10 for this great story.

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Crash the Superbowl Snack Recipe #4: Vegan Indian Cauliflower with Black Mustard Seeds

Note: I inadvertently skipped yesterday in my Crash the Superbowl Snack Recipe countdown, so I will make up for it by posting two today.  Sorry about that!


Yield: 4 servings

Okay, I admit it: Indian dishes aren’t the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of the Superbowl.

But someone recently singled out this photo from my album of Blooming Platter Cookbook winter dishes on Facebook and I was reminded of how pretty it is.  But I was also reminded of a Christmas Eve party that my family has attended for many years.  Annually on the menu is a huge bowl of marinated cauliflower, rings of fresh onion, black olives and shrimp (which I avoid) served with toothpicks.  Everyone always enjoyed it and it was fun to eat.

So it occurred to me, though it’s not your standard Superbowl fare, that a big platter of my Indian Cauliflower set out with toothpicks would easily serve and satisfy a crowd.  It is fragrant, simple and delicious. Try using orange cauliflower when making the recipe; it tastes the same as white and it looks beautiful with the black mustard seeds (see photo).

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 cup chopped onion

1 head white or orange cauliflower, cut into small florets

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon vegan butter

1 tablespoon black mustard seeds

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional


1.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden. Add the cauliflower, coriander, turmeric, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the water and simmer until the cauliflower is tender and most of the water is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the mustard seeds and cook for 2 minutes.

3. To serve, transfer the cauliflower to a serving platter, drizzle with the mustard seed mixture and sprinkle with cilantro, if using. Serve hot (or room temperature).


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Crash the SuperBowl Snack Recipe #3: Vegan Fat-Free Spinach-Three Bean Dip Included in FatFree Vegan Kitchen’s Superbowl Starting Line-Up

A big and fat-free thank you to Susan Voisin, the queen of delicious fat-free vegan food, for including The Blooming Platter and one of my recipes in her tasty fat-free Superbowl starting line-up at the Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen.

Just follow this link for her list of great ideas and links for guilt-free snacking, including my Vegan Fat-Free Spinach-Three Bean Dip.

I can think of no better endorsement for this scrumptious dip than that my National Art Honor Society teenagers ask for it by name and devour it at our meetings!

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Crash the SuperBowl Snack Recipe #2: Vegan Buffalo Wings with Creamy Blue “Cheez” Dressing

The SuperBowl wouldn’t be the SuperBowl without “wings.”

But make sure the only animal in your celebration is the pigskin on the field with my authentic-tasting Vegan Buffalo Wings.  You’ll love their chewy texture and their finger-lickin’ sauce.   They are absolutely habit-forming with my Creamy Blue “Cheez” Sauce and crunchy celery sticks.

Oh, there is one more animal that we hope will be part of the big game:  Huff, our Great Dane.  Read all about his chance at national stardom in the Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” commercial competition here.

For 150 other seasonal recipes for every occasion, I invite you to peruse The Blooming Platter Cookbook.


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Crash the SuperBowl Snack Recipe #1: Vegan Smoked Paprika and Garlic Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (+ a Product Recommendation for Calphalon’s Stainless Steel Roasting Pan)

Previously, I posted my favorite stove top recipe for toasted pumpkin seeds, but this kicked-up oven-roasted version is just right when you need to serve a crowd, make a large batch for gift-giving or, in my case, both.

Every day from now until the SuperBowl (aka Supper Bowl) next Sunday, February 5, I am delighted to post a vegan recipe ideal for snacking during the big game.  Some will be from my Blooming Platter Cookbook, some will be new, and some, like this one, will have been previously posted, but worth highlighting perhaps with a ‘coupla changes.

We’re feeling particularly “bowl protective” about this year’s game because, as some of you know, our dog, Huff the Great Dane, co-stars in a locally-produced commercial by our friend, Jonathan Friedman, that earned a Top Five Finalist status in the Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” competition!  TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO VOTE to make “Man’s Best Friend” a Top Two Finalist, thereby earning it air time during the bowl game.  (Click here to vote.)

We abandoned plans for a huge bash when we learned that Frito-Lay would not be announcing the winners, even to some of their own employees.  Rather, everyone just has to watch and see.  Jonathan and Matt, his brother and assistant director, will be watching from the Frito Lay sky box on the 50 yard line!  So, just in case our boy doesn’t win, we decided to have just a few close friends over for a potluck.  And these seeds will be perfect for healthy snacking.

But, these addicting pepitas are also serving another purpose:  the busy winter holiday season came and went without my preparing a gift from my kitchen as I do every year for my freelance clients.  So, with two weeks of grueling exams over last Friday–grueling for teachers AND students–this was the weekend I promised myself I’d get them made for delivery early in the week as more of a New Year’s gift.

Before I share the recipe, though, I want to put in a plug for the world’s best roasting pan: Calphalon’s Stainless Steel Roasting Pan.  See what I have to say here if interested.

Vegan Smoked Paprika and Garlic Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Yield; 6 pounds

This recipe is easily cut to one-third or two-thirds.

Generous 1 tablespoon of olive oil

6 tablespoons vegan butter (my choice is Earth Balance)

1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

6 pounds raw pepitas or pumpkin seeds (I purchase Trader Joe’s brand in 2-pound bags)

Plenty of sea salt to bring out all the delicious flavors

6 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Coat a large (16 x 13.5″) roasting pan with the olive oil, add butter, and place the pan in a cold oven.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and allow the  butter to melt during the preheat.  Mix together the garlic powder and smoked paprika.  Remove the pan from the oven, add the seeds, the spice mixture, and a sprinkling of sea salt.  Roast the pepitas for 25 minutes total, removing the pan from the oven and stirring well in 5 minute intervals.  I recommend adding a pinch of salt and tasting at each stage, building up the layers of perfectly salted goodness to your preferred level so that you don’t over-do it.  After 15 minutes, add the nutritional yeast, stir well, and return the pan to the oven for the remaining 10 minutes, remembering to stir after 5.  The pepitas should be light golden brown.  Remove the pan from the oven, place it on a rack, and allow to cool.  Store the pumpkin seeds tightly covered at room temperature.  If you accidentally let the seeds get a little more roasted than you intended, pour them onto a baking sheet to cool, so that the residual heat from the pan does not continue to cook them.

Note, if you bake a smaller batch, you might need to adjust the cooking time down, as they will likely cook more quickly since the layer of seeds will be thinner, unless you use a smaller roasting pan.  My seeds were about  1-inch deep.

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