Product Recommendation:
Chut Up Peri Peri Hot Sauce and Beet Ketchup


When I recently received a product offer from the good folks at Chut Up, I was interested, but a little skeptical at their claims of a “healthier and tastier” family of all natural products: Beet Ketchup, Peri Peri Hot Sauce, and Apple and Caramelized Onion Chutney.  Labeling a product as “healthier” is a pretty bold claim and needs to be backed up.  So I did a little research and asked a few questions.

In the meantime, two cute jars arrived: the ketchup and the hot sauce.  I tasted them immediately and, I confess, was underwhelmed mostly by the hot sauce…at first.  But then, a short time later (days not minutes), as I was scraping the last of the Peri Peri sauce out of the jar, I realized that, far from the unremarkable sauce that I initially thought it was, it was instead quite noteworthy.

It is not sweet, tangy, smokey, etc.  So, at first blush, it seemed to lack notable character.  But what I realized as I spooned it onto, especially, my kale nachos night after night, is that its overwhelming noteworthiness is BALANCE.  It is not “too” anything.  Including hot. Don’t get me wrong: this is a “hot” not “mild” sauce.  But I don’t like my food to hurt, so this is the perfect hot sauce for me.  I found it quite addicting.

The ketchup was notable from the get-go.  Richer in color than your garden variety tomato ketchup, this beet variety is deep and complex in both flavor and color, but not so much that it interferes with the tastes of other foods. Yet it definitely sounds flavor notes you won’t find in Heinz and other common grocery store brands.

As for the healthy part, as far as I’m concerned, I eat hot sauce in such moderate amounts–ketchup too–that healthfulness is not a huge issue for me.  But, if you consume these condiments in generous quantities, you will appreciate knowing that none of the Chut-Up trio of products contains added refined sugar nor high fructose corn syrup and only modest amounts of salt.  Common ketchup, it turns out, is fairly high in both.  To obtain nutrition information, read the company’s backstory, or purchase products, I encourage you to visit the Chut-Up website.

I look forward to trying the chutney and developing my crush on the Beet Ketchup and Peri Peri Sauce into a full blown affair.  For less than $5 a jar, let the stocking stuffing begin.  And with Black Friday approaching, you might want to get your Chut Up on beginning this week.

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Blooming Platter Vegan Mayo
2 Delicious Low-Cal and Low Fat Versions

Ah, vegan mayo.  I love it so.  But, alas, at 100 calories per tablespoon–sadly, no different than egg- and oil-based mayo–I don’t allow myself to indulge nearly as much as I would like.  Or I end up having to log extra miles just to burn it up.  Enter Blooming Platter Mayo which I created in 2010 for The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

My Mayo, made with regular tofu, contains only 10 calories per tablespoon so you can slather it on to your heart’s desire.

My dear omni friend, Allison Price, attests to keeping a container in her fridge at all times and I suggest you do the same.  I love “Just” brand mayo, Vegenaise, and all the rest.  But both the calories and the price tag are a bit too high for me.

This mayo blends up in a few seconds with either 12 very basic ingredients or just 6 .  A dozen may sound like a lot, but I tested and tasted, carefully balancing all of the flavors to create what I considered to be the perfect balance.

BUT, everyone’s palate is different–and mine has changed–so have created a second version that usrs half as many ingredients and I think I prefer.

My cherished partner, Bob eats like a 10 year old midwestern boy–and will only eat Duke’s “real” mayonnaise.  So, with a jar in our fridge, I tasted miniscule amounts of it for comparison as I was tweaking the recioe from my cookbook.  I ended up using 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, as opposed to the original recipe’s 2 teaspoons, as a result.

I also added another pinch (1/8th teaspoon) of sweet paprika for a total of 1/4 teaspoon.  And, since the cookbook was published, I have discovered black salt (which is really grayish pink) with its distinctive sulphery and eggy taste.  So I used that in place of the original 3/4 teaspoon of salt, but I added some additional sea salt necessitated, I thought, by the greater amount of vinegar.  Find black salt online or in Indian markets.

However, wondering just how few ingredients I could get away with and still absolutely love the taste as much, if not better, I made another batch. For now, this will be my go-to recipe and it follows my tweaked original.

Here’s to a long-lasting love affair with mayo whixhever version you choose!

Blooming Platter Vegan Mayo

12 ounces extra-firm Silken tofu OR 14 ounces firm regular tofu + 2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

3/4 teaspoon black salt or sea salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8-1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

Process all ingredients together in food processor until thick and very creamy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary and adjusting seasoning if necessary.  Store in an artight containter in the refrigerator.


Blooming Platter 6-Ingredient Vegan Mayo (not counting salt)

12 ounces firm or extra-firm Silken tofu

1 tablespoon white vinegar

Juice of 1/2 a large lemon

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

Process all ingredients together in food processor until thick and very creamy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary and adjusting seasoning as desired.  Store in an artight containter in the refrigerator.

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Tofutti Vegan Mayo from The Blooming Platter


Tofutti Blooming Platter Mayo
Recently, the good folks at Tofutti asked me to create a vegan mayonnaise using their Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream as a base. Using that product  as a creamy white base, this “mayo”–based on my tofu-based mayo in The Blooming Platter Cookbook–whips together in a flash.
It boasts an appropriately complex yet subtle taste that won’t overwhelm or conflict with other flavors, so you can use it as you would any other homemade or commercially-prepared mayonnaise.  Though I use paprika and turmeric, the mayo takes on just a hint of color as you can see in the photo.
Click on the hyperlink to go to the Tofutti site and access my easy, tasty recipe: Tofutti Mayo (Vegan)
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Vegan Red Wine Onion Jam

My Vegan Red Wine Onion Jam is good with virtually anything, including a spoon. You can also control the texture by how thinly you sliver the onion. You could even dice it instead. And you may cook it down as much as you like. I was starving and didn’t cook it as long as I might have so, in the photo, it may be a little less “pulpy” than you will want yours. Any way you slice or dice it, it is addicting, including as shown with a wedge of my Vegan Brie en Croute and some beautiful red seedless grapes almost identical in color to the jam.


For this recipe and some 170+ more,
I invite you to purchase my first cookbook:

The Blooming Platter:
A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes

Vegan Heritage Press
Spring 2011

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