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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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The next stop on our journey was New Hampshire!  When we first arrived the weather had turned cold and rainy. Luckily, the sun returned on our last day and we got to explore the White Mountains.  My favorite hike was Hedgehog Mountain, where most of these photos we taken.

I am excited to share a new recipe with you from this part of our journey.  When we were in Burlington, Dallas had a creamy asparagus soup he couldn't stop talking about so I decided to create my own with a few healthy swaps.  Plus, fresh local asparagus was everywhere we turned!

We were lucky enough to come across some fiddlehead ferns and I decided they would make a great addition!  These delicious foraged vegetables have a very quick season so this soup can also be made without them by adding more asparagus.

 

Adapting to outdoor cooking has taken me a little longer than I thought it would.  There are new challenges when you are dealing with the outside elements, only a two cook top stove and fewer utensils but I'm learning to make it work.

 

The biggest issue so far is the weather.  Whether it is wind or rain, it makes it very challenging to fire up our little camp stove.  Not to mention, who wants to cook while cold and wet?

 

Luckily, we have found some good restaurants along the way to fill in the gaps when cooking isn't ideal.

 

My favorite part of cooking on the road is finding all the fun markets and farmers markets along the way.

 

All the produce just tastes better (and lasts longer) when you are buying it so fresh and it didn't have to travel thousands of miles to make it to your plate. 

 

Grocery store asparagus just doesn't compare to the stuff you buy at the farmers market!

 

I really encourage you to get out to your local markets, meet the people who are growing your food.  It helps us connect back with nature and gives us a new appreciation for it.  And your taste buds will thank you!

 

 

 


 

   

 

 

 

 Love and fiddleheads,

Crystal

 

Creamy Asparagus and Fiddlehead Fern Soup
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup cashews, soaked*
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups fiddlehead ferns, cleaned well**
2 1/2 cups asparagus, roughly chopped
1/2 cup water
3 cups vegetable broth***
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 large lemon, juiced (about 3 tbsp)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Soak cashews overnight or at least 4 to 6 hours.

2. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add onions and saute until aromatic and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. 

3.  Stir in garlic, fiddle head ferns and asparagus and cook until bright green.  Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. (If you would like to reserve a couple fiddle heads or asparagus for garnish, set aside a couple now)

4. Pour in 1/2 cup water to deglaze the pan.  Stir and cook for anther two minutes.

5. In a blender add the asparagus mixture from the pan, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.  Check the consistency;  if it is too thick you can add water or stock 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency. 

6.  Garnish with reserved fiddleheads or asparagus. 

Notes: *You can use either raw or roasted for this recipe.  The flavor will change slightly if you use the roasted but in a good way! **This soup can be made without fiddlehead ferns, just replace them with 1 1/2 cups asparagus. ***While I am traveling I use bouillon cubes dissolved into water instead of homemade or store bought broth.   

  

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This past weekend we welcomed the spring season.  Which, to me means, brunch season is back!  There is something about this time of year that makes brunch my favorite meal.  For the last month (and probably longer) I have been working on the perfect healthy (and of course, delicious) brunch spread.  These dishes would be perfect for your Easter get together this weekend!

 

This quiche has taken many forms to get where it is today.  From socca, to an omelet style dish, to a version of an Italian frittata, to this fusion between a French quiche and a Spanish tortilla (not the flour or corn ones you are thinking of).  Yes people, we are really diving into the best of the European breakfast scene.  Lots of inspiration from my past travels and brunching around the continent go into this dish.  The most exciting part of this challenge (besides the travel)?  Making it as healthy and guilt free as possible.  I really think I deliver on this one!

 

This quiche is filled with decadent truffle oil, crimini mushrooms, shallots, chives and a chickpea flour batter (like socca!) that gives it a wonderful egg-like texture.  The dish gets its Spanish influence from the addition of potatoes.  Typically, they are spread throughout the tortilla but I have repurposed them as the crust and I think you will be pleasantly surprised how it turns out!

 

The two things I hear complained about when making a quiche are making the dough and the filling's consistency.  I have done away with both of those issues here.  For this crust there is no kneading or rolling out.  You don't have to worry about it puffing up or crumbling away.  The chickpea filling delivers every time.  The perfect consistency inside and crisp on top like the traditional quiche you know and love.

 

I have also created a simple yet delicious salad to go along side.  This salad comes together in minutes and complements the quiche wonderfully.  I start with a mix of spring greens add in some shallots, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and toss it with a champagne vinaigrette.  This is a great go-to side salad to have in your recipe collection.

 

Now, lets talk dessert.  (Finally, right?)  I love desserts that are light and encourage mingling.  My Mini Berry Tartlets do just that and are the perfect end to the meal.  They have a sweet and tender crust, a tangy and creamy filling, are covered with berries and sliced into bite-sized pieces.  Spread them out on a platter and watch them disappear with delight!

Happy spring and brunch to all, 

Crystal

Truffle & Mushroom Quiche with Potato Crust
Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS

2 cups chickpea flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 1/4 cups water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp truffle oil*
1 1/4 lbs. russet potatoes
3 tsp olive oil, divided
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced**
1 tbsp tamari (or coconut aminos)
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp chives, roughly chopped (plus more for garnish)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a medium sized mixing bowl add chickpea flour, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Whisk in water, lemon juice and truffle oil until all the lumps are gone.  Set aside.  Can be made the night before or at least 30 minutes before assembling dish for best results.

2. Preheat oven to 350°.  Coat a 12" cast iron skillet (a pie pan should work too) with 2 tsp olive oil.  Arrange the potatoes on the bottom and sides of the skillet.  Working to cover any gaps (see photo above).  Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

3. Heat a saute pan over medium heat with 1 tsp olive oil.  Add shallots and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant.  Add mushrooms and tamari and stir to combine.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once, most of the liquid is gone stir in red wine vinegar and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.  Set aside.

4. Remove the potatoes from the oven.  Turn the oven to 375°. Spread the mushroom mixture over the potatoes and disperse evenly, layer the chives on top and gently pour the batter over the filling.  Redistribute filling if needed and make sure the mushroom are pushed down into the quiche not sticking out of the batter. 

5.  Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the top is brown and a knife can be pierced into the filling and come out clean.

6. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Notes: *white or black truffle oil will work.  I used white because it was what I had on hand. **You may use white button mushrooms or shiitakes as well. 

Side Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS

6 to 8 cups of spring lettuce mix, washed
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted
Dressing:
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  In a large bowl add lettuce mix, shallots and pepitas (reserving some for garnish).

2. In a small bowl mix all of the dressing ingredients besides the oil.  Stir well.  Slowly whisk the olive oil into the dressing. 

3. Pour half of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.  Taste and add more dressing if needed. 

4. Garnish with pepitas.

Mini Berry Tartlets
Makes 12 mini tartlets*

INGREDIENTS

Crust:
3/4 cup of almonds
3/4 cup of oats
1/4 tsp salt
6 dates, pitted
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
Cream Filling:
1/2 cup cashews, soaked**
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
pinch of salt
Up to 4 tbsp water
Topping:
Assorted berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a food processor add almonds, oats and salt.  Process until a crumbly flour is made.  Add dates and process until it becomes crumbly.  Pour in melted coconut oil and process until sticky and starting to pull together.

2. Line a 9x5 loaf pan* with parchment paper and press the crust mixture firmly into the pan. 

3. In a small blender or food processor, blend the cashews, lemon zest, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and pinch of salt together.  Start to add one tablespoon of water at a time until the cream pulls together and is a nice creamy texture. 

4. Spread the cashew cream mixture evenly over the crust and refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.

5. Top with assorted berries and cut into 12 bite-sized pieces.

Notes: * Recipe could easily be duplicated and made in an 8x8 pan or a round tin for different sized pieces.  **Soak the cashews for at least 4 hours or overnight.  If you have to skip this step (which I have had to do) you may need a little extra water to get the right consistency.   


 

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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.