Before Chloe Coscarelli’s Greenwich Village-based restaurant By Chloe propelled to popularity and “bleeding” plant-based burgers became all the rage, there was Cafe Blossom.
Located in New York City, Cafe Blossom is a vegan restaurant that appeals not only to those who prefer eating just plants but also those who love meat. The first location began business back in 2005, sweeping critics off their feet with its uncluttered, yet exceptional menu, comprised of iconically creamy, “I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-dairy” trademark sauces.
Now, co-owners Ronen Seri and Pamela Elizabeth are all set to throw light on never-before-shared recipes behind some of their crowd-pleasing dishes in The Blossom Cookbook. Obviously, in order to prepare the eatery's best-selling entrées that include sweet potato coconut curry, zucchini risotto, and pine nut-crusted eggplant, one thing is vital: a kitchen that is filled with a generous supply of ingredients.
Seri and Elizabeth threw light on five refrigerator and pantry staples they usually bank on, making certain that you will never be put out of countenance when you've got a strong desire for pesto zoodles. Here are the five ingredients every vegan chef should always have at their disposal:
Both Seri and Elizabeth agree that the sauce plays the most important role when making delectable cuisine that's rife with flavor. Seri goes as far as deeming nuts as "the foundation for any dish." In fact, nuts are part and parcel of nearly all his favorite recipes. Moreover, they come in handy while making various creams including cashew, coconut, and even sour, for that matter.
Seri and Elizabeth put a lot of fresh herbs to use in the kitchen. Aside from being an ideal ingredient that can be sprinkled on top of just about every dish giving them a burst of refreshing flavor, herbs can also be used in salads, and kinds of pasta as well, but that's not all; they are also an important ingredient in those cult-favourite sauces. As if that weren't enough, these herbs give your kitchen a distinctive smell. Some of the pair's most commonly used herbs are parsley, rosemary, cilantro, and basil.
When grocery shopping, the bulk of Seri's cart is homogeneous. He always goes for broccoli, zucchini, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard. Although he makes plenty of salads, these ingredients are not just used to whip them up. Seri prefers to simply pat salads with an almond ginger dressing, instead.
For instance, he mixes peas, broccoli, and zucchini to use in risotto and overlays artichokes in eggplant lasagna. In addition to sneaking in extra portions of nutrients, Seri claims that vegetables tot up a coat of freshness and flavor identical to that of herbs.
Though the duo often cooks with tofu, Elizabeth is actually partial to seitan deeming it "chewier and a little denser." As far as the taste is concerned, she says it is relatively complex. While soybeans are used to make tofu, seitan is made from wheat gluten making it slightly higher in protein. However, it's worth noting that both absorb sauces similarly, meaning tofu fans won't be let down either.
While Seri likes playing around with dishes that are delicious in flavor, Elizabeth has a weakness for baking, and out of all the alt-milks up for grabs, cashew milk is her favorite. According to Seri, it is comparatively creamier than rice and almond milk. Aside from cashew, she also likes flax seed milk since it has similarly rich texture.
Some of Seri's other favorite vegan baking hacks include adding texture to a dish by using chia seeds, replacing butter with olive oil, and ousting eggs in favor of applesauce. In the case that you are unfamiliar with some of these additives, fret not. Seri and Elizabeth believe experimentation is imperative in order to get the knack of vegan cuisine.
(Image: Infoletta Hambach / flickr)