We’re excited to share a few more custom plant-based recipes with you – all inspired by one of our latest partnerships! You’ve likely heard about our collaboration with The Chef’s Table to offer our customers a box of fresh produce and wine during this challenging time of limited supermarket trips. Well, now we’ve got another chef in on the action: Fran Costigan.
If you want to receive the second (and final) shipment of our Wine and Farm-to-Table Package, be sure to order by April 30th!
I met Fran Costigan through a mutual friend and plant-based chef Nina Curtis during an American Culinary Federation conference in Florida last year. We were all part of a panel called Mega-Trend: Plant Forward Cuisine. Eric and I were fascinated by the things that Fran shared with us – it was such a delightful and informative experience! Farmer Lee Jones and Chef Jamie Simpson of The Chef’s Garden were also part of the ACF conference. It’s where I learned about their veganic farming!
As a culinary educator, cookbook author, and pioneering pastry chef, Fran Costigan is internationally renowned as an expert in the field of modern plant-based desserts. She has been called “the authority on cruelty-free chocolate anything and everything.” Fran’s cookbook, Vegan Chocolate Dessert: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts has been published internationally, and it follows her classic, More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally.
Professionally trained, Fran was a chef in both traditional and vegan pastry kitchens before moving into teaching over 25 years ago. Her unapologetically luscious confections lack nothing — except dairy, eggs, white sugar, and cholesterol. Fran’s vegan desserts are appropriate for everyone who loves dessert, whether or not dietary restrictions are an issue.
We sent our Wine and Farm-to-Table Package to Fran, and we’re excited to share two recipes that she came up with – one based on the fresh, seasonal produce of The Chef’s Garden, and one of her classic chocolate desserts! Those of you who ordered have already received two recipes from Chef Jamie Simpson. Now you’ll have four plant-based recipes from two amazing chefs! It’s a win-wine. 😊
Now, here’s Fran.
Greens and Beans
Greens and beans are a traditional pairing, easy to make and adaptable. I like using white beans cooked from dry (my favorite beans are the Marcella Bean from Rancho Gordo, but any will do, and canned beans are just fine too). This dish is satisfying right out of the pot, served over a grain, pasta or polenta. I like to make crostini with leftovers. Just spoon some of the warmed greens and beans over toasted slices of a baguette of any whole grain bread.
12 to 16 ounces assorted greens, like kale, collard, or Swiss chard
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup sliced onion, shallots or leeks
1 to 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup vegetable stock or use water
¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, Aleppo pepper or ancho chili powder or to taste
2 cups of cooked white beans, chickpeas or any bean you have
Salt and pepper to taste
Finely minced lemon zest or orange zest, optional
Wash the greens. Cut off the stems but do not discard unless they are thick. In that case, save them for a braising stock. The Chef’s Garden greens are thin and usable. Roughly chop the greens and slice the stems.
Heat a heavy bottom pan high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high, add the oil and sauté the onion and garlic for about a minute. Add the greens, stems and sauté for 1 minute.
Stir in about ¼ cup of the stock or water to deglaze the pan. Stir up any brown bits that are on the bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the stock and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until the greens are soft. Some greens will take longer.
Add the beans and cook until warmed through. Taste and adjust flavors, adding more spice, salt, and pepper.
Finish with fresh herbs and microgreens, parsley or chives, scallions and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if desired and zest if using. A dash of vinegar to brighten the flavor is traditional – taste and decide first.
Serve over cooked grain, quinoa, brown rice or polenta.
- Greens and Beans Crostini: Spoon the greens and beans toasted slices of a baguette
- Add to cooked pasta
Serve with 2017 Tringario Ludopata Semillon.
Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles: a master recipe that’s super simple to make
Classic chocolate truffles are sinfully indulgent, melt-in-your-mouth, bite-sized confections made from ganache (an emulsion of chocolate and heavy cream). Truffles sometimes include butter, as well as spices, coffee or tea, liqueurs, nuts, and even fruit purées for flavor. Vegan truffles, also based on ganache, are just as luxurious, velvety smooth, and indulgent—but not sinful. A variety of nondairy milks replace the heavy cream and no butter is added. And here is the best part: After making and tasting hundreds of truffles made with nondairy milks, I am convinced they taste more intensely chocolaty than their heavy cream-based cousins.
8 ounces / 227 grams dark chocolate 70 to 72%, finely chopped
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons / 210 ml unsweetened organic almond milk or soymilk
2 tablespoons / 26 grams organic sugar, optional
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon / 5 ml pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons / 10 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil
A few pinches of flaked sea salt for coating and serving (optional)
Coating: Dutch-process cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, toasted coconut, sesame or hemp seeds
Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and set aside while you heat the milk.
Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar, if using, and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking a few times, to a low boil.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the hot milk over the chocolate all at once. Rotate the bowl so the chocolate is completely submerged. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand undisturbed for 3 minutes.
Add the vanilla and olive oil and whisk slowly from the center out only until smooth and glossy.
Keep the bowl of ganache at room temperature while you test the final consistency. A properly made truffle ganache is firm enough to scoop and shape but still tastes creamy. Dip a teaspoon into the ganache, set the coated spoon on a small plate, and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
After chilling, the ganache on the spoon should be smooth and firm but still taste creamy. It is unlikely, but if the glaze is too firm, add a tablespoon of room temperature milk and repeat the test. Add a second tablespoon if needed.
Cool the ganache in a shallow dish at room temperature for 30 minutes. (The ganache sets up fastest and most evenly in a 9-inch / 23-cm glass pie pan or similar dish.) Refrigerate uncovered until the surface is no longer soft, then place a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ganache, covering it completely, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until very firm. The ganache can be refrigerated at this point for up to 1 week in an airtight container.
Make the Truffle Centers:
Line a shallow container with parchment. Remove the ganache from the refrigerator. Use a spoon to scoop out 1-inch / 2.5-cm pieces of ganache and another to push the ganache off the spoon into the container. (If you prefer more uniform truffles, use a 1⁄2-tablespoon scoop.) When a half dozen or so are made, roll and press the pieces into irregularly shaped rounds. Repeat until all the ganache has been used, washing and drying your hands as needed. (If at any time the ganache becomes too soft to shape, refrigerate until cold and proceed.)
Cover and refrigerate the truffle centers in layers separated by parchment paper for 15 to 25 minutes before finishing with the coatings. Simply roll the truffles in the coatings of your choice.
Store in refrigerator or freezer but serve at room temperature. Garnish with Edible Flowers and Fresh Herbs if available to you.
Recipe adapted from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, by Fran Costigan, Running Press.