Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today was my Mom's Birthday!  In her honor, I thought I would share a couple of her favorite recipes with you all, because I know she would like you to enjoy them as well! 

First off, she never has been a big fan of Birthday cake, so every year she usually requests a caramelized nut tart.   It's alright with me if I don't have to make a cake, I make so many the rest of the year...tarts are a nice change! 

I have made many types, all of them delicious, but her favorite of which is pine nut (which is pictured at the topof the page). I can see why because the pine nuts are so buttery and they are so wonderful enrobed in the coconut milk based caramel that I make it with.  The filling sits atop a lemon scented buttery crust and it is altogether delicious! 

Her other favorite recipe that I needed to share with you is Italian mushroom walnut "meatballs".  I created it because she had a favorite meatball recipe, and I wanted a meatball that we could both eat so the vegan mushroom walnut ones were born.  She ended up liking it better than the meat version, and now it is the recipe that she raves about saying I should make them more often!  They are delicious, the mushrooms and walnuts make them substantial and flavorful...much more so than any meat!  We serve them with bread sometimes instead of pasta. I love these two recipes as well, my Mom has good tastes!  She is my recipe taster, and sometimes recipe inspirer, throwing ideas at I must thank her for that!  I love her very much, and I couldn't ask for a better Mom or best friend!  So, Happy Birthday Mom, Love you!  

 Here are the recipes if you would like to see how delicious they are for yourself! 

Carmelized Pine Nut Tart with Lemon Crust
Makes one 10 inch tart

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
zest one lemon


1 cup organic full fat coconut milk (from the top of the can where it is thick) 
3/4 cup maple sugar or brown sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange flower water
2 1/2 cups toasted pine nuts

In a bowl, combine flour, almond flour, salt, and lemon zest. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Squish together with hands until dough comes together to form a cohesive dough ball. Lightly flour a surface, and roll dough out to fit a 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough into pan, and place in the freezer. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 until golden brown.  Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, place coconut milk, sugar, and agave nectar and heat on medium high until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Let boil 4 minutes, while stirring, then remove from heat and stir in vanilla, orange flower water, and pine nuts. Pour into crust, and bake on the middle rack of the oven on a sheet pan lined with foil (to catch any spillage) about 35-38 minutes until browned and bubbling. Cool on rack completely, then refrigerate overnight.
Italian Mushroom Walnut "Meatballs"Serves 3-4

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
3 cups chopped crimini mushrooms
1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts
2 cups dried whole wheat bread crumbs, or as needed
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp each dried basil, parsley, and oregano
freshly ground pepper to taste

olive oil
2 cloves garlic
red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp red wine
1 15 oz can crushed organic tomatoes
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp sea salt or to taste
4 large slices hearty peasant bread
olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
sea salt
vegan parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 475. To make meatballs, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and saute until softened, about 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute until fragrant, then remove from heat. Place mixture in a food processor along with walnuts, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, sea salt, herbs and pepper. Process until smooth. Add a little more breadcrumbs if too sticky, then shape into 16 little balls and place on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until heated through, and starting to brown.
Meanwhile to make sauce, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and pepper flakes, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes, herbs, and sea salt, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the flavors have blended. Keep warm.
To prepare bread, brush with olive oil, and rub with garlic. Sprinkle with sea salt and vegan parmesan and place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake in the oven until crispy and browned at the edges. To serve, place a piece of bread on a plate, place a few meatballs on top of it and ladle the sauce over. Enjoy!


  1. Awww, you're so sweet to make all of her favorite foods. That tart looks incredible, and I love that it's made with a lemon crust. Yum!

  2. Happy Birthday to you Mum - you look so alike! Wonderful birthday tart with that lemony base and crunchy and carmelised like that too? Your Mum is on to a good thing, here! Happy Easter to you, Amy.

  3. Happy birthday to your wonderful Mom! I'd much rather have a pie or tart over birthday cake, too :)

  4. Oooh, that looks like an amazing tart! I love caramel and nuts :)
    Happy Birthday to your mom!

  5. Wow both of this recipes are fantastic. I am so happy to see these mushroom walnut balls and very excited to try making them. Thanks for sharing your recipe and Happy birthday to your Mom. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

  6. This looks awesome! Happy birthday Mom indeed!

  7. Happy Birthday to your beautiful mother! I love both recipes and vegan meatballs really entice (especially as I am doing a vegan dinner in a few weeks). Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

  8. What a scrumptious way to celebrate mum's birthday! I am loving that tart - everything about it! !

  9. Aw! Hope your mom had a great birthday! Best wishes to her!

  10. Happy birthday to your mom! You really made her day with that pie and the italian dish. Also, a pine nut pie is a rare thing to find, very creative. Hope you are enjoying the weekend!

  11. Happy birthday mommy dear! Its incredibly sweet of you to make everything of her liking. :)

  12. Look at that beautiful color! I have always wanted to make a recipe using lavender but haven't seen lavender around me to incorporate it. One day...

  13. Where can you buy, or how can you make, Orange Flower Water? I haven't heard of it!

    1. You can buy it at specialty stores, or most whole foods type health food stores or co ops will carry it.