My love for food and cooking started as a young child watching my mother, aunties and grandmothers cook for our family and community. Later in life, as I was studying nutrition and health in graduate school I wanted more, so in 1996 I enrolled in the Professional Chef’s Program at Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. For over 20 years, I have been cooking and teaching community classes in plant based nutrition. I believe that food should look good, taste good and be good for you. I also believe that not one type of eating is right for everyone and that eating what you like is the key to lifelong health. Join me for ongoing classes in the community, for an event or inquire about private lessons. I am often asked how my yoga life and food life collide. It's all about self care! Movement and good choices based on the rich tapestry of Ayurveda is the lens in which I see the world and how I share it with others. Join me for classes that infuse both.
I am available to cook from my kitchen to yours on Zoom for lessons, dinner parties, cook-alongs and wellness consultations. Let's make a plan and get cooking! A Recipe for You:
Butternut Squash Lasagna with Cashew Cauliflower Béchamel Adapted from Vegetarian Times Note from the Michelle: I simply love lasagna in the fall! The smell of sage, butter and squash wafting through my home brings the season in full force. Cut yourself a piece and curl up on the couch with a blanket as you savor autumn in a bowl. You can make a traditional bechamel sauce for this dish and it will come out the same. You can also add gluten free or regular noodles for a more traditional lasagna, as this recipe uses the butternut squash in place of the noodles. Enjoy! Ingredients 8 oz cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch florets (about 21⁄4 cups) 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, chopped 2 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided 5 tbsp olive oil, divided + additional for greasing ground black pepper, to taste 1 yellow onion, finely chopped 8 oz mushrooms (any variety),thinly sliced 6 fresh sage leaves + additional for garnish, optional 1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and chopped 1 large butternut squash (about 3 lb), peeled, seeded and sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch rounds (Note: You need about 36 slices.) Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large saucepan, bring 3 qt water to boil. Add cauliflower, cashews and 1 tsp salt; cook until cauliflower is very soft and falls apart easily when poked, about 20 minutes. Drain and cool 5 minutes. 2. To a food processor, add cauliflower mixture, 3 tbsp oil and 1⁄4 cup water; process until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mixture will be slightly grainy. Season with 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Transfer 1⁄2 cup mixture to a bowl and whisk in 5 tbsp water. (Note: In the bowl is the béchamel; reserved mixture in food processor is cauliflower “ricotta”.) 3. In a large skillet on medium-high, heat 2 tbsp oil; add onion and sauté until tender, 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and sage. Sauté until mushrooms soften, about 3 minutes. Add kale, remaining 1⁄2 tsp salt and pepper to taste; sauté until kale is tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside. 4. To assemble lasagna, grease a 9 x 13-inch rectangular baking dish with oil. Arrange about 12 squash slices inside, overlapping as needed to cover bottom of dish. Gently spread half of cauliflower ricotta over squash. Top with half of sautéed vegetable mixture. Arrange 12 more squash slices on top, spread with remaining ricotta and add remaining vegetables. (Note: You can also use an oval-shaped dish; look for a capacity of 2.5 qt. As the slices may overlap more, the lasagna will be thicker, so add 20 minutes to the covered baking time in Step 5.) 5. Finish lasagna with remaining butternut slices and pour reserved béchamel over top. Cover with foil; bake 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake 30 more minutes, until squash is fork- tender. Let cool 10 minutes. Garnish with additional sage leaves (if using).