A Vegan Disclaimer from Chef Nina

As a chef, I don’t limit myself to exclusively vegan resources for recipes. The following content is from a free website that is not exclusively vegan, which may not be aligned with your beliefs.

Chef Nina’s Thanksliving Eat This, Not That

If you don’t already use Vitacost, it’s an amazing resource for one-stop shopping. Please sign up using our referral link. You’ll get $10 and so will we.

Vegan Substitute Non-Vegan Ingredient
Maple Syrup Honey
Coconut Nectar Honey
Blue Agave Honey
Miso Dashi
Earth Balance Butter
Coconut Oil Butter
Non-Dairy Yogurts Yogurt
Coconut Kefirs Yogurt
Sugar “in the raw” Sugar
Coconut Palm Sugar Sugar
Hemp Mylk Whole Milk
Follow Your Heart Parmesan Parmesan
Better Than Bouillon Vegetarian No Chicken Base Turkey Broth, Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock

If you are looking for a universal, non-holiday specific cheat-sheet, there’s always this.

Savory Bloody Eyeballs (Halloween Snack)

Recipe by Chef Nina

1 10-oz. pkg. whole button mushrooms, stems removed and set aside for other purposes.
1/2 block extra-firm tofu, drained, broken into chunks
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Sliced olives, for garnish
Sriracha or other hot sauce, for decoration


  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Place the mushroom caps on a baking sheet and set aside.
  • Purée the tofu, garlic, lemon juice, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor until smooth. Place the mixture into a piping bag or a large sandwich bag with the corner cut off.
  • Pipe the mixture into each mushroom cap, filling to the top. Place an olive slice on top.
  • Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the mushroom caps start to wrinkle.
  • Drizzle with Sriracha (or your fav hot sauce) for a spooky touch.
  • Best served in pairs, like a pair of eyes!

Tip: For easiest baking and traveling, bake these, placing one mushroom inside each compartment of a mini-muffin tin.  These will travel brilliantly to your next party!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

There was a time in our lives when we were content with a plastic pumpkin full of candies in colorful packages, all shouting “EAT ME!”.  Those were simpler times.

But as far as I’m concerned, they were far less delicious times. Follow me to The Box Gallery, this Wednesday, October 26, to enjoy a selection of yummy, easy-to-make, healthy candy eats. Yeah, it’s possible!

Register for Healthy Halloween with Chef Nina!

Harvesting Local Squash with Garden Artist Haydee Ullfig

I never thought I would use the words “Loxahatchee” and “dreamy” in the same sentence. Yet, here I am, reminiscing over the breezy evening we spent harvesting local squash with Haydee Ullfig, a self-described garden artist.

Sourcing organic, exotic produce was part of the homework (and fun!) for our upcoming Culinary Arts Pop-Up: Make Thyme for a New Squash. Get a behind the scenes look at our time in Ullfig’s garden, in preparation for our October 19 workshop at one of the hottest galleries in Palm Beach County: The Box Gallery. Run by local trailblazer Rolando Chang Barrero, The Box is now home to Chef Nina‘s Contemporary Food Design Workshops.

Swaying soothingly, the Australian pine trees around her Loxahatchee garden captivated me. The trees serve as the all-knowing narrator to the story of Ullfig’s journey with art.

pine trees garden harvest squash pumpkin loxahatchee farmer

We experienced a part of this story at Ullfig’s garden, delighting in the art of nature and the nature of art–the true essence of a garden artist. The squash blossoms, though closed in the evening, were a sight to see.

squash blossoms

To feature in our upcoming workshop, Ullfig gifted us with a beautiful Jamaican Pumpkin. From the cucurbita moschata variety, this squash if often referred to as a Haitian Pumpkin, Caribbean Pumpkin, Abóbora, or Cuban Squash.

cucurbita moschata ,Jamaican Pumpkin, Haitian Pumpkin, Caribbean Pumpkin, Abóbora, Cuban Squash
cucurbita moschata ,Jamaican Pumpkin, Haitian Pumpkin, Caribbean Pumpkin, Abóbora, Cuban Squash

Get another glimpse into our adventure at Ullfig’s garden here:

Born in Argentina, Ullfig graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago. A Florida local since 1979, you’ll definitely want to learn more about her garden and her art. We’ll surely be back for a visit soon!

haydee ullfig, starfruit, carambola, art, food design, food art, garden artist


An adaptation of several recipes by Chef Nina



  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (i.e.- grapeseed, sunflower, safflower, etc.)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (any variety)
  • 8 cups raw pumpkin, cut in 1-inch cubes (approx. a 4 lb pumpkin)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 fresh chili, like jalapeño or Thai, seeds removed, and minced
  • Salt and ground black pepper (ground fresh peppercorns are the best choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cans (14 1/2-ounce size) crushed or diced tomatoes.

Serve with a cooling, Tzatziki-style, tart sauce:

  • 1 cup plain, thick yogurt (aka “Greek” style), vegan or non-vegan
    (Chef Nina uses non-dairy Kefir instead)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 large or 2 small cloves, chopped)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint, and fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish


  • Put the oil in a covered pot or deep skillet, on medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook until browned, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove browned onions from skillet and set aside, then cook pumpkin cubes similarly. Remove browned pumpkin and combine with onions and let them rest while you go on to next steps.
  • Heat another tablespoon of oil in the same hot pan. Add in all the spices and toast till fragrant, then pour in 1 ½ cups vegetable stock and add in tomatoes and garlic.
  • Bring stock to a boil, return the diced, cooked onions and pumpkin to the skillet (or pot) and bring back up to a boil.  Immediately reduce to a simmer and cover. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes, or till squash pieces are tender when pierced with a fork.
  • Combine Tzatziki-style sauce ingredients and serve sauce spooned over the stew, plus more freshly chopped mint for garnish.

Moringa Superfood Pesto with Chef Nina

This week, we learned how to make a Superfood Pesto from locally-grown, sustainable, and powerful moringa leaves! In fact, we used the abundance of fresh moringa greens from El Sol, Jupiter’s Neighborhood Resource Center‘s Community Garden. Recipe below.

If you like the bite of arugula, you’ll love this. For a milder flavor and to decrease bite, add raw spinach as desired.

In a food processor, combine the following ingredients and pulse until smooth. (Stop pulsing earlier if you prefer a chunkier version). 


  • 1 bunch of parsley*
  • 1 bunch of basil*
  • 1 bunch of moringa*
  • 1 cup of soaked walnuts 
  • Zest of whole lemon
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 raw garlic cloves
  • 1/4 Cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your favorite olive oil 
  • Salt, to taste
  • Note: Does not need pepper, though you’re welcome to add more. 

*Be sure to use equal-sized quantities of parsley, basil, and moringa leaves. Keep in mind, different sources/packages create different bundle sizes; be sure to start with similar ratios. 

Herbs: when using soft stem herbs, feel free to use the entire branch to maximize your ROI. If any herbs have woody stems (like rosemary), reserve them for other uses, like stocks, soups, roasts, or even as shish kabob skewers, infusing your food with flavor! 

Contemporary Food Design with Chef Nina Kauder

14494636_10210268747176090_7185241528212363839_nNot just a cooking class…

Local Chef & Food Artist Nina Kauder, graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, brings an October cooking class series to The Box Gallery (811 Belvedere Rd, West Palm Beach). Contemporary Food Design Workshop, featuring easy-to-learn techniques to improve your art or demystify some of your cooking concerns. Register here.

Wednesday, October 19: Make Thyme for a New Squash- $25

Out with the old, in with the new. Skip the traditional squashes this year. Learn what locally-grown Florida squash has to offer and what you can do with it.

Wednesday, October 26: Dessert: Healthy Halloween- $25
Discover an alternative to commercially packaged tricks or treats.

November Lineup: From “Bad Moms” to “Thriving Moms”

Wednesday, November 9: Easy, Make-Ahead Specialty Food Gifts

This holiday season, treat the foodie in your life with an array of specialty food gifts they’ll reach for, time and time again. Get a head start and trim your holiday “to-do” list.  These ingredients turn luscious the longer they marinate, so start early!

Wednesday, November 16: Shop & Dine with the Chef- Offsite Location- $20

Explore the most international supermarket in Palm Beach County: FoodTown. With Chef Nina as your guide, experience the store’s bounty from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Then, join the chef for an optional dinner at one of her favorite restaurants: Taste of India. Only 6.5 miles away!

Cost of dinner is not included, but FUN is! Please bring cash so we can easily settle the check.

Wednesday, November 23: ThanksLiving

There’s great pleasure in feasting on autumn vegetables, especially when served raw with minimal preparation. Harness and transform robust flavors so they can easily take center stage on your table. These almost instant side dishes won’t even fight for oven time!

Walk-in students pay $5 more at the door, space permitting. Reserve your seat in advance to save!

Bean Scene Chef Lynn Wins 2nd Place in Farmer & Chef Vegan Competition

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Bean Scene’s Chef Lynn Dorsey brought home the 2nd place prize in Tunie’s The Farmer & The Chef Vegan Competition, a tri-county, 9-chef challenge, on Sunday, April 17.

Chef Lynn’s winning dish, barbecued jackfruit with cannellini aioli and organic blueberries (courtesy of Brown Family Farms), was a crowdpleaser at this competition, which was part of Heal the Planet Day, organized by local non-profit Heal the Planet.

Nine chefs vied for cash prizes, a unique trophy courtesy of the FABA- Florida Artist Blacksmith Association, and, of course, bragging rights.

Bean Scene Productions proudly brought three chefs from Palm Beach County to the competition:
Chef Lynn of Magick in Your Kitchen (2nd place winner!), Chef Carl of Green Raw, and Chef Stephanie of Raw Bliss. Can you believe that this was Chef Lynn’s first cooking competition?
If you’re curious about the first place winner, click here.