Coseppi Kitchen

Inclusive Vegetarian Cooking by Taylor Cook & James Seppi


Basic Pasta Dough

This is a simple, no-frills recipe for pasta dough.  It is easiest made in a stand-up mixer, but can also be made by hand.  If you are so inclined, you can also add chopped herbs or other spices to make flavored pasta.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • warm water


  1. In the bowl of the stand-up mixer with a hook attachment, combine flour, egg yolks, oil, and salt on the lowest-speed setting.
  2. While mixing, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until a dough ball forms.  You will probably need somewhere between 1/3 and 2/3 cups of water.  You don’t want the dough to be smooth and not sticky. If you add too much water, don’t worry! — just sprinkle in some more flour.
  3. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Let the dough rest in a covered, lightly floured bowl in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.  If you’d like to store the dough longer, wet the surface with a small amount of olive oil and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Makes slightly over 1 pound of dough.

Pre-Made Broths and Stocks

A good stock or broth makes a good soup, but if you don’t have time to make it fresh (and frankly most people almost never do) there are several other options.

In Peru we had easy access to Maggi brand vegetable bouillon cubes. They taste good and are vegan, but they contain a lot of ingredients that many people try to avoid, including  hydrogenated oil, MSG, and gluten.  They are also very high in sodium.  There are other brands of bouillon cubes with healthier ingredients, and since they will keep forever I would recommend keeping some vegetable broth cubes in your pantry. However, for daily use I prefer other stock/broth alternatives.

Boxed stocks do not typically get rave reviews, but there are some decent brands, and like bouillon cubes, they can keep at room temperature for a long time. I have found that mushroom based boxed stocks are usually a pretty good bet, but a good rule of thumb is to look for a brand that contains a high vegetable content and a very distant expiration date.

Demi-glace is a great step up from most boxed cubes stocks. These imitate a more traditional broth, which in the meat world would be made with bones and contain gelatin which gives the liquid a thicker consistency. More than Gourmet makes a gluten-free roasted vegetable demi-glace. It is also possible to make your own demi-glace and freeze it which is a good intermediate step between homemade stock and store-bought ready-to-use products. Traditional demi-glace is made by reducing broth into a thick and flavorful gelatin. Vegetarian home cooks can get the same effect by reducing vegetable stock and thickening it with tomato paste or a roux.

There is one product that I would recommend keeping in the fridge at home and using for all your non-homemade stock needs.  Better than Bouillon is a demi-glace-like paste that comes in several vegan, gluten-free, organic, low-sodium,  and/or kosher varieties, and all of the varieties I have tried so far taste wonderful! I have started to see it in more and more grocery stores, but if it is not available where you live you can also order it online from their website. The ingredients vary between types, and some have hydrogenated oil or gluten, but if you read the ingredients carefully you are destined to find a product that you love as much as I do.




Tomatillos  are a type of fruit closely related to tomatoes with similar uses. Two good things to know about tomatillos is that the husk is inedible and that the outside of the fruit inside the husk may be a little slimy to the touch. This doesn’t mean the fruit is bad, just that you may want to wash it before using.

For me, there are two major differences between tomatillos and tomatoes. First, tomatillos have less acid and I describe them as tart and fruity compared to tomatoes which are (at least in my vocabulary) bright and savory. Second, tomatillos are high in pectin which is the same carbohydrate that is used as a gelling agent in most jellies and jams. So, again, comparing them to tomatoes, if you use tomatillos in a salsa or stew they will have a somewhat thicker consistency, whereas tomatoes are typically juicier.

If you are buying fresh tomatillos make sure that they are firm and that the color, typically green, is vibrant. You may also be able to find whole or crushed tomatillos canned. These can be good for some recipies, but as usual, I prefer the fresh fruit.

Homemade Vegetable Stock

This rich vegetable stock recipe uses roasted vegetables to produce deep flavors.  If you don’t have the exact vegetables listed, you can substitute or add almost any kind of other vegetables in their place. It is a great way to use up some veggies that might be nearing the end of their refrigerator life.


  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into halves
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 small bulb garlic, outer paper removed, bottom removed, and cut in half horizontally
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 medium (about 8 ounces) rutabaga, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Stalks of 1 fresh fennel bulb
  • Small bunch of fresh parsley stalks
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Salt to taste


  1. Place onion halves cut side up into a baking dish.  Low-broil in an oven for 35 to 40 minutes.  The tops should be slightly carbonized.
  2. After the onions are finished, heat the olive oil at a medium heat in a large soup pot.  Saute the celery, carrots, and garlic for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the water, rutabaga, fennel stalks, parsley stalks, and black peppercorns to the sauteed vegetables.  Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Let simmer for 45 minutes, then salt to taste.
  4. Using a colander or sieve, separate the boiled vegetables from the stock, reserving the stock.  Makes about 6 cups.


Peruvian Olives

Olives are a popular garnish and ingredient in Peruvian food. The most widely available olives in Peru are the common green olives and aceitunas negras, or black olives. However, it would be a mistake to think of these black olives as the same chalky black canned abominations that have been popularized in the United States. Peruvian black olives are large deep purple fruits, with a sharp clean flavor.  They are very similar to Greek style kalamata olives which can be purchased in most grocery stores in the county in glass jars or on antipasto bars. It is also possible to purchase the real thing online:

The Latin Products

Amigo Foods

Masa Harina

Masa harina for tamales

Masa harina is a type of corn flour that is used to make a wide range of Latin American foods including Mexican corn tortillas and tamales. Unlike ordinary corn meal, the kernels used to create masa harina are treated with slacked lime prior to grinding. The resulting corn flour has a fine texture and reconstitutes to make a very smooth dough. It also has more nutritional value than corn meal or flour that has not been treated with the calcium rich lime.

Masa harina is widely available in many parts of the United States in grocery stores but it is also inexpensive and quite accessible online.



Quinoa (quinua in Spanish) is a nutrient-rich vegan, gluten-free protein source with origins in the high Andes.  It was readily available in Peruvian markets and featured on many menus in soups, entrees, even refrescos. Quinoa is becoming more and more common in the United States where it can be found on health-food aisles of many grocery stores or in the bulk-foods section. However, if you are having trouble locating this healthy, versatile, and delicious seed where you live, it is also available online: Amigo


Use a 1-to-2 ratio of uncooked, pre-rinsed quinoa to water.  Boil quinoa in water in an uncovered pot.  Once water comes to a boil, cover with a securely fitting lid, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 12-15 minutes.

1 cup of uncooked quinoa will yield about 3 cups of cooked quinoa.


Two scoops of lucuma ice cream in Huanchaco Peru.

Lucuma trees are native to the Andean region of Peru and if you have the chance to taste a fresh slice you may not be very impressed – the pulp is dry and starchy which masks its amazing flavor. However, once the pulp is dehydrated and ground into powder it can be added to smoothies and deserts. In this form the fruit is transformed in to a delicious flavoring additive with a caramel or maple syrup-like taste. In Peru it is the most popular ice cream flavor easily beating out vanilla, strawberry, and even chocolate. Lucuma powder is increasingly popular with health food and raw food enthusiasts because of its dense nutrient content and its ability to create a creamy texture. Lucuma powder can be purchased online at Navitas or Live Superfoods.

Ají Amarillo

Fresh aji amarillo at a market in Peru.

Fresh aji amarillo at a market in Peru.

The famed Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio said that  ají amarillo is the most important ingredient in Peruvian cooking. Ají amarillo is a pepper paste made from capsicum baccatum peppers which flourish along the Peruvian coast and in Andean valleys.  The whole fresh peppers are widely available in Peru, but home cooks typically purchase pre-made pastes which are in every grocery store and market in the country. In the United States, these pastes are available in many Latin markets, but there are also these ordering options on-line:


Amigo Foods

The Latin Products

Another possibility for a DIY cook with a green thumb is to grow your own peppers. The seeds are available online at Reimer Seeds.


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