Hannah Kaminsky is one of our favorite bloggers. She makes delicious vegan desserts using simple to exotic ingredients to come up with some of the most amazing flavor combinations. She is also a great educator. She’s helped thousands of people learn how to bake without using an egg or dairy through her cookbooks My Sweet Vegan, Vegan a la Mode, Vegan Desserts, and Easy as Vegan Pie and her award-winning blog BitterSweet. And she contributes regularly to VegNews, Allergic Living and Laikamagazines. We’re not the only ones who think she is incredible. She has won accolades from Bravo, VegNews, the Well Fed Network and many others.
We recently sat down with Hannah to ask her how she gets inspired to create her masterful desserts, why she loves Wild Blueberries and even had time to talk about some of her favorite holiday traditions.
What inspires you to create recipes? What’s your process?
It might be easier to say what doesn’t inspire me, because I seem to come up with new recipe ideas and flavor pairings at every turn! Whether it’s from a trip to the market, a glance into the pantry, memories of childhood favorites or recent experiences eating out, I never stop coming up with new concepts to explore. Many times it will just start with two or three ingredients that sound appealing together, even if they sound like odd couples at first blush, and I’ll fill in the blanks from there. Sometimes I won’t even know what the final outcome should be until I start cooking it!
What tips have you learned cooking with frozen Wild Blueberries that you could share?
Like any other frozen fruit, I find that they’re easier to manage in most cases when thawed and fully drained, to prevent the excess liquid from watering down your recipe. However, that wisdom doesn’t apply to breads and muffins, where it works better to just toss the berries in frozen so that they don’t turn the batter blue. They’ll still taste just as delicious, but look considerably more colorful, of course.
Why do you cook with Wild Blueberries versus regular cultivated blueberries? What makes Wild Blueberries so special?
It’s all about the flavor for me. I love the fact that their sweetness is concentrated, so I need to add less sugar when using them as a puree, and they add a much more bold punch of blueberry essence than traditional cultivated berries. Plus, their smaller size means that they’ll be more evenly distributed throughout a batter, packing lots of little berries into every bite.
What are some of your favorite recipes to cook for the holidays?
I rarely cook the same recipe twice once it’s fully tested and signed off on, but I do always have to make garlicky mashed cauliflower and chickpea gravy, every single year, without variation. The first time I brought chickpea gravy to the table, I only made enough for the vegan entrée, but even the omnivores at the table were pouring it over their plates with a heavy hand! I’ve since learned to always double or triple the batch if I’m sharing it with the whole family.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
Nothing beats roasting chestnuts in the fireplace after a big family meal, after the flames die down and only glowing embers remain. We’ll all sit around, listening to them crackle until they’re toasted and the irresistible nutty aroma fills the house. It can turn into a late night as we all laugh and chat, slowly cracking the chestnuts and devouring them all, right then and there. I find myself looking forward to that after dinner snack even more than the main meal sometimes.
Recently, Hannah Kaminsky helped Wild Blueberries create recipes for its Wild Wonderland recipe e-book. It includes seven delicious recipes, both sweet and savory, to help inspire some new holiday traditions using Wild Blueberries. Download the Free e-book here. Below is her recipe for Savory Wild Blueberry-Sage Crostini. It features a Wild Blueberry jam infused with fresh sage – on its own a wonderful holiday gift for family and friends.