Friday, June 26, 2009

creamy cashew tomato sauce

when i set out to make pasta for dinner, i often have the southern vs. northern italy debate with myself. my great grandfather was from garda in northern italy, a region known for creamy white sauces. my great grandmother was from naples in the south, which favours hearty red tomato sauces. i love the flavours of both cuisines, but what i love most is combining the best of both worlds to create a nice creamy red. add some cashews to the mix, and you've got some crazy italian goodness!

  • 8 oz. penne pasta
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 ¼ cups raw cashews, soaked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 small can tomato paste (3 oz.)
  • 1 teaspoon bragg's liquid aminos
  • 1 tablespoon soy milk powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
soak raw cashews at least 4 hours, and then blend them up very fine in a magic bullet or food processor. set them aside. cook pasta according to directions. while pasta is cooking, steam the broccoli florets. in the food processor, blend up the two tomatoes and basil leaves.

in a medium saucepan, add olive oil and saute the garlic until it starts to brown. on medium-low heat, add the tomatoes and rest of sauce ingredients. simmer for 10 minutes, adding in additional water if the sauce is too thick. add in the broccoli florets and continue simmering for 5 minutes more.

remove from heat and serve over pasta. this recipe makes two small servings, so double as necessary.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

garlic roasted asparagus

i love my cast iron grill pan. it puts those fun grill marks on sandwiches, roasted vegetables, and anything in between. i've had it for a little over a year, and it has become one of my favourite cookware pieces. the recipe here is one of the multitude of ways i cooked my 28 pounds of asparagus.

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
cut the woody ends off asparagus, and marinate the edible ends in olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. if you are sensitive to heat, you might choose to use less pepper flakes. on the other hand, if you are a heat fiend, sub chili oil for the olive oil. place a cast iron grill pan in the oven, and preheat to 425°f. preheating the cast iron not only provides a lovely satisfying sizzle, but helps keep things from sticking (and cleanup much easier!). once heated, pull the skillet out and place your asparagus lengthwise in the pan. bake the asparagus at 425°f for at least 25 minutes, flipping once or twice to get nice grill marks on all sides of the stalks.

when the asparagus starts to develop brown roasting spots, it is done. i've roasted anywhere between 25-40 minutes before, depending on desired tenderness.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

POM-orange vegan cocktail

i think sometimes there is a misconception that all vegans are super health driven or won't put anything toxic in their body. while i won't put anything from a living animal in my body, i freely admit that i do drink. some people (vegan or not), choose not to drink, and i respect that. but i'm on the other side of the fence, and all too happy to kick up my heels with an adult beverage now and again. mainly, i'm a beer girl, but i have enjoyed a few girly drinks in my day. this is my POM wonderful green smoothie's evil twin.

  • 1/3 cup soy ice cream
  • 4 oz. POM wonderful juice
  • 1/2 medium orange, peeled
  • 3 oz. high quality rum
drop everything in a blender, and blend up for about 25 seconds until it's smooth and creamy. taste test, and add a little POM juice if it's too powerful. of course, if it's too weak (or if you aren't driving anywhere), add a little more rum.
evil, i know. :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

high raw salad (from lettuce wraps)

i wanted to make these lettuce wraps again, but i didn't have any large enough pieces of lettuce that would serve as a wrap. so i compromised with a salad, and it was so good i had to share! it's basically the same recipe, except in a bowl. :)

  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons bragg's aminos
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dulse flakes
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2-3 roasted red peppers
  • almond cheese
  • shredded lettuce
peel and julienne the veggies, then let marinate in the liquid aminos, dulse and minced garlic.

combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and serve as a salad. i didn't make a separate dressing because my red peppers came from an oil-packed jar. that plus the almond cheese made the salad rich and creamy. if you don't use oil-packed peppers, you may want to add a little something for creaminess... depending on taste.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

creamy kamut salad

my dearest brother, aka 'produce boy', recently brought me an exciting foodie gift - 28 pounds of fresh asparagus. yes, i said 28 pounds. needless to say, i have spent the past several weeks cooking and eating asparagus a variety of ways - roasted, grilled, baked, steamed, boiled... i even made asparagus guacamole (not bad!). i thought this dish was perfect for a potluck, as a twist on the traditional pasta salad.

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked kamut (3 cups cooked)
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 pound of asparagus, cut to bite size
  • 1- 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • about 5-6 fresh basil leaves, chopped/shredded
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 batch of buffalo mostarella cheese**
  • **with modifications
  • 1/2 tablespoon liquid smoke

basically, you could try any vegan dressing. i wanted one that was a little cheesy flavoured so i tried the buffalo mosteralla from the ultimate uncheese cookbook. however, i omitted the agar and halved the onion powder and cornstarch in the recipe because i wanted it to be thick, but not set up like a cheese. i also added half a tablespoon of liquid smoke. if using this recipe, put all your dressing ingredients in a blender for 1-2 minutes (until the mixture is smooth). pour into a saucepan and heat on medium for about 4-5 minutes... until it starts to thicken. put in a 4-cup pyrex container (or anything glass really) and put in the fridge to cool overnight.

once you are ready to make your salad, pull your dressing out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature. steam the asparagus, quarter your tomatoes and cook your kamut. after your kamut has cooked, drain and combine w/ the dressing in a large bowl. because the kamut will still be warm from cooking, the dressing should soften up and coat the grain very well. add in the tomatoes, asparagus, basil and olive oil. toss a couple more times. i added a couple dashes of lemon juice at this point because i thought it needed it.... but that just depends on the dressing you use.

serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


who loves falafel? i do, i do! although this recipe looks really long, the process goes fairly quick once you've soaked your chickpeas (about 8-10 hours). just get all your spices out, plus your measuring spoons and you'll have falafel patties in no time at all. serve with vegan tzatziki or hummus.

  • 1 ¼ cup soaked chickpeas/garbanzos
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper *optional
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
after chickpeas have been soaked (not cooked!), blend up them up in a food processor. add the rest of ingredients and pulse a few times until well-mixed. be cautious with the crushed red pepper - this does add quite a bit a spice. the consistency should be fairly thick - you should be able to roll the falafel patties without any sticking to your hand. if it's too wet, you can add a little whole wheat or chickpea flour in to thicken it up again.

personally, i like to let my falafel sit for a few hours before cooking (to let the flavours meld), but you can also just cook them right away. roll into balls about the size of a golf ball, using a little flour if needed to prevent stickiness. sometimes i will flatten balls into patties if i plan on stuffing them in a pita wrap. spray a standard 8x11 baking dish with non-stick oil, and bake for 30 minutes at 380°f, flipping the patties halfway through.

i eat falafel in pita, on salad, or as you can see, made into lettuce wraps. i think lettuce, tomato and cucumbers go perfectly!