Any Given Sunday: Burritos & Much More

Black Bean Burrito

In the late 1990’s there was a movie titled, “Any Given Sunday” that was about football. The title was derived from a line in the movie said by the team’s coach that any team could win or lose “on any given Sunday.” That term has a different meaning for me. Through the years, on any given Sunday, my family would be gathered in the kitchen, some of us cooking and others amusing us with stories. Any given Sunday was both a big deal and just a regular day in our home. Nobody went to work and the stores were all closed. We had nothing to do except cook a big meal and enjoy the company of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. After dinner, the men would play pinochle and the ladies and kids would play Pokeno. Now, on any given Sunday, you can still find me in the kitchen working on a new recipe or just getting a head start on some meal preparation for the week. Even though our Sunday’s don’t revolve around football, I thought today’s meal would make a fun game-day spread. I set up my electric rice cooker with some brown rice. While the rice was cooking, I worked on the peppers and black beans. I sauteed three bell peppers and two large onions in a non-stick skillet without any oil. There are a few ways to do the black beans. You can just use them straight from the can, make these smoky black beans ahead of time, or pull something (maybe 3-bean chili) out of the freezer that you squirreled away for an occasion like this. If you want to throw together something fast, you can just add some liquid smoke, cumin powder, salsa and cilantro to a few cans of beans. When everything is cooked, your guests can build their own burritos by layering whatever they like on a flour tortilla and top it off with guacamole and salsa. Not in the mood for Mexican? You can use the peppers and onions to make Philly Steak Sandwiches instead. All you have to do is grill some portobello mushrooms, layer with the peppers and onions on a roll, then top it off with a few slices of non-dairy cheese, like Daiya or Follow Your Heart. (I make my own cheddar using a recipe from The Non-Dairy Evolution cookbook.) If you have any peppers and onions left over, you can add them to a tofu scramble for breakfast or add some soy sauce and serve over rice for lunch the next day. On any given Sunday, your team may win or lose, but you’ll always come out ahead sharing healthy and tasty food with your family and friends. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Philly Steak Sandwich

Peppers & Onions

Easy Black Beans

17 Jan 2017

Multitasking: Cannelini Beans & Sun-dried Tomatoes in an Instant Pot

White Beans & Sun-dried Tomatoes

Multitasking. The term goes back to 1965 and refers to the ability of a computer to apparently process several tasks, or computer jobs, concurrently. The term has since been expanded to “human multitasking”  as an apparent human ability to perform more than one task, or activity, over a short period of time. There are therapeutic benefits of being “in the moment” and concentrating on one task, but sometimes life just does not allow for that. I owe today’s recipe to my need and ability to multitask. The morning started out as usual. Take out and feed Caitie; breakfast with Bruce and he’s off to work; a little therapeutic internet surfing for me; and meal planning. When I looked at the time, it was after 8:00, which is the time to get Mom out of bed. I had some cannelini beans soaking on the counter to be used to make pasta fagioli. I typically make this dish on the stove, but decided to throw it together in my Instant Pot. I sauteed a lot of garlic then added sun-dried tomatoes, crushed red pepper, the beans, water and some seasonings, set the timer for 8 minutes and let the pressure release naturally. In that time, I was able to get Mom ready, put in a load of laundry and start re-organizing the linen closet. The aroma that was drifting up to the second floor (and lingers throughout the day) was so intoxicating that I couldn’t wait to come downstairs to taste the beans. It was only 9:30 in the morning and I was enjoying some toasted sour dough bread with a spoonful of creamy, garlicky beans. What a way to start the day! Whether you’re a single  professional, working mom or dad, or a busy home economist, this is a great way to get things done and still enjoy a healthy, delicious meal. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Fagioli for Instant Pot

1 lb. cannellini or other white beans, soaked overnight and drained

1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)
¼ cup chopped garlic (about 6 extra large cloves)
Crushed red pepper, to taste
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2-3/4 to 3 cups water
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Cooked pasta or farro for serving

Set electric pressure cooker to saute setting. Heat olive oil and garlic and cook until starting to turn color. Add red pepper and sun-dried tomatoes and stir. Add about 2 tablespoons of water and cook about 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients. Pressure cook for about 8 minutes and let pressure come down naturally. Remove cover when safe. If there is too much liquid, set to saute and reduce to desired thickness. If not enough liquid, add additional water. Stir in parsley before serving. Serve with cooked pasta or farro.

11 Jan 2017

Smokin’ Good: Frank n’ Burgers

Frank n’ Burger

I don’t remember exactly what I was doing a few weeks ago when I had what I call a “sensory flashback”. It was most likely brought on by something I had cooking on the stove, but there was something in the air that reminded me of the sweet and tangy onion sauce served up by the hot dog vendors of New York. Some folks like sauerkraut and mustard on their hot dogs and others like chili dogs. Maybe it’s a Brooklyn thing, but there’s nothing sweeter than a hot dog with red onion sauce. The sauce is so easy to make with ketchup or tomato sauce, onions and spices. The hard part is the hot dog. I’m sure there are countless vegan versions of hot dogs made with tofu and seitan. The problem for us is that there is too much sodium and fat in these products. A problem for others may be a soy or gluten allergy. So, how about those carrot dogs simmered in soy sauce that were popping up every day this past summer? They might make a fun treat, but a meal it does not make. And, again, it’s too much sodium for us. I wanted to come up with something substantial that would fit inside a bun and was reminiscent of that smokey hot dog flavor. I started with pinto beans as they have a pink-ish hue to them. I pressure cooked them with onions, garlic and liquid smoke to infuse the beans with flavor. I used sweet potatoes as a binding ingredient and for their color and smooth texture; oatmeal to absorb excess liquid; sauerkraut for a little zing; and some smoked paprika and additional liquid smoke to deepen the smokiness. All I can say is that the aroma coming off the griddle smelled just like hot dogs cooking on the grill on a summer afternoon. We enjoyed them with mustard and onion sauce on toasted burger buns. I was stuffed before I was done with mine. Smoky, sweet, tangy. All that and healthy, too. These Frank n’ burgers just might go down as my all-time favorite bean burger . . . and hot dog. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Frank n’ Burgers

Makes 8 to 10 burgers.

8 oz. dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons liquid smoke

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup cooked sweet potato
1 cup sauerkraut, drained
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
Black pepper, to taste

Hot dog onions (recipe follows)

Drain and rinse beans. Place in pressure cooker with onion, garlic and liquid smoke. Pressure cook on high according to manufacturer’s instructions (usually 4 to 6 minutes). When safe, release pressure and drain the beans.

Place oats in bowl of food process and process until coarsely ground. Add remaining ingredients and the cooked beans. Pulse until combined. Taste the mixture before adding the additional liquid smoke. The mixture can be chunky.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide mixture evenly and form into patties. One-third cup is the perfect size for standard burger buns. One-half cup measure will make a thicker burger suitable for a larger Kaiser roll. Refrigerate until firm. Heat an electric griddle on high and cook burgers until browned on both sides, about 15 minutes total. You can also bake in a 375F oven, turning once halfway through cooking (about 20 minutes total).

Serve on toasted buns and topped with mustard and hot dog onions.

You can cook the burgers, let them cool and wrap individually to place in the freezer. Simply defrost/re-heat in the microwave or on an outdoor grill.

Onion Sauce

2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Garlic powder and black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until onions are soft and sauce has thickened and becomes flavorful.

03 Jan 2017

TFF: Marinated Mushrooms

Oil-free Marinated Mushrooms

Oil-free Marinated Mushrooms

Rachel Ray popularized the use of “EVOO” (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Very catchy. It’s hard to get away from using olive oil, especially since it has a reputation of being “the good fat”. Some disagree with that notion. Not only are there 130 calories in just one tablespoon of olive oil, there is evidence that this “good fat” can build up in your arteries. Many of my recipes are oil free and on occasion I include it as an option for those of you who haven’t mastered the skill of “dry sauteing”. So what do you do about marinating vegetables like mushrooms? Most recipes for marinated mushrooms, and the ones you buy at the store, contain some kind of oil. I wanted to come up with a recipe that was oil- and salt-free. The problem with eliminating oil is that the marinade would be too tart from all that vinegar. (Most vinaigrettes contain more oil than vinegar.) I decided to use a mixture of lemon juice, vinegar and water to tame the tartness of the marinade and simmered the mushrooms with garlic, oregano, salt (if using) and pepper. The recipe as written is what I call “TFF” – Totally Fat Free. If you feel the need to drizzle on a little olive oil, you can call it “VFF” – Virtually Fat Free. You can serve marinated mushrooms as an accompaniment for sandwiches, cheese platters, antipasto or tossed into salads. You can even use them to garnish a classic Martini for your holiday cocktail party or New Year’s Eve celebration. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Three Mushroom Martini

Marinated Mushrooms

12 oz. small white button mushrooms
6 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons water
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Oregano, salt (optional) & pepper to taste

Clean any dirt from mushrooms and place in a small pot. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. When cool, place in a covered glass jar and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy within one week.

29 Dec 2016

Day One: Hoppin’ John Stew

Hoppin’ John Soup

What I love about the holidays are the traditions. It can be a beloved family recipe or a tradition from another region, country or culture. I especially like the southern tradition of making Hoppin’ John for New Years Day. This bean dish is typically made with black-eyed peas, bell peppers,onions, tomatoes and rice all cooked in one pot. Since I’ve already done the traditional recipe served over rice and Hoppin‘ John Burgers this year’s recipe is a Hoppin’ John Stew. What makes this recipe more “stew-like” than traditional Hoppin’ John is that it has more beans, vegetables and liquid and not so much rice. It can be made a day ahead and re-warmed in a slow-cooker. It’s the perfect solution for winding down on Day One after staying up late to ring in the New Year. Time to “ring in the new” with this Hoppin’ John Stew. Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

 

Hoppin’ John Soup

1 lb. dry black-eyed peas
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can (28 oz.) plum tomatoes, drained & chopped (or diced tomatoes, drained)
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons brown sugar
10 to 12 cups water
1 cup uncooked brown rice

Soak black-eyed peas overnight and drain. (You can also quick soak the peas by covering them with water and boiling for two minutes. Let soak for 1 hour, then drain.) Cook in pressure cooker according to manufacturer’s directions. When pressure has gone down, open pressure cooker and drain the peas.

Heat a saucepot over medium-high heat. Add onions and bell pepper and cook until they begin to soften and brown, adding water 2 tablespoons at a time to prevent them from sticking. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, liquid smoke and brown sugar and cook for another minute. Add water and cooked peas and bring to a boil. Add rice and reduce to simmer. Cook, uncovered, until black-eyed peas are tender and thick (about 45 minutes). Thin with more water as desired.

28 Dec 2016

Celebrations of Life: Savory Butternut Squash Cheese Tart

Butternut Squash Cheese Tart

New Year’s Eve is not what it used to be. Those days of lavish dinners, endless cocktail parties, drinking and dancing to the wee hours of the morning are just fond and fun memories now. We’re at a point in our lives where we like quiet celebrations at home. The older I get, the more I realize that it’s more important to have little celebrations of life throughout the year and not wait for December 31st for one, big blow-out. I came up with this recipe a few weeks ago with New Year’s Eve in mind because, after all, some of you may be looking for something unique to make for your guests or to bring to a party. I had just experimented with butternut squash stuffed shells which were kind of a flop. I liked the filling, but coming up with a complementary sauce was a problem. That’s when I came up with the idea of a savory cheese tart. The filling is made with roasted butternut squash, non-dairy ricotta and raw cashews. You can make the butternut squash for dinner the night before and save two cups to make the tart the following day. The raw cashews create a cream cheese-like creaminess and the non-dairy ricotta lends a light texture to the tart. (I used the almond milk ricotta from the Nuts About Almond cookbook, but you could also use this recipe.)  I added summer savory, but you can use whatever dried herb you have on hand. I made the crust by grinding Breton’s multi-grain crackers in a food processor. Baking the tarts in a bain Marie creates a steamy environment to prevent them from cracking. The tart makes a nice appetizer to serve before a main course or as an addition to a cocktail party. We’ll be kicking back with an assortment of nut cheeses and this savory tart on New Year’s Eve and on many other eves throughout the years to come. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Savory Butternut Squash Cheese Tart
Makes two 6” tarts

1 cup cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons coconut oil or almond butter

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into chunks
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic gloves, chopped

8 oz. non-dairy ricotta
1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 4 hours
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
Savory or other herb, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place the squash, onions and garlic on top. (You can toss the vegetables with a little olive oil if you like.) Set the sheet pan into the oven and roast for 30 minutes, or until the squash is lightly caramelized and tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Reduce oven to 350F. Wrap the bottoms of two 6” spring form pans with heavy duty aluminum foil.

Place cracker crumbs and coconut oil in bowl of food processor and process until crumbs are finely ground and the oil is evenly distributed. Press into the bottom of the two spring form pans. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.

Prepare a bain marie by pouring hot water into a baking pan large enough to hold the two spring form pans.

Measure 2 cups of roasted squash and place with the remaining ingredients into container of a high speed blender or food processor. Process on high until super smooth. Divide the mixture between the two spring form pans. Place the pans in the bain marie. Bake at 350F until firm, about 45 minutes. Let cool in oven with the oven door cracked a few inches, then remove and place in refrigerator to cool overnight.

26 Dec 2016

Pastabilities: Mushroom Walnut Bolognese

Mushroom-Walnut Bolognese

Anything is possible with a bag of pasta and your imagination. I picked up a bag of these beautiful Pappardelle noodles imported from Italy last week. Surprisingly, they were on sale for a dollar a bag. You know I just can’t pass up a bargain (I’m feeling sorry that I didn’t buy about 10 bags) or the chance to enjoy an extraordinary pasta meal. A traditional Bolognese sauce starts off with a “battato”, which is a mixture of carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Ground beef, pork and a cured meat like prosciutto are added, then simmered with milk, wine and beef broth. The sauce is finished off with heavy cream. It is delicate, aromatic and luscious. I played around with a mushroom-based version of Bolognese sauce a few weeks ago and served it with rotini pasta. I made a battato with onions, carrots, celery and ground fennel, then added in minced mushrooms and coarsely ground walnuts. For the simmering ingredients I used white wine, soy milk, tomato paste and a hearty vegetable broth. At this point, I reserved half of the mixture to freeze and added half of the cashew cream to the pot. (Warning: the sauce may not look too appetizing on its own, but when tossed with the pasta it’s quite pleasing.) The dish was flavorful, but the rotini wasn’t quite the “experience” I was after. So when I came home with this bag of Pappardelle, I remembered that I still had half of the Bolognese sauce in the freezer. I defrosted the sauce, stirred in some fresh cashew cream at the end and tossed it with the Pappardelle. Delicioso! This dish is a tasty alternative to pasta with marinara sauce for Sunday dinner yet fancy enough for a special occasion. If you can’t find pappardelle I recommend using a wide, flat pasta like fettucine or tagiatelle. I bet it would also be nice layered and baked with non-dairy ricotta and lasagna noodles. The possibilities for a plant-based lifestyle are limitless.  Just open up a bag of pasta and you can open up a whole world of pastabilities. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Mushroom Walnut Bolognese

Makes enough sauce for 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of pasta

½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours or overnight

1 small onion
1 small carrot
1 small celery stalk
½ teaspoon ground fennel

12 oz. mushrooms (white button or cremini)
1 cup walnuts

1 can of tomato paste
2 cups dark vegetable broth (either homemade or Better Than Bouillon “No Beef” base)
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup non-dairy milk (soy)
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
Dash of liquid smoke (optional)
Parsley, black pepper and salt, to taste (you can use truffle salt instead of table salt)

Drain cashews and place in high powered blender container with enough water to just about cover the nuts. Process on high until super smooth. Set aside.

Place onions, carrots and celery in bowl of food processor and pulse until minced. Heat a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook until softened, but not browned (about 10 minutes). Add ground fennel and cook another minute.

Process mushrooms in food processor until minced. Stir into vegetables in pot and continue to cook, uncovered. Process walnuts in food processor until coarsely ground. Add to pot. Add tomato paste, broth, wine, soy milk, parsley, pepper and salt. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer until the walnuts soften and the sauce is very thick. (You may need to use a heat diffuser to prevent the sauce from cooking too fast.) Add the cashew cream and stir to combine. Toss with cooked pasta. You can remove the sauce from the stove at this point and re-heat it later, adding the cream at the last minute of cooking. You can also freeze the sauce before adding the cashew cream.

 

19 Dec 2016

Oh, What Fun: Buche de Noel

Buche de Noel, or Yule Log Cake, is a traditional dessert served at holiday time. The traditional recipe consists of a thin sponge cake that’s filled with raspberry jam, rolled up and decorated with chocolate icing to resemble a log. Through the years, other variations have been created that include chocolate cake, ganache and icings flavored with liqueurs. Since the Buche de Noel has turned into an “anything goes” recipe, I thought I might try my hand at a healthy, plant-based version. I used whipped aquafaba (the liquid from cooked chickpeas) to achieve a sponge-like consistency in the cake. The filling is made with silken tofu, non-dairy dark chocolate and dates. I wanted to use toasted hazelnuts and Frangelico liqueur for the cake, but I ended up using almonds and almond extract because that’s what I had on hand. If you prefer desserts that are not too sweet, you can omit the dates from the frosting. I dusted the top with some confectioner’s sugar. If you want to stick with tradition and decorate the outside to look like a yule log, you will have to double the frosting recipe. What I love about this recipe is that you can make different versions by using fruit filling, grated orange rind, different liqueurs or nuts or adding crushed candy to the frosting. Oh what fun you’ll have making and eating this beautiful Buche de Noel. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Buche de Noel

6 tablespoons aquafaba
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin

½ cup (all-purpose or whole wheat pastry)
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Line an 11×15” rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan) with parchment and lightly grease the sides of the pan.

Place aquafaba and cream of tartar in mixing bowl. Using hand-held mixer, beat until soft peaks form. Add xanthan gum and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Whisk together the sugar and pumpkin in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry and mix well. Gently fold in the whipped aquafaba.

Spread evenly into prepared baking pan and sprinkle nuts on surface. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a knife comes out clean when inserted into center of cake. Remove and let cool a few minutes. (The cake needs to be warm in order to get it to roll up.) Place a clean baking towel on an un-rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Carefully invert cake on top of towel, then roll up. Let cool completely before filling.

Chocolate-Date Frosting

½ cup dates
12 oz. extra firm silken tofu
4 oz. non-dairy dark chocolate, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pour boiling water over dates and let soak about one hour to soften. Place dates and remaining ingredients in container of a high-powered blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate until thoroughly cooled.

Buche de Noel

17 Dec 2016

Navigating Noel: Roasted Vegetables, Farro & Porcini-Cashew Cream

Roasted Winter Vegetables & Farro

Roasted Winter Vegetables & Farro

The holiday season can present it’s own set of challenges when either hosting or being invited to a holiday dinner or party. What to serve, what to bring. Who likes what, who’s allergic to this, that or the other thing. It’s enough to make you want to go away for the holidays. I’ve hosted some pretty big dinners in the past, so I understand the amount of preparation that goes into cooking for a crowd. Here’s how I navigate Noel festivities. Whether or not a host offers to make something special for me and Bruce, I happily volunteer to prepare a dish for everyone to enjoy. Bruce and I get to eat the food that makes us feel good and it’s a nice way to show others that a plant-based diet can be sumptuous and scrumptious. We were invited to my cousin’s home for Thanksgiving and I wanted to make a dish that met certain conditions.The dish should be in keeping with tradition, so it had to be made with autumnal ingredients. Since we were traveling to New Jersey, the dish had to be portable and able to fit in the car with three humans, one dog and a dog crate. Lastly, it had to make a hearty meal for me and Bruce, yet suitable as a side dish for others to enjoy. I decided to combine a few of my favorite recipes into one scaled-down feast — Sauteed Mushrooms, Shaved Brussel Sprouts, and Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower & Chickpeas served over farro and adorned with a Porcini-Cashew Cream. It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s not any more difficult than making three side dishes for a holiday dinner. You can always opt to roast the mushrooms and Brussel sprouts with the broccoli and cauliflower. Or you could saute the mushrooms and Brussel sprouts and simply steam the other vegetables. If you have leftover porcini-cashew cream, you can use it as a condiment for bean burgers or grilled vegetable sandwiches.What’s especially nice about this recipe is that everything can be prepared ahead of time and re-warmed either in the microwave or oven just before everyone’s ready to sit down for dinner. Less time fussing over food means more time making merry with family and friends. Have a joyful holiday season and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Roasted Vegetables, Farro & Porcini-Cashew Cream

Porcini Cashew Cream (recipe follows)

1 cup farro
Vegetable broth
Fresh or dried herbs to taste (thyme, sage, rosemary, etc.)

1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets

1 lb. mushrooms, sliced

4 large shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. Brussel sprouts, shaved

1 can chickpeas, drained
Smoked paprika

¼ cup toasted pignoli nuts

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cook the farro according to package directions, using vegetable broth instead of water and adding your choice of herbs.

Place cauliflower and broccoli in steamer basket and steam until they start to get tender. Remove and place on prepared baking sheet. Place on lowest rack and roast until the florets brown on the edges. Remove from oven and place in a large oven-proof serving bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 200F and place bowl in oven to keep warm.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned. Add to broccoli and cauliflower and return bowl to oven.

Add shallots to skillet and saute until softened and browned, adding water 2 tablespoons at a time to prevent sticking. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add Brussel sprouts and continue to cook, tossing frequently. Add to the bowl with the other vegetables and return to oven.

If necessary, wipe out skillet to remove any burned vegetables. Heat skillet on medium-high and add chickpeas. Cook until chickpeas start to brown. Sprinkle with smoked paprika. Add to the bowl with the other vegetables.

To serve: spoon farro onto a plate, then add roasted vegetables on top. Drizzle porcini-cashew cream on top of farro and vegetables.

Porcini Cashew Cream

½ oz. dried Porcini mushrooms
½ cup cashews, soaked and drained
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove (preferably roasted)
Ground sage, black pepper and salt to taste

Pour ½ cup of boiling water over porcini mushrooms and let sit about 20 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving water, and place in container of high-powered blender. Add remaining ingredients and process on high, adding reserved porcini liquid as needed to thin out.

12 Dec 2016

A Votre Sante: Holiday Nog

Holiday Nog

Holiday Nog

I’ve been of legal drinking age for almost 40 years and I’ve yet to have eggnog. While the thought of consuming raw eggs never appealed to me (the taste, the viscosity, the salmonella), a creamy drink to celebrate the season does sound like a nice idea. A typical eggnog recipe contains eggs, milk, heavy cream, sugar and bourbon or rum. Italians toast to one’s health with “salute” or “cin-cin”; the French say “a votre sante”. When I think about it, it seems a bit ironic to toast to good health with a drink that is anything but good for you. Anyway, the other day I made a pretty plain smoothie for Mom and sprinkled a little cinnamon on top. I poured whatever didn’t fit in her tumbler into an old-fashioned glass and had a taste. Hmmmm. I wondered if this is what the “eggnog experience” is all about. With that in mind, I added some holiday spirit, (in this case, rum) to my glass. Mmmmm. This certainly will make my season sparkle. I can’t call this drink “eggnog” because there are no eggs in it, so I’ll just call it “Holiday Nog”. The combination of almond milk, bananas, dates, almond butter, flax meal and rum whipped up nice and creamy with a subtle sweetness. A flurry of nutmeg added a delicate spiciness to my nog. This nog is so luscious you can serve it at a tree-trimming or holiday cocktail party, yet healthy enough to celebrate every day of the season. So, from the bottom of my heart (and with a clear conscience) I toast to your good health. Have a Vegi-curious day.

Holiday Nog

Makes about three servings

12 oz. soy or almond milk
1 large banana, cut into chunks (can be frozen)
6 dates
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 teaspoon rum extract or 1 Tablespoon real rum
1 Tablespoon golden flax meal
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg plus more for serving

Place all ingredients into blender container and process until smooth. Pour into old-fashioned glasses and sprinkle with nutmeg.

08 Dec 2016

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