Look! A new recipe! I’m cooking food things, again! Our little friend Fairy Pig has let up on the nausea! High five! Okay, cashew cream… There’s this magical paleo parfait at Dick’s Kitchen in Northwest Portland. It has a cashew, maple cream that scoops like ice cream, a deep purple berry compote, and a nut “cookie” crumble. Over the past year, I’ve been cutting down my sugar intake. I don’t crave super-saccharine treats that often these days because they make me feel yucky. In my search to find satisfying replacements, I’ve only come across a few things that make me want to leave my family and live out of a box asking for money to sate my habits: the paleo parfait at Dick’s, the raw fudge made by Honey Mama’s, paleo almond cookies, and possibly a Coconut Bliss “milkshake.” Dick’s wouldn’t divulge to my friend Jamie and me the recipe, so I’ve resorted to creating my own. It’s been such a hardship carrying out the experiments. Most cashew cream recipes call for blending soaked cashews with water. I prefer coconut milk. To get the consistency of a heavy cream, which goes well with berries and granola, I use a whole can of coconut milk. To get something scoop-able, I use a blend of coconut milk and melted coconut oil, which hardens at room temperature, but I haven’t perfected that yet, so this recipe is for the heavy cream kind.
Cashew Cream (vegan: definitely; paleo: I think)
- 1 lb raw or roasted cashews, covered in water to soak overnight*
- 1 can coconut milk (I like canned because the ingredient is just coconut milk, whereas the refrigerated stuff has a lot of additives)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 maple syrup (to taste)
- generous pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional, but adds a marzipan taste–who wouldn’t want that?!?)
*You can also try using hot water and soaking the cashews just for an hour or two.
Now blend all that stuff up in a blender. You might need to shake the blender around a bit, or use its stick thingy to keep things moving, or adjust the speeds. This makes me think the Cuisinart may be a better choice… Let me know what you decide.
Posted in Food & Recipes
Tagged almond, almond extract, blender, cashew cream, maple, maple syrup, nuts, paleo, raw, recipe, vanilla, vegan
I’m a glutton at the farmers market in late summer and early fall. Everything speaks my language. The tomatoes, especially, know my secret siren call.
But K-Pants and Baby Woww aren’t exactly helpful, and making dinner seems like a daily battle.
So I’m relying on a few flavorful marinated salads to ensure that we have fresh side dishes. We’ve been trying to eat more vegetables in general, because everywhere I look the message is MORE VEGETABLES = LONGER, HEALTHIER LIFE.
Okay, okay, I get it!
Here’s the recipe for panzanella, an Italian vegetable and bread salad with a simple dijon dressing that I came to love through the Barefoot Contessa. The next food posts will be
- Marinated broccoli, cucumber, and tomato salad; and
- Marinated corn, tomato, and onion salad with easy chimichurri sauce.
For all my salads I start by mixing up a simple dressing right in the bottom of the glass bowl that I’ll be storing the salad in.
Panzanella (Italian bread salad)
- 3 bell peppers, chopped (various colors makes the salad pretty)
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 3 cucumbers, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tbs. dijon mustard
- 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
- 1 scant tsp salt
- 1 generous tsp pepper
- chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano…if you have them)
- balsamic or red wine vinegar
- olive oil
- 1 loaf bread, sliced into 1″ cubes (it helps if your bread is hearty and not pre-sliced–I like Grand Central Bakery’s levain, and any baguette will work)
Now Do This
Make the dressing first.
- Throw garlic, dijon, salt, pepper, and herbs into the bottom of your bowl.
- Add 1/3 cup vinegar and whisk together.
- Whisking briskly, drizzle in 2/3 cup to 1 cup olive oil.
Then prep the veggies and toss.
- Chop all your veggies into about one-inch square pieces. It’s nice to have everything all the same size for forking.
- But the onions! Who wants a giant piece of raw onion to chomp on? Not me. Slice your red onion up real thin.
- Throw everything into the dressing and toss it well.
Now slice and sauté your croutons in oil.
- Cut chunks of bread to 1″ cubes.
- Get about 1/3 cup oil to medium-high heat on the stove in a big sauté pan, and throw in a bread cube to see if the oil is hot enough.
- Loosely cover the bottom of your pan with bread cubes. Using tongs, check and turn them when one side is browned. I only brown two sides, because who has time to turn them more than that? Keep going until you’re done.
- Set them aside to cool.
- Add the croutons to your salad about five minutes before eating. They’ll soak up the dressing and you’ll be in heaven. I keep the extras in a plastic Ziploc to use throughout the week.
Are you in a rush? Do you hate to cook? Just chop the veggies, toss in a cup of store-bought vinaigrette, and add some boxed croutons a few minutes before eating.
Two other delicious veggie recipes you may enjoy:
Posted in Food & Recipes
Tagged bell peppers, cucumber, easy dijon vinaigrette, farmers market vegetables, healthier life, homemade fried croutons, homemade salad dressing, Italian bread salad, marinated vegetable salad, onions, panzanella, recipe, stovetop croutons, tomatoes, vegetable salad recipe
It’s the season for comfort food and cookies–and boy do I love them both! But I also want to keep up with our trend of eating way more fruit, veggies, and whole grains.
So here’s my favorite new brunch recipe: buckwheat pear pancakes. Whole grated pear is part of the batter!
This recipe is slightly modified from the wonderful cookbook Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce, which was an incredibly thoughtful gift from my friend Wendy. Here’s a link to the book from Powell’s in case you’re searching for healthy holiday gifts… 🙂
Pancakes are sublime for breakfast, but I can never get the timing right on them for brunch. Here’s my new trick: make the entire batch ahead of time and put it in a casserole dish. Let the pancakes cool a bit in the dish, cover with foil, and refrigerate.
An hour or so before brunch, heat the pancakes in a warm oven (say 250 degrees) for 30-45 minutes before serving as part of brunch with fruit salad and mimosas. (Keep the pancakes covered as you’re warming them so that moisture doesn’t escape.)
Pear Buckwheat Pancakes
In a big bowl mix:
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 cup whole-grain pastry flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar (you can replace with honey–in which case add the honey to the wet ingredients below)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a separate bowl, mix:
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups milk (depending on the juiciness and size of your pears, you might need more, which you can add at the end)
- 1 egg
- 2 medium pears, ripe, unpeeled
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix.
Melt 4-6 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Mix the melted butter into the wet ingredients.
Let stand for a few minutes because the buckwheat flour tends to soak up more moisture than other flours, I find. Test the thickness of the batter and add more milk as necessary until the batter will drop and spread onto a medium-hot pan without being too runny.
I love making a double batch of pancakes during the week and then keeping them in the fridge to heat up other mornings. We only put honey or maple syrup on our pancakes (to avoid piling on the refined sugar, and because we like the taste better).
[Side rant: In case you haven’t been paying attention lately, refined sugars are apparently linked to bad things like obesity and diabetes, so we try to limit them. Also, I love that the high fructose corn syrup commercials tell us that HFCS is just the same as cane sugar. Great! Get fat on either one: you choose!]
On that note, happy brunching!
For the first time in a long, long, long time I entered a contest! A real, live contest! With cash prizes! It’s probably been since the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts that I have entered anything creative (how’s that for a memory jog, Oregonian friends!?).
My friend, Mrs. Mustard over at Notabilia found the coolest website ever: They Draw and Cook, and pointed out their holiday contest. Then Lauren at Fizgiggery helped me format my artwork when I was in electronic-file-twilight-zone.
I’m hoping They Draw and Cook will post my art. I keep checking every day (which I would do anyway because there are so many mouth-watering pieces of eye candy over there. And I much prefer Sacher Torte eye candy to George Clooney eye candy). But why wait any longer? I’m posting its miniature version here!
We always have bagels and lox at my mom’s house for Christmas morning, and I recently found a great lox terrine recipe that is perfect to pull out for the 25th.
I discovered it was quite hard to draw a lox terrine that looked appetizing. Smoked salmon and cream cheese don’t translate so well, particularly if the goal is to make people want to make the recipe. So I ended up with a collage-like party of oil pastels and watercolor pencils. If you are not convinced, here is a photo of the real thing to whet your appetite.
If this doesn’t look appetizing, then you probably don’t like bagels and lox, which is your loss, but I respect your independence.
I hope it gets posted on They Draw and Cook!