Tag Archives: summer

Lemon-Herb Cashew Sour Cream Dip (v, gf)

 

 

Vegan Herby Sour Cream Dip at Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)-8

Lactose intolerants and L.I sympathizers, gather round!  This is the holy grail of creaminess for all who can’t eat dairy yet still crave dip.  Sour cream, oh, how I’ve missed you these past few years!  I came across this recipe for the “best damn vegan sour cream” on Gluten-Free Vegan Pantry, and I thought to myself, we’ll see about that. I felt like I was anticipating a blind date (which is how the Mister and I met, by the way).  Don’t get your hopes up too high.  This could be really good, but it could also end up like all those other train wrecks.  I’ve been holding out hope for a sour cream substitute that a) doesn’t taste like cashews, b) doesn’t taste like plastic, c) has the texture of sour cream, and most importantly, d) Is made with real, whole ingredients, not chemicals.  Is that asking too much?  To say the least, I was very pleasantly surprised (both by the sour cream and the man)!  The Mister and I are celebrating our 9 year wedding anniversary on Thursday, and I’ve got my 9th batch of vegan sour cream in the fridge.  I’d say things are going quite well!  

Vegan Herby Sour Cream Dip at Spoonwithme.com (11 of 23)

Vegan Herby Sour Cream Dip at Spoonwithme.com (13 of 23)

When cashews are soaked, something magical and ethereal happens.  See their halo?   Soaking the cashews softens their flavor, and most importantly, makes them blendable and transformable.  If you read my last post, you know the name of the game for me right now is to eat, eat, eat.   My strategy is to devour as many nutritious, calorie-dense whole foods as possible.  Whether you’re trying to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain, I am convinced that there is no fad diet or quick fix better than just eating real food.  Enter, delicious herby dip.  

Vegan Herby Sour Cream Dip at Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)-5

Vegan Herby Sour Cream Dip at Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)-3

Vegan Herby Sour Cream Dip at Spoonwithme.com (5 of 23)

What is the history of dip?  Is it an american thing?  Or did we just create a blanket term for any kind of thick sauce scooped up by a vehicle such as a veggie or a cracker?  David Leite of Leite’s Culinaria  exhaustively researched the subject, and I can sum it up with the following: the 50’s, the invention of potato chips, the emerging American couch potato class, and the need to deliver food to one’s mouth while watching the glowing box…  Another proud example of American ingenuity.  Americans loved dipping so much that we changed the word from a verb to a noun.  The emergence of the first recipe for crudité also emerged in France around the same time.  Crudité sounds so much more sophisticated than dip, but it’s a means to the same end: Use something delicious and crispy to deliver something saucy and flavorful into your mouth. Repeat if needed. 

Vegan Herby Sour Cream Dip at Spoonwithme.com (8 of 23)

Vegan Herby Sour Cream Dip at Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)-6

Luckily, dip doesn’t have to be that packet of processed powder that we have probably all stirred into sour cream and devoured at some point or another.  Although admittedly addictive and tasty, the first three ingredients are maltodextrin, salt and monosodium glutamate.  That doesn’t sound like food to me! I like to whip up a batch of this real food dip to snack on throughout the week (or, let’s be honest–over the course of a few days).  It’s cool and herby with hints of garlic and onion, creamy, and smooth.  The hardest part is remembering to get those cashews soaking.  The rest comes together quite quickly!  I’m looking forward to the tenth year sharing life’s crazy adventures with the Mister, and I’m sure my 10th batch of vegan sour cream will be close to follow!  Enjoy your maiden vegan sour cream voyage!  

Vegan Herby Sour Cream Dip at Spoonwithme.com (5 of 8)

Lemon-Herb Cashew Sour Cream Dip

This cashew sour cream has become a staple in my house.  One of my cookbooks has a rule:  Always be soaking.  I agree, it’s best to be ready to whip up this dip when the craving strikes!  I use my high-powered (Vitamix) blender to achieve an extra- smooth texture.  Any blender will do, but just make sure to scrape down the edges as you go, and add a little extra water if needed.   This dip can be made a day or two ahead of time, and the flavor improves when chilled overnight.  If you would like to make plain sour cream, which has an infinite number of uses, just omit the dip ingredients!  

For the sour cream:

  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked 8 hours or overnight
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 TB fresh lemon juice (finely grate and reserve 1/2 tsp zest)
  • 1/4 cup water (plus additional if needed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the dip:

  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon minced dill leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
  • Salt to taste
  • Additional minced herbs to garnish

Make the cashew sour cream:

Drain the soaked cashews, and put them in a blender with the lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast and salt.  If it is too thick and won’t blend, add additional water, a tablespoon at a time.  Blend for about 3-5 minutes until very smooth, stopping to scrape down the edges if needed.  Chill for 2 hours or more (or, in a pinch, put in the freezer for 20 minutes until cold and slightly thickened.

In a medium bowl, mix the cashew sour cream with all of the dip ingredients.  Season with salt to taste and garnish with the herbs.

 

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Filed under Appetizers, Condiments, Sauces, Snacks, vegetarian, Vegetarian and Vegan

E.A.T Sandwiches with Sun-dried Tomato Aioli

 

E.A.T Sandwiches at Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)-6

E.A.T–Egg, avocado, tomato…  Three things I haven’t been able to enjoy for a while now.  I’m at the tail end of a month-long break from a chemo drug that made me lose a crazy amount of weight, and decreased my appetite and tolerance for many of the foods I love–you can imagine how hard this has been based on my clear obsession with food.  Right now, food tastes absolutely magical.  Every time I eat, I feel like I’m in some sort of kaleidoscopic hippie dream.  Whoa man, these flavors are for real!  A month ago, I got down to my lowest weight ever (not a good thing), and I keep a chipper face, because whatever the “normal” of the hour happens to be, I’m going to make it the best damn normal I can.  I’m nervous to be off the medication that has helped me so much, but all I can really worry about is right now; and right now my job is to eat, be, and enjoy the technicolor tastes of all my long lost food friends.

E.A.T Sandwiches at Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)

E.A.T Sandwiches at Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)

I eat like Van Gogh painted; crazed and unapologetic, making up for lost time.  I’m eating for my life and my health, to add some extra strength and pounds.  My soft-coated wheaten terrier has felt the inconvenience of my increased food intolerances.  She looked on eagerly as I prepared her favorite food, which she hadn’t eaten in a very long time.  Luca, today is a special day, I told her as I fried up the egg with some cracked pepper and fresh thyme.  I found some positively juicy heirloom tomatoes, and layered it all up on toast slathered with sundried tomato aioli, with buttery sliced avocado, fresh arugula, salt, pepper, the egg of course, and a drizzle of tuscan olive oil given to me for my birthday.  

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I crunched through the bread, and when the combination of tomato juices, peppery olive oil, and egg yolk hit my mouth,  it got audible.  Hunched over my counter top, I mumbled expletives between bites, messily devouring in my exploded kitchen (maniacs don’t have time to clean as they go). Luca looked up at the spectacle, waiting expectantly for me to sprinkle a few bits of egg on top of the uneaten food in her dog bowl.  We both ate voraciously, and gratefully.  I don’t know what will happen when I go on my new medication.  I don’t have to care about that right now.  Right now, food is my hot crush and psychedelic escapade, and I’m going on an unapologetic magic carpet ride.

E.A.T Sandwiches at Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)
You can swap ingredients to fit your dietary needs of the moment–use gluten-free bread, or just serve it right on top of the greens like a salad.  You want some cheese?  Slap on some white cheddar, vegan cheese, or whatever will give you your technicolor egg sandwich experience.  You may customize to your heart’s desire, but promise me this: You will eat this E.A.T sandwich voraciously and unapologetically, as if rediscovering something you’ve gone years without.  Knowing that will make my day!  

E.A.T Sandwiches at Spoonwithme.com (17 of 19)

E.A.T Sandwiches at Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)

E.A.T Sandwiches with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

This recipe can be customized as you wish, and easily scaled up.  The aioli is easier to blend when made in a larger quantity, and will keep for about a week in the fridge.  It can be used for sandwiches and wraps, or my favorite, on this rosemary tortilla española.  If you’d like to make less,  chop and smash the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and salt into a paste and mix it by hand into the mayonnaise.  It will not be as smooth or deeply colored, but will still taste delicious!

For the aioli:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise or vegan mayo
  • 3 TB finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or sherry vinegar if you have on hand

For the sandwiches:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • leaves from a few sprigs thyme, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • sliced tomato
  • sliced avocado
  • baby arugula/baby spinach mix, or your choice of greens
  • 2 slices sprouted grain bread, or your favorite sandwich bread
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  1. Make the aioli: Blend all aioli ingredients in an immersion blender, blender, or small food processor until smooth.  Adjust salt and pepper, and lemon juice or vinegar to taste.
  2. Cook the egg: Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.  Sprinkle a bit of salt, and pepper onto the pan, then crack the egg on top.  Sprinkle the top with the thyme, and a bit more salt and pepper.  Cook for about 4 minutes for over-easy, or 5-6 minutes for over-medium.
  3. While the egg is cooking, toast the bread.  Spread the aioli on the toast, then layer the avocado, tomato on one side, and the  arugula-spinach mix on the other.  Drizzle the olive oil over the greens, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the fried egg on the bread, and serve while hot.

 

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Filed under Breakfast and Brunch, Main Dishes, Sandwiches and Burgers, Sauces, vegetarian, Vegetarian and Vegan

Lemon Berry Custard Pies (GF +Vegan, No Added Sugar)

 

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (13 of 15)

I’m quickly becoming a dessert activist.  The little people in my head are marching around with picket signs and chanting Vegans are sweet too!  Dairy-free treats are fun to eat!  Mo dairy, mo problems!  Gluten-free sweets are great for me!  Desserts ain’t just for the iron-clad belly!Sensitive belly?  Oh welly!  Sweets and peace for everyone!  Make vegan bellies happy!  This month, I celebrate 7 years as a cancer warrior.  Cancer has taught me to be creative and adaptable, to live well in the face of challenges.

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (2 of 15)

I created this recipe for a fellow cancer survivor who eats a diet completely free of added sugars.  At first, my brain drew a blank.  I love stevia as a sugar free sweetener, but normally use it in combination with another sugar source such as honey, agave or coconut sugar to round out its slight bitterness.  What’s sweet but not processed?  I tossed in a few soaked dates, which added the deep sugary roundness I was looking for.  Even the Mister, a self-proclaimed stevia hater, approved.

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (3 of 15)

Within the strict parameters of the sensitive belly’s diet, the sugar cravers get creative!  Just because you can’t indulge in the typical milk, sugar and gluten-laden treats doesn’t mean you have to sit in a corner eating a piece of fruit, or worse, nothing, while everyone else indulges in a creatively and deliciously concocted dessert.  Nobody puts Baby in the corner!

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (4 of 15)

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (5 of 15)

These little desserts come with a salty sweet crust made with toasted coconut, nuts, dates, and sea salt.  This is a versatile crust that can be used with any dessert or pie that doesn’t have to be baked after filling.  The creamy custard-like filling will make you question everything you thought you knew about vegan desserts.   When layered together, it’s salty-sweet, nutty, and creamy, with a lemony zing to wake up the tastebuds from a their long winter’s nap.  On top, a colorful burst of flavor from berries.

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (6 of 15)

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (1 of 15)

These little guys would be equally suited to a small informal event such as a dinner party or baby shower, and a fancier event like a wedding.  I always get the most gratification when people who think that the dessert couldn’t possibly fit their dietary needs’  eyes light up when they they discover they can partake along with everyone else.  Eating dessert is such a sensory experience, a way to share something enjoyable with those around us.  When I have the occasion to eat dessert, it’s because I’m with friends.  We’re having fun!  We’re spoiling ourselves, and even the belly-challenged among us need spoiling every now and then.

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (7 of 15)

Phew!  Now that we’ve found dessert peace and harmony, we can commence rock-starring our way through life’s other challenges!

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)

Lemon Berry Custard Pies   (vegan + Gluten-Free, no added sugar)

Makes 6 quarter-pint mason jar pies

For the “custard”:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in boiling water for an hour, or in cold water overnight
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (reserve the zest to garnish)
  • 1 cup chilled coconut cream (see note)*
  • 3/4 tsp powdered stevia
  • 3-5 pitted dates, soaked in hot water for an hour
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

For the crust: 

  • 1/2 c cup roughly chopped pitted Dates, chopped
  • 3/4 cups cups mixed raw nuts, toasted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, toast in dry pan for about 2 min, or until slightly golden and fragrant
  • 1-2 pinches of sea salt, to taste

Garnish:

  • 2 cups berries, sliced or chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • zest from 1-2 lemons

Equipment Needed:

  • Quarter pint jars, ramekins or muffin liners for serving
  • Blender
  • Food processor

Blend the filling:

Blend the cashews, lemon juice and chilled coconut cream very thoroughly in a blender, pushing down the sides with a spatula as you go.  If needed, add a very small amount of the coconut liquid to loosen it up if it won’t blend.  Blend in the stevia.  Add the dates, one at a time, tasting after each addition (I used three).  Blend in the vanilla.

Make the crust:

Blend nuts with coconut in a food processor.  Add the non-soaked dates gradually and pulse until they are incorporated.  Blend in the salt to taste.

Press 2 tablespoons of crust mixture into the bottom of each mason jar or muffin liner in a muffin tin.  Spoon some of the cashew custard mixture over top.  Chill in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours, or quick chill in freezer for 20-30 minutes (the texture will end up firmer than a pudding but not as firm as cheesecake).

Top with the chopped berries and garnish with lemon zest.

*When using coconut cream to make into pie fillings, whipped cream, etc, it is important to use the white cream and avoid the clear liquid.  If you can’t find coconut cream, you can use 2-3 cans full-fat coconut milk.  The cream should be at the top after chilling.  Just scoop it out and discard or reserve the clear liquid for another use.  I like Trader Joe’s and Thai Kitchen brands.  I have also found good quality coconut cream at Asian grocery stores. 

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Filed under Desserts, Vegetarian and Vegan

Tomatillo-Veggie (or Chicken) Posole

TomatilloPosole|Spoonwithme.com

I broke out my fall garb this week, and taught my students a valuable lesson while wearing a cozy wrap/scarf that the mister got for me in Amsterdam.  A scarf is just a socially acceptable way to wear a blanket to work or school.  You’ll see me wearing a lot of “scarves” in the coming days.  The Dutch have a specific word for all things cozy, inviting, friendly and warm: gezellig.  It’s one of those words that has no English translation.  Picture a cool misty fall day.  Gezellig is arriving home from work and snuggling up in a cozy knit blanket with a cup of tea, a book, and your favorite furry companion (canine, feline, or hey, even human).  It’s huddling around a fire with friends, steaming mugs of soup in hand. The leaves are swirling around, and it’s hinting at frost.  It’s gezellig time, so I thought I’d share my favorite after-work gezellig I meal to spread a bit o’ the cozy.  If everyone were just a bit more gezellig, the world would be a happier place.

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Filed under Main Dishes, Soups and Stews

Asian Quinoa Salad with Almond-Soy-Ginger Dressing

Asian Quinoa Salad | Spoonwithme.com-15

Healthy eating can be like mind-twisting voodoo.  If I’m trying to amp up my body’s natural defenses to fight disease, what should I eat?  What shouldn’t I eat?  What if the paleos judge me for not eating meat?  What if the non-paleos judge me for eating meat?     You’re a veggie?  Where do you get your protein?  What?  No dessert?!  You’re too skinny!  Dessert?! You’re too chubby! Don’t know how you do the voodoo that you do, well, it’s a spell, hell, don’t know what to eat, eat, eat! (if you spend any amount of time listening to pop music in the 90s, then you know what I mean!).   

Asian Quinoa Salad | Spoonwithme.com-9

Asian Quinoa Salad | Spoonwithme.com-10

Should, shouldn’t.  Feed, deprive.  Avoid, indulge.  High carb, low carb, complex carb, no carb.  Trans fats, unsat fats, hydrog-ed fats, no fats…  WHAAAAAT?  Why does every choice feel so loaded?  Why do we eat?  I eat to fight cancer.  I eat to bring my body to optimal health, so that my natural defense mechanisms can thrive.  I eat to feel energetic and vibrant.  I eat to fuel my body and my brain.  I eat to give my body needs, but also what it loves (still leaving room for a genuine straight up treat every now and then!).   The enjoyment of food is one of the best parts of life!  How do you think about what you eat?  

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I’ve got my mind on my healing, and my healing on my mind.  More and more I’m feeling drawn to share recipes for nutrient-dense foods that are still exciting to eat.  It’s easy to find very “pinteresting” recipes for quick and easy cheesy crockpot dip, and a little harder to find tasty healthy foods . Let’s remininsce about our spooning thus far.  Here on Spoon With Me, it’s always been about whole ingredients used to create beautiful food you actually want to eat.  I have occasional dabblings with completely indulgent chocolate truffle cakes, and that’s okay!  The world needs occasional truffle cakes here and there (and no judgement if you get sidetracked, click on the cake link, and decide to spend the 6 hours making it!).

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Right now, my body needs the most fuel to give it the best chance for healing.  So my mission stays the same–well, sort of.  This site isn’t about rabbit food, low fat substitutes, gimmicks, or fad diets.  It never has been.  It’s about being creative in the kitchen.  It’s about flexibility and improvisation, and eating and living well even in the face of challenges.  It’s about riding the waves of life with a sense of humor and grace.  But most of all, it’s about colorful beautiful whole foods you can get excited about cooking and eating!

Asian Quinoa Salad | Spoonwithme.com-13

In today’s recipe, quinoa serves as the canvas for veggies of all shapes and textures, crunchy toasted almonds and crackly sesame seeds, tied together with a soy-ginger almond butter dressing. Salads are like elementary school art projects; the more colors, shapes, and textures, the better!  This salad also offers your body protein, fiber, complex carbs, healthy fats, and a truckload of veggies! 

Asian Quinoa Salad | Spoonwithme.com-7

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This is not the one night stand cooking that will leave you feeling regretful and empty.  This is the kind of cooking that will keep giving.  Hence, my new slogan, Spoon With Me:  The foods you love, that love you back!  

Asian Quinoa Salad | Spoonwithme.com-16

Asian Quinoa Salad with Almond-Soy-Ginger Dressing

Serves 8 as a side dish

This is not one of those recipes found in a fancy schmancy molecular gastronomy cookbooks that needs to be followed to a tee. The basic idea is to use vegetables of every color and texture, chop them well, and weave everything together with the dressing.  I have found that blanching the green beans makes them vibrant and easier to eat.  I created this recipe for a dinner party of 8, and we still had leftovers, so keep that in mind and halve the recipe if you’re cooking for a small crowd (or, it makes a great lunch to enjoy throughout the week)!

For the Salad:

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, julienned, and roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cups thinly sliced and roughly chopped red cabbage (about 1/2 small cabbage)
  • 3/4 cup almond slivers
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (1 small bunch)

For the Dressing:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peeled and finely grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce (check for gluten-free tamari if needed)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup almond butter

Bring the quinoa to a boil with a scant 3 cups water (quinoa will retain some water when you rinse it, so I always use less water when cooking). Immediately reduce to a simmer, and cook for 12 minutes, or until the quinoa is soft and the germ ring (white outline) is visible around each grain.  If there is excess moisture in the quinoa, set it in a fine sieve to drain.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Blanch the green beans:  Fill a medium saucepan with water and a couple teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil.  Set a large bowl of ice water to the side of the stove.  Cook the green beans for about a minute, until bright green and still crisp.  Immediately plunge them into the ice water to cool.  Once cool, slice on the bias (diagonally) into 1 inch pieces.

Toast the almonds in a medium frying pan over medium heat until lightly golden brown and fragrant.  Allow to cool. 

Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a bowl or liquid measuring cup.  Combine and toss the cooked quinoa, and all salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour the dressing over top and stir until evenly coated.  Chill in the refrigerator or serve as is!

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Filed under Salads, Side Dishes, vegetarian, Vegetarian and Vegan