love in foods

Oh, Cashews…how I love thee!

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Apologies for the late posting! It seems that each day passing quickly is exceptionally true in general and even more so when you have house guests and different schedules! Anyway let’s get back to creating food together!

This blog post is all about Cashews. What an amazing nut. I find cashews to be easily digestible, a beautiful topping for a yummy stir fry and a major staple in vegan/vegetarian cooking. I use cashews in granola, for a quick afternoon snack with craisans (yum) and most recently I have made cashew nut butter, Alfredo “cheese” sauce and even cheesecake ALL with cashews! How do you feel about nuts? Do you think almonds are hard to digest? What’s your favorite nut to throw in a salad? I love sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds as well (which are great bases for “cheese”cakes).

Here is my recent recipe for non dairy, Alfredo sauce. Obviously creamy pasta dishes need to happen more often than not. This is a great way to have those creamy dishes and avoid heavy, digestion slowing, sauces. Give it a try!

Alfredo Sauce

1. 2 cups of cashews, soaked for 6-8 hours

2. 1 cup of filtered water

3. 1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on how strong you like it. I used 1 BIG mama clove

4. 2 tablespoons of flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat flour)

5. 1 tablespoon of olive oil

6. 2 tablespoons of a fresh herb, I used rosemary but I can imagine basil or oregano going extremely well in this!

7. pinch of salt

8. You will need a blender or food processor. I tried in my food processor and water flew everywhere! It could also be because I have a baby food processor made for creating nut butters not creamy saucy goodness.

Here we go…

Take your soaked cashews and all ingredients and put into the blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes, giving it enough time to make sure the cashews break up completely. Then transfer liquid to a saucepan and heat on low, allowing the sauce to become thicker. The original recipe I found called for another cup of water, so 2 cups, but I thought that seemed like A LOT! So I tried with half with the notion that I could always add more and I am glad I didn’t because it was a perfect consistency (for my liking)! This may be one area where you add more or less water to appease your consistency desires.

Voila! Enjoy this over pasta or rice. I paired this sauce with roasted asparagus, tomatoes and mushrooms over rice (all I had) and it was UNREAL! As in, I have been talking and somewhat bragging about my own creation to others because it was beyond satisfying!

Here is also my recipe for Cashew Nut Butter:

1. 2 cups of cashews

2. 1 tablespoon of olive oil — you can also use sunflower or coconut oil. I only had olive oil at the time!

3. food processor — you will for sure need a food processor or a bad ass blender for this because it takes a few minutes and it needs to blend until creamy. I have had 0 luck in the past with blenders and nut butters. I may or may not have burnt out my blender making almond butter.

Put cashews in the food processor and pulse for a few minutes. You’ll have to stop and scrape down the sides every minute or so. Sean also shakes our food processor to “get the sides down so we don’t have to keep stopping,” he says. He is definitely the frying and nut butter man of the house. When it starts to look more like nut butter (part creamy/part crunchy) add in your oil. Continue to pulse until it is a consistency your heart melts for. Enjoy with apples or bananas or anything!

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And the big finale….

is a recipe for a cashew cheese cake that is lovely!

http://maebird.blogspot.tw/2009/06/raw-cheesecake.html

Just a note about the crust…I have done the crust with pumpkin seeds and almond slivers before (all I had) and it turned out great. I think this is one of those areas where we have freedom to use the nut we A- have and B- want to use! It will still make a nice crust and taste delicious with your toppings.

Have fun creating foods!

Love & Light especially in food,

Abby

 

 

Do you dabble with Veggie Burgers?

Are burgers one of your favorite meals? They are definitely one of mine! I grew up eating BBQ and burgers, layered with lettuce, tomato, ketchup and maybe a little bit of mayo. Or actually, maybe a lot of mayo. 🙂 Since my pallet has changed, I have not enjoyed so many  burgers with all the fixings. Over the last few months I have tried a few recipes for veggie burgers that A- can be made at home, B – are made of whole foods and C- can be grilled and covered with cheese (for those non vegans). Here are three recipes I’ve had the best luck with and why!

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1. http://ohsheglows.com/2011/07/13/our-perfect-veggie-burger/ — These turned out awesome and would have stayed my favorite but I found that I had to stick to the recipe pretty close for it to turn out as beautiful as hers. And let’s face it, I have a hard time following any recipe. Could that be why my baking items never turn out quite right? 🙂 They are SUPER filling and freeze nicely. Also, they are nice when grilled.

2. http://ohsheglows.com/2013/10/28/thai-sweet-potato-veggie-burgers-with-spicy-peanut-sauce/ — WOW. I think I even gave some away for people to try and they were blown away too. I substituted some ingredients and they still turned out great. Again, a little time consuming but worth it completely!

3. http://www.veganricha.com/2013/05/bbq-lentil-veggie-burger-with-mango.html — AND WE HAVE A WINNER!!!! These would be my favorite so far! They extremely easy to make, the lentils are the bind (so no egg or flax egg needed) and you can definitely change the ingredients for what you have. I made these on Sunday and they were kind of “Leftover Veggie Burgers.” I only had a little bit of cauliflower, 1 huge carrot, 2 cloves garlic, bundle of cilantro and more like 3 inch nob of ginger. I also added WAY more oat flour (I didn’t have chickpea flour or flaxmeal) than I needed but it complimented it nicely! I wish I had homemade BBQ sauce but I didn’t so I made these “Indian-esqe Veggie Burgers” — tumeric, cardamon pods and curry powder were my seasonings. The whole process took under 1 hour and I was left with 13 nicely round, full and scrumptious burgers for my lunch. ** Note: I think I tripled the recipe**

I think the best part about veggie burgers is once you find a recipe that you feel comfortable with you can make a variety of burgers just by changing the ingredients. The base can always stay the same or you can try a different bean or lentil. You can add carrot or get wild and add carrot and onion! You can add cilantro or sub that fragrant herb for another such as parsley. These can also become Italian style “beanballs.” The possibilities are endless and this a great way to get creative with your food! Have fun and give one of these recipes a try! If you know of a good homemade Veggie Burger creation be sure to share it for all us food creators!

Love & Light & Food Happiness

Abby & Zig, my partner in the kitchen.

 

 

Spicy Moroccan Inspired Soup

I am pretty sure around the world there has been lots of cold and random weather, including Florida..where I am from. Tell me one person who does not like a nice hot bowl of soup on a cold night? No one. That’s what I thought! Here is a recipe for a Moroccan inspired soup. This soup is packed with nutrients, protein and lots of love. Be warned: It is delicious and filling. And make room in the fridge for leftovers.

Spicy Moroccan Inspired Soup

Ingredients:

  1. 1 tablespoon Olive Oil (or other oil)
  2. 2-3 garlic cloves — Or think about this…how much do you like garlic? If you really LOVE it then throw in 4-5, if you only want to smell mildly the next day use 2-3!
  3. 1 sweet onion (diced)
  4. 3-4 celery stalks (diced)
  5. 2 -14 oz. cans of diced or stewed tomatoes — I used one of each. Why? Because that’s all I had.
  6. 6 cups of vegetable stock. (If you are not 100% vegetarian then feel free to use chicken or beef stock!)
  7. 1.5 cups of red lentils (uncooked) — for the sake of a less than satisfying grainy taste in your soup, make sure to rinse and drain those puppies!
  8. 2 handfuls of spinach, kale, chard or any other dark leafy green to throw in at the end
  9. 1 can of your favorite beans — I used chick peas.

Spice up your life!

  1. 1 bay leaf — can be optional if you are making this when you have already gotten home from work and realized you have none and don’t feel like leaving again.
  2. 1 & 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin or coriander. — the original recipe I modeled this after called for cumin but once again I did not have any so I opted for coriander (which is a major staple in most my meals).
  3. 2-3 teaspoons of chili powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon of paprika or sweet paprika (to taste)
  5. salt and pepper, as your taste buds feel necessary.

Substitutions:

For the carnivores: add some lamb

Get crazy and be creative with your ingredients! Try a different bean or add an extra vegetable like sweet potato.

And here we go…

Start by mincing the garlic and dicing the onions. Add oil and garlic to a soup pot or whatever you have that holds large liquids. I used a wok since that is what I have. When your nose has alerted you of a lovely garlicy smell, add your diced onions. Saute the onions for about 5 minutes and then add your celery. Saute celery and onions for a few more minutes.

Then add in your spices (bay leaf, coriander/cumin, chili powder, etc). Mix the spices through and saute for a few more minutes. Stir in 2 cans of tomatoes, including their juice, broth and lentils.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow the soup to simmer uncooked for 25-30 minutes. If it is too brothy for you then turn up the heat and allow some of the liquid to bubble away.

Time to eat! Serve with some homemade croutons or some chopped up cilantro!

Also just wanted to point out my trusty kitchen utensils:

Oxford Phonics Mug a.k.a. 1 cup (for measuring) and a spoon which doubles as my tablespoon and teaspoon (not the best plan for baked goods!)

                            

And also the most handsome dog of them all, Ziggle B. Johnson