Sunday, September 16, 2018

Cashew Cream Sauce - Updated


This recipe is best if you have a mega-blender or a food processor. It can probably be done in a regular blender though you may get a more chunky sauce.

I’ve made several versions and posted some here. Today’s is my favorite, by far. Ingredient list first and then I’ll walk through the order that may be easiest.

Ingredients:

Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Zucchini - peeled and chopped
1-2 Carrots - peeled and chopped - yellow preferred but not required
1/3 medium yellow Onion
3-4 cloves Garlic
3 oz raw, unsalted Cashews
3/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
Salt & Black Pepper to taste (1/4 tsp @ as a suggestion)
Water as needed

If you’re using a regular blender, soak the cashews in water overnight so they soften for easier blending. Drain before adding them to the recipe. If your carrots are on the small side, then use two. Yellow carrots are preferred simply due to the effect on the final color of the sauce.

Put the lemon juice in first, then add the zucchini. If you notice lemon seeds have jumped into your blender, try to fish them out before adding the zucchini. Blend on low so the zucchini won’t hop away from the blades. It doesn’t have to be blended completely yet. Add a little water to help - probably less than 1/8 cup. 

Add the carrots, blend a little more, but this time work up to high briefly. Add the onion and garlic, salt and pepper. Blend all of this on high until it’s smooth. It should be fairly thin.

Add the cashews and the nutritional yeast. Work up to high slowly when blending so the yeast gets pulled into the mixture instead of decorating the inside of the lid. Blend on high until smooth.

At any point that it seems this will not blend nicely, try a tamper or add a little water.

If it’s too thin at the end, add more cashews and/or nutritional yeast. If it’s too thick, add more water or lemon juice.


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Brownies - Part 3


Equipment needed: One medium to large Bowl, One 1 cup measuring cup, One 1 tbl measuring Spoon, One Spoon, One rectangular oven-safe Glass Dish, Oven

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees

2 cups Coconut shreds
2 cups gluten-free Rolled Oats
8 tbl Chocolate powder
2 cups Applesauce (or flavored applesauce)
1 pkg Mini-Chocolate chips

Smidge of Oil (for coating the baking dish)

Put the first three dry ingredients in the bowl and stir together. Make sure the chocolate powder has evenly coated the coconut and oats. Add the applesauce and stir until that is evenly coating the coconut and oats. Stir in the chocolate chips. This will be a somewhat loose mixture.

I used a 2 L (2.2 qt) rectangular pyrex dish. I think a 2 qt dish is fine too.

Lightly coat the dish with oil.

Scrape the mixture into the baking dish and tamp it down firmly, making it as uniform as possible.

The subtotal bake time is ~1 hour and 15 minutes. Rotate 90 degrees every 15-20 minutes for a more even bake. Then there’s another 15-20 minutes of allowing it to stay in the oven with the oven off.

The original recipe had a mixture of coconut shreds and almond flour though it was mostly coconut shreds. Since then I made this with all coconut shreds and the texture was better after it was refrigerated. I like this texture even more whether it’s hot or cold. The oats are the glue holding it into a really nice shape.

For today’s brownies, I had a small jar of seedless raspberry jam that I added to the applesauce for flavoring. There was sugar in the jam, so it’s more than I usually add to the brownies.

I slice the brownies into pieces while it’s still hot. If I put the glass oven dish in the fridge, I may need to slice them again as the melted chocolate seals back together when cool. Still seems to be easier than trying to slice when cool.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Salad Dressing Basics


I’ve tinkered with the recipes a few times now and have found what works for me. The base of the dressing is a vinegar, an oil in the form of avocado and/or nuts, an optional sweetener (banana, dates), and water to achieve the desired consistency. The additions can vary pretty widely.

For some dressings, the vinegar/water measurements are: 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup water. When the mixture is thicker, then the measurements become: 1 cup vinegar, 2 cups water - especially if you have avocado, nuts, and banana in the recipe. Some vinegars may overwhelm the flavors if there’s more than a 1/2 cup. Lemon juice could be used instead of a vinegar as well.

In general the water is twice the vinegar.

Base:
1/2 cup Vinegar
1 cup Water
1/2 cup raw, unsalted Nuts (cashews, walnuts, etc) - optional
1 Avocado
1 Banana - optional

Equipment choices and preparation: If you have a Vita-Mix, food processor, or equivalent, then you can thoroughly blend in most ingredients. If you’re using a standard blender, some ingredients would work better with a little prep. Nuts may need to be soaked overnight to soften them for blending. Carrots will most likely make a chunkier dressing, but it’s not the end of the world. People often put carrots on salad. Onion, garlic, and harder veggies like carrots may need to be chopped before being added to the blender.

For the flavor profile, it depends on what you wish. I like to add zucchini and carrots to give it more depth of flavor and add more veggies to my day.

Zesty dressing:
1 peeled Zucchini
2 peeled Carrots
2 tsp chopped Garlic or 3-4 cloves Garlic
1/4 yellow Onion
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper

Mustard dressing:
(I’ve made this with Amy’s German mustard but not yet with the mustard seed)
4-5 tbl prepared Mustard or 1-2 tbl ground Mustard Seed
1 Banana (extra sweetener for the Honey Mustard idea)
Salt and Pepper to taste - optional

Balsamic dressing:
(contains sulfites)
For this dressing, I added nuts, avocado, and banana so the base had 1 cup Vinegar and 2 cups Water
2 tsp chopped Garlic or 3-4 cloves Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste - optional

Fruit dressing:
(I haven’t tried this yet, but here are my thoughts of what this would look like)
5-6 oz Fruit - could be frozen or fresh
Banana or Apple to taste - depending on the sour/sweet aspect of the fruit
Salt and Pepper to taste - optional

Because the oil is also a thickener, these generally don’t separate. The fruit one might because some fruits like to do that.

These dressings last about 1 week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mustard Salad Dressing


1 Avocado
2 Bananas
½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 ½ cups Water
4-5 tbl Amy’s German Mustard (or other mustard you like)
4 oz (~1 cup) raw Cashews

Blend


The Amy’s mustard has apple cider vinegar, so it should be safe if you can do ACV. If not, maybe use rice vinegar and skip the prepared mustards. Instead add ground mustard to taste - maybe 1-2 tbl. You might also need some salt and pepper if you go the ground mustard route.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Flourless Brownies


The amount of almond flour in this Coconut Brownie recipe seemed to be too small to make enough of a difference. So I made them again, but this time with 4 cups of coconut shreds and no flour.

The only other difference was that I turned the pan 90 degrees every 15-20 minutes so that it would bake evenly. This is optional.

These brownies seem to hold together better after they’ve been in the refrigerator. I’m assuming, given the final texture, that they would do well as mini-muffins or cupcakes too. It’s easier to tamp this down firmly in one solid pan though. If you do try a different container, keep in mind that these do not rise.

Salad Dressing


I played with two different versions of a salad dressing. The first one was probably too heavy on the vinegar and it contained oil. When poured on salad, the vinegar taste was diminished enough to be quite enjoyable. If I make that particular one again, I’ll cut the amount of vinegar in half and leave out the oil.

The second recipe came from the desire to play with a new acquisition - ginger juice - and an avocado that was at the use it or lose it stage.

Nut Free: Because both the avocado and the cashews add the creamy consistency, the cashews are optional. Cut back on the initial amount of water and then add as needed for the desired consistency.

Ingredients for recipe 1
1 cup ACV
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
2 very small Zucchini
2 yellow Carrots
1 small Avocado
2 tsp chopped Garlic
1/4 yellow Onion
1/2 cup raw, unsalted Cashews
Water to achieve desired consistency

Ingredients for recipe 2
1/2 cup ACV
1 cup Water (more later if needed to achieve desired consistency)
1/2 cup raw, unsalted Cashews
1/2 tsp Salt (I added a little bit more at the end to brighten the flavor)
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 Avocado
1/2 tbl chopped Garlic
2 tbl Ginger Juice (or other desired flavoring)

Put everything in the blender and blend on high until creamy. This may require adding more water to allow the blender to keep going strong. I used the dry container on the Vita-Mix to help get the cashews well macerated. If your blender is not up to macerating nuts, I suggest soaking them in water or ACV to soften them up first.

I’m a big fan of strong flavors. If mild is more your style, cut the amount of ginger juice down to 1 tablespoon. Once this is on salad though, it should lose more of the flavor’s strength. 

This lasts roughly 1 week in the fridge.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Carrot Hot Dogs


Just heard about these Carrot Dogs and they look good.

https://www.peta.org/living/food/carrot-hot-dog-recipe/

Personally, I would skip the liquid smoke (carcinogenic) and replace the soy sauce with tamari (no wheat). To cut out the soy, maybe use salt instead. If sulfites don’t bother you, try a little balsamic vinegar. Sometimes figuring out what tastes you fancy and creating a marinade based on that is your best bet.

The bun is another story altogether. Something to think about for a future recipe.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Blueberry Pudding


Going for a simple recipe with minimal ingredients. I did something nearly identical for Raspberry Yogurt but that was more yogurt than pudding because it was on the sour side and I blended it for a long while to get more air into the mix.

2 small Bananas
1 small Avocado
1/3 pkg frozen Blueberries (roughly 3 oz)

Blend the bananas and avocado together until creamy. Blend in the blueberries.

And that’s it. Takes very little time to throw together.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Coconut Brownies


Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees

Stir together in a medium to large bowl:

3 ½ cups Coconut shreds
½ cup Almond flour
8 tbl Chocolate powder
2 cups Applesauce
1 pkg Mini-Chocolate chips (can probably use any chocolate chips)

I stirred the dry ingredients together first, then added the applesauce. The chocolate chips went in last. It’ll be somewhat loose, but make sure it’s stirred up completely. Have to get the applesauce spread as uniformly as possible.

I used a 2 L (2.2 qt) rectangular pyrex dish. I think a 2 qt dish is fine too.

Lightly coat the dish with olive oil (or whatever oil you wish)

Scrape the mixture into the baking dish and tamp it down firmly, making it as uniform as possible.


Bake for about 75 minutes until the edges start to get dark. Turn off the oven and allow it to sit inside while the oven cools down for another 20 minutes or so.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Green Cashew Cream Sauce


We’re out of zucchini and I wanted a pasta sauce, plus I needed breakfast smoothies for this week. 

First I made an unsweetened cashew oat milk.

1 cup raw, unsalted Cashews
1 cup gluten-free Rolled Oats
6 cups water

Blend this on high in a Vita-Mix liquid container for 3 minutes to cook the oats. This can be done on the stovetop. Check the links here for vegan milk to find the stovetop directions link. That might mean making the oat milk first and then adding the cashews in the next step below.

I poured the milk into another container and then started on the cashew cream sauce in the Vita-Mix.

2 cups unsweetened Cashew/Oat Milk (see above)
1/2 pkg frozen Spinach (~8 oz)
3 peeled Carrots

Blend this on high until smooth. Add in -

1/2 medium Yellow Onion
4 cloves Garlic
2 tbl Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper

Blend this on high until smooth. Add in -

1 cup Nutritional Yeast

Blend on medium or whatever it takes to get the mixture spinning. If you want a creamier texture, add more cashews.

The rest of the milk became smoothies by adding the other 1/2 pkg of spinach and a bunch of different fruits.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Flourless Cookies


I wanted something that was a cross between a cookie and a candy bar. The results are amazing, especially given how easy these are to make.

Equipment needed: Bowl, Spoon, Cookie Scoop (optional), 1 cup Measuring Cup, 1 tbl Measuring Spoon, Cookie Sheet, Turner (optional), Oven

4 cups unsweetened, unsulfured Coconut shreds
3 cups Applesauce
8 tbl Chocolate powder or Cinnamon
1 pkg Mini-Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

Use the measuring cup for the dry ingredient (coconut shreds) first so it can be easily reused for the applesauce.

Stir everything together in the bowl.

A cookie scoop is helpful as you can squish the “dough” inside it and snap it out onto the cookie sheet. If you don’t use a cookie scoop, the stirring spoon will work. I’ve done the cookies two different ways. One is to keep them as the sort of ball shape that comes out of the cookie scoop. The other is to carefully flatten that ball into a more traditional cookie shape. The first is much less time consuming and the cookie turns out crispy on the outside and soft in the center. The second yields a more uniformly crispy cookie.


Bake for 1 hour. For the ball shape, you can let it bake the full hour without disturbing it or you can get a turner under each one to unstick it from the sheet at about the 40 minute mark. For the more traditional cookie shape, I suggest flipping them at the 40-45 minute mark.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Walnut Cream Sauce - Italian Style


Playing with a different pasta sauce and came up with this today:

3 carrots - peeled
1 zucchini - peeled optional
1 cup walnuts
1/8 cup ACV
1/2 cup coconut milk - the unsweetened pseudo-milk kind
1 tbl each: chopped garlic, oregano
1/2 tbl each: salt, pepper, basil, thyme

Blend everything together in food processor or Vita-Mix (requires tamper)

This was a bit of a pain to get it to blend as carrots are not as smooth as zucchini for blending purposes. The pepper really hangs on afterwards, so I might cut back on that next time. It’s heavy on salt too, but that’s how I like it.

The coconut milk was more about trying to get it to blend. This ingredient could probably be water without noticeably changing the flavor.

Reminds me of the carrot ravioli I used to get at The Newsroom. Still liking the taste so maybe I’ll go with it as is. Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Coconut Bacon


I recently had some very delicious vegan cajun food at a newer restaurant - Krimseys Cajun Kitchen in North Hollywood (http://krimseys.com/). They topped their soup with maple coconut strips, which gave me the idea for trying it at home.

This is very similar to the Bacon-ish Bits recipe posted here previously. I didn’t have maple syrup, so I used coconut sugar instead. The online recipes I’ve seen for vegan bacon include liquid smoke. That’s a bit too carcinogenic for my liking.


Equipment needed: Mason Jar with lid (holds at least 3 cups), 1 cup Measuring Cup, 1 tbl Measuring Spoon, Glass Baking Pan (could be metal or silicone or...), Oven

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cups reduced sodium Tamari (contains soy)
2 tbls Coconut Sugar
Coconut Flakes

Or 3 cups of your marinade of choice. The resulting flavor depends on what’s in your marinade.

Fill the mason jar to near the top with coconut flakes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Put the lid on and shake over the sink in case it leaks. Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours. The timing on this is flexible. I like to do overnight to be sure the coconut absorbs a decent amount of the marinade. I also like to sit the jar on a paper towel to absorb any drips.

Pre-heat oven to 250 deg (F)

Drain the coconut. If you like the marinade and want to make more “bacon”, save it. I drained mine into a container of sunflower seeds. Those will get baked soon.

Spread the coconut into the baking pan. It can be layered - I recommend less than 1” deep. Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. You may need to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any that are stuck. Turn off the oven and allow the coconut to crisp up as the oven cools.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Yuca Fries


I’m looking at doing this potato chip style but not sure how it will work out. So far, my research says yuca must be cooked properly or it can kill you. Nice one, yuca. So boil it first and then play around with recipes. Got it.

Here’s an existing recipe that looks really good: https://www.thehealthymaven.com/2015/03/crispy-baked-yuca-fries.html

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Smoothies and Cookies


I’ve recently gone back to making my own breakfast smoothies. This morning, I decided to use some of that to make cookies too.

And this is where I talk about how much I love my Vita-Mix. Yes, it’s expensive. I use it at least 3-4 times a week. I love that I can make milk, smoothies, cashew cream sauce, soup, yogurt, etc in one machine. If it runs long enough (about 3 minutes), it heats up whatever is in there. Of course, it also sounds like someone fired up a jet engine in the kitchen.

So back to the yummy bit:
The liquid container is 64 oz. I put the following in there and added enough water to cover the lot - which filled the container.

8 pitted Dates
9 oz raw, unsalted Cashews
1/2 pkg frozen Spinach (8 oz)
1 pkg frozen Raspberries (10 oz)

Ran that on high until it was well blended. That is the smoothie part. It can also be made with zucchini rather than spinach, but I used the last zucchini in the house making cashew cream sauce for our pasta dinner the other night. This smoothie is on the thick side. You can thin with more water as needed.

For the cookies:
2 cups Smoothie
2 cups Almond Flour
1 pkg mini Chocolate Chips.

Baking was along the lines of the generic cookie recipe, except I flipped these at 30 minutes and turned off the oven after another 25 minutes. After an unspecified amount of time, I pulled them from the oven. That last bit allows the stragglers to finish baking without burning the overachievers.


Lunch-to-go or The Savory Cookie


I’ve been thinking of ways to make an easy to take, healthier snack that’s on the savory rather than sweet side. My favorite go-to was potato chips, but nightshades do not nice things to my finger joints. Popcorn can be good except that I often eat a very large bag in one sitting - which is not so good.

I made a double batch of the Cashew Cream Sauce - about 3 cups worth - and added 1 cup of brown rice flour. 

Baking was along the lines of the generic cookie recipe. I made them bigger around (about 2 1/2 inches), and they stuck to the cookie sheet a bit if they were more done at flip time - probably a good candidate for using parchment paper on the cookie sheet.

This is sort of an everything bagel in cookie form. It takes a second to get past the cookie signal to the brain that says this must be sweet. Perhaps a different shape would help with that. Maybe more along the lines of bread stick?

Friday, January 5, 2018

MOGT Cookies


Make one, get two. Yeah - I don’t think it’ll catch on either. It’s the same batter base with two different flavor additions.

I started with a vanilla cashew milk:

2 cups raw, unsalted Cashews
4 cups Water
10 pitted Dates
1/2 tbl Vanilla Powder

Blend that on high in the Vita-Mix until it’s thoroughly mixed. If you’re using a blender, small chunks are fine for cookies. Some people may prefer chunks - I’m not one of them.

Stir together in a large bowl:

4 cups Vanilla Cashew Milk
4 cups Almond Flour

There was enough leftover milk, to make a smoothie for my breakfast tomorrow. For that, I added some frozen blueberries and blended it on high a bit more.

I scooped 3 cups of the dough into a second bowl. This turned out to be slightly more than half the batter, but it was fairly close. The 3 cups made 10 more cookies (56 to 46).

Stir in 1 pkg frozen Blueberries to half the dough
Stir in 1 pkg Dark Chocolate Chips to the other half

Turns out the “melon baller” I use is actually a 2 tsp cookie snap. Who knew? (Besides my wife) I love it no matter what I’m using it for. Just a bonus that it’s meant to be used for baking cookies.

The baking method is the same as the generic cookie recipe: 300 deg F, 40 minutes, flip, 20 minutes.