Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cashew Cream Sauce

Update (6/18) I add 2 carrots to this recipe these days. Makes for a richer flavor profile.

Basic recipe:

1 Zucchini - peeled and chopped
1/4 cup chopped Onion
1 tbl chopped Garlic
1/8 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 oz raw, unsalted Cashews
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Put everything in the blender/food processor and blend until smooth.

This misses being strictly vegan because of the nutritional yeast. It’s probably easiest to make in a Vita-mix. The onion and garlic measurements are approximations, and there’s no need to chop them into small pieces as the blender/food processor can do that for you. If you’re comfortable with putting in a couple of garlic cloves and two or three slices of onion, that should be fine.

If you don’t care about color, you can leave the skin on the zucchini. Turns it a bit green. Without the peel, it winds up yellow - closer to the color of the nutritional yeast.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

No-Egg Salad

This recipe idea originated here: Isa Chandra's Tofu Frittata

Replacing the tamari/soy sauce was easy enough. How to replace the tofu took more thought. Technically this recipe is not Vegan because of the yeast. It depends on your personal viewpoint on yeast. Also Dijon mustard might be problematic for some people. I suggest using another mustard that works for you if need be, or leave it out completely.

Equipment needed: Blender or Vita-Mix with the Dry Container or Food Processor, Spatula, 1 cup Measuring Cup, ¼ cup Measuring Cup, ¼ tsp Measuring Spoon, 1 tbl Measuring Spoon, Small Bowl with Lid, Larger Bowl with Lid, Knife, Cutting Board, Tamper (optional), Peeler (optional)

¼ cup Walnuts or raw Sunflower Seeds
~¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Soak the nuts/seeds in the ACV overnight in the fridge. The ACV should cover the nuts/seeds. Use the small bowl with lid or a coffee cup with some sort of cover.

1 Zucchini
1 cup cooked Brown Rice

Drain the nuts and put them in the blender/food processor with the rice and the zucchini (chopped to make it easier to blend). This may require tamping. This can be anywhere from a coarse blend (more textures) to a smoother mixture (possible sandwich spread) depending on your preference. If using sunflower seeds, they can be added later for more texture or put in the blender. For a smoother texture, add avocado to the blender. The following ingredients might need bumped up if adding avocado.

Empty blender into the larger bowl.

3 tbl Nutritional Yeast
½ tsp Dijon Mustard (or just do a small squirt)
¼ tsp Turmeric
Diced Onion
Diced Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients together. Let sit in the fridge for an hour to allow the flavors to meld.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Onion Rings - Proof of Concept

I’ve been pondering buttermilk and batter, and here’s where my mind went with it…

1/2 cup Rolled Oats
1 1/2 cups Water
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper

This works best in a Vita-Mix, using the liquid container. It takes 3 minutes to cook oats in the Vita-Mix on high speed. Adding all of the above to the container, work up to the highest speed.

At the 2 minute mark, add:

1/2 cup Raw, Shelled, Unsalted Sunflower Seeds
1/2 cup Raw, Unsalted Pumpkin Seeds

This will be thick, but still able to spin in the blender. Stop at 3 minutes and empty the mixture into a bowl.

Using a cast iron pan (or other frying pan), add 1/4” of olive oil. Turn on the stove at a low heat. Let the oil get hot.

Disclaimer: I’ve never made onion rings before. Or fried chicken, or anything remotely like this.

Dipping the onion ring into the batter probably works best with a fork or ice pick. I used my fingers.

The first set lost the batter when I turned them. For the second set, I let them cook awhile before attempting to flip them with tongs. The batter stayed on the onion.

Pull out when brown and place on paper towels.

The best ones had the center of the onion - the ratio of onion to batter leaned more towards onion. As a proof of concept attempt, it went well and tasted really good.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Bacon-ish Bits, Part II

For use as a salad or pasta topper, or as a snack

I tried these with balsamic vinegar (contains sulfites). These came out caramelized and very tasty.
Tip: Do not breathe in when opening the oven door while baking a strong vinegar ingredient. Your lungs will thank you for holding your breath. 

First baconish bits recipe

Here’s today’s shot at it without soy and without sulfites, and straying from a baconish flavor…

Equipment needed:
Blender, 1/2 cup Measuring Cup, 1/2 tablespoon Measuring Spoon, Bowl with Lid, Baking Dish (9"x13" or thereabouts), Spatula or Spoon, Oven

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
~1/2 cup diced Red Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 tbl Salt (optional)
1/2 tbl Black Pepper
1 tbl Oregano
1 tbl Thyme
1 tbl Basil

Blend the above ingredients. It will probably be frothy and separate rather easily. Pour into the bowl.

Raw, shelled, unsalted Sunflower Seeds that can be covered in the mixture: ~1 1/2 to 2 cups

Add sunflower seeds and stir in as you go. Be sure the seeds are covered in the liquid. Cover, shake gently, and place in the fridge to soak. I soaked these about 8 hours and they absorbed nearly all of the liquid, so straining was not required.

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees

Rough strain the liquid if needed - this can be done by holding the lid against the top of the bowl but not quite sealed so the liquid can drain out or by using a strainer. You don't have to get it all, just most. Pour/scrape the remaining contents into the baking dish. This may be an inch or so deep.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. These are done when they're crispy, but not burnt.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Carrot Chips or Carrot Wafers

This is a dehydrator recipe and I'm not certain if it can be done in the oven.

Equipment needed:
Vita-Mix with the dry container or Food Processor, Vegetable Peeler, Cutting Board, Knife, 1 cup Measuring Cup, 1/4 tsp Measuring Spoon, 1 tbl Measuring Spoon, and Dehydrator

1 cup coconut water
2 tbls chia seeds
4 carrots
1/4 tsp salt

Peel, rinse, and chop carrots into ~1" pieces - just to make them easier to blend. Put those in the Vita-Mix dry container. Add the coconut water, chia seeds, and salt. Blend very well.

I actually started with the coconut water and chia seeds, then added the carrots one at a time, blending in between each, to be sure of the number I wanted to put in there. When the blending became harder to do and the mixture was somewhat thick, I stopped adding carrots.

Because I wasn't sure how this would turn out, I did the next step two different ways.

1. Pour mixture into rectangular candy molds, filling each between 1/2 to 3/4 of the way to the top. Once done dehydrating, these will be fairly thin. Shake gently to settle into flat shapes. This "filled" 24 molds.

2. Pour remaining mixture in the middle of a pendaflex/silicone sheet that fits your dehydrator. Spread out towards the edges, then shake gently to settle into flat shape. You may need to nudge it back a little from the edge. This created a semi-square 13"x13" shape.

Dehydrate at 125 degrees for about 10 hours. If you don't sleep through the middle of this time, you can try flipping them halfway through to get the color roughly the same on each side. I made these at night and pulled them as is in the morning.

If you're a raw purist, drop the temperature to 105 degrees or less and dehydrate longer.

The first way made rectangular chips about 1/8" thick. Some broke in two coming out of the mold. Some had holes in the middle. It's entirely possible that filling the molds to the top would have prevented that, but the chips would also be a bit thicker.

The second made a beautiful, very thin wafer (with some holes.) Interestingly, my wife who prefers crackers liked the chips, and I - the cupcake monster - preferred the wafer. It reminded me very strongly of the Italian pizelles our downstairs neighbor used to make starting at 4 in the morning. Ah the culinary memories...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Dog Food - Renal Care, Not Vegetarian

We tried a new renal diet for our eldest dog and the results were underwhelming. His blood work showed no improvement, and he needed his anal glands expressed for the first time in his 14+ years of life. That renal diet contained so much rice - it was listed as dry weight so the actual amount in the food once it was cooked was even more. We've gotten his stool back to normal and hopefully that means his glands will be fine.

He's on lamb, and we found out that boiling lamb removes some of the phosphorous. The old thinking was lower the protein. The new thinking is get a better balance between calcium and phosphorous and maybe lower the protein.

Disclaimer: We're not veterinarians nor nutritionists. We also have not had him on this diet long enough to see how well it does for his kidneys. I'll report back once we get there.

We start with the Honest Kitchen Preference base. For 1 day of food for a roughly 15 pound dog, we add 6 oz of boiling water to 1.8 ounces of HK Preference. Allow that to absorb the water for at least 3 minutes. Add 2.5 ounces of the boiled lamb (more on that below). We feed him 3-4 times a day, 2 main meals and 1-2 snacks. He was having some issues with his stomach being too empty prior to getting breakfast, so he definitely gets a snack right before bed.

For the 2 main meals, he also gets 1/4 tsp psyllium, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salmon oil, and 1/4 pill of InflamAway HA which is a glucosamine/chondroitin with extra anti-inflammatory herbs.

For the boiled lamb, we get 2 pounds of ground lamb from the grocery store. That's roughly a 1 week supply of meat for him.

Take a small stock pot and fill it halfway with water. Roll the lamb into meatballs about 1/2" to 3/4" in diameter. They will shrink some. Put them in the water one at a time. Having the water in the pot will help them not stick together. Bring the water to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally to break up what forms on top and unstick any meatballs at the bottom. Lower heat as needed to maintain the rolling boil without boiling over. Boil for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse.

He likes this well enough though he has trained us to add some treat sprinkles on top sometimes. Once he gets started, he finishes his meal.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Pasta Salad Dressing

I made a bunch of quinoa pasta and some Bacon-ish Bits this weekend, and my wonderful wife cut up carrots, zucchini, and celery. The pasta got a coating of pesto to help it not clump together (which it still does but not quite as badly) before going into the fridge.

Throwing together all of these great ingredients called out for a creamier topping to make it a more cohesive pasta salad. It helps that our two avocados were showing signs of "eat me now!"

Equipment needed:
1 Large Bowl, 1 Spoon or Fork, 1 Cutting Board, 1 Knife, 1/4 cup Measuring Cup

2 Avocados
1 Lemon ice cube (previously squeezed and frozen in ice cube trays)
1/4 cup (or less) Pesto (we get dairy-free pesto - read below for other ideas and a nut-free option)
Salt to taste

Cut and peel the avocados, put those in the bowl. Add pesto and lemon cube. Stir until creamy and lemon cube has melted. You may want to add the pesto in stages to achieve the desired consistency. Salt as needed, or add whatever spices take your fancy.

The amount of pesto will change both the texture and the taste. This can also be used as a salad dressing with you controlling the consistency.

If you don't have a dairy-free pesto available, you can make your own, or add what's missing to the above individually.

So, say you decide you want a spinach pesto to go with your avocado for a pasta salad dressing. I recommend using a blender and putting in:

Avocado, spinach, onion, garlic, pepper, pine nuts or walnuts (optional), lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. The other main ingredient is olive oil. Since the avocado could take the place of an oil, you can add olive oil as needed for texture. Optionally or in addition to, you can add vinegar for some tang in your dressing. (Future recipe posted here? Quite possibly)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Bacon-ish Bits

For use as a salad or pasta topper, or as a snack

Equipment needed:
1/2 cup measuring cup, covered bowl, baking dish with sides (9"x13" or thereabouts), spatula or spoon, oven, optional strainer

In the bowl:

12 oz raw, shelled, unsalted Sunflower Seeds
1 cup low (or reduced) sodium Tamari
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Tamari is a wheat-free version of soy sauce. If you're avoiding soy but not sulfites, use 1 1/2 cups of balsamic vinegar as the liquid. Or use whatever marinade you like.

Either stir the contents of the bowl with a spoon or cover and shake them. Be sure no seeds are stuck above the liquid. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours - overnight might be best.

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees

Rough strain the liquid - this can be done by holding the lid against the top of the bowl but not quite sealed so the liquid can drain out or by using a strainer. You don't have to get it all, just most. Pour the remaining contents into the baking dish.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.