Tag Archives: dairy-free

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!  

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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.  

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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. 

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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!  

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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

Wild Mushroom Wild Rice with Caramelized Onions

 

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Rice, gone wild!  Double wild!  Mushroom madness!  All this Thanksgiving recipe testing and eating has put me into a food-induced euphoria.  Wild two times in one title is two too many wilds for one recipe, young lady!  Bring your torches.  Ban.  This.  Site.  Hide your childrens’ eyes!  With all this fungus among-us, it’s gettin’ crazy up in here.

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I bought a gigantic bag of assorted dried local Colorado mushrooms at the farmers market this summer.  We’re talking two freezer bags worth.  There will not be a mushroom shortage for the foreseeable future in the Spoon With Me house, in case anybody was wondering. What does one do with so many dried mushrooms, you ask?  You know that mouth-coating savory depth that can be hard to achieve in plant-based recipes?  Think of them as a way to boost the umami factor, especially in vegetarian and vegan dishes.  I love to grind them into powder to add savoriness to sauces gravies, and soups.  In this recipe, I used the broth from rehydrating them as part of the cooking liquid for the rice. If you’re a full or part- time vegan or vegetarian, you need dried mushrooms in your arsenal if you want to up the ooooh mommy!

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Spiced Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Butternuts with Caramelized Pepitas

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The way we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving throughout history has both changed and stayed the same.  What if, instead of the venison and freshly harvested vegetables the Native Americans and the pilgrims shared to celebrate the harvest, this happened:

Once upon a time, back on the first documented Thanksgiving in 1621, the pilgrims that had arrived on the Mayflower shared a feast with the local Native Americans.  

“Thank you for welcoming us to this bounteous land.  I offer unto you this can of cream of mushroom soup as a gesture of peace.  Please prepare it with your freshly harvested green beans and crispy fried onions.”

 “Why thank you, kind pilgrim.  Please, take this gift of congealed cranberries as a symbol of this shared celebration.  And as an extra special bonus offering, this bowl of mashed potatoes, from a tuber that will not actually make its way to ‘America’ until many years from now.”

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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

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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!).   

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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!

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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! 

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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!  

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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

6:00 Asparagus with Toasted Ciabatta and Creamy Eggs

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Midnight asparagus?  Who am i kidding?  Midnight is as mysterious and unfathomable as a unicorn between the months of August and May.  Perhaps I should back up a bit to say that I based this recipe on the Splendid Table’s Midnight asparagus.  Tonight, and most nights, it’s more like, “it’s 6:00 on a wed and I just got home from a meeting and a day full to the brim with bouncy spring-fevered kids” asparagus.  You other teachers out there know exactly what I’m talking about!

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Hence, my version, 6:00 asparagus.  It comes together in a snap when you feel like eating but not cooking.  Toasted ciabatta, creamy eggs, cracked pepper, and roasty asparagus, all speared together with a piece of ciabatta to dab up the runny yolk that creates the sauce.

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I think we all should have recipes that come together this easily to lure us, if only briefly, to the kitchen after a long day at work!

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6:00 Asparagus with Toasted Ciabatta and Creamy Eggs

Adapted from the Splendid Table’s Midnight Asparagus

  • 1 bunch pencil thin asparagus, about 12 oz
  • 1/2 medium red onion, halved peeled, and cut into 1/4 inch wedges
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 medium lemon, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 eggs (or as many as you’d like to serve)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 crusty loaf bread, such as ciabatta, cut into 1 inch slices

Preheat broiler on high, and set an oven rack to the highest position.  On a rimmed nonstick baking sheet, toss together the asparagus, onion,  garlic and lemon with the olive oil.  Add a couple of generous pinches kosher salt and some grindings of black pepper to taste.  Spread everything out on the pan into a single layer.

Broil on high 4 inches from the top of the oven for about 4-5 minutes, until starting to brown and crisp-tender.  Remove from the broiler.  Push the vegetables to the sides, and crack the eggs onto the pan, wherever they will fit around the asparagus.  Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper.  Put the ciabatta into the oven to toast.  Broil the eggs and asparagus for 1-2 minutes longer, until eggs are cooked to your desired doneness (keep in mind that the eggs will continue to cook once removed from the oven. 1 minute eggs will be runny, and 2 minute eggs will be more set).  Squeeze the lemons over the asparagus.  Serve hot on the toasted ciabatta slices.

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Filed under Breakfast and Brunch, Main Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

Kale, Potato, Tomato and Onion Mini-Frittatas

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Frittatas are all about fancy.  I mean, dahhhling, I just whipped up a frittata.  See, doesn’t it sound extra fancy?  The best part is, it’s one of those secret weapon skills to break out when you want to serve something special that will whip up in a flash.  I’ve had many people tell me that they can’t cook without a recipe.  Dishes like this are very customizable based on what you have on hand, even if you’re not a habitual improviser.

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The process, in a nutshell, is to mix up your egg base, saute and cool the other ingredients, mix together, then bake.  Sure, you could make a big frittata, but these little guys are perfect for grab-and-go breakfasts on the run, or serving at a brunch or baby shower, no serving utensils needed.

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This particular frittata is chock-full of veggies and contains some of my favorite breakfast ingredients–sauteed onion, kale, potato, and cherry tomatoes.  Although you could add dairy, I promise, the recipe doesn’t need it.  The nutritional yeast gives these little guys the rounded out, rich flavor that dairy offers, in a healthier way.  The mister and I have been known to whip up frittatas for any meal of the day, including dinner on nights that we are tired and at a loss for what to make.

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A sum up of lessons learned today:

  1. Frittata.  Just say it.  Ooh, you’re so fancy!
  2. I can make frittatas in muffin cups faster than deciding on where to eat out
  3. These look good.  I’m gonna make ‘em.  Then, I’m gonna go rogue with all sorts of crazy combinations.  Oh snap.

I’d love to read your comments on any favorite ingredient combination ideas! 

Here are some of mine…

Green hatch chiles+potato+diced tomato+onion+queso fresco+chorizo

Spinach+mushroom+turkey sausage (or vegetarian sausage)

Tomatoes+oregano+onion+crushed red pepper+mushroom (pizza frittata!)

Kale potato mini-frittatas|Spoonwithme-com

 

Kale, Cherry Tomato, Potato and Onion Mini-Frittatas

Makes 10 muffin-sized frittatas

Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full, and don’t be overly concerned if the frittatas bubble up over the sides of the muffin tins.  The scraggly edges of the eggs can be easily tucked down around the frittatas using a butter knife.  

For the Vegetables:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small yellow onion, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced

1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes (or chopped if large)

1 medium yukon gold potato (about 4 oz), peeled, quartered and sliced into 1/8 inch thick triangles

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chopped dino kale leaves (about one bunch–don’t include the tough lower stems)

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

For the egg base:

8 eggs

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of choice)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon nutritional yeast*

Coconut oil, olive oil, or butter for greasing the muffin tins (or paper muffin cups)

1) Preheat oven to 375˚F.  Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the onions, potatoes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and saute until soft but not falling apart, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic, and saute 30 seconds more.  Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for an additional 2 minutes until softened.  Add the chopped kale and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Cook for a couple minutes longer, until the kale is wilted.  Sprinkle in the lemon juice and add pepper to taste.  Set aside to cool to lukewarm before incorporating into the eggs.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, almond milk, 3/4 teaspoons salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast until the mixture lightens in color and appears frothy on top.  Stir in the cooled vegetable mixture.

3) Spoon the egg mixture into well-greased muffin tins (a scant 1/3 cup per tin).  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the eggs are set.  Switch oven to broil, and cook the frittatas on the top rack for 1-2 minutes to brown the tops if desired.  Best served warm.

*Nutritional yeast can be bought in bulk in health food stores such as Whole Foods

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Filed under Breakfast and Brunch, Main Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan