The starting point for any good meal is great ingredients. I’m fortunate to have access to wonderful produce–both down the street and a strones throw away on on charming local islands. Below is a quick snapshot of “souvenirs” from a short afternoon trip to Vashon Island.
Cashews are something I grew up with, regularly inserted into our family’s diet whether toasted, raw or ground into a creamy sauce for something delicious and spiced. But I rarely translated these delicious nuts into my non-Indian cooking. I’m fortunate enough to have been introduced to a great vegan chef, Chad Sarno whose use of cashews inspires me–especially when I might feel helpless without dairy.
A quick variation in my own kitchen was to take two of my favorite salad staples, kale and radishes, and make them just a bit more decadent for a recent at-home asado (…where they were served with rosemary-smoked chicken and roasted yams. Sorry, Chad.) In this salad, I love the combination of bitter, sweet, creamy–and how each time I get a bit of radish, it cleanses my palate and takes me through all those experiences again.
- 1/4 cup cashews (raw)
- 1/4 cup of water
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (coconut oil also works, but changes the flavor quite a bit)
- 1/4 clove of garlic
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 blackberries
- pinch of salt
- 1 bunch white radishes, sliced lengthwise (A bit sharper than your normal red radishes, which are a fine substitution.)
- 1 bunch lacinato or “dinosaur” kale (Now is the season to plant them. We grow them in pots on our patio!)
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley (curly or Italian)
- 2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of blackberries, cut in half, lengthwise
- 1/4 cup of hemp hearts for topping (optional)
Blend all of the ingredients for the dressing in your blender until smooth. Drizzle in extra lemon juice or olive oil and blend further, depending on the needs of the resulting emulsion.
Place the dry, washed kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and massage for 30 seconds. Next, add the dressing and massage until evenly distributed. Then, toss in the rest of the ingredients except the blackberries and hemp hearts. Sprinkle the blackberries and hemp hearts on top as a garnish and serve.
I’m always looking for new (to me) vegetables, especially for my current binge of summer salads. I’ve been hearing a lot about kohlrabi for a while now, but finally gathered the courage to try it out last week.
The flavor was somewhere between cabbage and broccoli, and the texture was like a firm radish.
I’m a fan of curried daikon (with lots of ginger…) and I usually make one of my favorite Bengali salads with cabbage and carrots. Thus, I was inspired to try out a version of these two, combined, as my newest experiment.
I lightly toasted some panch phoron (equal parts fennel seed, cumin, nigella seed, mustard seed, and fenugreek), then sautéed one onion, sliced, until golden, then added in the kohlrabi battonets (cut into short sticks) and sautéed for another few minutes. I garnished with cilantro, then ate it first warm with rice, then the next day chilled as a side salad.
My French may have deteriorated a bit since I lived in Paris, but my love for the simple classics has not. A nice buttery lettuce mix, mustard vinaigrette (I like 2 parts vinegar of choice, 10 parts oil of choice, 1 part Dijon mustard with a dash of pepper and salt) and freshly toasted hazelnuts are the perfect start or finish for any outdoor meal.
The thyme on my patio is in full bloom. Taking advantage of the sweet blossoms and baked/grilled baby potatoes from last night’s asado, I scoop out the insides and mixed them with with three tbsp of thick yogurt and one tbsp of pumpkin oil, whipping with a fork. I spoon the mixture back into each potato skin, topped with a few black sesame seeds and fresh thyme blossoms.
One of my best friends is Polish, and a very good cook. She’s prepared a Chicago size batch (that means a lot) of classic potato and farmer’s cheese pierogi. She quickly boils the “little pillows from Heaven” (my translation, not the actual Polish meaning), then tosses them in butter and caramelized onions she made beforehand.
The fresh dough has a little bite, the potatoes and cheese are inside are combined into a perfectly smooth union: I can’t tell where one begins and the other ends. The filling-to-dough ratio is sinful with an appearance of a freshly fluffed pillow, and the caramelized onions are only sweet an aromatic. Nothing frozen tastes this good.
Quinoa is a delicious high protein grain and a great alternative when craving a sweet but healthy breakfast. This creamy option takes under 20 minutes.
Add 1c quinoa, 1c unsweetened almond milk, 1/2c coconut milk, 1/4c golden raisins, five whole cardamom pods (or a pinch of cinnamon). Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce to a simmer for ~15 minutes, stirring occasionally. To serve, top with flax seed, pecans, and honey. Serves 2-4.
Need some additional help with grains? check out this video.