Make this banana nog! »
A couple of weeks ago, Laura taunted you with a skeleton of a nog recipe I was working on. Well, I am proud to say that it is complete and delicious! This nog doesn’t necessarily taste like the store bought stuff, but is delightful nonetheless. Even better, it’s vegan (duh), raw, soy-free, and gluten-free. G’damn!
2 cups soaked cashews (heaping 2/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked for at least six hours, overnight is best)*
3 cups water
5 dates, pitted
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 Tbsp. lucuma (optional, but will give it a buttery taste and is a super food!)
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla powder (extract would be fine too, just add a little more)
If you have it, Maca would be a wonderful addition as well!
Rinse your soaked cashews. In a blender (Vita-Mix is best!) pulverize cashews and water until completely smooth. If this is not possible to obtain with your blender, you may need to use a nut milk bag, or come to terms with the fact your nog will be a little chunky. Add the rest of your ingredients and blend together! Because this recipe has banana in it, the longer it sits, the more unappealing the color becomes. It’s best to make this the day of consuming it; however, if beige beverages don’t gross you out, it tastes awesome the next day!
Virgin banana nog, second day. Dusted with cinnamon.
Add brandy or dark rum and have at it!
*Short on time? Not caring if the nog is raw? Just boil the cashews.
Recipes: The most amazing, soy-free, gluten-free alfredo sauce! »
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m patting myself on the back for this recipe. Now, normally I like to stay humble, but sometimes I have to throw that notion aside and exclaim that I am a GENIUS! Too much? Probably, but I assure you, this alfredo sauce is a crowd-pleaser. Plus, you can feed it to your allergy-ridden self or friends.
Heaping 2/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1 1/4 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
About 2 Tbsp. olive oil, for sauteing
1 small yellow or white onion, finely chopped
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp. salt
3 scant Tbsp. nutritional yeast (large flakes)
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. coconut aminos, Braggs, or soy sauce (using soy sauce will no longer make it soy- or gluten-free)
Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Boil your cashews until they are soft. I boil mine on medium heat, because I like the idea that it’s gentler on the cashews. It takes about 20 minutes. This will give you about 1 cup “soaked” cashews. Make sure you rinse the cashews before using them.
To make the cashew cream, I blend my cashews and 1 1/4 cup water to make 2 cups of cream. I use a Vita-Mix to make my cashew cream, but I understand not everyone owns one, as they are very expensive —but so worth it! Because cashews are a softer nut, you can use a food processor or run-of-the-mill blender. Your sauce may come out a little chunky, but some people like texture, right? A small immersion blender would probably work as well.
While your cashews are boiling, you can start sauteing the other ingredients. On medium heat, saute your chopped onion in olive oil. I like to take mine until caramelized, but you can go until they are transparent (depending on how much time you have). Next, add your chopped garlic and cook a couple of minutes, until fragrant. It’s important you do not let the garlic brown, as it becomes bitter. Add all your spices (salt, pepper, nutmeg, soy sauce, and nutritional yeast) and cook on medium-low heat for about three minutes. I am constantly turning the mixture with a spatula, as I don’t want it to burn, or the garlic to brown.
Onions, garlic, spices, nooch, lemon juice, and coconut aminos.
Now add the lemon juice. Cook until it’s hot, about a minute or two. If you haven’t made the cashew cream, do that. Then add your sauteed mixture to blender or food processor and blend until smooth! Taste. I like the seasoning mix I came up with, but we all have different palates. Do you like a cheesier flavor? More nooch! Not salty enough? Have at it! Adjust to your liking.
Inspired by Eat More Kale man, I decided to make a mushroom-kale mac ‘n’ cheese. I sauteed a red onion, one pound of mushrooms, and two bunches of kale, and added it to my alfredo-drenched penne pasta. I then baked until the top was slightly browned. What are you going to do with yours? Seriously, tell us, we want to know.
Recipe: The Absolute Greatest Stuffing For Every Holiday! »
This recipe is the family heirloom in my clan. I’m not totally sure it’s OK to give it away, but I fancy myself a rule breaker. No, that’s a lie, I hate getting in trouble. In the paraphrased words of Taylor Swift, “I am scared of the principal’s office of life.” Mom, don’t be mad that I’m giving away our family recipe! It’s too amazing to keep a secret!
That being said, is best stuffing recipe you will find, I’m sure of it. Plus, it features all my most very favorite ingredients — spinach, mushrooms, onions, and garlic!
1 package croutons (make sure they’re vegan)
2 or 3 packages of frozen, chopped spinach*
3 or 4 short cans of sliced mushrooms*
1 tsp. Bell’s Seasoning
Between 3 - 6 white onions (obviously your discretion. I’m an onion girl. 6 it is!)
4 - 5 ribs celery, chopped
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
3 - 4 cloves garlic (Or, if you’re me, 8)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chop your onions, your celery, your garlic. Drizzle yo’ pan with olive oil (a couple tablespoons olive oil, if you’re into measuring stuff out). Turn it on medium/medium high. Saute onion until transparent (I caramelize, bitches!), add celery, cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic. DON’T LET YOUR GARLIC BROWN. That’s why you add it last. Cook the flavor in, but it gets bitter when it browns. If you’ve had it on medium high, turn down to medium at this point. Add Italian herbs, salt, pepper and Bell’s, too. Let the spices cook in.
If you are using packaged spinach, boil according to directions. Open your cans of mushrooms.
In a PRETTY LARGE BOWL, pour in croutons, cooked onions/celery/spices/garlic, canned mushrooms and cooked spinach! Mixed together! Let sit overnight. Stuff a vegetarian something or other. If you aren’t stuffing anything, you just want delicious stuffing, bake covered at 350 til heated through and through. Take off covering (foil?) and bake for another 5 - 10 minutes until top is lightly browned.
Stuffing atop the tofurkey I made from scratch, Christmas 2009.
Stuffing baked alone for Easter 2011, with fresh ingredients including sourdough bread!
As always, if you make this, let me know of any modifications you make. I want to know everything!
*This stuffing is so good with the canned stuff. I remember telling my mom, “if it’s not broke, why fix it?” — which she agreed with, wholeheartedly. I mean, we were raised on this stuff! However, I use fresh ingredients these days. I’ve slowly ventured to using a bag of fresh spinach and about a pound of fresh mushrooms. If using fresh spinach and mushrooms, saute your chopped, fresh mushrooms until browned, then add spinach. Saute ‘til spinach is cooked down. Put aside, and continue on in the recipe! Oh, and as for croutons, I made my own for Easter** last year. I’ll do that again and get back to you about how it turns out.
**Last Easter, I took a loaf of sourdough bread, chopped it up, drizzled it with olive oil, and baked until toasty. I called that croutons. Turns out, I don’t know how to chop bread into small pieces. But! My friend Evan described my ‘stuffing’ as a savory bread pudding. I LOVE bread pudding. Score!
Recipes: homemade nacho and Italian-style cheeses! »
Two recipes, one post! Though I love my vegan cheese in a jar, I also enjoy making my own condiments at home. Both of these cheeses are mostly raw, yet I always end up cooking with them. Added bonus—soy- and gluten-free!
Nacho cheese sauce
1 cup soaked cashews**
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup water
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove of garlic
2 bell peppers
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Blend together until completely smooth. I add a little bit of red chili pepper for some kick. I own a Vita-Mix, which completely pulverizes my cashews in a matter of seconds. This should work with a run-of-the-mill blender or food processor—so snobby! Sorry, I just can’t help it. If you still have chunks of cashews in your cheese, you can always strain it through a nut milk bag.
You can leave it as a raw sauce, or bake it onto something, even just heat it up on the stove and pour over some chips. Add jalapenos if you are so inclined. My next venture is to leave out the spice and make mac ‘n’ cheese with it.
I’ve used this cheese sauce on broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and enchiladas.
Cheesy Brussels sprouts!
Italian-style cashew cheese
1 cup soaked cashews
3/4 cup water
Juice of half a lemon
4 cloves of garlic (you may want to start with 2)
salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper)
1/2 tsp. Italian herbs
Put water and cashews into a food processor/blender/Vita-Mix, and blend until smooth. Add the rest of your ingredients, all EXCEPT Italian herbs. Taste. Want more zip? Add more lemon juice. I end up using about a teaspoon of salt, and probably between 1/4 and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Too thick? Add a little more water. Once you get your base right, add Italian herbs. Blend them ever so slightly, just until incorporated; you don’t want them to break down too much and turn your cheese green!
There you have it. Soy-free, gluten-free, fresh vegan mozzarella. Or whatever you want to call it. I LOVE this stuff! I use it on all my veganized “Italian” food—pizza, eggplant “parmesan,” plain old pasta. It is amazing!
The cheese comes out so fancy if you have a squeeze bottle!
My eggplant “parmesan,” or as I like to call it, cheesy Italian eggplant casserole. Want this recipe? I give out all my secrets after a couple rounds of cocktails—on you!
**Soak 3/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews for at least six hours—covered, at room temperature—but best if overnight, in a container with a lid in the fridge. If you are short on time, you can boil the cashews on medium-high for about 15 to 20 minutes, until cashews are soft.
Gluten-free biscuits and gravy! Your eyes do not deceive you! »
I don’t have celiac disease and I don’t have a sensitivity to gluten; nonetheless, I’m into the challenge of making delicious gluten-free, vegan, baked goods and entrees/sides. The thing that discourages me when I am looking for recipes is that I need to have 5 million ingredients, none of which are in my “pantry” (haphazard shelf in the kitchen). I mean, are 15 different bean and grain flours necessary?
I’ve taken it upon myself to experiment and I came up with this biscuit. Only three flours! Plus xanthan gum, which is expensive, but imperative. It is what binds the flours together, which is what gluten normally does. I like to get mine out of bulk bins, that way I don’t have spend $15 at a time.
1/2 cup corn flour
1 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup garfava flour
3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp. salt
5 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup chilled soy margarine or vegetable shortening at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened soy milk or water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
The trick with biscuits is to not play with them too much. This is especially true when working with regular flour, but I like to think the same rule applies for gluten-free as well. The less you handle them, the flakier they will be.
Measure out your flours, salt, xanthan gum and baking powder (dry ingredients) in a bowl. Whisk to get any lumps out and to mix everything together (you can use a fork for this step-sometimes I find myself with no whisk). Add chilled soy margarine in small chunks. This is called cutting it in, which is described here. You don’t need a pastry cutter, some people use knives, but I use my hands. Not over mixing or playing with your dough is extremely important once you start adding the fat and liquid.
The different dry ingredients whisked together.
Chunks of fat.
Lightly, by hand, mix everything together. You want the consistency to be “pebble- or sand-like,” with chunks of magerine or shortening visible throughout. Next, add your soy milk or water. Knead 10 times, no more!
Pebble-like. Maybe closer to sand this time around.
Now, I don’t have a pastry-cutter, I’m not that fancy, but maybe I should look into it. I just spoon out some dough and drop in onto a greased baking sheet. A few inches apart, and you should get about eight biscuits out of it. Place in the center of the oven.
Gluten-free goods bake faster than their regular counterparts. Check them around the 8 minute mark. If the bottoms are browning, they are close to done. You don’t want the tops to brown, or they won’t be flaky, they will be OVERBAKED. The baking time should be around eight to 12 minutes, depending how long the oven preheated and how quickly your oven bakes.
Gravy is so easy, once you make it the first time, I guarantee you will become a gravy-making machine!
1 medium red onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. rice flour (sweet or regular)
3 cups unsweetened soy milk
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 to 1 Tbsp. salt
pinch of Italian herbs
Dice up your onion and saute it on medium heat until it’s transparent or caramelized. Add chopped or minced garlic, cooking until fragrant, but don’t let the garlic brown. Add 2 Tbsp. rice flour to coat everything in the pan and let it cook in for a minute or two, moving constantly as to not let flour burn. Browning it a little will add a subtle nutty flavor to your gravy.
Onions and garlic, coated with rice flour.
Pour in 2 cups of soy milk, whisking constantly, and bring to a light boil. You will probably need to turn up the heat a little bit. Add your salt and pepper, then the remainder of the soy milk. Don’t stop whisking! Once you get the consistency/thickness you prefer, take off the heat and add a pinch of Italian herbs. Add more salt/pepper as desired. You can either leave it chunky, or throw it in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Adding the soy milk.
Whisk until thickened.
Biscuits and gravy! There you have it!