Monthly Archives: February 2014

Toasted Sesame Sauce

Yesterday, for supper, “Tom” and I made our at-least-once-a-week-if-not-more meal of roasted vegetables, brown rice, marinated baked tofu and steamed greens. We usually eat this meal with a sauce and I wanted to try something different. I flipped through a few of my cookbooks and decided to try Toasted Sesame Sauce from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health.


While I was blending all the ingredients together, the aroma coming off the toasted sesame seeds was so good I knew it was going to taste fabulous … and I was right! Here’s the recipe for you to try out for yourselves.

Toasted Sesame Sauce

adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health

1 cup sesame seeds

3 tbsps. tamari

3 tbsps. rice vinegar

1 1/2 tbsps. maple syrup

1 tsp chili garlic chili pepper sauce

1/2 cup water


Toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, then stirring constantly as the seeds begin to brown. Once the seeds become fragrant, begin popping a bit and are a little bit browned, remove from heat. Keep stirring a bit until the pan cools down – be very careful  not to burn the seeds.

Put everything,  including the toasted sesame seeds, in a blender and blend for five minutes – you need a good, long blend to get the seeds pureed. Make sure you have a steam escape hole while blending if the sesame seeds are still hot.

The sauce will be fairly thick and you can thin it down a bit if you like by blending in a bit more water.

The sesame seeds will be mostly blended, but with several whole seeds left.

We ate this sauce poured over our roasted vegetables and rice, but I also ate it today as a dip for my carrots. Moosewood also suggests using it as a spread on toast or crackers.


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Coconut Red Lentil Dhal

I came across this recipe in my soup file the other day. I don’t know where I got it from, it’s just a recipe jotted down on a piece of paper. I decided to try it out the other night and it turned out to be not only quick and easy to make, but delicious and filling. The original recipe called it a soup, but it is much more like a dhal. So, here is one more dhal recipe to add to my, and your, collection to go along with Spinach Dhal and Spiced Dhal and Mediterranean Dhal.


1 cup yellow split peas

1 cup red lentils

5 cups water (or less)

1 carrot, diced

2 tbsps. minced ginger

1 tbsp. coconut oil

8 green onions, thinly sliced

1/3 cup golden raisins

2 tbsps. curry powder

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 can coconut milk

2 tsps. salt

1 small handful cilantro, chopped

Rinse the peas and lentils and put in a large pot with the water. Cover, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. Add the carrots and 1 tbsp. of ginger and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often. In another pan, heat the coconut oil, add 5 of the green onions, the remaining ginger, the raisins and the curry powder. Saute for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly so that nothing burns or sticks. Add the tomato paste and cook another minute. Stir this mixture into the peas/lentils along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle some green onions and cilantro on each serving. Rather than eat this as a soup, we ate it as we would any other thick dhal, served over a grain (in our case, brown basmati rice) and alongside a generous serving of vegetables (in our case, chopped, steamed kale). I don’t have a picture of our bowl of dhal, rice and kale because we gobbled it up before I could take a photo! Instead, I quickly spooned some of the dhal into a little bowl, garnished with green onions and cilantro and took a few pictures.



This is a great dish to eat on a day like we’re having here in the Pacific South West where it’s been snowing all weekend.




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Barley Risotto


I have a confession to make … I’ve never made risotto before! Shocking, I know! I tend to stay away from cooking procedures that involve a lot of fussing and extra special care, and risotto involves constant stirring and adding of hot liquid and it can’t be left to cook by itself while the chef goes off to do other things like prepare another dish, check email, play Angry Birds… Well, yesterday, while I was having lunch at Alegria Café in Steveston after my Yoga class,” Tom” was flipping through The Georgia Straight looking at live music events and venues. When I glanced over, my attention was caught by a recipe for Barley Risotto. I quickly read through the recipe, jotted a few notes down on a scrap of paper, then surrendered the newspaper back to “Tom”. I decided to try making this dish for supper seeing as the use of barley, instead of rice, seemed to reduce the fussiness surrounding risotto making and because it seemed fairly easy to veganize (omitting butter and cheese), and here’s what I came up with:


1 onion, finely chopped *

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme)

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 cup barley

1/2 cup white wine

3 cups hot broth **

2 bay leaves

In a large pot, cook the onion over medium heat – add a tbsp. of water at a time to prevent sticking. Cook until onion starts to become translucent. Add the garlic and cook a bit longer (again, prevent burning, browning and sticking by adding 1 tbsp. of water). Stir in thyme, paprika and barley and cook until the pan become a bit dry. Pour in white wine and stir, scraping up the dry bits at the bottom of the pan (I think this is called deglazing), and allowing the alcohol to cook off. Add hot broth and bay leaves. Simmer over medium-low heat, with no lid, stirring often. Keep the mixture simmering gently and turn down the heat as the liquid gets absorbed by the barley so as not to burn, dry out, stick. Once all the liquid is absorbed, turn off the heat and put the lid on the pot and let sit for a bit while you put the rest of the meal together.

* the original recipe called for leeks and although this would be fine, I didn’t have any so used an onion instead

** I used McCormick’s All-Vegetable Chicken Style Bouillon cubes

We ate our Barley Risotto with roasted vegetables and steamed spinach.




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