Category Archives: cashews

Roast-Vegetable-Smoked-Tofu-Kale Pizza

When it comes to pizza time at a party, a dinner out, a staff luncheon, what do all you vegans out there do? I usually abstain or, occasionally, suck it up and eat a slice or two. At home, I just don’t have pizza. I’m not crazy about vegan cheese, either store-bought or homemade. The taste is not terrific and it’s too much fuss and bother to make “cheeze”. Then I read Sam Turnbull’s cookbook, Fuss-Free Vegan. She has a recipe called Life-Changing Mozzarella that she uses for pizza cheese and I thought I’d give it a try. The first pizza I made using this cheese was so-so, so the next time I made the cheese, I made some adjustments to the ingredients (I kind of combined her Life-Changing Mozzarella and her Nacho Cheese Love) and came out with a winner!

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This is the mozza cheese. It’s made with tapioca starch which gives this cheese it’s thick and stretchy qualities.

The first pizza I made with this cheese was kind of traditional with a tomato sauce base, and I went for a Mediterranean style with basil, spinach, black olives. As I said above, it was okay. Then I decided to try again, adjusting the cheese recipe and omitting the tomato sauce base. This pizza was dee-licious!

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Here’s how I made it:

Roast-Veg-Smoked-Tofu-Kale Pizza

(it takes about 90 minutes to make this pizza from start to finish using premade/store-bought pizza shells)

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2 store-bought pizza shells of your choice (I used a store-made, thin-crust pizza shell from Save-On-Foods) – placed on pizza pans

Cheese

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 3 tbsp tapioca starch*

  • 2 tbsp sauerkraut (or 2 tbsp brine from a jar of green olives) – I used sauerkraut

  • 2 tsp lemon juice

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 3/4 to 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine and blend all ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Pour into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring often, then constantly for 3-5 minutes until thickened and smooth. Heat and stir for another 3-5 minutes at a slightly lower heat to make sure the tapioca starch is cooked.

Pour and spread the cheese on the pizza shells – you will use the entire recipe on two pizza.

Pizza Toppings

2 tomatoes, skin removed*, diced (I used some beautiful organic plum tomatoes I bought in Keremeos when I was passing through last week).

1/2 an onion, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 head cauliflower, separated into large florets then sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces or strips

1/2 fresh poblano pepper, cut into slightly smaller than bite-sized pieces

2 large cloves garlic, sliced

2/3 of a block of smoked tofu (I actually used smoked siracha tofu on this pizza), sliced and diced into bite-sized pieces

3 stalks of curly kale (or any kind of kale you prefer), washed and dried and torn into bite-sized pieces

avocado oil

coarse sea salt or Himalayan salt

Sprinkle the diced tomatoes onto the two pizza shells, evenly distributing them between the two shells.

Place the onion, cauliflower, bell pepper, poblano pepper and garlic into a large bowl. Pour in about a tbsp of oil. Toss the vegetables in the oil until evenly coated. Spread the vegetables out on a baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the kale. Put the torn kale into a bowl, drizzle on a bit of oil, and sprinkle on some salt. Massage the oil and salt into the kale until the kale is soft and just starting to release some of it’s juice.

Pull the roast veg out of the over and add the smoked tofu to the pan, evenly spaced. Put the pan back into the oven and roast for another 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the roast veg and tofu on the pizza shells, evenly distributing between the 2 shells and over each pizza.

Put the pizza pans in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until bottoms of shells begin to brown. Pull the pans out of the oven, sprinkle on the kale and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Let the pizzas rest and cool for 5 minutes, then slide out onto a cutting board and cut into slices.

*tapioca starch is readily available in a grocery store

*The best way to skin a tomato is to pour boiling water over it, let it sit for a couple of minutes, douse in cold water and peel. The skin usually slips right off.

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Thai Noodle Soup

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At my workplace, I participate in a Lunch Club. At the beginning of the school year, anyone who is interested signs up, with a partner, and commits to providing lunch for the rest of the participants. This year we have fourteen members and this works out to each partnership making lunch about 5 or 6 times a year. If it’s not your day to make lunch, then you are eating lunch someone else has provided. I really look forward to Thursdays (our Lunch Club day) because I don’t have to make lunch! I’m the only vegan in the club, but we also have a vegetarian and someone who doesn’t eat pork. This year’s crew have been really kind and conscientious and have always made sure that there are vegan options for me! This makes me really happy! Usually, when I attend something where lunch is provided, I have to find out ahead of time what the menu is. If a vegan option can’t be added, then I just bring my own. As I always say, “I don’t mind bringing my own lunch, I just need to know.” At my Lunch Club, I don’t even have to ask anymore. I can rely on my colleagues to consider all dietary wants and needs!

My Lunch Club partner and I don’t have to make lunch for another month, but we started talking about it this week. We decided to make Thai Noodle Soup. Now, I’ve never actually had this soup before, let alone made it, but my partner raved about it! Into a big bowl and onto a bed of rice noodles, a spicy broth infused with Thai flavours is ladled, then topped with a variety of tasty and textured toppings. Sounds great! Well, I decided I’d better give this soup a trial run before serving it up for a crowd of people, so I did some Pinterest research and made this Thai Noodle Soup last night for supper. Traditionally, this soup has lots of non-vegan things in it like fish sauce and chicken and meat broth, but I delved deeper into the offerings on Pinterest and found some vegan versions that I was able to combine and adapt until I came up with a recipe that satisfied me. Here it is:

Thai Noodle Soup

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1/2 package rice noodles

2 tsps. coconut oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp. of grated ginger

3 tsps. of minced garlic

2 tbsps. red curry paste *

2 tsps. curry powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 can organic light coconut milk

4 cups vegetable broth

about 6 heads of baby bok choy, chopped

2 tbsps. tamari

2 tbsps. coconut sugar

1 lime, 1/2 of it juiced, 1/2 of it cut into little wedges

1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

bean sprouts

Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Cashews (if you can get them!)

Put the rice noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over to cover. Set aside for a few minutes, then toss and untangle with a fork or spaghetti scoop. Let sit until soft, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the ginger and the garlic and continue to stir and cook for a few more minutes. If the onion mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, add a tablespoon or two of water. Now add the red curry paste, the curry powder and the turmeric. Stir until mixed and coated. Pour in the coconut milk and the vegetable broth. Stir everything together. Bring the broth to a simmer, then add in the baby bok choy and lightly simmer for a couple of minutes. Lower the heat. Stir in the tamari and the coconut sugar and the lime juice. Heat through.

Divide the noodles among 4 big bowls (or two bowls and reserve the other two servings for tomorrow night’s supper). Ladle the broth into the bowls. Top each bowl with a handful of bean sprouts, a generous sprinkling of cilantro, a couple of lime wedges and a few cashews.

Serve with a knife, fork and spoon – “Tom” ate his noodles like spaghetti, rolling the noodles into a ball with a fork onto his spoon, and ate the soup with a spoon; I cut my noodles up with a knife and fork in the bowl, then ate noodles and broth with a spoon.

* check the ingredients on the package of red curry paste. Some have fish sauce and/or shrimp in the ingredients. Vegan paste is available and should be easy to find in a major grocery store.

Other toppings you could use: chopped green onion, small cubes of tofu, finely sliced green cabbage …

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Parsnip Apple Soup

Today is very cold! The temperature dropped 10 degrees from last weekend to this weekend! We’ve even had snow! This kind of quick change in weather and temperature is hard to get used to. Even dressed for the cold, I found myself walking around outside with a tense and hunched up body, daydreaming about beaches in Hawaii!

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I mean, look at it! The trees and bushes are still green (under that snow)! It’s not right! I’m not ready! Brrrr!

Well, when it comes to food and cold weather, what do you think of?

I think of soup!

For lunch today, I had a delicious Tomato Fennel Soup at Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods (http://tractorfoods.com/). Warmed me right up, it did! Later, when I got home and saw that I had parsnips and leeks in my CSA box, I immediately decided to make my own soup.

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I’d just read the latest post on Dishing Up the Dirt and there was a Parsnip and Apple Soup featured so I decided to use that recipe as my guide. I think you’re going to like it!

Parsnip Apple Soup

(adapted from Dishing Up the Dirt, Parsnip and Apple Soup, http://dishingupthedirt.com/recipes/parsnip-apple-soup/)

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scant tbsp. butter (vegan or the real thing)

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 leek, chopped finely

3 parsnips, peeled and chopped in small pieces

1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped in small pieces

3/4 tsp coriander

salt and pepper

2 cups chicken flavoured vegetable stock

1/4 cup cashew cream

Melt and heat the butter and the oil together over medium heat in a medium to large sized pot. Add the leek, parsnips and apple and combine, increasing the heat a little bit. Add in the coriander and salt and pepper (I used several grindings of fresh black pepper and about 1/4 tsp salt). Stir together and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and releasing their juices. If you like, you can add a splash of water to keep the vegetables from sticking. Pour in the stock, cover and simmer over medium to low heat for 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to your desired consistency. (In our household, “Tom” prefers a bit of texture in his soups, so I left a few bits of vegetables in the soup. I think the soup would be quite lovely if you thoroughly puree it too). Stir in the cashew cream, warm through and serve. Yum!

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Vegan Cream Cheese

I am so proud of myself! I made vegan cream cheese today and it’s delicious!

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You know, sometimes I lack confidence in the kitchen. I enjoy cooking and creating delicious and creative vegan dishes and meals, but, most of the time, I follow a recipe. I get a bit anxious about launching off on my own without a recipe to anchor my creativity. Oh yes, there are several dishes I can make off by heart or have invented (humous, various salads and salad dressings, chili, bowls …), but most cooking days find me consulting a recipe. Now, this cream cheese recipe … I based it on Kaylie Johnson’s Dairy Free Paleo Cream Cheese Recipe on the blog Paleo Gluten Free Eats. I followed her recipe, but I wasn’t pleased with the flavour. So, you know what I did? I added a bit of this, a bit of that until I was satisfied. While I was adjusting, I realized that I was feeling confident and sure, that I have enough experience to just go for it. Although I used someone else’s recipe to start, I made this recipe my own. I can truly call it my own because I used what I know, what I like, and made something that worked for me. Yay me! So here it is:

1 cup cashews, soaked

1 1/2 tbsps water

1/8 cup + freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/8 tsp salt

1/16 tsp finely minced garlic

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until very, very smooth. If you are using a high powered blender like a Vitamix, you shouldn’t have to blend for too long to get everything blended and the right consistency. If you have an ordinary blender, like I do, you will have to blend for at least 5 minutes, probably more, scraping down the sides as you go. I was able to keep the blender going while using a spatula to push the mixture from the sides into the middle. This way, the blender didn’t get stuck and I got everything really well blended together.

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This cream cheese is a savoury type, due to the salt and garlic, so use it in that way – on crackers, on bagels, on toast, with tomatoes … whatever your cream cheese thing is! I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure you could use this cream cheese in things like a layered mexican dip or in a salad dressing. Try it and let me know what you think and how you used it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a snack!

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