This is a fancy recipe that I made just for you. And don’t worry, it’s not at all hard to make.
Giving nut cheeses the names of dairy cheeses does a disservice to them – they aren’t at all like dairy cheeses, and the ones that try to be (I’m looking at you, Daiya), do a goopy, plasticy job of trying to get the melt of mozzarella and none of the flavor. Fortunately there are a lot of “artisanal” nut cheeses (from brands like Kite Hill and Treeline) coming out recently that highlight the flavors and textures of nuts – cashews, almonds, macadamias, etc. – to make nut cheeses good in their own right. They aren’t “faux” anything. Hopefully these types of cheeses will break through the label of “vegan food”.
vegan, gluten-free, + a raw beet salad
The mild cranberry beans I’ve called for are great at soaking up sage and garlic flavors – any mild bean would work well here (e.g., Great Northern, Cannellini). After cooking, they are dressed in lots of your best olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper. A simple salad of julienned beets dressed in olive oil and lemon accent the beans with an earthy, tangy crunch. It’s a lovely fall meal and one of those meals that after you’ve made it once, you’ll make a million versions of it for easy dinners and take-to-work lunches. Pick your favorite herb, your favorite beans, your favorite crunchy vegetable and dress with olive oil and lemon, salt and pepper, and you’ve a delicious, fulfilling meal.
Vegan, gluten-free, raw
I am from a family of hungry bears. When we’re hungry, we get mean. I’ve learned that it’s always helpful to have a quick, healthy snack on-hand for those moments when you need food, now.
But these almond-cherry date bars are delicious even if you’re a normal person. They are great to-go snacks as they are light and travel well, so pack them in lunches or on a hiking trip. They are great crumbled into a bowl of almond milk for an easy on-the-go breakfast, great as an afternoon snack (with tea, especially!), and I bet they would be great swirled into ice cream or yogurt or topped with peanut butter.
I have an absurd fear of overmixing baked goods. It’s a legitimate fear: most of the problems with sunken muffins, sad pancakes and chewy scones can be attributed to the unbearable urge to overmix; to beat out those last lumps in the batter; to make sure everything is well distributed.
You gotta let it go, though. Be zen with your mixing. Don’t tempt gluten in the flour to develop and make bread out of your cupcakes. Here’s a good trick for you to avoid the regret inherent in going too far: whisk folding! It’s something my friend C. Mike taught me, and I’m pretty sure he learned it from his holy bible of cooking, Cook’s Illustrated. I have fully incorporated this trick into my baking.
How to do it: After adding your wet mix to the dry (always in this order, think of it as a waterfall on dry rocks), take a whisk and draw it down through and across the batter, then tap it against the side of the bowl to release any clumps. Keep doing this until just combined – as in, there will still be a streak of flour and some lumps in it. It’s okay. Learn to let go.
A note on pancakes! Pancakes are especially susceptible to over-mixing. If you follow the whisk folding technique, you will still have a lot of lumpy dry bits (and if you are a control freak like me, it will drive you crazy). But please: sit down and wait ten minutes. It will allow the liquids to start activating the baking soda and those lumps will get moistened.