Spicy Thai Noodles

When it comes to noodles, it’s all about the sauce. This one is full of flavor, without any added oil. The blend of sesame paste, tamarind and tamari along with the sweetness of dates, creates a sauce with complexity. The added kick of sriracha brings in just the right amount of heat.

Spicy Thai Noodles

1 Tbsp tamarind paste
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp tamari or nama shoyu
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/4 tsp thai curry paste or sriracha
2 pitted dates, soaked in warm water for about 20 minutes
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup water (or more if you want a thinner consistency)

Blend all ingredients together and toss with noodles and vegetables to coat. May be served cold or hot.

–recipe adapted from choosingraw.com

Cheezy Sauce

You don’t have to give up nachos for a vegan diet, most of us know that now. With all the “faux” cheeses available, there’s no excuse not to give up that one dairy food that keeps many of us on the fence between vegetarian and vegan.

That being said– I have a real problem with processed fake cheese products. Number one, the fat content is super high. The sodium is often very high as well. I try to stick pretty close to nature in my dishes, and I found a really great all-purpose cheezy sauce recipe in “Veganomicon” by Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

I took their already wonderful recipe and tweaked it just a bit,  removing the oil, thus creating a fat-free sauce that tastes great! Pour it over baked nacho chips with all the fixins’ and I promise you will never miss that extra fat and calories.

Cheezy Sauce

2 cups vegetable broth or water

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon water

3 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch of dried thyme (crumbled in your fingers)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard

Method:

Combine the broth and flour in a measuring cup and whisk with a fork until dissolved ( a couple of lumps are okay). Preheat a non-stick saucepan over medium-low heat. Place the water and garlic in the pan and gently cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often.

Add the thyme, salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 15 seconds. Add the broth, turmeric, and yeast flakes, and raise the heat to medium. Use a plastic coated whisk to stir constantly. The mixture should start bubbling and thickening in about 3 minutes; if it doesn’t, turn the heat a bit higher.

Once the mixture is bubbling and thickening, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and mustard. Taste for salt, turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep warm until ready to use. Serve warm.

Warm Apple Crisp

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I look forward to the cooler temperatures,  anticipating the fun of preparing for the upcoming holidays, my birthday, and the food–the glorious food!

I especially love the warm flavors that mark the fall holidays. The smell of pumpkin, cinnamon and cloves, toasted nuts, vanilla. Kitchen aromas can be so evocative, full of fond memories of holidays past.

I am a big fan of warm apple anything: pie, crumble, cobbler, brown betty…you name it. A crisp is an easy, low-fat way to indulge my craving. This one is kicked up with a splash of Calvados, just for fun!

Warm Apple Crisp

Filling:

4 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced ( I use 2 granny smith and 2 golden delicious)

2 tablespoons water or apple juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons sucanat

1 1/2 oz Calvados  or other apple brandy (optional)

Topping:

5 vegan graham crackers (Nabisco original in the red box is vegan)

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup raisins (soaked for at least 1/2 hour in hot water, covered)

2 tablespoon walnuts, toasted and finely chopped (optional)

1 tablespoon sucanat

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Method:

Filling: Heat water or apple juice in non-stick skillet on medium high heat. When it starts to bubble, add apples and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Carefully, off the heat,  add brandy then return and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and sugar, and reduce heat, stirring and allowing sugar to melt and become syrupy. Add a bit more water or juice if needed.

Transfer apples to a 1 quart casserole or 8 x 8 baking dish, VERY lightly coated with non-stick spray.

Topping:  Crumble crackers into a food processor and pulse a few times to grind into crumbs. Add the oats, cinnamon and sucanat and pulse once more just to combine. Finally, add the drained raisins and process just until mixture comes together to form a streusal-like texture.

Crumble topping evenly over filling and bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Suggested accompaniment: Vanilla Hemp Ice Cream

 

Cilantro Lime Salsa

 

 

Tonight was nacho night and we made the grocery run for the usual ingredients:  black beans, corn, serrano peppers, tortilla chips. When we got to the salsa aisle, though, the labels stopped me dead in my tracks.

I couldn’t bring myself to buy jarred salsa, knowing what I know now, about the acceptable ratio of sodium to calories per serving. The healthy ratio is 1:1. For example if the salsa contains 10 calories per serving, it should contain no more than 10 milligrams of sodium per serving. Pace brand salsa, has 230 milligrams per 10 calorie serving (2 Tbsp.). Who eats only 2 tablespoons of salsa?

So, I decided to create my own salsa, using salt-free canned tomatoes. It was actually very easy and quick. And tasted way better than salsa from a jar!

Cilantro Lime Salsa

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice, no salt added

1/4 onion, red or white, finely diced

1-2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced

1/2 fresh jalapeno or serrano pepper, finely minced (optional)

Handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice of one fresh lime

Sea salt to taste

Method:

Combine all ingredients well and taste for seasoning. Add sea salt as desired.  Store in airtight container in refrigerator at least 1/2 hour to allow flavors to blend. Keeps about 1 week, refrigerated. Happy, healthy munching!