Stella’s Garlic Cashew Dressing

garliccashewdressing

This stuff is addictive. You will be tempted to eat it with a spoon. Or pour it straight out of the jar into your mouth.

And it’s okay if you do, because it’s super healthy and packed full of good stuff, like turmeric–a powerful anti-inflammatory, packed with antioxidants, that’s good for digestive and liver problems, as well as skin diseases. Garlic, in addition to being one of the tastiest foodstuffs in existence, is also very healthy. Cashews, like all nuts, are packed with protein, and they’re also rich in iron and zinc. The FDA calls them “brainpower boosters.” Their rich, sweet flavor makes a great base for sauces and soups. I think cashews are my favorite nut (sorry, pecans!).

1 cup cashews
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt, to taste
water

1. In a small electric mixer or blender, mix cashews, garlic, turmeric, and half the olive oil. Stop mixing; use a spoon to scrape down any chunks from the sides of the bowl/blender. Continue mixing. Drizzle remaining olive oil slowly into the mixer.

2. Add a pinch of salt and blend some more. Taste; add more salt if desired. Mix again.

3. Add water as needed to achieve desired consistency.*

4. Pour into an air-tight container and store in the fridge.

Twists: add fresh herbs like basil or cilantro, or some curry powder for an even richer, more complex flavor.

 

*I usually use about a half cup of water per cup of nuts, but you might add more for a thinner dressing. A thicker sauce can be used as a dip for raw vegetables–mmm! I also like to leave it just the tiniest bit crunchy (see the photo below), but if you blend it a bit longer, you can make it nice and creamy-smooth.

garliccashewdressing2

Habanero-Infused Olive Oil

Habanero-Infused Olive Oil

Check out this habanero-infused olive oil we threw together after our recent, massive chile harvest. Spicy! I’m hooked!

~2 cups extra virgin olive oil
4-6 fresh habanero chiles, washed

1. Wear latex gloves.

2. Choose a cutting board that is not super-absorbent (such as glass), or, even better, have a dedicated chile-cutting board. You could also line your cutting board with a plastic bag, being careful not to pierce the bag when cutting. Slice habaneros as desired and set cutting board aside.

3. Fill a glass container (Mason jar, recycled and washed olive oil or salad dressing bottle) half full (or so) with olive oil. Add the peppers to the olive oil, leaving some room for air at the top.

4. Wrap a paper towel or cheesecloth around the mouth of the jar and secure with twine (don’t use a rubber band!). Microwave the oil on high for a few seconds, watching closely, or until it comes just to a near-boil—just bubbling. Do not let the olive oil boil, or you will have a huge mess on your hands.

5. If you used a paper towel for the cover, remove it and replace with a fresh one. Turn the bottle or jar upside down and drain the oil into another container (any material will do—I used a Martha Steward plastic fridge containers!). Place in the refrigerator upside-down and allow the oil to cool until it’s solid. Discard chile hulls and seeds; we use ours for compost.

6. Remove the container and pour off any water that has separated. Allow the olive oil to return to liquid form at room temperature. Pour the infused oil back into the glass container and put the lid on. Eccola! Habanero-infused olive oil!

Mmm.

Habanero-Infused Olive Oil

I added a couple more slices to this, for extra kick and pretty presentation!

Old Bay Baked Fries

You may’ve seen my salmon burger a couple of weeks back, in a This Week’s Eats post. The burger was a frozen salmon patty, leftover Stella’s Spicy Fish Sauce, and red onion on toasted bagel thins (I love these things! A regular bagel is just too much bread for me).

Well, here’s the easy-peasy recipe for the baked Old Bay French fries I served on the side.  This is one you won’t even need to refer to, after making it once!  So quick and tasty.  Obviously, the Old Bay flavor goes really well with fish, so this is my go-to side for salmon burgers and salmon croquettes!

4 large Idaho or Russet potatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
~1 heaping Tbsp Old Bay seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 450°.  Meanwhile, rinse the potatoes and cut them into 1/4″ strips (as below.;  You can also use a mandolin, but I find that for a small to moderate batch, it’s just as fast to cut by hand.

2. Drizzle the olive oil in a large baking dish or cookie sheet.  Add the fries and Old Bay and mix thoroughly by hand.

3. Smooth out fries so that they are as close as possible to a single layer.  This will help them cook evenly and turn out nice and crunchy.  Bake for 25 or 30 minutes, or until browned and crispy.  I usually stir them up and turn them over once during baking, halfway through.

4. Remove and serve immediately.

Serves 2-4.

Paleo Pumpkin Pudding

While browsing the Paleo in Portland blog, I came across this tempting butternut squash pudding, which she, in turn, had adapted from paleOMG’s Sugar Detox Carrot Cake Pudding.

Having neither carrots nor butternut squash on hand, I decided to take it up another notch and make pumpkin pudding. This recipe is adapted from both Paleo in Portland and paleOMG.

15 oz. puréed pumpkin (1 can) – or use fresh!
2 Tbsp coconut milk
2 Tbsp almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp honey (optional*)

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and purée to desired smoothness. For a silkier finish, drizzle in more coconut milk, a tiny bit at a time.

That’s it! Enjoy!

Serves 2-4.

Of course, I made this non-paleo by adding whipped cream to the top! But it’s pretty wonderful on its own, too. If I’d had any grated coconut, I would’ve used it.

*I buy local, raw honey from Round Rock at the Austin Farmer’s Market.

I’m in this month’s Marie Claire!

A few months ago, I was interviewed by writer Jessica Girdwain for a piece she was writing on ex-vegans and health.

I’m pleased to announce that the article, “The Vegan Myth,” was published in this month’s Marie Claire magazine, and you can read it in its entirety right here!

For more background on my experience being vegan and why I left veganism, check out my interview with Rhys at Let Them Eat Meat.