In our March weekend of classes at the Natural Kitchen Cooking School, we were given The Saucy Vegetarian by Jo Stepaniak, a favorite vegan cookbook author and inspiration. One of our assignments was to choose a recipe from the book and to make it this past month. It was a difficult process as there are so many wonderful recipes for sauces and dressings in Jo’s book, but I decided to take the easy route and make a dressing that incorporated ingredients I had on hand. I also was intrigued by trying a dressing that used sesame oil, as that has never been an oil option I considered for a salad dressing. I chose the sesame cilantro vinaigrette which featured ingredients like sesame oil, cilantro, and fresh lime juice (along with a few more) that came together smashingly! It was tangy, refreshing, and had a very nice savory flavor. I served it over a romaine salad with carrots and toasted pumpkin seeds. Divine!
Tuxedo Cat Dinner, Gluten-free, Lunch Ancient Harvest, balsamic vinegar, cream of broccoli soup, Jo Stepaniak, mac and cheese, Natural Kitchen Cooking School, pumpkin seeds, salad, shiitake bacon, spinach, Vegan Vittles
As a lover of macaroni and cheese, it’s always exciting to find a new vegan recipe. We made a vegan baked mac & cheeze adapted from Vegan Vittles by Jo Stepaniak in our latest Natural Kitchen Cooking School class. The recipe got its creamy texture, natural coloring, and nutritional value from cashews, nutritional yeast, and pimientos. In addition to the spices included in the recipe, I added fresh onions, garlic, and cayenne pepper to give it an extra punch of flavor. The cheeze sauce alone can be used for numerous other dishes, such as nachos, or in a small slow cooker for dipping crudites, bread, or crackers. The possibilities are endless!
For the pasta, I used Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Shells. Simply amazing! It is difficult to tell that these shells are gluten-free and they held onto the cheeze sauce like you’d expect them to. The pasta was baked in a 4 ounce ramekin, which made it not only adorable to eat, but also helped to reduce the chance of overeating (as you will want to keep devouring this cheezy goodness)! The dish was garnished with gluten-free bread crumbs, paprika, and parsley.
I served the mac and cheeze alongside cream of broccoli soup topped with shiitake bacon and a spinach salad with english cucumbers, toasted pumpkins seeds, and balsamic vinegar. This is one meal you won’t want to miss! In the words of Corey from Say Anything, “Get ready for greatness, Lloyd!”
For our “Sauces, Dressings, and Condiments” weekend at the Natural Kitchen Cooking School, we were challenged to come up with our own dressing based on the formula in The Saucy Vegetarian by Jo Stepaniak.
Since I had an abundance of parsley in the fridge and a lovely Blushing Peach Balsamic Vinegar by F. Oliver’s (a local oils and vinegars business) in the cupboard, I decided to make this simple salad dressing.
Parsley Peach Balsamic Viniagrette
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Blushing Peach Balsamic Vinegar
1 TB Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
handful of fresh chopped parsley
Blend all ingredients in a regular blender or with an immersion blender. Serve with your favorite salad or entree.
This was a tangy, sweet, and refreshing dressing to change up the basic oil and vinegar dressings most of us are accustomed to. I’d definitely make it again with some variations with the green herbs added to it. Enjoy!
Tuxedo Cat Convenience foods, Dinner, Gluten-free, Lunch Beyond Meat™, Biz Stone, cajun, carrots, chicken, Dinosaur BBQ, Evan Williams, fajitas, mojito, New Jersey, peppers, Princeton, tortillas, Twitter, Whole Foods
On a recent trip to Princeton, New Jersey, we went into the local Whole Foods because I heard that they carry the new Beyond Meat™ chicken strips. Low and behold, they were right in the food bar, where you could load up on as much as you’d like! If you haven’t been following the
faux soy meat news lately, this brand is backed by vegan Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and Evan Williams and is supposed to revolutionize the plant-based protein game. Many attest that it is difficult to tell these strips apart from their animal counterpart.
The Beyond Meat™ chicken strips are soy based and gluten-free (and yes, processed) but are great for those transitioning to a veg diet, those wanting to reduce their animal consumption, or the occasional treat for die-hard whole food fans. I decided to make them very simply in a fajita-style wrap with green and red peppers, onions, and cajun spices. I marinated the strips for about an hour or so in Dinosaur BBQ Mojito Marinade. I cooked them on a cast iron grill while I sauteed the peppers and onions with Dinosaur BBQ Cajun Foreplay Spice Rub and a light spraying of olive oil. I served them in soft tortillas with salsa, a squeeze of lime, and fresh cilantro along with a side of local curried pickled carrots from our CSA.
I thought they were good and very chicken-like, but they felt very dense and heavy in the mouth. Mr. Tuxedo Cat thought they were the best plant-based chicken protein to come out to-date. I still have a soft spot in my heart for Gardein chicken products, but these certainly take a close second. I want to stock up on some more next time I’m in Whole Foods again (as they are in select markets and only available in bulk, not prepackaged yet). Definitely pick up some if you get the chance and do your own experimentation! The chickens will thank you for it.
One of my favorite meals to date since I have been attending the Natural Kitchen Cooking School has been this one. I do not eat nearly as much pasta as I used to back in my college days. Many weeks can go by when I don’t touch the stuff at all since my palate has become more sophisticated and I have learned to do more than just boil water. So the fact that this dish has tickled my fancy says quite a lot.
For our weekend of “Dressings, Sauces, and Condiments,” we were in for a real treat. Some of my earlier experiences with gluten-free pasta were not very positive. Getting the chance to try Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta really changed my opinion of GF noodles. If I didn’t know they were GF, I would have never guessed they were.
I have made many pesto recipes since going vegan, but I have never considered using peas. I do not usually even like peas, so it was a surprise to find myself liking this dish as much as I did. The pesto consisted of pine nuts, olive oil, peas, miso, basil, and a couple of other ingredients. For this recipe, I was too cheap to buy the pine nuts, so I replaced them with slivered almonds. No harm, no foul. Still delicious, creamy, and packed with vitamins A and C. When we made this dish in class, I liked the pesto so much that I literally licked my plate clean. Too good for words!
One of the best (and simplest) recipes to come out of this weekend’s class was for shiitake bacon (from a recipe adapted from Alexandra Jamieson’s Delicious Vitality blog). Neither myself, nor Mr. Tuxedo Cat have any love for mushrooms. We avoid them at all costs usually. This fakin’ bacon is no joke. It’s salty, crispy, very bacon-like, and multifaceted. We have used it on many different dishes since I started making it and Mr. TC even commented that this was his favorite food I’ve made to date and made my tuition all worth it. This is a huge compliment coming from him!
The last recipe we made to complement the meal was cashew parmesan. This “cheese” consisted of only raw cashews, nutritional yeast, and salt. It was a great topping on the pasta and one I plan to use on pizza in the near future. It provided another complexity, depth, and crunch to the finished dish.
This is a meal to make for guests, gluten-free folks, or anyone that loves a great pasta dish. Superb!