Have you ever purchased a tomato mid-December? I have. And it is a mistake each and every time. Mealy, barely pink, but always with a facade of a beautifully ripened skin *how oh how does Whole Foods make all their produce look so perfect?! Must be the lighting.*
With summer days dwindling I am growing more and more appreciative of summer tomatoes and the absolute importance of eating seasonally and locally. Opt to purchase seasonal and local whenever possible. I promise you’ll taste a difference…and you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint in the process! I made sure to use some of these sweet tomatoes in my salad today before they’re all gone :(.
After a short (6 minute) elliptical bout and very welcomed interruptive Skype chat with my best friend Andrea, I knew I had to finish my workout. So, I hopped back on after Andrea and I caught up and I ended up on the machine for another 48 minutes! I really couldn’t believe myself. I always get SO bored on workout equipment. I spent a little time packing/organizing my disaster of a closet after that, and suddenly felt famished! Lunch was in order.
This was a slew of CSA ingredients (a very long, curly lettuce—like a hybrid of arugala and frisee, tomater, green pepper) and store-bought organic produce (leftover steamed cauliflower, zucchini, and amazing sugar snap peas.) I ended up topping the salad off with a couple of dry roasted walnuts—just for good measure. But the real star of this sally was the dressing!
Creamy (Vegan) Dressing
3 tablespoons tahini paste
2 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I used the raw Bragg’s version)
1 teaspoon ground ginger (I used dry, powder ginger because that’s all I had on hand but fresh would be best!)
1/4 teaspoon agave nectar
1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1. Put tahini paste and water in a small bowl and whisk til thinned.
2. Add vinegar, agave, and lemon juice.
3. Finish by adding ginger and cayenne and stir.
Serve over a salad or combine and pour over vegetables before roasting.
Growing up in a fairly traditional Jewish and thereby kosher home meat meals were never accompanied by rich, cream or cheese based sauces. It wasn’t until my mid-teens and admittedly non-kosher eating that I discovered the world of butter based sauces coupled with meat dishes. With all do respect, this concept grossed me out. My palette had been trained to appreciate tomato based or citrus sauces coupled with red meat and poultry. I didn’t feel I had been missing out and I do believe that my waistline has remained reasonably thin as a result of this omission.
Nevertheless, as my father smoked a turkey breast for dinner the other night in our outdoor smoker, and as my mother flash-steamed a slew of broccoli and baby artichokes—I knew a creamy sauce was missing. After all—if there is absolutely any better coupling than peanut butter and jelly it is…broccoli and cheese. Knowing my endeavor would fall short of cream, butter, and cheese, I needed to use my household vegan resources.
Behold, nutritional yeast.
Now, if you come upon nutritional yeast in your local natural food store, you may be uncomfortably surprised by the looks of it. The truth is: nutritional yeast looks like fish food. Flakey and awkward and often packaged in a shake bottle—just like the shrimp or sardine flavored stuff that goes into a goldfish bowl. Fear not though, the results are absolutely fantastic. Creamy, cheesy, and flavorful with an impressive list of nutrients like vitamin B12 (yup, the vitamin in red meat!)
(Adapted from Dailygarnish.com)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 T Earth Balance (or any natural, vegan butter-substitute)
1 C water
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t paprika
2 T millet flour*
*My home in Piermont is mostly gluten-free as both my parents have a gluten intolerance. You can use millet or brown rice flour, or arrowroot powder to thicken sauce or regular WW flour would work, too!
1. Melt earth balance in medium sized saucepan, add water and bring to a light boil.
2. Add spices and nutritional yeast. Whisk in flour, bring to a boil, and simmer.
I doused this sauce all over steamed artichoke, roasted potatoes, and broccoli. Do the same or use it as a perfect sauce for vegan and natural mac & cheese!