I need to make some date paste for some baking I was planning to do. Fruit pastes are a great way to substitute for sugar in recipes and they are so easy to make. They store well in the refrigerator, so you can make a batch and store it for whenever it is needed.
You can make fruit pastes out of just about any dried fruits. Here is the basic recipe using dates. However, you could use dried apricots, mangoes and many other dried fruit.
- 20 Medjool dates
- water, just to cover dates.
In a medium saucepan add dates and water just to cover. Bring water to a boil. remove from heat and let dates soak and plump up, about 20-30 minutes. the dates should be softened and plump.
Transfer dates to a high-speed blender, and some of the water used to plump up the dates. Just enough to cover the dates in the blender.(You probably will not use all the water from the soaking.) Blitz until dates are smooth and creamy.
Refrigerate unused fruit paste in a sealable container.
This sauce is my favorite sauce as of right now. It is very versatile and simple to make. The recipe is generous in portion, so you can use it in multiple recipes. I made this sauce and used it for creamed spinach, which I will share the recipe tomorrow. It was amazing. I also used a portion of this recipe for Creamed Spinach and Tomato Penne – Another outstanding dish. I still have some left, for at least one more meal. It also freezes well. You could portion it out into 1-2 cup portions and freeze it.
I have developed a little short cut to soaking the cashews, which cuts the time down dramatically.
- 2 c raw cashews
- water, just enough to cover the cashews
- 1 c onion, diced
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 c Vegetable Stock
- 3/4 c pinot grigio, divided 1/2 c & 1/4 c (for sautéing)
- 2 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp onion granules
In a medium saucepan add cashews and water (just to cover) and bring to a boil. Once the water begins to boil turn off the heat and let the cashews soak in the water for about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer cashews to a high-speed blender. Set aside.
In the same saucepan add the onions and sauté over medium heat. Cook until onions are translucent and are soft. You do not want any color on them. Add garlic and sauté with onions until the garlic is fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Use the 1/4 c of wine as needed to sauté onions and garlic.
Add onion mixture to the cashews in the high-speed blender, along with the rest of the ingredients: vegetable stock, 1/2 c wine, nutritional yeast and the onion granules. Blend for about 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.
Note: You can use right away, refrigerate or freeze. The sauce will reduce and continue to thicken when using in recipes, so you may need to thin it out with some liquid.
Right now my kitchen smells AMAZING. I am making Basic Vegetable Stock. This is such an easy recipe that there really no reason not to make your own. Just chop – Throw it in the pot – Simmer. EASY.
- 4 carrots, large, peeled, chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 leek, white and green parts, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 qt (8 c) cold water
- 1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 small handful Italian parsley
- 3 sprigs of thyme
Add all the ingredients to a large stockpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 60 – 90 minutes.
Allow stock to cool for about 20 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Let cool and then transfer to a sealable container and store in the refrigerator.
Since baking season is just about upon us. I thought I would share my favorite spices for baking. I almost always use the same ratio of spices in my baked goods. So, instead of measuring each time the same amounts I decided to make up a blend of my favorite baking spices. Now I only have to measure once when I want to bake.
This spice blend is a simple ratio of 3-2-1. After I measured my spices I added them to a small mason jar and shook it like crazy – Done. From now on when you see Baking Spice Blend you will know what I am talking about.
- 3 tbsp cinnamon, ground
- 2 tbsp nutmeg, ground
- 1 tbsp ginger, ground
Measure out the ingredients. Add spices to a small mason jar. Securely fasten lid and shake. Done.
Brown rice can get a little boring. To bump up the flavor I added a few simple ingredients to make this brown rice stand out. This rice can be used for a base for a Buddha bowl, burritos, enchiladas, and even a curry. It is that versatile.
- 1 c brown rice, long grain
- 1 1/4 c water
- 1 c vegetable broth
- 1 recipe Lime Gremolata
Combine brown rice, water and vegetable broth in a medium size saucepan. Bring rice to a boil. Cover saucepan with lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is done.
Fluff rice with fork and stir in Lime Gremolata.
Serve. Eat. Enjoy.
The fresh cilantro in this dressing is a refreshing compliment to a salad. Add this dressing to any kind of salad; bean, legume, grain, greens. It will take your salads up to the next level.
- 3 tbsp cilantro, fresh, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Pinch Himalayan salt and pepper
Combine all the ingredients into a mason jar. Securely seal the lid to the jar and shake. Pour over salad.
Serve. Eat. Enjoy.
This pesto is a nice change from the ordinary green pesto and it is also wonderful for a non-traditional pasta sauce. The peppers have been roasted, which enriches the flavor of the pesto. You could also use the pesto as a sandwich spread or mix it with some vegan mayonnaise and make an aioli. There are so many uses for this pesto.
The pesto can be made in a food processor or blender. Just combine ingredients and blend. Now that is an easy sauce.
- 16 oz. jar roasted bell peppers, drained
- 3 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 tsp garlic clove(s), minced
- 1 tsp All-Purpose Seasoning
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor. blend until smooth.
I made this granola because I was wanting something with a little sweet, but also some crunch. It smells really good in the house when you bake this in the oven. The granola has a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. This granola is great for breakfast, a snack and just because. I love having a healthy and nutritious snack around the house.
- 4 c gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 1/2 c unsweetened coconut, shredded
- 1 c almonds, sliced
- 1 c walnuts, chopped
- 1 c pecans, chopped
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ginger
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine all dry ingredients and stir.
- 1/2 c almond butter
- 1/2 c maple syrup
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Combine wet ingredients into a glass measuring cup.
Microwave mixture for about 30 seconds to melt almond butter.
Pour almond butter mixture over dry ingredients and stir thoroughly.
Bake in oven for 2 hours. Turn oven off and leave in oven until granola is set. Break up into pieces.
Share. Eat. Enjoy.
This is a wonderful substitute for dairy sour cream. It has the perfect tang that you come to expect from sour cream. You can use this to replace dairy sour cream in any recipe. Other than soaking the cashews, it only takes about 60-90 seconds to make this condiment.
There is no reason why you cannot have this in your refrigerator anytime. You can also freeze this in portions if you choose to do so.
- generous pinch of Himalayan Salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
- 3/4 c water, more if needed
- 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 c raw cashews, soaked, drained, rinsed
Combine all the ingredients into a high speed blender. Blitz ingredients until they are creamy and smooth. If needed add more water 1 tablespoon at a time.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am taking a Whole Foods Plant Based (WFPB) cooking class. This is from one of the assignments with my own tweaks. The dressing is very versatile. You can use for salad or for a dip for homemade tortilla chips or veggies.
- 1 – 1 1/2 c almond milk, unsweetened (start with 1 c)
- 1 avocado, pitted and diced
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp Smokey Southwestern Seasoning
- 1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
- 1 tbsp dill, dried
- 3 tbsp chives, minced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Himalayan salt to taste
Combine all ingredients into blender (except chives). Blitz until ingredients are creamy.
Add more milk if needed for desired consistency. Stir in chives. Season with salt to taste.
Serve. Eat. Enjoy.