Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No-Bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie - Gluten Free

I fully intended to grow pumpkins this fall, but with the extended summer weather I was fooled into believing I still had time to plant. I waited too long. Fortunately, the great pumpkin shortage of 2009 is over and canned pumpkin is available at the grocery stored. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene ruined much of the pumpkin crop in the northeast, so you might want to stock up now if pumpkin recipes are a part of your holiday cooking tradition.

This pie is one result of my search for plant based foods that my father will eat and actually enjoy. The crust recipe is made from dates and nuts and comes from the Engine 2 Diet, by Rip Esselstyn, a top professional triathlete and now a professional firefighter. The filling is based on a recipe from Love Veggies and Yoga, with a few alterations. It's topped with a cashew cream whipped concoction that tastes as rich as dairy cream, without the dairy. If you plan to make cashew cream, you should begin the night before you intend to use it. If you like it, make a good sized batch. It keeps for several days in the refrigerator, and it can be frozen, too.

Take it out of the freezer at least 30 minutes before serving. The filling is substantial enough to serve at room temp, where I think you get the most out of the pumpkin and spice flavors.

No-Bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Monday, October 10, 2011

White Bean Soup with Herbs

Fall is finally in the air here in North Central Florida and this earthy, flavorful soup is a perfect way to celebrate the cooler temperatures. It's easy to make, and if you use canned beans you can have it on the table in about 30 minutes. This soup gets its flavor from the unbeatable trinity of a carrot, celery, and onion mire pois, along with the addition of lemon and a splash of Marsala wine.

The optional topping comes from Michael Chiarello.

White beans are high in fiber and low in fat. They are appropriate for a diabetic diet, and are a good source of other nutrients, as well. Combine with rice or other whole grains for a complete protein.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons are said to be the "secret ingredient" that gives Moroccan and Middle Eastern foods that special flavor that can be so elusive. They can be used in many dishes, from main meals to desserts. I've been meaning to make them for a long time and when I saw them again recently on a cooking show (wish I could remember which one), I decided the time had come. Although you can order these online, or find them at a specialty market if you are lucky enough to have one of those nearby, they are easy to make yourself. Of course, you have to wait a month before you can use them, but I figured that would give me plenty of time to find recipes to make using these flavorful fruits.

Recipes abound for making these, and I researched multiple sources, but I want to give special credit to Sprouted Kitchen for the clear, simple to follow directions and beautiful photographs. It's a simple process requiring only a large Mason jar, a bag of Meyer (or other) lemons, some salt, and a few spices if you are so inclined. Not all recipes call for the additional spices, but I could not resist the urge to add a few extras.