January 8, 2014
vegan cashew cream basil lemon pasta

I learned how to make a rich Alfredo sauce from a chef named Rose while in college at WWU. I was working at Sadighi’s, an outdated “fine dining” restaurant ran by Mr. Sadighi and his 70 year-old chef Rose. If you’ve lived Bellingham, you know which place I’m talking about. I was the hostess/busser/official napkin folder, but we never had more than six tables (total) on a Friday or Saturday night. Evenings were spent in the kitchen with just the three of us, and if I was lucky, Rose would make me dinner. She made the sauce from scratch with just a pan, spatula, fresh cream, garlic and a touch of dijon. The result was heavy, coma-inducing and delicious. When I took the first bite of this vegan version, it immediately took me back to that small kitchen and those weekend nights spent with Rose and Mr. Sadighi. It’s that kind of rich.

Ingredients

– 1 cup Raw Whole Cashews
– Water
– 8 ounces Dry Pasta (I used Bucatini)
– 1 Shallot, minced
– 2 cloves Garlic, minced
– 1 handful Basil, washed and chopped
– 1/2 handful Italian Parsley, washed and chopped
– Juice from 1/2 Lemon
– Salt & Pepper to taste
– Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

In a bowl, cover cashews with cold water, cover and place in the fridge to soak over night. Drain and rinse the cashews once softened. In a Cuisinart or Vitamix, add cashews and cover with fresh water, about an inch above the cashews. Blend until very smooth. Set aside.

In a large pot, boil pasta in salted water until just al dente. Set aside 2 cups of pasta water and drain. In a large saute pan, saute shallot in olive oil over low/medium heat until tender. Add garlic and continue to saute. Add 1 cup of pasta water and stir. Add pasta and add an additional cup of pasta water. Add cashew cream (I used about 1/2 cup and an extra 1 Tbsp, but add more/less based on your taste). Stir the pasta with the cashew cream until coated. Salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh basil and parsley, continuing to stir over low/medium heat. Feel free to add more pasta water if the sauce seems too thick for your liking. Once the pasta is well incorporated with the sauce, season again to taste and squeeze lemon juice over the top of the dish. Don’t be too heavy handed – you can always add more lemon to taste. Serve immediately.

You’ll have leftover cashew cream. Explore the different ways you can use it!

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August 18, 2012

Those oddly shaped tomatoes you see at the grocery store? Pick them up! They’re full of deliciousness. With creamy Burrata and fresh basil, this salad is as simple as you can get, while packing a lot of flavor and visual punch. 

Ingredients

– Heirloom Tomatoes Burrata Mozzarella
– Fresh Basil
– Sea Salt Flakes
– Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions

Remove the cores of the tomatoes and chop into wedges. Carefully slice mozzarella (it’s filled with creaminess, so it won’t be perfect). On a plate arrange tomatoes and put a few pieces of burrata on top. Add lots of fresh basil and season with salt & pepper.

I was planning on uploading some pictures from last weekend’s trip to Long Island, but I have to scoot to see Imperial Teen at the Knitting Factory. I haven’t seen them live in something like 5 years and I love me some 90’s indie pop a little too much. Remember their song Yoo Hoo from the Jawbreaker soundtrack?

Next Friday at 7:00pm, I’ll be doing a Hungry on Spreecast with Shea of Hungry in Brooklyn. We’re going to talk about vegetarian food and our favorite places to eat in Brooklyn! You can participate too, so make sure to check it out!

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May 31, 2010

Chicago was upwards of 88 degrees yesterday, and after spending several hours on Lake Michigan (new love of my life) we hit up the Lincoln Park Whole Foods (second new love of my life) and went to work on creating our deep dish pizza dinner.  We needed some snacks and cocktails to keep us going during the 3 hour pizza prep, and this is what we came up with.  I’ve made this brushcetta before, and since avocados were on sale, it seemed time to give it another go. 

Avocado Chimichurri Brushcetta (via  Couture Au Chocolat)
2 ripe avocados 1/4 cup chopped parsley (I didn’t use parsley) 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (if not using cilantro, compensate with parsley) 1/2 shallot finely diced 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar 1 tbsp. honey Olive oil enough to bring everything together Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices of thick Italian bread (or baguette) Olive oil to brush on slices of bread 1 garlic, peeled and cut in half
Cut the avocados in half, take out the pit, and cut avocado into cubes.
Combine avocados, parsley, cilantro, shallots, red wine vinegar, honey and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Brush olive oil on slices of bread and grill on each side for a couple of minutes, or toast in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 min.
Rub the cut side of a raw garlic on grilled or toasted bread slices. Spread avocado mixture on bread and serve.
(I didn’t do a good job of following the recipe here, so I was lacking in the amount of cilantro… still was delicious.)Ever since I made the mash of blueberry, basil and lemon to my Dutch Babies, I’ve wanted to incorporate it into a  drink.  Melissa loves a good cocktail, so I knew she’d be on board.  She mixed up the concoction while I worked on the brushcetta.  My intuition was right – the mash tasted great in a gin drink. Perfect for the hot weather!

Blueberry Basil Gin Swizzle 1/2 cup blueberries1 lemon (just the juice!)1/3 cup of chopped fresh basil1 tbls powdered sugardash of simple syrup2 ounces of ginclub soda
Mash the blueberries, lemon and basil and mix in sugar.  Add a few tbls to the bottom of a glass, add in remaining ingredients.  Use a swizzle to mix the ingredients together.  We recommend a straw for maximum enjoyment.


May 13, 2010

It’s still rainy and gray here in Brooklyn, which makes me feel like I’m back in good ol’ Washington.  Because of that, and because it was Mother’s Day on Sunday, I decided to make one of my mom’s “signature dishes”… in particular, a breakfast dish my mom made all the time for us growing up: Dutch Babies.  You may know this as a “german pancake,” but in our household, it was Dutch Babies all the way.  In fact, if you ever slept over at the Pickard household, you’ve probably had this before. 

Dutch Babies (via All Recipes)
2 eggs 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour (I did not sift.) 1 pinch ground nutmeg (I used vanilla extract cause I’m not a nutmeg fan) 1 pinch salt 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar for dusting DirectionsPlace a 10 inch cast iron skillet (I used a square baking pan) inside oven and preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).In a medium bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until light. Add milk and stir. Gradually whisk in flour, nutmeg and salt. Remove skillet from oven and reduce oven heat to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt butter in hot skillet so that inside of skillet is completely coated with butter. Pour all the batter in the skillet and return skillet to oven. Bake until puffed and lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove promptly and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Mine turned out sort of sad since I halved the recipe (for my baby oven), but were still delicious!  Instead of my childhood favorite of more butter and piles of powdered sugar, I decided to make a more sophisticated topping for the pancake.. Let’s call this:
Blueberry and Basil “Compote”
Ingredients:1 cup blueberries1/4 cup chopped basilJuice from 1 lemon2-3 tbls powdered sugar
Put ingredients in a bowl and mash with whatever you have to mash with.
You can pile as much or as little of this on top of your Dutch Baby.
Next came my first adventure in tempeh.  Tempeh is a strange combo of grains and tofu and who knows what else that looks pretty gross uncooked.

but as a veggie bacon, it’s much more visually appealing.

Tempeh Bacon (vegan) (via Lunch Box Bunch)  (some people hate tempeh. It is a bit nutty, but I enjoy it.. especially on a sandwich.)5 ounces tempeh (2/3 a standard 8 ounce pack)1-2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup1 Tbsp olive oil1/2 tsp cumina dash of cayenne1 tsp liquid smoke (or BBQ spices)1 tsp soy sauce1/2 tsp thick black pepperfor pan: 1 tsp olive oil*if you don’t have liquid smoke use any of these BBQ spice combos:(garlic, pepper, paprika and onion)To make:Very thinly slice the tempeh. (if anyone knows how to do this, please let me know. Mine was not thin enough.Combine all ingredients in a shallow dish.Soak tempeh in marinade for 1-2 minutes.Turn saute pan on high, add 1 tsp olive oil.Lay the tempeh flat on skillet. One layer only. Drizzle a bit of excess marinade onto skillet-it should be sizzling a lot now.Allow to cook for 1 minute, then flip.Allow to cook for another minute on other side-or until both sides are crisp and browned.Lay cooked tempeh on parchment paper to cool.For a crisper tempeh bacon, do not pour excess marinade in skillet, and allow all liquid to steam off of pan while cooking.(This tasted fine, but cutting it thin was impossible, which meant the marinade didn’t.. marinate enough.  Live and learn.)Caramelized Grapefruit(I got this idea from a similar thing on the menu at Egg. They used mint, which I didn’t have… but it was fine without.)
1/2 grapfruit (per serving)1 tbls of brown sugarHeat up a pan to medium heat.  Place grapefruit flatside down for about a minute. Turn over and sprinkle the top with brown sugar.  Place back down in the pan.  Sugar will begin to bubble and caramelize.  Remove from heat.

I really can’t get over how good that combo of basil, blueberry and lemon is.  I may eat it every day forever.