We all know that ‘mushroom bacon’ is not really bacon. I’m talking about “bacon”. And while I get annoyed with food marketed as something else (tofurky), nothing communicates quite like a good metaphor in air quotes. So, while I’m not going to fool the pork lovers out there, using the ‘B’ word is aptly descriptive. It infers what you’re going to get; an earthy, dense bite of savory, slightly salty immune-boosting goodness.
No, I won’t bash legit bacon. I have nephews who would never forgive me if I did. But, it’s good to know that these umami bombs are totally unprocessed. And even more important, they are free from the cancer-causing nitrates added to many processed meats. Continue reading →
Rich and tangy, even omnivores should give this simple vegan sour cream recipe a try. In about five minutes you’ll have a delicious dairy-free, and luscious condiment for soups, wraps, and of course, mexican food. Yet, this vegan sour cream has only a fraction of the saturated fat you’ll find in dairy sour cream. And, compared to many commercial vegan versions, making your own saves you from a laundry list of stabilizers and preservatives.
If you think tofu is a four letter word, you’ll likely be surprised. Blending the seasonings with extra firm or firm tofu results in a wonderfully smooth and creamy texture. If you’re watching calories, stick with the 2 tablespoon of oil for a lighter version. Otherwise, to get the most sour cream-like mouth feel, use the full 4 tablespoons. For the thickest texture, squeeze out any excess water from the tofu and reserve the liquid. Then, add back only as much of the liquid as needed to thin out the mixture so it will blend to the texture you want.
BASIC VEGAN SOUR CREAM
Yield: about 1 1/4 cup
8 ounces organic, firm or extra firm tofu
4 green onions, white portion only, roughly chopped (or 1/2 medium shallot)
2-4 tablespoons organic canola oil (or other neutral oil)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Blend all ingredients in a personal or regular blender. Adjust seasoning with sea salt, lemon juice or vinegar as needed. Store covered and refrigerated for three to four days.
When selecting tofu, be sure to buy organic to avoid genetically modified soy. And, to get extra calcium, be sure to look for it on the ingredient panel, likely listed as ‘calcium sulfate’.
Extra unused tofu? After opening, place in covered container and submerge the tofu in fresh water; change water daily.
Vegan sour cream on a purple sweet potato…cause that’s how we roll. Mmmm…purple sweet potatoes. I don’t know what I like best, their creamy texture or the almost smoky flavor. Of course, the pigment of purple foods is rich in anthocyanins, potent antioxidants which support the brain and memory.
Dining out should be relaxing. But, if you have Celiac disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) gluten-free dining requires a bit of detective work —and perhaps a bit of skepticism. The typical recommendations (ask for a gluten-free menu and let the server know about one’s dietary restrictions) are a good start, but may give you a false sense of assurance. As a dietitian who has worked in restaurant kitchens, I want to share some realistic tips for gluten-free dining. Continue reading →
And, Miso Spice makes 8! In the post, ‘7-Tips for Using Miso,’ I shared some miso basics and a few tips for using miso paste in cooking. Now, here’s one more tip for using this detoxifying, gut-friendly, enzyme-rich fermented food. Sprinkle it on savory dishes, showering them with umami goodness. Sprinkle miso on dishes as a condiment? Continue reading →
Last year, on a whim, I entered a vegetarian chili cook-off at my alma mater. It was a festive evening, a great learning experience with my chili won a prize! However, I can’t share the recipe with you, because I didn’t use one. But, read on and check out the guidelines I always use and customize each time -as you should as well. Continue reading →
Detox drinks anyone?! January means simultaneously starting fresh and taking it back a notch. We celebrate the new year and our bodies by getting back to (ideally) the best of our pre-holiday patterns. Whether you are doing a full-on cleanse, whole30, or just Dryanuary, you’re likely taking a break from alcohol, perhaps sugar and caffeine as well. But, that can leave a lifestyle and flavor void to fill —as in what are your options for detox drinks? Filtered water and more filtered water? Even if you flavor it up with lemon, mint or ginger, liquid boredom will eventually set in.
Following are 7 health-supportive detox beverages I’ll have on rotation this month. These DIY drinks are not only non-alcoholic and caffeine-free, they have no refined sugar, don’t require a juicer and they’re rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Hopefully these ideas will help you stick with your health resolutions —and get you through what might have been your coffee breaks or happy hours.
Turmeric tofu scramble is a quick and savory option for any day. But, with its gorgeous sunshine yellow, this dish is also festive enough for guests. With about 8 grams of plant protein, it provides stable, yet light nourishment to start your day. Serve it with the suggested sides and toppings below, or bundle it up in a whole grain wrap and take it to go.
Not only quick and nutritious, this dish is also what I refer to as ‘a turmeric delivery mechanism’. That’s right, per serving, the scramble gives you a quarter teaspoon of turmeric, the anti-inflammatory ‘spice for life’. Further, it uses all three ways to get the most from curcumin by using the whole turmeric spice and includes both fat and black pepper to maximize bioavailability.
If you shoved your baking staples to back of your cabinet since last holiday season, you may need this baking soda and baking powder test. Because, just like your other ingredients, baking soda and powder freshness counts. So, before you gather your ingredients and pre-heat the oven, do this quick test to make sure your gingerbread men emerge from the oven pleasantly plump and your cakes rise to the occasion!
Why You Should Test Baking Soda and Baking Powder Freshness.
Both lose their effectiveness over time, typically after anywhere from 6 months to 1 year after opening. But, if opened and stored under humid conditions, they may not last until the “best used by” date on the container.
What is the Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder?
The difference is that baking powder contains an acid, whereas baking soda does not. So, when using baking soda, an acid be added separately. Either way, when the acid interacts with the soda, carbon dioxide gas develops, giving your baked goods that pillow-like loft and airiness.
My First Vegan Chili Cook-Off. Here’s What I Learned.
On a whim, I recently entered the vegan chili cook-off at the Natural Gourmet Institute. Never having entered a cooking contest before, I had a ‘nothing to lose’ mindset. Besides, Chef Barb was running the gig. So, even if I didn’t have an award-winning chili, the event was bound to have decent entertainment value.
Did I Use a Tried and True Chili Recipe?
Not exactly. While many people have a favorite chili recipe, I’ve always used the (clean out the fridge and) kitchen sink approach. But, I always start with the same foundation, then adapt with what I have on hand. Continue reading →
Umami, the fifth taste, mystified even our greatest philosophers, Aristotle and Plato. Even they believed that there were but four tastes; sweet, sour, salty and bitter, according to NPR’s Jonah Lehrer. In fact, that was the belief of every philosopher, scientist and cook until the 1800s when French chef Auguste Escoffier changed everything.
Escoffier invented veal stock. When he did, he gave the world much more than just another starter for soups and sauces. Neither sweet, sour, salty nor bitter, its earthy savoriness changed cuisine forever. He gave us the fifth, but yet to be named taste, umami. Continue reading →