Another argument I have with serious food people is that they’re always talking about how creative cooking is. ”Cooking is very creative” is how they put it. Now, there’s no question that there are a handful of people doing genuinely creative things with food–although a lot of it, if you ask me, seems to consist of heating up goat cheese or throwing strawberry vinegar onto calves’ liver or relying excessively on the kiwi. But most cooking is based on elementary, long-standing principles, and to say that cooking is creative not only misses the point of creativity–which is that it is painful and difficult & quite unrelated to whether it is possible to come up with yet another way to cook a pork chop–but also misses the whole point of cooking, which is that it is totally mindless. What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter & add flour & then hot stock, it will get thick! It’s a sure thing! It’s sure thing in a world where nothing is sure; it has a mathematical certainty in a world where those of us who long for some kind of certainty are forced to settle for crossword puzzles.
–Nora Ephron, Heartburn, pages 132-133
I like simplicity in the kitchen (which is one of the reasons I’m a big fan of Sprouted Kitchen). It’s the one thing I know how to do with consistent results.
Our eating of late is predictable & uncomplicated, meals made up of comfort foods the kids know. They, I, need that reliability right now.
breakfast // oatmeal or smoothies with toast
lunch // sandwiches–
tofurky, lettuce & tomato,
grilled Daiya cheese
with a side of sliced apples, peaches, or melon
dinner // usually looks something like this:
late summer corn on the cob // tofu sour cream // grilled corn tortillas // black bean peasant stew
Quick & easy stew. Use as a taco filling in corn or flour tortillas.
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed (3 c. cooked beans)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 TBS. organic no-salt seasoning
- 1 tsp. granulated garlic
- 1 c. finely chopped raw cabbage
- On medium/high heat, saute onions in 1 TBS. water, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.
- After 2-3 minutes, add pepper.
- Saute for additional 2-3 minutes.
- Add beans & seasoning.
- Lower heat to medium & simmer for 10 minutes so beans can warm & flavors can incorporate.
- Add chopped cabbage & cook for additional 1-2 minutes.
Additional nutritional info: Per serving: 9 g protein, 27 g carbs, 11 g fiber
Tofu Sour Cream
Have you ever tried tofu sour cream?
It’s been awhile since I’ve eaten cow’s milk sour cream. I don’t remember if I liked it or ate it much in those days. But I can tell you, with certainty, tofu sour cream transforms a meal. If you’re a sour cream person (it seems most people either are for the stuff, or against), tofu sour cream is a non-dairy option that has the potential to rock your dish.
Added to a corn tortilla taco, it’s cool creaminess compliments the savory black beans. Makes the taco robust & three-dimensional.
I also can’t help myself & top it all with saracha–a little heat always makes things more interesting.
A non-dairy version of plain sour cream.
- 1/4 block of 14 oz. extra firm tofu (I used "lite" tofu)
- 1/4 c. cashews
- 1/4 c. water
- juice of one lemon
- 2 large pinches sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar or 3 pinches evaporated cane juice
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
- Soak cashews in water for 30 minutes or more. This step is optional. Soaking nuts makes them easier to digest, & easier to blend.
- Blend all ingredients.
- For best taste, refridgerate for 1 hour or more, before serving.
- Keeps for 2 days in fridge.
Additional Nutrition Info: Per serving: 1 g protein, 1.4 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 50 mg sodium
I wanted to make her recipe as soon as I saw it (she’s kind of like, the queen of delicious vegan desserts), but on further inspection of my (mother’s) kitchen, I was sorely disapppointed. I lacked. No agar powder. No brown rice syrup. No macadamia nut butter. And most importantly, no rice cereal. (I did have vanilla & evaporated cane juice though!)
So I did what I do when in dire straits. I improvised.
I did have a box of Kix cereal. For those of you not from the U.S., this is a corn cereal, not specifically labeled gluten-free (because of possibility of cross-contamination), but there is no gluten in the ingredient list.
I did have some cashew butter & peanut butter.
I did have xanthan gum & agave.
It was sort of a great experiment, one that I was not entirely convinced would work.
But, by jove, it did!
I know it’s not kosher to brag about your own recipes (I think it destroys credibility), but I’m going to take the liberty of side-stepping that rule today to say: these treats are freakin’ awesome.
My kids gobbled them up. I gobbled them up.
After dinner & treats, we watched Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. Joseph, I would venture, is more of the romantic in our marriage (he’s always up for watching a rom-com, it’s true) but with certain movies I’ve been known to turn into a weepy sap. I don’t know exactly what it is about this movie that gets me, but it’s moving. I cry. A subtle, sweet romance & a triumphant, inspiring story will do it for me. And this manages to be touching without being overly-sentimental (quite a feat for a horse movie).
Oh, sorry. As I was blathering, I just realized you may want the recipe for those freakin’ awesome kix treats.
Here you go.
A sweet & savory treat made from two different nut butters & corn cereal. Vegan & gluten-free (if you use certified gf corn cereal).
- 1/2 c. cashew butter
- 1/2 c. natural peanut butter (or additional cashew butter)
- 1 c. agave nectar
- 6 TBS. evaporated cane juice
- 1/3 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla
- 1 tsp. butter extract (optional--it's vegan)
- 8 c. Kix or natural corn puffs
- Spray a 9" X 13" glass casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place cereal in large bowl.
- In a medium saucepan, combine agave, nut butters, sugar & salt.
- Sprinkle xantham gum over mixture, then stir to combine.
- On medium heat, stir occasionally for 5-7 minutes until the mixture dissolves & thickens into heavy syrup.
- Once syrup starts to bubble, remove from heat.
- You may want to run mixture through the blender (if mixture isn't completely uniform) for 30-60 seconds.
- Pour mixture over cereal & stir to combine. Don't be afraid to use your hands to mix.
- Press mixture into glass dish & allow to cool for 30 minutes.
- Cut into 24 squares.
Additional nutrition info: 3 g protein, 25 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 117 mg sodium
Recipes submitted to Diet, Dessert, & Dogs Wellness Weekend–check it out for more vegan (& gluten-free) recipes!
What movie(s) touch you? Any good tear jerkers to recommend?
What are your fave predictable, uncomplicated go-to meals?