Monday, May 30, 2016

Cashew Spread

Happy Memorial Day for those of you in the USA.  I am going to celebrate the day with a cookout at the beach with friends.  What could be better than that?

I was planning to make coleslaw as my contribution to the meal but someone beat me to the punch so I will be bringing dessert and gazpacho.  Which is fine (really, it is fine).  Except that I wanted to make my new version of coleslaw that has me very excited.

One of the issues I have always had with coleslaw is that you have all of those healthy good-for-you vegetables like cabbage and carrots and onion, and then you drown them in mayonnaise and sugar.  (Yes, I know there are other versions but this is the one I grew up with and the one I like, ok?)  As I have moved away from processed foods and added sugars that has been problematic for me.  I would make it and I would eat it, but I never really considered it a healthy vegetable dish and thought of it as more of a treat.

The last few times that I made it I used homemade mayonnaise thinned with buttermilk and I added a handful of raisins instead of using sugar.  I felt better about eating that, but I still did not feel that it was as healthy as it should be.

And then I was listening to a series of interviews about food issues and someone mentioned cashew milk.  And someone else mentioned the benefits of eating raw cabbage.  [cue Melanie Griffith in Working Girl] and then I started thinking raw cabbage - cashew milk - raw cabbage - cashew milk and it just kind of came to me that I could maybe use a thicker cashew milk instead of mayonnaise in my coleslaw.

So I went online to see if it had been done before (of course it had) and I found lots of recipes for something called cashew mayonnaise that included all kinds of interesting ingredients.  As usual I took what I liked from them and left out what did not seem a good fit to me and I made my first batch.  Which was ok, but I had used cider apple vinegar and that overpowered everything far more than it does when I use it for my homemade mayonnaise.  The second time I used lemon juice and I liked that much better.

And as I thought, it makes a killer coleslaw that not only tastes great but is much more healthy than the mayonnaise version.  And it is perfect for picnics and cookouts because you don't have to worry about it sitting out in the sun all day the way you would with the mayonnaise version.  Win-win!

You will find that all of the versions of this recipe posted all over the internet call it "Cashew Mayonnaise."  I refuse to call it that because the two have virtually nothing in common.  Mayonnaise is the emulsion of egg yolks and oil.  Cashew spread is basically pulverized cashews.  Others may want to call it mayonnaise and that is certainly their right, but I just cannot bring myself to do it.

This is not a substitute for mayonnaise.  But it is delicious and versatile in its own right and I will be making it often.  If you give it a try I suspect that you will be making it often, too.
Home Cookin Chapter: Spices Spreads Dips Sauces
1 cup organic cashews, soaked for 2 to 4 hours
1/4 cup avocado oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water, plus more as needed

Drain the cashews and put them into a blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend together until smooth.

adapted from recipe found at

exported from Home Cookin v.8.67 (

Monday, May 23, 2016

Yogurt and Harissa Roasted Chicken

I am not eating much meat these days, but I could not resist the chance to roast some chicken with the harissa I made for our March spice potluck.  I just knew it had to be tasty, so I went looking online for some suggestions.  What I found mirrored the ingredients I was already contemplating so I winged it and came up with my own version.

The result was a juicy tender bird that was quite flavorful; however, I would use more of the harissa in the marinade.  But I just added more as I ate it, so it was not that critical. 

Here is the bird with the yogurt marinade added just before getting closed up and put into the refrigerator for the day.  It was a quick enough process that I was able to find the time to get it ready in the morning before leaving for work, so by the time I got home it was ready to go right into the oven and be roasting while I made some whole wheat couscous with zucchini to accompany it.

Yogurt and Harissa Roasted Chicken would make a lovely dish for company, but it is easy enough to make any time.  As a matter of fact, I have already made it twice.
Home Cookin v.8.67 Chapter: Meat Fish and Eggs

1/4 cup whole milk yogurt
2 Tbsp ginger garlic paste, or 1 Tbsp each of chopped garlic and chopped ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt to taste
1 whole chicken
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp preserved lemons (optional)
2 Tbsp harissa, or to taste

Salt the chicken generously and place in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add the rest of the ingredients and massage them through the bag into the chicken. Refrigerate and let marinate for at least 2 hours up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit out for at least 15 minutes (but no more than two hours). Remove the chicken from the plastic bag and place it on the rack of a roasting pan.

Roast the chicken for 15 minutes at 425°, then lower the heat to 350° F. and continue to bake until the interior temperature of the thigh reaches 160° F.

Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes befrore carving.

adapted from a recipe found at

exported from Home Cooking v.8.67 (

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Shakshuka for Two

I was reading this post from my new blogger friend Eve at Eating Is Important [it is!] and I have decided that I must make that Nut and Seed Tart just by virtue of that photo of the almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds alone. It looks so delicious and so healthy. (I know, I know, it is not so healthy once you add all the sugar and butter, but in a fair and just universe surely all of the benefits from the seeds and nuts will cancel out the damage. At least that is what I will tell myself when I make it.)

Further on in the post she mentions making a shakshuka recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and it reminded me that I have been collecting different shakshuka recipes from around the web and some cookbooks and I had been wanting to make it for a while now.

One thing that usually stopped me is that all of the recipes call for at least six eggs and make enough to feed an army.  It does seem like the perfect group/brunch type meal and Eve did not even particularly care for that recipe, but it was Saturday morning and I was hungry and I had just bought the cutest little 13-ounce packages of crushed tomatoes my neighborhood grocery store started carrying and has been selling on special for .99 cents a box and I started thinking that was the perfect amount of tomato for a two-serving dish.

I love these cute little packages, and 13 ounces is the perfect amount for many of the dishes that I cook so I don't have all of these little jars of leftover tomato for which I have to find a use before they go bad or I forget that they are there.  They have been on special since they first appeared at the store a few months ago and I have been stocking up on them.  I now have a pantry shelf pretty much fully devoted to them.

I decided there was no reason I could not scale the recipe down for two eggs.  I have a skillet that is just the right size, so I decided to give it a try.

I was quite pleased with the results.  Eve wanted more spice with hers, but I enjoyed the subtlety of just the cumin and paprika.  The harissa probably helped, as well.

This was so good I made it the next weekend, and now I make it every few weeks.  It is the perfect weekend breakfast/brunch.  The beauty of it is that you can adjust the amounts for as many or as few eggs as you want to use.
Home Cookin Chapter: Meat Fish and Eggs

2 jumbo eggs
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 medium onion, chopped
2 small or 1 medium zucchini, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 13-oz pkg whole, diced or crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp harissa, or to taste

Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes. Season to taste with the salt and pepper and add the cumin and paprika. Cook the mixture at a simmer until it has thickened considerably.

Make two wells in the mixture and crack the eggs into the holes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the eggs are set to the desired consistency.

Top with harissa and serve with lightly toasted bread, if desired.


Exported from Home Cookin v.8.66 (

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Food Revolution Summit

If you do not know about the Food Revolution Summit coordinated by John and Ocean Robbins, you should check it out.  It started this past Saturday and runs through the week.  You can catch the replays for a short time here:

I was somewhat skeptical when I first started listening, but I have been impressed with what I have heard so far.

The replays won't be up for long, so if you have any interest at all you should check it out NOW.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Indian Mint - Cilantro (Green) Chutney

I've had a busy weekend so this will be another short and sweet post.  I made this green chutney as an accompaniment to a dish someone else was bringing to my spice group potluck last night.  It was fast and easy and was one of the hits of the night.  The mint and toasted coconut adds another dimension of flavor that rounds out the grassy tone of the cilantro.

As usual, I looked up several recipes and combined the ingredients that seemed like they would go together best.  It went particularly well with both of the aloo tikka dishes that folks had brought, along with some of the other dishes.

The themed spice was amchur.  I made an amchur chutney that I used to make sweet buns.  I will post that recipe after I have had a chance to write up the recipe.  They were also a pretty big hit and I will be making both the chutney and the buns again.

But in the meantime, this quick no-cook chutney is a cinch to make and would go well with just about any kind of stew or dal.
Home Cookin Chapter: Spices Spreads Dips Sauces


2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 serrano peppers, chopped
2 Tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth, adding water as necessary to reach desired consistency.

adapted from recipe found at

exported from Home Cookin v.8.67 (
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...