Habanero Hot Mac ‘n Cheese

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My husband bought these habanero peppers at Wild By Nature because they looked good. It turns out habaneros are the spiciest pepper there is.

I brought some up to Woodstock last week and we made a hot cashew cream dipping sauce for my friend Bart’s amazing roasted potatoes. But what to do with the rest? I was inspired to make this hot mac ‘n cheese after taking a cooking class with the genius behind The Cinnamon Snail food truck. Vegan, organic and wildly delcious. Adam Sobel taught us how to make a jalapeño mac ‘n cheese which was mildly spicy and quite good.

My recipe is not even a close rendition of Adam’s technique or recipe. I have to say that for legal purposes! But to be fair, the umeboshi vinegar from Adam’s recipe made it into this sauce. It is my new favorite vinegar and it will definitely be making its way into dressings and sauces in the future.

Just like with jalapeños, the oil from the habaneros gets onto your skin when you cut them. My fingers were burning for two days last weekend after making the hot cashew cream sauce. What to do? Disposable gloves. Today,my fingers are feeling groovy.

IMG_5151 1 lb gluten free macaronis *

Habanero Hot Mac ‘n Cheese Sauce (makes about 4 cups) **
2 1/2 cups cashews
2 1/2 cups water
1 onion
2 habanero peppers
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (nooch)
1/4 cup umeboshi plum vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste

* I like Andean Dream macaronis because they remind me of the old Kraft macaronis from the blue box.

** Save the rest of the cheese sauce in a container in the refrigerator and make this dish again soon! You don’t even have to bake it like I do here; you can just heat up the sauce and mix with the cooked macaronis.

Chop the onion, habaneros (discard the ribs and seeds) and garlic and sauté in a pan until soft. I water sauté. You can use oil if you prefer.

Place the cashews and water into the Vitamix. Add the cooked onion mixture, nooch, vinegar and tomato paste and let it rip until it is super smooth.

IMG_5159Boil up the macaronis. Mix in the sauce. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle with paprika. Cook for 20 minutes and then turn on the broiler for 5 minutes to get a crispy top. Enjoy!

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Roasted Garlic Hummus Plate

Woodstock Garden Green Salad

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We went up to Woodstock this weekend for one of our regular visits. Two houses, four gorgeous food gardens. This entire salad came out of my friend Richard’s garden. That’s shiso on the left and some kind of onion flower which may or may not be called allumiin. Earthy, clean, energetic, and delicious.

Greens
Curly kale
Russian kale
Shiso
Chives
Cucumber

Chiffonade the greens and dice the cucumber.

Dressing (makes about 2 cups)
1 cup filtered water
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 avocado
The juice of 1/2 a lime
1 clove of garlic
Sea salt, a pinch

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix or blender. Let it tip until it is well blended.

Pour over the greens, toss well, and enjoy!

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Fudgesicles!

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Holy chocolate-y rich deliciousness! This is a perfectly healthy treat for a hot summer day. There is nothing “bad” in this fudge-y treat! Just avocados, cashews and cacao powder.

All I did was make a slightly altered version of my chocolate pudding, poured it into my Zoku popsicle molds and froze them to perfection. A favorite treat from when I was a little girl, but better, healthier, and homemade!

2 perfectly ripe avocados
2 cups water
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup date sugar
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla powder
Pinch of sea salt

Peel and remove the pit of the avocado. I assume you know that but I said it anyway.

Add all of the ingredients to the Vitamix (or blender but soak the cashews first) and let it rip until smooooooth.

Pour the fudgesicle mixture into the ice pop molds. Freeze and enjoy!

Lisa’s Gazpacho v2

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My friend Barbara Mendez sends out weekly Motivational Mondays and is always making great suggestions for ways to improve our health whether it is a new recipe or tips for healthy skin and hair. This week it was a recipe for Refreshing Summer Gazpacho.

I have been thinking about it all week and decided to revisit my original recipe and see if I would do things differently now. I decided to take some inspiration from Barbara – the jalapeño and orange pepper – and adjust my recipe too by taking out the oil and using fresh garlic. It is crazy good, like summer in a bowl. Make it ASAP!

I used my Vitamix and it took less than a minute for the whole thing to come together. You can use a blender or food processor too but you might have to do it in batches.

6 tomatoes (perfectly ripe and juicy)
1 red onion
1 jalapeño pepper
3 to 4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 orange pepper
2 Kirby cucumbers
Pinch of sea salt
Avocado, for garnish

Prep your mise en place.

If you like it extra spicy, keep the seeds and ribs of the jalapeño pepper. If not, discard them.

Add the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño pepper, garlic and vinegar into the Vitamix. Let it rip for about 30 seconds or so to get everything pureed. Then add the pepper and cucumber and salt and process again. If you like it chunky, let it go for a few seconds or longer for a smoother gazpacho.

Serve garnished with diced avocado. Enjoy!

Strawberry Sorbet

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This is becoming the summer of freezer love! I am still cooking, but mostly salads with fun new dressings and fresh steamed Long Island corn on the cob. Alas, the blog is getting a little dessert heavy. But, hey, who doesn’t love a great dessert? And, we are not vegans who don’t eat dessert, so why not!

Today, my son asked for strawberry ices. Usually I do this and just drop strawberries, water and a little vegan sugar or agave into the Vitamix, pour the mixture into my Zoku ice pop molds, and voila, easy strawberry ices.

But, today I decided to put a little more effort into it by (1) straining the strawberries of the seeds (2) making a simple syrup and (3) using my ice cream maker. All three of these steps make for a super smooooooooth and fancy sorbet!

2 lbs. fresh strawberries
2 cups filtered water
1 cup vegan sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Hull the strawberries and place into the Vitamix or processor and process until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh strainer and press out the strawberry liquid leaving the small seeds behind.

In a small saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil and turn off the heat. Let sit for a few minutes.

Squeeze the lemon juice into the strawberries and then add the sugar water. Whisk together and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

Pour into an ice cream maker and churn for 10 minutes. Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze until ready to eat. Take out of the freezer and let soften for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Ice Cream Cake

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Ice cream cake is way easier than I ever thought. It is one of those things that I have been wanting to make but never felt like I could but I did and that means you can too!

It doesn’t even take that much effort really. Bake a cake. Make ice cream. Cut and combine.

The trick is a loaf pan and wax paper. Make the ice cream while the cake is cooling so that it is easy to spread in the layers.

I served this cake at our fireworks party last night for the July 4th/5th celebration. It is best served the day it is made.

serves 8 to 10

Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup vegan sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cold water

Mix the ingredients together and pour into a loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes or when a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely and take out of the loaf pan. (Clean the pan to use for the cake assembly.) Use a serrated knife to slice the cake into three equal sections.

Very Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cans organic coconut milk
3/4 cup vegan sugar *
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* I used coconut palm sugar which gives a lovely brown sugar/caramely flavor to the ice cream. If you want very white vanilla ice cream, use vegan cane sugar.

Scrape the beans from the vanilla bean pod and drop into a big bowl. Add the coconut milk, sugar and extract. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Pour the coconut milk mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 10 minutes.

A S S E M B L Y

Line the loaf pan with 2 pieces of wax paper so that the edges hang over in such a way that you will be able to wrap them over the top of the cake.

Place the bottom slice of the cake into the pan. Use a spatula to layer in some ice cream. This is not an exact measure, maybe about 1 cup. Spread it out over the cake.

Next, place the middle slice of cake on top of the ice cream and gently press it down. Use the spatula to add another layer of ice cream. Again, not exact, maybe about a cup and spread it out over the cake.

Gently place the top of the cake onto the layer of ice cream and gently press down. The ice cream will squeeze out the sides. It’s fine.

Wrap the wax paper over the top and cover with tin foil. Place in the freezer for a few hours.

When ready to serve, take out of the freezer and slice the ice cream cake right in the loaf pan. Then use the wax paper to lift the whole thing out and place it onto a flat surface.

Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Easy Spelt Pancakes (Oil Free)

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The baking powder makes these pancakes super fluffy and oh so good!

1 cup spelt flour
1 tablespoon vegan sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch salt
1 cup vegan milk

Mix the ingredients together. Heat a non-stick skillet.

Use a tablespoon measure to pour pancake batter into the pan. When bubbles appear, flip the pancakes over.

Stack and enjoy with maple syrup and your favorite fresh fruit!

Creamy Green Garlic Scape Dressing

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They’re back! Garlic scapes are back at the farmer’s market.

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Fresh and light, they are a great addition to salads or sautés. I recreated one of my original recipes to make an oil free, creamy light green version. And boy, do I love this dressing! Today I served cucumber crudités decorated with sliced garlic scapes and the dressing as a dip. I plan to make a fresh farmer’s market summer salad for dinner with lettuce, colorful carrots, kirby cucumbers, garlic scapes, apples and toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

6 garlic scapes
1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pink salt

If you don’t have a Vitamix, soak the cashews for 4 hours. Better yet, get a Vitamix. It is time, people. You need one!

Place all of the ingredients in the Vitamix and let it rip until the dressing is smooth. Enjoy!

Ice Cream Shmice Cream #13: Brownie + My New Favorite Kitchen Gadget: Tovolo Ice Cream Tubs

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Do you remember my caramel brownie ice cream? We loved that ice cream and I still had a bag of crushed up brownies in my freezer. Since I didn’t have any caramel sauce around, I just made straight up brownie ice cream.

In that post I mentioned that I have been placing wax paper on top of my ice cream before placing it in the freezer to prevent ice crystals from forming on the top. But I decided to do some research to see if there was a better solution. And of course, someone came up with it – – these Tovolo ice cream tubs!

Each one stores 1 1/2 quarts of homemade ice cream or sorbet which is exactly how much I make with my basic recipes. The tub is narrow and long and it doesn’t take up too much space in the freezer. The design allows you to glide an ice cream scooper along the top and get the perfect scoop every time! Plus, the bottom is non-slip so the tub doesn’t move during the scooping process. The double insulation design ensures for perfectly even freezing and defrosting every time.

I got two – – a red one and a pink one. Look how pretty the brownie ice cream looks in the pink one!

2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup vegan sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 heaping cup of crushed up brownies

Combine the coconut milk, sugar and vanilla powder. Refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Pour the coconut milk mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 10 minutes.

While the ice cream is churning, crush up the brownies into crumbs. I like full on crumbs but you may like chunks. When the ice cream is looking good, add the brownies and churn until mixed well.

Turn out into a Tovolo container or a freezer safe container with a piece of wax paper on top. Enjoy!