1) Cook with a friend in her totally rad pad!
2) Use a food processor – honest to goodness, it helps.
Yesterday being the first day after my two week vacation of being back at work, I didn’t particularly feel like cooking, but knew that the extra effort on my part, would make the transition back to the hum-drum 8-5 life-style a tad less painful. The decision was sealed when C called, also not in the mood to cook. Two tired and cranky vegans make one awesome delicious meal – don’t ask me how it works – we defy the laws of physics. I cooked up a most delightful, aromatic and oooooh so yummy ratatouille with the eggplant, teeny baby zucchini, yellow summer squash, mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, roma tomatoes and fresh thyme that I had been hoarding in my fridge. (Recipe to come, I promise!) I packed it in my handy reusable cloth bag and walked (yes – you heard me, walked!) over to C’s apartment. (C. is now my neighbor and it fills me with glee, despite the fact that the reasons for her being my neighbor are bittersweet, with a heavy dose of bitter.)
C has a new gadget – a fine specimen of a food processor. My does this make a huge difference! Blenders, being by nature oblong and wielding a puny (by comparison) blade, tend to get clogged when prepping thicker pate-like substances. Food processors are like a blender on spinach! Yay! In any case, I have recently discovered the secret to successful “cheesy” and “creamy” vegan sauces, cheeses, etc. – CASHEWS! I came upon them while experimenting with mac’n’cheezy, but only recently attempted them in several recipes (also coming soon – I need to remake them and take pictures!) Ricotta is another recipe made phenomenal through the help of that humble little cashew.
On a side note, did you know that cashews are not a nut? They’re not! Cashews are little pods that hang off the bottom of apple-like tropical evergreen plants. They are encased in a shell that is abrasive to us people, much like poison ivy, and so they need to be processed mechanically to remove them, before they are safe to eat by us! But once we get them, boy oh boy are they tasty!
Anyway, C and I used cashew to make our ricotta, and the texture and taste was spot on! Mixed with the flavorful ratatouille, it was fantastic! Hope you give it a shot! (Oh and by the by, I am sure that you can totally use a blender. I don’t own a food processor, so most of my work gets done in the blender. The effect might be a tad more creamy, that’s all. It’ll still taste ah-mazing!)
1 package Trader Joe’s Tofu (the high protein firm kind)
1/2 C raw cashews (you could even go to 3/4 C)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp lemon garlic salt
a dash of chili flakes (less than 1/8 tsp)
1/4 tsp black pepper
Throw the ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and mix until the consistency is a big grainy but creamy, like ricotta! Serve with your favorite veggies, ratatouille or sauce on pasta, spread on a lasagna, stuff into manicotti or try something new!
Cheers to all and a Happy New Year!