Monday, April 28, 2014

Creamy Nicoise Inspired Dressing

This is creamy without the cream...or, oil.  Brace yourself.  It's not traditional Nicoise but I hope that it is close enough for your enjoyment. Serve this over or, beside traditional Nicoise collection of ingredients: hardboiled egg, tuna, steamed potatoes, green beans, tomato, and lettuce or, make your own salad of whatever veggies you can dream up!

Large Bunch of basil (About 2 cups packed 4 cups unpacked)
2 Tbsp. Grainy Mustard (I use Maille brand)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 cup cashews
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Dates
1/4 cup water

Blend all ingredients in the blender until creamy dressing is formed.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ranch Alternative

Being a redblooded American, I love ranch dressing but hate the calories and saturated fat that come with it.  This recipes satisfies my ranch craving but is much healthier. It's dairy free.  There are some fantastic health benefits to skipping on dairy.  Noticeably less sinus problems, stomach and digestive issues, and less fat & calories.  Other benefits include being able to eat dairy free ranch with hot wings!  If trying to live a kosher lifestyle, this is definitely a benefit!  No need to stress with this dressing/dip at the next summer BBQ.  Because there's no egg or dairy, it can stand out in room temperature longer without posing a health hazard. One more thing.....a 12 oz. carton of tofu is much cheaper than buttermilk, cream, sour cream, creme fresh, or mayonnaise.

I'm slowly moving into a Vegan lifestyle.  While I don't know if I'll ever become fully vegan, I think we can all agree that eating more plants is beneficial to our health, the world, and animals. 

This recipe includes frozen prechopped herbs from Aldi.  I use the 8 Krauter blend and it's fabulous.  I'm not sure if stateside grocers have wised up and started selling frozen pre-chopped herbs but this is a "Get with it America!" moment for me. Many grocers in Germany sell small frozen containers (about 75-100 grams) of herbs for less than 1 Euro. 

The herb blend that I use includes. Parsley, dill, watercress, chervil, chives, sorrel, borage, burnet.  I've provided links to definitions of herbs that may seem unfamiliar.  While I realize in the states, these herbs may not be easily accessible, I thought I'd provide a little education!  Also, for those who have a green thumb try growing these in your herb garden! For alternatives try using fresh chopped Parsley, Dill, Chives, and Basil.  1-2 Tbsp. each.  If fresh isn't available, try a 1 tsp. each dried.  Or, 2-3 Tbsp. of dried Italian herb blend.

So, here's the rest of the recipe.

1 12oz. box of silken firm tofu
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper (regular pepper works too)
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
1/4 cup Aldi 8 Krauter Blend (Click on the link to see a picture and purchase at Aldi or (if you're here in Germany) or, use one of the alternatives listed above)

Place all ingredients except for the herbs in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour mixture into a bowl and wisk in the herbs.  Pour into a jar or Tupperware and stick in the fridge to marinade for several hours.

This recipe will make about 2 cups of dressing. Serve it to your family and see if they can tell the difference!