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2015年11月30日 (月)

magic of cashew cream

Cool whether foods are, hands down, some of the best foods. Big hearty casseroles, roasts, stews, and of course massive platters of cookies and pies HKUE amec. The only problem is, with all that amazing food, it’s hard to resist diving face first into it all. Two of my favorite winter activities are eating, and sleeping. I like to say I’m in touch with my biological rhythm of gorging myself and then hibernating for the winter, but the fact is, all that food is straight up hard to resist.


Fortunately, there are some dishes that I can dive right into without the guilt (or the need to sleep for twelve hours straight). This recipe comes from my friend and fellow foodie, Rachel of the blog The Delicious Balance. Rachel is actually a registered dietition (she calls herself a “wannabe chef,” but as far as I’m concerned, she can drop the “wannabe” from her title). At first I was skeptical that a meatless, dairy-less shepherd’s pie could hold a candle to all those hearty fall dishes, but boy was I wrong. This thing is SUPER rich and filling, and is surprisingly healthy, to boot. It’s just as rich and creamy as you would expect a casserole to be, but unlike other casseroles, it fills you up without weighing you down. This is one meal I can actually eat seconds of and not feel the need for a nap afterwards.


And don’t mind if I do!


I first met Rachel through our collaboration on The Casual Veggie Cookbook. Her recipes immediately caught my eye, and then I found out, she’s a fellow Michigander, too — and here I thought I was all alone! It didn’t take us long to try each other’s food, and from there, we were instant buds. This Shepherd-less Pie is actually one of Rachel’s recipes straight out of the The Casual Veggie, so if you’ve been thinking about buying the book but aren’t sure, think of this as a little sneak-peak — but just a little one . The book contains 166 recipes, so there is a TON of variety, ranging from appetizer to dessert, vegan to paleo, and everything in between. The only thing they all have in common are a whole lot of veggies, and a whole lot of flavor. (If you haven’t heard about the book, you can find out more and download a copy, here.)


So I know the one big question on your mind right now is, how does this shepherd’s pie get so rich and creamy if it doesn’t contain any cream? Don’t worry, I wondered the same thing, too. The magic happens when you take raw cashews, soak them for a couple of hours, and then blend them up into a sauce with fresh garlic and thyme. That becomes your “bechemel” so to speak, and all I can say is, don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it! Then the cashew cream sauce gets mixed with a whole bunch of sauteed veggies, and topped with heaps of mashed potatoes. Then the whole thing gets baked until bubbly and golden on top. Uh, yeah… need I say more?


While I was discovering the magic of cashew cream, Rachel was cooking up one of my recipes from the book (and an all-time favorite in my house) — Roasted Red Pepper and Fennel Soup. Check out that recipe on her site, here. And when you’re done feasting your eyes, grab a copy of The Casual Veggie by clicking here, or checking out the “cookbook” tab at the top of the page.



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