Basil Jalapeño Cheese Dip

Basil Jalapeno Cheese Dip

2c cashews, soaked for an hour (this step can be skipped)

1T mellow white miso

2 capsules vegan probiotics (empty powder and dispose of the capsule)

1/2c filtered water -up to 3/4 if needed

1 clove garlic

1c fresh basil, minced

1/2t pink salt

3T coconut oil

Pinch chipotle powder- more if desired

½ red jalapeno pepper, minced

2T nutritional yeast

3t lemon juice (omit if fresh is not available)

Step 1.

In a Vitamix or high-powered blender, add the cashews (drained if soaked), the probiotic powder, miso and 1/2c of water.

Blend this at a lower speed initially to well incorporate the contents, speed up the motor as it gets blended. You will need to process this for at least 4-5 minutes until the cashews are absolutely creamy. Scrape down the sides intermittently and be sure to get all possible ‘pieces’ of cashews blended into the mix. Add a T of water as needed if the mixture gets stuck. If you process too fast, the contents will heat up, creating an oily mixture.

When totally creamy and smooth, remove to a glass or stainless steel bowl and set in a safe, warm place- I place mine in the dehydrator covered at about 100 degrees and let it run overnight. In lieu of a dehydrator, place it in a warm spot in your kitchen, covered for up to 24 hours.

Step 2.

Mix in the salt, nutritional yeast, basil, jalapenos, chipotle powder, coconut oil (should be room temp and soft, not liquid), and lemon juice. Transfer to a container and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours to set, best, overnight. It becomes a beautiful, spreadable, creamy cheesy bit of awesomeness that you can spread or use as a dip.

Stewed Summer Tomatoes

Stewed Summer Tomatoes

Stewed Summer Tomatoes

10 tomatoes (roma or plum), split length wise in 1/2

2 teaspoons salt

1 small onion, medium dice

1 clove garlic, sliced

2T extra virgin olive oil

1 cherry bomb pepper, sliced *optional

3-4 large leaves of fresh basil

1-1/2c boiling water

Heat up a large cooking pot; add the olive oil and onions and sauté just until translucent. Add the garlic slices and tomato halves to the onions. Cover with hot water. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium to medium-low and continue to cook uncovered for 30 minutes or so. The tomatoes should remain intact. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes if not using right away to store. Remove from the pot to a jar or glass container and while still warm, add the fresh basil. If eating immediately, add the fresh basil in at the end before serving and drizzle with more salt and olive oil.

Serve fresh or you can freeze them. I eat them over crusty bread as a snack hot, warm or cold. I also use them to make a delicious dish; Baked Pasta with Stewed Tomatoes. AMAZE.

Pine Nut Basil Pesto

Basil pine nut pesto

Pesto is a sure sign summer is here, with it’s fresh beautiful taste. Basil also has a whole host of healing properties including anti-bactieral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging as it is filled with antioxidants…..Good news for all of us, and as easy as Pesto! I picked this beautiful bag of basil up yesterday at the local farmer’s market and whipped up this fabulous easy pesto. I ate it over brown rice penne, and I honestly don’t know how it could have been improved upon. #nocheese #noneed

Pine Nut Basil Pesto

1-1/2-2c fresh basil, lightly packed

1/3c raw pine nuts, sprouted if possible

2T sweet mellow white miso

2T nutritional Yeast

1/2c extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ lemon, juiced

2t brown rice vinegar

Salt and pepper

In a blender, add the basil, oil, garlic, vinegar, lemon and miso. Blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust the seasoning adding more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed. Pour out into an airtight container- keep in the fridge. Can easily be frozen.

Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

*fresh tomato basil sauceFresh Tomato & Basil Sauce

2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

4c tomatoes, diced

1/4c fresh basil, lightly packed, chopped

1/4t black pepper

1/4c water

1/2-1 fresh cherry bomb, chili or other hot pepper, minced

1/3c extra virgin olive oil

1t salt or to taste

In a skillet, add the olive oil and sauté the garlic  until golden and soft. Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt, black and red pepper. Allow the tomatoes to break down and to come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the fresh basil.

At this point, the sauce is delicious as is or can be pureed to create a smoother sauce.

Fresh Tomato Tofu Vegetable Lasagna

*fresh early fall lasagnaAgain, not a difficult dish to make at all, it’s all about the components- each one is full of flavor prior to joining forces in this early fall, late summer time fresh lasagna. I used brown rice lasagna noodles that are virtually un-dectectably different over wheat noodles so this lasagna is totally gluten free. I used only fresh tomatoes from the farmers’ market and a few of my own- some for the fresh sauce and others, sliced as a layer within the lasagna. What follows are the recipes for the components- how you layer it up is up to you! You can use different veggies; mushrooms, eggplant-  limitless possibilities. Mine was filled with tons of fresh basil, tomatoes, hot peppers, squash and spinach. I stayed away from using vegan cheese, was just not feeling it, so the tofu filling is an absolute stand out, delicious in flavor. I added a quickly sautéed garlic spinach into the filling to offer a fuller flavor (as opposed to just using it blanched or steamed), you can also simply use it as a layer. All of the vegetables were from my garden or from the Greenfield market.

Components:

  • 2 medium zucchinis- sliced and tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper
  • 6 cups spinach- quickly sautéed in garlic and olive, salt and pepper
  • fresh tomato sauce- recipe below
  • 1 box of lasagna noodles, cooked
  • Tofu “ricotta” filling- recipe below
  • 1-2 larger tomatos, thinly sliced, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper

Putting it together:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • ladle in about 1 cup of fresh sauce in the bottom of the baking dish
  • place down one layer of noodles
  • layer in the tofu filling
  • layer in noodles
  • layer in fresh zucchini
  • layer in noodles
  • layer in fresh tomato slices, olive oil and salt
  • layer in last layer of noodles
  • cover the top layer with fresh sauce
  • Cover with tin foil and bake for 60 minutes.

Fresh Tomato & Basil Sauce

2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

4c tomatoes, diced

1/4c fresh basil, lightly packed, chopped

1/4t black pepper

1/4c water

1/2-1 fresh cherry bomb, chili or other hot pepper, minced

1/3c extra virgin olive oil

1t salt or to taste

In a skillet, add the olive oil and sauté the garlic  until golden and soft. Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt, black and red pepper. Allow the tomatoes to break down and to come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the fresh basil.

At this point, the sauce is delicious as is or can be pureed to create a smoother sauce.

Tofu “Ricotta” Filling

Tofu Ricotta /Crème

1Pound tofu- blanched- divided in 1/2

1 clove garlic

1 heaping T mellow white miso

3T extra virgin olive oil

1t brown rice vinegar

1t ume vinegar

1 heaping T sesame tahini

2T water if needed while blending

*opt 6c fresh spinach or 5oz- steamed and pressed (all water out) or sautéed with garlic and 1t olive oil

*opt 3oz Vegan mozzarella or favorite cheese

1/2t black pepper

In a blender or vitamix, place the warm cooked tofu (1/2), the miso, tahini, olive oil, vinegars, garlic, and blend until smooth and creamy.

In a bowl, crumble or mash the remaining tofu with a fork or fingers. Add the tofu crème, and the vegan cheese and the chopped steamed / pressed spinach.

Heirloom Tomatos, Garlic, Basil, & Olive Oil with Grilled Artisan Bread

*tomato basil with grilled bread

I had purchased this beautiful heirloom tomato at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and it took me until today to actually think of something to make using it- I didn’t want to cook it; although a fresh Tomato Basil Soup or Gazpacho would have been amazing. A fresh pasta sauce crossed my mind but this thing was 5″ across and GORGEOUS. I have been reading Michael Pollan’s latest book “Cooked” and last night was on the chapter about bread and it lit me up about the local artisan loaf I purchased the same day at the market…10% Rye Sourdough with Sesame. I had eaten a lot of it on Saturday so I sliced it and put it in the freezer. So I knew today was the day. Today was the tomato day. Variations on a theme, there is nothing like the basil, garlic, tomato trilogy; everything local and in season. I ate it as a series of open faced sandwiches, I say a series, because I grilled 4 slices and ate all 4 slices…..

For the tomatoes

Local, fresh, summer tomatoes, preferably heirloom, sliced

plenty of fresh basil

1 clove garlic, smashed and minced

fresh hot chili pepper

extra virgin olive oil

pink salt

black pepper

for the bread

artisan loaf of bread

Extra virgin olive oil

garlic, smashed and minced

Heat up the grill or grill pan.

Prepare the bread:

Slice the bread into ¼-1/2” slices, how ever many slices you and friends will eat (2-3 per person or 4 if I am coming over)

In a small plate, add the garlic, olive oil. Lightly brush the bread slices with the oil and set aside.

Over high heat, place the bread on the grill or pan and close the grill or cover the pan. Let grill for about 3-4 minutes. The bread should easily flip and have gorgeous markings. Once flipped, continue to grill for another 3-4 minutes.

Serve immediately with the fresh tomato slices on top drizzled with more garlic olive oil, salt pepper and basil.