July 18, 2012- Amanda

It’s amazing how well children know themselves.  I am going to a dinner party tonight with my 4th grade best friend.  We were great friends at 10 years old, drifted apart and reconnected in our early 20s (thank you facebook!) only to discover amazing similarities.  I adore her, and I’m really looking forward to catching up.  And a dinner party is always an excuse to introduce people to amazing vegan food!  On the menu today:  Artisan Whole Wheat Bread (inspired by Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread);  Pea, Mint and Avocado Salad (inspired by Nigella Lawson);  Mini Blackberry Cheesecakes (inspired by My New Roots);  and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles.  I highly recommend making all of these recipes and using them to reconnect with an old friend- Amanda 

Artisan Whole Wheat Bread

1 1/2 cups organic bread flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast

Directions

1.  In a bowl, combine dry ingredients.

2.  Add water until fully combined.

3.  Let rest 12-20 hours.  (I let mine rest for 14, and find that overnight is best)

4.  Preheat a dutch oven in a 500 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30-45 minutes.

5.  While dutch oven is preheating, remove dough and place on a floured surface.  Pat a little flour on top, so the dough will not stick to your hands.  Pull the edges of the dough in toward the center, so that a ball forms.  Allow to rest an additional 30- 60 minutes.

6.  In the (hot!) dutch oven, place the dough so that the rough, gathered side is facing up.  Bake for 35 minutes with the lid on.

7.  Remove lid and bake an additional 20-25 minutes, or until desired golden color is reached.

8.  Let cool completely, slice and serve (with cloudberry jam!)

Pea, Mint and Avocado Salad

2 cups frozen peas, thawed

1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch mint, chopped

1 avocado, sliced

1 head romaine

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Marinate the peas with lemon, olive oil, mint, avocado and salt and pepper.

2.  Pull apart the romaine leaves and arrange on a platter.

3.  Tumble the peas on top.  Drizzle with additional olive oil if needed, and season to taste.

Mini Blackberry Cheesecakes

For the base:

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons dates

pinch nutmeg

pinch salt

For the filling:

3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons melted coconut oil

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons honey (or other sweetener)

1 lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of salt

1/2 cup blackberries

Directions

1.  In a food processor, combine dates, almonds, nutmeg and salt until the mixture becomes crumbly.

2.  In a container of your choice (I used a mini-muffin tin), press the base in the bottom for a crust that is about 1/2 inch thickness.

3.  In a blender, combine cashews, coconut oil, honey, lemon juice, vanilla and salt until velvety smooth.

4.  Pour about half the mixture over the crust.  Put in the refrigerator and let set.

5.  Blend remaining filling with blackberries.  Pour over the lemon cashew mixture.  Let set in the freezer.

6.  To remove, dip a knife in hot water and run it around the edges to release the cheesecake.  Garnish with fresh blackberries (optional) and serve.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
1/2 cup dates

1/4 cup almonds

pinch nutmeg

pinch cinnamon

pinch salt

2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Directions

1.  In a food processor, combine dates, almonds, and spices until the mixture clumps together.

2.  Stir in chocolate chips.

3.  Roll into bite-sized balls.  Yummy!

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