The refresh cookbook by Ruth Tal is fantastic. There are a number of soups I want to try out (butternut squash and pear with coconut milk – sounds yummy!) so I’ll get back to you on those. In the meantime I thought I should highlight two of their sauces that are the perfect accompaniment to rice and veggies, or what they call rice bowls. Rice bowls are simply steamed brown basmatic rice (but you can use any rice) topped with, well, pretty much anything from tofu to grilled vegetables to nuts and seeds. My favourite is sticky rice with grilled peppers, zucchini, fennel, maybe some steamed greens, sesame seeds and/or tamari sunflower seeds and then, of course, these two sauces – tahini and tamari. Dollop on liberally and enjoy. It’s good, it’s filling, it’s nurturing. Vegan comfort food. And because you build it yourself, the kids can opt in and out of whatever tickles their fancy or not. Everyone’s happy.

Tahini Sauce

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup chopped parsley  (the other day I didn’t have any so I used cilantro instead which was equally good)

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tbsps lemon juice

2/3 cup filtered water

1/2 cup sesame butter (tahini)

Whiz ingredients in a blender or food processor. Run until smooth, scraping the sides down once or twice.

Simple Tamari Sauce

1/2 cup tamari

3 tbsps sesame oil

1 1/2 inch ginger root, peeled and minced

4 tbsps lemon juice

Put all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

picada

February 20, 2010

This recipe comes from Deborah Madison. She suggests making it in association with the Potato Chickpea Stew but it’s great on soups, other stews, or as a thickener to various dishes.

Picada

A lively seasoning of fried bread, and garlic, picada is used in Spanish dishes as a thickener and flavouring. Picada is also a good addition to pasta and plain vegetables. To make 1/2 cup picada, toast 1/4 cup peeled almonds in a 350F oven until they’re pale gold, 8 – 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Meanwhile, slowly fry one slice of white country-style bread in 2 tbsps olive oil until golden on both sides. Grind the bread, almonds, and 2 large garlic cloves and pinch of salt in a food processor to make a crumbly paste.

romesco sauce

February 20, 2010

This recipe comes from Deborah Madison. She suggests making it in association with the Potato Chickpea Stew but it’s great on sandwiches, other stews, or as a dip.

Romesco Sauce

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded

1/4 cup almonds, roasted

1/4 cup hazelnuts, roasted and peeled

1 slice country-style white bread

Olive oil for frying

3 cloves garlic

1-1/2 tsp. ground red chile or red pepper flakes

4 small plum tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

1/2 tsp. salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 tsp. sweet paprika

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Makes 2 cups

This Catalan sauce is utterly delicious served with chickpeas, roasted potatoes,

or grilled vegetables.

To roast the peppers, place them under a broiler or over a gas flame until the skins are charred. Put them in a bowl, cover with a plate, and set aside for 15 min. Peel and seed the peppers.

Roast the nuts in a 350°F oven for 7 to 10 min., or until they smell toasty. Let them cool slightly, and then rub the hazelnuts between the folds of a towel to remove loose skins. (The almonds don’t need peeling.)

Fry the bread in a little olive oil until golden and crisp. When the bread is cool, grind it with the nuts and garlic in a food processor or a mortar until fairly fine. Add everything else but the vinegar and oil and process or work with the pestle until smooth. With the machine running, or your arm working if you’re using a mortar and pestle, gradually pour in the vinegar, then the oil. Taste to make sure the sauce has enough salt and plenty of piquancy.