Broccoli Raisin Cashew Salad


Broccoli Raisin Cashew Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad, Side
Prep time: 
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Yield: 6-12
 
This is a wonderful salad that surprises people who think they don’t like broccoli and excites people who already know they love it. It is a very simple, easy salad with just 5 ingredients and some seasoning to taste. The sweetness of the raisins makes this a salad that even children enjoy. Sometimes people add a little sugar to the mix, but I don’t find it necessary. If you like it especially sweet, increase the quantity of raisins you include. While this recipe may not make a convert of George H. Bush (who claimed to hate broccoli), you will find that this disappears quickly although it can be refrigerated for a day or two and remain crisp and delicious. Like any recipe, this one can be tweaked to your taste by using dried sweetened cranberries instead of raisins, sunflower seeds instead of cashew pieces, different onion types, or even some yogurt instead of mayonnaise. You can use some bacon bits to add a smoky, meaty flavor. This is my favorite version. I like to use the microwave oven to cook vegetables quickly without a lot of vitamin-robbing water; however, you can choose to steam the broccoli or even drop it into boiling water and remove it as soon as the color changes to bright green and then cool it. The broccoli should remain crisp after cooking, not soft as it might be if you were serving it as a hot vegetable side dish.
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of broccoli crowns
  • 2 ounces of raisins
  • 4 ounces of roasted salted cashew pieces
  • 4 ounces of finely diced red onion
  • 10 tablespoons of mayonnaise (This salad can be vegan if you use a vegan mayonnaise.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the broccoli crowns (including the stem parts) into small bite size pieces. Rinse them and drain them, leaving a little water clinging to the florets. Cook on high in a microwave-safe casserole dish (such as Corningware) or bowl for about 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. If you are using Corningware, you can submerge the bottom of your container in cold water to cool it quickly. If you are using something like Pyrex, transfer to a cool bowl.
  2. Add the raisins, cashew pieces, diced red onion, and mayonnaise to the broccoli. Mix gently until all of the ingredients are evenly dispersed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if you like.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup


Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
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Yield: ~2 quarts
 
When the weather cools, a bowl of hot soup is a lunch or dinner favorite. Fall and winter bring delicious squashes and hearty root vegetables in abundance. You can make a particularly tasty soup by roasting your vegetables and pureeing them with some broth to achieve the consistency you like. The quantities of the vegetables can be adjusted and even the choice of vegetables can vary. In the base recipe here, I have used butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and a yellow onion, but you can change up the taste a bit by adding garlic, carrots, other squashes, or even something more exotic such as a small beet. If you use vegetable broth and leave out the sour cream garnish, this recipe will meet the guidelines for being vegan.
Ingredients
  • 6 cups butternut squash cut into ~1 inch dice
  • 4 cups orange yams or sweet potatoes cut into ~1 inch dice
  • 1 large onion cut into ~1 inch dice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (a microplane works well for this)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Diced red pepper for garnish (optional)
  • Celery leaves or parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
  • Light sour cream thinned with a bit of milk or water for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a 1/4 sheet pan or a large baking pan with aluminum foil. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and stir to mix. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with ~1 teaspoon of salt, and mix to coat all of the vegetables evenly. Pour into the lined baking pan and distribute the vegetables into an even layer. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and are beginning to brown at the edges. Remove from the oven. At this point you can use a standard blender to puree batches of the vegetable mixture with the broth and spices or you can use an immersion blender. In either case, you transfer the mixture to a sauce pan (3 quarts or larger) so that you can heat it to serving temperature. If you would like a thinner consistency, add additional broth or water. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with a sprig of parsley or celery leaves, diced red pepper or some sour cream. An especially attractive way to use the sour cream is to use a small spoon to distribute dots of thinned cream in a circle. Use a toothpick to drag a line connecting through the middle of all the dots to make a pretty pattern.

Magic Chocolate Cake (vegan)


Magic Chocolate Cake (vegan)
Author: 
Recipe type: Cake, Bakery, Snack, Dessert
Prep time: 
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Yield: 9
 
This vegan cake is made without milk or eggs and is moist, dark and delicious. It is a simple snack cake that can be put together in minutes without any special tools or ingredients provided you have unsweetened cocoa on hand. It is easy to make at the last minute for unexpected guests. Cakes like this one were developed during the depression era when butter and eggs were expensive or unavailable. For the holidays, I like to use mint flavored chocolate candies to make a light topping for the cake. All it really needs is a dusting of powdered sugar, but you can make that even more attractive by placing a pretty doily over the cake and sprinkling the sugar on top of that. Carefully remove the doily, leaving the pretty design in place.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Icing, mint chocolate candies, or powdered sugar as desired for the top
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together. Sift into an 8x8 inch ungreased cake pan. Make three depressions. Pour oil into one, vinegar into the second, and vanilla into the third well. Pour the water over all, and stir with a fork until the batter looks even in color and well blended.
  3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or the top springs back when pressed lightly. Top with Andes Mints or chopped Frango Mints while the cake is hot and spread them over the surface after they have had a couple of minutes to melt, frost with your favorite icing when the cake is cool or dust with powdered sugar.