Category Archives: Sauces

The Ultimate Goddess Dressing

If you’ve had it before, you’ll know exactly why this is the best salad dressing/dip/spread of all time. Goddess dressing is a vegan-by-default tahini and parsley based dressing that is just magical. This stuff will turn any salad-hater into a ruminant. It’s easy to make it wrong, though, and most store-bought varieties just don’t do the trick. The best store-bought one is Annie’s – but it’s incredibly annoying to find it, at least here in Vancouver. None of my little mom and pop retailers carry the stuff.

Luckily, after some false starts, I landed upon the best recipe I could find online – which is, funny enough, at about.com. I modified the recipe a bit and now I really think it’s the ultimate dressing. Make it for yourself and tell me what you think!

hoover in the goddess dressing
This is my cat, Hoover, adding his own “special ingredient” to the dressing: cat hair.

Start out with a food processor. This is a bit big for a Magic Bullet, but if you’ve halving the recipe you could use that little guy. I’ve not made it in a blender, but if you’re experienced in emulsifying in a blender, go for it. I like my food processor because it has an insert in the top that I can fill with oil and it slowly drips in, making emulsifying a bit easier.

If you’re new to making your own dressings, emulsifying is the process by which oil is mixed in with a liquid resulting in a creamy, opaque dressing. It’s the same process by which mayonnaise is made.

The Ultimate Goddess Dressing (UGD), according to Malloreigh

1/2 cup tahini – note that oil/solid contents vary in tahinis, which could affect the end result of your UGD
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar – I like the organic unfiltered kind with the mother
1/4 cup soy sauce – for a gluten-free UGD, use GF tamari
1 tbsp lemon juice, about half a lemon’s worth
1/2 tsp salt – use more if you’re using kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp – 1/2 cup water – depends on the liquid content of your tahini. Start small and add more if it’s necessary to blend.
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped and packed, or use 2 tbsp dry parsley
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (6 tbsp total) sunflower, canola, grapeseed, or other light oil

Combine all ingredients except for the oils in your mixing apparatus of choice and blend until mixed thoroughly. Mix the oils together and very slowly pour in in a thin stream. My food processor has a “pusher” that goes in the access hole in the top. One of the compartments has a little hole at the bottom – so I can just pour my oil in there and it’ll slowly stream in, saving minutes of labour that I can then spend having a glass of wine or petting the cat.

Enjoy as a vegetable crudité dip, salad dressing, or sandwich spread (if it’s thick enough – mine never is).

Due to the vinegar and lemon juice content, this will probably last in the fridge for a while, but I’ll never find out because I always use it so quickly.

Some housekeeping: if you’ve been following this site for any time before this post, you’ll notice a new look. Please let me know if you run into any broken images or other issues. The look has changed due to some WordPress updates that were incompatible with my custom theme.

Rainier Cherry, Vanilla Bean, and Lavender Jam

I’ve already posted the rainier cherry and wild sage jam I made. This was the second jam I made with the rest of the cherries I got from my good friend Arinn. I used the same method, but different flavourings. This jam turned out beautifully, delicately flavoured. The mild flavour of the rainier cherries was complemented really well by the vanilla and lavender. I wouldn’t recommend making this jam with dark red bing cherries. I think they would overpower the vanilla and lavender flavours.

rainier cherry, vanilla bean, and lavender jam

4 cups rainier cherries, pitted and halved
Juice of 1 large lemon – about 2 – 3 tbsp – be careful about the seeds
1/2 of one vanilla bean, crushed or minced – or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract would work
1 tsp lavender flowers
1 cup sugar
1/2 package liquid pectin (about 45 mL)

Once you’ve pitted and halved your cherries, put them in a pot. Or pit them into a pot. Add the lemon juice and cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Maintain that heat, stirring occasionally, until the cherries soften – about 25 minutes. Add the vanilla bean toward the middle of the cooking process.

Smush some of the cherries with the back of your spoon, or, if you’re lazy like me, use a hand blender to cream about half of the cherries once they’ve cooked down to softness. If you don’t smush the cherries, there will be big round chunks in your jam.

At this point, after the cherries have cooked to softness, add the lavender. Stir it in. Add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Stir to dissolve. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the pectin, and stir to dissolve. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often enough to keep it from burning. You can turn down the heat to a simmer at this point.

Now you’ll have to test for jelly point. Dip a metal spoon in – if the jam coats the back of the spoon, you’re in business. You can use the spoon drip method, or the plate method. For the plate method, chill a small plate in the freezer for two minutes, then put a spoonful of the jam on it. It should not spread out like water – it should hold together a bit. Chill it in the fridge for 5 minutes (or the freezer for 2 minutes), then push your finger into it. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. If it’s not ready, cook for another 5 minutes, then try again.

Once your jam is done, transfer it into jars. You should either seal them immediately while it’s still hot, or wait for the jam to cool entirely. Afterward, you can freeze the jars, or you can heat-seal them using boiling water – fill a large pot up with water enough to cover the jars by 1cm. (Obviously test while the jars are in the pot.) With the jars in the pot, heat the water up to a boil and boil for about ten minutes. Remove from the water and let them cool.

I got a bit less than a litre of jam – 4 250mL jars.

Rainier Cherry and Wild Sage Jam

Ah, jam-making, that hobby that only people who live lives of leisure can partake in. I made my first jams recently, and goodness gracious but they take a long time and a lot of patience! It’s not something I generally have in spades, but by my third jam, I felt like I got pretty good at it. We’ll just not talk about the first one.

jams

On Sunday I visited my friend Arinn at the market where she works as a florist. One of the market vendors had given her pounds upon pounds of slightly imperfect (read: still amazing) BC rainier cherries. She couldn’t even hope to use all of them so she gave half to me. Exciting!

Rainier cherries are the golden-coloured, mildly-flavoured variety of this incredible summer fruit. BC, where we live, is a fantastic cherry growing province; they really flourish in the Okanagan, and come this point in summer, I find I’m almost cherried-out. How can that happen?! Cherries are so amazing! But, after eating several hundred cherries, I found that I simply wanted to make jam with them.

Of course, upon looking it up, I realized that jam has RIDICULOUS amounts of sugar in it. Um, I am not so into that, guys. I can’t justify putting more sugar than fruit in a pot, and frankly I just don’t want to eat that. The jams I ended up with are less firmly set than the jam you’d get in a store, because the pectin is supposed to interact with copious amounts of sugar in order to set. But I really liked the texture I got from using only a cup of sugar and half a package of pectin.

Now, pitting cherries is a giant pain in the behind. If you don’t have a cherry pitter (and I don’t), I recommend setting yourself up in front of a movie. Use a curved paring knife if you have one and remember to always cut away from yourself. Halve the cherries and remove the pits and stems. I got cherry juice all over the floor and my feet and clothes, so think about lining the floor with newspaper or simply washing it after… and wear an apron.

rainier cherry and similkameen wild sage jam

Rainier Cherry and Similkameen Wild Sage Jam

Earlier in the month I visited the Similkameen Valley, a desert region of BC near the US/Canada border. We picked oodles of wild sage – a very fragrant wild herb – and I had some drying in my kitchen. I thought that sage and cherries would be very autumny and complementary. I had a few dark red bing cherries in the fridge as well so I threw those in to this batch of jam – really, only about 6 of them, and what a colour difference they made.

4 cups rainier cherries, pitted and halved
Juice of 1 large lemon – about 2 – 3 tbsp – be careful about the seeds
1+ tbsp sage leaves – I used mine semi-dried, but you could use dry or fresh
1 cup sugar
1/2 package liquid pectin (about 45 mL)

Once you’ve pitted and halved your cherries, put them in a pot. Or pit them into a pot. Add the lemon juice and cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Maintain that heat, stirring occasionally, until the cherries soften – about 25 minutes. Add the sage toward the middle of this cooking process.

Smush some of the cherries with the back of your spoon, or, if you’re lazy like me, use a hand blender to cream about half of the cherries once they’ve cooked down to softness. If you don’t smush the cherries, there will be big round chunks in your jam.

Once the cherries are soft, add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Stir to dissolve. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the pectin, and stir to dissolve. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often enough to keep it from burning. You can turn down the heat to a simmer at this point.

Now you’ll have to test for jelly point. Dip a metal spoon in – if the jam coats the back of the spoon, you’re in business. You can use the spoon drip method, or the plate method. For the plate method, chill a small plate in the freezer for two minutes, then put a spoonful of the jam on it. It should not spread out like water – it should hold together a bit. Chill it in the fridge for 5 minutes (or the freezer for 2 minutes), then push your finger into it. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. If it’s not ready, cook for another 5 minutes, then try again.

Once your jam is done, transfer it into jars. You should either seal them immediately while it’s still hot, or wait for the jam to cool entirely. Afterward, you can freeze the jars, or you can heat-seal them using boiling water – fill a large pot up with water enough to cover the jars by 1cm. (Obviously test while the jars are in the pot.) With the jars in the pot, heat the water up to a boil and boil for about ten minutes. Remove from the water and let them cool.

I got a bit less than a litre of jam.

Thick-With-Greens Pasta Sauce

Sometimes I really want pasta, but I can’t justify eating a pile of boiled wheat shapes topped with tomato sauce. While a really good Italian-style tomato sauce is absolutely delicious, it’s not as nutritionally rounded as I like my meals to be. With Kaylie out of town (she’s in Alaska eating canned vegetables, ha-ha), I am finding it difficult to put the time and effort into creating meals that I’d like to; I usually tend to eat something really healthy and nutritious, but not very interesting or tasty. Luckily, I’ve managed to convince friends to come over every day or two so I can force myself to make something that’s healthy and delicious. I made this pasta sauce yesterday afternoon and it turned out really beautifully.

1/2 onion, red or white, diced
1 – 2 tbsp cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, roasted (I roast mine in the toaster oven for 10min)
2 cups greens – I used endive and arugula from the garden
Handful fresh oregano, or fresh or dried spices to taste (basil would be nice in place of oregano)
Handful sundried tomatoes
1/3 cup walnuts or other nuts/seeds
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 – 1 tsp each onion and garlic powder
1/2 cup water
1 can crushed tomatoes, or 8 roma or campari tomatoes, roasted 40min and crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the oil, then add the onions and sauté until softened. While you’re doing that, combine all of the other ingredients in a food processor. If your food processor is smaller than huge, you may want to add the liquids slowly after your other ingredients have been processed a bit. Pulse until smooth. The colour should be a brownish-orange, from the combination of the greens and tomatoes.

Once the onions have softened, add the contents of your food processor to the saucepan and bring to a low boil. Turn the heat down and simmer. Prepare your pasta once your sauce is on simmer. The longer it simmers, the more delicious it will be. Feel free to augment by adding additional vegetables or other ingredients.

A Little Thing about Lemons

lemons

As I said in an earlier post, my brother just so happens to have a lemon tree outside of his bedroom window. Oh the opportunity!

When life gives you lemons… use them!  Malloreigh and I were sitting under the lemon tree eating dinner last night and we were discussing the first time we were subject to the juice of an actual lemon.  Both of our experiences were different, but equally as eye-opening. Can you imagine being a teenager and actually realizing that lemon juice didn’t come from a bottle?  Most people still haven’t come to this realization because of the convenience our consumer culture has afforded us. So I say, put down the fake plastic lemon and start squeezing the juice of the sweet fruit that is so versatile it can transform into the sweet, tart, and savoury.

Things I frequently make with lemons:

– Lemon Garlic Sauce (for Pasta)

– Lemon Dill Shallot Sauce (for Pasta)

– Vegan Hot Tottys (Whiskey, 1/2 lemon, 1 tbs agave, hot water)

– Lemon Almond Banana Bread

These are just four things I’ve made in the last week.

Don’t forget that you can use the whole lemon! You can always dry the lemon zest and save it for another dish tomorrow.

Lemons always add a positive twist to life, that’s why I try to eat as many as possible.

Lemon Shallot Dill Vinaigrette:

2 lemons (juiced)

1/2 bunch fresh dill (finely diced)

1 large shallot (finely diced)

salt

Equal ratio of vinegar to oil 1:1

1/2 C Olive oil

1/2 C White Wine Vinegar

I use this as a marinade for portobello mushrooms to grill, tofu scram or a quick addition to a salad.

Simple, easy, lemons.

 

 

orange-cardamom salad dressing

penne with roasted eggplant and a tomato chard sauce, rainbow chard salad with caramelized red onion and an orange cardamom dressing, garlic toast

This salad dressing was so unbelievably easy to make and delicious. Our friend Jocelynn got me a Magic Bullet for my birthday, and it is such a great tool for salad dressings! Any blender will do, or even a fork if you are low-tech like that.

Orange-Cardamom Salad Dressing

1 small mandarin orange or clementine, peeled and sectioned, seeds removed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar (we used orange muscat champagne vinegar, but ANY vinegar will work – wine vinegar might be nice)
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground cardamom
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Mix together and serve over greens.

Portobello and Red Wine Tomato Sauce

anniversary pasta with roasted vegetables


Malloreigh and I went to Galiano Island for our year anniversary and she accidentally left the sage gnocchi I had prepped for this special evening. Luckily there was a corner store a few metres away from our cottage. We picked up some rigatoni and seriously considered buying a pre-made tomato sauce. After debating, picking up the jar, putting it down again, looking at Mal and making a few sighs, she assured me that the sauce I made would be much tastier. With that being said this recipe is very easy and very flavourful. Go forth and prosper.

Stuff you need:

1 Portobello mushroom (chopped/diced)

1/4 C Red Wine

1/2 medium size red onion (diced)

4 cloves garlic

3 tbs Olive oil

1 tsp Thyme

1 tsp Tarragon

1 tsp salt and pepper

1 Can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

Add water for a thinner sauce

Sauté Onion, garlic, mushroom in olive oil in a sauce pan. Add more olive oil if the contents are sticking to the bottom of the sauce pan. When ingredients have softened and onions have become translucent add Wine and spices (tarragon, thyme, salt).  Simmer in the red wine for approx 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce and another pinch of salt. Let sauce simmer for as long as you can, but at least 30 minutes. Add water or wine for a thinner consistency.

As a note: If you don’t let the sauce simmer for 30 min it will be okay!! It will taste excellent and your dinner guest will be impressed.

Also, don’t wear a white shirt while you make this.

Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana

This is based on a recipe from The FatFree Vegan Blog, but modified to be not quite so low fat. While we are health-conscious in this house, that usually means going for a bike ride or choosing wine over beer. Gotta have a vice, and mine is rich food. Serve this dish to anyone who thinks that vegan means bland and healthy.

(This dish does have only 2 tbsp of oil in it.)


I served this with a caesar salad featuring homemade croutons. Holy shit.

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Balsamic-Mustard-Garlic-Maple Syrup Salad Dressing

summer greens

As our Melbournian friend Laura would say: Look, this is my go-to salad dressing for dressing up simple greens, alright?

Salad Dressing in Vinaigrette Style

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1.5 tbsp olive oil (or another light veg oil, like grapeseed or avocado – NOT canola or safflower)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp mustard (I prefer a creamy dijon; use anything but plain yellow)
1 tbsp maple syrup, agave nectar, or other liquid sweetener
1/8 tsp salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Taste it and adjust accordingly – want it sweeter? Add more sweetener. Too much oil? Add more vinegar. This recipe should easily make enough salad dressing for a big bowl of salad. It’ll keep indefinitely (thanks to the vinegar). Make sure to shake or stir before dressing your salad, to ensure your oil and liquids haven’t separated.

Most vinaigrette recipes use far more oil than vinegar. I usually do it the opposite way. Since balsamic is a thick and sweet vinegar, you can be a lot more liberal with it. Still, this is a very vinegary dressing. If you prefer your salad dressing a little less strongly flavoured, maybe try one tablespoon of balsamic rather than two, and adjust from there.

Salad Dressing in Creamy Style

You’re going to have to make a bigger recipe if you want to make a creamy dressing, but perhaps you can put it in a leftover bottle and keep it in the fridge. You’ll need a food processor. Depending on how big your food processor is, you may have to quadruple the recipe or more. You need to fill the processor to at least a couple centimeters so it will adequately spin.

Put all ingredients except for the oil in your food processor. Put the top on and start to spin it at high speed. Using the pouring spout, very slowly pour the oil in as the salad dressing spins. As the oil is incorporated, the dressing should become creamy and beautiful.

You could try doing this with a fork, if you are really ambitious.

Variations on a Theme

  • Add orange juice and leave out mustard for an orange-balsamic dressing.
  • Add fresh or defrosted raspberries to your orange dressing.
  • Leave out garlic for a sweeter dressing.
  • Leave out sweetener for a tangy dressing.

Now what?

Just in case you have trouble thinking up excellent salad combinations:

Delicious Salad Construction

Per person, prepare:
Handful spring greens, rinsed
4 cherry tomatoes, sliced down the centre
1/4 avocado, skin and pit removed, sliced
1/4 mandarin orange, sectioned; or 1/4 mango, cubed
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
Sprinkling nuts, seeds, and dried fruit – I usually lightly toast some trail mix

Or try:
Handful spinach, stems removed, rinsed
Handful raspberries or sliced strawberries
1/4 cup smoked tofu, grated
Sprinkling poppy seeds or toasted chopped walnuts

Eggplant Bhutuwa

eggplant bhutuwa and couscous with it-was-going-bad avocado "chutney"

I made this dish after a very inspiring visit to the incredibly delicious Cafe Kathmandu. We didn’t order eggplant bhutuwa (opting for a mustard greens and dahl dish instead) and I regretted it for days – being the eggplant lover that I am. So, I made this, and it was delicious, and I served it with couscous and avocado. Recipe to follow.

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