While I can make a decent vinaigrette and a passable tahini dressing, I haven’t strayed far from the standards as far as gussy-ing up salads. This, it turns out, has been an error of omission. We eat some form of salad nearly every night, so branching out to new tastes was long overdue.
This dressing comes from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Thug Kitchen. And, as usual with the Thugs, it is simple, plant-based and is entertaining. It also is really quite tasty – who knew roasted carrots made such a great dressing?!
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar (also suggested: rice wine vinegar)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 TBSP orange juice
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- Heat up your oven to 357 degrees F. Chop up your carrots into chunks no bigger than 1/2 inch. Toss them together with the oil, cumin, and salt. Roast them in a small pan, covered until the carrots are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Let the carrots cool for a minute then add them to a food processor with the rest of your $***. Blend it until it’s smooth. This could take as long as 3 minutes.
Seriously, Thug Kitchen, this cake is the bomb. As the Thugs say, “… save frosting for something that needs the help.” This does not. And it didn’t need butter or eggs either. Little bit of fresh fruit on top and we will be good to go for tonight’s dessert. If this makes it until then. I have a feeling there will be some taste testing going on really soon. [Edited for the delicate or children.]
From: Thug Kitchen LLC. Thug kitchen: Eat like you give a f*ck. (2014). Emmaus, PA: Rodale. p.200.
- 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
- First, heat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grab an 8-inch cake pan, grease it, and dust it with flour to make sure your cake doesn’t stick. If you are still consumed with fear, cut a round out of parchment paper the same size as the pan and stick that in the bottom to be extra ——- sure your cake will come out in one piece. Now relax, you got this —-.
- Get a big bowl and whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a crater in the center of the dry mixture and pour in the coconut milk, vanilla, and lemon zest and stir it all up until there are no dry pockets and very few lumps.
- Pour that batter into your cake pan that you prepped earlier because you followed the g-d directions. Let somebody else lick the spoon and bowl because 1)The batter is tasty as —- and 2)They will now owe you one. Cash in that favor the next time you need help moving. You’re ——-welcome.
- Bake the cake until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then turn it out on to a wire rack to finish cooling until you’re ready for it.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
Last week I was reading a NY Times food article on the subject of vegetarian and vegan cooking (The Hippies Have Won). In the middle of the article, was a reference to a blog and cookbook series, Thug Kitchen. No kidding, this was one of the most fun cookbooks I ever browsed through and since all the recipes were plant-based, well… it was a win for me. If profanity is a hang-up, you might want to just follow the sanitized version below, but if you want some real kitchen coaching, buy the damn book, cook from it and learn to eat healthier.
Here’s the recipe for a strawberry version which was posted on Thug’s website. My version was based solely on what I had in the house to use up. I’m pretty sure the Thugs would be okay with that.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup uncooked millet
- 1-1/4 cups chopped mixed nuts or seeds (I used all almonds)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or similar dried fruit (I used half dates and half ginger – not the sugary stuff)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff, not corn syrup with maple flavoring)
- 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter (I used Sunbutter)
- 1/4 cup refined coconut oil or olive oil
- 2 tbsp white or brown sugar (I used brownish – Florida crystals)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grab a 9×13 inch baking dish and line with with parchment so some of the paper goes over the edge of the pan. (Seriously, my mother reads this, so I’m leaving out the “good parts”).
- Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-low heat and add the oats, quinoa, and millet. Stir them all around until they start to smell toasted, about 3 minutes. While that is happening, combine the nuts and cranberries in a large bow. Pour in the all the toasted oat mix and the salt and mix together.
- In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, peanut butter, oil, sugar and vanilla and warm until everything is melted. Make sure that the peanut butter is all mixed, and then remove from the heat. Pour this all over the dry mix and stir until everything is coated.
- Pour the mixture into the baking dish and press it down with a spoon (or a hand!) to even it out and make sure it is really in there. Throw it in the oven until it all looks toasted, 25-30 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature in the pan then throw it into the fridge. When it’s all nice and cold, cut into bars. They keep best in the fridge.
Now, go and buy the Official Cookbook and enjoy the ride and some great advice on plant-based.