Six Random Things

Good morning! I interrupt the Project Pantry Purpose series to bring you a bunch of things that don’t necessarily fall neatly into the usual categories, except for this galette, which I wrote about yesterday over at Cup of Jo. DALS loyalists already know it’s my favorite can’t-mess-it-up-no-matter-how-you-try dessert. Here are five more completely random items (including one plea for help) I thought I’d share…

2. The Best Tamarind Sauce

After making a bunch of recipes from Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish, I ordered a few of her recommended ingredients on Amazon — like asafetida, an pungent onion-garlic MSG-like mix and Maggi tamarind sauce. I love the sweet-and-sour flavor of tamarind sauce and have never found a store bought brand that rivals the ones I’ve had in restaurants. UNTIL NOW. Maggi brand is exactly right and I plan to be a loyal customer for life. (Note: Her mother upgrades it by mixing in fig jam and toasted cumin seeds, which I’ll have to try next.) Last night for dinner, we fried some chickpeas, then ate them with yogurt, pita bread, and this tamarind sauce, and I think I could eat like that every single night forevermore.

3. Slaw on Repeat

I have probably posted this Dill Cabbage Slaw already (I’m losing track) but that is actually the point. I’ve made it probably two or three times a week for the past few months — it just seems to go with everything and is so simple to make. It’s a few cups of shredded Napa cabbage tossed with this dressing: Whisk together 2 teaspoons Dijon, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, pinch sugar, salt, pepper, dash hot sauce, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill; then whisk in olive oil until it emulsifies. Simple. Fresh. Healthy. Done.

4. A Social Distance Cheat Sheet

I’m sure you’ve seen this circulating, but my nephew sent it to me earlier in the week and I’ve found myself referring to it several times a day. It is especially convenient for navigating the constant negotiating with the kids — Can I go to so-and-so’s house if we stay in the backyard? Can I play soccer? Can I have a picnic in the park? It’s nice to have something official looking to point to when they don’t feel inclined to listen to me. Save it on your phone!

5. Cashew Cream Ideas?

I almost always have a jar of this in my fridge (to make: soak raw cashews in water to cover for 6 to 8 hours or overnight, then puree in a blender) but I need advice! I want creative ways to use it besides thickening up salad dressings or pasta sauces where I would otherwise use yogurt or mayonnaise or cream. SEND HELP!

6. Summer Reading

We’re off to a great start. Abby (17) is finishing up The Namesake; on deck for her, at mine and Phoebe’s insistence, is Americanah, by far one of the best books I’ve read in the last ten years (bonus: It gives you hope that America is still something of a beacon of light to people around the world…although it was published in 2014, i.e. two years before 2016); Phoebe (18) just finished White Fragility; and I absolutely tore through The Margot Affair, by Sanaë Lemoine, which is about the secret illegitimate child of a prominent French politician and famous actress in Paris. The writing is so good — quiet and powerful — and Lemoine, a former Martha Stewart editor, manages to work ridiculously appealing French food into every scene. One dinner in particular (green salad with pickled fennel and mussels with white wine and garlic) will be making an appearance on our table very soon, I promise.

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39 Comments

SAC

Just wanted to add, not judging either way. I am just curious since we get the same question here.

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Jenny

Early on, the answer was obviously no. Then, a few weeks into April, my daughter started playing with one other kid who had been pretty strict about quarantine; now that NY is in Phase 4 of reopening, thankfully her official team has started up camp (with many new social distancing protocols), which we are ok with. It’s been one week, so anything can happen, but for now we’re hopeful.

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Elizabeth

The spicy tomato pizza from Gather Restaurant in Berkeley is not only one of the best vegan dishes I’ve ever had and the best use of cashew cream I’ve ever had but is also one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had, period. Any chance you can hack the recipe?

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Emily

We had an amazing meal at a vegan restaurant in Utah last March. My dish was a stroganoff that was sauced with cashew cream and dill. My entire family was stealing it off my plate all night. Highly recommend!

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Emma

We love cultured cashew cream as a dip with raw veggies, crackers, etc. It’s delicious plain or with added herbs, chilli, etc.

Thank you so much for your blog and beautiful books. We regularly cook many of your recipes. Best wishes from Australia.

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Meredith

The okra (bhindi), Saag Feta and Khachoomber salad are fantastic as well 🙂

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M

My son is allergic to dairy and eggs. Our most frequent use for cashew cream is for a creamy pasta sauce, or as a sub for Parmesan in a creamy style pesto (both with nooch). Sometimes we top baked oatmeal with it (slightly sweetened), or you can use it to make a creamy soup. This is a weird one because you don’t see a lot of meat based recipes with cashew cream, but whenever I make hot breakfast (Not often!) my husband loves biscuits and country gravy and you can use cashew cream and water in place of the milk and it is delicious. I’ll be watching the comments to see if anyone else has any more creative ideas!

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Corrie

Thank you for the book recommendations! I put them all on hold at my local library.

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Eileen

The Namesake and Anericanah are two of my all time favorites, as well. Love that your daughters share the joy of reading. That meal sounds fabulous, especially pickled fennel–thanks for the inspiration.

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Melissa

Not a specific recipe recommendation, but I like the vegan blog The First Mess. She uses cashew cream in many of her recipes.

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alix

Loving your entries in the time of the pandemic and always enjoy your book recommendations. Am interested by your comment “It gives you hope that America is still something of a beacon of light to people around the world.” As someone who is not American, but who has lived there and who tried to get a green card for years, America is most definitely not a beacon of light to me or anyone I know. Which makes me so sad and I hope you guys can rise again. Not necessarily to be a “beacon of light” (we’re all doing fine without you) but as a society that is good for the majority of its citizens. There is so much that is good about the US, but that’s being overshadowed at the moment. I realise this might not be a popular opinion on a food blog, but it really struck me and I wanted to respond. Wishing you guys the best in coming months – we are watching with interest and hope.

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Jenny

Yeah, I guess that’s what I meant by my parenthetical “It was written in 2014, two years before 2016.” Maybe a better way to phrase my analysis would’ve been: It reminded me of a time when America was a beacon of light…
I hope we can rise again, too. I fear we’ll be suffering the consequences of this Presidency for decades. Thank you for your comment.

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Brydie

I knew someone who made a vegan nacho ‘cheese’ dip with cashew cream and nutritional yeast.

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Valerie

Don’t bother to read “White Fragility.” It’s a piece of…well, if I say it you’ll probably censor my comment.

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Ingrid

I’m reading White Fragility now. I’d be interested in why you didn’t like it.

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aqua6

I read White Fragility two years ago. It was not my favorite. It felt very redundant, despite not being a long book. More recently, I read I’m Still Here and Just Mercy and enjoyed both of those much more.

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alyssa

A pizzeria in town uses cashew cream with garlic in place of cheese on their vegan pizzas and it is soo good.

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sallyt

Americanah and the Namesake were AMAZING. I got to hear Jhumpa Lahiri speak two years ago, and she was just as lyrical in speech as she is with the written word.

I also highly, highly recommend watching/reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s commencement speech from five years ago – this is my favorite quote, but the whole thing is amazing –
https://www.wellesley.edu/events/commencement/archives/2015/commencementaddress

” I don’t speak to provoke. I speak because I think our time on earth is short and each moment that we are not our truest selves, each moment we pretend to be what we are not, each moment we say what we do not mean because we imagine that is what somebody wants us to say, then we are wasting our time on earth.”

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Taylor

I also love Indianish and my family especially loves the aloo gobhi, saag paneer, and Malaysian ramen. Malai kofta is one of my favorite dishes to order at an Indian restaurant and I’ve made this recipe at home (I actually just make the sauce and use Ikea frozen vegetable meatballs) and it’s great. You could use your cashew cream with the other ingredients to make the sauce. https://www.indianhealthyrecipes.com/malai-kofta-recipe/
Thank you for your book recommendations- one of the things I love most about your site. White Fragility, while receiving a lot of criticism right now, did stimulate a good conversation in my book club and help me identify ways I can be more actively anti-racist, so it wasn’t a total piece of *%$! for me like it was for the poster Valerie. Like any book, it has its pros and cons. Thanks for your continued posting! Can’t wait for your next book.

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Jacqueline

Make cashew queso for nachos/tacos/tostadas/etc. Please do it. You will thank me (and yourself) later!

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Nina

Back in the 80s, my mum used to make cashew cream to pour on desserts in place of dairy cream. I always loved it! I think it might have had a bit of honey or maybe a pureed date or two added for that use.

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Jill

I love the social distancing cheat sheet. It makes me wonder if Texans can read!

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Deb Donaghue

See Love and Lemons’s Sweet Potato Lasagna Roll Ups…she posted it on her IG on April 2nd…she uses cashew cream as one of the ingredients!

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Chiara

I love the Maggi tamarind sauce. I use it most on my fried egg breakfast sandwiches- toast, runny fried egg, tamarind sauce and some sort of green veg (leftover from supper, leftover from a cabbage slaw, lettuce).

My favourite way to eat cashew cream is as a cheese substitute for tex-mex type food (see https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/02/vegan-spinach-and-hominy-enchiladas-with-spicy-cashew-cream.html). I make Kenji’s cashew cream from that recipe and pour it over a simple tomato-bean-rice bake or over enchiladas. Broiled for a few minutes, yum.

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Kelly

My husband is dairy free so I sub cashew cream for cheese in lasagna and enchiladas. It makes for a delicious plant based alternative. Cookie & Kate has an incredible vegan lasagna recipe.

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alyssa

Hi – while I definitely appreciate cheatsheets, I would like to point out that there is a lot of debate in the library world about whether “going to a library or museum” should be classified as moderate/low risk. (And, full disclosure, I’m a librarian.) Many library branches – public and academic – are built in a way that is not at all conducive to social distancing. Additionally, information like this is used by local governments and university administrations to compel libraries to re-open, even when they do not have the infrastructure to do so safely. This article from Library Journal lists some of the concerns: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=reopening-libraries-public-libraries-keep-their-options-open

I love DALS & have avidly followed the PPP series. I just wanted you & your readers to consider that there is more complexity to some of these situations than a simple bar graph reveals.

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