Mindy’s Pistachio Halva Bites

February 2014 Supper Club 205

Pistachio Halva Bitess
From Mindy Miner

The recipe is from a book by Douglas McNish called Raw, Quick & Delicious. I made one modification because I can’t find bulk sesame seeds anywhere close by and it’s too expensive to use the bottled version. Also, I doubled the recipe for last night’s crowd. Here goes…

1/2 cup whole raw pistachios (I bought shelled ones)
1 cup raw sesame seeds, divided (I used 3/4 cup raw, sliced almonds and enough sesame seeds to roll the balls in)
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Process pistachios (and almonds, if using) in a food processor until roughly chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
2. In food processor process tahini, agave and vanilla until smooth. Add to nut mixture and stir until it forms a large smooth ball.
3. Using a tablespoon, scoop up about 15 equal portions. Roll each portions in the palm of your hand and then in raw sesame seeds.
4. Place balls on plate or baking sheet covered with parchment paper and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days.



A Late Summer Stunner

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There was something so arresting about this beautiful simple dessert brought by Andrea Hensen and her creative collaborative of food arttists to our recent supper club.  When they first skimmed the skin off the long watermelon, someone thought it was a ham!  But oh no!  It was a glorious watermelon cake.  Cut a long seedless watermelon in half and remove the skin.  Shape each half into a cake shape by cutting a smooth bottom and top.  Set it on a serving plate and slather the top in coconut cream.  See a tutorial for that here.

Then, if you are an artist–like Andrea and her friends–you find your inspiration in sliced fresh fruit, coconut and edible flowers.  I could say more, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

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My Squeezy Cheesy Sauce

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Well, I hail from Wisconsin on both sides–Green County–mind you. It’s like the epicenter of cheese curds. My Swiss grandparents ate cheese at every meal, so I’m a girl who likes her cheese. When I fell in love with vegetarianism at 19, I just cleared my plate for more cheese! So when I became a devoted plant-based eater several years ago, the cheese thing was a problem. I dedicated a good part of my early study to cheese alternatives and I love teaching other people how they can choose plant-based alternatives to cheese. My next class, in fact, is at Uptown Kitchen on October 3rd. I hope to see you there!

What follows is my go-to cheese sauce. We put this stuff on everything! including brown rice, veggies and, slivered almonds (shown above); on taco salads; in breakfast burritos with sauteed tofu… the possibilities are endless! You can modify it to your own taste by changing the amounts of ume plum vinegar and lemon juice. Or add more or less squash to make it creamier. Also, if you don’t have a high-speed blender, check out my modification below.

Sue’s Favorite Cheesy Sauce

2 medium yellow squash (12 oz.)
½ cup cashews soaked in filtered water 4-6 hours
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2T mild miso (I use chickpea, but brown rice is fine)
1-2T ume plum vinegar
1-2T lemon juice
½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. chili powder

Steam the squash for 5-7 minutes, or until firm tender.
Drain the cashews and rinse.
Add cashews and the rest of the ingredients, including the squash, to the blender. Blend until creamy.
Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

If you do not have a high-speed blender, grind the *dry* cashews in a food processor until they are a coarse crumb texture. This can be loud and long, but don’t go too long or you’ll get cashew butter. Then soak for a couple of hours and proceed as directed.

Roger’s Lovely Loaf with Mushroom Gravy

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This delicious gluten-free loaf adorned with mushroom gravy was a gift from my Valentine, Roger Gilles. The photo elicited so many requests for the recipe that I’m posting it now in anticipation of the landslide of requests we’ll get at our supper club this evening. If you’re free, come over and try it!

Walnut Basil Rice Casserole

This came from ExtraVeganZa, by Laura Matthias, p. 106. I wasn’t sure if the 2 cups of rice meant before or after cooking, so I started with 2 cups of uncooked rice and then used about 4 cups of cooked rice, which seemed about right. Also, in place of fresh basil, I used two “cubes” of frozen basil blended with olive oil—which Sue makes in the summer in ice-cube trays and then puts in our freezers. This was very easy to make.

2 c brown basmati rice, cooked
1½ c walnuts
½ c fresh basil
½ medium onion
2 T tamari or soy sauce
5 T rice milk or soy milk

Cook the rice. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until reaching a coarse consistency. Press mixture into an oiled loaf pan. Bake 60 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes before turning onto a dish and slicing.

Mushroom Gravy

This came from Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, p. 211. I used a blend of shiitake, oyster, and baby bella mushrooms. I also used brown rice flour because Sue wanted the meal gluten-free. After sautéing the onion and mushrooms (but before adding the garlic, etc.), I whirled the mixture in a food processor, even though the recipe didn’t say to. I wanted a smoother gravy.

2 c vegetable broth
1/3 c flour
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
10 oz. cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t thyme
½ t sage
Salt and pepper
¼ cup white wine

Mix flour into broth and set aside. Sauté onion in oil, then add mushrooms and sauté. Add garlic, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper, and sauté some more. Add wine and bring to simmer. Lower heat and add flour/broth. Stir until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Bean Can Man to the Rescue!

Another exciting installment in the life of Bean Can Man

I came home from the gym…starving. BUT I wanted exactly what I wanted, which was a taco salad. I wanted crunchy, creamy, chewy. Anyway. I started with Vertical Paradise baby greens.

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Talk about Paradise! It’s February in Michigan and I can get my hands on this stuff. We’re working on YOU getting your hands on this stuff. Come to next week’s supper club and lobby Tim Sharer, owner of Vertical Paradise Farms. Here’s Tim (holding his stash).

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Back to the salad. I chopped up peppers and onions, heated a little water in a non-stick pan and sauteed them. After a couple of minutes, I sprinkled on some chili pepper and cumin. Another minute went by and I tossed in two small zucchini (diced), some frozen corn and a half a cup of salsa. I gave it all a stir, turned the pan to low and my attention to the dressing. Into my blender went a half a box of tofu (silken lite firm tofu), 1/2 of a big–ripe, people!–avocado, juice of one half lime, 2-3 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk (you could use water) and whir away until it is perfectly smooth. I wanted to add just a little salt, but when I tipped my jar of himalayan sea salt, a big chunk fell out into the blender. Drat! I tasted it. Like the rim of a margarita. What to do?

As I was sitting there, fretting, apron over my head, a can of Eden Organic No Salt Black Beans fell into my lap.

Bean Can Man with his faithful sidekick, Lime Boy

Bean Can Man with his faithful sidekick, Lime Boy

“Trouble, young lady?”
“Oh Bean Can Man, I am so SO sad. I just put too much salt in my creamy dressing.”
“Don’t worry your pretty little head. Why not offset too much salt with my salt-free black beans? I assume I was destined to make it into your salad anyway.”

Yes, he was. So I mixed the dressing with the beans, which I had rinsed and drained. I chopped the lettuce and put on a layer of creamy beans, topped that with some sauteed veggies, another dollop of creamy beans and salsa. Looked like this:

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How do you say Yum! in Spanish? Add some super-thin and crispy Xochitli chips and you are fueled to save the world–one can at a time! Thank you Bean Can Man.

xo chips

More Good Eats from January’s Supper Club

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Every month we have an embarrassment of riches at our plant-based dinners and some dishes are truly unforgettable. January was an inspired month. Below, find your requested recipes for Medha’s Sabudana Kichadi and Theresa’s lovely beet appetizer.

Medha thoughtfully photographed each stage in the process for all you Indian cooking neophytes. This makes her popular dish look so easy! You have to give it a whirl.


Sabudana (Tapioca Pearls) Khichadi
from Medha Kosalge

3 cups Tapioca Pearls
2 ½ Cups Coarsely Ground Unsalted Roasted Peanuts
7 to 8 Green Chilies
1/4 Lime
½ tsp. cumin Seeds
¼ Bunch Cilantro
7 or 8 curry leaves(Optional)
2 Potatoes, Boiled and Cubed(Optional)
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oil
Flat Microwave-safe Glass Container/Bowl

Fasting is part of Indian diet. Some may fast every fortnight, some may fast every week. Fasting is not necessarily not-eating-anything. It is about letting your digestive system deal with altogether different food group for a day. Some people eat only fruits for a day, some people only take juices, and people like Parag and I eat Sabudana khichadi. There are other fasting food recipes too, but we’ll come to that later.

Meanwhile let’s make and eat Sabudana Khichadi.

(1) Wash Sabudana two to three times in cold water so that most of the starch goes away.
(2) Most crucial part in the recipe: Soak Sabudana Pearls for about 2 to 3 hours. No, not that simple. Here’s how to do it: Soak Sabudana with “Warm” (Not Hot) water, filling the water until it is about 1 inch above sabudana level. Cover the bowl. Set a timer for 30 minutes.

(3) After 30 minutes, drain off all the water. Cover the bowl and set aside for 2-3 hours.
(4) After soaking, the pearls should still feel dry and separate, and yet soft and hydrated too.

5_c_Each_Pearl_Hydrated_and_yet_Dry(5) In a large bowl mix Sabudana, ground roasted peanuts, boiled and cubed potatoes (optional), salt, and sugar. Make sure that it tastes a little bit salty.


8_Add_Red_Chili_Powder_OptionalNow sprinkle lime juice and mix well. Ideally you should cover the mixture for a few minutes, but it is okay if you don’t.

(6) Spread oil in a flat microwave-safe glass bowl and add over that cumin seeds, chopped chilies, and chopped curry leaves.10_Take Oil_in_Microwave_safe_Flat_Glass_Container

11_Add_Cumin Seeds




(7) Layer prepared Sabudana mixture over it. Cover with a paper napkin and microwave for one minute. Stir a bit using a fork so that Sabudana at the center is also cooked and not just at the sides of the container. Don’t let the chili layer come to the top. Not yet.14_b_Ready _to_Microwave


(8) Repeat this four to five times. You’ll see that Sabudana is changing color a bit after cooked.16_Stir_with_Fork


(9) Now mix everything well including chilies and cumin seeds. And microwave for two mote minutes.18_Stir_Well


(10) Add chopped Cilantro and enjoy!20_Remove_Chili_pieces_Add_Chopped_Cilantro

Thank you, Medha, for that tutorial!

Theresa’s Lovely Cooked Beet Appetizer

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Beet Appetizer: Slice cooked beets and spread nut cheese between the slices. Drizzle with Michigan-based Hotel Kitchen Brand Citrette Dressing (available at the Amway Grand Hotel, Russo’s, Kingma’s and Art of the Table) and sprinkle with crushed (roasted and salted) pistachios. Easy Peasy.


Easy Vegan Nut Cheese
1. Soak 1/2 cup of raw almonds and 1/2 cup of raw cashews in water for about four hours. Rinse and drain them.
2. Combine the nuts, 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of filtered water in the Vitamix. (Add more water if necessary, but I have found this to be the right amount.) Mix it up using the tamperer to push them down into the blades.
3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the mix and reblend to a lovely paste.
4. Enjoy!!

You say Tabbouleh, I say Tabbuli

Here’s the next in our series of “Please don’t make me cook in this heat!” Tabbouleh is such a versatile, delicious and filling grain salad that you must add it to your repertoire. Some love it with more parsley than bulgur wheat, some love it stuffed with mint. There’s cilantro on this salad (but that’s because I didn’t have any more parsley to garnish it). It is a little known fact that bulgur wheat (the parboiled, dried and cracked version of whole wheat) has fewer calories, less fat and about twice the fiber of brown rice. And here’s the kicker–you don’t have to wait 40 minutes and heat up your kitchen to eat it!

Tabbouleh with Garbanzos

This dish is a re-envisioned version from my first-ever vegetarian cookbook, “Fast Vegetarian Feasts,” published in 1982 by Martha Rose Shulman. As with many dishes I have made hundreds of times, I vary it according to what I have on hand, but the basic dressing ingredients came from Martha and they make a fantastic tabbouleh! Everyone loves this dish. I have added a chia oil substitute with no loss in flavor. This makes the dish as healthy as it is delicious—you can leave out the olive oil entirely if you like.

1 ½ cups raw medium grind bulgur (you can find bulgur at health food stores or in the Bob’s Red Mill section of your
grocery store)
1 cup boiling water
Juice of one lemon
½ cup white vinegar
2 cloves garlic (put through a press or minced fine)
1 tsp. prepared mustard
¾ tsp. ground cumin
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup chia oil substitute*
1 bunch green onions, both whites and as much green tops as you like
½ cup chopped parsley
2 tomatoes, flesh only, chopped (so core them and remove the watery innards)
1 English seedless cucumber, diced (you choose if you like it peeled or not)
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Put raw bulgur in a large bowl
Heat water and pour over bulgur
Whisk together next seven ingredients and pour over bulgur
Layer next five ingredients on top of bulgur and cover the bowl with a towel
After about an hour toss the whole salad together and let sit at room temperature
Season with salt to taste and freshly ground pepper

*Stir 2 teaspoons chia seeds into ½ cup warm water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to gel. Stir and add to recipe as an oil replacement.