cashew cream kale caesar salad + fried shallots & "parmesan" {vegan}

I feel like I repeat this statement a lot but that’s because it really is true (for me anyway)…”sometimes the simplest things are best”. I actually refer to that mantra over and over again in all aspects of my life, from food, to clothing, to travelling, to arranging flowers, to house decor.

In the past few years I have been trying to live my life in the simplest form possible, de-cluttering around the house has been my biggest thing as of late.  I feel most grounded and at ease when things are simple my surroundings, my days & my work. That doesn’t mean I am not busy a lot, I am, but if I have had a really busy week or maybe even month (because that does happen) I always try and balance with some follow up simple days. I actually need those simple days to recharge or else I get quite displaced, moody and just feel out of whack. I have noticed this as I get older too, the more down time I need to be able to fully charge back up…this age thing,  I tell ya!

This weekend Paul and I extended our days off together and really didn’t do very much. We went for a coastal seaside picnic, where I made a simple charcuterie platter with local cheeses and meats for us to munch on, we had some coconut milk hot cacao and roasted some jalapeno & cheddar smokies on the fire. I didn’t cook a single thing for it, which was really out of norm for me but was actually nice to take the break. The next few days were a mix of hikes, afternoon movies, and a lot of homemade food we made together. Neither Paul or I are very elaborate people, when we are not busy our days are pretty much filled with the above activities the majority of the time. We like to get out and explore our area, the trails and lakes and seasides. We have our favourite spots we frequent often and of course Solomon is in his glory (as are we) when he is out and about in nature.

We often cook together as much as we can, always trying new ways to cook things, new sauces, new combinations. We put on some soft jazz music, candles, maybe a fire (we have used our wood stove a couple of times already even though it isn’t quite cool enough out, there is nothing quite like a wood stove at home to bring in that comfort factor), pour a couple of glasses of wine and the two of us chop and season and sauté together in our wee tiny kitchen. There is actually nothing that brings me as much joy as those days do. The slow meanderings and putzing around without much of an agenda, it's my bliss...

Paul and I have been on a real kale kick lately, it is hard not to be with all of the beautiful & bountiful bunches around. I have made this Caesar for years now, I came up with the dressing recipe when I was going through a vegetarian and vegan stage and it is unbelievably creamy and luscious. I have always loved Caesars but I never used to like mayonnaise (until recently…details below) so I would also make a vinaigrette dressing for mine at home until the whole cashew craze for dressings came along and changed creamy dressings in my household.

I have talked about it before, my hate for store bought dressings and condiments. Ever since I was a little girl they always grossed me out, just the thought of something sitting in a container on a store shelf for lord knows how long just creeps me out, especially mayonnaise (the texture, the smell, when you open the jar and it is all glooby, I know that isn’t a word but I feel like you get what I am saying).

Recently though and this is probably mostly because as you get older your taste buds change but I have been at a couple of restaurants and had an aioli and liked it. Now I know what you are thinking “Lyndsey, you know that they probably make it out of store bought mayonnaise” and yes I do realize that, although secretly I hope they put the little amount of time in to make it at home, because it is so so so easy. It was actually something Paul and I made over the weekend. 

We were making bacon jam & brie sliders and I decided to embark on making some homemade mayo. What a difference it makes when you can see and know the ingredients going into something are fresh and organic. Truly it is so easy to make and the taste is worlds different. I am going to share my recipe soon along with the sliders. 

You won't see me ever buying a jar of mayonnaise from the store as it still grosses me out, along with most every other condiment but that just makes the homemade ones all the more special. Food should be filled with love and time and energy. The way it goes into your body when it is changes the way you want to eat. Its worth it trust me. 

But this all brings me back to this dressing, you will not miss mayonnaise in it, it is creamier than if you did use mayo and the cashews nuttiness really balances everything else in the dressing and goes great with kale. I like mine quite thick but you can add more water or olive oil to thin it out to your liking. Blend it for longer than you think you need to as it just gets creamier and smoother. I made mine in a food processor but I have made it in my vitamix before and both work great.

The shallots are like bacon to this salad, although you could add real bacon too and the nutritional yeast “parmesan” with almonds, well I put that on almost everything I make. Its so simple but mixing the two together really works, its great on pasta, meatballs, stir-fry’s salads, omelettes, eggs…you get the idea.  

I am sharing this recipe as part of a #healthyfastfood4 blog carnival put on by the lovely Janine of Nuts & Blueberries. I was so happy to be invited to join, it is especially lovely when bloggers put things like this together as it is such a great way to get to know others in this small online community. You can check out her post here about it, although I am joining in the nick of time as it closes tomorrow! But there are some amazing contributors and all the recipes are fast, easy, vegetarian or vegan, wholesome and good for you so its worth checking out just for that. 


cashew cream Caesar kale salad + fried shallots & nutritional yeast “parmesan”

ingredients

6 de-stemed kale leaves

1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours)

½ cup water

¼ cup fresh oregano

2 tbsp Olive oil

2 tbsp Nutritional yeast

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

3-4 cloves of garlic

2 tsp capers

2 tsp Worcestershire’s sauce

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Juice of one Lemon

fried shallots

3 shallots

1 tbsp flour

1 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of butter

"parmesan"

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1/3 cup almonds

directions

Soak the cashews in a bowl of water for at least 4 hours or overnight. If you are in a pinch of time, boil some water and pour the boiling water into a bowl over the cashews and let them sit for at least an hour, this usually works too.

For the dressing: Once the cashews are soaked throw all of the above ingredients into a food processer or vitamix and blend until smooth. You can add more water or olive oil to get it to the consistency you like.

For the shallots: Thinly slice the shallots and toss in the flour. In a small pan heat the butter and olive oil on medium heat. Add in the shallots and sauté until crispy & browned, lay out on a piece of paper towel evenly to dry out and soak up any excess oil.

For the “parmesan”: pulse together the nutritional yeast and almonds in a food processor, leaving the almonds somewhat chunky.

Toss the kale in the dressing (I eat mine right away but you can toss the kale in the dressing and leave it in the fridge for an hour to help soften the kale), top with “parmesan” and shallots.


peach + bacon + shallot & thyme breakfast galette

Summer is coming to an end but I wanted to sneak in one last sweet & savoury summer recipe for you guys. Mostly because it is extremely delicious and I couldn’t wait until next summer to share this breakfast galette with you. I had taken most of August off of blogging, as some of you know, to spend the time redesigning my site which meant I didn’t get to share with you as many recipes as I had wanted or planned on. So I hope this one makes up for it, it’s pretty damn good so I think it will.

This recipe came out on a whim. I had made a pie {recipe here} and had some leftover pastry so I wrapped it up thinking maybe I will use it again, honestly I kinda thought I would end up tossing it, what was I going to use scraps for really? But then I woke up the next morning with a breakfast craving and everything in the fridge to pull it off. 

peach bacon galette (2 of 1).jpg

Some of my favourite flavour combinations come from mixing sweet fruits, savoury cheeses, fresh fragrant herbs and of course smoky bacon always helps. I wasn’t sure how the pastry would be as I had sweetened it and spiced it for the pie recipe but I decided to go with it and I am so happy I did.

The warming spices and coconut sugar, although barely tasted, really brought everything together for this sweet & savoury galette. Then brushing it with cream and seasoning it with salt & pepper (these are key) truly uniformed the entire thing. It is amazing how just some spices and the right amount of seasoning can transform a dish. In every cooking show and from every talented chef we are always told to never forget to season, it is like the crème de la crème of most anything to do with cooking/baking.

This galette is a great weekend morning breakfast dish. I love breakfasts that you throw together easily and into the oven, it allows you to enjoy the morning a little more than say standing around making pancake after pancake (although don’t get me wrong there is also a lot of joy in that routine as well), sometimes you just want ease and to savour that cup of coffee with small lingering sips, instead of rushing around mixing this and that. Each have a time and place, as do most moments with good food I find.

Earlier this week I shared my shortened #realdietstory on my Instagram and I thought it would be nice to share it on here as well with you guys in case you missed it over there. One day maybe I will go into details of both the good and bad side of the story but for now I think this about sums my journey with food perfectly…I think the biggest lesson to take from it is that we all have our own paths to take and battles to conquer but we are not alone in them. Everyone has a story, some easier, some harder, but your story is just that it is yours. What you decide to take and learn from your story will be what shapes you and what allows you to grow...

“I was tagged by two of my faves Harvest & Honey & Anisa Sabet at The Macademes to share my #realdietstory my ever evolving relationship with food, in short story form. I have not always had a healthy relationship with food, quite the opposite actually. I struggled with an eating disorder for most of my life, I think it is something that will never truly go away but I suppose you can say it is dormant right now. It started when I was 12 and carried on into my twenties, I was extremely self-conscious, insecure & painfully shy growing up and I felt like that was the one thing I could control. In my late teens I was also diagnosed with PCOS, at the time I was more worried about my skin and weight than my diet, which looking back and learning what I know now was silly because with PCOS diet can change symptoms dramatically.

In my late twenties I also went vegetarian for 5 years. After my Dad passed away with cancer I dived deep into the holistic health world and tried almost every fad way of eating you could think of. Two years ago Paul and I went on a trip to India which I think was the most divine timing of anything in my life. I wasn’t able to communicate what that trip did for me but when we came back I was changed, it paved the path to where I am today with my thoughts towards food, culture & life. When we got back I decided to live more freely. I was so tired of having to label my diet and not eating this or that because I was worried what others would think or if it would make me “fat”. I decided to tune into my body, mind & soul and listen, get to know myself and my body.

It has taken years to get to where now and I am sure that will continue to evolve and grow but I do feel like at this moment I have the healthiest relationship with food I have ever had. Recently Paul and I cut out carbs, grains and starches {not completely but on a day to day} and we both feel like it is best for our bodies. I am extremely picky on the quality of the foods I consume, local, grass-fed, organic, hormone free, unprocessed, in their most natural forms is what I like to put into my body. Because we only have one and should give it the most respect we can

Even through the hardest struggles I have always had a love of food, its ability to bring people together, compose gatherings around long tables or cozy firepits and create incredibly special memories is deep within my heart. Even just the smell of certain foods can bring in a flood of joyous nostalgia. I spent a lot of my childhood on my Grandparents farm where they had their own seasonal garden and raised their own meats & grains, which I believe instilled & carved the need for quality food in my life now.

My Grandma was an amazing cook; my best memories are spending the morning in the garden with my Grandpa picking peas, raspberries, carrots, potatoes, lettuce and then spending the afternoon cleaning them all up with my Grandma in the kitchen, watching her make magic out of anything and everything she had at her disposal. I have always had an innate love of cooking, baking & spending time in the kitchen, although sometimes I had a rocky relationship with food it has also always been a healing & humbling relationship as well.

For me food, above anything else sparks imagination. I have never been one to fully follow a recipe, I gather inspiration and insights and then make them my own, a dash more of this or that, a different herb instead of the original, a new vegetable or a different kind of meat. That is my hope with the recipes I share as well that you will make them your own and that they can bring your family years of memories, the good and the bad. In the end both mold & shape us to who we are, we learn, we grow, we make mistakes, we love hard & we fight hard. Overall we are just humans foraging our own path in this crazy whirlwind we call life”.

I was actually so happy to have taken part in this #realdietstory movement. I only ever share aspects of life and my journey with you, never for sympathy, out of love. I think the more we hear of peoples stories the more we realize that we are not alone and that there is support out there in so many different aspects and realms. That we never have to feel embarrassed or ashamed for the story we have gone through, it has lead you to where you are. Maybe you are still healing or maybe you have fully healed, either way there is someone in the stage you are at and someone battling the stages you have passed. 


peach + bacon + shallot & thyme breakfast galette

{this recipe make two galettes}

pastry ingredients

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 tbsp coconut sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup frozen butter

1/3 cup water

Galette ingredients

6 slices of bacon

2 large peaches

3 shallots

½ cup fresh parmesan

4 tbsp of fresh thyme

4 tbsp honey

1 tbsp butter

2 eggs

3 tbsp of cream for washing pastry

directions

preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

pastry

whisk together the dry ingredients, set aside.

it is best to use chilled (frozen) butter. on the largest hole of a cheese grater, grate the butter into the flour mixture. mix lightly with a spoon every few heaping grates. add in the ice water in small increments, stirring until all the water is added. knead the dough until just combined and then pour out onto the counter. you can add more water by the tablespoon if the mixture is still dry.

kneading again until the pastry holds together, form the pastry into two balls, wrap in saran wrap and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.

filling

Mince the shallots and de-stem the thyme.

In a large pan on medium heat cook the bacon to your liking and then set the bacon aside in a paper towel. Without getting rid of the bacon fat add 1 tbsp of butter, melt and then add the shallots and brown. After about 2-3 minutes add in the thyme and cook together for another 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside.

Slice the peaches and mix with 2 tbsp of honey. Grate the parmesan and chop the bacon into large pieces.

assembling the galette

once the pie pastry has chilled, lightly flour a flat surface and roll out the pastry balls one at a time, until about 1/8 inch thick. fold and transfer one of the dough’s to your lined baking sheet. Add half of the shallot and thyme mixture to your first piece of dough and spread around leaving a 1 inch border. Arrange your peach slices around the circle and sprinkle half of the bacon pieces around evenly, top with half of the parmesan mixture and season with salt & pepper.

Fold the border overtop of the filling, brush with cream and season just the crust with salt & pepper. Then transfer the other pastry dough onto the same baking sheet and repeat the above steps.

Bake for 20 minutes and then take the galette’s out of the oven and crack one egg in the middle of each one. this step can be optional, they are good with or without the egg. I cracked mine on top at the 20 minute mark but that can also change to your liking as to how much you want the egg cooked. Bake for another 20 minutes. If you are leaving the eggs out bake the galette’s for a total of 40 minutes.

Cool for about 5 minutes and then drizzle one last tbsp of honey overtop each galette before serving.