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”
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
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of butter
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup almonds
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.