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Smoke and Spice Almond Hummus

Robin Robertson's Smoke and Spice Almond Hummus, vegan and gluten-free

Chipotle chiles and smoked paprika provide a smoky heat, while sun-dried tomatoes, lime juice, and a variety of seasonings add to the intriguing flavor palate of this Smoke and Spice Almond Hummus.

Robin Robertson's Smoke and Spice Almond Hummus, vegan and gluten-free
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Smoke and Spice Almond Hummus

Chipotle chiles and smoked paprika provide a smoky heat, while sun-dried tomatoes, lime juice, and a variety of seasonings add to the intriguing flavor palate of this bold dip.
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Mediterranean
Yields 2 cups
Author Robin Robertson

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups or 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 or 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 oil-packed or rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup roasted slivered almonds, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, combine the garlic, chickpeas, chipotle, and tomatoes, and process to a paste. Add the almond butter, lime juice, paprika, coriander, cumin, and the water.
  2. Process until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add 2 tablespoons of the cilantro. Pulse to combine thoroughly.
  3. Transfer the hummus to a bowl. If not serving right away, cover and refrigerate until needed.
  4. If serving right away, sprinkle the top with the almonds and remaining cilantro.

Recipe Notes

The Nut Butter Cookbook

From The Nut Butter Cookbook by Robin Robertson. ©2014 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Andrews McMeel Publishing. Photo by Lori Maffei.

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Power Ball Energy Bites

Power Ball Energy Bites from The Nut Butter Cookbook by Robin Robertson
Ideal for on-the-go breakfasts or between meal snacks, these tasty little no-bake energy bites pack a nutritious punch of protein, potassium, and other nutrients. If you don’t have protein powder for this recipe, you can just leave it out. If the texture is too moist, add a bit more oats or walnuts to the mixture.

Power Ball Energy Bites from The Nut Butter Cookbook by Robin Robertson
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Power Ball Energy Bites

Ideal for on-the-go breakfasts or between meal snacks, these tasty little no-bake energy bites pack a nutritious punch of protein, potassium, and other nutrients.
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Yields 12 Bites
Author Robin Robertson

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons vegan protein powder (I use Sun Warrior vanilla)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ripe banana, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 1 cup shredded toasted coconut, ground

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, combine oats, walnuts, protein powder, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. Pulse until well mixed. Add the banana, almond butter, and maple syrup. Pulse until combined. Add the cranberries and flaxseeds, and pulse until combined.
  2. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls. If the balls are too soft, refrigerate or freeze them for an hour. Roll the balls in the ground coconut.
  3. Transfer to a platter and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

The Nut Butter Cookbook

From The Nut Butter Cookbook by Robin Robertson. ©2014 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Andrews McMeel Publishing. Photo by Zsu Dever. 

 

 

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Kitchen-Sink Capellini

Vegan Kitchen-Sink Capellini from Cook the Pantry by Robin RobertsonAs the name implies, there’s everything but the kitchen sink in this delicious Kitchen-Sink Capellini, including artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, and two kinds of tomatoes. Made with quick-cooking capellini, this meal is ready in just minutes with a complex flavor that belies its speedy preparation.

 

Vegan Kitchen Sink Cappellini from Cook the Pantry by Robin Robertson
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Kitchen-Sink Capellini

As the name implies, there’s everything but the kitchen sink in this delicious pasta dish, including artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, and two kinds of tomatoes. Made with quick-cooking capellini, this meal is ready in just minutes with a complex flavor that belies its speedy preparation.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Yields 4 servings
Author Robin Robertson

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces capellini or angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 14-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 16-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup oil-packed or reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips
  • 1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 4 cups baby spinach or 1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, toss to coat, and set aside.
  2. In the same pot in which you cooked the pasta, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in the diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, olives, spinach (if using), basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat until hot and well combined, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved pasta and toss gentle to combine and heat through. Serve hot sprinkled with the pine nuts.

Recipe Notes

Cook the Pantry by Robin Robertson

Recipe from Cook the Pantry © 2015 by Robin Robertson. Photo by Annie Oliverio. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press LLC.

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Apple-Almond Butter Pancakes

Vegan Apple-Almond Butter Pancakes

Apple slices with nut butter are a great healthy snack. Now, this delicious flavor combo can be enjoyed in these luscious Apple-Almond Butter Pancakes. For gluten-free, use gluten-free flour.

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Apple-Almond Butter Pancakes

Apple slices with nut butter are a great healthy snack. Now, this delicious flavor combo can be enjoyed in these luscious pancakes. For gluten-free, use gluten-free flour.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Yields 8 pancakes
Author Robin Robertson

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon natural sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped roasted almonds

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking pow- der, and salt.
  2. In a blender, combine the milk, apple juice, almond butter, and vanilla and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into the flour mixture, stirring with a few swift strokes until just moist. Fold in the chopped apple and almonds.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Lightly oil a griddle or non- stick skillet and heat until hot. Ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle or skillet. Cook on one side until small bubbles appear on the top of the pancakes, about 2 minutes.
  5. Flip the pancakes with a spatula and cook until the second side is lightly browned, about 1 minute longer. Repeat with the remaining batter. Keep the cooked pancakes warm in the oven while preparing the remaining pancakes.

Recipe Notes

The Nut Butter Cookbook

From The Nut Butter Cookbook by Robin Robertson. ©2014 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Andrews McMeel Publishing. Photo by Lori Maffei.

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Vegan Paella from the Pantry

Vegan Paella from the Pantry from Cook the Pantry by Robin Robertson – plant-based and gluten-freeThis vegan paella is the ultimate in delicious pantry cooking. The quickest way to get it on the table is by having cooked rice on hand. If you have cooked rice in the freezer, it defrosts quickly in the microwave. You can also substitute a quick-cooking grain such as quinoa, if you prefer.

Vegan Paella from the Pantry from Cook the Pantry by Robin Robertson – plant-based and gluten-free
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Paella from the Pantry

This vegan paella is the ultimate in delicious pantry cooking.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yields 4 servings
Author Robin Robertson

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 pinch saffron threads or ground annatto or turmeric, for color
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 6-ounce jar roasted red bell pepper, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, saffron, paprika, bay leaf, oregano, red pepper flakes, and tomatoes and their juice. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover, and simmer for 8 minutes. Stir in the peas, chickpeas, cooked rice, artichoke hearts, roasted red bell pepper, olives, and parsley. Cook 3 to 5 minutes longer, stirring gently, to heat through. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

Cook the Pantry by Robin Robertson

Recipe from Cook the Pantry © 2015 by Robin Robertson. Photo by Annie Oliverio. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press LLC.

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Kitchen Creativity

Kitchen Creativity by Karen Page

In a break from my usual recipe posts, I’d like to share an excerpt from Karen Page’s new book entitled Kitchen Creativity.

Beyond a cookbook, Kitchen Creativity is a guide to inventive cooking (without recipes!) that will inspire you to think, improvise, and cook like the world’s best chefs. Great cooking is as much about intuition and imagination as it is about flavor and technique. Kitchen Creativity gives insights into these creative processes from more than 100 top restaurant kitchens, including the Bazaar, Blue Hill, Daniel, and Dirt Candy.

Based on four years of research and dozens of in-depth interviews, Kitchen Creativity illuminates the methods of culinary invention. Part I reveals how to learn foundational skills, including how to appreciate, taste, and season classic dishes before reinventing the classics from a new perspective. Part II’s A-to-Z entries are an invaluable culinary idea generator, with exercises to prompt new recipe ideas and combinations.
While not a cookbook, nor a vegan book, for that matter (although vegan chefs and ingredients are very well represented), Kitchen Creativity has a lot to offer for cooks looking to broaden their creativity in the kitchen.  The following is an excerpt from Kitchen Creativity on one of my favorite topics, umami…

Umami from Kitchen Creativity

“Umami” from Kitchen Creativity by Karen Page

The taste of umami is imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid discovered in 1908 by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University. In studying kombu (kelp), Ikeda managed to isolate glutamate as its own compound, giving it the name of umami, which translates as “savoriness.” Thus, 5,000 years after the discovery of salt, and 4,000 years after the discovery of sugar, and 3,500 years after the discovery of sour (vinegar), umami is a relatively new taste concept. Japanese cooks had been using umami-rich ingredients intuitively for centuries, long before their scientific properties were discovered to enhance flavor.

While we first mentioned umami in our 1996 book Culinary Artistry, it did not begin to gain more widespread acceptance until after 2000 when glutamate receptors were discovered on the tongue. The main sources of umami are those deriving from 1) the amino acid glutamate (found in, e.g., kelp); and those deriving from 2) so-called “nucleotides”—such as a) adenylate (aka AMP, which is found primarily in fish and shellfish), b) guanylate (aka GMP, which is found primarily in plants and fungi, e.g., shiitake mushrooms, esp. dried), and c) inosinate (aka IMP, which is found primarily in meat and fish, e.g., bonito flakes).

The big umami magic happens when one or more nucleotides are combined with glutamate, as there is a synergistic affect—resulting in umami with as much as eight times the potency.

Umami Dynamics

Umami can enhance a bland dish’s appeal with mouth-filling savoriness. Umami can also enhance a dish’s perceived sweetness, while tempering its perceived bitterness. If you find yourself with too much of a good thing when it comes to umami, try balancing with salty, sweet, bitter, acidic, or piquant ingredients.

Umami is a taste that tends to linger on the palate—something referred to as a “long finish” in the wine world. Because it contributes to the qualities of deliciousness and satiation, umami is especially prized as a taste in dishes and menus.

Note: Certain herbs and spices can also emphasize a dish’s savory aspects, such as bay leaf, cumin, oregano, paprika, sage, and thyme.

Using Umami

Chefs praise black garlic (aka fermented garlic) for its ability to add depth and earthiness to dishes ranging from vegetables to meats.

If you doubt umami’s importance as one of the five primary tastes, consider the fact that leading chefs like Michael Anthony, Eric Ripert, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten believe dashi to be a key component of their cooking. Some chefs use it to replace liquids in countless preparations, from brines to broths to salad dressings.

Chefs have rising enthusiasm for all manner of fermented ingredients (e.g., fermented soybeans, kimchi, miso, pickles, sauerkraut), which bring umami to dishes including vegetables.

The corn smut known as huitlacoche is prized as a Mexican delicacy, not only by chefs cooking in the vernacular like Rick Bayless, but also mainstream chefs who find themselves using it in quesadillas, soups, and tacos. Sean Brock declares is “insanely delicious and luxurious, like black truffles.”

Kombu (aka kelp, the sea vegetable) is prized for its umami by Yoshihiro Narisawa.

Brad Farmerie is fanatical about miso, which allows him to achieve a rich mouthfeel without butter or cream. Miso is an integral part of Farmerie’s roasted chile caramel Brussels sprouts, which involve caramelizing sugar (sweet) before adding chiles (hot), cilantro stems (bitter), lime juice (sour), fish sauce (salt/umami), and miso (richness). He adds miso to sweet potatoes + brown butter + rosemary to create another dish he’s not able to take off the menu. Other chefs will add misos (e.g., white) to salad dressings or soups for an umami boost.

From his time in Japan, Michael Anthony picked up a love of “sea weeds and pickles.”

Thomas Henkelmann describes rich, flavorful stocks as “essential” for cooking in every season.

Umeboshi paste is prized by chefs, including Isa Chandra Moskowitz of Omaha’s and Brooklyn’s Modern Love, for its umami quality. Moskowitz adds it to her Caesar salad dressing for its anchovy flavor.

Even native Brits like Mark Levy fall prey to the charms of white truffles, which he prizes for their mysterious aroma and short availability.

Excerpted from Kitchen Creativity: Unlocking Culinary Genius—with Wisdom, Inspiration, and Ideas from the World’s Most Creative Chefs by Karen Page (Little, Brown, October 31, 2017).

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