[Sometimes, you just want to eat something now. I’ve decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so easy to make that no recipe is required. Here’s today’s “Flash in the Pan.” (For other FitP recipes, see “Categories” at right).]
[Uber creamy–with no dairy or soy!]
Thanks, everyone, for all the great comments in response to my last post. One point I found fascinating–and hadn’t thought about before–is how so many vegan options in restaurants are just “meh.” As Julie, Jessy and Danielle pointed out, most often the vegan foods are simply the regular items with the animal products taken out–rather than dishes designed from scratch as “vegan.” In that case, I agree: more fun to eat at home! I do feel fortunate that there are so many great choices here in Toronto, however. (Oh, and summers are the best time to visit: it’s been sunny and between 22 and 30C/72-86F the past couple of weeks. Toronto is a fabulous city, filled with world-class events, sights and culture, not to mention multicultural cuisine. You’re welcome, Toronto Tourism Network).
One of the things I love about the ACD (a veto on over half the usual foods from my diet? Causing a horrendous detox reaction in which I stumbled around with flu-like symptoms, barely able to think straight during the first few weeks of the diet? Forcing me to stave off cravings that persisted unabated, basically for the first six months–sort of like The Bride against the Crazy 88s in that scene from Kill Bill (Volume I)? ) is that, now finally in Stage II, I can rejoice over the return of some fruits to my culinary repertoire.
I nearly wept with elation when I first ate fresh pineapple again a couple of weeks ago; I love it that much (can you believe the HH doesn’t fancy it? “Too acidic,” he says.) Besides its heavenly, ambrosia flavor and distinctively pinecone exterior, pineapple always brings with it the pleasant satisfaction of accomplishment after you finally cut away all the inedible parts and sink your teeth into the luscious, juicy fruit inside. I’ve even been known to gnaw at the yellow flesh clinging to the skin, risking the thorny bits for the joy of pineapple nectar running down my chin. (“Mum, you don’t have to take that risk. Just let us eat it instead–we don’t care about the thorny bits.”)
In my zeal to bring more fresh pineapple into the house, I purchsed a huge specimen last week and went to town cutting away the peel and slicing it into bite-sized chunks. But after two days of gorging on diced pineapple and with over half a container remaining, I realized that radical measures were necessary to finish the beloved treat before it began to ferment (a huge no-no for the ACD).
Some of you may recall the wayward patch of mint growing at the side of our house. Well, this year I determined to take the offensive and begin snipping and using those emerald leaves as soon as I saw their little Martian heads sprouting through the ground. I’ve already made a variation on my original mint smoothie (with the aforementioned pineapple, as well) and today whipped up this quick and easy salad dressing (or mint sauce–it’s very adaptable that way).
With Gena’s inspiration still in my mind, I based this dressing/sauce on the principle of “veggies + flax = creaminess.” I also added pineapple for its natural sweetness and the fact that it contains the compound bromelain, a digestive enzyme that serves to distinguish pineapple (and, similarly, papaya because of its papain) from other fruits as two that are acceptable to consume at the end of the meal even if you’re following principles of food combining (since they aid in digestion rather than delay it).
The dressing turned out light and smooth, its creamy texture complemented by a fresh and subtly mint flavor and aroma. It created a beautiful visual and textural counterpart to my lunchtime dandelion salad (fresh dandelion greens, cucumber slices, and more pineapple chunks). The very slight sweetness along with the spirited minty flavor were the perfect foils for the bitterness of the dandelion and crunch of the cucumber. Just right for a light and summery meal.
While I used the mixture as a dressing, I think it would also make a perfect sauce for your next dinner in a bowl. In fact, I’m going to cook up some millet for tonight’s supper and start thinking about which veggies would work well as a foundation for the sauce (I know; that’s sort of like buying furniture to match the color once you’ve already painted the walls, but hey).
Canada AM update: a few of you asked where you could find the clip of me on the show. I’ve now added it to my Press page (first item under “Television and Radio”).
Creamy Mint and Pineapple Dressing or Sauce
Quick and easy, this is a versatile summer salad dressing, dip or sauce. Try it with crudités, potato salad, or pasta. The zucchini here lends some creaminess, as does the tahini.
1 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
1 cup (240 ml) fresh pineapple chunks
1 Tbsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) tahini (sesame paste)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) finely ground flax seeds
1-inch (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
20-25 fresh mint leaves (or more, to taste)
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until perfectly smooth. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes, then stir before using. Use over salad greens, on grain-based salads or over warm grain and vegetable bowls. Makes about 1-1/2 cups (360 ml). Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Since this contains my (very) local mint, I’m linking this post to Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays for this week.
Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to RickiHeller.com via email. You’ll get recipes as soon as they’re posted, plus cookbook updates and news about upcoming events! (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”
Last Year at this Time: Dog Day: Where’s Mum?
Two Years Ago: Radish and Grapefruit Salad
© 2010 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]