Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pine Nuts for Dinner, Pine Nuts for Dessert

Because I have no choice but to limit all my spending, including (but not limited to) food spending, deciding what to prepare means a lot of looking through my shelves and seeing what I’ve already got on hand to use.  As luck would have it, I need not feel poor because I’ve got plenty of one of the very most expensive ingredients I ever use: pine nuts.  See, for my birthday in December of 2009, my step-mother got me a huge bag of them from Costco – a gift that delighted and thrilled me!  I’ve kept them in my freezer ever since, because I understand they spoil if left out.

I found two recipes in 500 Vegan Recipes that use pine nuts and wouldn’t require me to buy too much.  One was the Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and the other was the Maple Pine Nut Bars.  All I had to get at the grocery store was basil, dates, and soy yogurt.  I had everything else, and was happy to have extra soy yogurt to mix with fruit and enjoy at lunch.  Oh yeah, I also bought some Italian bread to drizzle with olive oil and toast, to use as a vehicle for the dip.

The dip is simple enough – oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, fresh garlic, basil, olive oil, cashews, and pine nuts, all whizzed through the food processor.  For those of you who care about that sort of thing (not me), it’s raw, since my cashews are raw.  Here’s a picture of the bread with the dip, which is not a very photogenic thing.  That’s why I put it on a leaf plate.  Not because it’s fall-themed or anything, just because I figure anyone who sees it will be like, “If it’s on a plate like that, it’s GOT to be good!”  That’s what you’re thinking, right?  Right?  Guys?


The Maple Pine Nut Bars are an interesting creature.  Authors Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman call them “bars,” but it really isn’t a recipe for a bar.  It’s cake.  Definitely cake.  I’d call it a coffee cake, and certainly, a lot of vegan coffee cake recipes do, like this one, call for soy yogurt.  It’s a good, sophisticated coffee cake.  The dates and pine nuts certainly do make me feel all growed up.  I could see my aunts enjoying this cake a lot.  I don’t know why I pick my aunts over any other type of person who is a generation older than I am, but I’m sticking with it.  For some reason, I really imagine that any of my aunts would greatly enjoy this maple, cinnamon, nutmeg, date, and pine nut treat.  Maybe because they drink coffee?  I don’t know.  This is good, though, especially with coffee, and if I were one of those awesome, artistic food bloggers who was smart enough to plan, the following picture would probably have some coffee next to it, or maybe, like, some coffee beans artfully scattered.  Too bad, though!  You're at my blog, you just get coffee cake on a plate.

I guess that a woman really shouldn’t survive on bread and dip and cake alone (although I contend that it’s not a bad living), and as soon as I get my tax refund (I filed on the very last possible day, pretty much at the last possible moment, basically because I couldn’t find all the various W2’s I got for last year, which got all shuffled around in my move), I’ll have a bit more dough to make complete, healthful meals.

Here’s something unrelated, but it’s on my mind sometimes reading other cooking blogs: how the heck do you get to be a cookbook recipe tester?? Allow me to put on my whining hat on for a moment. I wanna be a cookbook tester! Why do other people get to and I never do! No fair! I’m sure that it’s just because I don’t actually know anyone who is coming out with a book, nor do I engage in online forums. But I would be such a good recipe tester. I like to cook from books, I’m happy to try new things, I cook all the time, and I think that I give useful feedback. So, hey, if you know anyone who is making a vegan cookbook, I really, really, really, really want to test the recipes. Did I mention really?  One more time: really.  Just putting that out there. Ask and ye shall receive, or whatever. I'm actually not asking for anything, just offering my services, for what they're worth.

3 comments:

  1. Hey there, I like your blog. Your presentation looks plenty professional and your dip and maple pine nut cake look great!
    Besides the vegan concept, do you follow any other ideas of nutrition? I'm specifically thinking of the Paleo diet concept in which lower sugar, processed foods, dairy and grain intake is supposed to be what's best for our body and a throwback to the way our nomadic pre-agricultural ancestors used to eat.
    Any thoughts?
    http://sureshmnair.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. You know, I'm not altogether interested in nutrition, except for how different foods affect my blood sugar (I'm type 1 diabetic). Mostly, I just believe in cooking your own food, not eating processed foods, and sticking with fruit, veggies, and whole grains. My food interests really lie in sustainability, and environmental issues. It costs the world less to eat vegan.

    Diets like the Paleo one kind of offend me because they promote eating fish. Sure, fish would be a super-healthy protein if they weren't horribly polluted, but even that is besides the point. The fact is that it's irresponsible to eat fish because all fish are endangered, with very few exceptions. Yet, these diets just act as if these wild animals are in unlimited supply, and you can eat as much of them as you like. It makes me really mad.

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  3. Hey Melissa,
    I love your blog! I just wanted to let you know that I was looking though 'The Urban Vegan's (Dynise Balcavage) blog archives and I notice that back in December she was looking for testers for her new cookbook, which is due out later this year. She had a few requirements such as having your own established food blog and agreeing to post and photograph reviews of at least five of her recipes. For doing this I think she promised a signed copy of her new cookbook. Unfortunately,this was an old post and obviously we missed the boat on that one but maybe there are more opportunities out there for you like this one.
    --Tara

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