Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sous Vide vegetarian cooking

Have you heard about the Sous Vide water oven?  Maybe you've seen one on a cooking show, or you know that they are used in some of the finest restaurant kitchens.  The makers of Sous Vide sent me one of their new Sous Vide Supreme water ovens.  This compact appliance is just the right size for home cooks.

The funny thing about getting this cool gadget was other people's reactions. Almost every person I told about it said, "But that's for cooking meat!" I understand that it is a fine method for cooking meat, but obviously, that was not what interested me about it.

The Sous Vide Supreme cooks food that's been vacuum-packed in sub-boiling water. This keeps the color, natural sugars, and vitamins intact while keeping the texture fork-tender without being mushy. This excited me to get cooking with my new water oven.

One of the first foods I tried was butternut squash. I frequently roast it, or bake it and mash it. I wanted to see how the texture would marry with bright flavors. Cooking the squash in my Sous Vide Supreme kept the color vivid, the texture tender, but not mushy, and the flavor with my light seasoning was sunny and warm.

sous vide butternut squash vegetable recipe
Dicing the squash was all the effort required for this dish!

It really was easy to use the Sous Vide Supreme. I peeled and chopped my squash. Then I vacuum sealed it in a food-grade bag. Set the oven to 183 degrees Fahrenheit, and dropped in the bag. An hour later, it was hot and ready to eat. One of the bonuses of this kind of cooking is that you can cook several batches at once, and freeze the packages for later use. As a busy mom, that's pretty appealing.

Despite the reactions I got, I can tell you that the Sous Vide Supreme is a useful tool in vegetarian cooking. 

sous vide vegetarian recipe butternut squash

Sous Vide Butternut Squash
Serves 4

  • 3 cups medium diced butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4  to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  1. Peel and dice butternut squash.
  2. Preheat Sous Vide Supreme to 183F.
  3. Add squash to bag.
  4. Add remaining ingredients.
  5. Shake to distribute.
  6. Vacuum seal the bag.
  7. Cook for 1 hour.
 Required disclosure: I received a Sous Vide Supreme to create 3 recipes. The opinions are my own, and I received no other compensation.

Happy Cooking!

Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ranch Dressing, food allergy, soyfree, glutenfree, vegan, dairyfree

This has been a winter for the record books where I live. Snow. Freezing Cold. Repeat.

I confess, this has not made me crave salads. It has, in too many instances, crave chocolate and red wine. 

Even I cannot live -- or hope to thrive -- on chocolate and red wine alone.  (Though my Red Wine Chocolate Cake is pretty perfect melding of the two!)

Sometimes a girl needs to eat some vegetables.

How could I bring my desire for comfort food to some fresh greens?

Ranch Dressing! How to make it Welcoming Kitchen-friendly was the question.  I needed to make a ranch dressing that is vegan, gluten-free, allergen-free and that includes soy-free.

You might be asking ... Can you really have a creamy, rich ranch dressing without dairy?
Of course!

I had a jar of Soy-free Vegenaise that the folks from Follow Your Heart wanted me to try. Its cool, creamy deliciousness makes a great vegan mayonnaise alternative. That seemed a good starting point. Mix in some of my favorite creamy ingredient -- non-dairy yogurt -- and I just needed to add some herby goodness.

I added a dollop to a baked potato and mixed in some fresh baby spinach. I loved this lunch so much, I ate it for the next few days.

Vegan, Soy-free Ranch Dressing
Makes slightly more than 1/2 cup


  • 1 6-ounce container plain-flavored coconut milk yogurt (I used So Delicious brand.)
  • 1/4 cup Soy-free Vegenaise (or other vegan mayonnaise)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill

Combine all ingredients.  
Store in sealed container for up to one week.

Disclosure: I received a jar of Soy-free Vegenaise from Follow Your Heart for review. All opinions are my own. I received no other compensation.

Happy Cooking!

Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

food allergy candy, glutenfree, vegan Valentine candy

It's February. 

February means Valentine's Day. Right?

Grocery stores are filled with big red hearts filled with candy. What can you do if that's not the right treat for your sweet?

Maybe you need something allergen-free.
Maybe you want something more natural.
Maybe you need a vegan or gluten-free treat.

What can you give?

How about Surf Sweets Organic Fruity Hearts?
The Surf Sweets company sent me their gummy heart-shaped candies to review. We loved them. They are tangy sweet, chewy, and super cute.

We all tried them as an early Valentine's treat yesterday. They were a hit. When I was shopping this weekend, I saw nice size bags of them at Whole Foods. 

Allergen-free, gluten-free, vegan Valentine
Vanilla Rice Pudding and Strawberry Parfaits

Want to make your own treats? Here are some ideas:

Surf Sweets sent me Organic Fruity Hearts to try and review, but all opinions are my own.
Happy Cooking!

Find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.