My father died last year. He had just turned 70 years old. The official diagnosis was Agent Orange Related Parkinson’s Disease. The official cause of death was asphyxiation. He died choking on his own blood. And though he may have died on January 29, 2020, the truth is, Agent Orange exposure killed him 50 years before.
For the first two years of their marriage, my mom was the recipient of many a late-night trip to the floor as my father would grab her and toss her, yelling “incoming.” The only story I had ever heard about his time in Vietnam was one in which he was riding shotgun, holding a gun, as their convoy passed through a small village. As was often the case, the villagers in town would gather on each side of the road as the soldiers would throw provisions and food to them.
The young Vietnamese children would run up yelling, “chop, chop,” which meant candy. My Dad said he often knew when they were among the Viet Cong because no one gathered. But this particular day, as the crowd parted, a young Vietnamese girl about four years old walked from the crowd and stopped about 20 feet ahead of them. My father saw the grenade. As the truck stopped, he got out and slowly made his way over to her. He spoke to her in Vietnamese and asked her to drop it. He asked again, and he asked again. But the child reached for the pin. In one fail swoop, my father made a decision that changed his view of life forever.
The only other story I have heard about my Dad, and Vietnam, came last week at his service. This letter was written by one of my Dad’s platoon buddies. Jay had reached out to my Dad via email before he died, but my Dad could not respond. So after letting him know about the email, Reverend Apple decided to reach out to Jay. This is the letter that Reverend Apple read…
Hello Reverend Apple,
Thanks so much for letting me know about Glenn’s passing. I am sorry to hear that he is gone and wish we might have had the opportunity to reconnect. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Glenn saved my life on Easter Sunday 1969 (April 6) in a clearing in the jungle near Black Virgin Mountain Nui Be Den) in Vietnam. Our company’s lead platoon was ambushed earlier in the afternoon. Two men either killed or badly injured lying in the clearing, exposed to fire from North Vietnamese Army soldiers concealed in well-camouflaged bunkers. Our platoon was called forward to try to reach the casualties, and the platoon leader instructed me to send a fire team (3-4 guys) forward toward the nearest body to pull it back.
Leading the team, I crawled across the clearing but was suddenly hit by a burst of fire from an AK-47, which tore my rifle from my hands and also punctured my left lung, just missed my heart, and wedged within an inch of my spine. About the same time, a rocket-propelled grenade went off in a tree at the edge of the clearing, and I was also spattered with shrapnel. I did some serious praying, and God sent Glenn Dale and the platoon leader across that bullet-swept field to pull me back. Unfortunately, the enemy was still very much present, as I was shot again in the leg after being pulled back to our side of the clearing.
I suspect Glenn did not receive an award for bravery for his actions that day (enlisted men seldom did). Still, he certainly deserved to do so, as he openly exposed himself to the enemy fire to carry me to safety. Without his action, I would certainly have died there and then.
Later in the afternoon, I almost missed the medevac helicopter, as they thought I was a goner. When I finally lay on an operating table at a MASH hospital in Tay Ninh, a priest gave me the last rites. You cannot imagine my surprise when I awoke the following day. I spent the rest of 1969 in military hospitals until discharged – from the hospital and the army – on December 31, 1969.
Please express my condolences and my eternal thanks to Glenn’s family for sending him to me on that Easter over a half-century ago.
Everyone loves hummus! At least, everyone I know loves hummus. But I’ll be you’ve never had hummus made with ingredients forged from your backyard! And I don’t mean your garden! Here in Missouri, we have an overabundance (literally) of wild garlic mustard. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to take a walk in the woods with a Conservation Agent. She showed our group how to identify wild edible mushrooms, wild ginger, and wild garlic mustard. In addition, we found wild onions and learned about edible flowers. Hence, my recipe for Wild Garlic Mustard Hummus with Roasted Radish and Wildflowers!
I have wanted to make this recipe for a while but just haven’t had the time. Until now! I was a little nervous about posting this hummus, as I thought many people might refrain from making it because of the “wild” nature of the recipe! But, I decided to make it anyway because finding wild garlic mustard is very easy for those who want to head to the woods. For those who are not feeling quite that adventurous, feel free to use dandelion greens, arugula, or another spicy green!
Know Before You Go
Garlic Mustard is one of the more popular wild edibles, and it is also one of the healthiest. However, it would be best to learn how to identify it correctly before you can forage this wild edible. Thankfully Garlic Mustard is a straightforward plant to identify, plus it does not have any toxic look likes to my knowledge. It is also considered to be an invasive plant, so it is not recommended that you plant it after you pull it.
I do not particularly care for raw radishes! They are just a little too spicy for my palate. However, roasting them brings out their natural sweetness and transforms them into something I can’t get enough of! They add a lovely addition and the farmer’s markets are brimming with them! If you opt for the wildflowers be sure they are far enough in the woods that they don’t get sprayed with pesticides. The tops of clover are a perfect choice. Wild blue phlox (the perennial kind in the woods), marigolds, dandelions, nasturtiums, roses, or the tops off of any flowering herb work well as a topper! I have tons of phlox in my backyard so it was an obvious choice for me!
1 lb. fresh radishes, stems removed, ends trimmed, and halved
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, or avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 tspdried chives
1/4 tsp dried dill
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cupwild garlic mustard, rinsed, and chopped
1can organicchickpeas, drained, and rinsed
3 Tbsp organic tahini
1 Tbsp(15ml)lemon juice, about 1/2 a large lemon
2 Tbsp (30ml)water
2 Tbsp(30ml)olive oil (if oil free, you can sub oil for chickpea brine)
Preheat oven to 425℉. In a bowl, combine the radishes, coconut oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Toss until the radishes are evenly coated. (Note: don’t add the minced garlic until step 3).
Spread radishes out in a single layer in a large parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. After the first 10 minutes of baking add the minced garlic and toss. Return to oven to bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until radishes are golden brown and easily pierced with a fork.
Garnish with fresh parsley, dill, or chives
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.
If the hummus is too dry, add 1 tbsp of water, or aquafaba (chickpea brine) until desired consistency is achieved.
Taste for seasoning. Garnish with radishes and flowers.
Hummus will last up to a week refrigerated and stored in an air tight jar.
Serve with pita bread, raw or roasted vegetables, and thinned out with water it makes a great salad dressing!
It’s Cinco de Mayo, and I don’t have a lot of time to waste! I was in the middle of a lesson plan with my kiddos when I remembered this culinary holiest of holidays! Anytime I get a chance to eat Mexican food, I do! I also do it with extreme vigor, hence, these nachos! Served with my Queso Blanco, these babies will have you dancing in your kitchen! Why do you ask, are they so good?
Because the “jackfruit carnitas” is the star of the show. Not going to lie. I can be found eating it fresh out of the oven while it’s still on the baking sheet! I love this recipe and find that finishing it in the oven is why it goes from good…to out of this world! Even your hardcore meat-eating friends will LOVE these nachos!
Don’t be scared of the number of ingredients. They are primarily spices. If you don’t want to make the spice mix, you can always grab a premed Mexican spice mix at the grocery store. You can also make the carnitas in advance, then slow-warmed in a 350° F oven. Just sprinkle the jackfruit with 2 tbsp of water, and stir well. Add to a prepared baking sheet and warm in the oven for 20 minutes! ¡Ahí lo tienes!
Preheat oven to 425° F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Drain jackfruit in a colander and use your fingers, and shred jackfruit into pieces. (I generally pick out the seed pods and toss them). Set aside.
Heat a medium skillet (I use cast-iron) over medium heat. When the pan is warmed, add oil. Add onion and cook until softened, translucent, and lightly caramelized, about 7-8 minutes. Add sliced garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
Add spices. Mix well and sauté for 30 seconds to a minute.
Add tomato paste and stir well.
Add prepared jackfruit and soy sauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke, citrus juices, and cider vinegar. Stir well—season with salt and pepper. Simmer the mixture gently for another 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove from pan and add to prepared baking sheet. Add to the oven, and slow roast jackfruit for 20 minutes, or until edges begin to crisp and brown. While the jackfruit is in the oven, prep your toppings.
Chop avocados, green onions, and tomatoes. Shred the lettuce.
Remove jackfruit from the oven and immediately season jackfruit with fresh lime juice, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. (Mix spices together in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top).
Assemble nachos, add your favorite ingredients, and enjoy!
It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’ve been thinking a lot about writing, I just haven’t actually written anything down. Much like writing recipes, I have gotten to the point where I only want to write something that’s meaningful to me. I put a lot of pressure on myself to create and make something consistently. And then I end up not wanting to do anything at all. Run the other way, if you will.
According to my doc, it’s making my blood pressure go up. That scared me. I will 50 years old in 6 months, and I refuse to take medications. So, I’m going to try the opposite approach and give myself some space. It is there where I imagine I will find my creativity again and hopefully regain my peace.
Speaking of medications, I get my second Covid shot in a few weeks. I’m excited. I’m also a bit flabbergasted by those who still think the vaccine is going to make them sterile, or it’s deep state government trying to change their DNA, or it’s the mark of the beast. These are most likely the same folks who are taking 2-3 different pharmaceuticals already.
I say this confidently since nearly 70% of American’s take at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, according to the Mayo Clinic. Things like statins, anti-depressants, and immunosuppressants, are the most common. These are also the same drug manufacturers who are making the Covid vaccine. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?
Why then are American’s so suddenly concerned about what they put in their bodies? Between the food they eat and their lifestyle medications, it’s the Covid vaccine that’s got everyone all up in arms? On one hand, it’s strange to me, but on the other hand, it’s not surprising. I remind myself that I live in a country that spends more money on healthcare than anyone else in the world. Yet, we are also the sickest of all of the industrialized nations.
I get it, a significant concern for many is the limited amount of testing and safety trials. While this is understandable, did you know that for a major pharmaceutical company to get drug approval, they only need to have two trials that show the drug is effective and safe? So, a drug company could have run 100 trials against the placebo, and even if 98 trials indicated they were not effective but at least two of them showed they were effective, they could move on to the next phase of getting them out to the public. Two is all they need.
My good friend Dan is a biochemist and QA Manager at Pfizer. He is also one of the scientists who worked tirelessly to help create the vaccine against Covid-19. In the human trials at Pfizer, the vaccine was compared to the placebo in 43,448 people. During the study, 170 participants developed Covid. When the blind study was revealed, 162 of the patients were in the placebo group. In other words, they did not get the vaccine. Of the ten most severe cases, 9 out of 10 were also the placebo group. Moderna’s results were very similar. There were 185 cases, and all but 11 were in the placebo group. But of Moderna’s most severe cases, 30 out of 30 were in the placebo. They both show 90% effectiveness.
Aside from the vaccine, the best cure for covid might just be education. My daughter and I took a walk behind our house the other day. We live in the woods, and there is an old cemetery about ¼ mile out of our backdoor. When I say old, it’s between 150-220 years old. She was fascinated by how young people were when they died back then. We counted only a handful of people who were over the age of 70. We talked about the kinds of things people died from, including smallpox, tuberculosis, typhoid, mumps, measles, rubella.
You get my point. Vaccines have helped us more than they’ve hurt us. Science matters, and it’s essential to our survival. Social media can help speak the truth, but it’s also the new National Enquirer in many ways. And it should not and cannot be one’s only source of information.
When 11 percent or about 39.6 million American’s believe the government is mandating a switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs because the light bulbs make people obedient and easy to control, we have a problem on our hands. Disinformation and conspiracy theories have become a cultural pandemic. And experts see this spread of disinformation as a public health emergency that’s threatening democracy, increasing the risk of further violence, and straining family relationships.
This misinformation includes those who believe that the vaccine has a tracking device, or a chip, implanted in it. Some of these people are Christian right devotees for whom politics has become their new religion. The idea that the chips will allow the government and corporations to surveil people who get the vaccine is complete unproven nonsense. Also, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and cell towers using 5G technology are also allegedly involved. Apparently, there’s a video on the internet that Gates made about COVID-19 vaccines and it has convinced some they can change DNA, the molecule that contains a person’s genetic code.
How far are we willing to allow these people to take us? Certain estimates are that only 47% of people in the US are willing to get vaccinated. That is not enough for us to obtain herd immunity and finally move past this. When ignorance and fear take the place of logic and science, I fear we are doomed.
So how do we untangle the truth? It turns out the best way to fight a conspiracy theory isn’t with facts. If you’re trying to debunk them on Facebook, you’re likely wasting your time, said Geoff Dancy, associate professor of political science at Tulane University School of Liberal Arts. “Debunking means saying, ‘Hey, look, there’s this fact that your theory can’t explain. So you shouldn’t believe it anymore, right?’ Why doesn’t that work?
Well, conspiracy theorists are remarkably resilient to that kind of a thing,” Dancy said. “To change a conspiracy theorist’s ideas or susceptibility to the actual truth, you have to change the way that you interact with them.” Seeking the truth together, developing trust, and encouraging people to read information from various credible sources can be helpful.
Many people with lower levels of education tend to be drawn to conspiracy theories. And we don’t argue that’s because people are not intelligent. It’s simply that they haven’t been allowed to have or haven’t been given access to the tools to enable them to differentiate between sound sources and wrong sources or credible sources and non-credible sources. So, they’re looking for that knowledge and certainty but not necessarily looking in the right places. The truth is, we don’t need to look anywhere else but in the past.
Before vaccines, the average lifespan at the time was around 35 years. Over the last 200 years, U.S. life expectancy has more than doubled to almost 80 years (78.8 in 2015), with vast improvements in health and quality of life. Yes, some people will have side effects, and in comparison to the enormous number of lives that are saved because of them, it is worth it.
Unfortunately, measles is now resurgent in the United States and in many other countries. We cannot let historical amnesia or misinformation be why we end up with a resurgence of diseases like polio, diphtheria, and measles. And we cannot let Covid-19 be what kills us.
I am a big pasta girl! But like most people, I would imagine, I tend stick to traditional recipes like spaghetti, fettuccini, and lasagna. Mostly because buying a stuffed pasta like tortellini isn’t easy when you’re a vegan. So what is a girl to do? Make a fantastic version of goat cheese, add some dried herbs, stuff wonton wrappers with fantastic cheese, and BOOM! Homemade tortellini!
I love this recipe…and admittedly, a lot is going on! But no worries, you can make much of the recipe in advance, aka the vegan goat cheese and the tortellini. In French, beurre means butter, and blanc means white. So, this is a classic “white” sauce made with butter!
Beurre blanc can sometimes be viewed as tricky to make. Because without the addition of egg yolk to stabilize the sauce, it is prone to split. The acid in the citrus sauce can ‘break’ if heated too hot, or too many times, or not whisked while heating. The key is to ensure that the butter is chilled and added slowly. And also, be sure to turn DOWN heat to med/low when adding the butter so that you don’t end up with Beurre Marron! Good things come to those who wait.
As a matter of practice, I like to make my sauces an hour before use. I’m not too fond of surprises, and if for some reason the sauce doesn’t turn out, I still have time to make a new one. Yes, after almost 25 years, it does still happen. If needed, it can easily be reheated over low heat.
Freezing the tortellini: If not cooking the tortellini immediately, freeze them on a sheet pan and transfer them to a freezer-safe container once solid. Tortellini will keep for about three months. Cook directly from the freezer, but increase the cooking time by a minute or two.
Add almond cheese to a medium-size bowl. Add Herbs de Provence, parmesan cheese, fennel pollen, if using, and salt and pepper. Mix well.
Dust a clean surface with cornmeal. Lay wonton wrapper flat and add 1 rounded teaspoon to the center of the wrapper.
Lightly brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with water (I keep a small bowl of water nearby). Fold wonton into a triangle. Turn triangle, so the long edge is facing you. Gently press the filling flat and fold wonton 3/4 of the way upward, toward its tip. Flatten slightly. Brush each side of the flap with water. Placing your finger in the center of the fold, carefully fold each side over your finger. Lightly pinch closed. Continue until all cheese has been used.
Add tortellini to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
In a dutch oven, bring salted (about 1 tsp) water to a boil.
Drop tortellini into boiling water. Remove from water when tortellini begin to float.
Citrus Beurre Blanc:
Heat one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan and add the shallots. Cook briefly, stirring, and add the citrus and wine. Cook until the liquid is almost totally reduced.
Add the heavy cream and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and slowly add the pieces of butter, a few at a time, stirring rapidly with a wire whisk.
When sauce is done, add tortellini and stir until warmed through.
Serve in a shallow bowl, and top with fennel fronds and orange peel.
Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over pasta, and serve warm.
This is THE best recipe for creating a rich vegan-style goat cheese! It’s tangy like goat cheese, creamy, and a bit crumbly like a Boursin, and You can slice it, diced, crumbled, even baked! It is also the rock star of my vegan cheese board! Made with coconut milk and almonds, this cheese can be ready to eat in as little as an hour. Quick note, be sure to buy “refined” coconut oil. If you use extra virgin or unrefined coconut oil, your cheese will taste like coconut.
Since it’s a cultured cheese, the longer it sits at room temperature, the tangier it will be. The sweet spot seems to be about 48 hours! I added one probiotic capsule to culture it. But if you like it tangier, you can add the contents of an additional probiotic capsule!
I found many recipes that use macadamia nuts or cashews, both of which are very expensive. For this recipe, I opted for blanched, slivered almonds. They’re inexpensive, and yet they have the mild flavor and similar fat content of the other two nuts. Fat is important for making cheese!
This cheese makes a great filling for ravioli or tortellini! It also makes a mean bruschetta! If you make this, please tag me and let me know how you like it!
This bowl is a family favorite! I love the tofu cutlets, and the BBQ makes it sooooo good! Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand. The great thing about a bowl is that there is no wrong way to make it! I love the Southwest flair this dish has, and it makes a perfect weeknight dish!
You can make the cilantro lime rice ahead of time, and it helps when you have several things cooking at once. I used a smoky-sweet Kansas City-style BBQ sauce, but again, it’s your preference! This dish would also be great with coleslaw instead of rice! You could also go Korean style with some Gochujang, black rice, and baked cauliflower! The possibilities are endless!
1 (15 oz) can Pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1 head of organic broccoli
3 Tbsp water
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of sea salt
Place the soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Montreal Seasoning in a blender.
Blend at high speed for 30 seconds until thoroughly mixed.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
When tofu is pressed, pat dry and lay flat. Cut tofu in half widthwise. Cut each piece in half again, and repeat once more until you have eight rectangles.
Place tofu in a non-reactive, preferably glass pan or bowl with a lid. Add marinade and coat well.
Allow tofu to marinate for at least 30 minutes, (up to 4 hours).
While tofu is marinating, make your Rice. * (See note)
When rice is done, warm a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is warm, add 2 tsp of olive oil.
When oil is shimming, add tofu and any marinade that is left over. Pan sear tofu until browned on each side. About 2-3 minutes per side.
When browned, remove the tofu and add to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush one side of the tofu with BBQ sauce and bake for 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven, flip tofu, brush the other side. Return to oven for 3-4 more minutes.
While tofu is in the oven, in a medium-size saucepan, add drained and rinsed pinto beans, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper each, 1/2 cup vegetable stock, and 1 tsp of cumin. Cook over medium heat until warmed through.
While beans are simmering, add broccoli to the same skillet you used to cook the tofu. Do not clean the pan first. You want the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook broccoli with 3 Tbsp of water, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and sea salt, over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes until bright and lightly browned.
Remove tofu from the oven and lightly brush each side with more BBQ Sauce.
Assemble bowl, Rice first, Broccoli, Beans, and add Tofu to Rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I love this rice dish! It’s super simple to make and goes with just about everything! My daughter loves the cilantro rice at Qdoba, so I decided to make a homemade version just for her! I prefer brown basmati for general use, but for this dish, I opted for white basmati. With a high protein content and very low GI ranking, brown basmati rice can be a healthy option if you use grains. I have not tried this with cauliflower rice, but I would imagine it would be an easy swap!
I like to toast my rice before boiling it. Toasting grains before cooking can enhance the nutty depth of the grains, lending an extra layer of flavor to a final dish! This dish pairs well with my BBQ Tofu Bowl!
Cacio E Pepe translates into cheese and pepper, and it is my two girls’ favorite pasta on earth. It is a fancy mac-n-cheese. The pure simplicity of this recipe makes it almost sinful to change, so I didn’t change much. I added red pepper flakes in place of the traditional black pepper and used vegan cheeses, of course. I liked the addition of the roasted tomatoes a lot. They are like little cherry bombs that explode in your mouth! The kicker for me was the fennel pollen. I have recently discovered this culinary rock star and plan to use it wisely since it is a little expensive, but the good news is that it goes a long way.
The key to this simple pasta is using just enough pasta water for cooking the pasta noodles. Too much water and you will lose all of your starch, not enough water, and you will have to add a little hot water to make the sauce. When the pasta is al dente, you will drain and save the pasta water, ensuring that you have about 2 1/2 cups. This water is what we will use to make the sauce. Add a little butter to the pan, add your pepper flakes, and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Then add the pasta water to the butter/pepper mix, and then add the pasta and cheese. Stir until the cheese, add pasta to the pan, and Boom! Dinner is served!
I used bucatini, but you can really use any type of pasta you want.
This recipe is an excellent substitution for Romano cheese. And it’s a lot cheaper than buying some of the pre-made vegan cheeses in the store. Not that I’m opposed to those cheeses. Some of them are great! It’s hard for me to find the ones that I prefer here locally, so I buy a favorite vegan parmesan through Thrive Market.
It can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 6 months in the refrigerator, too! The texture of this “cheese” is a lot like a grated romano cheese, and we always keep a jar of it on hand! It works well as a topping on pasta, popcorn, salads. You name it. I love it on top of my potatoes au gratin and use it in my Cacio E Pepe.
When I decided to write a burger recipe, I wanted to make sure that it was recipe-worthy. And when it comes to burgers, the best burger is a simple burger. I’m a sucker for onions and knew they would be a great addition. I started with a pack of Impossible Meat and some brioche buns. I sautéed red onion and red cabbage, which I seasoned with garlic and red pepper flakes!
I finished the burger by lightly toasting the brioche and slathering it with spicy mayo. It was divine. You can add slow roasted peppers, pickled vegetables, guacamole, or add coconut bacon. The truth is there is no wrong way to make a burger!
You can use whatever protein you want. Whether it’s made out of beets and quinoa, or a Beyond meat, follow these easy steps to build a better burger!
This is an easy step-by-step guide to building a delicious burger!
1 package of Impossible Meat or other plant-based burger
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 head red cabbage, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vegan mayonaise
Prep brioche by lightly brushing the inside of the buns with olive oil. Set aside.
Form burgers into the size patties you want, and season each side with salt and pepper.
Warm a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat. When heated, add oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add onions to the pan. The key to caramelizing is cooking low and slow. When onions start to soften after 4-5 minutes, add cabbage, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook until onions and cabbage have caramelized, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the pan. Set aside.
In the same pan, increase heat to medium-high. When warmed, add burgers to the pan. Using a spatula, immediately begin to move the meat around in the pan. Moving them around helps the burgers form a crust and keeps them from sticking to the pan. Cook each side for about 3-4 minutes. If using vegan cheese, add it when you flip the burger.
If using cheese, turn heat to medium-low and cover the pan; this will help melt the cheese. Check after 2-3 minutes.
Place buns in toaster or oven and toast until lightly crisp. Add mayonnaise to the inside of both the top and bottom bun.
Using tongs, top burgers with onions and cabbage.
When brioche is toasted, add the burger and other toppings.
If you’ve been around me for a while, you know that I love Mexican food. It is hands down my greatest joy and my greatest weakness. We were in Colorado on vacation a few years ago, and we had Mexican food 9 out of 11 days! These enchiladas are an homage to my grandma, whose enchiladas were (next to her biscuits and gravy) my most favorite meal.
Grandma’s enchiladas were pretty basic—ground beef, diced onion, and tomato sauce with cheese. They were simple but divine. These are a little bit more complex but equally delicious. These are a staple in our house and one of my daughter’s favorite foods! I like to dice a little extra sweet onion and use it as a garnish and avocado, sour cream, and salsa. I’m getting hungry just thinking about them.
You can use a store-bought enchilada sauce if you’re in a hurry or don’t want to make it. But I have to warn you it will not be as good! I like to double it and then refrigerate the remainder. It’s good on tofu eggs, burritos, tacos, nachos, and of course, these enchiladas! I like the addition of the Impossible Meat because it reminds me of my Grandma’s recipe. You can easily skip it if you are avoiding plant-based meats. I would, however, add another can of beans. These enchiladas also freeze well. Just assemble them and then freeze. Enjoy!
If you make them, please tag me on Instagram and let me know how you like them!
3 tablespoons flour (I used brown rice flour for a GF sauce)
16 oz vegetable broth
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
3 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
pinch of cinnamon
1 lime juiced
Daiya Cheddar Cheese block, grated
Vegan Sour Cream
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a small bowl, mix flour, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, salt & pepper, and cinnamon.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring 1/2 cup vegetable stock to a boil. Slowly, add dry spice and constantly whisk until the mixture is smooth and fragrant for about one minute. Add tomato paste and stir well until combined. Slowly add broth and whisk until smooth. Add lime juice and cilantro. Stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
Warm a large skillet over medium heat. When warm, add onion and sauté until translucent—about 7 minutes. (If the onions begin to stick, add 2 tablespoons of water and stir).
Add garlic and jalapeño and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
Add plant-based meat if using: Cook for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
Add black beans and stir well to incorporate.
Add canned tomatoes, spices, and add 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Wrap tortillas in a wet cloth or paper towel. Put on a microwave-safe plate and warm in the microwave for one minute. Keep tortillas wrapped while assembling.
Add ranchero sauce to a pie pan or other deep bottomed plate.
Add one cup of ranchero sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 12 pan, coating the pan evenly.
Remove one tortilla and dip it in the ranchero sauce. Place tortilla in 9 x 12 pan.
Add about 1/4-1/3 cup of filling (depending on your shells’ size, you may want to add more or less).
Add 2 tablespoons of Daiya cheese.
Carefully roll the tortilla and place seam side down.
Repeat with remaining tortillas if you run out of space using another pan. I fit 8 to a pan (6 side by side and then two end to end at the bottom of the pan). I used a smaller 8×8 pan to fit the rest. I covered them with wrap and froze them for later.
When you have finished assembling the enchiladas, pour the rest of the ranchero sauce over them and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
Carefully remove foil. Turn oven to broil and cook for 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. DO NOT WALK AWAY!
Remove from oven and serve with avocado, salsa, cilantro, and sour cream!
*I like Daiya block style cheddar and grate it myself. I NEVER use pre-shredded vegan cheese because they add an anti-caking ingredient that simply ruins the taste of the cheese.
**I used Impossible Meat because it has a great texture and flavor. You can also use Gardein beef crumbles, or Hungry Planet beef. You can also skip the meat if you’re not a fan of meat substitutes, but you may want to add an additional can of beans. I would add a can of pinto beans with my black beans for variety.
These freeze well. When I know I’m going to use them I remove them from the freezer and refrigerate overnight. Always be careful putting a frozen, or super cold glass pan in the oven. They can break.
It’s nice to be back in the kitchen! I’ve been super busy the last couple of weeks, and I am excited to be working on a few new recipes. Before I became a vegan, one of my favorite things to eat was fish at the local VFW hall on Fridays during the Lenten season. Though I’m not a Catholic, there are a few of their traditions that I really enjoyed! I tried using hearts of palm and other substitutes for fish. However, using banana blossoms has proved to be hands-down the best option! I like to add a bit of ground seaweed to the beer batter, which gives it a nice fishy flavor. I also love the minty mushy peas as a side! And last we cannot forget the chips! Large russet potatoes cut into thick batons and lightly fried make this girl super happy! 😋
Banana blossom, also known as a “banana heart,” is a fleshy, purple-skinned flower, shaped like a tear, which grows at the end of a banana fruit cluster. They are very flakey, making them a perfect substitute for fish. The family to whom banana belongs is called Musaceae as banana blossom, represent a valuable source of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, minerals, fatty acid content, flavonoids, saponin, essential and non-essential amino acid, tannins, glycoside, and steroid. Banana flower is also a good antioxidant source.
There is a little bit of prep that needs to be done ahead of time. So be sure to read through the whole recipe first. You can make the peas and tartar sauce as early as much as a day ahead. This is a perfect meat-free meal that even your fish-eating friends will love! Enjoy!
There is some prep for this recipe. You will want to rinse the banana blossoms and get them in the freezer while you make the other ingredients. Make the peas and tartar sauce first. And then make potatoes and the fish last.
1 cup rice flour (used as pre-coat; can use regular flour if needed)
1 teaspoon kelp powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup beer (I used an IPA)
3/4 cup seltzer or sparkling water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Malt vinegar, for serving
4 russet potatoes, sliced each into 8 wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons garlic powder)
2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons salt, (adjust to your tastes)
1/2 teaspoon black cracked pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (garnish)
Vegan Tartar Sauce:
¼ cup (58 g) vegan mayo
1 tbsp (10 g) minced cornichons (small pickles)
2 tsp (20 g) caper, roughly chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) white vinegar
½ tsp dijon
1 tsp (2 g) fresh dill, chopped
Pinch salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate immediately.
Bring 6 cups of generously salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the frozen peas and mint and cook for 4 minutes—Reserve 3 tablespoons of the hot cooking water. Drain the peas and mint and return to the pan. Immediately add butter, lemon zest, and cooking water—season with salt and pepper. Roughly mash the peas with a potato masher or food processor. Cover and set aside. You can use the peas in rough purée form, but if you want a very fine, smooth purée, push the mixture through a fine sieve. (I like to save about 1/4 cup of whole peas to add to puree).
Preheat oven to 400°. Wash the potatoes (I did not peel mine) with cold water to remove some of the surface dirt and dry well. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise, slice each half in half again and then slice each half in half again. You should have a total of 8 slices per potato. Blanch the potatoes in hot (not boiling) water for 10-12 minutes to release their starches. You can skip this step, but your potatoes will not be as crisp.
Drain potatoes, shaking well to remove excess water. Lightly pat them dry and add potatoes to a medium-size bowl. Add olive oil and toss well. Combine spices in a small bowl and sprinkle over potatoes. Toss well to coat. Place potatoes cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in an *air fryer. (Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to use two baking sheets. If so, rotate pans when you pull them to flip the potatoes at the halfway baking point, about 30 minutes)
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and, using a spatula, carefully flip the potatoes. Rotate pans if you used more than one.
Return to oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. (You can reduce the oven to 200° and keep potatoes warm while fillets cook).
Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.
Heat oil in a dutch oven or wok to 345° F. Turn oven down to 200° F. Whisk together flour, baking soda, kelp powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour in the beer, sparkling water, and lemon juice and mix just until combined (do not over-mix). Keep the batter refrigerated until ready to use.
Drain the banana blossoms, then shape them into filets. Wrap the blossoms in clean kitchen towels and squeeze out all of the brine.
Cover and place in the freezer for 1 hour.
Remove from the freezer and sprinkle the blossoms with salt and pepper. Coat the blossoms in rice flour and then dip into the batter to completely coat. Carefully swish the blossoms partway into the oil for a few seconds before completely releasing. Once the coating starts to set on the first fillet, you can add another battered fillet into the oil. Fry until the blossom is puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 5 minutes for thin fillets or 7 minutes for thick fillets, and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Cook the remaining fillets and sprinkle with salt.
To serve, reheat the mushy peas if necessary. Serve the fish with chips, mushy peas, and malt vinegar on the side.
*If using air fryer bake at 390°F for 12-15 minutes. You will have to do this in batches so whey they’ve cooked you will need to place them in a low (200°F oven) to keep warm.
I have an obsession with tacos, and my love for them is deep. Before I became a vegan, my absolute favorite taco was a simple Carne Asada taco with cilantro and white onion. A traditional Asada is made with flank steak. But alas, with those meat-eating days behind me, I’ve searched long and hard for a reasonable substitute. Enter the mighty portobello mushroom.
Mushrooms work great in this Asada because they love to soak up the flavor of a marinade. And flavor they shall have! My first version of this recipe used a whole chipotle pepper that I minced and added to the marinade. As a girl who likes her food spicy, I have to say the heat overshadows the mushrooms’ delicious umami flavor. So I cut back on the heat and kept it simple. This recipe goes down as one of my all-time favorite taco recipes using fresh cilantro leaves, freshly squeezed orange and lime juice, cumin, and chili powder.
If you don’t like cilantro, no worries, you can use epazote, another aromatic herb with notes of oregano, anise, citrus, and mint. You can find it at most Hispanic grocery stores or, of course, on Amazon! You can use a steak portobello mushrooms or I just used some sliced Cremini mushrooms that I already had. I will make these again when the weather warms up and throw some marinated portobellos on the grill! Enjoy!
Yummy Mushroom Asada tacos! I used a pineapple jalapeño salsa as a topper and it was divine!
16 oz sliced portobello mushroom caps, or cremini mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, or epazote
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Tamari, or liquid aminos
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Whisk cilantro, orange juice, lime juice, aminos, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl or shallow dish to combine.
Add the mushrooms and gently toss until they’re fully coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to an hour. (These can be made up to 24 hours ahead). Give the mushrooms a good toss every 10 to 15 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, remove mushrooms and reserve 1 cup of the marinade.
Heat a cast-iron or other large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is heated, add olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, place the mushrooms in an even layer and cook, making sure not to touch them until most of the moisture has cooked out of them, about 10 minutes.
While the mushrooms are sautéing, warm the tortillas on a comal or other small non-stick skillet on the stovetop. Once tortillas are warmed and slightly browned, cover with a paper towel and place on a baking sheet in a low oven, or use the “warm hold” feature on the microwave.
When most of the moisture has evaporated, add 1/2 cup of the marinade and stir. Continue to cook and repeat with remaining marinade, stirring often for another 5 to 10 minutes. The mushrooms should be caramelized and slightly crisped around the edges.
Serve on warm tortillas and top with salsa, cilantro.
This dish is a perfect accompaniment to my Ropa Vieja, or it’s an easy meal served by itself! I used canned beans to make it a quick weeknight meal-It can be ready in 25 minutes or less! But if you have the time you can slow cook your beans for an extra layer of flavor.
Black beans are legumes. Also known as turtle beans because of their formidable, shell-like appearance, black beans are, in fact, the edible seeds of the plant. Black beans are rich in carbohydrates, and they are also an excellent source of fiber (both soluble and insoluble). Black beans also do not contain sugar. So depending on how they’re cooked, they can have a low glycemic index. Black beans are also protein powerhouses, with 7 grams of protein in a 1/2 cup serving!
If you want a little heat feel free to add a jalapeño, or your favorite hot sauce! I like to serve this with a long grain white rice. Enjoy!
I’ve always been fascinated with Cuba. Perhaps because it remains a romantically forbidden destination, or maybe because Hemingway wrote two of my favorite novels there. Or, maybe it’s the food. Enter the Ropa Vieja.
Considered Cuba’s national dish, its name translates to ‘old clothes,’ and the story goes that a destitute old man once shredded and cooked his clothes because he could not afford food for his family. He prayed over the bubbling concoction, and a miracle occurred, turning the mixture into a tasty, rich meat stew. Generally made with flank steak, this vegan version uses the ever-versatile Jackfruit. For our Ropa Vieja recipe, we’re also adding an array of other classic Cuban and Spanish ingredients such as olives and pimentos.
Ropa Vieja only tastes better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld, so this is a perfect dish to make in large batches for leftovers! I like to serve it over Cuban black beans and cilantro rice. If you can find them, fried plantains called Maduro’s make an excellent accompaniment as well!
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 250°.
Drain jackfruit and dry with a towel.
Mix bouillon cube with 1/2 cup of hot water.
Heat oil in a large heatproof pot over high.
Cook jackfruit, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5–7 minutes. Add bouillon mixture to pan and scrape and bits of jackfruit stuck to the bottom of a pan. Stir in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
In the same pan add remaining tablespoon of oil and cook onion, bell peppers. Add salt, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 12–14 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pan, until vegetables are golden brown, 3–5 minutes.
Stir in wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated.
Stir in paprika, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne until vegetables are coated; continue to cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add tomatoes and coarsely break up with a spoon (they’ll continue to break down as they cook). Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Add jackfruit back into vegetable mixture with bay leaf.
Cover and transfer to oven. Braise until jackfruit and vegetables are very tender about 30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes.
Discard bay leaves. Using a potato masher or 2 forks, tear and smash jackfruit into sauce until it’s shredded and incorporated into sauce.
I have a potato obsession. But my favorite potato is the mighty sweet potato. Unlike a regular potato, a nightshade family member, the sweet potato is a large edible root within the morning glory family. And sweet potatoes come in many colors too!
While potatoes with orange flesh are the richest in beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes with purple flesh are richer in anthocyanins. Beta-carotene and anthocyanins are naturally occurring plant “Phyto” chemicals that give vegetables their bright colors. Phytochemicals are biologically active compounds found in plants and are known to:
Aid the function of the immune system.
Protect cells and DNA from damage that may lead to cancer.
Slow the growth rate of some cancer cells.
Help regulate hormones.
Why use a purple potato? Because anthocyanins have the capacity to lower blood pressure, improve visual acuity, reduce cancer cell proliferation, inhibit tumor formation, prevent diabetes, and lower the risk of CVD, which modulates cognitive and motor function.
This pretty warm winter soup was inspired by another anthocyanin…the açaí bowl!. It’s super healthy comes together very quickly. You can easily make this a “no-oil” soup by steaming your vegetables instead of roasting them.
If you choose to use oil, be sure to keep the temperature well below the oil’s smoke point or the point at which the oil starts to burn (that’s about 410 degrees for extra virgin or unrefined olive oil). Because overheating oil breaks down the nutritional composition of the oil changes the flavor, and releases harmful free radicals.
I added a delicious beet puree to this soup, but you can add whatever you want. Good choices might be pieces of roasted cauliflower, pumpkins seeds, hemp seeds, or soy cream.
3 large purple sweet potatoes, peeled and medium diced
1 large head of organic cauliflower, chopped into medium florets
2 large leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, mined
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
1 (32 oz) container organic vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°.
Add chopped potatoes and cauliflower to a mixing bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Add spices to a small bowl and mix well.
Spread vegetables evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle the spice mix over vegetables. Place baking sheet in the oven, and roast vegetable for 30 minutes, turning vegetables at the half-way mark.
When vegetables are done, remove from oven and let cool.
Warm a dutch oven over medium heat. When the pan is heated, add oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add the leeks and saute until leeks have softened and are slightly brown.
Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute.
Add cooled vegetables and vegetable stock to a dutch oven, and stir.
When the soup is warmed, use an immersion blender, or carefully ladle half of the soup mixture into a blender. (If using a high-speed blender, be careful to hold the lid, as the heat can build pressure and the lid can fly off). Continue until all the soup is blended to the consistency you prefer. **I blended the first batch until entirely smooth. For the second batch, I blended it to have some texture and then mixed the two.
Return to dutch oven and taste for seasoning.
Serve warm and top with fresh tarragon, roasted cauliflower, hemp seeds, pumpkins seeds (pepita’s), or beet puree.
**While blending the soup, I placed the first pureed batch into a large mixing bowl.
I love chili on a cold winter’s day! This chili was a favorite of ours until we went vegan. I felt so overwhelmed in the beginning that many recipes sat on the proverbial shelf. This recipe was one of them, until now!
I love soy curls! I had heard about them for several years but never bought any. Then one day, I found myself craving an old favorite, the carne asada taco. After perusing dozens of vegan recipes, I discovered one using soy curls. I bought them and well, the rest they say, is history. Since then, I’ve used them in making fajitas, Chili Verdes, and now, in this white bean chili.
My old recipe used chicken, of course, and white cheese. This new version uses the soy curls and my béchamel sauce. I always keep a container of the sauce in my freezer, so that’s what I used. If you want a nut-free version, then soy cream is a great option. I added a bit of chili powder at the end, too, just for a little kick!
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
Tortilla chips or strips, monterrey jack cheese, sliced avocado for serving (optional)
In a medium bowl, add soy curls and cover with 32 oz. of vegetable stock. Let sit until soy curls have rehydrated, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Warm a dutch oven over medium heat. When heated, add oil. When the oil is shimmering, add onion and sauté until onions are translucent, about 7-8 minutes.
When soy curls have rehydrated, use a slotted spoon and remove soy curls from stock (reserving stock). Add soy curls to the pan and sauté until brown (about 7-8 minutes). If the curls begin to stick, add stock 2 tablespoons at a time.
Add garlic, and sauté until fragrant—about 30 seconds.
Add spices and green chilis to the pan. Dry sauté for approximately 1-2 minutes, or until spices are fragrant.
Add vegetable broth and deglaze the pan. (Stir the bottom of the pan and removed all fond)
Add white chili beans and corn. Stir well.
Cook chili until ingredients have warmed. About 15 minutes.
Add soy cream or béchamel sauce and stir until warmed through.
Check for seasoning and serve warm.
Top with vegan sour cream, avocados, and cilantro, diced onions, optional.
When we first became plant-based eaters, we came across a simple recipe for a chickpea salad from the fine folks at Forks Over Knives! This recipe turns out to be from my absolute favorite food blogger in the whole world, Minimalist Baker. It is hands down the best chickpea “tuna” salad recipe I’ve found. I’ve made no modifications to their recipe, but I did make a stack out of it!
Now, I have a set of food rings that I use to stack, but you can use any round container ( a 1/2 or 1-cup dry measuring cup would work great). A quick note, though, if you’re using something with a bottom, you have to assemble your stack backward. So, if you want the tomatoes on top, you have to put them in first.
For this stack, I small diced tomatoes and red onions (uniformity is key to a pretty stack) and small cubed avocado, tossed in lemon juice, and added salt. I also added cilantro to my tomatoes and topped the stack with radish microgreens. And as always, we double our batches of the salad! It’s so yummy! Enjoy!
Place the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork, leaving only a few beans whole. For this, I use my food chopper from Pampered Chef.
Add tahini, mustard, maple syrup, red onion, celery, pickle, capers, salt and pepper, and sunflower seeds (if using) to the mixing bowl. Mix to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
*Stacks: (see note)
In a small bowl, add tomatoes, red onion, 1/2 lemon/lime juice, 1/2 the salt, and cilantro. Mix well.
In another bowl, add avocados, the other 1/2 of the lemon/lime juice, and 1/2 the salt. Mix well.
If using a food ring, fill ring 1/3 full with avocado, repeat the next two layers using chickpeas, and tomatoes. Press firmly and remove the ring. Top with microgreens and cilantro.
If using a round mold with a bottom–trace and cut a piece of parchment or waxed paper to fit inside the mold. Add tomatoes, chickpea salad, and finish with avocados. Press firmly, but not too hard. Carefully use a knife to score the edges of the stack and flip mold. Remove parchment paper. Reassemble any pieces that have fallen away. There may be a few, no worries! Top with microgreens and cilantro.
*This is for one stack.
You can freeze what you don’t use, otherwise, l keep it covered in refrigerator for 4-5 days.
I love tacos. I could eat them every day, and in every way you could imagine—cauliflower tacos, jackfruit tacos, portobello tacos, black bean tacos, refried bean tacos…you feelin’ me? But my favorite may be these Raw Walnut Tacos. They are super easy to make and super healthy. They are also great because you probably already have everything you need to make them. If you don’t have walnuts or want to be nut-free, don’t worry. You can also use sunflower seeds. I like to use this taco meat for my Hot Tamale Pie as well!
The cashew queso is also a favorite. It’s a concentrate, so you can take 1/4 cup of the cheese sauce, add 1 cup of water, and voila! Heat it in 30-second increments, and this recipe will make a total of 4 cups of cheese sauce!
I love cold weather. I love snow. And I love hot cocoa. Since it’s cold and it snowed, the only thing missing was this recipe! There isn’t much to say other than you probably have all the ingredients on hand to make it! I like this brand of cocoa powder and this brand of oat milk.
You can double or triple the batch and easily warm up for more later! ENJOY!!! You can also add the whipped cream to a piping bag, swirl it over the cocoa and top with cinnamon, or cocoa powder! Also this whipped cream is light and fluffy and stays creamy for days in the fridge or months in the freezer as a vegan cool whip. Just take it out of the freezer and let it warm up for about 10 minutes before using.
I love naan! It’s the first thing I think about when I know I’m getting indian food. It’s the Indian equivalent to Mexican chips. Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread found in the cuisines mainly of Western Asia, South Asia, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Caribbean. And if you have a pizza oven you’ll love this recipe!
When you may look at the directions, you may think that it’s not very easy, but trust me, as a girl who is nothing close to being a baker, even I can do it. There are several essential things to note, however. The first is to pay attention to the kind of yeast you’re using. If using active dry yeast and instant (or rapid-rise) yeast, you can use them interchangeably in recipes, but active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water before using, while you can mix instant yeast right into the dough. Also, instant yeast doesn’t have to be proofed first.
“Proofed” means sitting in a warm, happy place, allowing the dough to rise. Instant yeast may also be marketed and sold as rapid- or quick-rise yeast. Enzymes and other additives are included to make the dough rise faster. With this yeast, you can skip the dough’s first rise and shape the loaves right after kneading. “Active” describes any dry yeast that needs to be activated before use, hence the warm water. You can use either. I used the active dry because it’s what I have on hand.
The other thing to note is the pan you use. You can use a regular cast iron pan, or if you’re like me, and make your tortillas, you will want to use a comal. The comal is a Mexican style grill or griddle, and unlike a regular cast iron pan, it is thin. It heats up efficiently and retains the heat, making it a favorable tool for recipes that require high, stable heat. Hence, the perfect pan for naan!