I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Monday, July 11, 2011

Food in jars

No, not the kind that you might find at the wonderful blog of the same name. Here there be jars of a different stripe.

My recently purchased new kitchen essential was silent for a couple of weeks while other stuff was going on (and I am missing the smoothie love as a result). Tonight, however, it had to earn its keep because I needed a fast dinner. I think I'm in love. Tonight I had Alfredo sauce from a jar, except for it came from a blender jar. This was so easy and so good it should be illegal.

The BlendTec has a soup making setting (the VitaMix does too I think) where you pulverize everything and heat it up in the process. What other kind of cooking is this easy? That is the setting I ended up using while trying to get this recipe right. It gives a nice long blending period, which you need for smoothly blended mixtures that include nuts. Plus the sauce was already warmed up! No turning on another burner!

Semi-related side note: another monster thunder storm just blew through tonight, knocking over all the plants on the patio, but did it do a freakin bit of good blowing out the heat and humidity too? Not. A. Bit. So one fewer burner going in the kitchen is a good thing.

I ended up with a much bigger batch of sauce than I had intended, because I had to keep adding here and there to get the proportions right. The recipe could easily be cut in half or in thirds if you want, but I think since there is a quart of sauce left from tonight's activity, this would be splendid in a scalloped potato casserole tomorrow. Even though it's the middle of despicable summer and I'd much rather have scalloped potatoes in February.

This recipe was inspired by the "Cashew Cheez Sauce" in Jo Stepaniak's "The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook", as well as by several other non-dairy Alfredo sauce recipes that have been making the rounds on the internet the past couple of years.

If you don't have a high-powered blender, don't fret, just blend for several minutes in a regular blender and check from time to time to see if it's there yet.

Big Batch Blender Alfredo Sauce

3 cups soy milk, or other unsweetened non-dairy milk
6 Tbs. cashew pieces
6 Tbs. nutritional yeast
3 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice or 3/4 tsp. citric acid or vegan lactic acid powder
1 Tbs. white miso (it is actually yellow-ish)
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1½ tsp. onion granules
1½ tsp. garlic granules
3/4 tsp. salt

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed until sauce is creamy and cashews are thoroughly blended. In a Blendtec, use the 'Sauce' setting. Adjust seasonings to taste. Transfer to a saucepan to heat through before serving, if necessary.

Serve over pasta of choice (a tri-colored pasta like I used here is especially fun, if pasta can be fun), or use for a baked pasta or potato casserole. Top with paprika, freshly grated pepper, and/or an herb seasoning blend if you are feeling adventurous.

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