The Real Food Journal

Keep Cool, Bake a Slow Cooker Dessert with Summer Fruit

Slow Cooker Dessert

Serve it right from the crock!

It’s an unavoidable truth. The summer fruits are perfect for baking into pies and crisps at the same time that you don’t want to turn on the oven. July and August are already heating up the house, and the last thing I want is to crank the oven for a couple of hours. That’s when you need to pull out the slow cooker, and start investigating slow cooker desserts.

( I made this slow cooker dessert on TV this week, click to watch the clip!)

Slow Cooker Dessert is the Cool Choice

The slow cooker is often thought of as the appliance for wintertime cookery, to simmer stews and pots of chili while we go about our day. But if you think about it, it’s really a self-contained stoneware oven. Turn on the slow cooker, and it heats an enclosed space, just like the oven. It’s just gentler, and because it’s tightly sealed, it stays moist.

Slow Cooker Dessert Crisp

Pick your favorite vanilla “ice cream” or top with whipped topping

Keep the kitchen cool

Once you start seeing the slow cooker as a free-standing oven, it makes perfect sense to “bake” slow cooker desserts. Cakes, cheesecakes, baked puddings, even this fruit crisp are just as delectable when prepared in the slow cooker.

Right now, nectarines and blueberries are ripe and ready. They are so good, they barely need any help to turn into a crowd-pleasing treat. I picked nectarines for this because they don’t need to be peeled, just sliced right into the crock. Throw in the berries, a slash of vanilla, that’s it.

Crumble is irresistible

The crumble topping is made from healthful whole grain flour and oats, but don’t tell anyone. It’s so sweet and crunchy, they don’t need to know that they are being a little bit virtuous. You can pick the fat for your crumble, coconut oil is really good in this, or you can go with buttery sticks or butter, if that is your thing.

Take off the lid, let it crisp

If you’re wondering whether the topping will be soft and moist from being in the pot for three hours, don’t worry. It is a little soft right when you take the lid off, but if you let is stand for a few minutes, the steam will escape and it will become crisp.

I hope this recipe will inspire you to make your own slow cooker dessert. Of course, you can use other fruit, like apples and pears in the Fall, whatever is good.

That way, you can make the most of the seasonal fruit, without breaking a sweat!

Blueberry Nectarine Crisp in the Slow Cooker

Course Dessert
Servings 6
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar or sucanat
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or buttery sticks melted
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger minced
  • 2 pounds nectarines
  • 3 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Lightly oil a large oval 4-quart crockpot insert and reserve.

  2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Melt the butter, margarine or coconut oil and add to the bowl, stir to mix well. Stir in the ginger. Refrigerate while you cut the fruit.

  3. Slice the nectarines into a large bowl, add the berries, vanilla and arrowroot and toss to mix. Pour into the slow cooker.

    Sprinkle the oat mixture over the fruit, close the cooker.

  4. Cook on low for 3 hours. Uncover and take the crock out of the cooker and place on a cooling rack, or a trivet at the table. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving with your favorite ice cream, whipped topping, or vanilla yogurt.

Craveable Crispy Potato and Sweetcorn Croquettes

Vegan Sweetcorn Croquettes

Tender Potato Cakes With the Sweetest Corn

Sweetcorn is here

August is peak market time in Minnesota. Since Spring, there has been a teasingly gradual roll-out of my favorite vegetables and fruits, starting with radishes and rhubarb, moving to asparagus and raspberries, then finally, tomatoes, sweet corn, and melons. This is the one month when the maximum bounty of locally grown goodness is piled high at the farmer’s market. It’s tradition at my house to make meals of sweetcorn and watermelon, and not much else.

Call it the cook’s holiday.

Sweetcorn is versatile

In between feasting on simply boiled or grilled corn, I also occasionally cook with it. The same crisp, sweet kernels that are so easy to devour off the cob are a delightful addition to soups, salads, stir-fries, and little croquettes like this one.

(Here are a few other recipes for sweetcorn from the past)

sweet corn sambal

Nosh on Indonesian Corn Sambal and Krupuk Before Dinner

Sweet Corn Sambal

Korean Sweet Corn Pizza

Sweet Corn Salad with Mint

Sweet, Crisp Raw Corn with Tangy, Creamy Green Goddess

Sweetcorn Croquettes are frugal food

The croquette is the original no-waste recipe. Using up leftover bits of cooked vegetables, mashed potatoes, and herbs to make crispy little bites is an old-school French idea. I’m sure they weren’t the first to smash some leftovers together and make them into little patties, either. Little savory cakes are popular in many cuisines, as well as the home kitchens of people everywhere.

In these croquettes, I won’t assume that you have mashed potatoes languishing in the fridge. People don’t think of mashed potatoes as a weekly staple anymore, and it’s summer, when we are more into potato salad than mash. The potatoes are great at the market, though, so you can boil and mash some, and get real, true potato flavor. You wouldn’t want to make this recipe with mashed potatoes that have had milks and fats added, because these rely on firm, plain mashed potatoes.

You may have cooked too may ears of corn on Monday, but don’t let it go to waste.You can use those two leftover boiled or grilled cobs of corn. Just cut the kernels off. I used raw corn, which stayed crunchy. Both are delicious.

Potato and Sweetcorn Croquettes

Crunchy Outside, Creamy Inside.

The potatoes alone will bind the cakes, instead of eggs or flour. They are tender and a little delicate because of it. Be sure to chill the mixture before frying, so they will hold together.

Because it’s August, I went with handfuls of fresh basil in the cakes and in the sauce. Keep it simple, just stir basil into your fave mayo from a jar, and voila, a sauce.

Sweet corn is one of the joys of the summer, and these croquettes are a basil-laced, crispy bite that shows off that precious corn flavor.

Give your sweetcorn a little zazz with this croquette recipe, and your family will thank you!

Potato and Sweetcorn Croquettes

When the sweetcorn is in season, make these easy croquettes. Fresh basil makes them extra summery!

Servings 10 croquettes
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Yukon Gold or other waxy potato
  • 2 medium ears of corn kernels removed
  • 1 cup fresh basil divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup avocado mayonnaise

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes in their skins until very tender, then drain. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and mash or put through a potato ricer. Put in a large bowl and let cool completely.

  2. Set up a large skillet and a large plate lined with a double layer of paper towels for draining the croquettes.

  3. To the potatoes, add the salt, corn kernels, and half of the basil. Stir to mix well. Form 1/4 cup portions, shape into patties, and coat with panko. Place on a plate and chill for at least an hour, or until time to cook.

  4. Place the large skillet over medium-high heat and let heat for a few seconds, then pour in oil to 1/4-inch deep. Let the oil heat to a "shimmer" and place one croquette in the pan. If it sizzles, add as many as you can fit without any of them touching. Cook, using a metal spatula to carefully turn them as they brown.

  5. Drain the finished croquettes on the paper towel lined plate.

  6. In a small bowl, stir the mayonnaise with the remaining basil.

  7. Serve croquettes with basil mayo.

Make a Pizza with Edible Flowers, It’s Like Eating Summer

Grilled Pizza with Edible Flowers

The perfect summer meal!

I recently did a cooking demonstration at the Mill City Farmer’s Market, showing the crowd how to cook stuffed squash blossoms. The number of people who told me that they had no idea that you could even eat squash blossoms convinced me that it’s time to talk about edible flowers. Edible flowers are the easiest way to elevate a dish from everyday to extra special.

flower pizza

Urban Roots Pizza by House of Gristle

A few days later, I went to a pizza party at one of my favorite places, Urban Roots, where talented Chef Jametta Raspberry was hosting a popup. The young people in the Urban Roots programs had harvested vegetables, made pizza dough, and were making a beautiful pizza with nasturtiums on top. I knew it was a sign. I had to make an edible flower topped pizza.

Edible Flowers Add Excitement

Edible flowers seem to mystify people. Maybe we didn’t grow up eating them, or just forget about them in between sightings. Flowers are fragile, so you don’t see them in restaurants that often. Perhaps an orchid in a Margarita, or a few rose petals on a dessert, but that’s it. The squash blossom is occasionally stuffed for a special of the day, if a chef has the flexibility to buy a basket of them and put it on the menu before they fade.

I grow nasturtiums in my window box every year, because I love the way they look, trailing over the edge of the box. Then I have a handy source of edible flowers and leaves, to pick and toss on salads, cupcakes, or this pizza.

Pizza with Edible Flowers

Dining in my garden…

I also grow Bachelors buttons and small Sunflowers, to use in summer meals. Chives and most edible herbs also have edible flowers. Pansies, Violets, Calendula and Marigolds, Impatiens, Gladiolus, Bee Balm, Roses, and some Orchids are spectacular in this recipe. I added squash blossoms, cut into strips. When using squash blossoms or other flowers with a big central calyx and stamens, use the petals only.

Look for edible flowers by the fresh herbs at your grocery store, at the Farmer’s Market, or grow them yourself. Only use organic, unsprayed ones, and make sure that they are edible. Don’t pick them on roadsides or in parks. If you have allergies to flowers, avoid eating them.

Pizza on the Grill with Edible Flowers

So, the only trick is to make a pizza with a schmear of fresh pesto and then top it later. Just make the crust, toss it on the grill, then as soon as it is firm enough to turn, flip it, spread with pesto and sprinkle with roasted tomatoes, and close the grill to finish the baking. Once it’s cooked through, top with edible flowers, and you have it.

It looks like the food of fairies, doesn’t it?

Pesto Pizza with Edible Flowers

When it's too hot to bake, make this pizza on the grill. My garden provides the tomatoes, basil, and of course, fresh flowers that make this as charming as it is easy to make.

Course Main Course
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup roasted cherry tomatoes (see link)

Dough

  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Pesto and Flowers

  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 nasturtium flowers
  • 2 squash blossoms
  • 2 tablespoons broccoli raab flowers
  • oil for the grill

Instructions

  1. The day before, place the warm water, yeast and sugar in a
    large storage tub and stir to mix. Let stand at room temperature until bubbly,
    about 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flours and salt, and mix
    just until combined. Use your hands to knead just enough to make it smooth,
    adding a little flour if it is sticking to your hands. Let the dough stand at
    room temperature for about an hour to double in size. Cover the tub and
    refrigerate overnight.

  2. Two hours before dinner, take the dough out of the
    refrigerator. Divide the dough into two pieces, shape each into an oval, place
    on a floured counter and let it come to room temperature.

Making the pizzas

  1. Make the pesto: In a food processor, place the basil, garlic, pine nuts and salt. Process, scraping down as needed, until a smooth paste is formed. Drizzle in the olive oil and puree to make a smooth pesto. Transfer to a cup.

  2. Preheat the grill to high, and pour a little oil in a cup,
    and crumple a paper towel to use to oil the grate. Get tongs and a large metal
    spatula, and a large cutting board.

  3. Flatten and stretch each out to the width of your cutting board, making an oval about 12 x 7 inches. You can fit both on the board. Sprinkle the board with flour and place the shaped dough on it. Using the tongs to hold the paper towel, oil the
    grill grate, and carefully place each portion of dough on the grill. Close the
    grill and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for three minutes, then uncover and use tongs to peek under the crust, looking for grill marks. When it feels firm
    around the edges and is marked, flip the dough. Quickly spread half of the pesto and sprinkle tomatoes on each crust, then cover the grill and let cook for three minutes.

  4. Arrange the flowers on the pizzas, cut, and serve.

Beets and Cukes in Miso Dressing with Pickled Ginger

Beet Salad with Miso and Pickled Ginger

Beet Salad with Miso and Pickled Ginger

I love beets. Their sweet, earthy essence seems to scare some people away, but not me. I do find it frustrating that the only way that beets are served in restaurants these days is in a salad with feta, chevre, or bleu. The sweetness of the beets is a perfect foil for salty, umami-rich cheese. But why not try another salty, umami-rich food, by adding a little miso? Beet salad will never be the same.

Beet Salads Need an Update

The roasted beet salad appeared on the restaurant scene in the 90’s, like a new kid in town. Italian restaurants started it, then it just infiltrated the zeitgeist. Like sushi and Sriracha sauce, the beet salad is now a fixture on the American dining landscape. But it hardly changes. It’s time to move it forward, and give the goat cheese a rest. It’s time for Miso.

Miso is Magic

In this golden age of fermentation, miso is the perfect way to get the boost of meatiness and saltiness that cheese delivers. Miso is made from protein rich soybeans, and often other beans and grains. The process of fermentation breaks loose amino acids from those proteins, so that your umami-sensing tastebuds can feel them. Suddenly, you’ve got a mouthfeel that is meatier and more satisfying than beets alone. If you leave the miso uncooked, as you will in this dressing, it even packs probiotic bacteria in every savory bite.

Beet Salad with Miso

Beets Get a Kick of Salty Umami from Miso

Miso-fusion for Flavor

The miso is Japanese, but I see no reason not to keep the cucumbers and basil that go so well with beets in the Italian versions. If you’ve got Thai Basil, that will be even more riotously flavorful, adding an anise-like kick to the final dish. Pickled Ginger is a familiar old friend, and deserves to be seen in more dishes than just sushi.

The great thing about such intensely flavored ingredients it that you hardly need to do anything. Beets, miso, pickled ginger, basil, all powerhouses that will carry the dish, with no need to do anything fancy. It’s almost too easy. If that were possible!

Run and Buy Some Beets

Because it’s summer, and it’s time to let the produce speak for itself, with just a little help from the magic of miso.

Some other beet recipes:

Chipotle Beet Hummus

Give your dip repertoire a pop of color

Chipotle Beet Hummus

Valentines Beet and Tofu Sushi

Love in a Handroll

Beet and Tofu Handrolls

Walnut-Beet Burger with Baby Lettuces

Spicy Beet and Walnut Burgers

Beets, Cukes and Pickled Ginger in Miso Dressing

Instead of the obligatory cheese sprinkled over roasted beets, this salad gets plenty of umami from miso.

Servings 4 cups
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beets
  • 1/2 large cucumber sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickled ginger
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red miso
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Bee Free Honee or agave
  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai or Italian basil slivered

Instructions

  1. Quarter the beets and steam until tender. Drain and run cold water over the beets as you trim the tops and slip off the skins.

    Place the cooled beets on a cutting board and slice, then move to a large bowl. Add the cucumber slices and pickled ginger.

  2. In a cup, combine the olive oil, miso, cider vinegar, bee free honee or agave and stir.

  3. Serve topped with basil.

Try Fresh Currants in this Easy Kanten

Kanten

It was a great farmer’s market find. Fresh Red Currants were ripe and ready at the market, and it was too hot to bake. So, I made kanten. Kanten is the plant-based world’s answer to Jell-o, and it couldn’t be more refreshing. Don’t tell anyone it’s vegan, just serve it. Kids and adults alike will relish the cooling treat.

The secretly awesome thing about kanten is that the sea vegetable that gels it is fiber rich and filling, so it is a light way to stave off hunger, as well as to hydrate with vitamin-rich fruit. It’s touted as a weight loss aid in Japan, if that’s of interest to you. I just love the way it melts in my mouth.

(I made a lovely Green Tea Kanten in this link)

Fruity Kanten is a Summer Treat

Kanten is actually the Japanese word for Agar Agar, the gelling powder, flakes or bars made from a kind of red algae. Don’t worry, it’s not even recognizable as a sea vegetable or algae, once wit’s been processed. I used powdered agar agar in this dish, for convenience. It’s similar to gelatin, but behaves a little differently. Because it’s a natural product, it sometimes varies in gelling power. It’s not a problem, in this dessert. If your kanten doesn’t set up, just strain it back into the pan, whisk in a teaspoon of agar powder, and heat until dissolved, then pour it over the currants in the baking dish to set.

fresh red currants

Fresh red currants from Good Courage Farm

Ruby Red Fruit in Sweet Kanten

Because of the nature of agar, the final gel has an almost linear texture, that cleaves into subtle shapes that remind me of rock formations. It’s still gorgeous and luminous in the light, and hey, no animals hooves were rendered to make it. Just plants. It also stays set at room temperature, unlike the melting jello of your youth. It’s most fun to eat when cold, though, and it keeps for a few days in the fridge.

red currant kanten

So easy and slice-able

To keep it simple, I just used bottled apple juice. You can use any juice you want, as long as you keep color in mind. I wanted a neutral color so that the currants could shine.

Red Currants are a Local Delicacy

When I hear red currant, I usually think of British food. Red currants seem to be synonymous with scones and jams from across the pond. But, who knew, the grow here in Minnesota! I was thrilled to find a stand selling them right here at the Mill City Market.

Good Courage Farm is a new vendor at the market, and it’s great to see some uncommon fruits, like gooseberries and currants, among the tried and true produce. The graceful trailing stems of berries are too pretty to pass up, and I hope that they are selling out every week.

Of course, kanten is as flexible as it is easy. Switch out the juice, or use another fruit, and it will be just as welcome when you crave something a little bit sweet. The bounty of local fruit is always inspiring, but it always seems to come at the hottest time of the year. I know I can only bake so many pies or scones before I’m ready for some kanten.

Make kanten a summer staple at your house, and keep cool all season long.

Fresh Red Currant Kanten

Miss jello? Kanten is the vegan version that we can eat with abandon.

Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh red currants or fresh cranberries
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons powdered agar
  • optional sweetener

Instructions

  1. Wash the currants and pull from the stem, pat dry. Lightly oil a 9 by 9 inch or similar size dish.

  2. In a 2 quart pot, whisk the apple juice, agar, and an optional half cup organic sugar, if desired. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, whisking until the agar is dissolved.

  3. Sprinkle the currants over the bottom of the container. Pour the hot kanten over the currants, use a spoon to distribute the currants evenly.

  4. Chill until firm. Slice in 12 squares. serve garnished with more currants and plant-based whipped "cream," if desired.

Strawberry Vegan Cupcakes You Need To Make Now

Some things just happen. Like the confluence of my own birthday with the arrival of petite “honeoye strawberries” at the Farmer’s Market. Yes, Happy Birthday to me! I have a vegan baking class coming up, and the vegan cupcakes that I teach in that class are perfect for a birthday cupcake. So, I dropped in a few strawberries to make strawberry cupcakes. For me!

Strawberry Vegan Cupcakes

These little vegan cupcakes are really easy to make, and the frosting is over the top creamy and sweet. I don’t usually post recipes this “white,” but birthdays are all about decadent little cakes, right? Besides, these are strawberry cupcakes, which makes them a touch more more plant-based.

Cupcakes are Fast and Easy

So, they are very easy vegan cupcakes, just preheat the oven, Mix up the dry ingredients, mix up the wet ingredients. Scoop the batter into the cups, plop in some whole berries. I didn’t cut them, because I didn’t want the juices to pour out into the batter. You could use raspberries, in their place, for a similar effect. The do sink a little bit after baking, but the frosting hides all that.

(Maybe you want a full-sized cake- try my Strawberry Bundt Cake.)

Now It’s a Party!

Of course, a dozen cupcakes is a good excuse to invite over some friends, or take a few to someone who needs a little sweetness in her life. We did our best to eat them, and it was a fine birthday feast.

Life’s too short to eat bad vegan cupcakes- so make your own, and glory in the fresh strawberry flavor in each one.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Buttercream

Vegan cupcakes that nobody will ever suspect are plant-based! These are classic white cupcakes, with a few fresh strawberries popped in, for a birthday, summer brunch, or anytime you crave a sweet treat.

Course Dessert
Keyword vegan cupcakes
Servings 12 cupcakes
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk plus more for frosting
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup very small strawberries washed and patted dry

FROSTING

  • 1 stick buttery sticks or melt spread
  • 6 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons coconut milk optional
  • raspberry red tinted sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with papers.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut milk, avocado oil, vanilla and cider vinegar. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk and pour over the flour mixture.

  3. Scoop a scant 1/4 cup batter into each cup, then drop in 3-4 strawberries, dividing them evenly between the cups. Dollop and remaining batter over the berries.

  4. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with no wet batter attached. Let cool on a rack.

  5. When cooled, place the Margarine in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Use an electric beater or the batter paddle to cream the fat, then add the powdered sugar and mix on low until it starts to form a very thick paste. This is helpful for working out any lumps of sugar. When smooth, add vanilla, mix, then add coconut milk a tablespoon at a time with the machine running on medium, just until light and whipped looking. test for spreadability, you want it to be firm enough to hold its shape, but creamy enough to pipe.

  6. If desired, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe generous swirls of frosting on each cupcake. Sprinkle with flavored sugar, if desired.

    Keep, tightly covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days.

Sesame Turmeric Dressing Prep Makes the Week Easy

It’s all about that Prep

If you want to eat well, you have to meal prep. One of the most basic meal components to prep is your salad dressing. It’s sooo quick to make, and sooo much better than the store-bought stuff. If you’ve been known to buy salad greens, only to let them languish until you have to scoop them out of the veggie drawer, meal prepping a dressing could be the key to a major dietary turn around. This dressing is so versatile, you can even use it as a stir-fry sauce, or dip veggies in it for a quick snack.

Prep Means Eating More Salad

Even if you don’t get the whole meal prep plan going (as explained in my latest book, Vegan Meal Prep) you can take this one powerful step. Just make a dressing and buy some salad greens. Pre-washed salads may be the most convenient veggie at the store, when you have a great dressing. Once you make the dressing and set your intention to eat that salad, you’ll make it happen.

(Other salads on my blog: Hakurei Turnip Salad, Jicama Orange Salad, Pesto Kale Salad )

Meal Prep Dressing

Your motivation to eat salads

More Versatile than Vinaigrette

This one is a good dressing to have on hand, because you can drizzle it over beautiful greens like these, or serve it warm, over vegetables, tofu, or whatever needs a little sauce. Frozen veggie gyoza or springrolls would be a real treat, with this as a dipping sauce. Make a grain bowl, topped with shredded kale and beans, and drizzle with this dressing. Or chop whatever veggies are hanging out in the veggie drawer, stir fry or steam them, and sauce with your sesame turmeric dressing prep.

Salad Meal Prep

I picked some edible flowers for this salad, but you can use any greens you like.

Take Your Dressing to Work Day

Once you have your sesame dressing, just store it in a jar, or you can portion it into smaller containers to pack with salads to take to work. As always, your homemade meal prep is going to be better than the options at most workplaces. It’s certainly cheaper.

Make a salad dressing this week, and see if it doesn’t change your eating habits for the better. Meal prep does that. Make a habit of it, and you could change the way you eat in a powerful way.

That’s what Meal Prep is all about!

Sesame Turmeric Dressing for the Week

Make a batch of this dressing, and you'll eat salads, grain bowls and stir fries with a versatile and tasty sauce.

Course Salad
Servings 6
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 inch fresh ginger peeled and sliced
  • 6 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice miso
  • 1 tablespoon sucanat or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Instructions

  1. In a blender, place the water, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, tahini, miso, brown sugar, and turmeric, and process until smooth. Scrape down and blend again as many times as needed with your blender.

  2. Scrape into a 2 cup jar or storage container. Chill until needed. Keeps for a week.

Strawberry Season Bundt Cake To Rock Your World

Vegan Strawberry Bundt Cake

Who can resist luscious strawberries?

It’s Strawberry Season.

That means, even here in Minnesota, the best, locally grown strawberries have finally reached their sweet, rosy ripeness. We make do all year with the bounty of California and Mexico, or do without. Until now. It’s a short window, and deserving of its own holiday season status.

You can even pick your own, just follow this link to find a farm.

Strawberry Season Bacchanal

The first berries were spotted at my local farmer’s market last week, and the first pint was eaten out of hand. Juice running down my chin, dipped in a little powdered sugar for old-time’s sake. But I had plans for the other berries I had greedily snatched up. A big fat bundt cake, lush as pound cake, but oh so plant-based.

Strawberry Season

The first berries of the season

Bake a Cake with the Best Strawberries of the Year

This cake is a recipe I’ve been working on for a while. It looks odd on the page, with so much oil, and no real egg replacements. The batter looks odd, too, because it’s so thick you might think it is a fail. But it’s not. Trust me. Once you whip all that luscious fat and spread it in the pan, it all bakes up just wonderfully.

As always, I was too lazy to make frosting or coconut whip, but you certainly can. I just wanted a little strawberry glaze on the bundt, to show off the shape and accentuate the flavor, so I pureed a few berries and added powdered sugar. It would be lovely served with a pile of berries and whipped coconut cream, or your fave ice cream.

Strawberry season is short, so I’ll be binge-ing on more of these sweet delicacies for as long as they last. It will be blueberry season, soon, and my favorite plum and cherry grower tells me it’s going to be a good year for those succulent treats as well.

Enjoy your own strawberry season with a cake, and seize the day!

Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake

This cake is as dense and rich as pound cake, without a smidgen of butter.

Course Dessert
Servings 8
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

Wet Mix

  • 1 cup avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana
  • 3 cups quartered strawberries

Glaze

  • 4 large strawberries
  • 2 cups powdered sugar approximately
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Garnish

  • 2 cups whole strawberries
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a bundt pan and reserve

  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and lemon zest.

  3. In a bowl with an electric beater, or in a stand mixer with the batter paddle, beat the avocado oil and coconut oil with the organic sugar for 3 minutes. Add the banana and beat for another minute. Add the flour mixture and stir in just until mixed, then fold in the strawberries using a spatula.

  4. Scrape the very thick batter into the Bundt pan and smooth the top.

  5. Bake for 1 hour to an hour and 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with no wet batter attached.

  6. Cool for about 10 minutes before running a paring knife around the edges and inverting onto a cake plate. Allow to cool completely.

  7. For the glaze, place the strawberries in a blender and puree, scraping down as needed. Add the powdered sugar and process to make a pourable glaze. If it is thin, transfer to a bowl and stir in more powdered sugar to make a thick glaze.

    Drizzle over the cooled cake.

  8. To serve, fill the center of the cake with sweetened whole berries.

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