Weekend Highlights
March 21, 2010

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Ah, Sundays.

I’ve just gotta say it: I kind of hate Sundays. The malaise, the anxiety about the work week ahead, the frantic attempt to catch up on editorial deadlines and reading. Blech.

But it’s not all bad. A couple of nice things manage to squeeze into the picture: extended and leisurely morning workouts, early dinners with my Mom, the occasional Sunday night movie. Most importantly, Sunday is my kitchen day: it’s the day I put aside to cook, cook, and cook some more. I prep meals, dressings, pates, vats of hummus, soak and boil beans, wash and chop veggies, etc. Few things give me more pleasure or sense of calm than preparing a good meal, and the chance to do that definitely helps to chase away the Sunday night blues.

Yesterday, Kristin asked what everyone’s foodie highlights were this week. I know what mine were. The first was this:

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As part of my Best of Raw 2009 prize, I received a gift basket from the incredible Vivapura company. Makers of wonderful coconut, cacao, and fruit/nut mixes, Vivapura is an amazing raw resource. One of the treats they sent me (in addition to some amaaaaaazing, life changing cacao paste) was this wonderful coconut vanilla creme. The ingredients?

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Coconut and vanilla. Period. The result is a vanilla infused coconut butter that’s sweet and rich, but also low glycemic and all raw. Methinks my friend Heather–maker of homemade coconut butter and critic of all things sugary–would looove this stuff (and inspired by Heather, I’ve also given homemade coconut butter a try lately, with awesome results!).

So, what to do with this magical stuff? Yesterday, I woke up with a crazy craving for oat bran, and I had a hunch that it would be all the more wonderful with some coconut butter melted atop.

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And oh, it was.

Other stuff I plan on doing with Coconut Vanilla Creme? I think it would be mighty tasty atop roasted yams or squash. I think it would be delicious on banana soft serve. I think it would be tasty in any avocado pudding combination, or atop Ezekiel toast.

Or how bout straight up, with a lick of the spoon?

Other highlight of the weekend: revisiting an old friend:

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Re-discovering beloved cookbooks is without a doubt one of every home cook’s favorite pleasures. I’ve always loved Veganomicon–it’s a bible among vegan cookbooks–and often serve up simplified or modified versions of its grain dishes, soups, and dips/spreads. But it had been a while since I flipped through its pages, and today, unsure of what I wanted for dinner, I decided to consult my girl Isa for recipe advice.

I settled on her red lentil and cauliflower curry, a simple, savory, and one pot dinner recipe. I love curries: they’re tasty and spicy and filling, and the leftovers are always awesome. I followed this recipe (red lentils, cauliflower, parsnips, celery, spices, c’est tout!) pretty much to a T, omitting onion and garlic. It turned out beautifully!

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Along with a fresh salad, it was food for the Sunday soul.This was definitely inspiration for me to yank out some other favorite cookbooks and uncookbooks, and get re-inspired!

I hope you all had lovely weekends of your own–and if there were any special culinary highlights, I’d love to hear about them!

xo

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    52 Comments
  1. Oh, if I could only find that delicious looking coconut spread here in Canada. I love all things coconut, and vanilla. It would be perfect on some oats 🙂

    I’ve also tried out that curry from Veganomicon, and it was quite good. Leftovers froze well also.

  2. Good morning 🙂
    I have a question about the Cocopura Coconut Oil…the raw one…does it taste really coconutty, mild coconut, or no flavor at all? I had one from another company and love it, comparable in price, but this is a smidge bit less expensive. I also had one that had no taste at all and didn’t like it, tasted like straight crisco or something gaggy LOL! Thanks for your opinion…
    Stacy

  3. Love Sundays as well and getting things ready for the week ahead. Love VivaPura products. I will have to try that coconut vanilla creme. Looks heavenly 🙂

  4. I completely feel you about Sundays. I keep trying to convince myself that they’re fun and relaxing.

    But what an inspirational way to spend the day! Makes me want to cook…

  5. I’ve always been intrigued by Veganomicon. The recipes there, I must admit, are fabulous, and they don’t always ask for weird ingredients, either. I love all the flavor combinations there…it’s almost the kind of food I make, except cheese and egg-less.

    p.s. Are you attending BlogHer this August? It’s in NYC!

  6. Gena,

    The Lentil-Cauliflower Curry looks amazing! I just posted a variation of Middle Eastern red lentil soup with potatoes and carrots, but never thought to add cauliflower in it! I’ll have to try it next time I make lentils.

    By the way, I found your blog a few days ago and I want to say that I absolutely love it! It’s very informative and well-designed. You inspire me to learn more about the value of eating purely raw foods. 🙂

    -Heba

  7. Hey Gena I have a question for you: when you prep/chop veggies on Sunday for the week ahead do you ever worry about them rotting or oxidizing during the week? My mom said to make fresh salads only a couple days at a time or else the veggies start to go bad. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Hey Hannah:

      It’s definitely not smart to chop veggies VERY finely and then let them sit for too long. But I find that if I was greens and bag them, and chop carrots/cabbage, they’ll last in Debbie Meyer’s green bags or in ziploc bags punctuated with a fork for at least 3 days with crispness and freshness!

      Gena

  8. I think perhaps I would like Sundays more if I adopted your practice of preparing meals–cooking always puts me in a better mood, and mealtime would be a lot less hectic during the week!
    Although I am a big fan of coconut and chocolate together, coconut and vanilla sounds like a pretty awesome combo too…

  9. that curry dish looks delish~ I’ve made something similar before (cauliflower and bean with curry) and loved it!
    last weekend was full of new recipes trying… so fun! 😉

  10. I made the Lentil-Cauliflower Curry from Veganomicon this weekend too! So tasty, right? 🙂

  11. I made the red lentil cauliflower curry just a few weeks ago. I love veganomicon and hope you will enjoy revisiting it! 🙂

    Have a lovely day!
    xox

  12. Sounds like a great recipe. I love curry. I need to buy a couple good vegan cookbooks.. I might check out this one at the book store.

  13. I LOVE Vivapura, and that spread looks out of this world! And I love Veganomicon also! It really is the ultimate vegan cookbook, you can find everything in there. I love how you gave their recipe your own spin, sounds fantastic.

  14. If I cook a lot, it’s on a Sunday. But this weekend left me with no time due to work, work, and more work. I love dals, and cracking open cookbooks is a lovely pastime of mine as well!

  15. Ahh, coconut vanilla cream! Looks wonderful!

    And I LOVE veganomicon, yum! That red lenti cauliflower curry looks to die for. I should whip out that book again… haven’t used it in far too long!!

    xo
    K

    (BTW- my URL has changed since then- I lost kristinsnibbles.com into the internet-universe, unfortunately)

  16. Oh man that curry looks good.

    This weekend I soaked and sprouted buckwheat groats for the first time and made raw scones and bread, which was really exciting and delicious!

  17. can you tell me about the cacao paste? I had a hard time getting the right consistency. if you have a trick up your sleeve, do share!

    • Umm….I thought you eat it plain! Broken into manageable pieces, naturally. Was I wrong? It’s really good that way!

  18. Gena,
    when you soak your beans, how long do you soak them for?
    I also wanted to know i recently am starting school next week so i am planning next sunday my cooking day for my week. I keep failing miserably at dressings, so lately i just have been throwing on some apple cider vinegar, hemp oil, and some spike.
    I just got over food poisoning from eating something i dehydrated but should have put it in the fridge i guess (recipe from a book) so i have a fear of making a dressing for the week but not knowing how long it’ll last. What would you say is your easiest dressing to use without mis-combining food. I always use avocado in my salads, so i know proper food combining would mean no dressing with nuts. I started using hummus for dressing too, but i just feel too full and heavy instead of light and energetic.
    Any suggestions?

  19. I hate Sundays too! I try so hard not to dread Sunday nights but I just can’t seem to help it.

    I love Indian food…I’ve made something similar to your curry but I really want to check out Veganomican. I have heard so much about it!

  20. I really think a lot of people are going to benefit from you sharing your cooked foods as well. So often we peg a blogger as “hard core” or whatever the other label may be.

    I adore curries. It’s been far too long since I made one. If Vegaminocon is the Bible, I best be praying that I get a copy soon! My birthday is a little over a month away…on the list it goes!

  21. That coconut butter looks yummy!
    I had a culinary success of my own this weekend; I made raw banana-cookie dough “ice cream” with blended bananas, a little homemade almond milk and chunks of raw vegan ‘cookie dough’ balls. It was more of a shake than ice cream, but still amazing and a great energy boost.

  22. Your Sunday in the kitchen sounds lovely 🙂 My foodie highlight of the weekend was getting the “bunny juice” and a bag of rosemary quackers from One Lucky Duck in Chelsea Market. I was inspired by you!

  23. Sunday is MY cooking day too!

    Today I made that Indian pâté you designed for me! It came out really well. I also made the curried pumpkin soup and a really neat salad based on one from Rawmazing (it was made out of avocado, broccoli [I subbed for cauli, as raw broccoli is kind of gross], mango [I subbed for strawberries], and raisins. I still need to make a dressing for it, haha, but have no clue what would go well with it.

    My official goal in life is to replicate PF&W’s Classic Sundae…but I am a grasshopper and that is the work of a master.

  24. Highlights of the Weekend…that’s my weekly special 🙂 Well, of the week.

    The VCon is one book I don’t own…I really need it though!

    Glad to hear youve had success w/ the coconut butter makin’!

  25. That cauliflower dish looks awesome – and I don’t even care for curry!

    I’m kind of glad to hear that I’m not the only one who gets the Sunday night blues – although I’m not glad that you have them too.

  26. What a delicious looking spread! I love curries too. I spent the weekend baking gluten free pizza. I’m very excited that I don’t have to spend a lot of money to have pizza anymore. 🙂

  27. Cauliflower and curry are a wonderfully eclectic pair – probably because cauliflower takes on a lighter semblance of potatoes, and traditional curry makes good use of that stuff!

    One weekend culinary highlight for me: a shredded carrot and raisin salad. (I know, I’m simple.) It was served at the hotel I was staying at, and I kept imagining it tasting AWESOME with your poppyseed dressing. I’ll probably do some experimenting these next few weeks with that, and also probably turning orange along the way. Woo!

  28. Gena, its nice to see u enjoying more foods. It seemed you were hard-core raw before, I couldn’t help but wonder whether u felt a bit missing out…but whatever.
    anyway, the coconut butter is AMAZING…i eat it all the time…so sad its expensive…i assume the butter i have is similar to that creme u have.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks! But I wouldn’t really say that I’m “enjoying more foods.” I’ve always enjoyed curries and oat bran! But the recipes I get the most of a kick out of are raw ones (mostly), so for a while they’ve been the ones I show on the blog most often. I think I’m realizing that a huge portion of my readership appreciates seeing my plain ole cooked recipes, too, so I’m sharing 🙂

      G

  29. ahhhh i love anything curry and that dish looks so perfect. sounds like a lovely weekend 🙂
    off to make coconut butter with vanilla 🙂
    xoxo

  30. OMG. Veganomicon is this vegetarians favorite cookbook and that happens to be one of my favorite recipes. Such a yummy, healthy comfort food recipe.

  31. Yes, I would love. Totally adding vanilla powder or some vanilla beans to my next batch of coconut butter. I’m sure it tasted amazing atop your oat bran. 🙂

    Dinner looked so warm and comforting Gena. I love spending my Sundays in the kitchen as well. Such a great day to do food prep for the week!

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