Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hotel Eating in Colorado!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the grand experience of traveling to Colorado for a Yoga and Sanskrit workshop. The workshop was held at a really beautiful spot, the Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort. I had never been to a hot springs before! or to Colorado! I had such a wonderful time and I've been absorbing and digesting all the learning I did. It was a great experience, in just about every way.

Dudes. This was the view from my hotel room. What?!
Colorado is really, really beautiful.

I am now a card-carrying Colorado fan



This beautiful spot was about 3 hours SW of Denver ... quite far from any of Colorado's beloved vegan restaurants or natural foods stores! Luckily, I was well-informed! So, I brought a lot of food with me (basically I just went through my pantry and plucked a bunch of weirdo items that were languishing). Once I landed in Colorado, I made a beeline for Whole Foods to get a few perishables. I made sure that I'd have a microwave and a mini-fridge in my room.

This is my little hotel pantry set up. I didn't actually end up eating all of this, but it was nice to have a good array of choices! 

Like a well-versed vegan, I always travel with a lot of food... but this time I traveled with A LOT OF FOOD. ha ha ha. 


I bought this Thai Tom Yum a while back for a vegan swap I was supposed to do with someone who was following a Keto Diet. And after I bought everything, they never wrote back again. ha ha. So, suddenly I had a bunch of keto stuff I wouldn't usually buy. 

I had my vegan Tom Yum soup with added water (to make it more hydrating), and I added some microwaved broccoli florets. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by this packaged product. It had some legit spices and seasoning! It also definitely benefited from the addition of some green veg. 

The broccoli florets were a last-minute inspiration and brought me so much joy during my 4-day adventure in microwave eating. I just microwaved them in a mug with a little water to steam them. I eat so many green veggies at home and this was an easy way to have veggies in my hotel room. Next time I will buy two bags of broccoli florets so I don't have to ration them! 

Breakfast!

I had pretty much the same thing for breakfast everyday while I was there: Instant oatmeal, half a yogurt (I only bought two, so I made them last), a banana, and coffee. I thought I'd be able to find soy creamer at the Whole Foods in Denver, but they didn't have any. What's up with that??!! So, I bought the Ripple Half and Half, which I didn't really like. I thought it made my coffee taste weird and fishy. :( Boo. 

Instant Oatmeal is really not my favorite. It's always so gluey and sugary. Next time I go, I'll have to come up with a more thrilling and satisfying breakfast plan. I looked at a lot of the oatmeal cups, but they were also all super sugary. Any suggestions? 

Notice how my yogurt is all poofed up? Because the elevation there was quite high (8,250 feet)! 


This frozen meal from Frontera was the culinary highlight of my trip. This bowl was *by far* the most delicious frozen meal I have ever had. I was so impressed. As you can see - the bowl is full of real beans, real and sizeable veggies, herbs and seasonings. It was flavorful and satisfying, and was actually just very tasty. I am officially grateful! 

I didn't have a freezer in my room, just a mini fridge, so I only got a couple frozen items since I knew I'd have to eat them in the first day or two. I'm so glad I got this one! Would eat again! 


Glam shot of my frozen meal with the Colorado mountains in the background


Way to go, Frontera!



A long time ago, Patagonia sent me two dehydrated soup mixes. Unfortunately, I never reviewed them because I was always home with actual fresh food to eat. I'm sorry, Patagonia. Anyhow, I hauled them along for this trip. I made the Black Bean Soup for two meals (using microwaved hot water, mixing it together, and then microwaving again for a bit). I had also picked up some Heidi Ho Cheeze Sauce in Denver, and I added a big dollop to my soup as well as to my Broccoli.

I gotta say, this soup was also pretty good. I think maybe dehydrated foods have come a long way since I last had them! The flavor was good and there were spices and it was actually quite satisfying. It was good to eat a lot of soup and steamed veggies because between the altitude and the extremely dry climate, you really gotta stay of top of keeping your body hydrated.

One day I spilled my water bottle all over the passenger seat in my rental car and by the very next day it was completely dry - as though it had never happened!!! WHOA Colorado.


You can tell which pictures are lunch pictures and which pictures are dinner pictures, because I ate my lunches outside looking at the beautiful mountains, and I ate my dinners after dark in my little hotel room! 

I had picked up an Amy's frozen bean burrito at Denver Whole Foods, and I didn't realize that I had accidentally grabbed a gluten-free version. I'm sorry to say, I was not very enthusiastic about that gf tortilla. I ate the bean filling, had some miso soup, crackers and cherry tomatoes. Still a pretty satisfying light dinner.

I really like these little Tsubi miso soup cubes - have you ever had them? They are so amazing - they weigh almost nothing, and when you open the package there's a dehydrated little cube in there. But when you add the hot water, suddenly you have a really nice cup of miso soup with herbs and mushrooms and goodies! I highly recommend them! 


McDougall Soup

I also picked this soup up at Whole Foods, and it was pretty good! I don't eat much prepared / packaged food usually at home, so I probably wouldn't buy this just to have around the house. But if you rely on prepared food to help you get through your work week, I would recommend this soup. It had a good nutritional profile, tasted like real food made with real ingredients, and was quite tasty (and not a hideous salt bomb compared to many canned/packaged soups!). 



I also tried the Miracle Noodle Kitchen Pad Thai, which was fine, but I didn't like it nearly as much as I enjoyed the Tom Yum. The flavors weren't as strong or interesting to me. I suppose if you prefer more mild spices, you might actually prefer this one - but I like the spices and spiceness of the Tom Yum. As you can see, I added the last of my precious baggie of broccoli, which was a major bonus. I think this meal would have felt pretty bleak without the veggies!


On our drive back to Denver, we saw TWO moose, right on the side of the road.
I absolutely lost my cool (such as it is). I have wanted to see a moose for SO LONG and it turns out that seeing a moose in real life is not at all disappointing and they are truly huge and amazing creatures. Such a cool moment. 


I WAS SO HAPPY 


This was the view when I walked from my room down to the space where we had our yoga classes. Despite living off bean soup and paleo noodles and microwaved broccoli florets for 4 days, I think you can see why I would 100% do this again! 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Birthday Weekend with lots of Celebrating!

ha ha. it's not actually super-glamorous to turn 45

This past weekend was my birthday (woot! 45!) and I had a pretty great weekend from start to finish. Usually we have a little family dinner or gathering to recognize each other's bdays, but this year my bday was (happily) eclipsed by my nephew's high school graduation (more on that below!). Obviously a high school graduation is a more festive and important life event than a 45th birthday. Nonetheless, I was feeling festive, and I was especially in the mood to have some friends over and have a friends party... so I decided to throw myself a bday party! 

My day started off great with a trip to the farmers market, a great workout, and a nice long yoga practice at home. Then I started getting ready for my party, and one of my best besties (ever since high school!) came over to spend some time together and help me get ready. It was so fun to see her and to have company as I puttered in the kitchen and back yard.



Because she knows me *so well*, she brought me some amazing bday gifties (all edible, of course!) - fresh mulberries from her farmers market, a gorgeous basket of strawberries, and two baggies of "energy bites" from a fancy retreat center that she went to recently... so many delicious treats!


MULBERRIES

I just love mulberries so much. They are funny looking (like giant caterpillar berries) and so sweet and delicious. A long time ago, my pal and I were talking about mulberries and how there is a vendor at her farmers market who sells them. I have never seen them at the markets I go to, and I was so touched and stoked that she remembered my love of mulberries!! There are only a couple left and I am going to savor them. 




   
Birthday Lasagna!

For my birthday, I really wanted to have a vegan potluck... even though only two of the people I invited are vegan, everyone else very lovingly played along (thanks, pals!). I declared it to be a Mediterranean-themed vegan potluck and told everyone I would make a vegan lasagna, some cookies and buy ice cream.

At first I was going to make minestrone soup, which I also love, but then I soon realized that I had to make lasagna instead because lasagna is the #1 food of all time and I love it so much. I actually made TWO lasagnas - one for the party and another one to eat all week. Because the idea of going to all the work of making lasagna and not having leftovers was just too tragic. I used my very own "Amey's Birthday Lasagna" recipe - a recipe I am very proud of! 


glorious array of goodness! 

My pal L brought this awesome mix of spreads and veggies and breads. SO RAD. Regular hummus, beet hummus, a very cool pomegranate and olive tapenade, olives, veggies, pita chips. So much good stuff! 



I wish you could see just how huge this platter really is - my friend J brought this huge and glorious salad platter with one of my most beloved spring ingredients: fava beans!!!! Oh man it was really good: spinach, crunch from sugar snap peas and celery, shredded beets, ** favas ** and a creamy avocado. Plus some nice dressing she brought too. So good.


This picture looks silly but this salad was really good and special! J brought a really nice salad with greens (underneath all that good stuff) and then when we were ready to eat, she poured on a big mix of veggies that had been marinating in dressing: cukes, tomatoes, corn, and cranberries! It was really good! I like the idea of marinating the veggies in the dressing for maximum flavor delivery. 


Yaaaasssssssss. Dolmas for President! M and M brought a glorious array of dolmas that were so extremely good. Who even thought of dolmas and figured out that they could be so delicious and perfect??


Another non-stellar photo - but this was a really nice salad. K brought an orzo and lentil salad with "a bunch of other good stuff" ha ha. Artichoke hearts, sliced almonds, bell peppers... it was a nice hearty salad to go with all the other lighter salads.


Birthday party dinner plate - first pass!

It turns out that a Mediterranean theme vegan potluck is a good way to go! It's a pretty loose theme, and people will bring delicious and overall pretty healthy food, which feels good. Even after eating this huge plate of food, I didn't feel like I had eaten way too much. It was perfect! 


We had lots of different drinks on hand - fancy juices, fizzy water, beer and wine, and we even made Aperol Spritzes! I almost never drink alcohol, but I'll make an occasional exception for an Aperol spritz. They are so beautiful and not too boozy and transport me back to my wonderful trip to Italy with Mr VE&T a few years ago. 


Cherries are probably my very favorite fruit of all time and I promised my party pals that I would have a big bowl of cherries on hand. I love that cherries are in season for my birthday, I think it makes me feel a special kinship with them. I have been eating so many cherries, you guys. SO MANY.

cherries are the best, forever and ever, AMEN.


In addition to the big beautiful platter of salad, J also brought a big bowl of organic strawberries, straight from her farm. SO good. I feel so lucky to live in the land of strawberries. 


We had a really fun evening, eating dinner outside (with blankets and pillows to keep cozy). It was so fun. See our new solar-powered party lights? I love them! 

Vegan Cheesecake

My daring and wonderful pal A brought a homemade vegan cheese cake with some nice raspberry sauce! It's so beautiful. Then she took one bite of her own creation and declared "oh no, this cheesecake is terrible!" Ha ha. I didn't think it was terrible, but it was better to think of it as something other than a cheesecake!! 


Cooooooooooookies

I decided to make cookies for my party and figured that in the end, there is no better cookie than the classic chocolate chip cookie. None of our guests were gluten-free, so I went for a straight up gluten fest! These are the Soft Set Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Aquafaba Cookbook, my favorite chocolate chip cookie ever. I made a double batch, because I made them the day before the party and I still wasn't sure how many people were going to come. Now I have a big bag of cookies in the freezer, which is kinda like a birthday present to myself. 


When I told my trustworthy pal J that I was going to make cookies and buy ice cream, she wisely suggested that we make ice cream sandwiches. DUH. So I went all out and bought a ton of vegan ice cream. I didn't know what kind people would want, or if someone might prefer coconut base or almond base etc etc. OH SHOOT, I had to buy four kinds of ice cream. Ha ha ha. Now we have so much ice cream in the freezer to eat. Another bday gift to myself. I bought Coconut Bliss Dark Chocolate, So Delicious Cold Brew (my new favorite!), So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster, and Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia. Heaven on Earth! 


Dessert Plate! 

My cheesecake slice with raspberry sauce, and my ice cream sandwich (half cold brew, half cherry garcia). I don't know if you can see, but I also put out a bowl of mini chocolate chips so that we could roll the outside edges of our ice cream sammies in mini chips. yes! These cookies are perfect for ice cream sandwiches because they are so soft, so you can bit through them and they don't crack or crumble. I highly suggest ice cream sandwiches as a summer activity. 


In case you were wondering. Snoopy is still adorable.
He's had most of his bottom front teeth removed, and now his little tongue often slips out into a sweet little DERP. I love it. 


Graduation!!!
Like I mentioned before, this year I shared my bday weekend with my wonderful youngest nephew, who graduated from high school on Friday. We all went to his high school graduation and it was a really powerful and moving day. All the seniors had to present their senior projects and they each gave a speech. It was so emotional and wonderful. I think you can see how excited we both were.


Of course on graduation night, my nephew went off to have fun with his pals and it sounds like they had a fun night. But we were determined to have a big family party for him -- to celebrate his accomplishments and our love for him. I made a big huge chocolate cake! (I used a triple batch of batter from the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World). I also made one little cupcake, which I inverted and used as a graduation cap. The mortar board is a graham cracker with black frosting on it! I even bought yellow fondant to make a little edible tassle, and used parchment paper for the mini diploma. I went to the party store for the fondant, and to get that nice silvery cake board, and ended up also spending $6 on a tiny little container of edible gold star glitters. I mean, how could I possibly have resisted??

I've never learned how to use all the fancy frosting tips, but I really wanted this cake to look fancy, so I did my best! I was really happy with how it turned out, and - more importantly - it was also super delicious and well appreciated by all!

What a wonderful weekend of festivities and fun and family. Phew! This weekend, I have a much more lowkey agenda. There will be sitting around, no baking, no parties... just some pet snuggles, yoga practice, and cherry eating.

Also! Thanks to everyone for entering my giveaway for a copy of the wonderful new book "Wicked Healthy." I used the random number generator... and Josiane Richer is the winner! 
Congratulations, Josiane! 
Send me your mailing address and the book will be on its way to you. <3 nbsp="" p="">

Monday, June 04, 2018

Wicked Healthy - Cookbook Review & Giveaway!


Here's a super fun and exciting new vegan cookbook to tell you about! I am so stoked to be a part of the Wicked Healthy blog tour. This book is so beautiful and interesting! 

For years it seemed like every vegan cookbook that was published was aimed at people who had never heard of avocado toast or overnight oatmeal. I like those things as much as the next vegan, but I don't personally need a recipe for them. Also, I'm super, super stoked that there are so many wonderful cookbooks to support people who are starting their vegan journeys. That said, it is so exciting and thrilling when I get my hands on a cookbook that is NOT aimed at beginners.

roasted garlic, oh how I love thee

Wicked Healthy is such an exciting book - it's aimed at a competent home chef who loves cooking and loves innovative and adventurous flavors. The book is absolutely beautiful and is really fun and inspiring just to read. Wicked Healthy is written by two brothers, Chad and Derek Sarno, and there is a distinctly masculine tone to the writing - like two brothers playing and sparring in the kitchen. It's not off-putting though, and it's nice to see this voice in a vegan cookbook, since that genre is largely dominated by female authors. Both brothers are also trained chefs, and that is another cool thing about this book - I didn't just make great recipes from it, I also learned some fun and useful new-to-me kitchen techniques from their recipes. I really love that!! It's so exciting when a good book also teaches you how to improve your own skills in the kitchen. 


super, super thin bread slices - a trick I learned from Wicked Healthy:
freeze the bread first and then slice it into the thinnest slices ever! GENIUS.
(this recipe is at the end of this post!)

As soon as this book arrived, I started flipping through it, staring at all the amazing pictures, and writing up a (long) list of all the recipes I wanted to try. Happily, the next week was the birthday of one of my very best besties and I had invited her and her family over for dinner. I decided to make five different recipes from Wicked Healthy to celebrate! 

When you love someone that much, you can make an entire 5-course meal out of recipes you've never tried before, because you know they will forgive you if the whole thing is a bust. Luckily, not a single thing I made was a bust. Far from it - we all loved our meal, and we had such a super fun evening together. 

1st course:
Cucumber, Celery, Green Apple, and Kale Juice!
(from Juices and Cocktails / Juices and Coolers chapter)

Lately I've been kinda into green juice! I don't have a juicer though, so I pureed everything in my Vitamix and then strained it through several layers of cheesecloth. This recipes makes two big glasses of green juice, but I made 5 little appetizer / palate cleanser glasses - one for each of us. It was very yum - perfect hint of sweet from the apple, and a good balance of flavors! 


2nd Course:
Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus and Tarragon Cashew Cream 

I have the recipe for this beautiful and delicious salad at the end of this post! Check it out! 

Wow, dudes. Check this biz out. I was very proud of myself. I got this plating idea straight from the photos in the book - because as you have probably noticed, I am not generally a plating wiz. I am more like an eating wiz. It was so fun to make something so gorgeous and have it all plated and ready when my friends arrived. I really wanted her to feel special! 

This dish was so fun to prepare - there were many components, but none of it was difficult. The beets are roasted, the citrus is supremed, the little toasties are toasted, the tarragon cashew cream is pureed, the greens are tossed in dressing... It was such a pleasure to just take my time and enjoy all the different processes, and especially to have it all come together in such a beautiful and delicious result. 

feeling pleased with the outcome! 

3rd Course:
Minted Pea Ricotta and Zucchini Toasts

Oh man, I think these beautiful little toasts might have been my favorite recipe of the evening. These were so delicious - delicate and bursting with perfectly balanced springtime flavors. These toasts would be appealing for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! The toasts have a lovely ricotta mixture, topped with lightly seared zucchini ribbons, and a sprinkle of microgreens. I used my panino press to just lightly grill the zucchini ribbons. Lightly cooking the zucchini ribbons made them softer for a more delicate curl, prettier, and more tasty too. Win-win-win! 

The Minted Pea Ricotta mixture is absolutely stunning - a hint of lemon zest, shallot, and fresh peas (or frozen if it's not peak pea season!). One suggestion in the book is to use that ricotta mixture in homemade ravioli, which would definitely be 100% amazing and I would like to try that! 

The recipe calls for Kite Hill Ricotta as a base for the Minted Pea Ricotta. To that point, this book does call for a few brand name items in some of the recipes (Kite Hill ricotta, Ninja Squirrel Sriracha, Beyond Meat burgers). That's not always my favorite thing in a cookbook, but I don't mind it in this case. If you don't have access to those brands, you could easily adapt. And the recipes themselves really add a lot, so it's never just a recipe for a store-bought burger with ketchup on it or whatever. 

You can find this recipe over here at Adventures In Cooking's blog post about Wicked Healthy
SO GOOD


4th Course:
Roasted Cauliflower Fagioli
(from Soups and Stews chapter)

I love a good veggie stew, and I loved the idea of repurposing Pasta Fagioli with a whole head of roasted cauliflower instead of all the pasta... to make it more veggie-dense. Three cheers for veggies! That said, I did also use the optional suggestion to add some little noodles - I used some of my tiny little noodles that are so small they are practically Israeli couscous. 

We all loved this summery stew, and there was even some left over for me to enjoy the next day. The recipe intro says that this stew will be even better the next day, and - uh - that was true! Next time I will just make it a day ahead of when I intend to eat it! Ha ha. 

This cookbook definitely has recipes-within-recipes: for example, in order to make this, I made the Nana Sarno's Red Sauce. Not paying attention, I ended up making about 8 cups of red sauce, when the Fagioli recipe only called for two cups. I used some later for another recipe from the book and froze some to enjoy later as well. 



5th Course:
Drunken Berries with Amaretto Gelato and Ninja Nuts

YESSSSSSSS. Hot DAMN this dessert was seriously something special. I won't lie... it was also a lot of work. But I was in the mood for a culinary adventure and I enjoyed every moment of the process. All the recipes in this book came together as described in the write ups, no surprises and no instances where something took twice as long to cook or burned in half the time. You know what I'm talking about. Because the recipes were so well-written, that made it easier and not stressful to embark on a big project like this. 

This was a real recipe-inside-a-recipe adventure:
Make the Mango Sriracha Caramel, to make the Ninja Nuts.
Make the ice cream base, chill, churn the ice cream
Cut and macerate the berries.
Assemble.
EAT!!!

Almost all the desserts in this book (there aren't too many) are fancy, complicated special-occasion deserts like this. Obviously, you could just make individual components - but based on our experience of this glorious gastronomic delight, I would suggest going the whole nine yards. This was seriously such a special and delicious combo of flavors and textures. Each component - the berries, the gelato, and the nuts - were excellent on their own, and just glorious in combination with each other! I'm quite sure that this was the best homemade ice cream I've ever made. Excellent flavor and texture. 


Mango Sriracha Caramel
This caramel sauce is called for in making the so called "Ninja Nuts" that were part of the dessert. It is so delicious! I made a half-batch, and was still left with a whole lot left over (the nuts recipe only calls for 3 tablespoons). Luckily, it is delicious, and it lasts a little while in the fridge. I couldn't find 100% mango juice, so I used mango-apricot juice, which worked wonderfully. The finished product is carmelly, mango-y, apricot-y, with a nice spicy kick at the end. So good!


Ninja Nuts!
These "ninja nuts" (so called because the recipe suggests using Ninja Squirrel Sriracha) are toasted almonds coated with the Mango-Sriracha caramel. I made these tasty little power nuggets to go with our dessert, but then Mr. VE&T completely fell in love with them and declared them to be the "all time flavor of flavors." So I have made several more batches since then! Once you've made the caramel, these are quick and easy to make. But be warned, they are really hard to stop eating! 


Beautiful berries macerating in a Chambord base
The "Drunken Berries" component of the dessert was just lovely - fresh berries macerated in a mix based on Chambord liquer. What a great idea. And it was so nice to pour a little extra of the liquid over the gelato. Such a great combo with the somewhat-subtle Amaretto Gelato. 



Since that dinner party, I've also made the Whole Roasted Zucchini with Red Sauce 
and the Sriracha Kung Pao Brussels and Tofu (but I made it with broccoli) - which was an instant favorite! There are still so many more recipes that I have my eye on to try:
Bibimbap
Grilled Cabbage with Mint and Peanut Butter Sauce
Kale and Avocado Salad with Wild Rice and Grapes
Spring Agnolotti
Black Garlic and Chive Panisse
Corn Dumplings in Corn Broth
Reuben on Dark Rye
Chocoholic Fudge Brownies with Sea Salt and Dried Strawberries 
... and so many more! 

---------------------------------------------------------------

*GIVEAWAY!!*
I am so stoked that the publishers have offered for me to do a giveaway! To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post and tell me about your favorite fancy recipe to tackle at home, or what you'd like to try from this book, or really anything nice and relatively on-topic! Also, make sure to include your email address or a way to reach you, or I will just pick a different winner. Good luck! 

Also, check out their Wicked Healthy Facebook page - they have links to other reviews and giveaways as well as some great videos with more recipes to try out. 

---------------------------------------------

Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus and Tarragon Cashew Cream
Serves 6-8  

This  was  the  most  popular  salad  at  my  SAF  Restaurant  in  London.  Over  the  years  since  then,  I’ve  served  it  at  many  supper  clubs  and  dinners.  It’s  always  a  hit.  Slow  roasting  the  baby  beets  gives  them  a  deep  sweetness  that  balances  the  earthiness.  Watercress  brings  sharpness  and  bite.  Cashew  cream  contributes  richness.  Sherry  vinegar  has  the  spark.  Bread  crisps  give  it  crunch.  Between  the  textures  and  flavors—and  even  the  colors—this  sexy  dish  just  hits  all  the  buttons.  —Chad  

INGREDIENTS  

ROASTED  BEETS  
12  small  beets  (3  pounds),  rinsed,  stems  trimmed  
1½  tablespoons  everyday  olive  oil  
3  sprigs  fresh  lemon  thyme  or  regular  thyme  
Sea  salt  and  freshly  ground  black  pepper  
4  slices  fresh  lemon  
2  tablespoons  sherry  vinegar  
1½  tablespoons  chopped  fresh  chives 

BREAD  CRISPS  
1  small  baguette  (about  6  inches),  frozen  
1  tablespoon  everyday  olive  oil,  for  pan-frying  
1  teaspoon  granulated  garlic  
½  teaspoon  sea  salt  

ASSEMBLY  
About  1  cup  Tarragon  Cashew  Cream  (see  below)  
2  grapefruits  or  oranges,  segmented  
1  cup  small  watercress  leaves  or  microgreens  
½  tablespoon  best-quality  extra-virgin  olive  oil  
Squeeze  of  lemon  
Flake  salt,  such  as  Maldon  
Cracked  black  pepper  

TARRAGON  CASHEW  CREAM  
Makes  About  1¾  Cups  

INGREDIENTS  
1½  cups  raw  cashews  
About  1/3  cup  water  
Juice  of  ½  lemon  
2  tablespoons  nutritional  yeast  
1½  tablespoons  minced  fresh  tarragon  

METHOD  
1.  FOR  THE  BEETS:  Preheat  the  oven  to  250ºF.  Cut  a  giant  sheet  of  foil  twice  the  length  of  a  baking  sheet  and  place  half  of  it  on  the  pan.  

2.  In  a  bowl,  toss  the  whole  beets  with  the  oil  and  thyme  sprigs  and  season  with  salt  and  pepper.  Pour  the  beets  onto  the  foil  and  scatter  on  the  lemon  slices.  Leave  space  between  the  beets  so  they  can  steam.  Fold  over  the  other  half  of  the  foil  and  crimp  all  the  edges,  sealing  the  package  tightly.  Place  the  pan  in  the  oven  and  slow  roast  until  the  beets  are  tender  enough  for  a  fork  toslide  in  and  out  easily,  50  to  60  minutes,  depending  on  the  size  of  the  beets.  Open  the  package  and  let  cool.  

3.  When  cool,  put  on  some  gloves  to  prevent  staining  yourself  and  peel  away  the  beet  skins  with  a  paring  knife  (not  under  running  water).  Then  slice  the  beets  into  small  wedges.  At  this  point  the  beets  can  be  chilled  in  the  fridge  for  a  day  or  two  before  serving.  

4.  Just  before  serving,  toss  the  beet  wedges  in  a  bowl  with  the  vinegar  and  chives.  Taste  a  wedge,  then  season  with  more  salt  and  pepper  until  it  tastes  good  to  you.  

5.  FOR  THE  BREAD  CRISPS:  
Defrost  the  bread  slightly.  

6.  Heat  the  oil  in  a  frying  pan  over  medium-high  heat.  

7.  While  the  bread  is  semi-frozen,  cut  into  paper-thin  slices  on  a  mandoline.  Place  each  slice  one-by-one  into  the  hot  pan  and  cook  until  lightly  browned  and  crisp,  turning  for  even  cooking,  about  a  minute  per  side.  Place  on  paper  towels  and  immediately  season  with  granulated  garlic  and  salt.  They  will  crisp  up  as  they  sit.  

8.  TO  ASSEMBLE  EACH  PLATE:  
Spread  1  to  2  tablespoons  cashew  cream  in  a  line  on  the  bottom  of  the  plate.  Arrange  the  beets,  citrus  segments,  and  bread  crisps  over  the  cashew  cream,  alternating  the  pieces.  

9.  Toss  the  watercress  with  the  olive  oil  and  lemon  juice  in  a  small  bowl.  Arrange  the  dressed  watercress  over  the  top  of  the  salad.  Finish  with  a  pinch  of  flake  salt  and  cracked  black  pepper.  

PRO  TIPS  
*To  get  a  jump  on  things,  make  the  cashew  cream  and  beets  up  to  2  days  ahead  and  chill  them  in  the  fridge.  You  can  even  make  the  bread  crisps  a  day  ahead.  Then  just  assemble  everything  and  serve.  

*Look  for  a  mix  of  colorful  beets  like  orange,  red,  and  Chioggia  (candy  cane).  

*Instead  of  crisping  the  bread  in  a  pan,  you  could  toss  the  paper-thin  slices  with  olive  oil  and  bake  in  a  single  layer  at  350ºF  until  crisp.  

Excerpted  from  the  book  THE  WICKED  HEALTHY  COOKBOOK  by  Chad  Sarno,  Derek  Sarno,  and  David  Joachim.  Copyright  ©  2018  by  Chad  Sarno  and  Derek  Sarno.Reprinted  with  permission  of  Grand  Central  Life  &  Style.  All  rights  reserved.