Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Roasted Beet and Cashew Goat Cheez Salad (and Bread and Pancakes)

I don't know what's gotten into me, but I have been on a baking tear this last week or so. I think I've done more baking in the last 7 days than I've done in the last 7 years. No kidding! I've always found baking to be somewhat frustrating in its precision - just the right amount of wet, just the right amount of dry, chemical reactions, humidity, blah blah blah. I've already lost interest just talking about it. But I've been feeling inspired to bake more things to stick in my freezer - waffles, quick breads, cookies, and today - pancakes!

Today's specimen: Pumpkin Pancakes from Vegan Brunch. I've only made these once before, but I still remember it like it was yesterday: warm, fragrant, autumnal flapjacks, topped with a delicious ginger-cranberry sauce. Mmmm.

But no such sauce today. Today's work was just about making pancakes for the freezer. I decided to make a double batch, since it really wasn't much more work to do so. I'm glad I did. If I have to get so many dishes dirty, it may as well be worth it!

Here's the first batch, getting all cozy and warm on the griddler:

They came out delightfully thin and soft.

Once they cooled, I stacked them all up. I just thought it would be fun to make a gigantic stack and pretend I was going to eat it like a giant.
But then I came to my senses and stuck them in a freezer bag. I'll be so glad to pull these out of the freezer whenever I need a quick breakfast or snack for my son! Or me.

Since I opened a gigantic can of canned pumpkin, I still had a whole lot of it left. Fortunately, I knew just what to do with it. It's called Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.

But you know what's better than one big loaf of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread?

Yeaaaah. Three mini loaves of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. Holla!

I've been making this bread for a couple of years. It's awesome. I've doctored the recipe up a million different ways, and it always comes out great. Today, I made a healthier version, substituting white whole wheat flour, agave syrup, maple syrup, applesauce, and flax "eggs"for the white flour, white sugar, margarine, and egg substitute, respectively. I also used 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of chopped pecans instead of 1 full cup of chocolate chips. Normally I do the full cup of chocolate chips, and it is decadently delicious. I decided to show a little restraint today. These babies, too, are going in the freezer. This bread freezes unbelievably well and makes a perfect packable snack for road trips. Or for just eating by yourself, standing in front of your kitchen sink while your son is napping. Ahem.

But even with all this baking, I figured I still needed to make something, you know, respectable and vegetable-y for dinner. I mean, there was pumpkin in the pancakes and the quick bread, but let's be serious.

I had some softball-sized beets hanging out in my crisper drawer, so I thought it would be a perfect night to have a Roast Beet, Goat Cheez, and Spinach Salad from Choosing Raw.

This is easily one of our favorite main-dish salads, if not one of our favorite meals, entirely. My hubby ALWAYS tells me what a nice surprise it is to have this for dinner! There are a few steps involved, but it's really not too bad to put together. The cashew goat cheez is amazing. I don't actually make Gena's version of goat cheez, but I do something similar. I soak some cashews and then food process them along with some miso, lemon juice, salt, water, basil, pepper, agave, and white balsamic vinegar. It's tangy and succulent and super-delish!

Other than that, it's just roasting some beets and whisking together a simple lemon-dijon vinaigrette. Aren't those beets gorgeous? Served over a bed of baby romaine and baby spinach, it's a great summer (or winter) salad. Some raw chopped walnuts add some crunch and earthy flavor.
I'm always looking for ideas for more vegan main-dish salads. What are your favorites?


Hannah said...

I'm all over that salad- Beets and cashew cheeze are two of my favorite things!

I've been favoring the traditional Israeli/Mediterranean salad lately though; tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions or shallots, lemon juice, and olive oil. Simple but satisfying. :)

Bethany said...

Mmmm....I do love a good Israeli salad! You're right, the simple is often the most satisfying!!