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The Sailaway Gourmet

I hope everyone has had a good start to the New Year. I unfortunately began my year with dental surgery which came with some complications but am on the mend and preparing for phase 2…never any fun. Praying all will be well before heading off for a vacation in May.

Like any of you out there who have experienced the long-drawn-out visits to the dentist, you know that it sometimes makes ‘what to eat’ a challenge, especially the first week or so after each ‘phase’. You can only chew on one side, can’t have anything that takes effort to chew and need to avoid foods that have any tiny grains, seeds or minute pieces that could wander over to the bad side, cause some pain, or worse, an infection. Really, any food can get over there and be a problem, it’s just that some are quicker to eat and swallow than others.
This is where, for me, some plant-based food works. It takes a lot less effort to chew vegetables and though there are often grains involved, you can use the larger fatter varieties instead of something tiny like couscous or quinoa. At the start of healing, I eat a lot of soups and stews. They keep me feeling full longer, so less activity in the mouth. LOL!
Sometimes I use a recipe or when having not gone shopping or prepared for the aftermath of the dentist, I just throw stuff together and hope that it will taste good. My most recent concoction, a cauliflower and potato soup was delicious and took no time at all. I will give you that recipe first and follow with 2 dishes from our plant-based people Forks and Knives. These all taste good whether you’ve been to the dentist or not. Enjoy.

My Cauliflower and Potato Soup
1 large head of cauliflower
3 large baking potatoes
1 large carrot, grated*
1-1/2 Tb. olive oil
4 cups of vegetable broth (one without a tomato base)
(or you can use chicken if not going plant-based)
1 Tb. of dill
Salt and pepper to taste

Clean the cauliflower of stems and leaves, then break up into pieces. Peel and chop the potatoes. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot then add the carrot and sauté briefly until soft. Stir in the vegetables, add the dill and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the broth, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer until the vegetables are cooked – test with a fork. Season with salt/pepper to taste if needed.
Turn off the heat and blend the soup. I used an immersion blender, but you could use a regular blender (love my Vitamix) to do the job. Using either method, blend the soup until smooth.
That’s it. After ladling into my bowl, I love dunking fresh sourdough bread into it. It can serve 4-6.
*You could use an onion instead, but being I have an aversion to them, I used a carrot.

Veggie Stir-Fry with Cashews (Forks and Knives)
1/2 cup water
3 Tb. hoisin sauce
2 Tb. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tb. canola oil
1 pkg. (12-oz) of broccoli florets
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced (not me…left this out!)
3 large carrots, thinly sliced diagonally
1 yellow squash, sliced and cut into half moons
1 cup fresh snow peas
1/2 cup cashews, chopped (don’t chop too much if you’ve had dental work)
2 cups of cooked brown rice

Whisk together water, hoisin, soy sauce and corn starch in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add broccoli, onion, and carrot, the cover and cook 2 minutes. Add squash, snow peas, and hoisin mixture and cook over medium-high, stirring often, until vegetables are crisp-tender and liquid is almost evaporated, about 6 minutes. Stir in cashews. Spoon cooked rice onto plates, and top with vegetable mixture. Serves 4.

Loaded Mac and Cheese
12 oz. dried whole grain macaroni or other short pasta
2 cups chopped leftover roasted, grilled, or sautéed vegetables
1 can no-salt-added chickpeas, drain but SAVE the liquid (aquafaba)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain pasta and return to the pot.
Add vegetables and beans to the pasta. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup of the hot pasta cooking water and the sun-dried tomatoes; let stand 10 minutes. Drain and reserve soaking liquid. Chop the sun-dried tomatoes (big chunks) and add to the pasta.
For the sauce, in a small saucepan cover cashews and carrots with water. Bring to boiling then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until carrots are tender; drain.
Place cashews and carrots in a blender along with saved liquid (aquafaba) from the beans, a 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water, the reserved sun-dried tomato water, salt and pepper. Cover and blend until smooth.
Pour the sauce into the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Add additional pasta water, a little at a time if needed to make creamy. Heat through over medium heat, stirring occasionally until ready to serve. Makes 10 cups.