This recipe was inspired by my friend Cyndi, who read the Creamy Orange Cashew Dressing post and asked if I had any raspberry dressings. In Alaska that should be like asking if you own a pair of Xtra Tuffs (in other words, answered with an immediate and emphatic “of course!”, followed by a haughty look). Raspberries grow like a weed here, and they’re a rare red thing, so raspberry salad dressing should be right up my vegan alley. Yet, somehow in the 10 years that I have lived in Alaska, I had not even considered it….until now!
I was first introduced to this recipe by my neighbor, Keith. It’s one of those recipes that is deceptively simple, and to be honest, if I hadn’t tasted it I never would have made it based on the recipe alone. These sorts of recipes make me wonder what else I’m missing in my embarrassingly large cookbook collection. How many recipes have I glossed over, thinking “Nah – too basic”, “Nah – too bland”, or “Chocolate and black beans in a dessert? What is the world coming to??”
Last year, at one of the last Spenard farmer’s markets of the season, I came across a vendor with the most incredibly sweet and tender beets. As I was picking through the beautiful bunches of ruby roots, the farmer came over and told me to ‘pick a good one’, because they were the last of his crop. I made my selection and hurried home, beet tops overflowing my bags. I hadn’t even unpacked all of my purchases before the beets were peeled and into the boiling water, and a fresh batch of tofu mayo was whirring away in the blender. The resulting beet salad was so good that after lunch I walked directly back to the farmer’s market and bought every last beet he had.
I found it used at Title Wave for $5.95. The recipes didn’t look particularly inspired, and there were no photos, but I was intrigued with the story of the book – or at least the story that I imagined went with the book. Just the title says it all. If you eat this way, prepare to eat alone. Get used to it. It’s not that bad. You can always get a cat….or six.
The Alaska palette is blues and grays. Add green in summer, add white in winter. It is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, but for a girl who loves red, sometimes it’s enough already with the cold colors. Perhaps that’s why I have become increasingly interested in beets over the years. They just look warm, and make them into a soup on a cold day and they actually are warm. Considering the other benefits that I discussed in my beet tahini post, heck, beets might even make enough heat for two. But I digress.
I’m going to list a series of foods and you’re going to think of the worst possible occasion to serve it. For example, I’ll say “spaghetti with marinara sauce” and you’ll say “wedding”. “White tie event” also would have been acceptable.
Ready? Red Quinoa.
The first day of summer is only a week away, but you wouldn’t know it in Anchorage. Today it’s 50 degrees (10 degrees for my Celsius friends), and raining. We’ve been in this weather pattern for a few weeks now, and it seems that our summer may have come and gone. I appreciate these rainy days for catching up on domestic activities, but I find that they skew my appetite to more hearty and wintery foods. So how do I get my daily leafy greens when my belly wants warm bowls of lentils and stew? Irresistible salad dressings!
I have always liked broccoli. Not just a little bit. A lot. My folks used to brag to other parents, to my dates (thanks for that, by the way), and to anyone who would listen “Did you know that we’d have to tell her to finish her ice cream before she could have any more broccoli??”. I don’t remember that exact admonishment as a kid, and it doesn’t seem like their parenting style to have skipped feeding me more vegetables in favor of dessert, but they swear that it actually happened. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t, but the point is, some people love broccoli almost as much as ice cream, and others grow up to be President of the United States.
Now I know what you’re thinking…a brown smoothie? Yes, the color takes some getting used to, but luckily the flavor more than makes up for any visual challenges. This is one of my regular weekday breakfasts. I bring it to work (in an opaque container), and it keeps me going all the way until lunch. This smoothie isn’t just for office job energy either, I can have this before a big hike and still have energy to spare at the top!
This recipe is adapted from my very first cookbook, The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook, which was given to me by a dear friend of the family when I was in middle school. Marion was a reading teacher, taught for over 45 years in fact, and had a home on Prince Edward Island. We would visit Marion in the summers, go to the Anne of Green Gables Museum, and walk on the red beaches near her cottage. Marion was quite supportive when I wanted to dive right into my new gift and make the Raspberry Cordial recipe, infamous in the Anne of Green Gables saga for getting Diana Barry drunk when she accidentally consumed copious quantities of currant wine, thinking that it was raspberry cordial. I had juicy, red raspberries and granulated sugar from one end of Marion’s kitchen to the other!