Vegan Artichoke Dip

#Artichoke #healthydips

At our recent Ayurvedic Nutrition & Cooking Class (“The Amazing Basics”), we whipped up this Spinach Artichoke Dip to snack on while we prepared a fabulous whole food feast.

It started like this:

Photo: Katariina Fagering, Gypsy Soul Cafe
Photo: Katariina Fagering, Gypsy Love Cafe
Ayurvedic Cooking: Vedawise.com
Photo: Katariina Fagering, Gypsy Love Cafe

VedaWse Cooking Class

It was an intuitive, spontaneous creation, so there wasn’t a recipe for it in the Class Handouts. Turns out, though, it was one of the highlights of the day, and requests for the recipe having been coming in, so I wanted to share it with you here.

arti

It’s an easy recipe if you use artichokes from a jar, as we did that day. Of course, that is a real cheat, a high offense to Ayurvedic principles that insist on “fresh, fresh, fresh!” So the next time I made it with artichokes from a friend’s garden, which is amazing. To think you are eating a flower.

healthy healing artichoke dip

If you want to make this from a garden-fresh artichoke, Mark Bittman shows you how to prepare it. Once prepped, let your hearts sit for an hour in a marinade of equal parts lemon juice and raw apple cider vinegar, 1 clove garlic minced, and a dash of pink salt.

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Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip
Click here for print version

1 c. Cashews, soaked (4 hours)
1 c. Marinated Artichoke Hearts
2-3 T Marinade
1 handful blanched Spinach
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Lemon, juiced
1 t Gluten-free Tamari
1 t Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Red Pepper Flakes or Cayenne Powder, to Taste
Optional: 1 t Nutritional Yeast for a cheesy flavor and a bit of Vitamin B12
Options: Fresh Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Himalayan Salt, fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Cook your spinach for 1 minute, then quickly put it into a bowl of ice water.

Fresh Spinach

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Drain the cashews, rinse well, and mix together with the garlic, artichokes and marinade in your blender.  Squeeze the spinach dry, and add it to the mixture with the lemon and tamari. Process until it is a creamy consistency. Drizzle in the EVOO. Optionally, sprinkle in the nutritional yeast. Pulse three times for 1-2 seconds each.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip

Spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with red pepper. Serve with carrots, broccoli, spring onion, red, or orange pepper slices, and gluten-free crackers. Your heart, your liver, your kidneys, your friends, and your family will love you ~ because food, when it is natural, fresh, seasonal, and balanced with all six tastes, is always a love story!

#Artichoke #partydips

~
A big thank you to all our Chefs for creating a sumptuous meal that day. Your commitment to food’s loving nourishment is epic!

ayu class 2

The Taste of Love: Chocolate Pâté

Chocolate PateThink about something you love for a moment.

How does that thought make you feel? If you could taste it, what would be its flavor?

Sitting in an Emergency Room earlier this week waiting for my husband to be wheeled off for a CT scan followed by an MRI, I thought about that, the taste of love, and noticed on that day that love’s taste was bitter.

Narayana and Lakshmi, Cosmic Lover and Nature’s Love Goddess

Of course, we normally think of love as sweet, associating it with what we call “comfort” foods ~ Mom’s Mac Cheese, home-baked cookies, warmed milk ~ or with a romantic “diner à deux” with a rich menu of courses, wine, and a sumptuous dessert.

But on that day, under stark hospital lights, love tasted anything but sweet. What if they find a tumor? An aneurysm? Could this unbearable pain he has had for two weeks now be a symptom of something fatal? Or, not fatal but also not curable, not knowable, never-ending?

According to Ayurveda, the sweet taste is the taste that gives us strength, patience, endurance, health. Love is like that, isn’t? It fortifies us. It is grounding, pacifying, reassuring. It makes us more accepting, more generous. It helps us feel whole.

Bitter, on the other hand, is the taste associated with the emotion of loss. Grief has a bitter edge to it. This is not bitter as we usually think of it. Not the bitter of frustrated resentment as in, “My, how bitter she has become since her divorce.” The taste of that emotion would actually be sour, as in “sour grapes.” Combining the elements of fire and earth, sour feelings are like fire buried underground, a subterranean seething.

Cacao Pods

Bitter, instead, relates to letting go, surrender, releasing the old. Its taste combines the elements of air and space. Foods that taste bitter help us lose weight, loosen Ama, unclog the system, lighten up, eliminate toxins, clean wounds, purify the tissues.

Which brings me to Chocolate. Of course.

In its essence, chocolate has a bitter taste. It is almost unpalatable without the leavening of something sweet like sugar, milk, maple syrup, or honey. Chocolate, or choco-late, is cacao, a pure bitter, and “late” meaning milk, a sweet.

Monday helped me understand more fully why chocolate then, is the food of love. True love, enduring love is sweet. It strengthens, affirms, uplifts and expands us.

Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of Love

But deep, pure love is also like a fire. It lights us up. It purifies. It burns away our false, constructed ego, eliminating the toxins of selfishness, defensiveness and pride. It restores innocence, unclogs channels of self-expression and authenticity, renewing energy.  It puts our priorities into proper perspective. It forces us to face our interdependency, bringing to the surface buried fears of inadequacy, loss, annihilation. In this sense, deep love has much in common with the taste of bitter and its effect on us. It purifies.

Bitter and Sweet, chocolate helps us dissolve our mental strategies and resistance to life’s flow, restoring trust so we can melt back into the heart, allow connection, strengthen our bonds of oneness and remember what is true.

Chocolate Love

After Monday, my love for my husband is prioritized. Gone is anything that distracts. It feels clearer, stronger and purer than ever. Best of all, we are fortunate that the thumping, sleep-depriving, shrieking pain was only the result of a pinched nerve. A very pinched, very distressed nerve, but one that is now calmed and finding its way back to normal.

So we have a lot to love and to celebrate this Valentine’s Day. I am going to splurge and make a Chocolate Pâté.

Chocolate Pâté

The simple recipe for this sumptuous dessert lets the chocolate speak for itself, and it doesn’t just speak, it resounds. Loooooooooovvvvvveee ~

Chocolate Pâté

168 grams of 100%  Cacao (Ghirardelli and Scharffen Berger make the perfect Bar)
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup ghee
1.5 tablespoon Jaggary, or Evaporated Cane Juice

Ingredients

Put all ingredients into a medium size pot and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, once chocolate has mostly melted, turn off the heat. Continue to stir until the consistency is smooth and even.

Line the bottom of a small loaf pan with a large piece of cellophane, or parchment paper, leaving excess wrap to hang over the sides. Give the chocolate mixture a few minutes to cool, still stirring, then pour it into the loaf pan. Cover with the wrap, and refrigerate 5 to 6 hours, until firm. Before serving let stand at room temperature one hour, then turn out onto a plate and sprinkle with cocoa or cinnamon powder. Garnish with figs, blueberries, blackberries and serve with Crème Fraîche.

A Dusting of Cinnamon adds Spice

This is such divine succulence from the Mother. With food like this, her eternal, delicious love is hard to deny!

~ Happy Valentine’s Day ~


La Molina

Sally Bernstein has many great ideas for Valentine’s Day over at Sally’s Place, including loads of recipes and gift ideas. That is where I discovered La Molina Gianduja Spread, inspired by La Molina, the chambermaid and chocolatier to 17th century Queen Marie-Therese. Nothing like the love of a good woman!