We've had a lot of time on our hands to get better at planing meals. Food rarely gets boring and humans usually eat several times every day so there's intrinsic motivation to become better at it. It's handy to have some pre-made ingredients at the ready when you're out of ideas or short on time. At some point we were buying, I think, some ready-made dough that came with a small jar of tomato sauce. We kept the jars so now we use them to store things like seeds and nuts, almond flakes, pine nuts. Roasted or raw, they are a great addition to all kinds of meal bowls. For some reason, Vesna gets really excited about storage containers, but if you have a variety of them, you can store all kinds of goodies beforehand:
- icecubes with botanicals (for gin or some such)
- the same tray can be used to freeze fresh herbs in olive oil to have a quick ready boost for meals that require those two. For instance, fresh basil in olive oil for tomato based sauces
- bigger silicone trays or pots can house ready made frozen soups that you can thaw out
- small jars look cute and can store flavoring oils like chili oil and black garlic oil
- we've also made nut butters; Vitamix has a program to make those. Aside from pure butters (that we did), you can also make mixed (which we didn't try yet), as well as home made chocolate spread
- jams, but you should do the ones that you usually cannot buy otherwise. For instance, we made carrot cake jam
- pickling is also an option, we have a steady supply of ginger (gari), but we also pickled purple onion which looks quite decorative as well
- jackfruit cashu picked up from Wil Yeung. It's very textured and involves draining the canned pieces, marinating them in a spicy mix and baking in the oven
- vegan cheeses. Vesna usually makes them and I tag along. She uses cashews as a base with lactic acid and kappa carrageenan, which are easily available to order online
- herbal teas. Of course, if you have a garden with things like mint, chamomile, rose hip, even better
- mayonnaise with aquafaba. Don't throw away the water from the chickpea can. It can be used for various things like mayonnaise or vegan cheese
- cold brew tea. Easily made by soaking green tea teabag per cup of cold water overnight and using it in quick drinks or as is
- cold brew coffee, not much to say, I wrote about the ease of making it before
- chili and curry pastes. These can store for some time and can be used when making, well, chili or curry
Here are two quick Vitamix recipes you can try:
Vegan white chocolate spread
Essentially this is a nut butter with white chocolate added in.
- 250 grams vegan white chocolate
- 400 grams Roasted hazelnuts
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 splash vanilla extract
Melt the chocolate in a microwave. Put hazelnuts, a splash of vanilla and a pinch of salt in a blender. Put it to a nut butter program and blend. When it's done, add melted chocolate and pulse a few times. Store in a jar.
Grated vegan parmesan-like cheese
You can put it on pasta or wherever the real parmesan would go.
- 0.5 cup cashews
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 0.25 tsp garlic powder
Put all of it in a blender. Pulse on high a couple of times until it's powdery. Use the smallest Vitamix attachment since it's useful to make small amounts quickly.