Mom’s “Dill-Cheese Potatoes” (Creamy Cheesy Dill Potatoes)

A version of this dish has made its way into many family gatherings and dinnertime for as long as I can remember. I’ll admit that Mom’s version is a little different, though many of the ingredients were easily altered to make something same for everyone in our family to eat. The key here is to ensure your potatoes are super smooth—if you have a potato ricer, you’ll want to use it. Without one, I rely on some meticulous mashing skills.

Mom's 'Dill-Cheese Potatoes' aka Creamy Cheesy Dill Potatoes

3 pounds (1.4kg) white-flesh potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into large pieces
3 cups unsweetened fatty nondairy milk, such as almond or coconut beverage (not canned), divided
1/2 cup large flaked nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons roasted tahini paste
3/4 teaspoon brown mustard
1/4 cup fresh dill, minced or 4 teaspoons dried dill
6 scallions, finely chopped (greens from all 6, whites from 3)
Fine sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Cover the potatoes in cold water and refrigerate overnight. Rinse well. Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low—enough to maintain a rolling boil. Cool until softened, about 25 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, put the 2 cups of the nondairy milk and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar large measuring cup. Let stand about 5 minutes until curdled. Using a cheesecloth or coffee filter, strain the mixture until there is about 1 cup of curds remaining. Discard the drained liquid. Put the curds, nutritional yeast, tahini, and mustard  in a food processor. Process to combine. Pour the mixture, along with 3/4 cup of the remaining nondairy milk. Bring to low heat and cook until warmed through, then remove from the burner.

When the potatoes are nearly finished, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole dish.

Drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot. Mash well. Scrape the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and slowly pour the nondairy milk mixture into the bowl, letting beat until smooth and creamy. Stir in the scallions, dill, remaining cider vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste, adding the remaining nondairy milk if needed.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared dish. Bake for 22 to 26 minutes, until heated through and the top starts to turn golden. Serve warm.

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Smoky Eggplant and Zucchini Curry

Charring the eggplant’s skin delivers a smoky element to this Indian-inspired curry, with simple ingredients and a lot of taste. Add additional spices if you like your curry flavor more intense. Serve with Basmati rice or naan.

Smoky Eggplant and Zucchini Curry

1 large eggplant
2 tablespoons (30mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 small yellow, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 serrano chiles, minced (optional)
1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 zucchini, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
Fine sea or Himalayan salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Pierce the eggplant about 10 times with a sharp knife and put it on a baking sheet. Broil, turning about every 7 minutes, until skin is blistered. Put the eggplant in a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let steam for about 5 minutes to loosen the skin of the eggplant. Remove the lid and let cool.

Heat the oil over medium-high head in a small saucepan or deep skillet. Add the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chiles (if using), and the ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon. Add the zucchini and continue to cook until it begins to soften, about 6 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and add a few dashes of salt, and reduce to medium-low heat. Peel the skin from the eggplant (it will easily come loose), then coarsely chop the eggplant and add it to the pot.

Let simmer, stirring infrequently, for 20 minutes. Season with additional salt (and spices, if desired), to taste. Stir in cilantro before serving.

Chocolate-Orange Buckwheat Granola

Okay, really. Who doesn’t love that chocolate-orange combination? And when it’s combined with fragrant coconut oil, toasty coconut flakes, and nutty almonds, it makes for an easy homemade cereal big on flavor and crunch. This cereal/snack/dessert/anything uses buckwheat instead of oats as its base, adding the bonus of zero gluten cross-contamination possibilities and a boost of protein and fibre.

Chocolate-Orange Buckwheat Granola

2 cups flaked buckwheat, such as Bob’s Red Mill Creamy Buckwheat
1/2 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup large flaked coconut
1/3 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
1/4 cup nondairy milk, plus more as needed
1/4 cup  dark cocoa powder
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon  orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or Himalayan salt

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the buckwheat flakes, almonds, raisins, and coconut in a large bowl. Mix well to combine.

Put the agave nectar, nondairy milk, cocoa powder, coconut oil, orange zest, vanilla extract, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat until the oil is melted, whisking to combine. Pour the mixture into the buckwheat mixture. Mix well until the buckwheat mixture is moistened and well combined, adding a dash or two of nondairy milk if needed.

Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until it feels dry to the touch. It will be a little soft, but once it cools completely it will harden. Once cooled, store leftovers in the refrigerator or at room temperature in an airtight container.