Help! Do you know what these are?

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I bought these at the farmers’ market and I don’t remember what the vendor said they were. She said they are medicinal and good for digestion, etc. and that you can make a tea by throwing 25 of these into a pot of water and seeping them. My husband thought she said goji but these are too big based on what I’ve seen on the internet.

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They taste like some sort of dried fruit. Almost like an apple but not as sweet. They are about the size of a golf ball and are very light in weight. There is a pit inside.

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Hopefully the vendor is back this week so I can find out, but in the mean time I wanted to make scones or something with them and call them something else other than “scones made with mysterious dried fruit-like thing with quasi-medicinal traits sold out of a van at the farmers’ market”.

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Pasta with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Artichokes (and Cookies!)

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Okay, I know it doesn’t look like much. It’s actually a little too green, with the roasted asparagus on the side. The original recipe calls for spinach linguine which would have significantly upped the green-ness factor of this dish. However, the only spinach pasta for sale at Trader Joes was not vegan, so I ended up with sprouted wheat pappardalle. Linguine or spaghetti would have been a better shape but it doesn’t matter because this dish was delicious.

And it’s not just cooked pasta with pesto sauce thrown on it. You sauté a thinly sliced onion and some garlic. Add a bit of wine, salt, and lots of pepper. Pour a glass of wine for yourself. Throw in the cooked pasta and pesto, mix it all up , and add in some artichoke hearts. Even if you don’t make the pesto ahead of time, the whole thing can be done in less than 30 minutes. This is my kind of dinner.

Pasta with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Artichokes

Adapted from Veganomicon
  • 1/2 pound of pasta (spaghetti or linguine would be best, but use whatever you have on hand. Make sure it is vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine (or vegetable broth or water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Several pinches of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 recipe Basil-Cilantro Pesto (see below)
  • 1 15-ounce can of arthichoke hearts, drained and sliced in half
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. When done, reserve a bit of the pasta water and drain. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Throw in the garlic and sauté for another minute. Toss in the wine, salt, and pepper and cook for another minute or two. Turn down the heat to low.
  3. Alternating, add in a bit of the cooked pasta and a bit of the pesto, sautéing all the while until you’ve added it all in. If  it seems dry at any point, add in some pasta water.
  4. Gently mix-in the artichoke hearts and cook for approximately 3 minutes until they are heated.

Serves 4 to 6.

Basil-Cilantro Pesto

  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1/3 cup of sliced almonds
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

Put everything except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process until pasty, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth.

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Something else that was really quick were these vegan wheat-free chocolate chip cookies. I made these in the morning before work. You’ve read about my busy Vegan Tuesdays. Add-in making cookies this week and the miracle is that I made it in to work on-time. I wasn’t even late. That’s how quick vegan baking is. These cookies should convince you try your hand at it. I brought them in the same day for a co-worker’s birthday.

An example of the praise these cookies are getting:

>>>  3/24/2009 9:32 AM >>>
The cookies are scrumptious!  Thanks for bringing them in for DJ’s birthday.  Is the recipe on Pink Stripes?  I think Michael and R would love them.

Cheers,
D

Vegan Wheat-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Veganomicon

Note: If you don’t have oat flour, you can grind your own using rolled oats and your food processor. I used rice milk instead of the soy milk called for in the original recipe, use whatever you have on hand. Also, I added in chocolate extract which upped the chocolate flavoring of the cookies.

  • 1 3/4 cups of oat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup rice milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon chocolate extract (optional)
  • 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven with rack in center to 375 F.
  2. Sift the oat flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium-sized bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the rice milk and ground flaxseeds.  Add in the sugars and stir. Add in the canola oil and extracts. Whisk vigorously until mixture is emulsified, about a minute.
  4. Add the  wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough by the tablespoon onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing each approximately 1 1/2 inches apart from each other.
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Place cookies on cooling rack and cool completely.

Makes 18 cookies.