Raw Peanut Butter Cocoa Maple Squares

Raw Peanut Butter Maple Squares

I am now a convert to raw treats, especially when the sweetness comes from natural ingredients rather than refined sugars that produce a processed high. I'm all for purity, even when it comes to decadence. Being summer here, although not a particularly warm one, raw is also optimal to limit oven sessions.

Looking to feed my insatiable craving for peanut butter, I consulted Rawsome Vegan Baking which is by far one of the choicest books I have received this year because I have discovered a fellow nut fan in author Emily von Euw. I mixed things up just a little bit to suit my fancy, subbing peanut butter for the cashew butter called for in the original recipe. I've no doubt they would have been just as delicious, but I did have a particular craving to satisfy.

For me, peanut butter and chocolate make for the most exquisite pairings. Here, almonds and dates, sweetened with golden maple syrup come together in three layers of goodness. Rich, creamy, with some nutty texture and, yes, decadent, if you fail to resist the urge to eat a queen-sized portion of the pan — otherwise, they are pretty darn good for you.

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Saag Aloo (Spinach and Potato Curry)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
saag aloo

Unbelievably, after a conversation with my best friend Basil, I realized that I had yet to document and share a recipe from my kitchen for saag aloo here on my space. As this potato and spinach curry is one of the most popular North Indian vegetable dishes around the globe, I am rather ashamed to just be sharing a favorite version from my kitchen just now — and that after 7 1/2 years of blogging with particular attention to Indian cuisine! I've shared many classics over the years but somehow this earthy and spicy vegetable classic got lost in the shuffle. That oversight is now corrected.

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Green Pea Risotto

pea risotto

Once again a trip to the local market has to be an exercise in restraint as the bins and tables are bursting with beautiful local fresh produce of all kinds. But I can rarely resist picking up a bag of fresh garden peas in their pods, as the season for these always seems to be so short. I use frozen peas all year round, but there's nothing like the pop and sweet flavor of freshly shelled peas, and the methodical pace of shelling the peas is so calming besides.

Fresh Garden Peas

I've been especially indulgent with the garden peas this year, and although many of them are left around in a snacking bowl, I also like to take advantage of their culinary possibilities. So I combined them this time with one of my favorite dishes to come up with a simple but colorful summery risotto. Studded with fresh plump peas cooked until just tender at the very end of the cooking time, and flavored with a quick pea and fresh mint and basil purée, this creamy and classic risotto is easy to prepare, requiring only attention, and makes for a stunning gourmet way to enjoy the garden pea season.

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Gingered Mung Beans

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
gingered mung beans

Legumes are a vegetarian's meat. Generally speaking, legumes in some shape or form appear on my menu everyday. They provide a multitude of health benefits, are inexpensive, and for the most part are easy to prepare. In addition to all of those benefits, think of the vast array of legumes at our fingertips and the endless ways to incorporate them into your diet — it follows that meals are never boring, but are instead an exciting taste experience.

Craving mung beans and not wanting to fuss too much in the kitchen, I came up with a simple curry with lots of ginger for a zingy dish. Mung beans have a distinct sweet and earthy taste and occupy a prominent role in the dishes they appear in, including spicy curries. They take very little time to cook, with minimal soaking beforehand — split mung cooks even faster, with no soaking time, but I generally prefer the slightly plumper whole mung for more texture.

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