It's the tweaking time of year here on the blog -- a kind of blog form of Spring cleaning -- so please bear with us as we move some elements around a bit, and test a couple of new things. Everything will settle down in a week or so. Really.

From Ken, in Hawaii: I am trying to duplicate “Jane’s Healthy Kitchen Recipe for Vegan/Paleo Dairy Free Parmesan Cheese" which you freeze into a block and you can then shave or grate like regular Parmesan cheese and have the same taste and texture. The trick is making your own coconut butter as the base from the shredded coconut and the lemon juice, nutritional yeast and vitamin-C gives it the color and that sharp aged taste. I have friends that are Lactose Intolerant, Vegetarians and Vegans so I as a Carnivore am trying to expand my recipe repertoire to be inclusive of my friends' special needs when I cook. [Lydia's notes] I've never cooked with nutritional yeast, so this one's completely new to me. My friends... Read more →

Sweet potatoes can be a tough sell in my house, as I'm the only one who really loves them. (I don't understand...who doesn't crave sweet potato fries with curry sauce, which was a specialty at a few restaurants near our log house in Rhode Island?) However, I don't give up easily, and when I came across a recipe for sweet potato curry, made in the slow cooker, I knew might be a hit with at least one of my resident sweet potato skeptics. I was right. The dish has just enough heat to balance out the sweet. It will keep for two days in the refrigerator, and any leftovers also can be turned into soup with a quick zap from an immersion blender (or potato... Read more →

Is your house Party Central for your family celebrations, or the place where your friends gather to watch football/basketball/hockey playoffs or cheer on your alma mater in a college bowl? If your house is the place to be, these Tex-Mex turkey meatball sliders should be there, too. They're tasty and easy, and can be made far ahead of when you need them. Everyone loves meatballs, and these sliders are no more than that -- giant meatballs packed with your favorite Tex-Mex seasonings (and with sour cream inside). Even with a little bit of cayenne pepper, these are not spicy. However, they are a little bit messy, as the mashed avocado tends to squirt out with the first bite, so be sure to have plenty of... Read more →

From Mary, in Boston: Since having to switch to a gluten- and dairy-free diet a few years ago, I've added a nut grinder to my pantry. It's indispensable for gluten-free baking with nut flours and for making cashew "parmesan cheese". [Lydia's notes] Do you have a nut (and/or spice) grinder in your pantry? I do, but not a nifty dedicated one like this one. I used to use my food processor for grinding nuts, and an old coffee grinder for pulverizing spices. Now I'm tempted to add a small grinder like this one to my pantry. Do you have a separate grinder for nuts and/or spices? How to make vegan parmesan cheese, from Minimalist Baker Make your own almond flour, from Pastry Pal A guide... Read more →

Before cauliflower gets any more expensive, it's time to put to the test what I've been saying for years. I will eat anything covered with Thai red curry sauce. Anything? Even cauliflower? Well, as it turns out, no, not cauliflower. (You all know how I feel about it.) I tried, I really did, but despite the wonderous and ever-tempting red curry sauce, I just could not fall in love with cauliflower cooked this way. However, my husband Ted happily polished off the entire pot, so I take that as a testament to its deliciousness. If you're really into cauliflower, replace the broccoli with more cauliflower florets; proportions aren't very important. Serve this curry hot, over brown rice, and top with some torn cilantro leaves for... Read more →

Once you embark upon The Downsizing, you never really finish. A couple of weeks ago, I was combing through the small collection of cookbooks that remain on my shelf, trying to decide whether any should be donated or placed into my Little Free Library. Flipping through a Lebanese cookbook my husband Ted bought for me on one of our many visits to Ottawa, Canada, I came across this recipe. For sfuf. (Not a typo, I promise, although sometimes it's spelled sfouf.) I had to make it. Sfuf, a sweet cake, bright yellow thanks to turmeric, bakes in a casserole dish. It comes out of the oven glistening on the top, dotted with pine nuts, redolent with the aroma of orange. (I replaced the orange blossom... Read more →

From Alyce, in high-altitude Colorado: These weren't even in my pantry a month ago, much less ten years ago, but I saw them at Trader Joe's and they're a keeper! [Lydia's notes] Do you have cryo-pac olives in your pantry? I would stick around to read your replies, but I'm running off to Trader Joe's to track these down for my own pantry. Of course, I keep and cook with lots of olives, but these will last for months without refrigeration as long as the package is not opened. I'm already getting ideas. Are you? How do you use olives in your cooking? Here are some recipes that include olives: Olive tapenade, from The Perfect Pantry Chicken with preserved lemon tagine, from The Perfect Pantry... Read more →