Moo-free salmon bake

โ€œHow can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?โ€ย Charles de Gaulle, French resistance leader and lover of democracy

The thing I have missed most since going dairy free is cheese, particularly all those creamy sauces that put the “comfort” in comfort food come snowy weather. Thanks to my vegan friends out there, that cheesy joy is back!

Moo-free Salmon Bake, while obviously not vegan or even vegetarian*, uses a nut-baseCIMG5836_edited-1.JPGd “cheese” that may taste better than the real thing. Enjoy!

Moo-free Salmon Bake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking dish (a Dutch oven or 9-by-13-inch Pyrex dish works well) with coconut oil or some similar dairy-free alternative. Set aside.

Put one can of drained, wild-caught salmon into a medium bowl and crush skin and bone bits well. (I crush rather than remove such parts. One, if I’m going to eat meat, I don’t want to waste. Two, those bones are loaded with nutrition.) Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, mix 1 cup water, 1 cup unsalted cashews, 1-2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (has cheesy flavor) and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Cook one 12- to 16-ounce box of small wheat or gluten-free pasta (like rotini or elbows) according to directions. Return pasta to cooking pot and add the salmon and the cashew sauce. Mix. Taste. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 large egg and 1 cup frozen sweet peas and mix again.

Put the mix into the prepared dish. Top with crumbled rice squares (the gluten-free cereal) and a light sprinkle of paprika. Bake 30 minutes and serve while warm. (Oddly enough, one daughter and I like to add ketchup on top for full-on comfort food.)

* Vegans and vegetarians: You know what to do. Leave the salmon out and, for vegans, substitute for the egg. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s still yummy. Blessings!


On-Vacation Pasta Salad

โ€œNo man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one.โ€ Elbert Hubbard, American writer/publisher

I’ve tried some fancy things in the kitchen — not always with success, but I’ve tried. That said, I’ve cooked some of our favorite family meals in vacation cabins. You know, the kind of kitchens where you’re searching every drawer in vain for a paring knife and you cook and bake things in odd pots because you can’t find anything else.

It must be the challenge of cabin cooking that appeals to me. Not only is the equipment minimal, there’s never all that much food to work with, nor is there much time. Who wants to spend their vacation cooking after all?

Here is a simple-but-delicious pasta salad we came up with on our recent trip to the mountains. It’s great for far-flung locations, but we liked it so much I’m going to work it into our home-meal rotation. There are plenty of nights when a 15-minute dinner feels just right. ๐Ÿ™‚

On-Vacation Pasta Salad

Cook one 12-ounce box of pasta in generously salted water according to directions. Drain and set aside.

Halve one pint of grape tomatoes. Place in skillet with small amount of water or olive oil and cook until tomatoes are soft and a thick juice has developed. (Add more fluids during the cooking process if you are losing your sauce.) Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the pasta, the tomatoes and a tub of prepared hummus. Serve immediately with a simple salad. Done!

P.S. My new beach read, “Dune Girl,” is another way to celebrate the joys of vacation season. It’s available through Amazon as an e-book — downloadable to Kindle, smart phones and tablets — atย