The French have what I consider an ingenious tradition called “Le Goûter.” Le Goûter consists of a cup of tea/coffee and a snack, typically a chocolatey one. It is consumed in the late afternoon/early evening to get you through the rest of the day, tiding you over until dinner. I am a chocolate lover and need no additional reason to consume chocolate other than the fact I like it, but this is a tradition I embraced while in France and was happy to continue here in the States.
Whether you’re making a smooth vegetable soup or a vegan “cheese” sauce, a blender is a must for getting a great sauce with no dairy.
If you’re a chocolate lover, February can be an especially tasty month. Stores are awash in all manner of chocolate treats, and gorgeous photos and recipes for homemade chocolate goodies are plentiful. If you feel you should abstain from chocolate for health reasons, I’m here to say “Go ahead and eat the chocolate!” People have been consuming chocolate in various forms for thousands of years. There absolutely are different ways to enjoy it—from more “responsible” chocolate choices, to all-out indulgence. Eating chocolate is one of life’s pleasures that we needn’t deny ourselves.
Creamy sauces are fantastic. They bring a dish together with coherence and coat your mouth and tongue to deliver a phenomenal flavor experience. If you’re trying to focus on nutrition, however, a lot of the classic choices have to sit in the corner with the “sometimes” foods due to high saturated fat and sodium. And for folks with dairy allergies who simply can’t tolerate those rich treats, the stakes are even higher. Don’t despair, you lovers of creamy goodness! Butter and cream have not cornered the market for silky smooth delivery of nom-ability.
Choose 70% dark chocolate or higher to get the most flavanols. I will caution that chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa solids are more bitter and less sweet. You can add sweetness to your snack or treat with natural sugars from fresh or dried fruit. Add nuts to your chocolate and fruit for a satisfying crunch and a source of healthy fat and protein.
For those with a dairy allergy or who suffer from lactose intolerance, the growing dairy alternative section is a welcome sight. A category once dominated by soy and rice milk, now features flaxseed, oat, cashew, coconut, hazelnut, almond, pea, hemp, and likely more to come. You may be thinking that you didn’t know you can get milk from nuts and seeds, and indeed you can’t, which is why these products are technically non-dairy beverages (and why the dairy industry wants to maintain a narrow definition of “milk”).
Savory bread is wonderful accompaniment to many dishes. Cheese bread, onion bread, garlic bread, herb bread: they’re all a treat, and they can all be taken as inspiration for flavoring a no-knead loaf.
Root veggies might seem like a strange mix-in for bread, but if you do them correctly, you end up with creamy little bursts of flavor and texture interspersed throughout your loaf, making it just a little bit more special than a run-of-the-mill loaf.