The sun is finally shining and the daffodils have begun to bloom, it is officially Springtime! In Spring we see the return of delicious fruits and vegetables that have been missing from our Winter diets.  The farmers markets are beginning to carry items like strawberries, asparagus, cherries, and fresh greens. We love all these fruits and veggies, however, we must say our favorite Spring veggie making a triumphant return is the artichoke.  Artichokes are delicious steamed, added into dishes, and of course in dips! With parties moving outdoors and Spring holidays such as Easter on the horizon, our recipe today: Creamy Artichoke Dip will meet all your needs! This recipe celebrates Spring and it makes the perfect appetizer or snack!

 

Vegan Creamy Artichoke Dip

Prep Time: 15 Minutes  Bake Time: 15-20 Minutes

8 oz Jar of Organic Marinated Artichoke Hearts
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1 Glove Organic Garlic
1/2 Tsp Paprika
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Chop the garlic finely and set aside.  Drain the artichoke hearts and mash them in a large mixing bowl. Set aside a small amount of the nutritional yeast and paprika (enough for garnish).  Add in the cream cheese, Vegenaise, nutritional yeast, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.  Mix all ingredients until smooth and creamy and pour into a round casserole dish. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle the top with the left over nutritional yeast and paprika. Serve immediately  with chips, pita chips or bread, sourdough bread, or crackers.

Earlier this summer, the Autonomie Project team had the pleasure of meeting another local business in the Boston area at a TransFair USA event. We met Ali Siam, one of the founders of Olde City Imports. He and his wife, Ena, operate their business in Randolph, MA. Olde City Imports offers a great range of Fair Trade and organic olive oils as well as olive oil soap, wild flower honey, zaatar, and cous cous. All labor and manufacturing is Palestinian as all the products are sourced from the West Bank. TransFair USA, Fair For Life, and the Palestinian Trade Association certify Ali and Ena’s products as fair trade. We had the pleasure of trying some of Ali and Ena’s products at the TransFair USA event. The olive oil is to die for and is pressed from olives harvested by farmer cooperatives in Jenin, Salfit, Ramallah, and Nablus. The olive oil was so delicious; we absolutely had to dedicate a post to one of their recipes!

I asked Ali to send a recipe I could make using his delectable olive oil. He sent a recipe for Sfiha Bizaatar. This recipe is extremely easy to make and perfect for serving with dinner or having a snack! All you need is your favorite recipe for dinner biscuits, olive oil, and zaatar spice mix. We have provided our instructions for preparing dinner biscuits if you do not have one already.

Organic Sfiha Bizaatar Recipe

Ingredients
2 cups organic flour
2 tsp. organic baking powder
4 tablespoons organic margarine (we suggest Earth Balance)
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup organic soy milk
1 ½ tablespoons organic olive oil (we suggest Olde City Imports)
1 ½ tablespoons organic zataar spice mix (we suggest Olde City Imports)

Sift the flour and then add the baking powder and salt. Then sift again. Add the margarine and mix well. As you are mixing, add the milk gradually. Once the dough turns soft, knead the dough on a slightly floured surface for about 30 seconds. Roll the dough, so that it is ½ inch thick. We suggest cutting the dough with a 2 inch floured biscuit cutter. Then, mix the olive oil with the zaatar spice mix, until the consistency is neither watery nor thick. You can add more olive oil or zaatar to achieve your desired consistency. Apply 1 tsp of the Zaatar/olive oil mixture on top of each biscuit by using a spoon. Bake for about 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees. This recipe should make about 12 biscuits.

Be prepared for the scrumptious scent of zaatar to fill your kitchen as the biscuits bake! Once they finish baking, you will be extremely impressed by the combined taste of the zaatar and olive oil. And like me, you will probably eat one too many. You can find all of Ali and Ena’s products at Olde City Imports’ website.  All of their different olive oils are perfect for this recipe. Happy Baking!

-Derek Rogers

Easter Sunday is fast approaching and when one thinks of traditional Easter food, eggs of course come to mind! But of course for vegans this is not an option. To read more about why vegans refrain from eating eggs, check out our previous blog titled The Truth About Eggs. Most vegans are used to traditional foods served for holidays including Deviled Eggs. We have put together a tasty alternative to traditional Deviled Eggs with our Eggless Deviled Bites. These are a terrific appetizer and wonderful to bring along to family events. Who knows you might encourage friends or family to eat vegan. Enjoy this tasty traditional recipe and Happy Easter from all of us at Autonomie.

Vegan Eggless Deviled Tofu Bites

Prep Time: 30 Minutes Makes: 16-20 Bites

1 lb Organic Firm Tofu
1/2 lb Organic Silken Tofu
2 Cups Warm Water
1/3 Cup Organic Vegenaise
2 Tbl Organic Yellow Mustard
2 Tbl Organic Relish (dill works best)
1 Tbl Onion, finely minced
1 Glove of Garlic, finely minced
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Tumeric
Paprika, for garnish
Organic Cherry Tomatoes, for garnish (optional)

Drain and rinse the firm tofu and slice in half vertically. You can then cut into 1 inch squares or if you are feeling creative, cut into oval shapes with a pairing knife. The ovals will give it more of an authentic “egg” look but the squares will do just fine. In a large bowl combine warm water and only 1 teaspoon salt. Place your tofu cubes or ovals into the water and allow them to marinate while you prepare the filling. Finely mince the onion and garlic and set aside. In a large bowl combine the silken tofu, vegenaise, mustard, relish, onion, garlic, remaining salt, pepper, and tumeric. Mix this thoroughly until smooth. Drain the tofu ovals or squares and arrange on a plate or serving platter. Use a paper towel or cloth to soak up any excess water on the ovals/squares. With a spoon or scoop, place a dollop of the filling mixture from the bowl on top of each bite. Sprinkle the bites with paprika and place a cherry tomato in the center, if you choose. Any left over filling can be used as a cracker dip or sandwich filling. You can serve immediately or keep in the fridge to harden.

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