Lemon Pepper Summer Bagels


Summer has gotten sticky. And lighter, no-cook meals are welcome in my vegan kitchen.

These Lemon Pepper Summer Bagels make a perfect no-cook meal. Sunny flavors and cheery colors. Toasted bagels (or whatever bread-like vessel you'd prefer) are slathered in my homemade lemon-pepper creamy "nut cheese" spread. Then topped with farmer's market delights like juicy tomatoes and edible flower petals..









Hot August. To combat the heat (besides my fan-infused, wind tunnel office) I've put my oven in a time out. Even my stove is getting a break. But my Vitamix is getting a workout. Smoothies, cool dips, spreads and homemade salad dressings.

Smoothies are a lifesaver. I even have a new wellness habit built around my morning smoothie routine. I put myself in a time out. A technology time out..

Tech Time Out. My new morning ritual. With an icy smoothie in hand, I retreat to my corner chair - awash in morning light - and plop into the fluffy cushions. It sits right alongside a pale golden sunbeam that sinks into the glossy blonde hardwood floors.

Where did I get this idea? My cat of course. She always finds that sunbeam and rolls in it for a few minutes before starting her (very busy) day. Well, she naps mostly. But her napping schedule is jam-packed. What a life.

The tech part: I sit and sip my morning smoothie - without a gadget in front of me Take a break Mr. camera. You too laptop, iPad and even my ever-flashing cell phone. The point is to start my day by using the most important gadget I have - my brain. Free of social media - email - news story stimulation - pics of the day - tweets and fodder I just think. Meditate if you will. On the day ahead. I try to put myself in a Zen mood. And yes, the matcha in my smoothie helps too.

Summer Bagels. Ideas seem to flourish in my head when I just stop and be still for a few minutes. One idea that popped into my head - a dinner spread of toasted farmer's market bagels - pumpernickel, cranberry flax and poppy seed - slathered in homemade cashew + walnut lemon pepper "creamy cheese" spread and topped with all the fixins'. Including freshly sliced summer tomatoes, a flower-infused herb salad and sweet circles of onion - all farmer's market goodies. Summer bagels! I was so excited about these..





And with the last sip of my smoothie - I head into the kitchen to create the vision...















Summer Bagels

Lemon Pepper Cashew Walnut Spread
makes about 2 cups - you will have leftovers!

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw walnuts
3/4 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla - see below)
1/2 juicy lemon + pinch of zest
4-7 generous dashes of fine black pepper + 2-3 pinches of salt

Also grab:
slices of tomato and onion, herb salad mix, bagels (of course), fine black pepper - garnish: slices of lemon (from the other half)

optional but lovely:
sliced avocado, sprouts, sliced white peaches, sliced apple, chopped garden herbs

Directions:

1. Soak your raw cashews in salted water until tender.

2. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Add them to a Vitamix or food processor. Also add: lemon, soy milk and half the walnuts. Note: feeling adventurous? try vanilla soy milk. Tastes like peppery-ish lemon cream pie spread.

3. Blend from low to high for a few minutes until the mixture becomes smooth. Salt + pepper to taste. Add in more walnuts as needed to achieve a hummus-like consistency. Blend until nice and smooth.

4. Do a taste test and add more spices + salt as desired. If you are serving the spread within a few minutes - place it in the freezer to chill and thicken up a bit. If serving later - just place in the fridge - covered - until needed.

5. Bagels! Toast them. Add the spread. Then tomato, onion, greens and pepper on top. Garnish with lemon zest or lemon slices.

I served my bagels alongside a light herb salad and a small bowl of pea soup for some added protein. I heated it in the microwave to avoid stove-top cooking :)

Got photo happy on this pretty spread..











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