Can we talk about Isa's bowls? You might've noticed that they're this thing she does - in fact, there's a whole chapter of them in her latest book. Isa's bowls always look cosy and nourishing. They typically include a grain, a protein, a vegetable or two and a sauce. They look like something good to eat on the couch with a movie.
But Isa's bowls have a dirty little secret. They dirty an assortment of bowls, blenders, pots and pans in the making. They can have you cooking up to four different things simultaneously. Lucky for this one, it was darn tasty and stretched to several lunches. I couldn't stay mad at it for long.
Isa's queso blanco bowl involves brown rice, canned beans, fresh avocado and tomato, a thick cheesy sauce and crispy kale. This is our first time making kale chips (I know, shut up!) and we were mighty impressed by them. A little spray oil and salt yields light and lacy crispy leaves without any bitterness. We further learned that bitterness and chewiness can creep in if you (1) leave the central leaf stem intact, or (2) continue to eat the 'chips' as leftovers the next day. Treat kale chips as a high-maintenance, bake-to-order kinda thing.
Here's the very-good sauce recipe; I imagine you can patch together the rest yourself. If not, try pouring this sauce on nachos and you'll be in couch-and-a-movie territory for sure.
Isa's Queso Blanco
(a recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Isa Does It)
3/4 cup cashews
1 tablespoon white miso
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 jalapenos, seeds removed and finely chopped
Cover the cashews in water and soak them for at least 2 hours.
Drain the water off the cashew and blend them together with the miso, nooch, garlic, cumin, salt, lemon juice and as much of the stock as you can safely fit, until you have a very smooth, thick paste.
In a medium saucepan, heat up the oil. Add the onion and jalapenos and cook them, stirring, until soft (Isa says 3 minutes, but mine took much longer). Pour in the cashew sauce and any remaining stock and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes, stirring often. The sauce will be very thick, ready to pour into your bowl.