Monday, March 28, 2011

Japan Fundraiser Bake Sale

The marvelous Chocolate Covered Katie will be hosting a vegan bakesale on her blog on April 5 to benefit the Red Cross efforts in Japan.  I will be donating a batch of homemade fudge (your choice of chocolate-peppermint or peanut butter, so go to Chocolate Covered Katie's site on April 5 for your chance to indulge your sweet tooth for a good cause.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sticky-Bun Upside-Down Cupcakes

These might be my favorite invention.  I souped up a white cake recipe with maple and almond extracts and added a little semolina flour to make the batter sturdier...then I put a mixture of walnuts, raisins, brown sugar, and margarine in the bottom of the tins to give them a sticky-bun-like topping.  Delicious.

The Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
6 T margarine, melted
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts
1 t cinnamon

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup super-fine semolina flour (or almond flour, or more unbleached flour)
3/4 cup sugar
1 T tapioca starch
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 cups almond milk (reduce by about 1/4 if not using semolina flour)
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 t vanilla extract
1 t maple extract (or more vanilla)
1/2 t almond extract

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Oil 24 cupcake tins or a 9x13 cake pan or 2 8-inch round pans.
  3. For topping, mix together margarine and brown sugar.  Pulse together raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor until walnuts are chopped.  Place a dab of brown sugar/margarine goo in the bottom of each cupcake tin (or spread evenly over the bottom of the cake pan).  Top with a spoonful of the walnut/raisin mixture, and pat it down firmly.
  4. For the cake, whisk together dry ingredients until well-combined, then stir in almond milk, margarine, oil, and extracts.  Divide cake batter evenly among the prepared pan(s).
  5. Bake for 22-24 minutes for cupcakes, a few minutes longer for larger cakes.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes , then run a knife around the edges to loosen, and invert.  If any topping is stuck in the bottom of the pan, spoon it out onto the cake.
  7. Soak the pans IMMEDIATELY, or they'll be crazy hard to clean.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Creamy Polenta and Simple Glazed Carrots

I've been on a "peasant food" kick, eating a lot of rice and beans and other hearty, cheap, and simple foods that I can bake in my dutch oven.  Pictured here is creamy oven-baked polenta, topped with split peas and lentils and baked glazed carrots.

For the Polenta:
Whisk 1 cup coarsely-ground cornmeal into 4 cups water in an oven-safe casserole dish or dutch oven.  Add about 1/2 t salt and 1 t thyme.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour, then whisk in 1-2 T margarine and 1-2 T nutritional yeast, and return to the oven for about 10 minutes.

For the Carrots:
Coarsely chop carrots.  Toss with a little olive oil, agave nectar, and a dash of white balsamic vinegar.  Bake at 350 for about an hour.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Green Food

I didn't have time to make soda bread yesterday, and I'm not a big fan of boiled cabbage and potatoes, which is the only other Irish-ish recipe I know.  So I went with green food instead: a huge mound of fresh pesto over a bed of white rice, and a green smoothie.  I'm eating a lot of green smoothies these days, and never expected blended spinach to taste so good.

The smoothies consist of 3-4 cups of spinach, 1 apple, 1 banana, a few frozen peach slices and frozen strawberries, a scoop of peanut flour, a spoonful of fresh minced ginger, a dollop of soy yogurt, and almond milk.  Sometimes I toss in a couple handfuls of oats for good measure.  Mason jars make these a good portable breakfast to take to work and drink at my desk, too.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sushi Bowls

This has become the new Sunday night dinner at my house.  It's basically lazy person's sushi, and it's also a good way to use up broken nori sheets.  No recipe, really, just a technique:

  1. Cook rice.
  2. Prepare the veggies—I like paper-thin cucumber and carrot slices, lightly cooked bean sprouts, edamame, and cubes of avocado.  I usually let the cucumber slices marinate in rice vinegar and sesame oil while the rice is cooking. 
  3. Make a sauce of about 2.5 parts rice vinegar to 1 part liquid aminos (or soy sauce), a dash of agave or sugar, a dash of sesame oil, and plenty of fresh grated ginger.
  4. Crumble a few sheets of nori or cut it into strips. 
  5. Mix the cooked rice with the sauce.  
  6. It's prettier if you top bowls of rice with mounds of veggies, but you could also just mix it all together.
  7. Add the nori at the last minute, because it gets pretty sticky once it comes in contact with the moisture in the rice.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Healthy Banana Waffles

These waffles are the best, especially smeared with a little peanut butter or almond butter.  The bananas make the batter sweet enough that it doesn't need sugar, and the oats add fiber and texture.

The Ingredients:
2 3/4 c flour
1/2 c rolled oats
2 bananas
1 T tapioca starch
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/3 c oil
3 c almond milk
2 t vanilla
1 t apple cider vinegar

The Process:

  1. Pulse bananas in food processor until almost smooth.
  2. Add oats and pulse a couple more times until oats are in little bits.
  3. Whisk together flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Add oil, almond milk, vanilla, vinegar, and banana/oat mixture to dry ingredients, and whisk until well-combined.
  5. Cook according to your waffle maker's instructions.
  6. Freeze any leftovers and toast them for quick breakfasts.