Sunday, November 25, 2012

Las Vegas Trip

I had a fun weekend in Las Vegas, and ate some good food, too, though as per usual, I didn't manage to take any pictures of my meals during my travel. In addition to gobs of delicious vegan donuts from Ronald's Donuts, and plenty of salad stuff from the Whole Foods salad bar, I was happy to find two restaurants in Mandalay Place that currently offer vegan menus as part of "World Vegan Month."

Hussong's Cantina had a vegan menu that included burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and a delicious taco salad with a crispy rice tortilla, roasted corn and black beans, Gardein "chicken," and Daiya cheese.  The service was friendly, and the guacamole was superb.

Next door to Hussongs, Slice of Vegas Pizza was serving up delicious pizzas with Daiya cheese on a thin, crisp crust. The highlight of my meal there, however, wasn't the pizza but rather the "Not Your Mamma's Garlic Bread," which would more appropriately be called "pesto bread," as it came completely slathered in fresh pesto.   The bread was served in a hot cast iron skilled with a whole head of slow-roasted garlic on the side. My husband was quite enamored of the vegan chocolate cake on the dessert menu, which was exceptionally moist for restaurant cake (we were told it had lots of avocado in the batter), and was served in a giant slab drizzled with chocolate syrup and sprinkled with cookie crumbs.

As is often the case when I travel, I overindulged and came home feeling a bit vegetable-deprived; my first task when I got home was grocery shopping for enough fresh veggies to enjoy giant salads all week. Fortuitously, my Tofu Xpress was delivered while I was away, so I'll be having fun with pressing and marinating tofu for my salads this week...I'll have a review up of the Tofu Xpress once I've done some experimenting.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Peanut Butter Coffee Custard Pie

Instead of doing something Thanksgivingy this year, my husband and I will be travelling to Las Vegas, one last little getaway as a couple before our baby arrives.  I usually get really into cooking Thanksgiving dinner, but since I won't be cooking for the holiday, I figured I'd spare you all yet another pumpkin or pecan pie post.  Instead, I present you with peanut butter and coffee custard pie.  I served this baby up with non-dairy  whipped "cream" and topped it with chocolate syrup and a drizzle made using the same ingredients as the peanut butter shell in this post.

The Ingredients:
1 pre-baked pie crust
1 12.3 oz package firm silken tofu
1/2 c brown sugar
1 c almond milk
1/4 c peanut putter
1/4 c agave
1/4 c coconut oil
2 1/4 t agar-agar powder
2-3 t instant coffee granules (can be omitted for coffee dislikers)
2 t vanilla
1/2 t salt

The Process:
  1. Combine everything (except the crust!) in a blender, and blend at high speed until completely smooth.
  2. Pour into a saucepan, and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer (about 5 minutes), then continue to cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour into prepared pie crust, and refrigerate for at least a few hours.  Filling will firm up significantly in the refrigerator.
  4. Top as desired.  (Suggestions: coconut cream or other non-dairy whipped cream, chocolate sauce, peanut butter sauce, sliced bananas, chopped peanuts, etc.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Buckwheat Waffles with Tofu Mousse and Strawberry Sauce

The buckwheat makes these waffles pretty hearty on their own, but adding a big dollop of silky tofu mousse adds a nice protein punch.  The mousse is similar in flavor and consistency to a thick vanilla yogurt, so that would make a good substitute if the strain of pulling out your blender is too much for you.  Both the tofu mousse and the strawberry sauce can be made a day ahead of time. You can also make these waffles gluten-free easily by replacing the all purpose flour with a gluten free flour blend.  This made about 8 waffles on my waffle iron.

Tofu Mousse
1 19-oz package firm water-packed tofu, drained
2 T canola oil
2 T agave
1 T + 1 t lemon juice
1 T maple syrup
1 T vanilla
1/4 t salt

  1. Wrap tofu in a kitchen towel and squeeze tightly to extract as much water as possible.
  2. Place tofu and all remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until silky-smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use. 

Strawberry Sauce
2 c frozen strawberries
1/3 c water
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla

Process:  Heat all ingredients in a small, covered saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until strawberries are falling apart, about 7 minutes.  Smash with a potato masher to help break up the strawberries.  If not using immediately, refrigerate and then re-warm the sauce when ready to use.

Buckwheat Waffles
2 1/2 c almond milk
1/4 c + 2 T oil
1/4 c maple syrup
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c buckwheat flour
1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt

  1. Whisk together almond milk, oil, syrup, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Combine wet and dry ingredients and whisk until few lumps remain.
  2. Cook on an oiled waffle iron.  Serve with tofu mousse and warm strawberry sauce.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blueberry Velvet Cupcakes

I decided to spend election night making (and eating!) cupcakes while listening to the election coverage on NPR.  Since the night promises to be a nail-biter, I figured blue velvet cupcakes would be appropriate as they can serve  as either celebration (can you guess who I voted for?) or consolation cakes (boo-hoo berry).  These didn't turn out as blue as I was hoping they would, but are bluer than they look in the photos, my dark kitchen not being the ideal environment for taking true-to-life pictures.

The Ingredients:
3/4 c almond milk
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c blueberry juice
a few drops blue food coloring
2 t vanilla
1 1/4 c flour
3/4 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
2 T cocoa powder
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c blueberries

1/2 c margarine
1/4 c shortening
3 T blueberry juice
2 3/4 c powdered sugar

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°, and line a cupcake tin with 12 wrappers.
  2. Whisk together almond milk, vegetable oil, blueberry juice, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir wet and dry ingredients together.  Add food coloring until you reach your preferred shade of blue.
  4. Fold in blueberries.
  5. Pour into prepared pan.
  6. Bake until done, about 25 minutes.
  7. To make icing, beat together margarine and shortening with an electric mixer.  Add blueberry juice, then gradually add powdered sugar and continue to beat on high speed until fluffy.
  8. Ice cupcakes and eat while you celebrate and/or bemoan the fate of the country.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Coconut Cream Pie with Pineapple Topping

I didn't think pineapple-coconut week would be complete without a coconut cream pie.  So I guess now pineapple-coconut week IS complete.  Happy weekend to all!

The Ingredients:
1 pie crust, pre-baked
1 batch pineapple topping (recipe below)

1 1/2 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 can coconut milk (full fat, not "light")
1 1/4 c almond milk
3/4 c firm silken tofu
2/3 c sugar
1/2 c cornstarch
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla

The Process:
  1. Toast coconut on a baking sheet in a 350° oven until golden-brown, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, blend together coconut milk, almond milk, tofu, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until completely smooth.  Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla, then stir in 1 cup of the toasted coconut.
  3. Pour into baked pie crust, and refrigerate for a few hours.
  4. Meanwhile, make pineapple topping (recipe below).
  5. When pie and topping have set, spread topping over pie, and sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup of toasted coconut.

Pineapple Topping
The Ingredients:
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
1/3 c sugar
3 T cornstarch
1/8 t salt
1 T margarine

The Process:
  1. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small saucepan.  Whisk in 2 T of juice from the pineapple until no lumps remain.
  2. Add remaining pineapple and its juices, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in margarine until smooth.  Refrigerate for a couple hours before using.