Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Coconut Cake & Tropical Fruit Parfaits

I'm happy to be participating the Virtual Vegan Potluck for the first time.  Please use the "go forward" and "go back" links at the bottom of this post to continue on to more vegan deliciousness. I had a hard time deciding what to bring to the potluck, because I like fruity desserts, but I also really like cake.  These parfaits offer both, with chunks of dense coconut cake and layers of pineapple, mango, and whipped coconut cream.  Makes 8 parfaits.

The Ingredients:
1 batch coconut cupcakes (recipe follows)
1 batch whipped coconut cream (recipe follows)
4 c pineapple, chopped
4 c  mango, chopped
1/3 c flaked, unsweetened coconut

The Process:
  1. With a sharp knife, cut each cupcake in half horizontally, then into quarters vertically to get 8 bite-sized pieces.
  2. Layer 6 pieces of cake in the bottom of a glass.  Top with a layer of 1/4 c pineapple and 1/4 cup mango, then about 3 tablespoons of coconut cream.  Repeat each layer once.
  3. Top each parfait with about 2 teaspoons of coconut flakes.

Coconut Cupcakes
1 1/3 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2/3 c coconut milk
1/3 c agave
1/3 c coconut oil, melted
1 t vanilla extract
1 t coconut extract
1/2 c shredded, unsweetened coconut

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Prepare a cupcake tin with 12 papers.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine coconut milk, agave, coconut oil, and extracts.
  5. Stir wet and dry ingredients together until combined.
  6. Fold in shredded coconut.
  7. Place batter in prepared cupcake tin, and bake for 20-22 minutes or until cooked through.  Cool on a baking rack.

Whipped Coconut Cream
1 can coconut milk (full-fat, not "light"), refrigerated at least 12 hours.
1 T agave
1 T pineapple juice

  1. Place a metal mixing bowl in the freezer for 10-20 minutes.
  2. Open the can of coconut milk from the bottom, and pour off the semi-translucent liquid (you can save it to use for something else).  Pour the thick white solids into the pre-frozen mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until soft peaks form.
  3. Add agave and pineapple juice, and beat until soft peaks form again.
  4. Can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and kept, covered, in the fridge.
Continue on to Fridge Scrapings

Pineapple & Tofu Red Curry

Happy Halloween!  Because we can't live on candy alone (although I may sometimes seem like I'm trying to), I decided today would be a good day for a nourishing savory dish.  Although I rarely make curries, when I do I usually want them to include two things: lots of sauce for the rice to sop up, and big chunks of fresh pineapple.

The Ingredients:
1 package extra-firm tofu
2 1/2 c fresh pineapple chunks
1 1/2 c coconut milk
1 1/2 c vegetable broth
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/3 c chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
2 T red curry paste
1-2 thai chilis, minced, or chili paste to taste
1 T minced ginger

The Process:
  1. In a nonstick pan, fry tofu over medium-high heat in a little oil until golden on both sides.  Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook ginger and curry paste in a little oil until fragrant, about 1 1/5 minutes.
  3. Raise heat to medium-high, add onion and celery, and continue to cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until onion is softened.
  4. Add bell peppers and continue to cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes.
  5. Add broth, pineapple, and chilis, and bring to a simmer.  
  6. Stir in tofu and coconut milk, return to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in 1/3 c cilantro.  Serve over rice and garnish with more cilantro.
Whew! With that, I guess Vegan MoFo is over.  This has been my favorite MoFo yet, and I've had a lot of fun trying to come up with interesting variations on my theme ingredients each week.  I'll be sticking with the pineapple/coconut posts through the end of the week, including a delightful little dessert I cooked up for the Virtual Vegan Potluck tomorrow.  After that, I'll be back to roughly once-weekly posting, with a temporary hiatus expected in February when I anticipate being busy with such other endeavors as having a baby.  Thanks to everyone who has dropped by my blog this month, especially to the folks whose kind comments on my posts have brightened my days!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pineapple-Coconut Candies

If in doubt, just add chocolate.  These dense little balls of pineapple and coconut are pretty good on their own, but wrapping them in a chocolate shell takes them to a whole other level.  Sometimes I think we should all just be wrapped in chocolate shells.  Perhaps that will be my goal for Halloween.

The Ingredients:
3/4 c dried, unsweetened pineapple
1/2 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 1/2 t coconut oil, divided
1 T agave
1/2 c chocolate chips
2 t coconut milk (or other nondairy milk)

The Process:
  1. Line a plate with waxed paper and place in the freezer.
  2. In a food processor, pulse pineapple until chopped into small pieces.  Add coconut, 1 t coconut oil, and agave, and continue to process until mixture is well-combined and will hold together if pressed firmly into a ball.
  3. Scoop out heaping teaspoons of pineapple-coconut mixture, and form into balls.
  4. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, coconut milk, and 1/2 t coconut oil.  Microwave on low power until chocolate is melted and glossy, stirring every 15-20 seconds.
  5. Remove plate from freezer.  Using your fingers or a toothpick, dip each ball in chocolate, then place on prepared plate.  Return to the freezer for about 10 minutes to allow chocolate to firm up, then store, covered, in the refrigerator.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Piña Colada Waffles

How about a little touch of the tropical for a cool fall morning?  This made 10 waffles on my iron; your mileage may vary.

The Ingredients:
3 c flour
2 T baking powder
1 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg
2 3/4 c coconut milk (I used the refrigerated beverage for this, not the canned kind)
1/2 c pineapple juice
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 t coconut extract
1 t rum extract
1 t vanilla extract
1 c packed shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 1/4 c packed drained, crushed pineapple

The Process:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk, pineapple juice, oil, and extracts.
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry until well-combined. (Don't worry about trying to get out all the lumps.)
  4. Fold in coconut and pineapple.
  5. Cook on a well-oiled waffle iron.
  6. Serve with fresh pineapple and coconut cream, or whatever toppings you feel like.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Iron Chef Challenge: Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Sweet & Spicy Raisin Chutney

The "secret ingredients" for this week's Vegan MoFo Iron Chef Challenge were a tough combo: hot peppers, sunflower seeds, and grapes.  While it won't win me any points for creativity (not that there are points involved), stuffed peppers was all my tired brain could come up with.  I made a tofu-based ricotta which I mixed with lentils and roasted sunflower seeds for the stuffing, and served the peppers with a thick raisin chutney.

The Ingredients:
4 poblano peppers
1/4 c cheddar-style vegan cheese

1 T olive oil
1/2 a small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T tomato paste
3/4 c water
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c (firmly packed) raisins
2 T sugar
2 T applesauce
2 t hot red chile flakes
2 t molasses
1/2 t ground thyme

3/4 of a 14-oz package of extra-firm tofu, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T lime juice
1 T nutritional yeast
1/2 t salt
2 c cooked lentils
1 1/4 c roasted sunflower seeds

The Process:

  1. To make chutney, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 2-3 minutes.  Add tomato paste and water and stir until all chunks of tomato paste have dissolved.  Add water, vinegar, and raisins and bring to a simmer.  Add remaining ingredients, return to a simmer, and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and blend in a food processor or blender until only slightly chunky.
  2. Preheat oven to 435°.
  3. To make the tofu ricotta, combine tofu, garlic, lime juice, nutritional yeast, and salt in a bowl, and mix together with your hands until tofu is all crumbled.
  4. Add lentils and sunflower seeds to tofu ricotta, and mix until combined.
  5. Cut the tops off the peppers, slit each pepper lengthwise down one side, and remove the seeds.  Stuff the ricotta mixture into the peppers.
  6. Place peppers in an oiled baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle 1 T cheese on top of each pepper, then return to oven and broil until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.
  7. Serve with warm raisin chutney.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I first came up with this recipe to make my husband's birthday cake last month, and he promptly declared it his favorite birthday cake ever.  Granted, he says that every single year, but it's still a darn good cake.

The Ingredients:
2 c almond milk
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 c flour
1/4 c cornstarch
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2/3 c oil
1 1/2 c sugar
1 T + 1 t vanilla extract
2 t peppermint extract
1 c chocolate chips, roughly chopped

1/2 c margarine
1/3 c shortening
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t peppermint extract
1/4 c + 1 T almond milk
2 1/2 c powdered sugar

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir cider vinegar into almond milk and set aside to curdle.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Whisk sugar, vanilla, and peppermint extract into almond milk/vinegar mixture.
  5. Whisk wet and dry ingredients together, then fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Divide batter between 2 oiled 9" cake pans, and bake until done, about 30-34 minutes.
  7. Let cakes cool for about 5 minutes before inverting onto baking racks to finish cooling.
  8. Meanwhile, to make icing, beat together margarine and shortening, add cocoa powder, extracts, and almond milk until combined, then beat in powdered sugar at high speed until icing is fluffy.
  9. To assemble, sandwich the cake layers together with icing, then ice the edges and top.
Next week's theme is Pineapple & Coconut.  Even though MoFo technically ends on Wednesday, I'll be posting pineapple/coconut recipes through Friday since I didn't want to shortchange one of my favorite ingredient combinations.  Also, be sure to tune in for the Virtual Vegan Potluck on Thursday, November 1.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Peppermint-Dipped Chocolate Rice Crispy Squares

Rice crispy squares are a classic.  This over-the-top version includes additions of chocolate, white chocolate, and peppermint extract.

The Ingredients:
1 10oz bag Dandies vegan marshmallows
1/4 c margarine
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/3 c chocolate chips
5 c crispy rice cereal

For peppermint coating:
1 300g bag vegan white chocolate chips
3 T soy creamer or soy or almond milk
1/2 t peppermint extract

The Process:
  1. Thoroughly oil a 9x13 pan.  Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook margarine and marshmallows until the marshmallows start to melt, stirring constantly.  Add the cocoa once the marshmallows start to melt, and continue to cook, stirring, until marshmallows are completely melted and cocoa is incorporated.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and cereal until well-combined, working as quickly as possible.
  4. Press mixture into prepared pan, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.  Slice into squares.
  5. To make peppermint coating, combine chocolate chips, creamer, and peppermint extract in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on medium-low heat until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, stirring every 20-30 seconds.
  6. Dip tops or ends of rice crispy squares into coating, and set on a sheet of waxed paper to cool.  If coating starts to thicken while you're dipping, return it to the microwave for a few seconds.
  7. Store cooled rice crispy squares in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chocolate Chili with Peppermint Pesto

I realized while writing this up that I could have called it "Chocolate Chickpea Chili with Peppermint Pepita Pesto" for even more alliteration, but enough is enough.  This was my first time adding chocolate to chili, and I enjoyed the complexity it added, as well as how it deepened the chili's color.  This makes enough to feed a crowd.

Chocolate Chili
The Ingredients:
1 onion
2 T olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2-3 jalapeno peppers (seeded or not, depending on how much heat you like)
2 t chili powder
3/4 t salt
1/2 t cayenne
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t allspice
3/4 c TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1 28-oz can tomato puree (or tomato sauce, but reduce salt if using salted tomato sauce)
1 29-oz can diced tomatoes
3 15-oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 c vegetable broth
1/2 c strong brewed coffee
1/4 c + 1 t cocoa powder
1/3 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 batch peppermint pesto (recipe below)

The Process:
  1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add bell peppers, jalapenos, chili powder, salt, cayenne, cinnamon, and allspice, and continue to cook, stirring, for 5 more minutes. 
  3. Add TVP, tomato puree, diced tomatoes, garbanzos, broth, and coffee, and bring to a simmer.  Sprinkle on cocoa powder and stir to incorporate.  Cover and let simmer gently for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring a few times.
  4. Add chocolate chips and stir until incorporated.
  5. Serve with peppermint pesto (below).
Peppermint Pesto
Pulse together in a food processor until pulverized:
2 c loosely-packed peppermint leaves
1/2 c pepitas (roasted, salted pumpkin seeds)
1/4 c raw cashews
1/4 c olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1/4 t salt

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mint Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

My mom used to make a red and white mint version of these at Christmas, and I always liked both their straightforward flavor and their general cuteness.  This recipe is a veganized, chocolatized homage to those Christmas cookies of yore.  Makes about 2 dozen small cookies.

The Ingredients:
1/2 c sugar
6 T margarine, at room temperature
3 T almond milk
1 1/2 c flour
2 T arrowroot
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
2 T cocoa powder
1 oz. dark chocolate, melted
3/4 t mint extract

The Process:
  1. Cream together margarine and sugar with an electric mixer.
  2. Beat in almond milk.
  3. Beat in flour, arrowroot, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Divide dough in half.  Mix one half with the cocoa and melted chocolate, and the other half with the mint extract.  Form each flavor dough into a disc, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate about 30-45 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Roll out both pieces of dough into 8"x7" rectangles. (This is easier if you sandwich the dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper, to prevent sticking.)
  7. Stack the chocolate dough rectangle on top of the mint dough rectangle.
  8. Starting with a long side, roll the dough up tightly, pressing down a bit as you roll so you end up with a cylinder about 9" long.
  9. Cut the cylinder into rounds about 1/4-1/3 inch thick.  Place rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for about 12-14 minutes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

4-ingredient Mint Chocolate Mousse

Welcome to mint-chocolate week! Starting the week off is a very rich but simple chocolate-mint mousse.

The Ingredients:
8 oz. dark chocolate (70% or greater chocolate solids)
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup peppermint schnapps (or more milk, with a splash of peppermint extract added for a non-alcoholic version)

The Process:
  1. Break chocolate into pieces.
  2. Fill a mixing bowl with ice and water, and nest a smaller mixing bowl inside it. Make sure you're able to keep the water in the bottom bowl from spilling over the rim the top bowl.  Set in freezer until needed.
  3. Combine chocolate, milk, sugar, and schnapps in a saucepan, and heat over medium heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted.
  4. Pour chocolate into the bowl that's on top of the ice bowl, and whisk briskly and constantly until thickened, about 3 minutes.  
  5. Divide among 4 ramekins.  Serve immediately for soft mousse, or refrigerate for at least an hour for a firmer texture.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Iron Chef Challenge: Sesame Sweet Potato Muffins

This week is my first time participating in a Vegan MoFo Iron Chef Challenge.  I was drawn in by the week's secret ingredients, potatoes and sesame, and especially by the fact that sweet potatoes "count" as potatoes in the challenge.  I considered a couple savory dishes, but ultimately decided to make muffins because it would spare me having to make breakfasts for the rest of the week.  I used black sesame seeds in my muffins for the color contrast, but white sesame seeds would probably taste just as good.  Makes 18 regular muffins or 9 jumbo-sized muffins.

The Ingredients:
2 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t ginger
3/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 3/4 c coconut milk
1 1/4 c mashed or pureed sweet potato
1/3 c vegetable oil
1/3 c tahini
1/3 c maple syrup
1/3 c agave
1/2 c roasted black sesame seeds

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk, sweet potato, oil, tahini, and maple syrup until smooth.
  4. Fold dry ingredients into wet, then fold in sesame seeds.
  5. Pour into oiled muffin tins and bake about 27-30 minutes for regular-sized muffins or about 35-38 minutes for jumbo-sized muffins.  Allow to cool before devouring.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Product Review & Giveaway: SeaSnax

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Vegan Cuts asking if I would be interesting in reviewing a product for them. (For those unfamiliar with Vegan Cuts, they're an online shop that offers limited-time bargains on vegan products, kind of like a Living Social or Groupon for vegan stuff.)  I like free stuff and quite frankly am always thrilled to learn that anyone who isn't in my immediate family has even heard of my blog, so I agreed to write the review.  I was provided the products for free, but all opinions about the products are my own.

So without further ado, the product I was given is...seaweed!  SeaSnax "Roasted Seaweed Snack" to be specific.   I'll admit, I was a little let down, having seen other Vegan Cuts reviewers posting reviews of things like, say, chocolate.  But I'm usually game to try new things, and I do like sushi nori, so when my samples arrived I dove in.

I tried 4 kinds of SeaSnax (Toasty Onion, Spicy Chipotle, Original, and Wasabi), as well as a package of SeaSprinkles "Seaweed Snack Clusters." The SeaSnax are thin, crispy sheets of seasoned seaweed.  They come in a single-serving-sized packages, and the seaweed is stacked in a plastic tray inside the package. With only 14-16 calories per package, they are more suited for times when you just feel like putting something in your mouth than for times when you're actually hungry.
The texture of the snacks is pleasantly crunchy, although I found them a bit messy to eat, as little flakes of seaweed crumbled off the sheets and got on my clothes.  As far as the flavors go, I did not enjoy the wasabi, but then again I don't like wasabi so that was no surprise; those who enjoy the nostril burn will probably like these just fine.  The original flavor is seasoned with olive oil and sea salt, and I appreciated the simplicity of the ingredients and the fact that the seaweed flavor wasn't masked with other flavors.  The onion and chipotle flavors were pretty lightly seasoned as well; the onion in the onion flavor gave me only a mild onion aftertaste, and the spicy chipotle had only the faintest bit of heat, more like a memory of something spicy.  Overall, I enjoyed all three non-wasabi flavors, and could see them serving someone well as a healthy way to satisfy the craving for something salty and crunchy.  However, I would prefer if the snacks came with less packaging or in packs larger than single-serve, since I don't think it's worth creating so much waste for so little caloric energy.

The SeaSprinkles are clusters of shredded seaweed, seasoned with agave, sesame, and salt.  The package recommends either snacking on them or sprinkling them on soups or salads.  These were more visually appealing to me than the SeaSnax and were less messy to eat since they didn't crumble apart.  I also appreciate that they come in less packaging (lacking the plastic tray) and with 60 calories per package are slightly more substantial than the SeaSnax.  Unfortunately, the sweetness of the agave flavor paired with the seaweed was jarring to me, so while I didn't find these inedible, I also wouldn't try them again unless they came out with an unsweetened variety.  They did, however, have a satisfying, almost granola-like crunch.

If you want to try SeaSnax or SeaSprinkles for yourself, you can get a 10% discount on your order (excluding shipping) by using the code "BLOGFRIEND" when you purchase from Vegan Cuts by October 31, 2012.  OR, you could win a sample pack here.  I was sent extras of all the products I tried, so I will be sending one lucky winner a package with all 4 flavors of SeaSnax plus a pack of SeaSprinkles.  To win, enter a comment below telling me your favorite way to eat seaweed, or whether you've ever eaten seaweed as a snack. A winner will be randomly selected and announced on Wednesday, October 24 at 5PM Pacific Time.

The random number generator has spoken, and the winner is #7, Kelly G.  Congratulations, Kelly!  I'll be emailing you for your address.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Apple Sticky Buns

Even if you're the kind of crazy person who doesn't like gooey caramelized carbohydrates, I think you pretty much have to like sticky buns for the name alone.

The Ingredients:

3/4 c water
1/2 c almond milk
3 T vegetable oil
2 T sugar
2 1/2 t yeast
2 1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
2 3/4-3 3/4c flour

3 T margarine
1 T cinnamon
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c pecans, very finely chopped

1 1/2 apples, diced
8 T margarine
1 1/4 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla

The Process:
  1. Heat water and almond milk until very warm but not hot, about 110 degrees.  Combine with oil, sugar, and yeast in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, and let sit until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add salt, cinnamon, and the lesser amount of flour, and knead for about 5 minutes with a stand mixer or about 10-12 minutes by hand, adding more flour as necessary to make dough workable but aiming to keep dough as soft as possible.
  3. Form dough into a ball, place in an oiled mixing bowl, and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled, which may take anywhere between 1 and 2 1/2 hours, depending on your yeast and how warm your house is.
  4. While dough is rising, prepare filling and topping:
  5. For filling, melt margarine and set aside.  Whisk together cinnamon, brown sugar, and pecans in a small bowl and set aside.
  6. For topping, melt margarine in a saucepan over low heat.  Whisk in brown sugar and cinnamon and continue to cook, stirring, over low heat until mixture just begins to bubble.  Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, spread topping evenly in the bottom of a 9"x13" pan, and sprinkle the diced apple over it.
  7. When dough is doubled, roll it out to form a rectangle about 12"x18".
  8. Spread melted margarine on dough, then evenly sprinkle on cinnamon-sugar-pecan filling.  Starting at a long end, roll dough into a long log.
  9. Cut the log crosswise into pieces about 1" wide.  Place these on top of the apples in the 9x13 pan.  Cover and let rise 20-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°. 
  10. rolls before rising
  11. Bake until rolls are light-brown on top and cooked through, about 35-40 minutes, then invert onto a cookie sheet.  These are best eaten while still warm, but I doubt they'd garner any complaints at room temperature either.
buns before inverting
    after inverting

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Baked Apple-Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

You could probably call this a bread pudding, but I'm sticking with "French Toast Casserole" because I have a bad relationship with bread puddings.

The Ingredients:
1 loaf crusty Italian or French bread (slightly stale is best)
2 apples, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 1/2 c soy milk
1 c soy creamer
1/2 c maple syrup
1/3 c flour
1/4 c cornstarch
2 T nutritional yeast
1 T cinnamon
2 t vanilla

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut bread into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Blend or whisk together soy milk, soy creamer, flour, cornstarch, maple syrup, nutritional yeast, cinnamon, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. In a well-oiled casserole dish, toss together bread, apples, raisins, and walnuts.
  5. Pour batter over bread.
  6. Bake covered for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake until bread is light golden, about 25 more minutes.  Serve hot.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Cinnamon Applesauce

Cooking applesauce in the slow cooker lets you pretty much ignore it instead of having to watch and stir.  Having a pot of apples with vanilla and cinnamon cooking for hours will also make your house smell fantastic.  This recipe makes enough to fill about 4 pint jars.

The Ingredients:
4 lbs apples
1 c water
1/3 c brown sugar (adjust according to your taste and the sweetness of your apples)
1 T + 1 t lemon juice
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract

The Process:

  1. Core and roughly chop apples.
  2. Add all ingredients to slow cooker.
  3. Cook about 1 hour on high heat, then stir, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking until apples are falling apart, about 2-3 hours.
  4. Mash with the back of a spoon or a potato masher.  (I like to leave some chunks.
  5. Serve hot or allow to cool.  Can be kept in the fridge for at least a week, or longer in the freezer.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Apple Fritters

For those times when you just need some deep-fried sugar, I don't think these will disappoint.

The Ingredients:
1/2 cup almond milk, warmed
2 T brown sugar
1 T oil
2 t yeast
1/2 t salt
2 c flour
3 T firm silken tofu, mashed until smooth
1 t cinnamon, divided
1 c chopped apples
1 T sugar
oil for deep frying

1 c powdered sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
2 T + 2 t almond milk

The Process:
  1. Combine warm milk, brown sugar, oil, and yeast in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, and let stand until the yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add salt, flour, tofu, and 1/2 t cinnamon, and knead for about 8 minutes by hand or about 4 minutes with a mixer.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, place somewhere warm, and let rise until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
  4. Toss apples with sugar and 1/2 t cinnamon, then fold apples into dough.
  5. Heat a few inches of oil in a heavy pot to 375 degrees.
  6. Meanwhile, line some cooling racks with paper towels or paper grocery bags, and whisk together glaze ingredients in a bowl until there are no lumps.
  7. With oiled hands, break off golf-ball sized pieces of dough, and flatten them as much as possible between your palms (they will puff back up while cooking).  In small batches, fry dough in hot oil for a few minutes, flipping midway through cooking, until fritters are brown and puffy.
  8. Drain and cool  slightly on prepared racks, then dip the tops of the fritters into the glaze and let cool again for a minute or two while the glaze sets.  These are best devoured while still warm, but will keep at least a day. (They didn't last any longer than that in my house.)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Apple-Pecan Bundles with Whipped Coconut Cream

Time to jump into some fall flavors with apple cinnamon week.  Here is my most recent take on apple pie: apples, pecans, maple, and cinnamon in cute phyllo bundles.  Factoring in a couple torn phyllo squares, this recipe makes about 25 bundles,  enough to feed a crowd, though mostly it just fed my pastry-addicted husband.

The Ingredients:
1 package phyllo dough, thawed

Apple Filling:
4 large apples, chopped in roughly 1/4-in pieces (about 6 cups chopped)
1 c pecans, roughly chopped
1/4 c maple syrup
1 T margarine, melted
2 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
3 T flour

Coconut Whipped Cream:
2 cans coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
3 T maple syrup
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
a pinch salt

The Process:
  1. To make coconut whipped cream, place a mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Turn cans of coconut milk upside down, and open from the bottom.  Pour off the semi-translucent liquid and reserve it for another use, then pour the opaque white cream into the chilled mixing bowl.  Whip with a hand-held beater on high speed until soft peaks form.  Add syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, and continue whipping until soft peaks form again.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Toss together apples, pecans, syrup, margarine, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a mixing bowl.  Sprinkle on flour and toss to coat.
  4. Divide phyllo dough into 3 stacks of about 6 sheets per stack.  Cover 2 of the stacks with a towel, and work with the remaining stack.  Cut this stack in thirds in both directions to form 9 rectangles, about 4 1/3 x 6 inches each.
  5. Place about 1/4 cup of apple mixture in the center of each rectangle.  Brush the edges of a rectangle with water, gather the corners together over the apple mixture, and pinch together to form a bundle.  As each bundle is finished, place on a baking sheet or, to help bundles hold their shape, in a muffin tin.
  6. Repeat with remaining phyllo dough.
  7. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until phyllo is crisp and beginning to turn golden-brown.
  8. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving with whipped coconut cream.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chopped/Vegan: Roasted Butternut Squash & Tempeh Cakes with Balsamic Apricot Sauce

I've never participated in a chopped/vegan challenge before, but when I saw the ingredients for this challenge I knew I had to give it a shot.  The challenge is to cook a brunch dish incorporating butternut squash, apricot preserves, fresh rosemary, and popcorn.  I had butternut squash ready to harvest in my garden, homemade apricot preserves in the pantry from this summer's harvest, and my rosemary bush needed pruning anyway.  If only I'd grown my own popcorn I'd feel pretty hardcore.

In any case, I had a lot of ideas for these ingredients, but settled on a sweet popcorn-coated patty with a tangy balsamic sauce, because I like my brunch to be both sweet AND savory.

I began by roasting the squash, and was able to prep all my other ingredients while the squash cooked. I saved the squash seeds to use as a garnish on the patties, and the seeds crisped up nicely when fried in just a touch of oil.

I thought tempeh would add a nice protein punch and some umami flavor to the patties, so I steamed some and crumbled it up.

For the popcorn breading, I pulsed freshly-popped popcorn in the food processor until it formed coarse crumbs (and then got a bit of a surprise when I opened the food processor and static electricity made popcorn crumbs fly all over my kitchen).  When I formed the patties, I decided they could use a little more bulk, so I added some of the popcorn crumbs into the patties and used the rest for breading.

I like rosemary with both squash and apricots, so I incorporated it as a seasoning into both the patties and the squash.

I was worried that the popcorn would burn if I fried the patties, so I decided to bake them.  They turned out great, soft on the inside with crispy popcorn bits on the outside, and I was pleased with how the tang of the apricot sauce offset the sweetness of the patties.

The Ingredients:
For Patties:
1 medium (about 2 1/2 pound) butternut squash
8 oz. tempeh
1/4 c (unpopped) popcorn
1/3 c maple syrup
1/3 c almond butter
1/3 c vital wheat gluten
1/4 c flour
2 t miso
1 t fresh, minced rosemary

For Sauce:
1 1/2 c apricot preserves
6-8 T water (depending on thickness of preserves)
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T maple syrup
1 1/2 t dijon mustard
3/4 t fresh, minced rosemary
a pinch salt

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Halve squash. Scoop out and set aside seeds.  Place squash in an oven-safe dish and bake until very soft, about an hour.  When squash is done, remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse seeds, separate out the stringy bits, and toast the seeds in about 1 t oil over medium-low heat until they hiss and pop.  Set aside to cool.
  4. Make apricot sauce: if preserves are chunky, process them in a food processor until mostly smooth.  Whisk together all sauce ingredients in a saucepan, and heat to a simmer, then cover and set aside to allow the flavors to meld.
  5. Cube tempeh and steam for 10 minutes.  Crumble into a mixing bowl when cool.
  6. To the crumbled tempeh, add maple syrup, almond butter, vital wheat gluten, flour, miso, and rosemary.
  7. Pop the popcorn.  Set aside 1/2 c of popped corn for garnish, and pulse the remainder in batches in a food processor until it forms coarse crumbs.  Add 1 c of popcorn crumbs to the tempeh mixture; put the rest in a shallow bowl for coating patties.
  8. Add cooled squash flesh to tempeh mixture (discarding the squash peel), and mix together using your hands or a hand-held mixer until well-combined.
  9. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  10. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  11. Form patty mixture into golf-ball sized balls, flatten into patties, and carefully place in popcorn crumbs to coat.  Place completed patties on the parchment-lined baking sheets.
  12. Bake patties for about 25 minutes, flipping them after 12 minutes.
  13. While patties are baking, re-warm the apricot sauce.
  14. Serve patties drizzled with sauce, and garnish with popped corn and toasted squash seeds.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lemon-Curd Stuffed French Toast with Blueberry Syrup

Not for the faint-hearted, this stuffed french toast is the most decadent breakfast I've ever experienced.  It does require some extra work compared to regular french toast,  but you can make the lemon curd and blueberry syrup ahead of time.  Bonus: you will probably have extra lemon curd left over to spread on your toast for the rest of the week.

The Ingredients:
For lemon curd:
1/2 c lemon juice
1/4 c water
3/4 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
zest of 2 lemons
a pinch salt
3 T soy creamer or soy milk
1 T margarine

For blueberry syrup:
1 c frozen blueberries, at least partly thawed
2 T + 1 t sugar
2 T water
1/2 t lemon zest
1/4 t vanilla
a pinch salt

For french toast:
1/2 a loaf of thick, crusty bread, such as an Italian loaf
1 c soy or almond milk
1/2 c soy creamer
2 T flour
2 T cornstarch
1 T nutritional yeast
1 t vanilla

about 6 T vegan cream cheese for filling
oil or margarine for frying

The Process:
  1. Make the lemon curd at least a few hours or up to a few days ahead of time.  Combine lemon juice, water, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and salt in a blender, and blend until smooth.  Pour into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring.  Once mixture boils, reduce heat to low, stop stirring, and continue to simmer for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and whisk in soy creamer and margarine.  Let cool, and refrigerate covered until ready to use.
  2. Make blueberry syrup (can be done up to a few days ahead of time).  Lightly mash blueberries with the back of a fork.  Combine in a saucepan with remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.  If making syrup ahead of time, store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. For french toast, slice bread into 1.5 to 2-inch slices.  Cut a deep slit down the center of each slice to form a pocket.
  4. To make batter, whisk together almond milk, creamer, flour, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, and vanilla in a shallow pan until well-combined. 
  5. Stuff each slice of bread with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of lemon curd, and press the opening closed.
  6. Dredge toasts in batter.  Heat a little oil or margarine in a wide skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook french toast until golden-brown, 2-3 minutes per side.
  7. Meanwhile, reheat blueberry syrup.
  8. Top french toast with blueberry syrup and serve hot.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce

I don't think cheesecakes really require any introduction, so let's get straight to the recipe:

The Ingredients:
1/2 lb. ginger snap cookies
4 T margarine, melted

1 12.3 oz. package firm silken tofu
1 8 oz. tub vegan cream cheese (I like Follow Your Heart)
1 t vanilla
2/3 c sugar
1 T cornstarch
1 T tapioca starch (or more cornstarch)
1/4 c lemon juice
zest from 2 lemons

Blueberry Sauce:
2 1/2 c frozen blueberries
3 T sugar
2 t lemon juice
3 T water
1 T cornstarch

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To make crust, pulse together cookies and margarine in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.  Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.  Refrigerate while making the cake.
  3. To make cake, blend together all cake ingredients EXCEPT lemon zest in a food processor or high-power blender until very smooth.  Pulse in lemon zest until just combined.  Pour into prepared crust.
  4. Bake cheesecake for about 65 minutes or until sides are brown and top is just turning golden.  Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for 2-3 hours, then refrigerate overnight.
  5. Meanwhile, to make blueberry sauce,  whisk together cornstarch and water in a small bowl.  Heat blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice over medium heat in a small saucepan until the blueberries start to release their juices.  Add cornstarch mixture to blueberries and continue to cook until simmering, stirring frequently.  Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Allow to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. To serve, remove side of springform pan from cheesecake, and top cake with blueberry sauce.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lemon-Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

I don't know about everyone else, but my ice cream maker is one of my most seldom-used appliances.  I'm not sure why, since it's pretty hard to go wrong with ice cream.

The Ingredients:
24 oz vanilla soy yogurt
1 c sugar
3/4 c fresh lemon juice
1/4 c soy creamer
2 T lemon zest
1 c blueberries

The Process:
  1. Whisk together all ingredients EXCEPT blueberries.
  2. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions, stirring in blueberries towards the end of the freezing time.
  3. Serve immediately for soft-serve style frozen yogurt, or freeze in an airtight container for a firmer texture.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lemon-Almond-Blueberry Thumbprint cookies

These are dense, nutty morsels...probably more like a granola bar than your average cookie, but still darn tasty.

The Ingredients:
2 c rolled oats
1 c almonds
3/4 c + 1 T flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c agave nectar
1/4 c oil
1/4 c applesauce
zest of one large lemon
blueberry jam or preserves for filling

The Process:
  1. In a food processor, blend oats into a coarse flour.  Set aside in a mixing bowl.
  2. In food processor, pulse almonds until they form coarse crumbs.  Add to oats, along with flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
  3. Add agave, oil, applesauce, and lemon zest, and stir until all flour is incorporated.  Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to allow mixture to firm up. 
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls, and place on oiled cookie sheets.  (Dough will be sticky.)  Press your thumb or the back of a spoon into the center of each ball to make an indentation.  Fill each indentation with blueberry preserves.
  6. Bake about 15 minutes.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Blueberry Gingerbread Pancakes with Lemon Syrup

Fat gingerbread pancakes studded with blueberries and drenched in sweet-tart lemon syrup...definitely worth getting out of bed for.

The Ingredients:
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 t cornstarch
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1 t ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1/4 t allspice
1 1/2 c almond milk
1/4 c molasses
3 T oil
1 c fresh blueberries, or 1 c frozen blueberries tossed with 1 T flour

Lemon Syrup:
3/4 c sugar
2/3 c water
1/4 c lemon juice
2 1/2 t lemon zest
2 t cornstarch, dissolved in 4 t water

The Process:
  1. To make lemon syrup, combine sugar, water, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Whisk in cornstarch and continue to simmer for 2 minutes.  Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
  2. To make pancakes, combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together wet ingredients until frothy.  Mix together wet and dry ingredients until just combined.  Fold in blueberries.
  3. Cook pancakes on a hot, oiled skillet or griddle, turning once when small bubbles form in the batter.  Serve with warm lemon syrup.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Peanut Butter & Banana Creme Brulee

I wanted to finish off peanut butter & banana week with something decadent, and what could be more decadent than creme brulee, all warm and creamy with the perfect crackly top?

The Ingredients:
1 ripe banana
1 1/2 c soy milk
1/3 c sugar
1/4 c smooth peanut butter
2 t tapioca starch
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t agar agar powder
about 1/4 c sugar for topping
optional: 1-2 bananas for topping

The Process:
  1. In a blender, blend together all ingredients except toppings until very smooth.
  2. Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour into shallow heat-proof dishes or ramekins.  Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  4. If using banana topping, slice bananas thinly and arrange some on top of each dish.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Either place dishes under the broiler until the sugar is lightly browned, or fire with a kitchen torch.  Serve immediately.

Stay tuned for blueberry & lemon week next week!  It's probably my best batch of recipes yet.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Panini

This one doesn't really require a recipe, but it is one of my favorite peanut-butter-based indulgences, so I figured I'd post it anyway.

Cut some thick slices of crusty bread. (Using good, hearty bread makes these so much more satisfying.)  Spread one side of each slice with a thin coating of margarine.  Spread the other side with peanut butter.  Sandwich sliced banana between the peanut butter layers, and fry on a griddle or cook in a panini press until bread is golden and crunchy.  Sometimes I also like to add some sliced green onion along with the banana slices, which makes the sandwiches a little less dessert-like.  Not that I have a problem with eating dessert-like lunches.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Peanut Tofu with Fried Bananas

This meal photographed poorly, but it sure tasted great.  Tofu is marinated in a gingery soy-lime sauce, then coated in crushed peanuts and topped with fried bananas and green onion. I served it with steamed broccoli, and brown rice with green onions folded in.

The Ingredients:
3 T soy sauce
1 T lime juice
1 t agave
1/8 t ginger powder

1 1/4 c roasted, unsalted peanuts
1/4 c flour
1 T cornstarch
a pinch garlic powder
1/2 c water
1 block extra-firm tofu
2 slightly green bananas, halved lengthwise then widthwise
4 green onions, trimmed

oil for cooking

The Process:
  1. Mix together marinade ingredients.  Cut tofu into 4-6 slabs, coat with marinade, and let sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Pulse peanuts in a food processor or hand-chop like a fiend until they form coarse crumbs. Pour onto a plate.
  3. In a shallow bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, and water. 
  4. Heat a shallow coating of oil in 2 frying pans over medium heat (or preheat the oven to 200 degrees and work in batches, placing finished food in oven while cooking remaining food).
  5. Dip tofu slices in flour mixture, then press firmly into peanuts to coat both sides.  Fry for a couple minutes per side, turning carefully to prevent the peanuts from falling off.
  6. Meanwhile, dip banana slices and green onion in the flour mixture, then fry in the other pan until browned.  Serve tofu topped with fried bananas and a green onion.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Peanut Butter-Banana-Oat Bars

I originally planned these as breakfast bars, but I ate them more as anytime-bars; they work just as well as breakfast, a mid-morning or afternoon snack, or a not-too-sweet dessert.

The Ingredients:
3 c rolled oats
1/2 c peanuts
1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 t salt
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon
2 bananas
3/4 c almond milk
2/3 c peanut butter
1/3 c brown sugar
2 T ground flax
1 t vanilla
optional: 1/2 c chocolate chips

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  
  2. Stir together oats, peanuts, flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a food processor or blender, mix remaining ingredients (EXCEPT chocolate chips) until smooth.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir until combined.
  5. Spread mixture in an oiled 9x13 pan, and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Sprinkle with chocolate chips if using.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Peanut-Butter Dipped Banana Pops

Welcome to vegan mofo, everyone!  This week is peanut butter & banana week on my blog.  I'm starting off simple with these peanut-butter dipped frozen bananas, which are great to keep in the freezer as a healthier alternative to ice cream.

The Ingredients:
5 bananas
10 popsicle sticks
1/4 c smooth peanut butter
1/4 c coconut oil
1 T agave
1/4 t vanilla
a pinch salt

The Process:

  1. Cut bananas in half, and spear each half with a popsicle stick. Place in a waxed-paper lined container or wrap in waxed paper and place in a ziplock bag. Freeze until frozen solid (somewhere between a couple hours and overnight).
  2. In a microwave-safe container, heat peanut butter, coconut oil, agave, vanilla, and salt on low heat, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted and lump-free.
  3. Pour peanut butter mixture into a skinny glass. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with waxed paper.  Dip a banana in peanut butter, let drip for a couple seconds while the peanut butter shell hardens, then place on waxed paper and repeat with remaining bananas.
  4. Store in the freezer.

dipping bananas