Veggiesgiving, yay!

Hello all! I’m still here, alive and cooking! (sorry) Turns out I’m not so good a the blog upkeep, but these Thanksgiving dishes were just too yummy not to share, and of course I have to post something for my biggest cooking day of the year! Here are some of the highlights.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping (thanks Susan!)

Spelt Stuffing with Tempeh Sausage Crumbles

Green Bean Casserole (thanks to Susan again, but left out the french fried onions)

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My plate!

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!

Chocolate-Chocolate-Chip Walnut Cookies

So I just discovered that you can check out digital books from the Brooklyn Public Library. This is totally amazing to me, and I’ve been checking out cookbooks like crazy lately. One of those is Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, by the Post Punk Kitchen girls. I’ve been wanting this cookbook for a while but I’m such a cheapo, I’ve just been hoping someone would give it to me as a gift. But no need for that now that online books are the new thing!

I’ve wanted to get more into baking, and after spending a traumatic Saturday cleaning the oven (seriously, it sucks), the kitchen was prime for some cookie making!

I adapted the recipe a little and improvised according to what I had in the kitchen. The original recipe calls for soy milk, but I used almond instead. I didn’t have any unsweetened cocoa powder, so I used some spicy hot chocolate mix I had (which gave them a little kick!), and just sifted out the sugar from it. Finally, instead of regular sugar, I used date sugar, just cause I was curious about it and bought some recently at the store. It turned out good, but you generally have to use 2/3 cup for every 1 cup of sugar the recipe calls for because it’s sweeter. It is expensive though, so I won’t be using it too often.

Chocolate-Chocolate-Chip Walnut Cookies

Makes about 30 cookies
  • 2 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (spicy kind optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup date sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, flax seeds, and vanilla. Slowly mix in the wet ingredients with the dry until the dough is nice and stiff, then add the walnuts and the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into small 1-inch balls, flattened to about 2 inches, and put onto an oiled baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool completely before eating.

Roasted Eggplant Cilantro Spread

Hello lovely readers! I know it’s been forever since my last post. Life is busy! When I don’t have a lot of time for experimenting in the kitchen, there a few vegan blogs that I know I can rely on for something quick and yummy. One of those that I’ve loved for a while is Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  This is a recipe of Susan’s that I tweaked to accommodate what I had on hand in the house, and it turned out delicious. I had a lot of cilantro in the fridge that needed to be used so I used that instead of basil, and walnuts instead of almonds, which I prefer in pesto anyway.  This is much lower fat than traditional pesto too, since the creaminess of the eggplant replaces the need for any oil. And the best part is that it can be used as a dip, sandwich spread, or as an addition to pasta, and all busy vegans can appreciate foods with multiple uses!

More recipes to come soon. My spring CSA share starts next month so I’ll soon have more veggies than I know what to do with!

Enjoy!

Schwarzwald Cake Memories: Vegan life in the Black Forest

This month is the 2 year anniversary since the first time I made a vegan Black Forest cake, back when I was living in Mulhouse, France just across the border from the mythical Schwarzwald region, right next door to Hansel and Gretel. Me and my best buddies there made this cake for our friend’s birthday (sans boozy Kirsch, though, since we were totally poor at the time, although this wouldn’t pass in Germany, where it’s a mandatory ingredient!) and it was such a blast and turned out so yummy that I’ve been itching to make it again. I credit this recipe to veghealthyrecipe. It’s super simple, even for a dum dum baker like me, and low in sugar. The molasses give it a smokey taste which I like, but maple syrup can also be used as a substitute.

I miss my Sunday veggie brunches and baking days with my France buddies, so this one’s for you guys!

Herby Roasted Veggies

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Sometimes I forget I have an oven and how easy it is to roast veggies. If you’re ever stumped as to what to do with your veggies, and you’re feeling lazy (as I usually am), all you need is some olive oil, herbs, garlic, and salt and pepper, and you have a super tasty, easy, and healthy meal. I liked the combination of sage, oregano, rosemary, and scallions, but you can mix and match whatever other herbs you want. Thyme and parsley would be good also. I threw some Daiya cheese on top to add some creaminess. The result: deliciousness, with minimal ingredients.

Veggies (use more or less, depending on what you like)

  • 2 small red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets

Seasoning

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped sage
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sprinkle of Daiya mozzarella (optional)

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss the veggies with the seasoning, making sure to coat them all, and place in a roasting dish. Bake for 20 minutes, then add Daiya mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Good as a side dish or over some quinoa or your preferred grain.

Falafel Arepas

Arepas take two. I’ve been experimenting with this yummy Venezuelan staple food for a while. After a few initial failed attempts, I finally have them down pat. You HAVE TO use pre-cooked white cornmeal (I used the wrong kind of corn flour in an earlier post.) There are several brands of arepa flour out there, but the most common one I’ve seen around is Harina PAN. It can probably be found in the ethnic food section in the grocery store. They’re super easy to make and go well with anything, and can be used in place of pita (if gluten-free is your thing.) I decided to fill them with falafel to make a savory East-meets-West kind of pocket with a Latin twist. Topped with a creamy cashew nut sauce, these little guys were really flavorful!

Baked falafel balls (makes about 9 balls)

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 1 can)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375º. Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until a thick paste is formed. Roll into 1-inch balls and put onto an oiled baking dish, slightly flattening them. Cook for 30 minutes, turning them over halfway through. They should be crispy and browned.

Arepa pockets (makes about 6)

  • 1 cup Harina PAN flour
  • 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix the flour with your hands until all the water is absorbed. Roll into 2-inch balls and flatten between your palms. Grill until golden brown on both sides (I use a George Foreman grill for convenience.) Allow to cool, then cut a slit halfway through to make a pocket.

Cashew cream sauce (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 3 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt, black pepper, paprika, and a pinch of nutmeg

Process everything up until smooth.

Serve with sliced red cabbage and chopped tomato.

¡Buen Provecho!

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Collards Stew

Winter’s made me super lazy about cooking lately and I’ve been stuck in a rut of making my favorite staples over and over again. But having recently joined a new food coop in the neighborhood, I have all this yummy produce and was inspired by the fresh herbs I saw yesterday and decided to get off my lazy butt and make a stew! This is a variation on my good old black bean recipe, but made a little heartier with sweet potatoes and greens, and with an herby kick. Perfect for a cold wintery night!

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Collards Stew (serves about 8)

  • usual black beans recipe, minus the dry oregano and adding to the pot 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed, and 1 more cup of water

Plus

  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rubbed sage
  • 3-4 leaves collard greens, chopped

When the beans are soft, add the red wine vinegar, sage, oregano, and collards, and let simmer another 4 minutes until the collards are wilted. Garnish with some fresh oregano and serve with brown rice.

Apple Cheesecake Crumble

I’ve been venturing more into dessert lately when I realized that I don’t have enough sweet stuff on here! Baking has always intimidated me because it seems easy to slip up and you can’t taste test things while they’re cooking. After trying a pumpkin cheesecake recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen (which this is adapted from) I wanted to experiment with a different flavor and had a $2 bag of apples from the farmer’s market lying around. The apple topping and crumble is perfect because it’s like pie and cheesecake in one!

Vegan Apple Cheesecake Crumble

  • 8 oz container of vegan cream cheese
  • 12 ounces silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup light agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 
  • 1 cup apple sauce (the unsweetened kind)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
 
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup light agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp melted Earth Balance
  • 1 large apple, peeled and thinly sliced
 
  • 1 store bought 8-inch graham-cracker pie crust(the non-hydrogenated kind!)

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the first set of ingredients in a food processor until it’s thick and creamy. Remove a cup of the mixture and spread on crust. Add the next group of ingredients and process, then pour over the bottom layer on the crust.

In a mixing bowl, add the last set of ingredients except the apple and mix together with your hands until the flour is moist and crumbly, adding more flour if needed.

Layer the apple slices over the top layer and top off with the crumble mixture. Bake for 50 minutes then let it set in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving so it can get firm.

Enjoy!

Cannellini Bean & Kale Quiche

One of my friends brought over a cannellini bean and spinach dip for Thanksgiving which was amazing, and I thought, this would be a good creamy filling for a quiche! Most recipes use silken tofu to get that consistency but I found the beans were just right. And having lived in France for 2 years, I miss quiche and have never tried to make a vegan version. I even made the crust from scratch, which was surprisingly easy and cheaper than a store bought crust.

For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp organic cane sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 7 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy milk

Preheat oven to 400. Put all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and mix with a fork until all the flour is dampened, then press the dough against the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate, making sure it’s even and there are no holes. Cover with foil and bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 4 minutes until the dough is set.

For the filling
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 1 12 oz jar artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup daiya mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • paprika
  • salt

Bring the temperature of the oven up to 425. In a processor, add all the ingredients except the onions, pepper, and mushrooms. Process it up until it’s creamy. Saute the remaining ingredients in a saucepan with some olive oil until the onions start to get translucent, about 4 minutes. Layer the bean mixture and onion mixture in the pie crust, adding a sprinkle of daiya cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Bon appetit!

My Favorite Holiday – Vegan Style

Here’s a recipe I use for Thanksgiving every year because it’s always such a hit. The pic of my friend Franny licking her lips proves it. It was her first Thanksgiving (she’s British) and she LOVED my stuffing. It’s a little labor intensive if you start with raw chestnuts (jarred roasted ones were $15, compared to $5 for a bag of raw ones, so duh!) but it’s worth it, plus it’s Thanksgiving, so no shortcuts! And no Thanksgiving would be complete without the gravy. Mushrooms are a good base because they help it thicken up when you cook it down. This is also one of my staples. I even made some for my class this week and they begged me to post the recipe so here you go guys!

Chestnut Stuffing

adapted (makes about 15 servings)

  • 1 pound of tempeh sausage crumbles (2 8 oz packs of tempeh, and use fresh sage!)
  • 1 pound loaf of day old 7-grain bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 cups roasted chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Preheat your oven to 375º. Heat the vegan margarine in a skillet and add the onions, celery, and fennel. Cook until they start to become soft, about 7 minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan, then add the sausage crumbles. Cook another minute, then add the chestnuts and cook until the liquid has evaporated. In a big mixing bowl, add the bread cubes, onion, sausage, fennel mixture, herbs, and broth, and mix well. Make sure the stuffing is moist but not too wet. Place the stuffing in a greased 4 quart baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 45 until the top is crispy.

*To roast the chestnuts yourself, preheat the oven to 425º and with a sharp knife, cut an X into each one. Put them in a baking dish with the X facing up and bake for about 3o minutes until the shells start to burst open. Let them cool and then they’re ready to peel.

Mushroom Gravy

  • 1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
Cook the mushrooms and the onions in a skillet in the vegan margarine over medium heat until they start to get soft and the onions are translucent. Add the vegetable broth and soy sauce, and slowly add the flour while stirring making sure it doesn’t clump. Add the spices and turn heat down to medium-low and let cook for about 15 minutes until you reach the desired thickness.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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