Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Almond Ricotta Puff Pastry Tarts with Caramelized Onions, Thyme, and Fresh Figs

(Photo by Lu Tapp, @dustylu on Instagram)

I had the pleasure of serving some of my vegan creations at one of GoodCarma studio's recent events! So happy to share plant based goodness with so many people! I also had the pleasure of having my food photographed by one of my favorite people and photographers, Lu Tapp. This fig tart is one of the appetizers I made for the party! 


1 1/2 cups blanched almonds (soaked in cool water overnight)
1/2 cup water
1 package vegan puff pastry dough, thawed 
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (I like Trader Joes)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
3 large onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic reduction (balsamic vinegar, water, and vegan apple honee, slowly reduced for about 35 minutes)

Strain the blanched almonds. Place into a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup fresh water. Blend till smooth, no almond chunks.

Line a sieve with cheese cloth. Pour almond mixture into the cheese cloth and let sit in refrigerator overnight.

For the puff pastry shells, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Usually there are 2 sheets of dough per package. I used 1 sheet cut in half lengthwise for each shell. Place the half sheet of dough into a rectangular tart pan, letting the puff pastry go up the sides of the tart pan. Bake in preheated oven till puffy and lightly golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. The middle will puff up so using a sharp knife, outline with middle of the tart and remove the top layer to reveal a nice pocket for your filling! 

Peel and slice the onions. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium and add in the sliced onions. Turn heat to medium low. Slowly caramelize onions for about 40 minutes till deep golden brown and soft. You can add a little sugar towards the middle to help with the caramelization process. 

Combine the almond mixture with the lemon juice, vegan cream cheese, thyme, flour, salt and pepper to taste and mix till smooth. Fold in the caramelized onions. 

Spread the almond mixture into the bottom of your tart shell. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes till the filling is slightly set.

Let cool and top with thinly sliced fresh figs and balsamic reduction.

(Photo by Lu Tapp, @dustylu on Instagram)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Vegan Double Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Double chocolate vegan crinkle cookies!!  I think that technically, possibly, theoretically these may be considered a Christmas cookie....and its smack dab in the middle of summer. When we were younger, my mom would make these for us pretty much any time during the year for no special reason other than we wanted cookies and we loved chocolate, so why not? :)

Vegan Double Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
(adapted from Martha Stewart)

1/2 cup vegan butter or shortening, room temperature
3/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 cups granulated sugar
8 ounces dairy free dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
3 teaspoons EnerG egg replacer (or 2 flax eggs)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup non dairy milk of your choice
1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder 
Powdered sugar and granulated sugar for coating

Cream together the vegan butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar till light. Add in the melted chocolate, egg replacer, vanilla, and non dairy milk. Mix well. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Add into the wet ingredients and mix just till combined. The dough will be fairly stiff. Refrigerate if necessary.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Coat first in granulated sugar. Then roll in the powdered sugar. Place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven. The cookies may not flatten out so with a plate or the bottom on a glass, gently press down on each cookie right out of the oven if they have not flattened. This will help create the cracked look. They are very soft at first but crisp up when they cool. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cauliflower Spinach Griddle Cakes

Cauliflower spinach griddle cakes stacked with crispy potato hash, vegan chive cheese, beets, and garlic aioli. If you can't get your hands on the Utopian cheese, you can substitute it for any vegan cream cheese. Just add in some chive and dill. This makes a great appetizer!! 

For the potatoes:

Wash and cube 3 potatoes. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Add the potatoes and cook over medium heat till nicely browned and crispy. About 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and aji amarillo. Remove potatoes from pan. You can use the same skillet to cook the griddle cakes. 

For the cauliflower spinach griddle cakes:

In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds with 4 tablespoons water. Let sit for 5 minutes to thicken. 

Place about 3/4 cup of cauliflower florets into a food processor (you can use fresh or thawed frozen) Pulse till crumbly.You want to end up with about 1/2 cup of the crumble cauliflower. Julienne 3/4 cup fresh spinach leaves. Set 1/4 cup aside for later. Combine the cauliflower and 1/2 cup of spinach in a bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons corn starch and the flax mixture. Add in 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of all purpose flour. Mix to combine.

Add a few more tablespoons of olive oil in the cast iron skillet and heat over medium high. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the oil and cook on each side till browned, flattening with the back of a wooden spoon if necessary.

For the aioli:

Combine 1/4 cup Veganaise, 1/2 clove of minced garlic, and a dash of non dairy milk. 

To assemble: 

Dice up 1 cooked and peeled red beet. Stir the diced beets into some soft vegan nut cheese. (I used Vtopian’s chive and dill). Spread the cheese mixture onto the griddle cakes. Toss the reserved spinach with a little lemon juice and olive oil. Layer the cakes with the crispy potatoes, a drizzle of the garlic aioli, and the fresh julienned spinach.    

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Blackberry Mint Infused Water

A simple way to feel refreshed and energized. It is so easy to create rejuvenating fruit waters. Just blend a few blackberries and mint leaves with fresh alkaline water. Strain through a mesh sieve and pour over ice. Garnish with some more mint leaves.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Super Simple Vegan Chocolate Mousse

1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated
1/4 to 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy free, melted and cooled slightly) 
1 to 3 dates (for sweetness)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Scrape the solid coconut cream from the top of the can of coconut milk. Test out different brands to see which one works the best for you. I find some brands will have 90 percent solid coconut cream at the top while others only have an inch or so. The can I used was almost fully solid. So once I scraped away the opaque solid from the top and was left with only about of inch of clear coconut water at the bottom. Blend the solid coconut cream with the cooled melted chocolate, vanilla as many dates as you want for sweetness. You can also add in maple syrup or any other sweetener that you prefer. Blend till smooth. Refrigerate for about an hour if you want a firmer texture. The great thing about this recipe is it is very forgiving. You can add more chocolate, more sweetness, more coconut all to taste. The main thing to focus on is the texture and just keeping the mixture cool!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Vegan Nachos

For the nacho cheese:

1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper
1 whole roasted green chili
1 lemon, juiced

Pour about 2 cups of very hot water over the cashews. Let sit for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove cashews from water. Place the soaked cashews, 1 cup of fresh water, and remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend on high till very smooth. Check for consistency. If too thick, add more water. If too thin, add more cashews. 

To assemble, layer warm tortilla chips with Beyond Meat crumbles, white beans, chopped tomato and avocado. Drizzle the nacho cheese between the different layers and top with some fresh chopped cilantro and more nacho cheese. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sweet Potato Dumplings in Green Thai Coconut Curry

Sweet Potato Dumplings in Green Thai Coconut Curry with Shitake Mushrooms, Red Pepper, Peas, and Crispy Tofu. A blend of cilantro, basil, spinach, jalapeño, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, lime, and cumin make for the base of the curry. 

For the green thai curry:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/4 cup basil leaves, 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, 1/4 cup fresh spinach, a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled), 3 inches of lemon grass (tough outer layer removed), 3 cloves of garlic, 1/4 to 1/2 of a jalapeño (depending on the spice level you like), the juice and zest of 1 lime, 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup water. Blend till very smooth, adding more oil or water to get a nice smooth paste.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pan. Slice 2 shiitake mushrooms into 1/2-inch pieces. Sauté till nicely browned. Add in 1 red pepper, sliced. Cook another couple of minutes. Turn heat to low. Add in the green curry sauce and cook for about 3 minutes on low. Add in 1 can of full fat coconut milk. Stir and taste to adjust seasoning. Season with soy sauce, more cumin, more jalapeño if you want it spicier, etc. 

Add in 1 cup of frozen peas and keep over low heat until ready to serve.

For the dumplings:

2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes (You need roughly 2 cups mashed)
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour (Plus extra for rolling)

Steam, microwave, boil or roast your potatoes. Remove skins. Put through a ricer if you have one, otherwise just mash well. 

Combine flax seed and water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Stir the flax mixture, salt and pepper into the sweet potato. Using your hands, incorporate the flour into the sweet potato. You are looking for a very soft dough. It is going to be sticky, but you can add more small amounts of flour if you feel it is too soft to handle. Dust your surface with flour. Taking small amounts at a time (about 1/2 cup), roll the dough into 1-inch thick ropes. Using a sharp knife, cut the ropes into 1.5 inch dumplings. 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the dumplings are cook for about 1 minute and a half, till the dumplings begin to float. Remove from water, toss with a little olive oil and chopped cilantro. 

For the tofu:

Cut into 1 inch cubes and press between paper towel to remove as much liquid as possible. Heat some olive oil in a skillet and sear the tofu on both sides. Medium low for about 7 minutes on each side. 

To serve, spoon curry into a bowl. Top with some sweet potato dumplings, crispy tofu, fresh cilantro, basil, and a drizzle of coconut milk.