Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Fruit Cakes



3/4 cup softened Earth Balance vegan butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup non dairy milk
1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
3 tablespoons ground flax seed
6 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup good quality brandy
1/4 cup chopped medjool dates
1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped dried plums
1/8 cup chopped candied ginger
1 tablespoons orange zest


Cream together the Earth Balance vegan butter and the sugars till light and creamy. 

Whisk together the non dairy milk, apple cider vinegar, flax seed, water and vanilla and let sit 5 minutes to thicken up. 

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. 

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, add the brandy, dried fruits, candied ginger, and zest. Heat just till warm. Remove from heat and let the mixture sit 5 minutes. 

Add the flax/milk mixture and the brandy/dried fruits mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix to combine. Add in the flour mixture and stir just till combined. 

Pour into buttered and floured bundt pans. This can make 1 large sized bundt cake. I used 6 small bundt pans. For a large cake, bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 325 degrees F. For the small ones, I baked them for about 55 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes and remove from bundt pans. Cool completely before icing. 

For the royal icing, combine 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar with 4 teaspoons non dairy milk, 2 teaspoons organic corn syrup, and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Whisk till smooth. Drizzle over the tops of the cakes. I garnished mine with a cranberry and mint leaves cut to look like holly. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Vegan Latkes




For the latkes you will need 1 pound starchy potatoes, 1/2 cup grated onion, 1 tablespoon ground flax, 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil for frying. 

Combine ground flax, water, and flour. Let sit. (Traditionally, latkes aren't made with flour but with these vegan ones, you really need the flour to hold it all together. Otherwise it just sorta falls apart in the pan. You can use gluten free flour if you need to as well!) Peel and grate the potatoes. Place grated potatoes in a large bowl full of cold water. Let potatoes sit for 3 minutes. Remove potatoes from water and place on a large dish towel. Wrap up and squeeze the potatoes in the towel to remove as much water as possible. Place back in a large bowl and toss with the onion, flax mixture, and salt. Heat about 1/2 to 1 inch of vegetable oil in a skillet and heat over medium high. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture and form into a flat round with your hands. Place in the oil and cook on each side for a couple of minutes till golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Continue until all of the potato mixture has been cooked.

For the apple sauce, I grated 3 apples with the skins left on. Cook in a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons raw sugar and 1/3 cup water over medium low heat for about 15 minutes. Mash with a spoon.

For the aioli, combine 1/2 cup Veganaise with the juice and zest from 1 lemon, and 1 tablespoon chopped dill. 

Serve the latkes topped with the applesauce and lemon dill aioli!! This recipe makes 12 to 18 latkes depending on size!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Shortbread Rudolph Cookies



2 tablespoons ground flax seed
4 tablespoons water 
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine flax seed and water. Stir. Let sit for 5 minutes.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
Cream together the Earth Balance vegan butter and the sugar till creamy. Add in vanilla and flax mixture. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix again. Add in the flour mixture and mix till dough forms. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. Using cookie cutters of your choice, but our shapes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. They should seem slightly underdone coming right out of he oven. Once they cool they will be perfect. These can very crunchy when over cooked. Still good, especially with coffee or tea! But if you want a softer cookie, make sure to under bake them. 

For the royal icing, combine 1 1/2 cups, powdered sugar, 3 to 5 teaspoons of non diary milk, 2 to 3 teaspoons non high fructose corn syrup and a splash of vanilla. Combine in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat till smooth. 

Using a piping bag fitting with a small round top, outline the cookies and then fill in the middle with icing. Coat the antlers with raw turbinado sugar and the rest with clear sugar. Finish off with a pomegranate Rudolph nose!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Vegan Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cupcakes





For the gingerbread:
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup dark molasses
2 tablespoons ground flax
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
3/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
1 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 12 cup muffin tins. Combine boiling water, molasses and baking soda. Stir to combine. Mixture will foam up. Set aside and let cool. 
Combine ground flax with the 4 tablespoons water. Set aside to thicken up.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. 
Cream together the Earth Balance vegan butter and the brown sugar till creamy. Add in the flax egg and mix to combine. Add in 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Mix. Add in half of the molasses. Mix. Another third of flour, last of the molasses and then last of the four. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix again. Divide batter among the greased muffin tin, filling each one about 3/4 full. This batter doesn't rise very much so you can be heavy handed. Bake for 35 to 35 minutes till set in the middle. Let cool. 
For the buttercream:
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut
Make sure the butter and shortening are at room temperature. Cream the butter and shortening together. Add in the powdered sugar, non-dairy milk, and vanilla. Beat until creamy. Using a piping bag and large star tip, top each cupcake with frosting and then dip the frosting into the shredded coconut for a snowy look. 

For the trees:
1 10-ounce package vegan marshmallows 
3 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter 
6 cups puffed cereal of your choice (rice, millet, etc.)
All natural food coloring (I get mine at Whole Foods)
I find that the vegan marshmallows soften and melt up best in the microwave. Trying to do it over the stove takes a really long time. I start them off in the microwave and then finish melting the marshmallows with the vegan butter in a pan over the stove. Once melted, add in you food coloring and puffed cereal. Mix well. I waited till it was just cool enough to handle and used my hands to mix! Then form into little tree shapes the size that you want and decorate with sprinkles. Top each cupcake with a tree! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Vegan Gingerbread Latte





Vegan Gingerbread Latte with a mini vegan gingerbread man and coconut ginger whipped cream. I brewed a strong black tea and added in some steamed almond milk, molasses, fresh grated ginger, cinnamon, and clove

Vegan Minestrone Soup

A hearty vegan minestrone soup with pasta, kale, spinach, oven roasted tomatoes, and three different kinds of beans.



2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups oven roasted tomatoes, crushed (375 degrees F. 20 to 25 minutes)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1 cup fresh kale, chopped
1 15-ounce can of beans, rinsed and drained (I used a tri-blend) 
1 cup pasta
2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)
2 to 3 dashes hot sauce (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Saute carrots, celery, and onion till soft and lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add in garlic, bay leaf, and oregano. Saute for another 2 minutes. Add in tomatoes, vegetable broth, and potatoes. Cover and simmer on low for 1 to 4 hours. 30 minutes before serving, add in spinach, kale, beans, and pasta. Cover and simmer till pasta is cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Depending on the sweetness of your tomatoes, you may want to add in the maple syrup. And if you like a little heat, add in the hot sauce!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts



Sautéed Brussels sprouts with caramelized onions, dried cranberries, and spicy candied walnuts. 


This recipe can be divided or doubled depending on how many people you are serving. This makes about 8 to 10 small servings, since people usually eat a little of everything on Thanksgiving.

32 ounces of fresh Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced into half rings
1 clove minced garlic
3 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Trim Brussels sprouts to remove any brown spots and the rough ends. Cut each in half. Steam for 5 minutes. In a large sauté pan, heat olive over medium low heat. Add in onions and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in garlic and cook a minute or so. Combine soy sauce, maple syrup, and water. Pour over Brussels sprouts. Cook till liquid has evaporated. Add in cranberries and black pepper. Top with candied walnuts.

For the candied walnuts, heat 2 teaspoons Earth balance in a small pan over medium heat. Once melted, add in 1 to 2 tablespoon brown sugar and a dash of cayenne pepper. Cook until brown sugar starts to caramelize. Careful not to burn! Add in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup walnuts and toss to coat. Cook on medium low another minute or so. Pour onto parchment paper and let cool for a couple of minutes. (The candied walnuts are really simple in that you can just toss a little earth balance into a pan, sprinkle in a little brown sugar and I find that measuring isn't really too crucial here)

Oven Roasted Purple Sweet Potato and Rainbow Carrots



Oven Roasted Purple Sweet Potato and Rainbow Carrots with Orange Glaze

2 large purple sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups rainbow carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss purple sweet potato and carrots with olive, salt, and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat orange juice over medium heat. Add in brown sugar and bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes. Let cool. Pour over the roasted vegetables. Add in the parsley and toss to coat. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. 

Vegan Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits



Vegan Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits 
(makes 10 to 14, depending on size)

2/3 cup soy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
¼ cup Earth Balance vegan butter, cubed (plus more for brushing)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Let set 10 minutes.

In a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and herbs. Pulse to mix. Add in butter. Pulse about 15 times to cut in the Earth Balance. Add in the soy milk/vinegar mixture and mix just till soft dough forms.

Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Roll out to about 1-inch thick. Cut out with a round biscuit cutter. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, ½ inch apart. Brush tops with a little melted earth balance. 

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes till risen and golden brown.

Cranberry Ginger Cocktail




A festive holiday cocktail made up of cognac, cranberry and pear juices, fresh ginger, and rosemary. 

2 cups fresh cranberries
4 pears, seeded and cubed
1 inch piece of ginger
1 standard shot of cognac per drink
Rosemary simple syrup to taste 
Club soda

In a blender, puree cranberries, pears, and ginger. Add a little water if necessary. Strain the liquid and get as much as you can. For each cocktail, fill glass with ice. Add in the cognac and 1 or 2 tablespoons of the rosemary simple syrup, depending on how sweet you like your cockatil. Fill glass ¾ full with cranberry pear juice. Top with club soda. Garnish with fresh rosemary and a cranberry.

For the rosemary simple syrup, combine ½ cup organic cane sugar with ¼ cup water and 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary. Bring to a boil and cook till sugar dissolves. Turn off heat. Remove rosemary sprigs and let cool completely.

Vegan Herbed Cornbread Stuffed Baby Portobello Mushrooms





Vegan Herbed Cornbread Stuffed Baby Portobello Mushrooms

For the cornbread:

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax and 2 tablespoons water)
1 teaspoon Vegg (egg substitute found online or in some vegan stores)*
¼ cup water
1 cup organic yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup non-dairy milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

Combine flax egg, Vegg, and 1/4 water. Stir and let sit 5 minutes.

Combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine milk, oil, and flax mixture in a small bowl. Mix well. Add milk mixture to flour mixture. Stir to combine. Pour into greased dish.

Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool. Cut into small cubes.

(*If you can't get your hands on the Vegg, just leave it out and double up on the flax egg)

For the Stuffed Mushrooms:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 sticks of celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
1 ½ cup vegetable broth
Olive oil for brushing
12 baby portobello mushrooms, stems removed

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions and celery till lightly browned. Add in garlic, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Cook for a minute or so. Add in earth balance and cook till melted. Add in vegetable broth. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add in cubed cornbread and toss to coat. 

Brush each portobello mushroom with olive oil. Divide stuffing evenly among each portobello mushroom cap and pile on top. Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Vegan Sweet Potato Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies with Cranberry Whipped Cream

 
For the Sweet Potato Pumpkin Cheescake:
 
16 ounces Trader Joe's vegan cream cheese
3 ounces organic non-GMO extra firm tofu
1/3 cup organic sugar 
8 ounces pumpkin purée
8 ounces mashed sweet potato
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon each of clove, allspice, nutmeg
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk 
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Dash of salt 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and 8x2 inch square baking dish. Place a 7.5 inch wide by 14 inch long piece of parchment paper into the greased dish so it covers just the bottom and overlaps over 2 sides. This will help you remove it from the pan really easily. In a blender of food processor, combine all ingredients and blend well until smooth and creamy. Pour and smooth out into prepared dish, reserving 1/2 cup of the pumpkin mixture. Bake for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the brownie batter. 


For the Brownie
2 heaping tablespoons ground flax seeds
6 tablespoons water
3 ounces vegan semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup hot coffee or espresso
1/2 cup (or 1 stick) Earth Balance butter, melted
3/4 cup organic sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup reserved pumpkin mixture

Combine flax seeds and water. Let sit for at least 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour the hot coffee over the chocolate chips and let sit a minute. Stir to combine. Add melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and flax mixture. Mix. In a separate bowl, combine baking powder, cocoa powder, and flour. Add flour mixture and reserved pumpkin mixture to chocolate butter mixture and mix just until combined. 

Remove pumpkin layer from the oven. At his point it will still be pretty soft. So very carefully spoon the brownie mixture on top, dropping small amounts all over and then smoothing out to cover. Return to oven and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, till brownie is set. Let cool, and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Using the overlapping parchment paper, carefully lift out the pumpkin cheesecake brownies and set on a baking sheet. Place another baking sheet or small cutting board on top and carefully flip over so that the pumpkin is on top and brownie is on the bottom. Slice into squares. 

Cranberry Whipped Coconut Cream
1/4 cup whole cranberries 
1 tablespoon orange juice 
1 teaspoon sugar
1 can full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
1/4 cup powdered sugar  

In a small pan, combine cranberries, orange juice, and sugar. Cook over medium low heat until cranberries cook down and a sauce forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Separate the solid coconut fat from the top of the can. You should be left with a little bit of clear coconut water at the bottom. I tested out all be different brands from my store as to which one works best. Some don't firm or separate at all. So find which brand works for you! In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the solid coconut, powdered sugar, vanilla and cranberry sauce. Mix till fluffy.

For the garnish, I baked up some little leaves made out of simple pie crust. Place 3/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 4 tablespoons cold Earth Balance in food processor. Pulse about 20 times. Add in 2 to 3 tablespoons ice cold water. Mix till dough forms. Roll out onto floured surface. Cut out desired shapes. Bake on parchment lined baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes, till golden. 

To serve, top each square with a little cranberry whipped cream and garnish with pie crust leaves. I added some pomegranate seeds around the plate for color. 

Vegan Pizza


Vegan Pizza with purple potatoes, crispy sage, brown butter spinach, and coconut milk mozzarella cheese drizzled with basil cashew cream and garlic cashew cream.

 
For the dough: Combine 3/4 cup warm water, 1 packet active dry yeast, and 2 teaspoons raw sugar. Let sit 5 minutes. In a food processor or stand mixer fitted with bread attachment, combine 2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and the yeast mixture. Mix to form a soft dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes. Split dough into 4 and roll into balls. Cover and let rest another 30 minutes. On lightly floured surface, press, roll and shape dough balls into desired shape and thickness. Preheat over to 500 degrees F. Top with desired toppings and bake on sheet pan lined with a Silpat, parchment, or lightly dust your sheet pan with organic corn meal. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. 

For the toppings, I first layered on some organic tomato sauce. I cooked fresh sage leaves in some Earth Balance till lightly browned and crispy. Then I sautéed some spinach in the same pan with the sage infused browned Earth Balance. I also added sliced steamed purple potatoes, coconut milk mozzarella cheese, basil cashew cream, and garlic cashew cream. (Soaked cashews blended up with a little almond milk, fresh basil, and garlic) 

For the coconut milk mozzarella, you will need 1 cup full fat canned coconut milk, 1 clove garlic, 2 teaspoons agar agar (powder or flakes), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon tapioca starch, 1 teaspoon corn starch

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, bring the coconut milk to a simmer. Peel and smash the garlic clove. Place the garlic clove in the coconut milk and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove garlic clove and discard. Add agar agar, whisking constantly, and cook for 5 minutes. Add salt, lemon juice, tapioca starch and corn starch. Continue whisking over medium low heat for another 3 minutes. Pour mixture into a well oil container of your choice, keeping in mind if you want your cheese to be in a certain shape. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm. Thinly slice the mozzarella.

Vegan Tom Kha Thahu



Coconut lemongrass soup with shitake mushrooms and tofu. 

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 whole stalk of lemongrass, 1/2 inch slices 
1 3-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Sriracha or chili oil
32 ounces vegetable broth
1/2 an onion, chopped
8 ounces sliced mushrooms of your choice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup fresh lime juice 
2 13-oz cans full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup cubed organic firm tofu 
Soy sauce and Sriracha to taste
Cilantro and lime wedges for garnish 



Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add in lemongrass and ginger. Sauté for a couple of minutes to bring out the aromatic flavors. Add in Sriracha or chili oil and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover and simmer for at least an hour. If you have more time, let it go longer! Strain out the lemongrass and ginger, reserving liquid. In another sauté pan, sauté chopped onion and about sliced mushrooms. I used golden oak shitake mushrooms. Add in chopped garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes. Deglaze the pan with fresh lime juice and the reserved lemongrass broth. Add in coconut milk and cubes of organic tofu. Season with more Sriracha and soy sauce to taste. Once you add in the coconut milk, be careful not to over heat as this may cause separation. But if this does happen, fear not. All you have to do to save your soup is add in more coconut milk! To serve, I like to add in some fresh slices of ginger, lemongrass, and lime wedges to bring out a nice freshness. Top with cilantro and enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vegan Orange Pistachio Cake with Spiced Pomegranate Cabernet Poached Pear and Coconut Whipped Cream


I love simple. Give me a brownie or a cookie any day and I am a happy happy vegan. But every once in a while, the occasion calls for something a little more fancy. With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to come up with a dessert chock full of rustic seasonal flavors that would be delicious as well as beautiful. When I was a teenager first starting to realize my passion for cooking, I would watch Food Channel constantly. And one of the first dishes I ever proudly presented to my family was Micheal Chiarello's wine poached pears.  To this day, I remember that dish and how special it seemed to me.

In my vegan version, I added a pistachio orange pound cake and coconut whipped cream. I made a pistachio pomegranate brittle for garnish and mixed the remaining caramel with a bit of the reduced wine poaching liquid for drizzling.

For the Pears

6 pears
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup red wine (I used a vegan cabernet)
1/4 cup raw sugar
Juice from 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves

Peel the pears, careful to keep stem in tact. This is simply for looks so its okay if you do loose a stem. From the bottom, core the pear and remove the seeds. I used a combination of an apple corer, a knife and a small spoon. Cut a thin slice off the bottom so the pears sit evenly. 

In a small to medium sized saucepan, combine pomegranate juice, wine, sugar, orange juice, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Turn down heat to simmer. Place pears into wine mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let pears sit in the liquid for about 2 hours. Turn occasionally to ensure even poaching if the pears aren't fully submerged. Remove pears from liquid and set aside.

Bring the poaching liquid to a boil and reduce in half. Set aside for the caramel sauce and let cool.

For the Brittle and Wine Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon organic corn syrup
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1/4 cup almond milk 
2 tablespoons reduced wine poaching liquid

In a small saucepan, combine all ingrediets. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until mixture starts to turn an amber color. Do not stir, but rather swirl the pan in small circles to mix. Remove from heat when the caramel reaches a deep amber color. Let cool for a few minutes. 

Using only 1/4 of the caramel, spread and drizzle the caramel into interesting shapes onto a silpat. Sprinkle on the pomegranate and pistachios. Drizzle with more caramel. When cooled, break into desired shapes.

To remaining warm caramel, add in the almond milk. Whisk to combine. Add in the reduced wine liquid. Let cool.


For the Orange Pistachio Pound Cake

I used this amazing pound cake recipe as the base. Thanks to Vegan Richa for this perfect recipe.

Wet:
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp almond milk
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp ground raw sugar or other fine sugar
1 Tbsp coconut oil
Juice from 1 whole orange

Roux:
3 Tbsp coconut oil
6 Tbsp flour (1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp)
1/2 cup almond milk

Dry:
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup medium ground roasted pistachios
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Zest from 1 whole orange

In a bowl, mix the ground flax seeds and almond milk, let sit for a minute. Then add the salt, vanilla, vinegar, sugar, coconut oil, and orange juice. Mix until well combined.

In another bowl, combine flour, ground pistachios, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and orange zest. Set aside.

For the roux, in a small pan, heat  coconut oil on medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.

Take the pan off heat and add a little bit of the almond milk. Whisk in and add the rest of the almond milk. Mix and put back on low-medium heat. Mix until a thick roux is formed and the it leaves the pan. 

Let the roux cool for a minute then mix into the wet mixture. Mix until well combined.

Combine the wet and dry. Drop batter into a greased and flour 8 inch square baking dish. Spread out with well oil hands.

Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven for 30 minutes. 

Cool completely. I used a 3 inch round biscuit cutter to cut circles from the cake. But you can do squares and eliminate any scraps this way. Although, eating the scraps is half the fun!!

For the Coconut Whipped Cream

2 cans full fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons powdered sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Refridgerate cans of coconut milk overnight. When you open your cans, there should be a fairly thick layer of solidified coconut cream on the top that you can scoop out before you reach the clear coconut water on the bottom. Every brand is different here. I had 2 different brands and one had a 4 inch thick layer of coconut cream to scoop out where as the other one had maybe an inch. But get as much as you can out. Keep very cold until ready to use. Mix with the whisk attachment in a standing mixer. Add in powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip until creamy and fluffy. Place into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. 


To Assemble 


Start with a piece of the pound cake on a plate. Pipe the coconut whipped cream onto the top of the cake. Also using the piping bag, fill the poached pear with coconut whipped cream. Place pear right on top of the cake. Add some more coconut cream around the plate. Drizzle with the wine caramel sauce and top with brittle. Get creative here!! Do whatever you think looks awesome.





Saturday, November 15, 2014

Vegan Doughnuts!



Vegan doughnuts, colored with all natural ingredients! Matcha, blackberries, raspberries, and purple potatoes!

Makes 12 to 20, depending on size.
Ingredients: 
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup non dairy milk, warm,  
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 "Vegg" egg yolks*
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons softened Earth Balance vegan butter
Vegetable oil for frying
Combine the yeast, milk, and 1/2 cup of the flour in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix to combine. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. 

In a medium bowl, combine vanilla, "Vegg" egg yolks, and sugar. Add this mixture to the yeast mixture. Mix on low till combine. Switch to bread hook and add in remaining flour. Mix on medium heat until the dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Push down dough to remove air. Cover and let sit another 30 minutes.

Roll out dough onto lightly floured surface about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut desired sized rounds. Using a smaller round cutter, cut out your doughnut holes. Cover and let sit another 10 minutes to rest. Heat your oil to 360 degrees F. Fry each doughnut till lightly golden brown and drain on paper towels. Let cool!

For the icing base, combine, 1/4 cup softened Earth Balance with 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 to 5 tablespoons non dairy milk, and vanilla extract.

For the different colors, I separated out little bowls of the white icing and went to town with different colors. I used matcha, blackberry juice (from a bag of thawed frozen blackberries) , raspberry juice (frozen, thawed), and purple potatoes!! (Steamed, peeled, and blended with icing in my Vitamix)  I topped the doughnuts with pistachios, sprinkles, crushed organic vegan chocolate cookies, and shaved coconut.

Dip each doughnut into some icing, drizzle with a different color, or top with a fun topping!  


*The Vegg is an egg substitute you can buy online and in some vegan/health markets. If you can't get your hands on this product, this recipe would also work by substituting a vegan yogurt, a little veganaise, etc. Or a mixture of the two. About 1/4 cup total.

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Banana Shake



Blend together 2 frozen bananas, 1/4 cup soaked cashews, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 3/4 cup coconut milk, 2 dates and a handful of ice cubes! Simple as that! Makes about 2 servings.

Vegan Squash Chili


I added some roasted mashed squash into some basic chili. The squash thickened up the chili and added a really nice subtle sweetness! 

Sauté 1 chopped onion, 1 clove minced garlic, and a tablespoon of chili powder in a little bit of olive oil. 

Add in about 3 cups of oven roasted tomatoes (400 degrees for 30 minutes or so), a cup of vegetable broth, 1/2 cup roasted corn, and 2 cans of chili beans (if you can find them "in sauce" I add in the sauce too. Otherwise, drain and rinse). Then add in about a cup of roasted squash (butternut, pumpkin, whatever you want!) 

Simmer in low for at least 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

These are the ingredients I had on hand, but like any other soup or stew, you can add WHATEVER you want. Some roasted chiles or some more veggies! I topped mine with some guacamole, lime cashew creme, and some tortilla chips!

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Chickpeas with Maple, Cayenne Pepper, and Thyme



Roasted chickpeas are a great healthy snack. Super versatile as well and can be flavored so many different ways. I used maple syrup in this recipe, but these would be nice with some brown sugar as well or any other sweetener that you may have on hand.




Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
Ingredients
1 15-oz can chickpeas (drained and rinsed well)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (more or less depending on how spicy you like)
1/4 teaspoon salt (adjust and add more after baking if necessary)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves.


Combine olive oil, maple, cayenne, salt, and thyme. Pour over the chickpeas and toss to coat. Lay chickpeas in single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. 
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, toss to mix halfway through. Towards to end, check often to avoid burning. 


Friday, November 7, 2014

Vegan Carrot Corn Dogs



Marinated carrots, dipped in a slightly sweet cornmeal batter and fried till crisp! 

I had heard about this whole "carrot as a hotdog" thing but honestly never gave it much thought. I really wasn't sure it would taste like anything more than, well....a carrot pretending to be a hotdog! But let me tell you, this is NOT the case. The carrot has just the right texture!! These little carrot corn dog bites are SO good and I am so pleasantly surprised by this carrot hot dog idea!!

You can use full sized carrots and make regular corn dogs, or use baby carrots and make mini ones like these!!  


Vegan Carrot Corn Dogs
(makes 24 mini or 8 regular sized)


24 baby carrots (or 8 medium sized carrots, peeled)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 dashes liquid smoke
Wooden skewers
Oil for frying
2 teaspoons ground flax seeds
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup non dairy milk
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (plus a little more for dusting)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar (you can use any sugar substitute you want; maple syrup, stevia, etc.)
2 teaspoons baking powder

Steam carrots for 5 minutes. You want them tender on the outside but still a little firm. You don't want mushy carrots for this!!

Mix together the vinegar, water, soy sauce, garlic, and liquid smoke. Marinate the carrots in this mixture for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight. Remove carrots, rinse, and pat dry. Insert a wooden skewer into each carrot. Set aside.

Pour frying oil into a large heavy bottomed pot. Heat oil to 375 degrees F.

Combine ground flax seeds, water and non dairy milk. Let sit for 5 minutes.
 
Combine corn meal, flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together.

Dust each carrot with a little bit of flour. This helps the batter to stick. Dip each carrot into the batter, letting some of the excess drip off. Fry each corn dog till lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Vegan Ginger Blueberry Muffins with a Blueberry Glaze

Ingredients
(makes 12)

For the muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
2 tablespoons water
1 1/4 cup soy milk (or any other non dairy milk)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup oil (vegetable, coconut, etc.)
1/2 banana, mashed well
2 tablespoons whole organic chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries
1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking poweder, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. In separate bowl, combine flax seed with water. In another bowl, combine milk and vinegar. Let both sit 5 minutes to thicken. Combine flax mixture, milk mixture, oil, mashed banana, chia seeds and vanilla together. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until combine. Gently fold in blueberries and ginger.

Lightly grease a muffin tin, or use paper liners if you would like. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, til lightly browned. Let cool.  

For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mash the blueberries and strain out all of the juice. Add to the powdered sugar. Add vanilla and mix well. Adjust consistency by adding more sugar or juice if needed.

Dip each muffin top into the icing and enjoy!!



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Vegan Lasagna







I used this recipe as the starting point for my lasagna.


Ingredients
Makes 8 to 10 servings
 
1/2 to 1 pound lasagna noodles
2 10-ounce packages frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 zucchini, seeded and roughly chopped
1 large potato, peeled, cooked, and cubed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package 16 oz package firm tofu
1/4 cup nondairy milk
1/4 cup homemade cashew cheese (recipe here)
Juice from 1/2 lemon  
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 teaspoon salt 
4 to 6 cups tomato sauce
1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese, shredded


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook lasagne noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Squeeze as much water from the thawed spinach as possible. 

Saute the onion, zucchini, potato, and garlic in a pan over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside.

Place tofu, nondairy milk, cashew cheese, lemon juice, basil and oregano in a food processor and blend till smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and add in the spinach and sauteed vegetable mixture. At this point, taste the mixture and season with salt, adding more if needed. 

Spoon a small amount of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Place a layer of noodles (use 1/3 of noodles). Top with 1/2 of the tofu mixture and some of the mozzarella cheese. Continue to layer your lasagna in this basic order. Sauce, more noodles, the rest of the tofu mixture, more cheese. You should finish off with a layer of noodles, more sauce, and the rest of the mozzarella cheese. (This is not crucial though! Layer it all in, and it is going to taste great however you do it!)

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool a bit before serving. 


Monday, November 3, 2014

Vegan Cinnamon Sugar Churros with Dark Chocolate Maple Dipping Sauce








Ingredients 

3 tablespoons ground flax
6 tablespoons water
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup water 
Oil for frying
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup soy milk (or any non dairy milk of your choice)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


Combine ground flax seed with water. Let sit at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt Earth Balance vegan butter in a small saucepan. Add in all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup water. Stir quickly with a wooden spoon. Add the flax mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. You will have a soft dough/batter. 

Heat a large pot of oil to 375 degrees F. Combine sugar with the cinnamon and have ready when frying. Place dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe batter right into the hot oil, using a knife to separate from pastry bag. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes till nicely browned. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Let cool a minute and toss in cinnamon sugar. 

For the chocolate dipping sauce, heat soy milk and maple syrup. Pour over dark chocolate chips. Let sit and stir to combine. 

Dip your little churros into the chocolate and enjoy!! These churros are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Slightly different than a traditional churro, but still awesome and delicious! This recipe makes enough for 2 or 3 servings. I made mine small, like churros bites. If you want large churros, I would make a double batch! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rainbow Crostini



Great as a party appetizer! These rainbow crostini are easy, delicious, and look really special. Anything goes with these guys. Once you have your basic vegetables prepared, your imagination can run wild to created some awesome flavor combos.

The base of each one is a toasted slice of baguette and lemon cashew cheese.

Ingredients

2 cups unsalted cashews
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup non dairy milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 vegan baguette

Soak the cashews in water over night (If in a time crunch, anything over 3 hours will be okay). Remove from water. Blend with lemon juice, half of the non-dairy milk and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding more non dairy milk if necessary.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the baguette, preheat the oven to 35o degrees F. Thinly slice the baguette into 1/4 to 1/2 inch ovals. Brush lightly with olive oil. Bake 10 to 12 minutes till golden brown.

Now for the fun part!

1 to 3 tomatoes
1 red sweet potato
1 small yellow squash
 1 medium japanese eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 avocado
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup radicchio or purple cabbage 
1 watermelon radish, peeled and thinly sliced
(any other garnishes you would like, black sesame seeds, lemon zest, balsamic vinegar etc.)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Slice the tomatos, sweet potato, squash, and eggplant into desired shapes. Try to keep them roughly close in shape. Toss each group individually in a little bit of the olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme leaves.  Pour  each vegetable onto one parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake anywhere from 25 to 30 minutes. Check often, if you see one vegetable is looking done, you can take it out and keep roasting the rest.

To assemble, top each crostini with a bit of cashew cheese and toppings of your choice. This is what I did!

For the red, top with roasted tomatoes.

For the orange, top with roasted sweet potato and black sesame seeds.

For the yellow, top with roasted yellow squash and lemon zest.

For the green, top with avocado and basil.

For the blue, top with blueberries, balsamic vinegar, and black sea salt.

For the indigo, top with roasted eggplant, thinly sliced radicchio, olive oil, salt and pepper.

For the violet, top with sliced watermelon radish.