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.


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.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Vegan French Onion Soup with Coconut Milk Mozzarella Cheese

French Onion Soup with Coconut Milk Mozzarella Cheese
(adapted and veganzied version of this recipe)
(4 to 6 servings)

Coconut Milk Mozzarella 

1 cup full fat canned coconut milk
1 clove garlic
1 fresh thyme sprig
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 and thyme sprig in the coconut milk and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove garlic clove and  thyme sprig, 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. For the soup, thinly slice the mozzarella.

French Onion Soup
1/2 cup Earth Balance
4 large onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated pepper
1 cup red wine
3 rounded tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 loaf of vegan sour dough bread, sliced and toasted

Melt the Earth Balance in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and black pepper.Cook until the onions are soft and very caramelized, between 15 and 20 minutes. Add the red wine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the wine has evaporated. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Add the vegetable broth and return to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 To assemble, divide french onion soup among however many dishes you are using. Top each soup with 1 or 2 pieces of toasted sour dough and enough mozzarella cheese to cover the bread. Broil anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes (depending on oven), until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Soup and dish will be hot so be careful! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vegan Halloween Carrot Cakes with Witchy Green Avocado Buttercream

Halloween is about a week away!! And these little cakes really bring the holiday spirit. The orange carrot cake, chocolate witch hats, and witchy green frosting are perfect for a Halloween party!

Carrot Cake

2 tablespoons finely ground flax seeds
6 tablespoons water  1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup organic sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted (or any oil of your choice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a standard cupcake tray or line with paper cups if using.

Mix the ground flax seed with the water and let sit 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.

Combine the flax mixture with the oil.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix just till combined.

Gently fold in the grated carrots.

Fill each muffin tin 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes till golden brown. Cool.

Chocolate Witch Hats

Melt 1/2 cup dairy free dark chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Transfer melted chocolate to a piping bag fitted with a very small round tip.

I picked this random witch hat clip art from Google images. Print it out in the size that you want and place the image underneath parchment paper.

You are going to pipe the chocolate over the hat, ignoring the brim completely. Just do the triangular top part of the hat. For every witch hat point you make, pipe one circle as well. Once you have piped all of your hats, place in the fridge. You can go back and add a second coat of chocolate to thicken up the hats. If they are too thin, the melt very easily when you touch then. Once you have finished piping. Let harden in the refrigerator completely, about 10 to 15 minutes. Attach the tops of the hats to the circles using more melted chocolate. Add any details you would like. I piped little orange buckles with some orange frosting.

Butter Cream Frosting

1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Maggie's Naturals food coloring (I used a tiny bit of blue and green and yellow to boost the color a little)

Cream the avocado and butter together until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix on low at first, increasing the speed until thoroughly combined. Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Mix. Adjust color at this point.

To assemble, just pipe a bit of green frosting on each cupcake and top with a little witch hat. I finished mine off with some purple sugar pearls.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Vegan Purple Potato Quinoa Cakes with Maple Brussels Sprouts, Sage Walnut Pesto and Crispy Shallots

This recipe is so PERFECT for a dinner party. Especially if you want to impress someone. It feels like eating a fancy dish from a restaurant. There are a lot of different components, but each one is so easy! And the best part is that everything can be made ahead. Just reheat the brussels sprouts before and sear the quinoa cakes right before serving. 

For the Purple Potato Quinoa Mash

4 to 6 small purple potatoes
1 medium sized red beet, steamed and peeled 
3 tablespoons Trader Joe's vegan cream cheese
1 tablespoons olive oil 
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice 

Steam purple potatoes for 15 to 25 minutes  fork tender, depending on size. Let cool enough to handle. Peel potatoes. Mash potatoes, vegan cream cheese and red beet together. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onion till soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and cook just a minute or so. Add quinoa and sauté for another minute. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from heat and let sit another 5 minutes.

Combine quinoa and purple potato mixture. Form into patties, whatever size you would like! Makes about 8 three inch patties. Set aside. 

In a skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium night heat. Said the patties on each side till golden brown and crispy. About 4 minutes each side. 

For the Maple Brussels Sprouts

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 glove garlic
2 cups fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup 
1 tablespoon gluten free low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water  

In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté shallots and cook till soft. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add Brussels sprouts and cook for 8 to 10 minutes till nicely browned on the edges. Combine the maple syrup, soy sauce, and water. Add the the brussels sprouts. Cover and cook for 1 to 3 minutes, till liquid is absorbed and slightly thickened. 

Fried Shallots

3 medium sized shallots
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
Oil for frying 

Heat oil to about 350 degrees. 

Thinly slice the shallots and toss with the flour. Shake off excess flour. Fry the shallots till golden brown, only a minute or 2!

Basic Hummus 

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender.

Sage Walnut Pesto

1 cup loosely packed basil 
1/4 cup loosely packed sage 
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste 

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender till smooth. (Can be left slightly chunky if you prefer!)

To assemble, spread a couple of tablespoons of hummus on the plate. Add some brussel sprouts. Place potato quinoa pastor on top. Top with more brussels sprouts and fried shallots. Drizzle with pesto. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies and Pumpkin Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches

It stays pretty warm all through October and even into November here in California. But the Autumn spirit is still in the air. And these ice cream sandwiches are the perfect solution to this conundrum. Creamy pumpkin spiced cashew ice cream between chocolatey hazelnut cookies are super easy to make. I made these mini sized, about and inch and a half wide. They were so fun to eat!!

 Pumpkin Vanilla Ice Cream

You can either make your ice cream or buy it. I used my cashew vanilla ice cream recipe but omitted the chocolate chips. Add in about 1/4 cup organic pureed pumpkin and 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice. If you are short on time, you can just buy the ice cream! I rarely see any flavors other than chocolate and vanilla when it comes to store bought almond or nut-based ice creams. But you can easily transform store bought vanilla into pumpkin spice by adding in the pureed pumpkin and spices on your own.

Line an 8 x 8 inch square baking dish. Line with parchment paper. Smooth your pumpkin ice cream into an even 1 inch layer. Refreeze till completely firm, at least an hour. With a round cookie cutter roughly the same size as your cookies, cut out rounds from your block of ice cream. Place the rounds on a parchment lined tray and keep in the freezer until ready to build your sandwich cookies.


 Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
(makes about 40 cookies, or 20 ice cream sandwiches, depending on size)

For the cookies, I veganized this chocolate hazelnut cookie recipe.

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon finely ground flax seeds
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
 1/2 cup vegan chocolate hazelnut spread (I used Justin's brand)
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup turbinado sugar to coat the cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine flour and baking soda. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine ground flax seeds, water, and vanilla.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, combing chocolate hazelnut spread, Earth balance, sugar and brown sugar. Mix on medium speed about 3 minutes till creamy. Add in flax seed and mix to combine. Slowly add the flour and baking soda and mix just until smooth dough forms.

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in turbinado sugar to coat. Set on parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 4 minutes. Remove from oven. With the bottom on a jar or a any flat surface, gently flatten each cookie. Return to oven and cook for 4 more minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

To assemble, place 1 pumpkin ice cream round between 2 chocolate hazelnut cookies and press gently. Eat right away or store in the freezer wrapped in plastic wrap or parchment paper.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Frozen Birthday Cake

I had so much fun making this Frozen cake! Especially sculpting little Olaf. The cake is a basic chocolate cake with vanilla butter cream. Everything is made from fondant aside from Elsa and Anna which are card stock cut outs. I took inspiration from this paper ice castle tutorial to come up with my edible version. Olaf is made out of fondant. 1 toothpick for support and angle hair pasta for arms.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Vegan Caramel Apples with Dark Chocolate and Pistachios

Almost 2 weeks into October and it is just now beginning to feel like fall around here. And one of my favorite fall time traditions is apple picking in Oak Glen with my mom and sister. Now, what to do with this abundance of apples? I say, drench 'em in caramel and chocolate! I used the apples from Oak Glen which are much smaller than regular store bought. This recipe makes enough caramel to double coat about 8 regular large granny smith apples.

The first thing you need to do is prep your apples. Wash and remove any waxy layer from the apples (of store bought). The wax will prevent the caramel from sticking. Remove apple stems and replace with your stick of choice. Twigs, skewers, popsicle sticks, chopsticks. You can pretty much use anything you've got handy.

Have a parchment lined tray ready to place the dipped apples on.

For the Vegan Caramel

1 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
2 cups organic cane sugar
2 cups soy or almond milk
1 cup organic corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine all ingredients except for the vanilla. Stir to combine and set over medium high heat. When mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low. Cook until temperature reads 245 degrees on a candy thermometer. You can also check the old fashioned way. After about 10 minutes, drop a bit of the caramel into ice cold water. It should be soft enough to chew but firm enough to form a ball and keep its shape. Once you reach this point, remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.

Transfer caramel to a large glass measuring cup. Let sit for about 3 minutes to cool slightly.

Carefully dip each apple in to the caramel and place on parchment. Let sit for a few minutes and dip again. Let sit for about 20 minutes.

For the Chocolate

1/2 cup dark chocolate
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios

Microwave the dark chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until the chocolate is melted. Add the coconut oil. Dip 1/2 of each caramel apple into the dark chocolate. Sprinkle the chocolate with chopped pistachios. Set on parchment to firm up completely.