10/31/11

Vegan Mofo: African Peanut Stew

After having Mi Lah's African peanut stew, I fell in love with the flavor combos and knew I had to try to make a version of my own. Instead of serving it over rice like how it was served at the restaurant, I used creamy and nutty flavored millet grits. The stew was a perfectly warm and comforting dish for a cool fall night!

My favorite way of preparing sweet potatoes is to simply wrap them in tin foil, throw them in a 425 oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. Once they cool, they easily peel out their skin and are ready to cut. Easy!



African Peanut Stew with Sweet Potatoes, Kale and Chickpeas Recipe (vegan)
serves 4-6

Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (baked in skin or steamed, cut into 1-2 inch chunks)
  • 3 cups cooked millet grits
  • 3 cups finely chopped and steamed kale
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 TB ginger
  • 1 TB coriander
  • 1/4 tsp jamaican all spice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups chopped roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 4-6 cups veggie stock (or cheater stock, 4 C water, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp celery seed powder, 2 vegan bouillon cubes) (The more water you use, the thinner the stew will be. Adjust according to your tastes.)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • peanuts for garnish
  • chopped tomatoes for garnish

Directions
  1. Prepare and cook millet, kale and sweet potatoes, set aside.
  2. Prepare millet groats according to package directions.
  3. In a medium-sized soup pan, heat oil on medium and then add ginger and spices.
  4. Add tomatoes and saute for a few minutes.
  5. Add veggie stock, peanut butter and chickpeas and stir. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes and then add kale in last 10 minutes.
  6. Add cooked sweet potatoes, salt and pepper and simmer covered for about 10 more minutes.
  7. To serve, add millet to bowl and top with stew. Garnish with chopped tomatoes and lots of peanuts.

10/30/11

Vegan Mofo: Vegan Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yesterday was a perfect day. It snowed. I listened to jazz and Christmas music. I cleaned my house from top to bottom. I baked cookies. Did I also mention that my husband took the kids out for most of the day and then in the evening, our awesome babysitter watched the little ones so the mister and I could go on a date? Yep. It was pretty awesome.

I had been creating this cookie in my head for the past few days and did a small sample run of it yesterday. Chewy, yet crispy, sweet and salty. Perfection. The dark brown sugar adds a chewiness to the texture, while the oat flour gives it a nice crisp. Please do use parchment paper on your baking sheets; it will help the cookie cook more evenly.

To make the oat flour, take old fashioned oats and process in a coffee grinder or small food processor until the oats become a fine powder.

Chewy and Crispy (Cranberry) Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe (vegan)
makes about 24-36 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 vegan sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain vegan yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (You can use regular table salt, but pink Himalayan is best in this recipe.)
  • 1.5 cups AP unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (already ground)
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 bag of semisweet vegan chocolate chips
  • 1.5 cups dried cranberries (optional--you could leave out or substitute another dried fruit)
  • 1 TB orange zest (optional)


Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine Earth Balance and sugars and blend until creamy. Add vanilla and yogurt. Mix until well combined.
  3. In another small bowl, combine flours, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips and cranberries (if using).
  6. Place rounded tablespoons of the dough on the cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 9-11 minutes (depending on cookie size) or until the outer edges of the cookies are golden (tops may look ever so slightly undercooked, but that is ok.)
  7. Let cool slightly on sheet and then transfer to a wire rack.

10/29/11

Restaurant Review | Bombay Talk, Islen, NJ

Bombay Talk's Dry Gobi Manchurian
Cozy chaos awaits you inside!
These Thai style noodles have become our new fav! Mild, nutty and flavorful!
Haka noodles. So Indian, yet so Chinese!
No trip to Islen, NJ would complete without a meal at Bombay Talk, a popular Indian eatery in a colorful sari and jewelry strip mall. On our way up to New York last weekend, we stopped in so we could get a taste of one of our favorite types of cuisine, Indo Chinese, a style of cooking popular in Gujarat.

We ordered idli and dosas for the kids, but for Mommy and Daddy, we ordered our favorites: (Dry) Gobi (meaning cauliflower) Manchurian, Haka Noodles and a new fav, Bombay Talk's Thai noodles. Thankfully, we remembered to ask for them all not spicy (we are experienced enough to know that mild Indian food still makes our noses run!). The gobi manchurian was the best we have ever had and though we love a good haka noodle, the thai noodles have surpassed them in our fav-o-meter.

Atmosphere at Bombay Talk is a casual chaotic symphony of a semi-cafeteria like vibe meets a sit down restaurant with countless slightly disinterested servers bringing you your dishes on plastic plates (yuck!) with plastic utensils (blech!) on orange cafeteria trays. There is always a line waiting for tables, so don't wait until 7 for dinner or you will lumped in with a mass of people crowding around the door. You will also certainly be ushered out if you decide to loiter at your table when you are done with your meal, so get going or they will tell you to leave! Despite the confusion and hurriedness, the food rocks, so see all these things as part of the entertaining experience. Bring cash too! No credit cards allowed.

Bombay Talk
1358 Oak Tree Rd # 1
Iselin, NJ 08830-1600
(732) 283-0066
http://www.bombaytalkusa.com/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/dimples-bombay-talk-iselin

10/28/11

Vegan Mofo: Make Your Own Tofu Meat! It's Neat!

Tofu meat--eerily realistic looking!


I had a weird idea for making tofu bacon. Instead of marinating the outside of the slices, why not marinate every molecule of the tofu?!? After seeing a post a Vegan Mofo blogger did about making their own vegan peanut butter chips by spreading peanut butter out on a cookie sheet and slowly dehydrating it, I got the crazy idea to do the same to pureed tofu. The end result was something very unique-- flavored through and through. My husband, who is a former lover of meatiness, thought it was trés awesome with a texture not unlike liver. Never having had liver before, I'll take his word for it.

I can imagine frying this tofu meat, after it has been baked, would give it a nice crunchy texture. You can mix up the spices/flavorings to make it any type of meat you want. This recipe aimed for a more maple smoked bacon flavor, but by adjusting it, adding sage and maybe a bit of thyme, you got yourself vegan turkey slices for Thanksgiving! Measurements are all approximate, so please play with it to suit your tastes. The process is really what makes it.


Easy Vegan Tofu Whatever-You-Wish-It-To-Be Meat! 
Turkey! Sandwich Slices! Bacon! Ham! Recipe. Phew!

Ingredients

  • 1 block of firm, organic tofu (I pressed mine using my awesome TofuXpress!)
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 2 TB Nutritional yeast
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB maple syrup
  • 1/2 TB molasses
  • 1 TB dark mustard
  • 1 TB tomato paste (or ketchup!)
  • 1 TB vegan worchestsire sauce (or use 1 tsp vinegar, 1 tsp more molasses)
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • dash of sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: garlic and onion powder or hing

The tofu mixture, spread thinly on the oiled parchment paper.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with oil.
  2. After having pressed all the water out of your tofu, blend all your ingredients in a food processor. Scrape down sides, every minute or so, until the mixture is a fine paste.
  3. Spread the tofu mixture out evenly, and as thinly as possible, on your parchment paper. Place baking tray in oven.
  4. After about a half hour, check the underside and edges of your tofu layer. If it is starting to become solid enough to cut, then take it out of the oven. If not, then continue to bake until it is ready to cut. The top will still be a bit mushy.
  5. Cut the tofu slab into strips then flip the strips over and place back on pan. Your strips may break, don't fret. It's all good.
  6. Place the pan back in the oven for about another 30-45 minutes or until the edges of each strip of tofu meat are crispy or full cooked.
  7. You can fry these strips, eat them straight up, or add them to recipes. They store nicely in an air tight container as well!

Vegan Mofo: Spreading the Love! Lots of Liebster Awards!


I'm really flattered, honored and encouraged that I have been nominated for not one but TWO! Liebster Awards by my fellow Vegan Mofoers. I have to say, even though it has been tons of work creating so many recipes in the past month, I have had tons of fun and am so very happy to have discovered so many great new-to-me blogs, recipes and people. I know that not many of us are making a living from (or even any money from!) our blogs, but blog simply because we love doing it. It is always so nice when people comment on your posts or, *blush* make your recipes and then, in turn, blog about the recipe. Readers, sing it with me, you are the wind beneath my wings!

Johanna, from Green Gourmet Giraffe, and Emily from Triumph Wellness, both shared the love and *gush* gave me a Liebster (meaning dearest or favorite in German) Award! The award is meant to spotlight fellow Vegan Mofoers (who have less than 200 followers) by showing them your respect and giving them your support!

The rules of winning this award are as follows:

  1. Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  2. Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Post the award on your blog.
  4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!

Since I was nominated twice, I will do double duty and pick ten, smaller and/or new-to-me blogs that I have fallen in love with during Vegan Mofo! (Ok, some of them may have way more than 200 followers, but they are not bloggy goliaths.)

In no particular order, Scissors and Spice gives a Liebster Award to:





Wait, what, that was over 10? Oops! I guess I just really needed to spread the love very thickly! Thank you, Vegan Mofoers for being such a wonderful, inspiring and friendly bunch. Xs and Os to you!

10/27/11

Vegan Mofo: Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies Take Manhattan!

Mr. Scissors recently taught a two-day lettering workshop at The Cooper Union in New York and I thought his students could use some cookies to fuel their creativity (actually I just like an excuse to bake!). I whipped up these pumpkin/cranberry/ginger oatmeal breakfast cookies to pair with their morning cups of joe. You can find dark chocolate chips at Whole Foods; if you don't have them, you can certainly use semi-sweet chips.

Pumpkin/Cranberry/Ginger Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (vegan)
makes 18-48 cookies (depending on size)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup AP flour (You could use 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat or spelt.)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TB pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TB liquid sweetener (molasses, rice brown syrup, agave, etc.)
  • 1/8 cup vegan Greek yogurt (or regular vegan yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 TB cornstarch
  • 1 TB grated lemon zest (orange would work great too!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries (You can chop them into little pieces if they are whole.)
  • 1-2 cups of dark chocolate chunks (Adjust to your preference.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
  • 1/2 cup nuts of your choice (optional)


Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, spices and espresso powder.
  3. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar/sweetner, then add yogurt, pumpkin puree, cornstarch, lemon zest and vanilla.
  4. Combine wet ingredients with dry mixture. Add oats until just combined.
  5. Fold in cranberries, ginger, chocolate and nuts (if using).
  6. For super large cookies, use a 1/4 cup scoop (bake for about 14 minutes); for large cookies, use a 1/8 cup scoop (bake about 12 minutes); for politely sized cookies, 1 TB scoop (bake about 10 minutes). Flatten each cookie to about 1/2 inch thick and shape. Cookies do not spread very much.
  7. Cookies will be soft when removed from oven. Let cool on sheet and then transfer to cookie rack with a spatula.

10/26/11

Scissors Craft: Bingo Marker Fun for Kids!

Though while things have been pretty busy around our household with school, my husband's insane work schedule/traveling, and Vegan Mofo--my kids still need love and attention! (My crafty side has been crying out for attention too!) The other day while I was making dinner, the kids were playing in the backyard. So, while my stew was a stewin', I rolled out some craft paper on the patio for us to doodle on with their new dollar store bingo markers. While my son was more into just making dabby dots on his side of the paper, I had my daughter use fallen leaves as stencils and we used blue masking tape to spell out her name (just stamp around the tape and when done, lift the tape--voila!). This is a really cheap and fun craft that last about as much time as it takes to make dinner!

10/24/11

Restaurant Review | The Cinnamon Snail (Vegan Lunch Truck), NJ


I have been following The Cinnamon Snail, a gourmet organic vegan lunch truck that operates out of the Garden State, on Facebook for what seems like 25 years. All my friends in Northern Jersey always brag about how good their doughnuts are and it drives me crazy with jealousy. I had to make it to The Snail someday, somehow!


Luckily, since my husband was conducting a design workshop and lecture in New York City this past weekend, the kids and I were able to tag along. We decided that staying right across the river, in Jersey City, would be easier for me, since I would be by myself with the little ones during the day (being in the city alone with a two toddlers is nerve racking to say the least). I eagerly agreed knowing that The Cinnamon Snail was just a town away! Hoo-ray! Finally. I felt like I was about to make an eagerly anticipated pilgrimage to vegan heaven.

Never having been to Hoboken, their downtown area pleasantly surprised me (cute despite all the tourists taking pictures of Carlo's Bakeshop). It really seemed like a classic American, walkable, small town. The air was cold and the sun was warm--that perfect autumnal combination--and I was super hungry when we arrived. Fortunately for me, there was a parking space right near the truck.


First off about The Snail, I have to say, the guys on the truck are so peaceful, happy and accommodating, you just want them to come out and, like, do some sun salutations with you or something. This is probably a good vibe to have when you are operating a lunch truck that take orders by business types rushing off to work. They left me feeling like, "Dude, everything's gonna be alright!"


Now, for the food... I ordered a few doughnuts, a cinnamon snail, a brownie and a "General Tso's" sandwich. Sitting on a park bench, soaking in the breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline, the children happily scarfed down their strawberry glazed donuts while I waited a few minutes for my sandwich.


When I took the General Tso's out of the bag, I was immediately struck at the size of it! It was huge and reasonably priced at $8. I tried to remember the flavors for a proper review as I ate it, but honestly, I enjoyed it so much, I tried not to be super analytical. It was incredible. The seitan was perfect; crispy on the outside, soft and non-rubbery, and coated with a simple, yet tasty, glaze. Then there was tons of Veganaise, greens, and oh my, even the baguette was awesome. My daughter, who is not big into greens, at about 1/3 of the sandwich, including the veggies, which is a super huge deal. As I approached the inevitable final bites, I felt sad that my time with Mr. General Tso's was coming to an end, and even more sad that I had no idea when I would see him again. Now, I am in forlorn separation from the dear General. My life is void without your goodness!

The baked goods, which I was able to take a few nibbles of the next day, all seemed very well made. What I appreciated most about them is that they were a perfect balance between natural and sweet. It's hard to judge a pastry when it is not fresh, so I think another trip to The Snail is in order again! Yes!

So, if you find yourself in northern New Jersey, get thee to The Cinnamon Snail, pronto! You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter for updates, get their location for the day or to just passively stalk their yumminess. They've also just received their food vendor license for New York City, you lucky New Yorkers!

The Cinnamon Snail
201-675-3755
http://www.cinnamonsnail.com/

10/20/11

Vegan Mofo: Pav Bhaji!

My SLR is still out of commission. Using a inferior point and shoot. So sad.
My husband and I have a pair of friends from India who loved to feed us. Even though they are from Orissa, they would make us dishes from all over India. One night, we were surprised to see that they were serving a mushy mixed vegetable curry on buttered and fried hamburger buns. "What's this?" we asked. "Pav bhaji; it's from Gujarat." Love at first bite. Since then, when it is available at an Indian restaurant, my husband has to order it. Mumbai fast food is seriously amazing.

I can't believe that I never actually made pav bhaji myself until now, since it is fairly easy to whip up. The only exotic ingredient you really need to make an authentic pav bhaji is a "pav bhaji masala" and you are good to go. Most Indian stores sell the spice mixture already made, but you can also make your own. My recipe is a bit westernized because I try to work with ingredients that you can buy from a regular grocery or health food store. I also like it on the dry side since it is less messy to eat.

Pav Bhaji Sandwiches Recipe (vegan)
serves 4-6

Ingredients
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes
  • 3 TB mild oil
  • 1 TB minced garlic (or hing)
  • 1 TB grated ginger
  • 2-3 TB pav bhaji masala (You can make your own by using this recipe right here.)
  • 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cup of cauliflower florets (the smaller, the better)
  • 1 cup each: frozen green peas, finely shredded carrots, and finely shredded cabbage
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 lemon
  • dash pepper
  • hamburger or dinner rolls (the whiter and more processed, the better!)
  • margarine
  • garnishes: fresh chopped tomato, chopped fresh cilantro, onions, etc.

Directions
  1. Boil and mash potatoes. Set aside.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat oil and add garlic, ginger and pav bahji masala. Saute for a minute and then add tomatoes.
  3. Add florets and saute for a few minutes then add carrots and cabbage. When they begin to soften add peas. The veggies should be all mushy and evenly soft.
  4. When the vegetables are all very tender, add mashed potatoes, salt, and pepper and squeeze lemon top. Stir until all are well combined.
  5. Generously spread Earth Balance on all sides of rolls and fry their insides until crispy and golden brown.
  6. Stuff each bun with your bhaji mixture and top with garnishes, if any. Personally, I don't think it needs any, but if you want to be fancy and authentic, go for it

10/19/11

Vegan Mofo: Brunch & Nature.





Brunch and Nature:

Mi Lah French toast, Mi Lah seitan tacos, Mi Lah tofu benedict, Rittenhouse and my little graffiti artist, Eric the Red, and The Schuylkill River.

10/18/11

Vegan Mofo: Dinner & A Show.

Dinner and A Show:

Philly, Mi Lah African Peanut Stew, cute drum, me and Kelly (don't be mad!), and Walter.

Vegan Mofo: Banana Cupcakes with Vegan Mousse & Ganache


My mother-in-law would make each of her FOUR boys whatever they wanted for dinner on their respective birthdays (bless her heart, for I would not have stayed sane with that much testosterone in one household). My husband, the youngest, would always choose lasagna and banana cake with chocolate frosting for his birthday. While he is over lasagna at this point in his life, he still requests that particular cake. I remember celebrating his birthday when we first began dating; I made him some crazy weird cake with a tea light on top. Thankfully, my baking chops have gotten much stronger since then. Here's this year's version. He said it was the best cake he's ever eaten!

The banana cake is actually tastier and more moist if you make it a day or two in advance; just wrap and store it in the fridge. Perfect recipe for prepping ahead of time for a party! The chocolate mousse should also be made in advance; it's best if it is refrigerated overnight. Prepare the ganache when you are ready to decorate the cupcakes.

Banana Cake with Vegan Mousse & Ganache Recipe (vegan)
makes 12 cupcakes of 1 8" or 9" layer cake

Ingredients

Banana Cake

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tsp rum extract
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 very ripe, super mashed banana
  • 1 cups water


Vegan Chocolate Mousse

  • 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 block of silken tofu
  • 1 TB cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • dash salt


Vegan Ganache

  • 1/4 cup soy creamer
  • 3/4 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash salt
  • dash espresso powder

Directions

Banana Cake
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl.
  3. Push three divots in the dry ingredients with the back of a mixing spoon. In one hole, pour vanilla and rum extract, in the second, pour the oil and in the last, pour the vinegar. Pour water and mashed bananas on top and mix with a spoon until just combined.
  4. Divide the batter into 12 cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes. If baking a cake, it may need up to 30 minutes depending on the type of pan used. 
Vegan Chocolate Mousse
  1. In a food processor, blend tofu, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, and espresso powder.
  2. Melt chocolate in microwave or in a double broiler.
  3. Combine chocolate and tofu mixture in food processor.
  4. Transfer to a covered container and store in fridge overnight.
Vegan Ganache
(Make this right before you are ready to decorate your cupcakes.)
  1. In a small saucepan, heat soy creamer over low heat and stir in remaining ingredients until melted while stirring constantly. 
  2. Decorate cupcakes or cake immediately.

To decorate/fill:
  1. With a knife, carefully cut circular divots out of each cupcake, removing some of the dough, but save the top (set aside crumbs as a post-cupcake-decorating treat!). Illustrated in first picture, above.
  2. Fill each hole with the mousse or ganache. Place caps back on holes and dip each top in the warm ganache. Either drizzle more ganache on top for decoration (bottom cupcake of second picture) or use a pastry bag to pipe on your mousse (top cupcake of second picture). I also made some bomb cupcakes by creating a mound of mousse that was covered in the ganache. Holy goodness!

10/17/11

Vegan Mofo: HOT! Cranberry Orange Chia Breakfast Pudding

My faithful reader, Cristina, asked if I ever did the breakfast chia pudding warm. Nope, but boy that sounded super yummy so I had to give it a try! Instead of (or in addition to!) cranberries, you could use raisins and add bananas! Yum!

HOT! Cranberry Orange Chia Breakfast Pudding Recipe (vegan)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut or almond milk from a carton
  • 2-3 TB chia seeds (The more you use, the thicker the pudding will be.)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 TB chopped, dried cranberries (plus more for garnish)
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1/2-1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 TB chopped nuts (I used dry roasted pecans.)


Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat milk, chia seeds, vanilla, cranberries, orange zest, and cinnamon until it boils. Let simmer, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes. Give it a stir every few minutes so it does not stick to the pan.
  2. Let cool for a few minutes.
  3. Top with maple syrup, nuts, and cranberries.

10/14/11

Vegan Mofo: Raspberry Chia Breakfast Pudding (My New Favorite!)


Seriously, I am not a breakfast person. I'm also not a morning person, but having kids means you have to at least embrace the AM even if you don't want to. Since I eat a lacto-veg diet (meaning I occasionally eat dairy, but no eggs), I would often have yogurt for breakfast even though it always gave me a stomach ache. I know, so why would I eat it? Convenience, I guess. Since doing Vegan Mofo, I have been trying to eliminate dairy from my diet, so I am looking for another morning dish.

Last night, I decided I would have chia seeds in the morning. I feel great when I eat chia, so I thought it's probably a better idea to start the day feeling lovely than with a pained belly and a cloudy disposition. I'm so happy I did; I found my new favorite brekky!

To read more about the health benefits of chia seeds, read here and here and here!

Raspberry Chia Breakfast Pudding Recipe (vegan)
serves 1


Ingredients
  • I cup coconut milk (from a carton)
  • 3 TB chia seeds
  • 1/2 vanilla
  • 1/2 cup organic frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or agave) 
  • chopped raw walnuts
  • 1 or 2 chopped dates


Directions
  1. The night before, soak chia seeds in coconut milk and vanilla. Let sit in mug or bowl in fridge.
  2. In the morning, top with raspberries (really you can use any kind of fruit), sweetener, nuts and dates. Eat!  

10/13/11

Vegan Mofo: Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

I was uncertain how the babka would turn out, but ah, perfection!


I remember watching an episode of Seinfeld where an entire episode was dedicated to the mishaps associated with Jerry and Elaine just, just missing the last chocolate babka available at a New York pastry shop. Babka? I had never heard of such a delicacy! Bread and chocolate? I so wanted it!

I searched for babka recipes and they all seemed super eggy. To me, anything involving egg yolks seems way too intimidating to try to de-egg. So, when Vegan Mofo stepped into my life, I finally had freaking good reason to give it a go! I wanted to challenge myself to veganize a recipe that seemed, at least to me, unveganize-able. There are a few babka recipes, like Vegan Dad's, that have already been veganized, but I'm stubborn and needed to chart my own course into babka waters.

The top chocolate roll exploded, but it all worked out in the end.



If you are unfamiliar with babkas, here's a little snippet from Wikipedia:

"...Babka is associated with the Eastern European Jewish tradition. This babka is made from a doubled and twisted length of yeast dough and is typically baked in a high loaf pan. Instead of a fruit filling the dough contains cinnamon or chocolate. The babka is usually topped with streusel. A similar cake called a kokosh is also popular in Jewish bakeries. Kokosh also comes in chocolate and cinnamon varieties, but it is lower and longer than babka, is not twisted, and not topped with streusel."


Dough was to fragile and thin. The chocolate just ripped through it. Doesn't look so pretty, huh?

I used this recipe from Epicurious with the following changes:

  • Egg and Egg Yolk: I used 6 ounces of vegan coconut greek yogurt. I really think it needed to be about 4 ounces though. And I used 1 egg replacer of Ener-G. I used 1 TB of powder instead of 2 tsp.
  • Milk: Coconut milk from a carton. This is also what I used as the egg wash.
  • Flour: I'm not sure if I miscalculated, but the dough seemed too wet. It was very hard to roll. I think adding another 1/2 cup of flour to the recipe would help it hold up better. But again, I may have miscalculated.
  • Butter: Earth Balance buttery sticks!
  • Cinnamon: After I sprinkled the sugar on, I sprinkled some cinnamon on too!

Notes: The dough should be more wet than bread dough, but not too wet. In the final rolling, I could not faltten it with a rolling pin and it ended up being very hard to twist into a figure 8 (my chocolate just kept ripping through the fragile dough). And on that note, I would shave the chocolate to help avoid that problem. Keep everything floured as much as possible when you are handling the dough!

Oh my little babka! Look how swirly and buttery you are!

The end results were a nicely flavored, never-miss-the-eggs, cakey yet dense, buttery delicacy. Would I make it again? Maybe... seriously, it was tons of work. But if you like a challenge, go for it. I think in the future, I might try a cheater version with prepared bread dough and using the same rolling/filling technique. It wouldn't be the same, but would probably involve a whole lot less swearing and cursing!

10/12/11

Vegan Mofo: Quinoa-meal w/ Strawberries & Maple Balsamic Syrup

Bowl rug handmade for moi by Kara.
I'm not a big breakfast person, but when it's cold out, I love something warm in my belly before I brave the preschool car line. Oatmeal seems like an obvious go-to, but often sits like a brick in that aforementioned belly. I have been super into quinoa lately. It's so adaptable and extremely easy to digest. Plus, who can't use more manganese in their diet, right? I cooked quinoa in coconut milk (not the can kind, the kind in the carton) and made it all sortsa fancy with strawberries, walnuts and a maple syrup/balsamic reduction.

Quinoa-meal w/ Strawberries & Maple Balsamic Syrup (vegan, gluten free)
serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk + more for serving
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • sliced strawberries (mash a few)
  • raw walnuts
  • maple syrup
  • balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Bring coconut milk, quinoa, vanilla and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to the lowest setting for about 20 minutes or until the quinoa is fully cooked.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, heat about 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1 TB balsamic vinegar and a few mashed strawberries in a small pan on low heat until it thickens.
  3. To serve, place quinoa in a bowl and pour some extra coconut milk on the sides. Top with sliced strawberries, raw walnuts and drizzle the some of the maple syrup reduction on top. Good morning!

10/11/11

Spice in the Kitchen: Butternut Squash Hot Pockets!


A few weeks ago, I had some left over vegan alfredo and butternut squash and a package of whole wheat pizza dough in the fridge. They all seem to go together, so I came up with these hand-held yum pockets. They are even better when you dip them in some extra alfredo!

Butternut Squash Hot Pockets (Loose) Recipe (vegan)

Ingredients
  • Prepared raw pizza dough (whole wheat or white)
  • Cannellini beans
  • vegan alfredo sauce (recipe here)
  • mashed, baked butternut squash (how to here)
  • sauteed spinach
  • crushed, dried rosemary
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and black pepper
  • olive oil or melted vegan margarine
  • spray oil




Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Saute about 1 cup of butternut squash with olive oil, about 2 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, salt and pepper until well combined.
  3. Saute about 1/2-1 cup of frozen organic spinach with olive oil and salt.
  4. Roll pizza dough into a rectangle.
  5. Cut dough into 4x4" squares.
  6. In the center of each square, place about 1 TB each of: spinach (make sure it is not too watery), butternut squash, beans and then the lastly, the alfredo.
  7. Like the diagram above, pinch two of the opposite corners together, the the other two, then pinch the 4 seams. Place each either seam side up or down (your choice!) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with oil.
  8. Spray each pocket with oil and place in oven for about 15-20 minutes until they are lightly browned. Serve with extra alfredo.

10/10/11

Vegan Mofo: Vegan Italian Enchiladas with Daiya Cheese

Vegan Italian Enchiladas 

I wanted to do an Italian style wrap, but super snooze. Tasty, but already so done. BUT! What if it was baked in sauce like an enchilada? Now we're talking!

Feel free to use an vegetables you chose that work with Italian-style food. I used grilled, smoke artichoke hearts and they were completely amazing. Another nice addition would be kalamata olives, or, ooo!, vegan ricotta. Even a schmear of my Pub Cheese (recipe here) would be perfectly yummy. Any unused filling would be great as a pasta sauce, so make extra and get your dinner done a day in advance! Aren't you so smart and efficient?

Broccolini, a fancier, mellower version of broccoli.


Vegan Italian Enchiladas (Loose) Recipe

Ingredients
  • Large wraps
  • Jarred Tomato sauce
  • Assorted veggies (I used: grated zukes, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, broccolini and spinach and smoked/grilled artichoke hearts)
  • Olive oil
  • Basil and garlic (or hing)
  • salt
  • Cannellini beans
  • Daiya Mozzerella style cheese
Italian enchilada stuffings.
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Chop veggies into small pieces and sauté in olive oil with basil and garlic until soft. Add salt to taste.
  3. In a baking dish large enough to accommodate the number of wraps you will be using, coat the bottom of the dish with a layer of tomato sauce.
  4. In the middle of each wrap, layer a portion of your veggies, beans and Daiya. Don't be shy, you can really stuff these. Fold like a burrito and wrap them as tightly as possible.
  5. Place each wrap, seam side down, in the baking dish.
  6. When all wraps are stuffed and rolled in the dish, cover with remaining sauce. Leave the ends/sides exposed as this will give the baked enchiladas a nice crunchy element.
  7. Place in preheated oven for about 15 minutes. You can cut each one in half if you like. Tastes just like lasagna, just much easier to make!
Pre-baking. I love my vintage Pyrex and Swedish tea towel! 



Extreme Daiya close-up!