Sunday, October 4, 2015

Savory Chickpea Flour Muffins

These beautiful little muffins are great as an on the go breakfast or snack.  They can be made ahead, frozen or refrigerated and grabbed as your running out the door for a quick  meal. They are fiber and protein rich, filling, healthy and most importantly, delicious.

There are similar recipes online for similar muffins (including one of mine), most of them referred to as vegan "quiche".  While there is certainly a similarity to quiche, I am trying to steer clear of recipe titles that indicate a "fake" version of something else. The fact is, these are delicious in their own right and really don't need a comparison to an egg based dish. They stand up on their own quite well.

There are endless flavor combinations that can be done with these; just by choosing different vegetables to mix into your muffins. I chose spinach and red pepper this time. I think asparagus would be amazing as well.  I find it preferable to use cooked vegetables from a texture perspective, making this a great way to use leftovers to create unique flavor combinations.

Savory Chickpea Flour Muffins

2 1/2 cups chickpea flour (besan)
3 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package frozen spinach (10 oz. box), thawed with water removed
1/2 red pepper (I used the kind from a jar), chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl mix the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt and pepper and stir until smooth (you may use a whisk to ensure the flour and water is well incorporated).  Add the garlic, spinach, thyme, and parsley and stir again.

Prepare a twelve cup muffin pan with cooking oil spray. Ladle the batter into the muffin cups filling them nearly to the top. The batter will seem quite watery; this is how it should be.

Place the filled muffin tin in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Open the oven, allowing steam to escape.  Close the oven door and continue to cook another 15 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.   Run a butter knife around each muffin prior to removing from the tin to ensure easy removal.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Quinoa and Cauliflower Cakes

I recently ran across a post which contained a recipe for Quinoa Cauliflower "Meat" Balls. They looked and sounded great, but the day I went to make them I was not really in the mood for an Italian style "meat" ball.

As the rest of the family was having crab cakes for dinner, I decided to morph the recipe into a cake that was reminiscent of the flavor of crab cakes. Hence, this recipe was born.

The cakes are nice and crispy on the outside, while tender and soft on the inside.  They would do well on a roll or between two slices of bread. I decided to dress them up with a remoulade containing just a hint of sriracha sauce. A perfect compliment.

The base recipe is pretty versatile; you could certainly adjust the seasoning to create any flavor profile you are craving.

Quinoa Cauliflower Cakes

For the cake:
1 cup quinoa
4 cups vegetable stock
1 head cauliflower, cut into peices
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 cup whole grain bread crumb
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise)
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 tbsp oregano, minced
1 tbsp parsley, minced
1 green onion, minced
1/2 tsp Hungarian smoked paprika*
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
Chopped green onion for garnish (optional)

For the remoulade:
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sweet relish
1/4 tsp prepared horseradish
1/4 tsp vegan worstechire sauce
A couple of squeezes of lemon juice
A couple dashes sriracha sauce

Prepare the quinoa by adding it to a sauce pot with two cups of the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for about twenty minutes or until all of the vegetable stock is absorbed and the quiona tender.

While the quinoa is cooking put the cauliflower into another sauce pan and and add the rest of the vegetable stock. The cauliflower is not covered, ad some  to cover. If the cauliflower is not covered, add some additional vegetable stock or water to cover and then turn heat to high. Allow the cauliflower to boil until tender, about fifteen minutes or so.  Test with a fork for doneness; the cauliflower should be tender and break apart easily.

Once the quinoa and cauliflower are done, add both to a food processor with the two cloves of garlic and puree until very smooth (note: depending on the size of the processor you have  you may need to do this in batches).

Once everything is combined add to a large bowl with the vegan mayonnaise, bread crumb, chopped celery, parsley and green onion.  Add the Hungarian paprika and salt and pepper. Hand mix until all is well incorporated.  Place bowl in the refrigerator for about fifteen minutes to allow the mixture to firm up.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

When the mixture is firm, remove from the refrigerator. Form into patties. The toal quantity of patties will be dependent on how big you make them. I got about twelve out of the batch I made.

To make the remoulade simply whisk all ingredients together.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. When heated, add cakes to the pan and brown about two or three minutes per side.  Transfer the browned patties to a baking sheet lined with non stick foil or parchment paper.  Heat in 375 degree oven for about fifteen minutes. If the patties are getting too brown they can be finished in the oven covered with foil.

Serve garnished with remoulade and green onion (if desired).

*Note: Hungarian smoked paprika has a stong flavor. Adjust amount according to your liking or substitute with another seasoning. For a crabcake like flavor you could substitute with Old Bay, just increase the amount according to what tastes good to you.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Coconut Poke Cake

Poke cake. The decidedly non-vegan, pudding filled Cool Whip laden cake that is supposed to be delicious.  Everyone in my family loves it.

I have tried to make a vegan Poke Cake a few times in the past, quite unsuccessfully I might add. I have been unable to make a vegan version of pudding that does not get awfully hard when cooled and until recently I don't think there were any viable Cool Whip alternatives.

I finally figured out that I need to simplify and forget the notion of trying to replicate dairy-based pudding and figure out an easier alternative. Cream of Coconut to the rescue! And, with the introduction of So Delicious Coco Whip the Cool Whip alternative is a no-brainer.

This may be the best cake I have ever had. It is super moist, super coconutty and the Coco Whip is just the "icing on the cake".

I have made this a few times now and it has found a permanent home in my recipe files. This is a great one to whip up if you are going to a party. It is quick and easy and everyone seems to devour it.

You could make the white or yellow cake base of your choice- I use the accidentally vegan Duncan Hines Classic White Cake mix but instead of the 3 egg whites the box calls for I substitute 3/4 cup of applesauce.  

Give this one a try the next time you have an outing to go to. I promise it will be the hit of the party!

Coconut Poke Cake

3/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp coconut extract
1 15 oz can Cream of Coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a 9x13 glass pan with cooking spray.

Prepare the cake mix according to directions but instead of using the egg whites add 3/4 cup of applesauce and 1 tsp coconut extract.  Beat with a hand mixer at low speed for 30 seconds until the batter is moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.

Pour the cake mix into the greased 9x13 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and poke the cake uniformly with a fork. I made three rows lengthwise and 5 widthwise.  While the cake is still warm pour the Cream of Coconut over the top of the cake. Brush lightly to distribute evenly. Allow to fully cool.

Once cake is cool frost with the tub of Coco Whip and serve.

Store in the refrigerator.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Shitake Brussels and Udon Noodle Soup

I am not going to make any excuses about why I have not been regularly blogging. Life is busy, in a good way. I have a busy work schedule, for a job I love. Recently  my sixteen-year-old son won his clarinet audition for  Philadelphia Sinfonia, a prestigious youth orchestra in Philadelphia. My twelve-year-old daughter is having a great time checking out lots of local skate parks and becoming quite the skateboarder!  IT'S ALL GOOD!

The other day, I was able to work from home. One of the benefits of working at home is the ability to cook a great lunch in your own kitchen. This recipe is what I pulled together and it was so much better than the quick grab and go lunch I often have in the office.

I admit, I made this a little too spicy for even my palate. You can adjust the amount of hot by simply reducing (or omitting) the red pepper flake.  And, if you don't have time to create your own stock or broth you can use a ready made Thai Culinary Stock, such as this one or simply use a vegetable stock and forgo the rest of the seasonings.  You can make it as simple or complicated as you would like.

One thing to note: the mushrooms in this soup are delicious, both in the soup and on their own. Cooking them until they release their liquid and allowing them to continue to cook until the liquid is completely evaporated and the mushrooms caramelized it creates a chewy texture and deep flavor that is quite pleasant.

Until next time (and I am not sure when that will be),  enjoy!

Shitake Brussels and Udon Noodle Soup

1 9 oz package of udon noodles
3 tsp sesame oil, divided
5 oz shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
6 brussels sprouts, steamed with individual leaves separated
8 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
Red pepper flake to taste (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley or cilantro for garnish (optional)

Cook the udon noodles according to the package directions. Drain, toss with 1 tsp. sesame oil. Set aside and keep warm.

In a saute pan over medium heat add the olive oil and another tsp of the sesame oil.  Add the mushrooms and cook until they are starting to release their liquid.  Add the garlic, turn the heat to low and continue to cook until the mushrooms have released all of their liquid and it has evaporated. This could take about ten minutes.  Once finished remove and place on a paper towel to absorb any oil.

While the mushrooms are cooking add the vegetable stock to a large stockpot and heat over medium to medium-high heat.  Add the remaining sesame oil, ground ginger tamari sauce, rice vinegar, lemon juice, onion and garlic and curry powders and red pepper flake (if desired). Season with salt and pepper.  Allow to cook until stock is hot bot not boiling.

To serve, place noodles in a bowl, top with broth, brussels sprouts leaves, and shitake mushrooms. Garnish with parsley or cilantro if desired.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Avocotta Lasagna Rolls

I swear I woke up in the middle of the night recently and thought "Avocatta".  The next day I went online to see if there was any semblance of such a thing but did not find much.  As I thought more about what this concoction could be I started to visualize a lasagna roll up but instead of the traditional ricotta to fill in with avocado.

Success!  These were really easy to throw together, were really flavorful and were also very filling. I am not sure why there are not more recipes out there that substitute avocado for ricotta. Maybe because avocado is often associated with Mexican cuisine and lasagna with Italian.  I don't know, but I am glad I decided to try this as it was very tasty. I love the creaminess of the avocado blended with more traditional Italian flavors.

If you like avocado and you like Italian I think you will find this a winning combination. I think there is a lot of opportunity to change what you add into the mix.  Already I am thinking roasted red peppers would make a good add.

This made five rolls for me. If you want to make more just adjust the amount of filling you use in each or increase the amount of filling you make.  As for the vegan Parm, I provided a link to another recipe that has the directions contained within.

Avocatta Lasagna Rolls

5 lasagna noodles cooked according to package directions
2 ripe avocados, pitted
2 tbsp vegan Parmesan
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil (if using fresh increase the amount)
1/3 cup chopped fresh baby spinach leaves
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
6 grape tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup or more marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the filling by combining the avocado, vegan Parmesan, garlic powder, basil, spinach, parsley, tomatoes and salt and pepper. Mash until well combined but not totally smooth.

Prepare a baking dish by covering the bottom with some of the marinara sauce.

Lay one lasagna noodle on a flat surface and spread some of the mixture on its entire length. Roll the noodle into a cylinder and place it upright in the dish prepared with the marinara. Repeat with all remaining noodles.

Cover loosely with foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.  Drizzle with extra marinara and garnish with fresh parsley if desired.  I also sprinkled some leftover breadcrumb gremolata on them. It was a nice touch but nt necessary.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Fettuccine with Lemon "Butter", Capers and Breadcrumb Gremolata

There are few things I love more than cooking and one of them is cooking with my daughter.  She has been after me to make pasta from scratch for a while now.  I had purchased a pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer a while back and it has yet to see any action. Until yesterday, that is.

She and I had a good time making the pasta and an even better time eating it. I pulled this dish together from a variety of recipes I found online. The pasta is Vegan Dad's and the Breadcrumb Gremolata I used The Wimpy Vegetarian's recipe and modified it with some homemade vegan "Parmesan" a la The Minimalist Baker and some extra lemon zest. I did not have very high expectations for the Parm and thus I was very pleasantly surprised- it was great even just on its own! Thankfully the recipe makes a bunch so I have some leftover for other uses.

This takes a little bit of time and effort and is well worth it as it is a flavorful, hearty and satisfying dish.  I love lemon in just about anything and the lemon really shines through in this dish. If you don't have the wear with all to tackle homemade pasta then by all means use the stuff that comes in a box!

I will make this again and again, it's that good.

Fettuccine with Lemon "Butter",  Capers and Breadcrumb Gremolata

For the pasta:
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup water

For the Gremolata:
1 cup breadcrumbs (I made my own from day old whole grain ciabatta bread)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Zest of one lemon
1/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese (recipe below)
2 tbsp minced parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Lemon "Butter" Sauce:
2 tbsp vegan butter (or more to taste)
1/3 cup white wine
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp capers
Salt and Pepper to taste

Vegan Parmesan Cheese:
3/4 cup raw cashews
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Prepare the pasta by combining all ingredients in a food processor until a dough is formed. If the dough seems dry add more water a tablespoon at a time. The dough should hold together well and not be overly sticky or wet.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, no more than about five minutes.  Put through your pasta machine according to its directions and set the pasta on a lightly floured surface or over a cabinet door to dry. Allow to dry for about 30 minutes.

While pasta is drying make the vegan Parmesan by putting all ingredients into a food processor until a fine powder develops.  Set aside.

To prepare the gremolata heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.  Add the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, salt, and pepper and saute until the breadcrumbs begin to crisp up.  Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and vegan parmesan cheese.  Transfer to another container to cool.

Heat 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil to cook the pasta.

While the water is heating prepare the lemon "butter" sauce by adding the two tablespoons of vegan butter to a skillet over medium heat. Once melted add the lemon juice, wine and flour.  Whisk until sauce begins to thicken and add salt and pepper to taste. Note: you may adjust the wine/lemon/butter quantities to suit your personal taste.

Once the water is boiling add the pasta and  cook for 1-2 minutes until it reaches desired doneness. Drain and add to the lemon "butter" sauce and add capers. Toss to coat.

To serve top pasta with the gremolata and additional lemon zest and parsley if desired.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Vanilla Star Anise Lemonade

I was recently in Atlanta for a few days for meetings.  When in Atlanta we often order lunch from a place called Fresh to Order.  They have some decidedly friendly vegan options in which includes a Vanilla Star Anise Lemonade that is absolutely wonderful.

Because we were a decent sized lunch order we ordered a gallon of the stuff. I am not ashamed to admit that between me and one other woman at the meeting we drank almost the whole gallon.  The flavor is sophisticated, delicious, unique and somewhat addictive.

This, and the Corn and Peanut Salad pictured below (which I hope to recreate soon) are definitely the reason I will be planning my next business meeting in Atlanta!

If you like lemonade, vanilla, and anise flavors I would strongly encourage you to give this a try. I will make it again and again.

Vanilla Star Anise Lemonade

For the simple syrup:
1 cup vegan granulated sugar
1 cup water
3 large pieces of lemon peel (best removed with a vegetable peeler)
1 vanilla bean
3 star anise pods
1 pinch sea salt
Cheese cloth or a fine strainer to strain syrup

For the lemonade:
Juice of 6-8 lemons, strained to remove pulp
Simple syrup (recipe above)
8-10 cups cold water
Lemon slices for garnish (optional)

Split the vanilla bean down the center and remove the seeds with a sharp knife. In a medium saucepan add the sugar, lemon peel, 1 cup of water, salt,  star anise pods and the vanilla seeds and bean pod. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Once the sugar is completely dissolved simmer  for a bout 5-10 minutes in order to bring out the flavors of the lemon, vanilla and star anise.

Strain the mixture through a cheese cloth and set aside to cool.

Once the simple syrup has cooled add it to a large pitcher and then pour in the strained lemon juice. Add 8-10 cups cold water (water may be adjusted to factor in more or less sweet/tart lemonade).

Serve over ice garnished with lemon slices if desired.