Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yum Yum Yummy Coconut Chocolate Chip Waffles

So, I got a waffle maker as you may already know from a few posts back (Banana Nut Waffles).  They were delicious and so now I am obsessed with Sunday morning waffles!  What I thought would be an intimidating proces has turned out to be pretty easy and also easy to experiment with.  So, forgive me in advance for my new waffle iron obsession and potentially maybe a few to many waffle posts!

These are my latest waffle making endeavour.  I called them "Yum Yum Yummy" waffles at the suggestion of my eight year old daughter who said they were "Yum, Yum, Yum, Yummy". A very wise girl, indeed.

I attempted to make these a bit more healthy by using some whole wheat flour. They held together beautifully and I am living proof that if you serve them to non vegans no one would be the wiser. 

I topped mine with some blueberries, pineapple and organic maple syrup. Yum, Yum, Yummy!

Yum Yum Yummy Coconut Chocolate Chip Waffles

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups non dairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1/3 cup unsweetened organic dried/shredded coconut flakes
1/3 cup vegan semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat your waffle iron.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add the wet ingredients and stir until flour is incorporated. Don't over mix- some lumps are OK.

Add the shredded coconut and chocolate chips and stir.

Cook the waffles according to the directions on your waffle maker.

Top with your favorite fruits and syrup and serve.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Puffy "Burrito" with Garden Salsa

I have been traveling for the better part of two weeks now.  I am tired of restaurant food and so happy to be home in and in my own kitchen where there are lots of vegan choices, unlike the places I ate this week!

I had made something similar to this a couple of weeks ago and it was great. Not surprising really, as anything wrapped in puff pastry is pretty great.  Since I didn't write down what I did or take photos I did my best to recreate that meal.  This one turned out slightly differently- and better!

I used Southwest refried black beans out of a can that were spiced with some jalapeno and lime. If you cannot find those any refried beans would work just as well.

Puffy "Burrito" with Garden Salsa

For the "burrito":
1 17.3 oz pkg puff pastry sheets (contains 2 sheets)
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 serrano peppers, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
1/4 large Spanish onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil\
1 15 oz can Southwest refried beans
Salt to taste

For the garden salsa:
7 campari tomatoes, chopped
1/2 poblano pepper, chopped
1/4 red onion chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

Thaw the puff pastry according to package directions and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the jalapenos, serranos, bell pepper and onion and saute until soft.  Season with salt.  Add the can of refried beans and stir until mixture is heated through. 

Unroll the puff pastry sheets and lay flat.  Place half the bean mixture on one of the sheets.  Roll the pastry until the ends meet- about three turns.  Make sure the ends are sealed.  Transfer to a baking sheet.  Repeat with the other puff pastry sheet and other half of the bean mixture.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown.  These will look very puffy when removed from the oven (they will subsequently fall a bit as they cool).

While the "burritos" are cooking prepare the salsa by adding all ingredients n a bowl and mixing. 

Once the "burritos" cool a bit slice and serve with some of the salsa.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thai Noodle Bowl

I am heading out tomorrow on business travel and will more or less be gone for the next couple of weeks.  As such, I spent today cleaning out the refrigerator and using the vegetables and other perishables in the house as much as possible. 

I decided that soup would be a good way to use up what was in the refrigerator and also give Mr. Meat and Potatoes something to eat while I am away.

I have had some Thai Culinary Stock on hand for some time now.  I have to admit that I was a little bit intimidated by it.  I decided that it was time to give it a try.  I had some jalapenos on hand and for whatever reason I thought that would be a good compliment to the stock.

The broccoli technique I employed was strictly so that Mr. Meat and Potatoes wouldn't avoid the dish all together.  If you like broccoli you do not have to make it so fine it looks more like an herb than a vegetable!

All in all, this was good.  Very good.  It definitely has a kick and I can taste the lemon grass in the Thai stock coming through. 

If you are not a fan of Asian flavors you could  just stick with vegetable stock for this recipe. If you do that I would suggest adding some additional spices/herbs of your liking. Mr. Meat and Potatoes suggested adding some corn for sweetness and I agree that would be good, too!

Thai Noodle Bowl

32 oz Thai culinary stock
32 oz vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow pepper diced fine
1 small red pepper diced fine
2 jalapeno peppers diced fine
1 cup broccoli florets "shaved" (just the very tops chopped very fine)
1/2 large red onion diced fine
2 cloves garlic minced
6 oz udon noodles, cooked
Salt and pepper to taste
Clover sprouts for garnish

In a stock pot heat olive oil over medium heat and add the peppers and onion.  Saute until tender.  Add the broccoli and saute a few more minutes. Add the stocks and bring to a boil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Turn the heat down to low. Add the cooked udon noodles and let simmer for a few minutes.

Ladle into bowls to serve and top with some clover sprouts.

Banana Nut Waffles

I am not a baker.  I really don't enjoy baking as it requires precision, attention to detail and is more or less an exact science. I am not great at following directions and much prefer the creativity of cooking without a recipe. I am notorious for messing up recipes for baked goods.  I am also not much of a sweets eater.

Having said that, I do like to make my family breakfast and they seem to like sweet things for breakfast- especially my kids.  A few weeks ago I attempted vegan pancakes which were an epic failure!  But, I am pretty determined and decided that I would create a sweet vegan breakfast for the family so I went out and bought a waffle iron.  What the heck? Can't do pancakes? Well, then try waffles.  Makes perfect sense, right?

After consulting my twitter friends it seems that the vote for best vegan waffles go to Veganomicon's banana nut waffles. Since I don't own this particular cookbook I took to the web and checked out a bunch of blogs.  What I came up with, I am sure closely resembles the original, however I do not care for soy milk so I opted for So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk (as I always seem to do). And, in classic "me" form I used two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar instead of two teaspoons. I'm not sure how that may have altered the result from the original but it certainly did not detract from these. I believe this version has less oil than the original, but, like I said, I don't own that cookbook so I cannot be sure.

I must say that I was surprised at how easy using a waffle iron was. I will definitely do this again and experiment with  some other ingredients to fold into the batter such as chocolate chips, other fruits or different nuts. Maybe I will even try a savory waffle, too!  Who knows, the sky is the limit!

Banana Nut Waffles

1 1/4 cups non dairy milk (like So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 medium bananas, mashed
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Fresh fruit for topping

Preheat your waffle iron. 

Pour the non dairy milk, water and apple cider vinegar together into a measuring cup. Set aside to allow milk to curdle.

Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl. Add the milk mixture, vanilla, oil and syrup and stir.  Add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Mix to combine but do not over mix.  The batter will be very thick and minimal lumps are OK.  Fold in the walnuts.

Spray the iron with non stick cooking spray and cook waffles according to the manufactures directions for your particular iron.

Serve topped with your favorite fresh fruit and maple syrup.

Raw Zucchini Pesto "Pasta"

It's funny how things happen sometimes. I have been thinking about, and reading a lot about, raw eating.  Though I don't aspire to eat a 100% raw diet or anything like that (I love to cook way to much for that), I do think that eating a larger amount of raw food, especially fruits and veggies is a good thing.

Through Twitter and the blogosphere there is certainly no lack of information. I really admire Chef Doug McNish (of Raw Aura  in Toronto) and enjoy following JL Goes Vegan who has recently been upping the amount of raw foods in her diet.

So, as I am noodling this concept I just happen to get an email from a friend who has told me she is trying to introduce more vegetables in her diet.  Coincidentally, it contains a recipe for a raw vegetable dish.  And of all things it is a recipe from the Atkins program. I guess even the Atkins folks are realizing the value of  vegetables!

This dish was pretty simple to make.  I did not use my mandoline for the noodles.  Perhaps I should have in order to get them a little more uniform and thin.  I just find using a knife to chop, slice, dice and julienne so relaxing I figured I would cut them myself. If you want a "prettier" dish you may want to use a mandoline.

This makes a lot of pesto.  I think next time I will either use one extra zucchini or use about half the pesto on the dish. I found it just a tad too dressed, but that is just my personal preference. If you like a lot of sauce, go for it!  If not, the pesto is absolutely divine and could be used on so many things!

PS. You can find both Doug (@DougMcNish) and JL on Twitter (@JLGoesVegan).

Raw Zucchini Pesto "Pasta"

For the "pasta"
2 zucchinis

For the pesto:
2 cups fresh basil, firmly packed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoon pine nuts
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp nutritional yeast 
1 tsp seeded and diced jalapeƱo pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper

To garnish:
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
8 kalamata olives pitted and halved

To make the "pasta" peel the zucchini and cut legnthwise into 1/4" thick slices. With either a knife or mandoline cut the strips into 1/4" julienne style strips.

For the pesto, place the basil, olilve oil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne, nutritional yeast and jalapeno pepper into a food processor or powerful blender.  Blend until smooth.

Add the pesto to the zucchini "pasta" and blend gently but thoroughly. Allow to sit about ten minutes before serving as the zucchini "pasta" will soften a bit.

Garnish with tomato and kalamata olives and serve.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sweet and Sour Chickpea Balls

I am just obsessed with chickpeas.  They taste great and are so versatile.  And, since I am not a big "faux meat" type I find that for me they are the best meat substitute. I have done "crab cakes", "tuna salad" and a variety of other things with chick peas, but until now, not a "meat ball".  I actually saw a young fourteen yoear old girl "The Veggie Chef" make a very similar ball out of chickpeas and she inspired me to make these. How great is that!?!

They held together really well. The flavor was good, though next time I think I will increase the spice in them as they were just a little bland.  For this dish, that is OK since the sauce has a some serious flavor.

This is a definite keeper. I will do these for spaghetti and "meatballs", "meatball sandwiches" and who knows what else. I think by adjusting the seasoning according to your dish these will go a long way.  And, though I baked them I think they would be excellent done in a frying pan with some oil to get a nice crispy outside.

Enjoy and happy chickpeas!

Sweet and Sour Chickpea Balls

For the chickpea balls:
1 15 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 stalk celery finely minced
2 green onions minced (white and light green parts only)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 green onions minced (white and light green parts only)
2/3 cup apricot preserves
6 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To prepare the chickpea balls pulse the chickpeas in a food processor until smooth but not completely pureed.  Add the celery, onion, whole wheat flour, salt and pepper.  Form the mixture into small balls and place them on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 30 minutes turning once during the process.

To prepare the sauce mix all ingredients and pulse until smooth in a food processor.  Transfer the mixture to a small sauce pan and heat over low heat. Once heated through add the meatballs and coat them in the sauce. Remove the meatballs from the pan and serve.  These make a nice appetizer type dish and can be eaten easily with a toothpick.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Medley

Today is one of those days where I had good intentions of getting to the grocery store but just couldn't get out of my own way to get there.  As a result I was left with a pretty empty fridge and bare cupboards by which to prepare dinner. 

This is what I came up  with and I must say, for a completely non stocked kitchen it wasn't half bad.

Tomorrow, I hit the grocery store for sure!

Spaghetti Squash Medley

1 spaghetti squash
1 leek, white part only cut in rings (rinse well to ensure all sand is removed)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup broccoli florets, chopped
1 red pepper roasted and chopped
2 oz dried porcini mushrooms reconstituted and chopped
4 tbsp chiffonade of basil*
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tomato chopped (for garnish)

Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Bring a large pot of water to boil (there should be enough water to completely submerge both halves of the squash).  Boil the squash until fork tender. The time will vary based on the size of your squash. Mine took about a half hour. You will need to check the squash periodically for doneness.

Once squash is done remove it from boiling water and set aside until it is cool enough to handle.

As the squash cools place the olive oil in a saute pan and turn heat to medium.  Add the leeks and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  When leeks are tender and the mixture becomes fragrant add the broccoli. Saute another couple of minutes and then add the roasted red pepper and porcini mushrooms. Turn heat to low.

Remove the flesh of the squash using a fork.  Add the squash to the vegetable mixture and stir to incorporate. Re season with salt and pepper.

To serve, place squash mixture on a plate and garnish with the fresh tomato.

*Note: if I had other fresh herbs on hand I would have added them too.  I think parsley, sage and thyme would go well in this dish.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Couscous Stuffed Peppers

This was an incredibly long week of all day meetings that started at the crack of dawn and didn't end until late at night.  I find long meetings like that very tiring. Coupled with staying in a hotel and social events centered around work all week as you can imagine I was exhausted when I walked in the door Friday night.

What a wonderful surprise that my husband, who I affectionately refer to as "Mr. Meat and Potatoes", had prepared a vegan meal for both of us to enjoy!

This recipe is not his original, he found it online, but the fact that he took the time to find a vegan meal and prepare it makes it blogworthy in my book! 

Thanks Mr. Meat and Potatoes for a great meal at the perfect time!

Couscous Stuffed Peppers

6 medium red peppers
1 14.5 oz can  diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
1 12 oz frozen vegetable crumbles such as Boca
1/2 cup drained, chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
1 5.6 oz pkg Near East toasted pine nut couscous
1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off of the peppers and remove seeds. Place peppers with the cut side up in a 13" x 9" baking dish. Spray a large skillet with cooking oil spray. Over medium high heat add the canned tomatoes with juices, crumbles, olives, salt and pepper. Cook until the mixture is heated through and bubbly. Add the couscous (including the  flavor packet). Pour in a 1/2 cup water. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir and fill the peppers with the mixture.  Sprinkle the Daiya Mozzarella shreds on top of the filled peppers. Pour 1/3 cup water into bottom of baking dish. Cover lightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and the peppers slightly softened.