Friday, December 18, 2015

Sugar Cookies

So Delicious Dairy Free has done it again! They are so good to me! This time, they sent me an assortment of their improved coffee creamers. Some almond milk, some coconut milk, some flavored and some plain.  This makes me so happy!



With most of my Christmas shopping and wrapping complete, I finally found some time to get into the kitchen to make some treats.  I made the Peppermint Patties I have made the last couple of years and also made some sugar cookies.

I followed this sugar cookie recipe, though I replaced the coconut oil with Earth Balance only because I did not have enough coconut oil on hand. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer and the dough came together really nicely and was great to work with.

The cookies are awesome! Even before being iced they were delicious.  Crispy yet soft, a cookie yet not too sweet.

This recipe is a really great basic cookie that should be a staple in every vegan (and non-vegan) kitchen.

Sugar Cookies

For the cookies:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup vegan butter, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened non dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

For the icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
4-5 tbsp So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Milk Creamer
Sugar or sprinkles for decorating

Make the dough by  creamig the sugar, salt, vegan butter, non dairy milk and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer (if you do not have a stand mixer you could use a hand mixer).  Slowly add in the flour, cornstartch, baking soda and cream of tartar until combined.  Remove the dough from the stand mixer, cover and place in refrigerator for at least two hours.

When you are ready to make the cookies preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray (I really like to use coconut oil spray). Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide in half.  Roll each half out on a smooth surface dusted with a little bit of flour.  Roll to about 1/4" thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut the cookies. Place on the greased baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until the edges just start to turn brown.

Cool cookies on a wire rack.

When the cookies are fully cooled and you are ready to ice them mix the powdered sugar in a bowl with the coconut milk creamer. Whisk until smooth. Pipe or spread the icing on the cookies and decorate with sprinkles or sugar (if desired).


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Crispy Orange Cauliflower

I am literally obsessed with dressing cauliflower up in different ways.  My absolute favorite is to recreate a version of Chinese take-out Orange Chicken.  I have blogged about this and posted a recipe in the past.  Over the years, I have made this (a lot) of different ways, each time getting just a little bit better (honestly, I make this at least once a week).



I have found that the absolute best way to achieve that crispy coating on the cauliflower is to batter and roast it and then deep fry it (yes, deep fry).  I enjoy cauliflower so much prepared this way that I batter it and roast up a whole head of it and then keep it in the fridge during the week so I can grab it and fry it up whenever I like.  The little chunks of cauliflower are so versatile, they go great with all sorts of sauces, not just orange.  I sometimes do buffalo, sesame or sweet and sour.

I usually serve it with sliced green onion, on the day I took the photo I did not have any so I used some chopped cilantro for garnish. Either work equally well.

Crispy Orange Cauliflower

For the orange sauce:
1 cup vegetable stock
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
1/2 cup organic, unbleached sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup tamari sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sriracha or other hot sauce (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water

 For the cauliflower:
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup non-dairy milk (I use So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
1 tsp garlic powder
Oil for frying
Sesame seeds for garnish
Cilantro, chopped for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Mix the flour and non-dairy milk together and add the garlic powder.  Stir until a thick batter is formed.  Dredge the cauliflower in the batter and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment or pan lining paper.  Roast at 450 degrees for 18 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.

While the cauliflower is roasting prepare the sauce by mixing together the vegetable stock, orange zest and juice, sugar, apple cider vinegar, tamari sauce, garlic, sriracha and pepper in a bowl.

Whisk the cornstarch and water into a slurry.

Add the sauce to a saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes until warmed.  Add the cornstarch slurry, and continue to cook the sauce, stirring frequently until the desired consistency is reached.

As the sauce is cooking  place the oil in a deep sauce pot or deep fryer.  Heat over medium-high heat. When oil is hot drop the roasted cauliflower florets in and allow to fry until a deep golden brown- no more than a couple of minutes.

Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel.

To serve, place the cauliflower on a plate, top with sauce and garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.

This can be served over rice (as pictured).

Note: the sauce recipe is a minor variation of this one that I found online.

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.

Enjoy.

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.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Dairy-Free & Egg-Free Vanilla Cake

My daughter started seventh grade this year.  One of the things I just love about her is that she enthusiastically brings home things she has learned at school and wants to try them out at home or demonstrate her learning for us.



She just had her first rotation in FCS, or Family Consumer Sciences (formerly known as Home Economics). Her first track was cooking and a couple of weeks ago she arrived home from school with some dairy free, egg free vanilla cake the class had made. I tasted it and it was great!

A few daysafter that she came home with the recipe book for all of the things she had made at school and was very excited to make the cake for us.

She did all the measuring and mixing herself and she did a great job. The result was a very moist vanilla cake.  We used a store-bought vegan vanilla frosting and it was delicious vegan vanilla heaven!

Dairy-Free & Egg-Free Vanilla Cake

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup cold water
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large mixing bowl put flour, sugar, baking soda, sal, oil, white vinegar, vanilla and cold water. Mix until moistened, and put in an 8x8 baking pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil.

Bake at 350 degress for 22 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool completlly before icing.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Lemon Tahini Roasted Cauliflower

I often cook on Saturday mornings. Now that my kids are older and are not up at the crack of dawn mornings are usually a nice quiet time where I can spend a little time in the kitchen. I often cook things that are needed to be used up before grocery shopping, as was the case this morning with a head of cauliflower.



I did a quick Internet search for "tahini cauliflower" and I found a recipe that looked good. I changed it a bit as I am a huge fan of lemon and most often find recipes never add enough lemon as printed!  I am also a huge fan of savory breakfasts, so as it turns out this was breakfast today, too.

The sauce is delicious with a bright lemony flavor offset by the deep flavor of sesame.  This would make a great side for dinner or a nice lunch, too.

Lemon Tahini Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower cut into florets
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp tahini paste
3 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt plus more for salting cauliflower before roasting
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 435 degrees.

Place the florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with two tablespoons olive oil. Toss to coat.  Season with salt and place on the top rack of the oven for about 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown.

While the cauliflower is roasting put the rest of the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic.  Sautee for a minute or two until the garlic turns fragrant.  Add the tahini, lemon and water and whisk until as smooth sauce forms.  You may thin the sauce as desired with more lemon juice or water until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt.

Toast sesame seeds in a nonstick pan over medium heat for a minute or two until fragrant.

When the cauliflower is finished remove from the oven, transfer to a plate and pour the sauce over top. Garnish with parsley and sesame seeds and serve immediately.