Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vegan Chocolate Pudding Cake with Caramelized Banana and Almond Topping - Online

Link to Vegan Chocolate Pudding Cake 
1 c. flour
TBL. baking powder 
1/4 c. cocoa powder 
1/4 tsp. salt 
1/2 c. dry sweetener (I used organic sugar or cane juice) 
1/3 c. oil 
1/2 c. soymilk 
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
3/4 c. dry sweetener 
1/4 c. cocoa powder 
2 c. boiling water

What to do:
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl stir together the first 4 ingredients (flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt).
2) Add in the 1/2 c. sugar, oil, soy milk and vanilla. Mix gently until just combined (don't overmix). 3) The mixture will resemble cookie dough more than cake batter.  Spread it into a lightly oiled casserole dish or loaf pan and set aside.  (My batter was fluid-like cake batter.  Also, I used either a 8 X 8  inch pan)
4) Clean and dry out your bowl then mix together the 3/4 c. of sugar and the other 1/4 c. of cocoa. Sprinkle this evenly on top of the cake mixture.
5) Carefully pour the boiling water over top of everything - and DO NOT MIX! it really does do it's own thing in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes and enjoy!

Not going to lie, this one made me nervous!  Since the recipe didn't specific what size pan to use, I pulled out the first reasonably sized pan from the cabinet.  The recipe is fairly straightforward and then throws a complete curve ball - pour 2 cups of boiling water over top of everything, really?!  Fortunately, the water did not spill over the top of the 8 X 8 inch pan but it certainly came close.

Now, folks, on to the Caramelized Banana and Almond Topping... 
1/4 c. unsalted butter Earth Balance
4 small bananas (approx 1 pound) (I only had three 'nonnies lying around so I just used scant measurements of all the other ingredients)
1/2 c. sugar brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
TBL. banana liqueur (optional) or 2 tablespoons syrup (optional) Disaronno Amaretto
1 tsp. vanilla extract almond extract

What to do:
1) Melt the Earth Balance in a large saucepan.
2) Slice the bananas and heat in the butter until they soften.  Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and ground nutmeg.
3) Add the Amaretto and the almond extract
4) Serve warm or at room temperature

First of all, I am really liking the "strike-through" font as you can see vegan substitutions for the ingredients.  Quite possibly my new favorite font.

MM enjoyed this dessert recipe enough to have a large serving before embarking on a 7 mile run.

NMcL was a little turned off by the banana topping.

Try it for yourself and YOU decide!

Caramelized Onion Tart with Sweet Potato Sage Crust - 500 Vegan Recipes - p.182

For the crust:
1/2 c. sweet potato puree, at room temperature (For this, I nuked a sweet potato in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes, then let it cool for a bit before tossing it into the magic bullet and blending)
1/4 c. water heated to 100 degrees
2 TBL. canola oil, plus more for coating the bowl
1 TBL. agave nectar
1 c. white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour (I used regular whole wheat flour because I am not racist)
3/4 c. light spelt flour (versus dark spelt flour?  what the hay?)
1 tsp. dried sage
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. fine salt
1 tsp. bread machine yeast (and yes folks, there is a difference between bread machine yeast and regular yeast)

For the caramelized onions:
3 TBL. peanut oil
2 softball sized red onions, cut into rings first, then into half moons
2 large shallots
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt

For the Parmesan-like sprinkles:
2 TBL. roasted, salted sunflower seeds (since my were raw and unsalted, I just roasted them on the stove top for a few minutes until they became brown and fragrant.  I refrained from adding salt)
2 TBL. sesame seeds
2 TBL. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
1 tsp. dried sage

1)  To make the crust:  In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potato puree, water, oil, and sage.
2) In a large bowl, combine the flours, sage, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt, and yeast.
3) Stir the flour into the sweet potato mixture.
4) Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliable, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky.  Shape dough into a ball.
5) Lightly coat a large bowl with oil, add the dough, and turn the dough to coat.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, for 60-90 minutes.  While the dough is rising, prepare the caramelized onions and Parmesan-like sprinkles.
6) To make the onions, place all the onion ingredients in a large saucepan.  Cook for about 20 minutes over medium low heat, or until the onions are caramelized and brown.  Set aside.
7)  To make the Parmesan-like sprinkles:  Place all sprinkle ingredients into a coffee grinder or food processor (or Bullet).  Blend until pulverized into a fine powder.  Set aside.
8) Twenty or thirty minutes before the dough is done rising, pre-heat the oven to 400.  Roll out the dough into an 8 x 10 inch rectangle on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
9) Spread the caramelized onions and Parmesan-like sprinkles on the dough.
10) Bake the Tart for 18 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are golden brown.
11) Serve with mixed greens!

This was a fairly labor intensive meal - though it was well worth it.  The caramelized onions took about 2 hours to caramelize fully - but boy were they delicious and was the wait worth it.  (Watching Hulu + a bout of insomnia helped to pass the time!)  Next time, I'll set the heat a little higher to speed up the process. 

The juxtaposition of the salty from the onions and the Parmesan-like crumbles and the sweet from the sweet potato was delightful.  The sweet potato tart was almost like a sweet potato pizza crust.  There were some nice hunks of sweet potato spread throughout the dough that gave the tart an interesting texture.

The Parmesan-like crumbles made quite a few crumbles.  And they were plenty salty enough using the unsalted sunflower seeds.  

MH and DH, especially MH, enjoyed this recipe.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Banana Nut Waffles - Veganomicon - p. 75-76


1 and 3/4 c. soy milk
1/4 c. water
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 average sized bananas
3 TBL canola oil
3 TBL pure maple syrup or agave syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 and 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. walnuts, finely chopped (I substituted pecans)
non-stick cooking spray

What to do:
1) Pre-heat the waffle iron.  Pour the soy milk, water, and vinegar into a measuring cup and set aside to curdle (um, eww)
2) Mash the bananas very well in a large mixing bowl.  Add the soy milk mixture, oil, syrup, vanilla, and stir.
3) Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.  Use a fork to combine, but do not overmix.  Fold in the chopped nuts.
4) Spray the cooking spray on the waffle iron and cook the waffle according to the iron's directions.  I found that using a 1/3 c. of batter per waffle was the right amount and the waffles took about 4 minutes to cook to perfection.  Serve with sliced strawberries and plenty of maple syrup.

This was a good recipe.  Interestingly enough, the banana flavor was very subtle, if discernible at all, the first day.  Honestly, they just tasted like "original-flavored" waffles the first day - the banana-flavor was much more pronounced the second day.

Leftover wise, these re-heated very well the next day in the toaster oven.  They were crispy, and quite delicious left over.  Yes, I did freeze the remaining waffles - first I wrapped each waffle duo in tinfoil, then threw all of the wrapped waffles in a large Ziplock bag in the freezer.  Each night, I would remove a duo from the freezer and transport  them to the fridge, to thaw out.  Essentially, the waffles were a healthier and heartier version of Eggo Waffles!  I'd highly recommend reheating the waffles in the toaster oven, directly on the rack, for best results.  The Earth Balance marg. smears and dusting of powder sugar were key, though maple syrup, as the authors suggest, would probably be good too!

One thing I noticed was a slightly bitter taste.  This was due to the pecans.  It has been suggested that "Pecan nuts are covered with a layer of tannins, which causes a bitter taste. The bitter taste can be removed by washing the nuts and soaking them in lukewarm water will enhance their sweetness. Allow the pecans to dry for 15 minutes on a paper towel."  From: Iowa State U's Take on Pecans.  This is something I might experiment with in the future.  But I will note that the slight bitter taste really wasn't THAT offensive.  Overall, this is a solid waffle recipe that I would recommend to anyone! 

Sticky Pecan Squares- 125 Best Vegan Recipes By Maxine Effenson Chuck & Beth Gurney - p. 166

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 c. soy margarine

1/3 c. soy margarine
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1.5 TBL. soy creamer
1/4 c. pure maple syrup (author recommends dark, rich Grade B type)
pinch of salt
1 and 1/3 c. coarsely chopped pecans

What to do:
1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Grease a 8-inch square cake pan
3) Crust:  In a bowl, mix flour with sugar.  Cut in soy margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Press evenly into a prepared pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden and firm.  Don't worry if the dough doesn't stick together when you are mixing it because it will meld as it bakes.
4) Topping: Meanwhile, in a pot, melt soy margarine over medium heat.  Add brown sugar and soy creamer and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.  Reduce heat to low.  Add maple syrup and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Add pecans and stir until evenly coated.  Remove from heat.
5)  Spread the pecan mixture over the hot crust.  Bake entire dish for an additional 20 to 23 minutes, until the topping is set and the pecans are fragrant.  Let cool to room temperature in pan on wire rack.  Using a serrated knife dipped in water, cut into neat squares.

Homemade Pesto on Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Tomato

This pesto sauce was thrown together in the magic bullet.

It consisted of:
  • pinenuts
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • fresh basil
  • lemon juice
Exact measurements were not computed (tee hee on word choice) but rather eyeballed and measured to taste.

In the past, I had baked my spaghetti squash.  However, MM taught me how to nuke the bad boy in the microwave.  We cut the squash in half lengthwise, scooped out the seeds then put one-half, flat-side down, in a microwave-safe dish.  Then we placed about an inch of water in the dish and microwaved for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, we sauted the spinach in olive oil and chopped up a large plum tomato.  After the squash had cooked and cooled a little, we plated the everything together and doused the dish in the pesto sauce.

The pesto sauce was absolutely delicious on its own, but we realized that it became much more mild with the addition of the squash, spinach and tomatoes.  In the future, the dish would be much more enjoyable with (at least) double the quantity of the pesto.  Regardless, this dish was enjoyed and also it is worth mentioning that in addition to being vegan, the dish is paleo, for those of you experimenting with various diets.

Another exciting vegan chocolate chip option!

Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips  

Ingredients: semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla)



Vegan Pizza with Homemade Vegan Pizza Dough

Who needs cheese with a recipe like this?!  This is the recipe that I used for the vegan pizza dough:  Slow Rise Pizza Dough.  I opted to use the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer option; the dough hook made making this dough a breeze!

Our pizza toppings included:
  • Mushroom Red Wine Tomato Sauce (from a jar - a brand that was purchase on impulse, and will be purchased again in the future with intent: Bove's)
  • minced garlic
  • diced shallots
  • diced onion
  • fresh organic white mushrooms
  • spinach
  • roasted red peppers
  • dried oregano 
The picture should speak for itself!  I was very pleased with this recipe, which we just kind of made up as we went along.  The mushroom red wine sauce flavor was greatly enhanced with the addition of the garlic, shallots, onion and of course, the mushrooms.

The dough recipe yielded extra dough.  The author suggests to split the dough evenly among 6 pieces for 6 individual pizzas.  I split mine into 3 separate pieces; I froze the other two pieces in Ziplock bags for a rainy day.  NMcL commented on my pizza and said "Whoa, how did you get your crust so thin?!"  She also enjoyed a nibble of my leftover pizza at lunch the following afternoon.  The other night, DP and I were talking pizza dough and we both commented on how whole grain pizza dough, albeit healthier, is just not the same as traditional white crust pizza dough.  Playing with the proportions, say 3/4 white flour and 1/4 whole wheat, or 50-50 may or may not be something I experiment with the future.  Emphasis on maybe not...

I am wondering why the author suggested that the all-purpose flour be chilled.  I skipped this minor detail and used room-temperature flour, which did not seem to negatively affect the outcome of the recipe.

No big deal or anything but in terms of assembly, it might make more sense to lay the fresh spinach  down prior to the other toppings, or saute the spinach in a little olive oil beforehand.