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.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vegan Leek Quiche - Online

Vegan Leek Quiche Recipe Available Here

The recipe, courtesy of above referenced website:

1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. pine nuts
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c. plain, unsweetened soy milk
2 TBL. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt

4 TBL. olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and green parts chopped (approximately 3 cups)
1 lb. light-firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1.5 inch cubes
2 TBL. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced (approximately 1 tsp.)
2 tsp. miso paste (I used red miso)
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1/4 c. chopped, reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes, drained

1)  To make the crust:  Preheat oven to 350.  Coat 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray.  (I used a 9-inch, glass pie pan, since the bottom of our spring form pan went M.I.A.  Also, I used Smart Balance Omega cooking spray.)  Pulse the flour, pinenuts, and baking powder in a food processor (I used the Magic Bullet, duhh) until finely ground.  Whisk together the soy milk, olive oil and salt in a bowl.  Stir in the flour mixture.  Press into the pan.  Bake for 5 minutes, then cool dish.

2)  To make the filling:  Heat 1 TBL. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Saute the chopped leeks for about 8 minutes, or until softened.  Set aside.

3)  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add tofu and simmer for 5 minutes.  (Here I will note that I just plunked the entire brick of tofu into the boiling water since I inadvertently forgot to cube the tofu before-hand, as the recipe suggests.  Nothing to cry over, everything turned out just mighty fine.)  Simmer the tofu for 5 minutes.  Drain then pat dry with paper towels.

4) Whisk together the remaining 3 TBL. of olive oil, lemon juice, miso, minced garlic and salt in a large bowl.  Mash in tofu, using a fork.  Stir in breadcrumbs, basil, sun-dried tomatoes and leeks.

5)  Spoon the filling into the crust.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is browned.  Cool for 5 minutes, then cut and serve.

This is quite possibly my favorite vegan quiche recipe!  I really enjoyed the pine nut crust, and would definitely use this crust recipe for other quiche recipes in the future.    The sun-dried tomatoes were 365 Whole Foods Generic brand - they were packed in olive oil.  I did not rinse or pat the oil off, I just shook most of the oil off.   It seems a little weird, but Craisins actually made a delicious complementary topping.  The dish had such a nice fall flavor and is definitely worth repeating.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Veganized Potato Leek Soup from M.O.C.

This is a recipe was given to me by M.O.C.  I went ahead and took the liberty of veganizing the recipe. 

Potato Leek Soup:
2.5 pounds potatoes (I used about half red potatoes and half white potatoes)
3 cups chicken broth (I substituted veggie broth)
2 cups milk (I substituted soy milk)
3 leeks
2 Tbs butter (I substituted Earth Balance and olive oil)
Boil potatoes until soft (which took approximately 20 minutes).  While potatoes are boiling, chop leeks and saute in butter until translucent. Puree potatoes, and leeks with chicken (or veggie!) stock in blender. Place back in pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer. Stir in (non-dairy!) milk and remove from heat. Voila.
M,O.C.'s Tip: "My soup was on the thicker side. If you would like yours thinner, I would say use maybe just under 2 pounds of potato or add another cup or so of chicken (or veggie) broth (it usually comes 4 cups to a box of stock anyway)."
M.O.C.'s Afterthought: "Also, another potato leek recipe I saw suggested adding about 1/4 cup white wine. If you have any open already and want to try, that's something else you could add."  This is something that I did not do.  The only open white I had lying around was a sweet, sweet white, and that would not be appropriate for this recipe.
Commentary:  This soup was very mild tasting.  The flavor definitely improved with a generous addition of sea salt.  M.O.C. said her soup was also mild.  I didn't care for the soup at first, but the soup grew on me the second day, after the flavors had melded a bit better.

There were many types of potatoes to choose from at the supermarket.  For the next potato soup I experiment with, I will use Yukon Gold Potatoes.  From a site called Wise Geek: Yukon Gold potatoes "are usually waxy, and highly delicious in soups."

Here is another link that describes the different types of potatoes: OChef.  "Now, there are some potatoes that fall in the middle, in the "all-purpose" category, such as the Yukon Gold, Peruvian Blue, Superior, Kennebec, and Katahdin. They are moister than baking potatoes and will hold together in boiling water. They are particularly well-suited to roasting, pan frying, and using in soups, stews, and gratins."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Seitan Piccata With Olives and Green Beans - Veganomicon (174)

1 pound seitan
about 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
1 scant cup thinly sliced shallots (about 3 to 5 shallots, depending on size)
4 cloves chopped garlic
1/3 c. dry white wine
2. c. veggie broth
1/4 tsp. salt
several pinched of freshly ground black pepper
small pinch of dried thyme (I subbed dried rosemary since there was no time to run to the store to buy thyme)
1/4 c. capers with a little brine
1/2 c. pitted kalamata or black olives, cut in half
juice of one lemon (omitted as I didn't have one)
2 TBL. fresh parsley
1/2 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
What to do:
1) Preheat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat.
2) Cut the seitan into long, thin pieces.  The seitan I purchased was pre-cut into slices (they were more like small, think chunks)
3) Coat the bottom of the skillet with oil and let it get hot.  Dredge the seitan in the flour, add to the pan and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes on each side.
4) After cooking all of the seitan, saute the shallots and garlic, adding more olive oil if necessary.  Saute for about 5 minutes, taking care not to let burn.
5) Add the white wine, raise the heat to bring to a rolling boil.  Add vegetable broth, salt, black pepper, and thyme (or rosemary).  Again, bring the sauce to a boil, let reduce by half.  The author suggests the reduction should take about 7 to 10 minutes...I found the sauce took much longer to reduce.
6) Add the capers and olives to heat through (about 3 minutes).  Add parsley and lemon (if you have one!) to the sauce. 
7) Boil the green beans for about 2 minutes, then strain.
8) Mix the green beans and seitan together (over mashed potatoes, if you are so inclined as the author suggests - I used white rice) then douse everything in plenty of sauce.

This dish was interesting.  It is very good for the olive lover.  I think the best thing about this dish was learning how to prepare the seitan.  Dredging the flour in the seitan then pan frying it tasted delicious.  Breaded (/bread-crumbed) seitan cooked in the same manner would also probably be delicious.  Cooking with seitan is not as scary as it used to be, though the seitan still looks not very appealing...  Next up is actually making my own seitan from scratch, using vital wheat gluten!