Friday, December 31, 2010

Final Blow Out for 2010 - Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

This is icing on the cake for all of the excesses of 2010. For those vegan doubters, believe me when I say that vegan baked goods are totally awesome. Especially homemade cinnamon rolls. This is a modified version of the cinnamon roll recipe from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (a cookbook worthy of your home library). I simply cannot bake without using whole wheat and specialty grain flours. I substituted some of the white flour with white whole wheat and spelt flour. Mmmmmm!

Ingredients for Dough
2-1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1-3/4 cup unbleached white flour
3/4 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
3/4 cup non-dairy milk, room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Ingredients for Filling
1/4 brown sugar
1/4 white sugar
1 TB cinnamon
2 TB flour
Mix together in small bowl and set aside.
2-4 TB Earth Balance vegan margarine, room temperature

Ingredients for Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2-4 TB non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all together in small bowl after the rolls have baked.

Combine yeast, water, and teaspoon of sugar in small bowl. Give it a swirl and let sit until it gets foamy - 2-3 minutes.

When yeast is ready, put in bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add all of the dough ingredients and mix until combined. If too sticky, add about 1/4 cup of white flour until it forms a ball and comes away from the side of bowl.

Take off paddle and use hook to knead dough until it's pliable and smooth, about 5 minutes. (If you prefer, you can mix in a large bowl and knead by hand.) Put in oiled bowl, turn to coat and cover with plastic wrap or towel until doubled in size - about an hour.

Punch dough down and let sit for about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make filling. Roll dough out into 12x18 rectangle. Either spread the dough with the Earth Balance or just dot the dough with small pieces of margarine. I like to spread the margarine and then sprinkle the filling over it. I usually have filling left over because I prefer a less sweet roll. Roll up rightly from long end. Cut in half, and then half again, and then into thirds to have 12 equal pieces. Place cut side down in a 10-inch pan, cover and let rise for an hour. Bake 18-22 minutes until lightly brown. Let cool a bit and drizzle topping ingredients over it.

knead dough until it's pliable and smooth

put in oiled bowl

Roll dough out into 12x18 rectangle

roll up rightly from long end

place cut side down in a 10-inch pan

Bake 18-22 minutes until lightly brown.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Three Apple Crisp

I love the simplicity of apple crisp. I've been making a lot of them and they are dependent upon what kind of apple you use. If you get great apples all the time, wonderful. But sometimes the apples around here are a little questionable. I decided to combine three apples to heighten my chances for a great apple crisp. And I decided to hell with measuring ingredients. With apple crisp, does it really matter? I don't think so. My apple crisp turned out great! I used one of each: Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Empire apples. If you use more than 3 apples, increase all of the other ingredients.

3 baking apples, take your pick,* peeled and chopped
heaping tablespoon or so of flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 TB sugar, to taste
1 TB lemon juice, approx.
1 TB apple juice, approx.

1-2 TB brown sugar, to taste
2 TB or so of melted Earth Balance margarine
heaping TB of flour
1-2 TB One Minute oatmeal
more cinnamon to taste

Lightly spray cooking pan with oil. Toss apples with flour, cinnamon, sugar, and juices. Melt margarine and mix with rest of topping ingredients. Put apple mixture into pan and sprinkle topping over it. Bake at 350 or so for 30-45 minutes until bubbly, lightly browned on top, and apples are tender.

*It's worth your time to be familiar with the apples you can get in your area and to research online which ones are best for baking.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Healthier Gingerbread Cookie Cutouts

Undecorated gingerbread cookies

These gingerbread cookies have the goodness of flax seed and whole wheat flour and NO eggs or dairy. I guarantee you no one will know the difference.

2 TB ground flax seed
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup vegan margarine, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup molasses

Mix water and flax seed in small bowl and set aside. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In mixing bowl (get out your stand mixer!) mix together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flax seed and molasses and mix. Add flour and mix everything together. Add a tablespoon or so of water if too thick. Separate into 2 to 3 balls, wrap and put in fridge to chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Roll out dough and cut into desired shapes. Bake 10 minutes or so, depending on how thick your cutouts are and how soft you'd like your cookies to be. Cool on wire rack. Decorate if desired.

This makes a lot of cookies, about 3 dozen.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup with Kale & Rice

More "stuff" from the CSA box to use up. I'm embarrassed to say I've had a bunch of kale sitting in my fridge for several weeks now... waiting, just waiting to be cooked. The most interesting use of kale I found was from my cookbook Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. This is adapted from that recipe with quantities greatly reduced. I almost cooked it on the stove and I'm glad I didn't because the flavors really came together after cooking for about 6 hours in the crockpot.

1 Tb olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup short grain brown rice
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cups chopped kale, stems removed and chopped too
3 cups vegetable stock (I used "unchicken stock" and it was great)

Heat the crockpot to high and add oil, onion, carrots, and cloves. Stir around for about 10 minutes. Add rest of ingredients, lower heat, and cook until rice and kale are done, about 6 hours. Garnish with vegan parmesan cheese.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thumbprint Cookies

Be warned. These are very adult, and very tasty. Fat bombs. But once a year ain't gonna kill ya. Just be sure to share.

1/3 cup walnut or canola oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cashew butter (or almond or hazelnut butter)
1/3 cup nondairy milk
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cup unbleached white flour
2 TB cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup or so of hazelnuts, finely chopped
organic raspberry jam

In large mixing bowl, vigorously mix by hand the oil, sugar, and nut butter. Add in nondairy milk and vanilla. Mix. Add sifted flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder and mix until a stiff dough forms.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Put chopped nuts in small bowl and have a small bowl of water close by.

I like to use a tablespoon scoop to scoop out about a tablespoon of dough. Compress into ball, dip into water and roll in the nuts. Flatten onto cookie sheet, make a hole with your finger or thumb and fill the hole with raspberry jam. Bake for 15-18 minutes until just lightly browned. Let sit for a minute before moving each cookie to a wire rack.

Potato Kugel

I cut my vegetarian teeth on Recipes for a Small Planet by Ellen Buchman Ewald many, many years ago - back in the day when everyone was concerned about getting complete proteins at every meal. Well, that's no longer true but still there are a few recipes from that book that I treasure. One of them is for potato kugel. The original recipe called for eggs, milk powder and cheese and/or yogurt. Here is my veganized version.

3 average potatoes, peeled and grated
3 medium carrots, grated with the carrots
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TB olive oil
1/3 cup silken tofu
2 TB arrowroot powder
1 tsp salt
2 TB fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 cup grated vegan cheese
plain vegan soy yogurt

Heat overn to 350 degrees. Grate potatoes and carrots into salad spinner. Rinse and spin to dry. Set aside.

Heat oil in small pan and saute onions and garlic until limp. Set aside.

Combine tofu and arrowroot in small bowl, stirring to mix well. Set aside.

Into large bowl add potatoes and carrots. Add sauted onions and garlic. Add salt, tofu mixture, parsley and bread crumbs. Mix well.

Place into oiled pan (I like to use a 9 x 14 glass pan) and press down firmly along top. Bake for about 40 minutes until starting to brown. Add cheese and bake until melted. Serve with soy yogurt if desired.

Betty Crocker's Sugar Cookies - Veganized!

Time to start baking those holiday cookies! It's a family tradition to bake sugar cookies and frost them. This recipe is from the Betty Crocker 40th Anniversary Cookbook and it's been veganized.

1-1/2 tsp egg replacer
2 TB water
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Combine the water and egg replacer, stir well and let for a minute to gel up a bit.

Mix powdered sugar, margarine, vanilla, and egg replacer in bowl and mix. I like to use a large stand mixer for this. When well combined add the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar and mix. If it's not "together" just use your hands to press into two balls; wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Take out one package of dough and roll out on lightly floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Try not to roll too thin. The fatter they are, the softer. Place on cookie sheet and bake 7 to 8 minutes until just starting to brown. Let sit for a minute before placing on wire rack to cool. Frost and decorate when cool.

Carrot & Celery Root Soup

In my last CSA box there were two small celery roots. This was a new vegetable for me to try out so I scoured the internet to find the easiest and most appealing recipe to try it out on. I found a recipe for Carrot & Celery Root Soup at and pretty much followed the recipe except for halving it.

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2-3 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 small celery roots
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 teaspoons dill seed (I used dill weed)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Prep all of your vegetables except the celery root (it will turn brown once cut). Then in a large pot, heat your olive oil over med-high heat until hot, add the carrots, celery and onions. Lightly salt (it will draw out the moisture). Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring, then add the garlic. Saute for about one more minute, then add the broth.

While the broth is heating up, peel and cube your celery root. Add it to the broth with the dill seed. Bring to a simmer and cook until all of the vegetables are very soft (about 20-30 minutes, depending on how small you cut your vegetables).

When finished cooking, use a hand blender to puree (or puree in small batches in a blender), and salt to taste. To serve, you can drizzle a a little bit of olive oil over each bowl.

For the original full size recipe and the cook's commentary: