Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spicy Pinto Bean and Quinoa Chili

I got a hankering for a pot of chili the other night. It really doesn't take all that long to throw together. You could add more veggies of your choice. I found myself wishing I had some zucchini. Next time! I was going to add some Ortega peppers but it would have made it too hot. A word of caution: add half the chili powder, taste and adjust. You want your spiciness "just so."

Spicy Pinto Bean & Quinoa Chili
1 TB olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
3-4 minced garlic cloves
1/2 bell pepper, chopped, your choice of color
1 TB chili powder*
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano flakes
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
1 15 oz. can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 cup cooked quinoa**

Saute onions and carrots in a bit of oil until onion is limp and translucent. Add garlic and bell pepper and saute for several minutes. Add spices and cook for a minute. Add some broth to de-glaze the pan. I actually used a bit of wine. Add rest of ingredients and cook for about 10-15 minutes until good and hot.

*I really like Summit Spice Susitna Blend chili powder. If you use it, be warned, it's on the hot side.

**I make quinoa in my rice cooker, cool it and divvy it out into 1/2 cup increments to freeze.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cashew Almond "Cheese"

What unbelievable texture for a non-dairy cheese!
I'm always looking for that perfect plant-based "cheese." Any time that I get nostalgic for dairy cheese all I have to do is remind myself of a dairy cow's miserable existence and I'm over it – just like that!

This recipe is a keeper but you do have to plan ahead when you make it. Look at the texture! And there are no additives to make it thick (meaning no expensive agar flakes). It could use a bit of seasoning; I just haven't decided what would be best. With its creamy texture it would be good for something like enchiladas or stuffed shells. It spreads well on crackers and would make a beautiful presentation at a vegan "cheese" and wine party.

1 cup raw cashews
1 acidophilus capsule
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds (soaked overnight)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
olive oil

Finely grind the cashews and add 1/2 cup water and the contents of acidophilus capsule and puree until very smooth. Transfer to small bowl, cover and let it ferment for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, drain the almonds that have been soaking and puree until smooth. Add the fermented cashew mixture, lemon juice, and salt and process until mixed. Scrape into a small oiled oven-safe ramekin. Drizzle top with a bit of olive oil and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly toasted and dry on top. Refrigerate tightly covered for up to one week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SoyQuick Milk Maker

 Soymilk is my drink of choice and I like to eat tofu. It was a natural progression of events that I would eventually buy a non-dairy milk making appliance. I've been wanting to make tofu and have hesitated because of the time investment. The first step to make tofu is to make soymilk which takes a fair amount of time. Then it's on to the tofu: add the coagulater until it's the correct firmness, pour into mold, press and chill. When I discovered this SoyQuick I was excited to learn that you just pour in the water, add the soaked soybeans, and turn it on! It's pretty slick and makes the milk in less than 30 minutes. The soymilk does have to be strained which really isn't a big deal.

My first batch of soymilk was very successful and I was surprised at how much tastier it was than the brand I've been buying off the shelf. It was a little richer than I'm used to but that is easily adjusted.

This weekend I tackled the tofu. I wasn't totally sure of how much coagulant to use so I just faked it. It did curd up but I need to work on that step. I was quite shocked at how much better tasting home made tofu is. Some of the store bought tofu has a "funny" taste that I don't care for and can't quite "spice" it away.

Here is my very first batch of tofu broken into chunks. The curd is a bit loose and it's wetter than I'd like but the taste was far superior than store bought.

So now I have this beautiful home made tofu so I made a Tofu Skillet Scramble from the new cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson. I have a lot of cookbooks by this author and I'm liking her recipes better all the time. I had gotten sick of eating tofu scramble; they're all pretty much the same. Her recipe for tofu scramble reminded me of a vegetarian egg dish we used to make called "Slop." Yeah, I hated the name but it was soooo good! Fried potatoes with ortega chili peppers and eggs scrambled in one pan with cheese melted on the top. Robin's Tofu Skillet Scramble starts with fried potatoes and scallions, roasted bell pepper and sun-dried tomatoes and lots of intriguing spices. It was delicious!

Here is the Tofu Skillet Scramble.
Next time the tofu will be a bit chunkier and the potatoes diced smaller.
Mmmmmm! I didn't miss the cheese either.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cheesy Quinoa-Garbanzo Veggie Cups

Oh these were tasty delights. Garbanzo beans and quinoa are two of my favorite foods. When I saw this recipe at The Peaceful Kitchen I had to try it. In addition to the beans and quinoa there is also grated zucchini, finely chopped scallions and red bell pepper and a wide assortment of spices and flavors. It is baked in muffin tins so you end up with a bunch of adorable "loaves." I found myself wishing I had one of those "muffin top" pans to bake them in – it would make some awesome veggie burgers. The recipe also has a link for the "cheesy sauce" which was actually quite tasty. A final note – the baking directions were for 20 minutes which I thought were not long enough. I baked them for 30 minutes and next time might bake them for even 5 minutes longer.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Darn – I didn't take a photo of these cookies. Let me describe them for you. They will maintain their shape as they bake because there's not a whole lot of fat. They will not get fat, fluffy and cake-like because there's not a lot of liquid. They are lightly golden from the oat flour. The crumb is a bit tender and they are just the right amount of "sweet."

What they are NOT is loaded with saturated fats and refined sugar. This recipe is very different as it uses canola oil, maple syrup and barley malt. My "testers" really enjoyed these cookies so I'm posting the recipe.

1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 TB plus 1 tsp canola oil
1 TB barley malt (or molasses)
1 TB (yes, tablespoon) vanilla extract
1 TB soymilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup semi sweet vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper. Mix dry ingredients together in bowl. In small bowl, mix together wet ingredients and whisk until well combined. Add to dry ingredients and mix. Add chips. Scoop onto cookie sheets with tablespoon scooper. Flatten each cookie a bit. Remember, they will not spread like high fat cookies. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes until bottoms are just getting brown. Let sit for a couple minutes and carefully transfer to wire rack to cool.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Remnants of a muffin I remembered to photograph before I completely scarfed it down!
I've recently come off a bad experience making a batch of low fat veggie muffins (here is the recipe if you want to try your hand at it). I don't want to dis anyone else's recipe and it could have totally been my fault but they turned out terrible. Not quite done, zucchini kinda stringy, too sweet – overall a poor substitution for the usually wonderful muffins I regularly make and consume. I've been in the mood for pumpkin so I made these totally lip-smacking Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins. They were just a touch sweet and had a wonderful cake-like interior. If you prefer something sweeter, you could add a couple more tablespoons of sugar or even sprinkle the top with sugar before you bake them.

Clabbered Soymilk
Mix together and set aside while you get the rest of the ingredients together.
2/3 cup soymilk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Dry Ingredients
Sift into large bowl
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
2 TB date sugar (or brown sugar)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

Wet Ingredients
Mix together in small bowl
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Final Ingredient
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin pan (line or oil). Add clabbered milk into wet ingredients and combine. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until barely combined. Fold in cranberries.

Scoop into muffin tin with ice cream scooper. Bake for 15 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.