Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Red Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

 Check it out: Tasty Red Quinoa Black Bean Burger,
with home-grown sprouts on home-baked Thin Buns!

I was jonesing for a veggie burger and lo and behold, the August issue of Vegetarian Times had a recipe for Quinoa Black Bean burgers. This is adapted from that recipe. The recipe called for “Steak Seasoning” which I find somewhat unbearable. I have an all-purpose American seasoning mix that I keep on hand from the cookbook American Vegan Kitchen. I heartily recommend this book especially if you like to simulate the meat eating experience. It’s a perfect cookbook for someone with family members who are not whole-hearted vegans or vegetarians or you’re looking for new recipes for Meatless Mondays. I have included a recipe for “steak” seasoning that will do if you don’t have the American Vegan Kitchen cookbook. Makes about 8 patties.

Red Quinoa Black Bean Burgers
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1-1/2 cups cooked red quinoa, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. veggie burger seasoning (your favorite or see below for spice mix recipe)
1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed, and divided
1 cup vegetable broth or water
2-4 TB quinoa flakes

Place onion and sun-dried tomatoes in medium skillet and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until onion is soft. Stir in 3/4 cup quinoa, garlic, seasoning, half the beans, and 1 cup broth. Simmer until most of liquid has evaporated.

Transfer to food processor and process until smooth. Scoop into medium bowl and add rest of beans and quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired and mix well. If mixture looks a bit loose (and mine did) add 2 TB quinoa flakes, mix in and let sit for a couple of minutes. You're just going to have to use your judgment on this part, you don't want the patties to fall apart or get too heavy. It will firm up a bit more while the mixture cools. If still too wet, add 1-2 tablespoons more of the quinoa flakes. Cool in refrigerator.

Preheat over to 400 degrees and spray baking sheet with cooking oil. Form into patties and place on baking sheet. I like to spray the patties with oil too. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

All-American Veggie Burger Seasoning
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, ground
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground fresh
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt

Mix all together and store in glass container.

Note: As I was putting the finishing touches to this post, I checked the food recalls (see twitter post for 6-28-2011). Earth Fare Spicy Bean Burger was being recalled for salmonella. This is another reason to make it (and grow it if you can) yourself. Less chance of contamination. I’ve been posed the question before: Do you hear of people getting salmonella from home-grown sprouts? No. Those cookies they baked from scratch? No. The sprouts purchased already sprouted and the pre-made cookie dough are far more dangerous to your health than your home made goodies. (Of course, I’m assuming you practice good kitchen hygiene!) 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Almond Cheese

This almond cheese may rock my world!
I'm on a quest for good, no – make that great – vegan cheeses. The beauty of this one is you don't need to add thickeners and it’s just two ingredients. This almond cheese is reminiscent of ricotta cheese and could go sweet or savory. I'm going to use it on a pizza and in my bean burritos. It does take a little pre-planning since it needs to sit for 12-48 hours to "tart up." And you need to blanch and peel the almonds which is not difficult but a little time consuming. Think of peeling the skins off as a project to do while watching Sex and the City reruns, True Blood, or Dr. Oz! This recipe originated from VegNews and can be doubled.

1 cup raw almonds, blanched and peeled*
1 cup kefir water (1 cup water with 2 capsules of probiotic powder) or Rejuvelac**

Reserve 1/2 cup of the water kefir and set aside.
In a high-speed blender, place almonds and 1/2 cup of kefir water and process until smooth. Add more reserved water if necessary (by the teaspooon) to form a smooth, creamy texture. Scoop into a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow to strain and ferment for 12 to 48 hours, until desired tartness is achieved.

Remove cheese from strainer, then refrigerate the cheese until ready to use.

*To blanch almonds
Bring pot of water to vigorous boil. Have a strainer and a large bowl with ice and water ready. Add almonds to boiling water and boil for 60-90 seconds. Drain into strainer and plunge into ice water bath until cool, just a minute or so. Drain into strainer and then place onto plate covered with paper towel. Get comfortable in front of TV or outside in the sun and proceed to take off skins by holding each almond between your fingers and pressing down. The skin will pop/slide off. This really doesn't take all that long, just sounds complicated.

**Rejuvelac is made from 3 day fermented wheat and recommended by Ann Wigmore of Hippocrates fame. Rich in lactobacilli probiotics. Here is a recipe for it. There are many more.

 Here is the almond cheese on some pizza. 
It was tasty but I think I prefer the shredded Italian Cashew Cheeze.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chocolate Ice Creme made with MimicCreme

I was in the health food store looking for amazake (another story) and I came across this dairy-free liquid called MimicCreme made from almonds and cashews. I had never seen it before and thought it might be a good candidate for ice cream. I don't know too much about the company but if you're interested here is their website: What interested me was the pedigree of the MimicCreme:  dairy-free, lactose-free, gluten-free, vegan, cholesterol-free, non-GMO, kosher, no trans fats, and no saturated fats. I bought the unsweetened, although they did have sweetened, sugar-free and coffee creamer. I made a small batch of ice cream that I could fit into my little Hamilton Beach ice cream maker. You could easily double this recipe. As usual, the ice cream was pretty damn hard after it had frozen in the freezer. You will need to let it sit out on the counter for 10-15 minutes to let it soften up a bit.

Chocolate Ice Cream with MimicCreme 12 oz.
3 TB cocoa
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup unsweetened MimicCreme
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

I blended the ingredients in a Tribest Personal Blender because it's small. Combine cocoa, maple syrup, and half of the MimicCreme and blend. Add the rest of the MimicCreme and the vanilla extract and blend well. Pour into small container and chill for several hours; overnight is best. Be sure your ice cream maker bowl is chilling in the freezer 24 hours before you plan on using it. Process using your ice cream maker instructions.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thin Buns

You've seen them at the store for $3 or $4 bucks – thin burger buns full of additives and chemicals, and really, not so good. It's a great idea. If you're like me, you may get carried away making that veggie burger and adding all kinds of good stuff... sprouts, cheeze, sliced bell peppers, avocado, lettuce, jalapenos, tomatoes, and so on and so forth! The last thing you need is some fat, bready, doughy burger bun that gets in the way of the main attraction.

These buns were made from my all time favorite recipe for whole wheat quinoa bread. It's my go-to recipe for pizza dough and pita bread. Now it's doing triple duty as Thin Buns. If you don't have the book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, you really do need to get it. It makes life so much easier and tastier! You mix up your bread dough, let it rise for a couple of hours and put it in the refrigerator. After it's chilled, it's ready to use in batches or all at once. I use my KitchenAid mixer to mix it up, nothing could be easier. I make half batches and use half for pita breads and the rest for pizza. And now, thin burger buns!

Thin Buns
Chilled bread dough from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day
1/4 cup soy milk
1 TB raw sesame seeds

Take a piece of dough approximately the size of a plum. Roll till it's round and then roll out into a 1/2 inch thick patty. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I like to make about 6 at a time. Cover and let rise for about an hour; it will be slightly puffy.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush each bun with soy milk and sprinkle sesame seeds over the tops. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until lightly brown.

Note: I'm sure you could use your favorite bread dough recipe on this. Just let it rise once, then shape your buns and let rise again. The beauty of the "Healthy Bread" dough is once you make it, it's there for the baking when the mood strikes.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Muffin with Minimalist Chocolate Frosting

Healthy, low fat muffin with just a thin layer of chocolate frosting!

I do love my sweets and am always looking for healthier ways to bake my treats. I recently received an email from Chocolate Covered Katie with a recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Muffins. The recipe originated from her friend with The Happy Herbivore blog. The recipe lists an optional 1/2 cup of sugar which I did not use. The muffin was moist and subtly sweet. I wanted just a bit more sweetness so I made some frosting. This is a very small amount of frosting, none will be left over, and you may have trouble getting it to frost all of your muffins! I had 10 muffins to frost (but I did bake 11!). Here is the link for the muffin recipe on Katie's blog:

And here is the recipe for Minimalist Chocolate Frosting.

6 TB powdered sugar
1 TB cocoa
1 tsp Earth Balance margarine, softened
1 tsp chocolate extract (or vanilla extract)
soy milk

Mix powdered sugar and cocoa together until all lumps are gone and it's well blended. Add margarine, extract and about 1-2 tsp soy milk. Mix. Add a few drops of soy milk at a time until desired consistency is reached. Lightly frost each muffin.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Curb Your Cheese Addiction with Italian Cashew Cheese

This cheese is dairy free! Did you know dairy contains casein, which is actually addictive? Home-made dairy-free cheeses are helping to free me from my cheese addiction. It's a great feeling to not have cheese cravings. And I am not clogging up my arteries.

This cheese is good too! Nice flavors from the spices and you can slice it for cheese and crackers if that's your thing. After it has chilled, it grates up very nicely. Add grated cashew cheese to your pizza halfway through the baking cycle. Yummy – I guarantee it!

Here's a quesadilla I made with it. The "cheese" is even kinda melty!

Here's the recipe for the cheese. The sky's the limit when it comes to seasoning; just be sure to add enough or your cheese may be too bland.

1/4 cup agar flakes
1-1/2 cups filtered water
1 cup raw cashews, finely ground to a powder
4-1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 TB olive oil
2 TB nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 TB oil packed sun dried tomatoes
1 TB fresh basil, chopped

Spray 2 ramekins with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. In medium saucepan, combine water and agar. Turn heat to medium and stir. While you're waiting for it to come to a boil...

Add cashews and all of the ingredients EXCEPT the sun dried tomatoes and basil, into a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Add tomatoes and fresh basil and pulse until chopped and mixed in with the rest.

Go back to the water and agar and turn heat up till it comes to a boil; then stir constantly for 5 minutes. Add the cashew mixture, take off heat, and mix until well blended. You will probably need a whisk to fully incorporate. It will be thick. Pour into ramekins. Cool for about a half hour or so and then cover and place into refrigerator until completely cool. It's ready to eat! You can freeze one of the cheese rounds if you can't consume in a fairly timely manner.

This cheese recipe is adapted from a recipe in 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman. I haven't had this cookbook long enough to review it but I am impressed by the number of recipes (500!) and the variety. Although the book has no photos it's typeset nicely and there's many, many great looking recipes. I really need to put it on the top of my stack!

Italian Cashew Cheese on pizza pie. Mmmmmm!
The crust is the quinoa bread recipe from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.