Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vegan Mayonnaise

A cashew-based mayonnaise.

This is my version of a vegan mayo made without tofu. So many recipes use tofu as the main ingredient. It's not my favorite route to go because you generally use a minimum of half a package of tofu and end up with a lot of mayo that generally doesn't keep all that well. Raw cashews are used in this recipe. You might be surprised at how rich and  creamy cashews are when used in a dressing.

I made this the same evening I needed some mayo for a veggie burger. It is adapted from the Ranch Dressing in Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet. I quartered the recipe so I would have a minimal amount of mayo. It was quite tasty and I'll be making it again. Makes around 1/4 cup or so.

1/4 cup raw cashews
3 TB filtered water
1-1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp dry mustard
dash of salt
pinch of white pepper

Cover nuts in small bowl with water and let soak for several hours. If pressed for time, bring some water to boil and pour over nuts and let sit for 30 minutes.

Drain nuts and place all ingredients in small blender. Blend until perfectly smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Should keep for about 5 days.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Almond Roasted Cauliflower

Bite size pieces of Almond Roasted Cauliflower.

I've been making my way through Dreena Burton's Let Them Eat Vegan! It really is my favorite cookbook. She's very creative, uses lots of whole grains, and the recipes are very "doable." This recipe is available online.

Cauliflower happens to be one of my favorite vegetables. I generally toss it with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon and roast at 425 degrees until brown. This recipe adds some almond meal and nutritional yeast. I tasted it right out of the oven and was underwhelmed. It just needed "something" so I squeezed some fresh lemon over it. Excellent! This dish definitely tastes better cooled down a tad so you can taste the flavors. I think my original assessment was premature; this was so tasty it was all I could do not to eat the whole head of cauliflower!

If you don't have any almond meal, just buzz some almonds in the blender until finely ground. Be sure to stop before it turns into nut butter. Seriously, just grinding your own would be a lot easier than going on a big search for almond meal/flour.

Be sure to add this dish to your cauliflower repertoire – it's delicious!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fresh Nectarine Muffins

I have been tweaking the Whole Wheat Nectarine Muffin recipe a bit so I wanted to repost it. It's just so darn tasty; it has become one of my favorite muffins and I will miss it when nectarine season is over.

I would have liked to add more whole grains, but it got too heavy. I also tried a version with oat flour and it didn't do anything for the nectarines. So I've bumped up the cinnamon and added another tablespoon of date sugar. It the perfect muffin for when you desire one that's not too sweet.

Makes about 12 muffins.

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

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

Wet Ingredients
Mix together in small bowl
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Fresh Fruit
2/3 cup fresh ripe nectarine, chopped into small pieces

Mix with fork in small bowl until crumbly.
2 TB light brown sugar
1 TB whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 TB Earth Balance stick margarine

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 combined. Do not over mix. Fold in fresh fruit.

Scoop into muffin tin with ice cream scooper. Sprinkle a bit of streusel on tops of each muffin. Bake for 15 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quinoa Chickpea Burgers with Za’atar Spice and Creamy Tahini Sauce

The quinoa chickpea burger was quite tasty tucked inside a home made pita bread.

I bought some Za'atar spice at the store just because it looked interesting. It was the Lebanese version consisting of white sesame seed, ground sumac, marjoram and thyme. And it's been sitting there waiting for the right recipe to come along. And here it is! A veggie patty with all my favorite ingredients: quinoa and garbanzo beans! I also happen to love a good tahini sauce too. This particular tahini sauce has a bit of lemon, vinegar, agave, cumin, coriander, shoyu and chives. It's slightly sweet and would make a delicious salad dressing.

The burgers consist of cooked quinoa, pumpkin seed meal, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, sun dried tomatoes, za-atar spice, chives, pepper and garlic. It makes a TON of mix (okay, I'm exaggerating) so you might want to consider halving the recipe. When I formed the patties, I used my trusty 1/4 cup ice scoop, flattened onto parchment paper, and spritzed with olive oil. Then I baked at about 400 for about 30 minutes. The recipe calls for pan frying which I just can't bring myself to do. They turned out very nice baking them instead.

For more photos and the recipe, go here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chocolate Ice Cream

Whenever I buy ice cream from the grocery store, I am so disappointed. Many are way too sweet, have strange additives, etc. Making your own ice cream really doesn't take all that long, you just need to plan a little. The secret to the creaminess of this ice cream is fresh coconut meat from a young Thai coconut. While it may seem daunting to crack a coconut and extract the juices and meat, it's really rather simple after you've done it once. It's one of those things that I get great satisfaction doing. Here's a quick video on how to do it.

This particular ice cream recipe was adapted from "Raw Food for Everyone" by Alyssa Cohen. It's incredibly rich, creamy, and ever so chocolatey. You might also be surprised to learn that it doesn't have a heavy coconut taste. I think the chocolate overpowers the coconut. The next time I make this recipe I'm going to make a fruit version.

One final note: coconut water from a fresh coconut is so much better than the store bought. I don't enjoy drinking pre-packaged coconut water but I can see myself sipping a chilled glass of fresh coconut water.

1 cup cashews
1 cup raw coconut meat
2 cups coconut water*
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup agave nectar
3-4 medjool dates, pitted

24 hours ahead of making ice cream, place ice cream container into freezer to chill.

Crack your coconut according to video instructions. Invert the coconut and drain coconut water into large measuring container. If you get lucky, you will get about 2 cups of water from the coconut. Pry off top of coconut and scrape out the meat. Combine everything in VitaMix blender and blend until completely smooth. It will probably be warm from all the processing. Cool in refrigerator for at least four hours. Process in ice cream maker.

*If you don't get a full 2 cups of liquid from coconut, top off with soy milk, coconut milk or any other non-dairy milk of your choice.

This is what young Thai coconuts look like in the store.
I like to check the bottom and make sure it looks nice and fresh.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Potato Sourdough Bread

The taste of this bread is absolutely divine!

This is my latest attempt at making my own "artisan bread." My sourdough starter has matured and adds a very subtle and wonderful flavor to my homemade loaves, English muffins, and pizza crusts. I have come to prefer my bread over the bakery artisan breads. It's also a whole lot cheaper. I bought a seeded whole wheat loaf of bread at the bakery several weeks ago and it cost $8.50. I decided then and there I was going to redouble my efforts at home to bake my own artisan bread. Quite frankly, my efforts are quite delicious!

The original recipe for this bread is from "How to Bake Bread" by Emmanuel Hadjaindreau. I love the recipes but I'm not too sure about his bread making methods. This recipe is a work in progress because I want to increase the amount of whole wheat flour and I haven't got there yet. It also uses crumbled baked potato (yum!) and was baked in a clay baker. I will share the recipe once I'm totally satisfied with the results.

This is also posted to YeastSpotting.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Every Day IPA – Small Batch Brewing

Everyday IPA brewed from the recipe in Brooklyn BrewShop's Beer Making Book.
There is nothing quite so satisfying as brewing your own beer. Home brewing only needs to be as complicated as you want to make it. Believe me, the whole process has come a long way since Charlie Papazian wrote The Joy of Home Brewing. I recently discovered the "latest craze" in home brewing called BIAB – brew in a bag. It is all-grain brewing in a bag, in a pot, on your stove. It's very practical when you're making small batches. Which is where the Brooklyn BrewShop's Beer Making Book comes in. All of the recipes are one gallon affairs. I love that! We're talking about 10 bottles. Perfect for someone who likes to brew new and different types of beers. Seriously folks, I am not even going to tell you how many home brews I have in my crawlspace that I will probably never drink, remains of amateur 5 gallon brewing sessions. The beer pictured above I made in January 2012. While brewing, I had some "problems" and spilled a bit of the wort on the floor instead the fermenting container. I just topped it off with some filtered water ended up with about 8 bottles of "small" beer (i.e., low alcohol). And you know what? It was great!

This is a really nice book for the home brewer especially since there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of exotic malts and many of the recipes use only two varieties of hops. The Everyday IPA pictured above used American 2-row, Caramel, Victory and Munich malts and Columbus and Cascade hops. Pretty simple. If you are lucky enough to have a home brew shop nearby they probably have all the ingredients you need. If you're interested in this book, I have written a full review on Amazon.

If you have ever thought you'd like to make your own brew, now's the time with easy, modern methods and a fun new beer recipe book. It's really not all that hard!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pasta Shells with Spicy Marinara and Veggies

This was amazingly good! Tomato sauces are always better the next day.
With just a bit of planning you can have truly tasty home cooked meals. So much better than take out or frozen food! Whenever I make a pasta meal I prepare extra sauce and sautéed vegetables for a quick pizza the next day. All you need to do is make the dough. (And if you make the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day dough, it’s sitting in your refrigerator, ready to go!) This recipe makes about 2-3 servings of pasta.

Spicy Marinara Sauce
Adapted from allrecipes.com; makes about 2 cups sauce. If you’re going to make a pizza first with the sauce, try to make ahead of time so it has time to cool in refrigerator. Use half of the sauce for pasta meal and the other half for a pizza.

2 tsp olive oil
2-3 TB finely diced onion
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
3 TB tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 2 tsp dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
1 TB low sodium Tamari
1/4 tsp Ume Plum vinegar
1/4 tsp dried pepper flakes
1/2 tsp unrefined sugar
4 ounces whole wheat pasta shells*

In a food processor place stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

In a large skillet over medium heat sauté the finely chopped onion in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce, white wine, Tamari, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Reserve half of sauce for pizza.

Sautéed Vegetables 
Be sure to save half for a pizza the next day.

2 tsp avocado or virgin olive oil
6-8 mushrooms, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 heads of broccoli, finely chopped
salt, pepper to taste
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup or so of fresh spinach
1/2 zucchini, chopped

Add oil and mushrooms to sauté pan and cook until mushrooms begin to release moisture. Add garlic and broccoli, spices and wine and cook for a couple of minutes. Add spinach and zucchini and cook until spinach is limp. (Do not overcook. The broccoli should still be crisp and spaghetti and zucchini just barely limp.) Dump into strainer to cool and drain. Reserve half of veggies for the pizza that is in your near future.

Cook pasta according to box directions. Drain and add to reserved marinara sauce. Add sautéed vegetables to pasta and sauce. Heat gently and serve.

*If you are not using half the ingredients for pizza, cook 8 ounces or more of pasta.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies with Spelt Flour

I am always looking for new recipes and ideas for cookies. I would rather use whole grains and unrefined sugars but I still want that “cookie experience.” These are chewy, not too sweet, use oil instead of margarine and loaded with chocolate chips. The recipe is from “Vive le Vegan” cookbook and is also posted online. Dreena Burton is very original and always uses whole grains. This recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour with a wheat-free option using spelt flour.  When I was gathering my ingredients I discovered that I had NO whole wheat pastry flour so I used the spelt option. I really liked the results. No “wheaty” taste that some folks object to. The dough was somewhat crumbly but packed well into a tablespoon scoop. I flattened each cookie and baked them for 9 minutes instead of 11.  A real winner! Makes about 24-30 cookies.