Sunday, February 22, 2015

Chickpea Omelet

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl:
½ C Chickpea flour
¼ t Salt
¼ t Turmeric
¼ t Baking soda
½ t Trader Joe's 21 Salute seasoning

½ unsweetened plant based milk ( I used TJ’s coconut beverage)
Mix well.
Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. When pan is heated oil lightly and pour batter into pan.
Top with:
A selection of sautéed veggies - mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, asparagus - anything!

When omelet puffs up – flip over and finish cooking until dry in center. (like a puffy pancake)
Remove from pan and place on top of:
1 C baby arugula

Top with:
¼ Avocado – sliced
Red Hot Tahini

Red Hot Tahini – your favorite hot sauce mixed with tahini, water and salt

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Decadent Dark Chocolate Truffles

300 grams of dairy free dark chocolate (chocolate bars)
240 ml coconut milk
3 Tablespoons of coconut oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt

using a large kitchen knife, chop the chocolate into small pieces – the smaller the better. Place the chopped chocolate into a medium mixing bowl.  Add the coconut oil and salt to the chocolate. Heat the coconut milk just to a boil and slowly pour over the chocolate mixture while stirring. Stir until smooth. Place plastic wrap on the surface of the chocolate and refrigerate overnight.
When completely chilled you will have a lovely bowl of chocolate ganache. Before rolling these into truffle size pieces I have a plate chilling in the refrigerator or briefly in the freezer.  Working in small scoops – and working quickly, roll small spoonfuls of ganache into balls using your hands. This gets messy, there is no way around it.  Place the balls on the chilled plate. When you have finished rolling the balls return the plate to the refrigerator while you prepare the next step.
Depending on how you want to finish the truffles have a bowl or bowls ready with any of the following: 
Pink Himalayan Salt
Cocoa powder
Finely chopped nuts
Shredded dried coconut
Matcha powder
Curry powder (heavenly!)
Smoked Paprika
Remove the truffles from the refrigerator a gently roll in any of the finishing ingredients you have selected. Store the finished truffles in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

* Based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe

Fat Tuesday Red Beans and Rice

Loosely based on traditional Louisiana Cajun style red beans and rice, this scrumptious, hearty dish is a perfect plant-based Mardi Gras treat that is still compassionate, clean eating. It has a little zip to it, too. Boom, Boom, Boom.

1 pound small red beans - soaked overnight in 6 cups water then drained
1 green bell pepper - diced
2 ribs celery - diced
1 shallot - diced
3 cloves garlic - minced
1 tablespoon olive oil or 2 tablespoons water for sauteing veggies
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 cubes Edward and Sons Veggie bouillon

 Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Diced the shallot, celery and bell pepper. Mince or press the garlic.

Saute the diced and minced veggies in a large stock pot over medium low heat until they begin to turn clear.  You may use 1 Tablespoon olive oil for this or 2 Tablespoons water for ultra low fat version.

 Add your spices and herbs, stir briefly. I always like to warm my seasonings a tiny bit, it seems to deepen the flavor. Hold up on adding the bay leaves for just a minute.

Add the soaked, drained, rinsed beans to the pot.
Are they soaked? Are they drained? Are they rinsed?
These beans have an identity crisis! Shut up, beans and get in the pot.

Add 7 cups of water and the bay leaves.

Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Low and slow. If you forgot to soak your beans this part may take up to 3-4  hours.

Check the beans for tenderness. Once the beans are nice and tender add 2 cubes of Veggie bullion ( I added the photo of the Not-Chick'N because most folks are familiar with that one). Never add any type of salt to beans until they have reached the proper tenderness. Salt inhibits the beans from becoming tender.

Start a pot of rice. I like short grain brown rice, but prepare your favorite while the beans continue to simmer. at this point you may taste the pot liquor (potlikker or broth) for seasoning. Add a bit more cayenne if you like it hotter. I like to add Frank's Red Hot or Tapitio at the table.

To serve, put a nice ladle full of beans in a bowl. Top with a scoop of rice and some chopped green onions.
Add a dash or two of hot sauce and you'll be in bean eatin' heaven! Laissez les bons temps rouler!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Harvest Pumpkin Date Bars - Gluten Free and Vegan

Harvest Pumpkin Date Bars - Gluten Free and Vegan

Oat Crumble Crust

3/4 C Coconut Oil
1 C Coconut Sugar
1/4 t Molasses
1 C Bob's Red Mill GF Flour
1/2 C Almond Flour
1/4 t Xanthan Gum
1 t Vanilla Extract
1 C GF Rolled Oats
1/2 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Sea Salt

Pumpkin Date Filling

1 13 oz Package of Date Paste *
1/4 C Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1/3 C Canned Pumpkin Puree
3 T Unsweetened Apple or Cherry Juice

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a 13 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper.
Start by making the filling so that it may cool and be easier to handle when building your bars.
Place the date paste and apple sauce in a small saucepan on low heat and combine using a fork.
Next add the pumpkin puree and combine, again I have found a fork works best for this.
Now, add the juice and really stir it up until mixture is warmed through an about the consistency of thick frosting. remove from heat and let cool.

Next make the crust. Start by combining the oil, sugar, molasses and vanilla using a hand mixer on low speed in a medium mixing bowl. It takes a few minutes for the coconut oil to warm up. Be patient and mix until slightly fluffy in texture. In a small bowl combine GF flour, almond flour, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt. stir mixture well and then add to the oil/sugar mixture and mix on low speed for a minute or two until well incorporated. Next, using a large spoon, stir in the oats.

Okay, it's time to assemble the bars. Press half the oat mixture in to the parchment lined baking pan. I used the bottom of a metal measuring cup - it's tricky and sticky! Now place tablespoons of the filling on top of the oat mixture in the pan. Use a butter knife and carefully spread evenly over the bottom crust mixture. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top and again carefully press down - I used the bottom of the metal measuring cup again.

Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and then carefully lift the whole solid slab out by holding the edges of the parchment paper. Lay this whole thing - parchment and all on a cutting board. Cut into squares and let cool 10-20 more minutes before serving. These store well if you put parchment under and between layers of bars. I did not cover them for storage - but things don't last long around here.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Aged Vegan Cashew Cheese

Cheese. Delicious. Creamy. Cheese-y. Cruelty-free. Dairy-free. Dreamy cheese.

Honestly, this stuff is delicious. 
I recently served some at some holiday gatherings and folks thought it was dairy cheese.
Some folks thought it was goat cheese and some thought it was brie. 
Everyone thought it was yummy.
1 1/2 C raw cashews
1 1/4 C cold water
2 heaping tablespoons non-dairy yogurt with active culture- home
1/8 - 1/4 cup sauerkraut juice (from active probiotic sauerkraut - not the stuff in the can)
1/3 C coconut oil
1/8 C nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
teeny tiny pinch of garlic powder
2 teaspoons agar powder (not flakes)

Start by soaking 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews overnight in 1 1/2 cups of cold water and 1/2 tsp. salt.

In the morning the cashews will be swollen to about twice their original size.
Discard the soaking water.
Put the drained cashews, 2 T soy yogurt*
*you can use this:

1/3 Cup coconut oil (use refined if you don't want your cheese to taste like coconut)

1/8 Cup Nooch (nutritional yeast -loaded with B vitamins including B12!)

Blend it all up until very smooth - 5 minutes or so.

Here's something cool! This is a Chinese pickling jar.
The top fits into a ring on the top of the jar that is a reservoir. 
This lid keeps bad bacteria out while allowing the contents to breathe a bit.
As gases form during fermentation, the lids burps occasionally.

Pour your blended cashew mixture into a jar.
If you don't have one of these fancy schmancy jars, just use a regular big jar and cover the top
with a cotton cloth - like a clean handkerchief or cloth napkin or clean old cotton t-shirt
and hold it in place with a rubber band around the rim.
This will keep bad stuff out but let fermentation occur without exploding the jar.

Here's a close up of that reservior I mentioned above.
I'm like a regular show-off.

Ok so - here's the story, if you want something mild and buttery, let this ferment for 24-36 hours 
depending on how warm your house is etc. 
Taste test your mixture after 24 hours. If you like it you're done with fermentation.
If, on the other hand you want something sharper, more along the lines of sharp cheddar or blue,
then allow your mixture to keep fermenting. 
I just made a batch of sharp - something akin to a sharp white cheddar,
I let that ferment for 48 hours.

When fermentation is done, find a couple of ramekins or small dishes you can use to mold your cheese.

Line  them with cheesecloth

You can add some nice looking herbs or edible flower petals or fruit , if you like.
This photo below shows some crushed pink peppercorns.

As your cashew mixture ferments, little bubbles will form on the top.
You may also see some liquid accumulate at the bottom.

Dump the whole mess into a saucepan and heat on medium low.

Lightly sprinkle the agar powder over top - whisking vigorously after each 1/2 teaspoon.

Whisk. Whisk, Whisk.

Pretty soon the mixture will thicken.
Keep whisking another minute.
Then turn remove from the heat.

Pour into your prepared, cheesecloth lined containers

Smooth the surface gently - don't press too hard!

Lightly cover by folding over the cheesecloth and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Remove your cheese from the mold and unwrap the cheesecloth.
Wet your hands just slightly and sprinkle them with salt.
Rub the salt on the surface of the cheese and put the unwrapped cheese back in the refrigerator
for at least a few hours and up to 2 days.
By letting the cheese rest it dries on the outside creating sort of a rind.
Now - you can serve the cheese fresh and/or you can let it age.
I do both.
I make a small round for eating fresh and I let the larger round age unwrapped for 2 days
then I wrap it in parchment and let it age for as long as I can stand it.
Usually I can make it a week without eating a bit, but it can keep aging after you have some.
I have made it 3 weeks.
After that it is uncharted territory and you are on your own.

I'm telling you, it's beautiful stuff.
This is a wheel that was aged about 2 weeks.
Make cheese. You can do it!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Greek Style Soy Milk Yogurt

 Smooth and creamy, Greek style soy milk yogurt.

Start by making a batch of  Delicious, Creamy, Soy Milk Yogurt

Pour the yogurt into a strainer lined with cheesecloth
with some sort of container under it to catch the liquid that will drain off.
I used a large measuring cup.

Put a plate on top and place in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes.
(If you leave it for a few hours, you will have an incredibly delicious cream cheese type spread.)

Spoon into jars - again save some for inoculating your next batch of yogurt.
Look in that smaller jar - you can see how wonderfully creamy this stuff is.
If you want it even creamier - run it through a fine mesh strainer to remove even the smallest lumps!

My favorite breakfast is a wee bit of this yogurt with a teaspoon of maple syrup on top.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Delicious, Creamy Soy Milk Yogurt

(Easy to make and without a yogurt machine)

Supplies: Insulated cooler (the kind you fill with beer and take to the beach)
                   Several clean glass jars and lids (I am a recycled jar hoarder)
                    Large stainless steel kettle
                    Whisk (I am sure you can improvise if you don't have one)
Ingredients: 1 half gallon of non-dairy milk - I use soy because it is the 
                         easiest 2 ingredient milk to find.
                         Some non-dairy yogurt and kombucha (it's fermented drink)
                          (If you have made this before use 1 cup leftover yogurt and no kombucha.)

Okay - let's make some yogurt!

                Start by making sure EVERYTHING you use is clean. Really clean. Configure your cooler by
                placing 2 quart jars (with lids) near the middle and arranging the other jars around them so they are   
                close, but not touching. Leave room for one more 2 pint jar.

Take out the 2 quart sized jars and lids - sanitize them with boiling water.
Fill the remaining open jars about half way with boiling water.
Put the lid on the cooler. What you have just done is created a cozy warm
incubator type environment in which your yogurt culture can grow and 
magically turn some crappy soy milk into delicious yogurt. Oooooo!

This is actually really good soy milk. I use either Rosewood or Panda soy products.
I live in SE Michigan and Rosewood is made in Ann Arbor, Panda is made in Royal Oak.
Both are made with only soybeans and water. No fillers, binders or preservatives.
Simple 2 ingredient soy milk makes the best yogurt. 
I intend to try making almond, cashew and coconut milk yogurt, so stay tuned.

Warm the soy milk on low just until it is slightly warmer than room temperature.
If you make bread - this is the same temperature for starting yeast.
It is about the same temperature for warming a baby bottle.
You want it just slightly warm to the touch.
Too hot and you will kill the good bacteria that is essential for making yogurt.

While your soy milk is warming, let's talk about inoculation.
If this is your first time making soy milk yogurt - the challenge is finding
dairy free starter. Nancy's Soy yogurt, if you can find it, is the best.
Just read the ingredients - if you see L.Acidophilus or  Lactobacillus acidophilus
the yogurt contains trace amounts of dairy. It's your call. 
You can also buy vegan yogurt starter online. 
For now, get a couple of small containers of dairy free soy or almond yogurt and a small bottle of kombucha.
From this point forward save a pint or two of your yogurt to use as starter for the next batch.
Combine the yogurt with 1/8th cup of kombucha in a lidded jar - shake well.

Turn off the heat when your soy milk has warmed properly and whisk in your
non-dairy yogurt/kombucha mixture.

Pour into your prepared quart jars and your 2 pint jar. Put on the clean lids.

Now they are ready to go in the steamy warm cooler.

Again - make sure the jars of hot water are close, but not touching.
Put the lid on the cooler.
In a couple of hours refresh the boiling water in the jars.
Close the cooler and leave it for 6-8 hours or overnight.
If you like your yogurt super tangy, refresh that hot water and let the yogurt go another 6 hours! 
Save the 2 pint jar of yogurt to use as starter for your next batch.

After 6-12 hours, it will look like this.
carefully drain any water off the top.

Until it looks like this. 
This is good the way it is, but sometimes I like to make Greek style yogurt.

It really depends on the nutritional profile of the soy milk you use,
but 1/2 cup of yogurt with a teaspoon of maple syrup, couple of strawberries
and a sprinkle of hemp seeds is approximately 50 calories and 10 grams of protein.

*A note about different brands of soy milk and your yogurt:
I want to show you photos from 2 different brands of soy milk.
Both are made with only soybeans and water.

The brands of soy milk I used are made locally in SE Michigan 
and I am not sure of their availability outside of Michigan. 
You can generally find good quality soy milk at Asian markets.
(don't get the soy milk flavored with pandan leaves though!)
This is yogurt (above) made with Rosewood brand soy milk
It made a deliciously tangy yogurt, sharp with a sweet soy flavor.

 There was not a huge yield with this brand, but the tangy flavor was great!

This yogurt (above) was made from Panda brand soy milk.
The flavor and consistency are best described as delicate.
It is custard like in consistency and has a slight tangy flavor
with virtually no soy taste.

And only this much water accumulated. 

I guess my point here is: If you make some yogurt and you are not 100% 
satisfied with the results, switch your brand of soy milk and try it again!
Both of these examples have unique and delicious qualities.

If my ultimate goal is to make some nice Labne (greek style soft cheese)
or use as a non-dairy sour cream,
I would probably go with Rosewood.
For everyday use for breakfast etc. I would use Panda.

Now, get outta here and make some yogurt!