Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tasty Tester Roundup

I had a few days off this week, so I recipe tested my butt off!

First, the sweet stuff from Carla's Vegan Bakesale testing:

Rich Brownies...the egg replacer is pureed raw cashews! So decadent and genius! Gently spiced with hints of cinnamon and ancho chili powder. So nice! Malva Bundt Cake...a super moist, sweet, and comforting apricot bundt cake! It even got an Apricot Jam Glaze for extra sweet and stickiness!
Pineapple Mango Mint Upside Down Cake...something sunny and flavorful to make watching LOST even MORE enjoyable!! Mint and pineapple? Yes, yes, and yes!!!

Now for some savory stuff from Melisser's upcoming The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life!

Chipotle Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes....spicy, smoky, and just all around amazing!! Perfectly paired with some homemade veggie burgers. Also, holla for the great local sweet potatoes!
And then there's Austrian Potato Salad! How can you not loooooove potato salad?! I even got these yummy local new potatoes and chives for it! Similar to a German potato salad, served warm with tons of onions and dill pickles in it. Mayo free too! Potatoes are the bomb, and so is Melliser!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Smoky Onion Marmalade

This Smoky Onion Marmalade is THE perfect condiment: it combines salty, savory, sweet, and smoky, you can make it easily at home, and it can go on just about anything! It's almost got a bacon jam flavor to it, but with lots of delicious, sweet onions instead of fatty, greasy bacon! My favorite way to use this marmalade is on veggie burgers, but I'm sure you can find lots of tasty and creative uses for it! Smoky Onion Marmalade (makes approx. 1 qt)
5 large yellow onions, sliced in half moon shapes
2 Tbs canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs liquid smoke
1/4 cup soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 cup real maple syrup
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
4 Tbs arrowroot or tapioca starch
4 cups + 1 cup water

In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 Tbs of the oil over medium heat. Saute half of the onions until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Set aside and repeat with the other half of the oil and onions--this is done in two batches to prevent overcrowding the pan, which would just steam the onions and would prevent caramelization.
In a large stock pot, whisk together the 4 cups of water, maple syrup and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the other 1 cup of water, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and the arrowroot or tapioca starch. Add to the pot, whisking vigorously until the mixture begins to thicken and darken, showing that the starch is cooked.
Add in the caramelized onions, garlic, and spices. Let simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat and bring to room temperature.
You can now transfer this to an airtight container and refrigerate if going to use soon, or canned in glass jars if to be used later.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tofu Krab Cakes with Vegan Tartar Sauce...New and Improved!!!

So I've been tweaking my Tofu Krab Cake recipe for a couple of years was good before, but with a few improvements, I think it is now PERFECT!!! I have even improved the Vegan Tartar Sauce recipe! I like the serve these with rice, as the texture and flavor combination just works really well together; so I came up with this flavorful and light Lemon Tarragon Rice side dish. Add some coleslaw, and you've got a pretty awesome meal!! I think you'll love this as much as I do. New and Improved Tofu Krab Cakes (serves 12, with 2 cakes per person)
2 cups breadcrumbs, preferably homemade
3 blocks extra firm tofu (3 lbs)
2 Tbs dried hijiki seaweed, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes and drained
1/2 cup red onion, minced
1 large celery stalk, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp kelp granules
2 Tbs ground flaxseeds
1 1/2 Tbs Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 Tbs hot sauce
1/3 cup vegenaise
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 Tbs olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 Tbs canola oil, divided into 3 tsp

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 2 sheet pans.
In a large bowl combine the breadcrumbs, tofu, flaxseeds, vegenaise, and dijon mustard. Use your hands to crumble the tofu into chunks and incorporate the ingredients together. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine; this works best with your hands. Mix together until everything is well incorporated, but not too mushy. You still want some good sized chunks of tofu. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup or scoop, form into 24 patties, approximately 3 inches in diameter. When forming, pack each patty tightly to ensure they stay together while cooking.
Place on prepared sheet pans and sprinkle with a little extra Old Bay seasoning over the tops for texture and color. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes; this helps them bind and stay together much better. Heat about 1 tsp canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add cooled krab cakes to the pan, and brown lightly on both sides. Repeat until all the patties are browned. Serve with Vegan Tartar Sauce and garnish with scallions.
Note: These freeze extremely well! Place leftover patties in an airtight container, before the browning steps, and freeze until ready to use. Brown in oil after thawing.

Vegan Tartar Sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
1 box silken tofu
2 cups vegenaise
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
2 Tbs capers
1/2 cup dill pickle relish, or chopped pickles
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbs olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients. Puree until smooth; a few chunks of capers or pickles is fine. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Lemon Tarragon Rice (serves ~12)
2 1/2 cups brown rice
5 cups cold water
1/2 tsp salt

Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 bunch fresh tarragon, minced

In a large pot, bring rice, water, and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low; allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Do not lift the lid during this time
After rice is done, gently stir in the lemon juice, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic powder, olive oil, and tarragon, using a fork; fluff rice as you stir. Serve hot.

Serve meal with coleslaw and garnish with lemon wedges and scallions....Enjoy your faux seaside feast!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another Round of Springy Tester Recipes! Urban Housewife and Vegan Bakesale!

Savory, from upcoming Vegan Girl's Guide to Life, ala Melisser (the Urban Housewife): Asparagus Almondine! Truly, spring has sprung! The Sweet, from Carla's (of The Vegan Year blog) upcoming Vegan Bakesale Cookbook:
Sunny Sunflower Bread. I am a quick bread fanatic, and sunflower seeds are one of the best flavors ever....what a perfect pairing!! Orange marmalade and Earth Balance made this the most wonderful breakfast!!
Also from Carla: Lavender Shortbread! Buttery, crispy, rich shortbread, infused with bright, floral lavender. Phenomenal with Earl Grey tea, and on its own, too!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Best Ever Berry Cobbler and Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream!

One of the best things about spring? The berries, of course!!!! I picked up some beautiful strawberries at the farmers' market this weekend, and they went straight into this awesome Best Ever Berry Cobbler. There's nothing better!! And you can't have a beautiful, warm cobbler without some cool Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream. You just can't. This recipe includes canola oil, which helps prevent an overly icy texture and adds a bit of creaminess as well. This may be my new favorite comfort food! Best Ever Berry Cobbler (serves 12-16)
2 qts fresh or frozen organic strawberries, sliced
1 6 oz. bag frozen (or fresh) organic blackberries
2 cups frozen or fresh organic blueberries
1 cup frozen or fresh organic raspberries
**I say to use organic berries here because of the large amount of pesticides used on conventionally-grown berries. Check out the EWG's website for more information.

1 cup sugar
1 Tbs vanilla extract
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs baking powder
1/4 cup cold vegan margarine
1/4 cup cold non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1/2 cup soy milk (or 1-2 Tbs more as needed)

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large pot, combine the berries, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and sea salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes, until reduced about halfway. Stir in the flour and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the cold margarine and shortening with a pastry cutter or strong fork, until the dough becomes crumbly. Drizzle in the soy milk, adding more or less as needed to form a soft, but solid, dough.

Pour the berry mixture into a 9x13 glass baking dish. Take pieces of dough and flatten; spread out in patches over the berry mixture, covering most of the berries, but also leaving some showing in between crust pieces. Sprinkle with 1 Tbs sugar over the top and place in oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool and set for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Serve warm with Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream.

Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream (makes 1 qt)
1 box silken tofu-- not lite
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 cup soy milk or almond milk
1 1/2 Tbs vanilla extract
2 Tbs canola oil
Pinch of sea salt
3/4 cup sugar
Optional: scraping from 1/2 a vanilla bean

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients. Puree until completely smooth and chill for an hour in the refrigerator. Pour into ice cream maker and make/freeze according to manufacturer's directions.
Allow to chill in freezer at least 1-2 hours before serving.

You now have everything you need for the perfect springtime dessert!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bake and No-Bake Testers

I've been doing lots and lots of Vegan Bakesale cookbook testing recently, for Carla of The Vegan Year blog! And I'm loving every since minute (and morsel!) of it!!! Here's some goodies....
Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies

Agave Crackle Cakes....
like crazy awesome Rice Krispie Treats! With Sweet and Sara's mini marshallows!! Whoa!

Strawberry-Infused Cupcakes

Much more to come!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Urban Housewife Testers!

I have been doing a lot of cookbook testing lately! Yesterday's awesome dish came from a new test endeavor, for Melisser of The Urban Housewife blog! She is writing a cookbook called The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life, and I am lucky enough to get to test out some recipes for her!! Yay!

The first test recipe I made for Melisser was the Tangy Cabbage-Beet Slaw. It was awesome. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera when I took it to the potluck! Dang. But trust me, it was colorful and flavorful and perfect. It pleased this slaw-loving girl very much!

Yesterday for yet another potluck, I made her Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin. OOoooh man. I haven't had any gratins as a vegan, at least that I can recall. This was comfort food at its finest: potatoes, chard, onions, a creamy sauce, and a breadcrumb topping. I was able to use swiss chard and yukon gold potatoes from the farmers' market, too, which is so great! I can't wait to try more of Melisser's recipes...these first two have been killer good!!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vegan Springy Brunch Awesomeness, Including Scones!!

Brunch is simply the perfect meal. Usually, it involves more veggies than a typical breakfast, but you still get all the tasty, comforting food you crave in the mornings.

For my supper club this weekend, I made a big brunch that was all about the wonderful bounty of spring!!

For the main course, I made Asparagus, Roasted Garlic and Pine Nut Quiche. This was my very first vegan quiche to eat or make!! It's a tester recipe for Vegan Bakesale (check out for more info!) and it was absolutely perfect!! The filling is made of tofu (local!) and cashews, so it is incredibly creamy and dense and amazing. Plus, ASPARAGUS is here! Celebrate! Oh, and the pie crust is also a Vegan Bakesale test recipe, for Basic Pastry Crust. So good, so flaky. mmm.
On the side I served Thyme-Roasted Potatoes with Wilted Greens. It is perfect for brunch, and I used local potatoes and local greens, too! Delicious.

Thyme Roasted Potatoes with Wilted Greens (serves 2)
4 small yukon gold potatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs fresh thyme, chopped
3 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cups greens, such as chard or kale, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a sheet pan.
In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, olive oil, garlic and spices. Spread in a single layer on sheet pan. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until golden brown and cooked throughout.

Remove from pan and immediately toss in a large bowl with chopped greens, until they become wilted. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

And then, there were the scones. Not just any scones, but Strawberry Basil Scones!!! Doesn't that just scream springytime brunch to you?! I've been working on this recipe for a while, and funny enough, there is a recipe of the same name in the Vegan Bakesale testing roster. I still need to try those and compare them to my own! I really can't get enough scones in my life!!! So, I like my scones really dry and dense. If you don't like yours that way, you may not like this recipe. But you should give it a shot anyway!Strawberry Basil Scones (makes 12 BIG scones)
5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 Tbs sea salt
2 Tbs baking powder
1 1/2 Tbs baking soda
2 tsp dried basil
1 1/4 cups natural sugar (I used evaporated cane juice)
1 cup cold vegan margarine
1 cup cold non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
3/4 Tbs vanilla extract
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup natural strawberry jam/fruit spread
1/2 lb fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup fresh basil, packed, minced
2 cups soymilk
1 Tbs sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening and margarine using a pastry cutter or strong fork. Fold in the strawberries and fresh basil and toss to coat.
Pour in the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold out dough onto floured surface and fold over itself a few times, to bring dough together and create layers.
Form into 2 round flat circles. Using a sharp knife, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
Sprinkle the dough with sugar and place each wedge onto the greased sheet pans.
Bake for approx. 15 minutes, until firmed and golden.
If desired, add glaze on top after baking.
Vanilla Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 Tbs vanilla extract
1-2 Tbs vanilla soy creamer

Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl, until smooth. Drizzle or pour over baked scones. Allow glaze to set and then serve.

Now go to your farmers' market and then get baking!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Quinoa Cakes with Herb Baked Lentils, Garlicky Greens and Rosemary Fig Aioli

This past Saturday's supper club was a celebration of yummy spring foods and flavors. I am so thankful for this incredible weather...what better way to celebrate than with an awesome meal?! This is a complete meal all in one beautiful plate, and it's gluten free too!! Go get some greens from your farmers market and get cooking!
Quinoa Cakes with Savory Herb Baked Lentils, Garlicky Greens
and Rosemary Fig Aioli

Savory Herb Baked Lentils (makes about 1 qt)
1 lb uncooked lentils
4 cups cold water
1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme--or 1 Tbs dried
2 Tbs chopped fresh sage-- or 1/2 Tbs dried
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil--or 1/2 Tbs dried
1/2 Tbs dried rosemary leaves
1/2 Tbs paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 Tbs sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup organic sugar
1 Tbs gf soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced

Bring water to a boil and add lentils. Cook for 20 minutes, until lentils begin to become tender. Remove from heat.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and pour mixture into baking pan .Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa cakes.

Quinoa Cakes (serves 6, makes 12 individual squares)
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups cold water
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs tapioca starch
1 cup vegetable broth or water
2 tsp agave nectar

In a large pot , bring water and quinoa to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Let cool for about 15 minutes, to allow some of the starch to release. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
Lightly grease 1 cookie sheet.
Pour quinoa mixture into prepared pans and press firmly to create an even, tight layer. If you are having trouble getting the mixture really packed in, place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the mixture and roll over the top with a rolling pin, to create a flat surface and a firmly packed layer.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and slice into 12 squares, and then return to the oven. Bake for 10 more minutes. Let set and cool for 15-20 more minutes before serving.

Rosemary Fig Aioli
1 block silken tofu
1 cup vegenaise
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup all-fruit fig jam
2 Tbs dried rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until creamy and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Garlicky Greens
1 large bunch organic spinach or other greens
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar

In a large saute pan or wok, heat the olive oil and add the garlic. When garlic begins to sizzle, add in the greens and stir. Cover and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add in the vinegar and toss to coat. Remove from heat and serve.

To assemble plate: Place 2 quinoa cakes in the center of a plate. Pour baked lentils over the top, followed by the sauteed greens. Drizzle or add dollop of aioli, and then garnish with fresh chopped scallions. Serve immediately.