Monthly Archives: September 2011

Snickerdoodles

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Snickerdoodles:


My husband is more of the baker in our family than I am, but together we made Snickerdoodles.

This recipe has been adapted (veganized) from Betty Crocker:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance (softened)
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
  • 2 eggs worth of Ener-G Egg Replacer* (3 tsp powder whisked with 4 Tbsp hot water until foamy)
  • 2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsps. ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix 1 1/2 cups of sugar with the Earth Balance, shortening and prepared egg replacer.  In separate bowl sift dry ingredients:  flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.   Blend dry ingredients into wet.  Put in fridge for about an hour to keep cookies from flattening out.  Mix rest of sugar (1/4 cup) and cinnamon together in a bowl.  Then shape dough into 1 1’4 inch balls.  Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set.  These are awesome warm from the oven with a cold glass of unsweetened almond milk.
  •  Make about 4 dozen cookies.
*Ener-G Egg Replacer is the number one way to take all your favorite baked goods and veganize them.  Earth Balance is a great vegan substitute for butter or margarine.
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Savory Scramble

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Simple Savory Scramble:
It is a beautiful Sabbath morning and my husband and I are doing brunch.  I am jonesing for eggs.  What do I make?  A simple savory scramble.  Tofu has a beautiful way of mimicking eggs.  The great thing about this recipe is that the tofu is like a canvas.  So, choose your own adventure.  Pick your favorite veggies and your favorite vegan cheese and make whatever you are craving or whatever you happen to have on hand.  We had a boat load of spinach on hand.  (Went to a produce market recently and got like 3 gallons worth of spinach for $1.)  As for the Mozzarella sticks, my mom brought me some various vegan cheeses to try.  A word on vegan cheese.  I used to love mozzarella sticks when I was not a vegan.  Vegan mozzarella sticks just do not cut it on their own.  So, what does one do with most of a package of  cheese sticks?  Repurpose them.  They melt incredibly well.  Today, I will be using it in a scramble.  Another day, for an eggplant dish.
Ingredients:
  • Organic Extra Firm Tofu
  • Spinach
  • Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Stick (1 per person)
  • Earth Balance
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Directions:
Dry out tofu (with a paper towel or put in a strainer and push out excess water).  Then hand crumble into a bowl.  In a hot pan put about a tbsp and a half of earth balance.  Once butter is melted add spinach.  Season with salt and pepper.  Meanwhile, season crumbled tofu with salt and pepper.  Take cheese stick and dice.  Once spinach is wilted, add tofu to pan.  Heat through.  Add diced cheese.  Stir in to melt.  Incorporate all ingredients.  Serve immediately.  I made this recipe for one.  I served it with a glass of juice (1/2 pineapple and 1/2 orange juice.)

Stuffed Yellow Squash Over Linguini

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Ingredients:
  • Large Yellow Squash
  • Linguini
  • Favorite Spaghetti Sauce (jarred or homemade).  My favorite jarred sauce, so far, is Classico’s Tomato and Basil Sauce or Classico’s Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce.  I always purée my spaghetti sauces because I have a textural aversion to onion.
  • Porcupine “Meat”ball Stuffing (see below)

Prep:  Cut off end of Squash and scoop out seeds giving you a hollow to stuff.  (Leave handle of squash on; just remove the end.)  Stuff with porcupine “meat”ball stuffing.

Porcupine “Meat”ball Stuffing for the Squash:

  • Block of Organic Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 cup to cup of chopped Walnuts
  • Olive Oil
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Creole Mustard
  • Soy Sauce
  • Lemon Juice
  • Vegan Friendly Breadcrumbs (I recommend Edward and Sons Bread Crumbs or making your own) or crumbled day old bread
  • Vegan Mozzarella (optional)
  • Vegan Parmesan (optional)
  • Cooked Rice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Hand crumble Tofu into a bowl. Add chopped nuts, Olive Oil, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Basil, Oregano, Creole Mustard, a dash of soy sauce, some lemon juice, bread crumbs, and vegan cheeses.  Use teaspoon to scoop mixture into hollowed out yellow squash.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Serve stuffed squash over linguini with spaghetti sauce on top.

“Meat”balls

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“Meat”balls:

  • Block of Organic Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 cup to cup of chopped Walnuts
  • Olive Oil
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Creole Mustard
  • Soy Sauce
  • Lemon Juice
  • Vegan Friendly Breadcrumbs (I recommend Edward and Sons Bread Crumbs or making your own)
  • Vegan Mozzarella (optional)
  • Vegan Parmesan (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Hand crumble Tofu into a bowl. Add chopped nuts, Olive Oil, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Basil, Oregano, Creole Mustard, a dash of soy sauce, some lemon juice, bread crumbs, and vegan cheeses.  Use teaspoon to spoon into hand.  Smaller meatballs are better because of the good crust that forms.  Place meatballs on cookie sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Carefully turn over each meatball, about half way through.  Serve with tomato sauce drizzled on top.  Great with potatoes cooked in the tomato sauce, too.

Variation – Porcupine “Meat” Balls:  Add already cooked brown or white rice to the mixture.

These are wonderful served over pasta with your favorite spaghetti sauce.  I also use this recipe to make stuffed squash.

Asian Cucumber Salad

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I grew up eating a lot of asian food.  My dad taught me to use chopsticks from a very early age.  No, we are not Asian, but we LOVE Asian food.  Whenever I make an Asian inspired meal, I love to have this refreshing and light Asian Cucumber Salad.  My mom always makes it when she makes my favorite meal, Hekka (a Japenese Hawaiann style stir fry).  Will have to post a vegan friendly version of Hekka, soon!

Asian Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Cucumbers
  • 1/3 cup of white rice vinegar
  • 4 tsps. of sugar in the raw
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 slices fresh ginger, finely diced
Take cucumbers and slice them in half lengthwise.  Core out the seeds.  Slice into thin beautiful “c” shapes.  Then marinate in the mixture of vinegar, sugar, salt, and ginger.  Chill in fridge in marinade for at least an hour.
Note:  If you do not have white rice vinegar you can use white vinegar diluted with a little water.
On another note, I went to a Japanese restaurant recently and had a variation on a Cucumber Salad.  The cucumbers were cut the same way but they were marinated in kimchi.  They were amazing and had a wonderful kick.

 

Perfect Rice

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There is something you should know about me.  I LOVE rice.  For the most part, I am good and eat brown rice cause it is très (as in very) healthy.  Yet there are some days when I need comfort food, and that comfort food is white rice.  When I was in college and living in London, I was living on not a lot of money.  Furthermore, I was saving what money I did have for musicals, travel, etc.  I practically lived on white rice — rice with soy sauce to be accurate.  It was cheap and filing.  And because of how active I was, I never had to worry about weight gain.  Well because I am an artist and money is tight, rice is still a good option.  Typically, now, I turn to brown rice.  Why brown?  Brown Rice is a whole grain.  It is chock full of minerals, nutrients, and fiber.  Also, check out black rice, wild rice, risotto, and other rice varieties.

My Aunt Margie, can make rice without even measuring.  She cooks it how I cook pasta — big pot of boiling water with rice.  This is one of the few things I cook where measuring is essential in order for me to have good rice.  I have perfected a full proof method for rice, and now I am sharing that with you.

Included in today’s post are recipes for both white and brown rice.  

White Rice:

  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 1/2 tbsps. of Earth Balance (Vegan Butter)
  • Salt

Put all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  (Make sure your bowl leaves enough room for rice to expand.) Leave uncovered.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Then microwave for 17 minutes on 1/2 power.  Fluff with fork.  Then serve.  Serves 2.  This recipe might serve more in your family, but in our family this serves 2 ;o))

Brown Rice:

  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 1/2 tbsps. of Earth Balance (Vegan Butter)
  • Salt

Put all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  (Make sure your bowl leaves enough room for rice to expand.) Leave uncovered.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Then microwave for 40 minutes on 1/2 power.  Let rice stand for 3 to 5 minutes.  Fluff with fork.  Then serve.  Serves 3 to 4

What do you do with leftover rice?  Check out my fried rice recipe.

On another note:  You can make Jasmine Rice using the White Rice Recipe and just substitute Jasmine Rice.  We have even made our own Jasmine Rice by infusing White Rice with Jasmine Tea.  In this case you would substitute Jasmine tea for the water.

Fried Rice

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Whenever I make brown rice I always make enough for leftovers.  So what does one do with leftover brown rice (or leftover white rice, for for that matter)?  One of my favorite uses is fried rice.

Ingredients:

  • Organic Extra Firm Tofu (mimics the egg and/or meat in traditional fried rice)
  • Emeril Lagasse’s Asian Essence  or make Emeril’s Asian Spice blend (see below)
  • Earth Balance (Vegan Butter)
  • Canola Oil
  • Shōyu or Tamari (Soy Sauce)
  • Leftover Brown Rice
  • Matchstick Carrots (or shred a regular carrot)
  • Broccoli
  • Sesame Oil (optional)
  • Garlic powder (opitonal)
Take Block of Tofu and Drain excess water on a paper towel.  Then crumble the tofu into a bowl.  Season tofu with Asian Essence, a little soy, a dash of sesame oil (a little goes a long way), and some garlic powder.  In a hot pan put about a tbsp. of Earth Balance.  Add broccoli and carrots.  (At this point you can add whatever vegetables you want.  Be creative.)  Sprinkle Asian Essence over vegetables.  Then add crumbled seasoned tofu. Cook till vegetables and tofu are almost finished.  Then crumble in the leftover rice. Add a little canola oil.  Then add Shōyu.  Stir and coat fried rice with Shōyu.  Cook until all incorporated and rice is heated through.
Serves 3 to 4.
This dish is great served with my Asian Cucumber Salad.

Emeril’s Asian Spice Blend: 
1 tablespoon 5-spice powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon cayenne

In a small bowl, blend all the ingredients. Keep in an airtight container until ready to use.

Vegan Cupcakes

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At the beginning of September, in celebration of my Dad’s birthday, my mother-in-law’s birthday, and my parents’ anniversary I made my first batch of Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes.  And they were awesome!

So here’s how I did it.  I took my inspiration from a fantastic cookbook:  Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Awesome Vanilla Cupcakes that just happen to be Vegan:

  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk (you could also use soy or whatever your favorite vegan milk is)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 c all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt (increase salt to 1/2 tsp if using oil instead of margarine)
  • 1/2 c nonhydrogenated margarine (I use Earth Balance sticks), softened, OR 1/3 c canola oil
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsps vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond, caramel or more vanilla extract (I used more vanilla)

Prehaet oven to 350 and line muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners

Whisk the almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside a few mins so it curdles.  (Like making homemade buttermilk)

Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and mix.

In a seperate large bowl, use a handheld mixer at medium speed to cream the margarine and sugar for about 2 mins until light and fluffy. Don’t beat past 2 mins. Beat in the vanilla and other extract, then alternate beating in the soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

If using oil, beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and other extract in a large bowl. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until no large lumps remain. Fill 12 liners 2/3 full and bake for 20-22 mins until done. Allow to cool on rack before frosting.

Awesome Fluffy Buttercream Frosting that happens to be Vegan:
1/2 c nonhydrogenated shortening
1/2 c nonhydorgenated margarine
3 1/2 c powdered sugar, sift if lumpy
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c almond milk (you could also use soy or whatever your favorite vegan milk is and this could also be done with the creamer version of your favorite vegan milk)
Beat margarine and shortening together until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat 3 more mins. Add the vanilla and almond milk, beat for another 5-7 mins til fluffy. This makes A LOT of frosting. For calories sake I usually halve this and it’s still a decent amount of frosting per cupcake.  You can also freeze half the frosting for another time.

Once the cupcakes cool it is time to frost them.  Put above frosting in a large ziplock back and seal the back.  Then cut, at an angle, one of the bottom corners of the bag.  This makes an instant disposable piping bag.  Now place tip (corner) of ziplock on top of the cupcake, gently squeeze the bag and make a swirled pattern on top.  Enjoy!

“Egg” Salad

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When I decided to go vegan, one of the things I was worried about giving up was things like egg salad.  Once I figured out how to veganize egg salad, I was so excited.
“Egg” Salad:
Ingredients:
  • Organic Extra Firm Tofu
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Vegenaise (Vegan Mayonnaise)
  • Yellow Mustard
Optional Ingredients that help kick it up a notch:  Dill Weed or Creole Mustard
Directions:
Take a block of tofu and dry out with a paper towel getting out excess water.  Then hand crumble the tofu or dice into small chunks.  Add dry spices.  Then fold in mustard and mayo to lightly coat the tofu.
Makes 3 to 4 Servings
I like to serve it on vegan bread or with vegan crackers.
Perfect “Egg” Salad Sandwich:
Toasted whole grain bread with organic mixed greens, Claussen dill pickle slices, organic tomato slices, salt and pepper (the tomato slices), sprouts, and avocado slices.

Simple Black Beans over Brown Rice

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Simple Black Beans over Brown Rice:

Yesterday was one of those days I needed to not have to worry too much about dinner.  So I decided on Black Beans.  It is the end of the pay period, so there was not much to work with in the cupboard and fridge.  So here is the recipe for simple black beans over brown rice.  Eventually, I will post the kicked up version of these.

Night before last I took 1/4 of a bag of dried black beans and soaked them, in water in a pot sitting on the counter, over night.  When I woke up yesterday, I poured off the water and then put the beans in the crock pot.

I took 1 1/2 cups of water and stirred in 1 1/2 teaspoons of Vegetable Better Than Boullion.

Then I added spices:  salt, pepper, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and oregano.  I set the crock pot to high for the first 4 1/2 hours and then moved it to low for another 4 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  I do a more complex version of this, but this recipe works for decent black beans.

In the last hour of cooking I made brown rice.  I make my brown rice in the microwave.

Brown Rice:

  • 1 cup Brown Rice
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Earth Balance (Vegan Butter)

Put all ingredients in microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Then microwave at 1/2 power for 40 minute.  Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes.  Fluff with fork.  Then serve.

 

Serving it all up:

Layer brown rice in the bottom of the bowl.  Then put black beans on tope of that.  Garnish with fresh diced tomatoes.

Other optional garnishes:  Cilantro (adds freshness and vibrancy) and Vegan Sour Cream/Plain Soy Yogurt (adds a nice creaminess to it).  If beans need some sweetness, matchstick raw carrots make a nice garnish that gives both sweetness and contrasting crunch.

In my crock pot, I had enough for dinner for me last night plus a serving left for lunch on another day.  There is enough rice to make a whole other meal like fried rice or jambalaya.

 

On another note:  I live with a meat loving carnivore.  Because of this I have a two vessel crock pot.  That way we can make his and hers black beans.  Only difference for his:  He had a 1/4 bags worth of black beans as well, plus all the same spices.  No better than bouillon for his.  Instead, added 1/2 a ham steak.