Monday, October 29, 2012

Baked Macaroni and Daiya Cheese

This was my first homemade Daiya-based macaroni and cheese, AND IT WAS THE BOMB! The closest I've gotten to "real" macaroni and cheese. It's very similar to the vegan mac 'n' cheese you find in restaurants like Chicago Diner and such. So cozy in this new cold weather. You can find the recipe on To Live and Eat in L.A. here (and I used the full 2 1/2 cups of milk).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Apple Spice Scones

Ever since I tried an apple spice scone with caramel glaze from SweetArt Bakeshop & Art Studio in St. Louis (the best bakery EVER), I've been wanting to recreate it. Flaky and perfectly spiced (Reine, head baker and co-owner at SweetArt, has spicing down to an art -- just try their signature Sweet Burger). My first attempt I tried a few weeks ago didn't impress me much. After a lot of Vegan MoFo-ing this morning (i.e. looking at vegan blogs), I got the idea to use cashew cream to replace the heavy cream in cream scones. I'd been wanting to try coconut milk, but I have cashews in the house so they won. The results were delicious! I think I'll nearly double the sugar and bake them a tad bit more next time, but overall I was very happy.

I adapted this recipe from smitten kitchen.

Apple Spice Scones:

For the scones:
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar (add 2-3 tablespoons more, if you prefer a sweeter scone)
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoon coconut oil or vegan butter, chilled in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to an hour
1 cup cashew cream (recipe below)

For the spiced apples:
1 apple, skin removed, chopped finely
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cashew cream: (Note: this makes twice the amount you'll need for this recipe. Cut the recipe in half if you only want to make enough for the scones.)
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight (or soaked in just-boiled water for 30 minutes, in a time crunch)
1.5 cups cold water

Prepare the apples: Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples and cook for 5 minutes. Add cinnamon, stir and remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and store in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Make the cashew cream: Blend soaked cashews and cold water in a high-speed blender until completely smooth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

At this point, preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Make the scones: Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Use a box grater to grate the frozen butter or coconut oil. If you don't have a box grater, cut into small, pea-sized pieces. Add to dry ingredients and use a whisk to evenly distribute butter into the dry. Add apples and whisk again. Make a well in the center and add cold cashew cream. Use a rubber spatula to form a wet dough. Don't overmix. Flour an 8- or 9-inch pie pan and press dough into pan. Remove from pan onto a floured work surface. Cut into 8 triangles and place onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until light brown and scones bounce back when lightly touched. Cool for 10 minutes before eating, if you can wait that long!

Yield: 8 scones

Sunday, October 7, 2012

s'mores pie

you know those weeks when you're too broke to go grocery shopping and can only make meals from what's in the house? that's going on right now, and I've actually ended up making more creative meals than I probably ever have. such as:
  • s'mores pie (yep, i have vegan marshmallows in the house but not onions or garlic.)
  • gluten-free almond cupcakes with vanilla buttercream
  • lentil-rice burgers (loosely based on this recipe) made from a leftover lentils and rice dish topped with dreena burton's almonnaise
  • gluten-free banana pancakes (these actually bombed, but the dogs had a special sunday morning breakfast!)
  • split pea skordalia (surprisingly really good!)
  • papa john's pizza (ok, not creative and not even made in my kitchen. the cooler weather has made me nostalgic for my college days and i had papa john's on speed dial back then.)
i almost caved and bought nutritional yeast and pasta in order to make the vegan cheese sauce i found on your vegan mom (after spending my whole vegan mofo morning looking through her recipes, currently on october '08), but this has now become a challenge i'm enjoying (as is dyl, currently on his second piece of s'mores pie). he just pointed out that we've been eating a lot of new dishes since this challenge started. i think i'll continue even after the paychecks come waddling in.

sorry for the photo-quality. dyl was very impatient to eat his pie and refused to let me take a photo of the perfectly triangular slice on his plate.

s'mores pie:
recipe adapted from old-fashioned chocolate pudding pie from vegan pie in the sky

for the crust:*
1 3/4 cups finely ground graham crackers
3 tablespoons liquid sweetener (maple syrup or agave nectar)
4 tablespoons canola oil

for the filling:
1.5 cups almond milk
1/4 cup tapioca starch (may sub. with cornstarch)
1/3 cup hot cocoa mix (store-bought -- mine is from kalamazoo coffee comapany -- or you could make your own and use the leftovers for, um, hot cocoa.)
1 tbsp. liquid sweetener (maple syrup or agave nectar)
big pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the topping:
vegan marshmallows (i used dandies and they rock.)

assemble the crust: preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan. combine ground graham crackers, liquid sweetener of choice and canola oil in a bowl. combine with a spoon (or simply your hands). press into greased pie pan. bake for 10 minutes. let cool.

prepare the filling: combine almond milk and tapioca starch in a small saucepan. whisk well until tapioca starch is completely dissolved. add the remaining ingredients (except for vanilla extract) and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. once mixture boils, reduce heat and simmer, while whisking, for about 7 minutes or until thickened. once thickened, turn off heat and add vanilla extract. pour into prepared pie crust. cool in the refrigerator for three hours.

toast the marshmallows: once the pie has cooled, arrange marshmallows in a circle around the edge of the pan with two layers (see picture above) or however you'd like to arrange them. place pie under broiler (you'll want to move the rack to the highest rung) and toast the marshmallows until lightly brown. watch closely, this will happen fast (and you don't want the filling to melt). serve immediately. store leftovers (if you have any) in the refrigerator.

*which ended up being my favorite part of the pie! i never knew how much i loved graham crackers.

Friday, October 5, 2012

gluten-free almond cupcakes (without xanthum gum)

gluten-free almond cupcakes without xanthum gum! i'm kind of scared of the stuff. what's your take? i used flaxseed, instead, for binding, and they held together nicely. you'll need several different flours, including almond meal, for the cupcakes. almond meal is easy to make at home. just grind raw, whole almonds in a coffee grinder into a powder. be careful not to process for too long or it will turn into almond butter. i made a simple vanilla buttercream to top the cupcakes, but it was a little too sweet for my taste (which is why I prefer cookies over cupcakes). I'm thinking I'll try a dark chocolate ganache next time.

gluten-free almond cupcakes:

this recipe is from jae steele's get it ripe (one of my favorite cookbooks). i adapted it only slightly and i will note my changes. this is one of those recipes i've been meaning to try since i bought the book years ago but somehow never get around to it. tonight, finally, was the night!

1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup soy flour (the original recipe calls for 1/4 c. quinoa or millet flour here)
1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 tablespoons flax seeds, ground
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
2/3 cup nondairy milk
1/3 cup canola oil (the recipe calls for 1/3 c. softened coconut oil or sunflower oil here)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (the recipe calls for 1 tsp. each of vanilla and almond extracts)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

preheat oven to 350. line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. combine dry ingredients in a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer). add wet ingredients (except apple cider vinegar) and mix until just combined. add apple cider vinegar and stir just until incorporated. batter will be thin. evenly distribute batter into muffin cups 3/4 cup full. bake for 22-24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. let cool completely, then carefully remove from pan and top with your favorite icing.

yield: about 12 cupcakes

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kale Almond Pesto

I seem to always have a bunch of kale in my refrigerator, so kale pesto is found more frequently in my house than basil (the vision of my indoor herb garden has yet to be realized). I've made my share of kale pestos and this is by far my favorite. It's quite addictive with a beautiful bright green color. Try it on pasta or spread on good-quality toasted bread with local tomatoes.

Kale Almond Pesto:

4 cups kale, stems removed
2/3 cup toasted almonds
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

In a food processor, chop kale. Add almonds and garlic and process until close to uniform. Add nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and black pepper and pulse a few times. While machine is running, slowly add olive oil. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

easy peasy strawberry jam

in michigan, strawberries are still in season! crazy, huh? they're good, too. small and full of flavor. i bought some and made jam. here's an easy, fast recipe. perfect for bread, butter + jam or pouring over vegan ice cream. you could even try stirring it into your favorite nondairy milk. or just eat it straight out of the jar.

strawberry jam:

adapted from whole berry sauce in vegan brunch

4 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen (preferably local, in season)
1/3 cup local maple syrup or sugar
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

combine all ingredients in a saucepan until arrowroot is dissolved. heat on medium for 15 minutes, stirring often, until thickened and the berries are broken down a bit. if using frozen berries, the cooking time will take longer. let sit for at least ten minutes before serving. this is best served at room temperature or straight from the fridge. store in the fridge in an airtight jar.

yield: 1 14 fl. oz. jar's worth