Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Yesterday was my birthday, and in honor of yours truly I threw myself a little potluck party. I made mini cupcakes again, and they were so cute I had to post a picture! I made about 90 little chocolate cupcakes and frosted them with an assortment of flavor including chocolate-orange, espresso, coconut, peanut butter, peppermint, and chocolate cinnamon. If I had to choose a favorite it would be the chocolate-orange. I even candies orange peels to garnish them with and I made my sister, Molly, bring all her cute cake stands to display them on. I tried to convince her to give me the stands as an extra birthday present, but she was too smart for that! I'll try again later.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
BBQ Seitan Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions
Serves 4-5 people
1 Loaf good quality crusty French Bread (I like Ciabatta)
2 Medium sized Yellow Onion
3 8 oz. Packages of Seitan
Salt and Pepper
Your Favorite BBQ Sauce (about 1-1 ½ cups)
Cut the onions in half lengthwise, peel, and then slice into ½ inch strips. In a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat, add a couple tablespoons of oil and then add all of the onion to the hot pan. Cook the onions for a few minutes over the hot heat, stirring occasionally, to get them going, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Lightly season the onions with salt and fresh ground pepper and continue cooking for about 15 minutes until the onions are soft and have turned a nice caramelized color. Be sure to stir the onions often to keep them from burning and to ensure that they cook evenly. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To assemble the sandwiches, I like to brush the inside cut parts of the bread with a bit of olive oil and grill them on a hot pan for a few minutes until it gets crispy and golden brown. Plop a pile of seitan on the bottom piece of bread, add a few spoonfuls of caramelized onions, top with the other piece of bread and get ready for a messy, yummy sandwich.
Fingerling Potato Salad with Green Beans
Serves 6-8 people
Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
3 lbs Small Fingerling Potatoes
3/4 lb Green Beans
3/4 Cup Red Onion, chopped
1/2 Cup Celery, chopped
1/3 Cup Fresh Chives, chopped
Salt and Pepper
1 ½ Medium sized Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Parsley
3 tsp Capers, brine drained
1 tsp Salt
About 3/4 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Once the potatoes and beans have cooled, toss them together with the onions, celery, and chives. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then toss with the Vinaigrette, taste, and season accordingly. If you have time, let the salad sit for a couple hours in the fridge to allow all the flavors to soak in, otherwise you can serve it immediately.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
When I was growing up, my mom use to make Chicken Pot Pie all the time, and I loved it. I've been making a lot of lists of things I want to make lately, and I keep coming up with things I used to eat as a kid. Since this was one of my favorites, I decided to try it first. I don't have the recipe for my mom's, but I think I came pretty close. The crust is nice and flaky and the inside is warm and colorful and the perfect meal for a cold day!
Vegetable Pot Pie
Serves about 6
Double Pie Crust
2 2/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Non-hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening (I use Spectrum)
3/4 tsp Salt
7-8 Tbs Cold Water (I like to use ice water)
For the Filling:
4 Tbs Flour
3 Tbs Vegan Margarine
1 1/2 Cup Plain, unsweetened Soymilk
1 Cup Vegetable or Veggie 'Chicken' broth
Dash of fresh Ground Pepper
1 1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Fresh Thyme, finely chopped
1 Tbs Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
About 8 Medium Red Potatoes, quartered
4 Medium Carrots, 1/4" slices
6 oz. Frozen Peas
1/2 Onion, diced
8 oz. Oyster Mushrooms, sliced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/3 Cup White Wine
Oilve oil (about 1 Tbs)
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Boil the potatoes in a large pot until tender. Drain and set aside. Steam carrots until just cooked, not to soft. Over medium high heat, sauté the onions, mushrooms, garlic, and olive oil until the mushrooms just begin to brown and the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the white wine, salt and pepper to taste, and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. Toss the potatoes, carrots, and mushroom mixture together in a large bowl and set aside.
For the gravy, melt the butter over medium heat, the add the flour and stir continuously until a thick, smooth paste is formed. Add the salt, pepper, herbs, soymilk, and broth all at once whisk until the gravy begins to thicken and bubble. Continue cooking and whisking for another minute, and then remove from heat.
Pour the gravy over the cooked vegetables and mix well until everything is evenly coated. Add the frozen peas and mix to incorporate. Set aside.
For the dough,
In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the shortening, and with a pastry blender, cut into the flour until the shortening is in pea sized pieces. Sprinkle one Tbs of the ice water over the flour mixture and gently stir in with a fork. Repeat with the remaining water, one tablespoon at a time till the dough is moistened.
With your hands, form the dough into a ball, taking care not to over-work it, which could lead to a tough, hard crust, which nobody wants. Cut the dough in half and reshape into two balls. On a lightly floured work surface, slightly flatten one ball of dough with your hands.
Roll out the dough, working from the center to the edges until the dough is large enough to fit in a deep dish pie pan with at least 3/4" overhang on the sides. Lift the dough into the pie plate, then trim the dough with a sharp knife to 1/2" beyond the edge of the pie plate. Fill the pie with the vegetable mixture. Roll out the other ball of dough in the same fashion, cut slits in the center for air vents, place over filling. Trim the to layer of dough to 3/4", then fold under the overhand of the bottom crust. With your fingers or the tines of a fork, crimp the edges of the pie top seal together.
To prevent the edges form burning, cover them with foil.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, remove the foil and then bake for another 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling begins to bubble. Remove from the oven and let the pie cool for about 10 minutes before serving to allow the filling to set up (Unless, of course, you live with 3 hungry, impatient boys like I do, then by all means, cut away and just scoop out the oozing filling!!!).
p.s. The best part about making a pie is the leftover dough! I like to roll it out, sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar, and bake it in little squares until they're crispy and golden. When I used to bake at the old restaurant I worked for, the little ladies in the kitchen would get mad at me if I didn't make them!
Monday, April 14, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I used the basic chocolate cupcake recipe from the cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, which by the way has the most reliable and tasty recipes I've tried. I added about 1/2 tsp of coconut extract to the batter and then frosted them with a Coconut Buttercream Frosting. They were awesome, and next time I'm going to make a big batch, buy some pastry tips, and decorate them all with a bunch of different frostings. Hmmm. I can't wait!
Here's the recipe...I hope I don't get in trouble for posting it!
Basic Chocolate Cupcake
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (I use red wine ving. cause I didn't have any...seemed ok to me)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond, chocolate, or more vanilla extract (I used coconut)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla, and other extract if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat till foamy. In a separate bowl, sift the remaining dry ingredients. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat till no large lumps remain ( a few small lumps are okay).
3. Pour into liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Because I made mini cupcakes, I only had to bake them for 12-15 minutes). Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Fluffy Buttercream Frosting (this makes a lot of frosting!!)
1/2 cup non hydrogenated shortening- room temp
1/2 cup non hydrogenated margarine- room temp ( I use Earth Balance, careful cause a lot of margarine isn't actually vegan)
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted if lumpy
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used coconut extract)
1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer
1. Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes. Add the extract and soy milk, beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy.
I sprinkled unsweetened shredded coconut over the tops after I frosted them. Deeelish!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Also, I'm lucky enough to live in the agricultural capital of the world here in California, so it's obviously easier for me to eat what's in season year round. For people who live where it snows in the winter or where no people were actually meant to live (ie. Las Vegas) it's going to be much more difficult to eat local, in season veggies year round. But since it pretty much seems to be that only my family reads this blog and they all live in California, here's my list!!
Eggplant (mid summer to early fall)
Zucchini (and other summer squashes)
Brussel Sprouts (late)
Winter Squash (Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti, Pumpkin, etc.)
Carrots (best in spring and summer)
Cauliflower (best in fall and early winter)
Chard (late spring through winter)
Lettuces (various types throughout the year)
Radishes (best in spring and fall)
Spinach (best in spring and fall)
ps. There's a lot more than what's on this list, this is just an idea!
This recipe goes along with the Lasagna dinner post. Don't worry though, it's much simpler and faster to make than the lasagna! I've been making this a lot lately because my first crop of vegetables are ready and waiting in my front yard. There's nothing more satisfying than walking outside and pulling a bunch of radishes out of the ground and snipping some baby greens for a tasty simple salad. I can't wait 'til I have fresh tomatoes to add in the summer! This dressings even good with sweeter salad toppings like strawberries, raspberries or candied walnuts.
1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
1 medium garlic clove
1 1/2 Tbs. honey*
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground pepper
In a blender, blend the vinegar and garlic for about 30 seconds until well blended. Add the honey, salt and pepper and blend a bit more. Next, with the blender running, pour in the oil in a slow steady stream until the dressing thickens. If you want the dressing to stay thicker, you can also add about 1 tsp of dijon mustard when you add the honey. It also adds a nice subtle flavor. Toss the enough dressing with whatever salad greens your using until all the leaves are lightly coated.
This dressing keeps a while in the fridge which is great. If the oil solidifies, just let the dressing sit out at room temp for a while before using it.
*You can leave out the honey, but the taste will change a lot.