Archive for the ‘Vegan’ Category

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pops

May 31, 2009

chocolate pops

Sneh at Gel’s Kitchen is hosting an event called No Time to Cook, highlighting recipes that can be made in 15 to 20 minutes.  This month’s theme is chocolate.  I haven’t mentioned this here before, but for the past month and a half or so, I’ve been avoiding eating sugar, for reasons that I’ll probably end up explaining soon.  So I wanted to make something that was naturally sweetened.  One of the best natural sweeteners is banana, and it works really well in these simple, quick, pops.

chocolate pops 04 chocolate pops 08

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pops

  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 small or 1/2 of a medium avocado
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • milk or almond/soy milk to thin the mixture
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt the chocolate over medium heat.  In a blender or a food processor, combine all ingredients and a few splashes of milk.  Blend until completely homogeneous, adding just enough milk to get the mixture to come together.  In the end the mix should be about the consistency of thin pudding.  Pour into popsicle molds and freeze. That’s it!


How to Charm a Vegan: Spinach Mushroom Quiche

May 28, 2009

I’ve got a great recipe for you.  I don’t know if you have vegan friends, but I definitely do.  Here’s the thing with vegans.  A lot of them are really great cooks.  They’ve got to be inventive, and hence, they’ve figured a thing or two out in the kitchen.  However, when vegans go to other people’s houses (non-vegans I mean), they’re often left picking at sides and salads.  It’s sad!  There’s so much good vegan food out there for both vegans and non-vegans to enjoy.  This quiche, or “Viche”, as my friend dubbed it (vegan quiche=viche, get it??) is delicious whether you’re vegan or not.  My inspiration for this recipe came from 101 Cookbooks, where Heidi takes a very similar approach but puts it all in a tart pan.  Very elegant, I admit, but I like my quiches to have a little bit more depth.  I also changed up some of the seasoning.  So give it a shot, it’s a real crowd pleaser.  

Despite the long-looking recipe, it’s acutally really easy to put together.  I’ve to a few how-to photos for you below.

You’ll start with the crust.  The whole thing comes together in a food processor, and then you press it into the pan. It’ll be a bit crumbly.  Guess what?  It doesn’t really matter if it’s neat or not.

To make the filling, you start with the onions.  You guys know the easiest way to chop an onion, right?  Well, if not, here’s how!  Cut the onion in half, and then make vertical cuts that go almost all the way to the butt of the onion.

At this point, you can also make some horizontal cuts, but I don’t really think that’s necessary.  I just  start slicing across the onion, and it just about dices itself.  That’s it!

You’ll throw the onions and mushrooms in a pan with some olive oil and the seasonings, and then you should really take a break with a glass of wine while you wait for the onions and mushrooms to cook.  

TDon’t worry if your kitchen starts to get a little messy!

I don’t have pictures of the rest, but you don’t need them.  I just wanted to make sure you knew the easiest way to cut an onion.  Here’s what the quiche will look like right before you put it in the oven.  When you take it out, it’ll be brown, but I didn’t get that shot because this was a last minute endeavor and the Viche needed to be whisked off to a potluck.  Oh well, maybe next time.


Vegan Spinach-Mushroom Quiche Recipe

For the crust:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1/3 cup unflavored soy milk or water
1/3 cup light sesame oil or pure olive oil plus more for brushing the pan

For the filling:
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
10 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry white wine or water
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
3 garlic cloves, slice crosswise into 1/8-inch rounds
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Pinch hot red pepper flakes
1 pound firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 pounds fresh spinach

Preheat the oven to 350

Combine the oats and almond meal in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and process until the oats are finely ground.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk (or water) and oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the dry ingredients to form a dough. Alternatively, add the soy milk and oil to the food processor a little bit at a time and pulse until combined with the dry ingredients.

Lightly brush a standard pie pan with oil. Put the dough in the pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the dough and press down evenly, making sure to work the dough up the sides of the pan. Trim the tart of any excess dough and refrigerate while you make the filling.

To make the filling, in a wide saute pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onions, mushrooms, cumin and turmeric, raise the heat to high, and saute for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring and shaking the pan until the vegetables are caramelized. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and continue to cook until dry. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the vegetables into a mixing bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining 5 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Simmer gently for 3 to 4 minutes or until the garlic is golden. Do not let the garlic brown or it will become bitter. With a rubber spatula, scrape the garlic oil into the bowl of a food processor.

Crumble the tofu into the bowl of the food processor. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, nutritional yeast and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and puree until smooth. With a rubber spatula, scrape the puree into the mushroom-onion mixture. If the mixture is a little bit dry, add some more lemon juice or soy sauce.

Remove and discard the tough stems of the spinach. Wash the leaves in a large bowl with several changes of cold water. Transfer the spinach to a pot and cook, covered, over high heat for several minutes, just until wilted. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well and squeeze dry in a paper towel, or clean terry cloth. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and chop fine. Add the spinach to the rest of the filling and stir well to combine.

Fill the crust with the tofu and vegetable mixture and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes,until firm.

Let the pie cool for 8 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Too good not to share: Maple-Oat Thumbprint Cookies

May 21, 2009

I can’t keep these a secret any longer. These are some of the simplest and most delicious cookies I’ve ever made. They are everyday cookies, for sure. There’s nothing decadent about them. But who wants decadent all the time? Most of the time I just a little satisfying bite that’ll pick me up. These cookies do that, and in addition, they can be thrown together in three minutes flat, they have no white flour or refined sugar, and they fill the kitchen with the warmest, most comforting aroma while they bake. Oh and everyone loves them. These guys are just about perfect.

I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to post about these cookies. But here goes. Don’t wait to make these, there’s just no reason to deny yourself.

Also, I’ve submitted these cookies to CLICK, a photography event hosted by Jugalbandi.  The May theme is Cookies.  Go check it out here.

makes about 30 small cookies

-1 cup almonds (roasted or raw), or 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup walnuts
-1 cup rolled oats
-1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
-pinch sea salt
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 cup safflower or olive oil
-1/2 cup maple syrup
-1 banana

-zest of half a lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a cookie sheet.
  2. In a food processor, chop nuts and half the oats into coarse meal.
  3. In a large bowl, combine nuts, oats, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add the lemon zest and mix.
    Add the oil and maple syrup to the dry ingredients. Mix lightly.
  4. Roll into walnut-sized balls. Place on an oiled cookie sheet. Press an indentation in the center with thumb.
    Press a slice (or a chunk, depending on size of cookies) of banana into each indentation.
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes.

kabocha squash, two ways

January 8, 2009

Today I have a couple of really simple recipes for you. My roommate and I joined the local CSA (community shared agriculture) this year, so now we get a big box of locally farmed vegetables and fruit each week. We also get granola, cheese, meat, and eggs too. Not a bad deal, right?

The one downside (or upside, as I like to see it) is that you don’t get to choose what you get. Lucky for me, I love weird winter vegetables and plan to roast and braise away all winter. I actually just got Molly Stevens’s All About Braising and a dutch oven* for Christmas, so as far as I’m concerned, I’m ready to go.

Well. That being said, neither of these recipes involve braising. The truth is, the dutch oven is still in the trunk of my car and it was raining last night and, well, you get the idea. This week, we got an amazing-looking kabocha squash from our CSA and I wanted to experiment a little.  Being scientifically minded, I did a little bit of a comparison study to test out two methods of cooking.

The first half of the squash got tossed with a little olive oil, cumin, and cinnamon and then roasted in a hot oven (see below, and first picture). For a finishing touch, I crumbled a bit of brie over the squash towards the end and then threw it back in the oven just long enough for the brie to melt.

The second half got boiled and then cooked briefly with some miso and soy (below, and second picture from top). And while I really expected to like the roasted squash much better, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed them both.

Either of these preparations would make great side dishes, but I was eating alone last night and the best thing about eating alone is that you can have whatever you want. So yes, I had lots of squash for dinner (and some swedish fish for dessert), and yes, it was awesome.

*I just have to say, I definitely did not pay $200, or even $100-something for the dutch oven. My mom and I found the exact same ones at Marshall’s for 50 bucks. Yeah!

Roasted Kabocha Squash with Cumin and Brie

  • 1/2 of a medium-sized kabocha squash, skin removed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 oz brie, mild or stinky depending on your preference
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil to drizzle

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

2. Cube the kabocha: cut it in half, then scoop out the seeds. Place it cut side down on your cutting board, and then cut into half-inch slices. To remove the skins, place each slice on its side and cut off the skin in pieces (or use a vegetable peeler, although I think you’ll have to peel it twice to get all the skin off).

2. Drizzle some olive oil on a heavy baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Put the squash on the baking sheet and then sprinkle cumin and cinnamon on top. Season with a good pinch of salt too, and some freshly ground pepper.

3. Roast on the middle rack of the oven until the bottoms of the squash cubes are golden brown, about 20 minutes (although you should definitely check along the way, as some ovens will brown food way faster than others). Toss sqash with a spatula, and return to oven for another 15 or 20 minutes to brown the other sides. At that point, check to see that the squash is done (it should give when you press it, or you can always just taste one).

4. Pinch off little pieces of the brie and sprinkle over the squash. Return to the oven for five minutes until the brie melts.

Kabocha with miso-soy glaze

  • 1/2 of a medium-sized kabocha squash, cut into 1/2 inch by 2 inch pieces (skin can stay on)
  • 1 T miso paste (I used yellow)
  • 1/2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T water

1. Cut the squash and place it in a medium-sized pot. Fill with water to cover about half of the squash. Cover, and cook over medim heat until squash is tender. It should take only 15 minutes or so, but to be honest I didn’t time it.

2. Meanwhile, mix together the miso paste, soy sauce and water.

3. When the squash has finished cooking, pour out the extra water and add in the miso-soy mixture. Continue cooking for a minute until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.

Fresh and Simple

June 6, 2008

A few days ago I was perusing the archives of one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen.  I’ll just admit right now that I was at work, and yes, I was procrastinating, and yes, Deb has about a million recipes on her site so I may or may not have been clicking around for oh, I don’t know, the better part of an hour.  Shhhh!!  Now I think at least a few of you will know what I mean when I say that all that clicking around and staring at vibrant photos and thinking about recipes and thinking about how to tweak recipes and trying to remember what’s already in the fridge so that you won’t buy doubles next time you go to the store AND narrowing down the choices for what you might want to make next…(whew!)… well, it can make a girl’s head spin.  (Yes I know that was a run-on sentence, but work with me here, it’s a device, ok?)

So.  I took a step back from the computer, blinked a few times, and clicked one last time, promising myself that I’d make whatever recipe came up so that I could just get on with it and go back to work.  What showed up on my screen was this: Deb’s mother-in-law’s Russian Brown Bread.  As much as I wanted to make that, I needed more of a lunchy type of meal.  Luckily, Deb had included a link to her NPR feature on zakuski, or Russian hors d’oeuvres.  I made the Georgian Kidney Bean salad at the bottom of the page and loved it so much that I made a variation of it for lunch today.

Summer Pasta Salad with Kidney Beans and Cilantro
Makes about 4 cups

1 garlic clove, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1/2 to 1 whole jalapeno pepper, minced*
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 tomato, diced*
3 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 oz whole wheat pasta, cooked al dente
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste

Put a pot of salted water on to boil (a very large pinch of salt should do the trick). While the water is boiling, mince the garlic, cilantro, and jalapeno, and place in a large bowl. Dice the onion and add it to the bowl, too. Add the olive oil and vinegar and whisk all ingredients together.

Once the water has come to a rapid boil, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. (If you bite off half a piece of the pasta, there should be no trace of white on the interior, but the pasta should not be mushy either). Drain the pasta and add to the bowl with the other ingredients.

Toss the salad together and, if you’d like, let the salad sit for a little while at room temperature or in the fridge. This will give the flavors time to meld and will also cause the onions to soften and mellow a bit. When ready, serve at room temperature.

 *I didn’t have a jalapeno OR a tomato on hand the time I made the recipe for these pictures, but you should definitely include them when you make it!

Cashew Cardammmmmm…

April 21, 2008

Cashew Cardamom Cupcakes

If that was a bit too corny for you, I’m sorry! It’s just what popped into my head. So here’s a quick little post about these cuties. I am testing recipes, and one that I was really drawn to was the Cashew Butter Cardamom cupcakes in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I’m really loving anything involving warm spices right now so I couldn’t help but try these out.

The verdict: They were good! OK, I’ll admit, not my favorite, but good. Here’s the thing… I pretty much need some sort of fruit, (preferably a strong citrus flavor-lemon please!) or chocolate to make me love a dessert. So as good as these were, I, personally, wasn’t thrilled. I do know some other people, however, who gobbled them up!

I’m not going to post the recipe, since I pretty much lifted it directly out of VCTOW, which you can (and should) buy here if you don’t already have it. The only thing I changed was that I made a cashew-butter cream cheese frosting instead of the one suggested in VCTOW (they called for soy milk powder, which sadly, I did not have).

Stay tuned, I will be testing more recipes soon! If anyone has any suggestions/requests, let me know!!

vegan cupcakes take over my life

April 15, 2008

So… I have charged boldly forth into the world of vegan cupcakes. Yes, vegan cupcakes are quite the trend these days, and because of that I kind of resisted heading in that direction, but you know what? I think I like vegan cupcakes better (shhhhh!) than traditional cupcakes. If made correctly, they are much, much less work, tastier (I don’t particularly love the flavor of butter and I think without it, one can taste the actual flavors in the cupcakes more clearly), and moister. I swear. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a number of bad vegan cupcakes, but I have also had many, if not more, terrible cupcakes made with butter, eggs, and all sorts of other supposedly delicious things.

Here’s where I’m going with this. I’m not going to make a big deal about it because I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I may have the opportunity to be a dessert provider for a cute little restaurant. They specifically expressed an interest in vegan desserts, so that’s what set me off on this path. Now, whether that actually happens or not, I now have the perfect excuse to test recipes!

The first recipe I tried was a kind of combination of a few recipes from VCTOW, or, for the lay-reader, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I was wooed by the idea of mexican hot chocolate cupcakes, but I also had a request to make the cupcakes sugar free. I also didn’t have corn flour, which is called for in the mex/choc cupcakes, so I smushed a few recipes together, a bit from here, a bit from there and got:

Vegan Agave Sweetened Spiced Hot Chocolate Cupcakes, Philadelphia Style
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
(makes 12 cupcakes)

For the cupcakes:
2/3 C soy milk
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2/3 C light agave nectar
1/3 C canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cayenne
(I also added about ¼ cup of almond meal to the second half of the batter.  You can too, it was good!)

1.    Preheat oven to 325°F.  Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2.    Mix the soy milk and the apple cider vinegar in a large bowl.  Allow this mixture to sit for a minute until it curdles.  Beat in the agave nectar, oil, and vanilla extract.
3.    Measure the dry ingredients into a small bowl and sift them into the wet ingredients.  (If you’re going to add in the almond meal, do it now).
4.    Mix only until smooth.
5.    Pour into the cupcake liners (this should make 12 cupcakes).  Only fill 2/3 of the way.
6.    Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a knife or a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Be careful not to over (or under) bake.
7.    Let the cupcakes cool before you frost them.  Seriously.  Just wait.  I promise, even if you’ve got to eat one right off the cooling rack, it’ll taste a LOT better at room temperature.

For the frosting:
(I just used a simple pourable vegan ganache to frost these babies.)

1.    Melt about half a bar or dark chocolate, two or three tablespoons of soy milk, and a few tablespoons of agave nectar (to taste) over very low heat.
2.    Let the ganache cool a bit, then pour over cooled cupcakes.
3.    I decorated them with slivered almonds because it was cute.

*These are less sweet than your average cupcake.  If you’re open to that, I think they’re pretty good!

When eating healthy is so, so, good.

March 31, 2008

Today was one of those days: too many vegetables in the fridge, not too much motivation to cook. What I almost always do in those situations is fire up the oven, get out the cutting board, and get ready to roast. Here’s some of my best advice. If you don’t already oven-roast vegetables on a regular basis, you really should start. It’s so, so easy, as healthy as you want it to be, and always leaves you with the most delicious, crispy edged, salt-kissed, olive oil caressed vegetables that took almost no effort at all. So turn on your oven already and roast something!

Really though, I’m not kidding. Almost every vegetable is good this way. Maybe I’m a bit obsessed but I swear, toss a vegetable with some olive oil, salt and pepper (and maybe some rosemary, or cumin-coriander-turmeric, depending on what you’re going for), put it in a hot oven (I usually do 450), and it will be good, promise.

Some suggestions are:

  • Broccoli with rosemary (the edges of the broccoli get all crispy and awesome)
  • Cauliflower with CCT (yes ok it’s a little bit Rachael Ray of me but it’s a lot to type out!)
  • Carrots with just olive oil, salt and pepper (or with CCT, that’s good too)
  • Zucchini (I like it best simple, with just olive oil, salt and pepper)
  • Rutabagas or Potatoes (both are good with almost anything, although I especially love potatoes with rosemary)

Seriously, the possibilities are endless.

This time I had rutabagas, red bliss potatoes, spinach, and edamame. I roasted the cubed the rutabagas and potatoes and roasted them with some cumin until their edges were browned and crisp. I sauteed the spinach with a bit of garlic, and just used the edamame as they were. Wanting something a bit more substantial than a side dish, I made some quinoa (one of my favorite grains) and scrambled an egg to add in as well. The only other thing I did was make a quick lemon-tahini dressing and this lunch (with enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow) was ready to go. I highly, highly recommend it.

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables and Tahini-Lemon Dressing
(serves 4 as a small main dish)

1 C uncooked quinoa

2 rutabagas, cubed
2 small red bliss potatoes
1 C edamame, thawed if frozen
4 C spinach, uncooked
1/4 C calamata olives, roughly chopped, or more to taste

One egg (just leave it out if you’d like the recipe to be vegan- maybe add some sesame/soy marinated tofu instead…)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
1T tahini
1T lemon juice and a pinch of lemon zest

1/4 C Marcona almonds, sliced or chopped (for sprinkling on top)

Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for sautéing

For the Quinoa
Rinse and drain the quinoa. Boil 2C of water in a small pot and then add the quinoa. Let cook, covered, over medium low heat for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa grains look like little curly cues. Take off the heat and set aside.

For the Root Vegetables
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees farenheit.
Peel the rutabagas and wash the potatoes (I like to leave the skin on). Cut both into half-inch cubes and then throw them on a heavy pan or cookie sheet with a glug of good olive oil. Sprinkle the cumin on top and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper (don’t go crazy, you can always add more later!)
Let cook until browned and crispy on edges (check after 15 minutes). Toss to get browning on other sides.

To finish and assemble the salad
Sautee the spinach in a small pan with a bit of olive oil and the garlic. Remove from the pan, and just use the same pan to scramble the egg, adding a bit of salt and pepper if you’d like.

Add the spinach, scrambled egg, edamame, olives, and roasted root vegetables to a bowl with the quinoa and toss quickly. Whisk together the tahini, lemon zest, and lemon juice and pour over, tossing again to coat. If necessary, add a bit more olive oil to the salad. Sprinkle the almonds over the top, and serve at room temperature.

studying with soba

February 13, 2008

studying with soba

Well, all of today was devoted to studying. I think I’m in an altered mindset. All I can think about are molecules and reaction rates! My social skills are on hold, my sarcasm detector is temporarily out of order, and, well, I’m just in a bit of a haze. I guess my stomach is still working though, because as I was wading through problem sets and section quizzes I suddenly became very hungry. So… what could I make in 15 minutes or less that would be warm and cozy on this very cold and very un-cozy night?? Soba!

This is hardly a recipe. I mean, I really don’t think I could call it that. I just cooked some soba noodles in broth and then added a bit of soy sauce and just a touch of sesame oil. I also threw in some spinach just to get those veggies in. And because I love spinach. In everything. I’ve never made this before, but I have to say… it’s so easy and satisfying, I’ll definitely be making it again.

oatmeal for breakfast.. or lunch, or dinner?

February 10, 2008


Well, I’ll just go ahead and say it. I love oatmeal. Looooove. I’m eating it right now. Really. There is something about oatmeal that is so satisfying. It’s hearty, warm, savory (or a little bit sweet, if you like that), and there are so so many ways to enjoy it. Right now I’m having mine with apples, cinnamon, and a little bit of tofutti better than cream cheese. It’s kind of like an oatmealy apple pie an a bowl.

So is it dorky to have oatmeal cravings? Maybe so, but I just can’t deny that, yes, my little heart starts to flutter at just the thought of it. I think this may have something to do with my grandpa. He is actually the original oatmeal aficionado. When I was younger, my grandparents would babysit my brother and me, and they would always give us oatmeal for breakfast. My grandpa always made it the same way: kind of on the gluey side, raisins and milk. To this day that is still my favorite way to have it. As a matter of fact, I was over at my grandparents’ house just the other day and I was kind of hungry… My grandpa made me, well, you guessed it, oatmeal. Amazing.