Saturday, December 25, 2010

Classic Broccoli Quiche on Christmas Morning

I'm up before the birds today wrapping a few gifts, stuffing my daughter's stocking and browsing through my cookbooks looking for some inspiration.  Traditionally on Christmas morning my mother always made Quiche Lorraine, my Irish grandmother would bake current scones and we would sip mimosas as we tore into our gifts.  The quiche was something I always looked forward to so this morning I decided to try Classic Broccoli Quiche from Vegan Brunch and start a new tradition - one that doesn't involve bacon and processed gruyere cheese. 

I was a little doubtful as I blended the cashews and tofu together.  The filling seemed a little on the crumbly side instead of creamy or smooth.  I added a tablespoon or two of soy milk to the mixture as it pulsed away and that seemed to help a bit.  Once everything was combined I began to pack it into the pie shell.  I wasn't sure it would fit but thankfully, because the filling was not runny, I was able to dome it up in the centre and get the entire amount in.  Unfortunately I had no cherry tomatoes or strips of red pepper on hand to decorate the top and make it look pretty. 

So, for the taste test; the thyme, tarragon, turmeric and broccoli proved to be a really nice flavour combination.  My problem was with the texture.   Not creamy enough, a little too dry and cumbly.  I think using silken tofu instead of regular tofu would solve this problem easily.  I am going to make it again or one of the other quiche or frittata recipes in the book with this substitution and see if it makes a difference.  I guess I have a little more experimenting to do before our new holiday traditions are decided upon.  :-)  

Classic Broccoli Quiche

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Raspberry Scones

Raspberry Scones
 We had a family Christmas party last weekend and I made my first attempt at vegan scones using the recipe from Vegan Brunch.  The dough was very dry, so dry in fact that I thought the scones wouldn't hold together in the oven.  When they came out I thought they looked a little pale so I didn't end up serving them to our guests.  Thankfully I had baked my favourite and always successful pumpin muffins and banana chocolate chip muffins.  Later on after the mess was cleared and everyone was gone, I sat down with a cup of tea, put my feet up and took a bite of a scone spread with a little Earth Balance.  They were surprisingly tender despite appearances. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Black Eyed Pea and Cilantro Croquettes

Sometimes when I'm really hungry and scrambling around the kitchen for I don't know what, I have my most creative moments.  Not that I think these are extremely innovative but cooking with beans is a new thing for me.  Tonight I decided to grab a can of black-eyed peas from the cupboard and see what I could do with them.  Patties or croquettes are always popular at our house so I dumped them into the food processor, added a big bunch of cilantro, half an orange pepper going soft in the fridge along with a few other ingredients.  They turned out pretty well.  I would have liked a bit more crispness, they were a bit soft but the flavours were nice, fairly mild with a bit of sweetness from the carrot and pepper.  I'm pleased that I was able to include more veggies on the off chance that my daughter would eat these. 

I made the most delicious cilantro-wasabi flavoured vegannaise sauce to go with them and I was so enamoured of the sauce I practically used the bean cakes to sop it up like they were bread.  Here is my cobbled together recipe for the croquettes:

2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (19 ounce can)
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 sweet bell pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 medium carrot grated
1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup gluten flour (or any flour you like)
oil for frying. 

Yield: 10 small patties

In a food processor, pulse together the beans, onion, bell pepper and cilantro until well mixed, not completely pureed.  In a medium sized mixing bowl add the bean mixture to the grated carrot, ginger, soy sauce and mix well.  Add in the bread crumbs and flour using your hands to incorporate well.  Shape into small patties approximately 3 inches wide.  Fry on medium heat until browned on both sides. 

Black Eyed Pea and Cilantro Croquettes

Sunday, December 12, 2010

East Coast Coffee Cake

East Coast Coffee Cake

The cake crumb was light and tender with just a hint of sweetness.  I decided to make this with one of the suggested options of swirling raspberry jam into the batter and I'm glad I did because without that extra bit of flavour and tang, the cake would have been a little bland.  I was disappointed in the topping, all I could taste was flour.  I think it's worth playing around with next time in order to perfect the cake.  Recipe from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. 

Jam swirly coffee cake before it gets topped!

For our weekly cooking challenge my friend and fellow blogger Kathryn over at The Hedgehog in the Kitchen has made some pretty tasty looking stuffing.  Check it out here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chocolate Banana Flapjacks

I was in need of some serious comfort food tonight after an exhausting day and it definitely needed to be sweet.  I decided to make a batch of banana flapjacks from Vegan Brunch and then had the brilliant idea to replace the plain non-dairy milk with CHOCOLATE non-dairy milk.   Wow, wow, wow!   Were they ever delicious!  The chocolate and banana flavours balanced perfectly and I did include the optional 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.   These flapjacks were soft, and melted in my mouth.   It was the perfect choice and I don't feel as guilty as if I'd eaten a piece of cake for dinner.  

I got one test shot in before my camera batteries died so there's no maple syrup spilling over the side like when I ate them.  Sorry!

Chcolate-Banana Flapjacks sans Maple Syrup

Monday, December 6, 2010

Better Bean Burgers

This is a quick post because we are in the middle of a busy holiday weekend.   Our Christmas tree went up tonight and I whipped up a batch of these tasty Better Bean Burgers from Robin Robertson's book Vegan on the Cheap.  They were surprisingly flavourful with so few ingredients - black beans, parsley, red onion, bread crumbs, gluten flour and some salt and pepper.  I was worried they would be boring but I was wrong, I really enjoyed them.  I love trying new veggie burgers so leave me a comment and tell me about your favourites!  
Better Bean Burgers


And it sounds like my good friend Kathryn over at The Hedgehog in the Kitchen baked up a delicious pumpkin pie for American Thanksgiving.  Keep on cooking Kathryn, you are inspiring me!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eggplant and Black Bean Chili

Eggplant and Black Bean Chili

I started reading chili recipes today in the hopes of finding one that would use up some TVP I had in the cupboard.  I've never cooked with it before and thought chili would be the perfect vehicle.   As often happens none were quite what I was looking for although I borrowed heavily from Robin Robertson's Very Veggie Chili.  I liked the idea of using eggplant and so used her recipe as a jumping off point but the great thing about this dish is that there are endless variations of ingredients to play with.  Next time I will probably double the amount of black beans.  I served this with macaroni today but I often eat chili with rice or quinoa.

Here is my version which I'm calling Eggplant and Black Bean Chili.

1 onion chopped
1 celery ribbed chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sized eggplant peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 can tomato paste (5.5 ounces)
2 tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp soy sauce
6 fresh tomatoes
4 cups water or veggie stock
1 20 ounce can black beans
1 cup TVP (dry) reconstituted with 1 cup boiling water
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, saute the onion and celery in the olive oil until soft.  Add the eggplant, red pepper and garlic and cook with the lid on until the eggplant is soft, about 10 minutes.  Stir frequently so the eggplant doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. 

Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, soy sauce, molasses, tomatoes, water, TVP and black beans.   Add salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes until flavors are blended.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Easy Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
 This is my daughter's favourite and most requested dessert - Chocolate Cake from The Joy of Vegan Baking.  I love this recipe because it's so fast and easy to put together.  If you double the recipe it makes a bundt cake and is also great for cupcakes.  I always have the ingredients in my pantry, it doesn't require any egg replacer just flour, salt, sugar, cocao, baking soda, vinegar, vanilla, water and oil.  The cake itself is not too rich on it's own but if you make the chocolate buttercream icing to go with it, the decadance factor goes up a notch.  We enjoy it both ways.   I don't often get a photo of this cake because it gets eaten too quickly and that means as soon as it's out of the oven, I am being pestered for a piece.   As you can see from this photo, there is a slice missing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Lasagna

Creamy and rich, almost overwhelming so, with not a drop of dairy in sight.  The butternut squash lent this dish a hint of sweetness.  I made the mistake of using dry noodles instead of the type you must boil first and the top layer was a little on the chewy side.   I think I prefer lasagna with some type of red sauce although this was very good.  The food in the photo looks downright scary because I'm terrible at making lasagna look pretty and it always falls apart when I lift it out of the pan.   Recipe from Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet

Caution! Caution!  View the following photo at your own risk. 

Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Lasagna

For our weekly cooking challenge this week, my buddy Kathryn over at The Hedgehog in the Kitchen made a delicious lentil soup.   Check it out!  

My other friend Kika has also been doing lots of cooking this week for vegan mofo and her latest creation looks yummy - Vegetable Curry with Chickpea Patties.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Indonesian Style Rice with Tempeh

Indonesian Style Rice with Tempeh
I love a little sweetness in my savoury dishes and this hearty tempeh and rice meal fits the bill.  I used an entire package of tempeh instead of just one cup because once it was poached and crumbled, I didn't want to waste the remainder.  Next time I will add more than 2 cups of napa cabbage to increase the veggie content and make this a more balanced one pot meal.  I left out the hot chili to make it child friendly and instead used part of a bell pepper to blend up with the shallots.  I enjoyed the nutty flavour and chewiness of the tempeh and rice mixture.  While I was eating it felt very satisfying and filling.  Leftovers the following morning were just as good.  This is another winner from Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet, she is fast becoming my favourite cookbook author.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Apple Clafouti

Apple Clafouti

I love apple pie but I don't like pastry (or making pastry) so when I came across this recipe for Apple Clafouti in Robin Robertson's Vegan on the Cheap I was ecstatic.  I don't know if this happens to everyone but it often seems no matter what book or recipe I'm cooking from, there is always at least one key ingredient that I lack.  I keep a pretty well stocked pantry but it doesn't seem to matter.  I will just have to look on the bright side and believe this ongoing problem will make me a more creative cook!  This time it was applesauce I was missing and the recipe called for one whole cup.  I ended up using an equal amount of soy milk because I didn't know what else to substitute.  Fingers crossed! 

When the clafouti came out of the oven the smell of apples and cinnamon was mouth watering.  The top looked and felt like a springy cake.  It had a soft spongy texture, very unassuming and not overly sweet.  The cinnamon-apple mixture on the bottom were definitely the stars of the show.  The soy milk worked but I'm curious as to how using applesauce would have changed the texture and flavour of the cakey part.  I will definitely make this again, it's a simple, warm and comforting dessert. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thai-Style Coconut Soup

Thai-Style Coconut Soup

I was feeling pretty crappy today but determined to cook something for my challenge and vegan mofo. How about something hot and nourishing?  The Hot and Sour Soup I made last week was so delicious I decided to try another recipe from Vegan Planet - Thai-Style Coconut Soup.  I never imagined it could top my enthusiasm but oh my god, this soup was freaking awesome!  The creamy, smoothness of the coconut milk contrasting with lime, ginger and a hint of chili and then add to that the savoury warmth of shallots, mushrooms and tofu.   I think I'm in LOVE!  Peole of Thailand, you are geniuses!  What a combination of flavours.  Robin Robertson you rock!  I think I'm on some kind of happy, soup high.  :-)  

I used to think working with fresh ginger was a major pain in the bum but recently I've given up trying to peel, chop or mince it.  I just take a fresh hunk of ginger straight from the freezer and grate it (peel and all) on my box grater.  It's so much faster!   Okay everyone, go make this soup but before you do that check out Kathryn's entry this week in the cooking challenge which is Rosemary Focaccia Bread!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I don't know why I haven't tried to make these before, they're easy, delicious and good for you too.   A big thumbs up from my four year old even though they had cumin which she normally doesn't tolerate too much of.  I started with the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance which is basically a bit of oil, cumin and coriander and then added sesame seeds and salt to the mix.  The sesame seeds made these really delicious!

Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Eggplant Chana Masala

Eggplant Chana Masala

Lunch today was Eggplant Chana Masala from Alicia Silverstone's book The Kind Diet.  A warming, hearty stew of eggplant, onions, chickpeas and tomatoes hit the spot accompanied by some jasmine rice and my favourite vinegary Korean spinach.  The recipe called for 2 cans of chickpeas and I only had one but the pot was overflowing so I didn't make any substitutions.  I always use fresh tomatoes in place of canned because I hate the weird flavour the canned ones have.  It's impossible to get rid of that tinniness unless you simmer them for a very long time and this is a fast cooking recipe, about 45 minutes in total.



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Seaweed Soup

Seaweed Soup

I'm not sure if anyone else will enjoy this seaweed soup but after my husband came home with a sore throat last night and I was inspired to create something healthy and green.  I wasn't sure if spinach would hold up well in a soup so I hit upon the idea of seaweed, tofu and ginger.  I used four strips of wakame which may have been a little much (they expand quite a lot) so next time I will use two.  Kale might work in place of the seaweed, I threw in a few leaves that were floating around in my fridge.  I would also add some chili paste for extra zip but this first go round I wanted to make it potentially palatable to my daughter so I left it out.   This is pretty quick to make from start to finish and a nice way to start the day if you like soup for breakfast.   I certainly do! 

Seaweed Soup

8 ounces tofu cubed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
1 large clove garlic minced
4 cups vegetable stock
2 strips wakame seaweed
shitake mushrooms sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili paste (optional)
toasted sesame seeds

Soak the wakame for a few minutes in a bowl of water.   Remove from the water and slice into strips.

Cube the tofu into bite sized pieces and fry in a little bit of oil until golden.  Set aside.

In a saucepan or soup pot heat one tablespoon of oil and fry the ginger and garlic for about 30 seconds.  Watch that it doesn't burn.  Add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, mushrooms, rice vinegar, sugar, (chili paste if using) and seaweed.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the tofu and sesame oil, heat for a few more minutes.  Serve with toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup - Vegan Mofo Day 7

I've always wanted to make Hot and Sour Soup at home and I was extremely pleased with my first attempt. I used an Indonesian chili paste and one teaspoon made the soup plenty hot enough for me.  I also upped the sugar from 1/2 teaspoon to about 1 1/2 teaspoons. For some reason the cornstarch didn't thicken the soup but it didn't matter because the flavour was so excellent and I dídn't neet to add salt or pepper at the end as called for.  The soup is full of chewy strips of tofu, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms and finished nicely with a bit of sesame oil, cilantro and scallions.  Perfect for a cold fall day, yum!

Recipe from Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet.

Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup


My friend Kathryn made a delicious sounding Cauliflower and Mushroom Pot Pie over at Hedgehot in the Kitchen.  Check it out!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blueberry Orange Muffins

I'm excited beyond belief to be participating in this Vegan Mofo craziness and have spent most of the day in the kitchen.  I've had my eye on the Blueberry Orange Bundt cake recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking for a while now and decided to make muffins for a well deserved afternoon tea break.  I love these cake recipes that come together so quickly with no beaters or mixers etc.  Just combine wet and dry ingredients and pop in the oven, although this one did require a quck spin in the blender for the wet ingredients.

We enjoyed our tea and muffins out on the deck, they were very good, moist and not too sweet but I did detect a hint of baking soda flavour but perhaps that was my fault.      

Blueberry Orange Muffins

Thursday, November 4, 2010

General Tao's Tofu

General Tao's Tofu

Okay, this isn't the healthiest recipe on the planet but when you have a craving for chewy tofu in that sweet, gooey, glistening sauce you find in every North Americanized, Chinese restaurant then this absolutely does the trick.

Of course I was out of vegetable stock and didn't have any green onions but the sauce still tasted great using water and a regular onion finely chopped.   The only thing I will do differently next time is cut the tofu into smaller bite-sized chunks.  One inch square pieces of tofu are too much for me in one mouthful especially when the tofu is firm.  Also, be sure to not crowd the pan when frying the tofu because the corn starch makes the pieces stick together.  You will find the recipe here at Vegweb.  Tasty.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Minted Baba Ganoush

Eggplant roasted with garlic

I just found out about Vegan Mofo which I've seen reference to in the past and thanks to my new friend Kika who alerted me this afternoon of the deadline to participate, I think I just squeaked in the door and hope to be included.  The Vegan Month of Food is basically a blogging bonanza where participants are asked to write as much as possible about vegan food during the month of November.  Apparently well over 500 people are doing this! 

My second foray into Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet is Minted Baba Ganoush which admittedly has the appearance of gray oatmeal but tastes good.  I think it could use a little more zing but since I have a minor obsession with eggplant, I polished off a good sized serving without any problem.  There were a few moments of panic when I realized I rarely buy fresh mint and wondered how crucial it was to the recipe but then someone reminded me that we have a slew of mint growing wild in the cracks between the patio stones in our new backyard!  Yay, I just popped outside for a sprig and took a picture on the deck.  

Minted Baba Ganoush

To accompany the Baba Ganoush, I also made a delicious flatbread (really! truly!) but sadly it was all eaten before I could get a decent photo.  They came out of the pan and straight into the mouths of some hungry family members.  I will make them again soon and hide a few so I can capture how appetizing they are.

Tomato and Caramelized Onion Pizza (Cheese free!)

Once a week, I usually I cook up a fresh batch of vegetable tomato sauce.  It's very useful to have around the kitchen and can be used as a base for many dishes.   To make it, I roughly chop one large onion, one large carrot, one red pepper and about 4 good sized ripe tomatoes.  Saute the veggies for a few minutes, throw in the tomatoes, a bit of salt and some water or vegetable stock.   I let this simmer on the stove for about 1/2 an hour and when it's cooled down I whip out my favourite kitchen tool - an immersion blender and puree the sauce.  This is the only way my daughter will ever get these particular vegetables into her body.  She has the uncanny ability to be able to sense the tiniest piece of onion in any dish, separate it and spit it out.  I happen to adore onions so I thought I would make a cheeseless pizza covered in slightly caramelized onions, tomato, garlic and a few other seasonings.   It turned out to be amazing.  I'm in the process of eating the entire thing as I write and it was so simple to make! 

Tomato and Caramelized Onion Pizza

one red onion
one large tomato
1 large clove garlic
1/2 tsp basil
1/8 tsp thyme
1/3 cup of tomato (vegetable) sauce
olive oil (approximately 3-4 Tbsp)
nutritional yeast (optional)
pizza dough

1.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2.  Chop the tomato and combine in a bowl with the minced garlic, a bit of sea salt and about one tablespoon of olive oil.  Let the flavours combine while you prepare the onions.

3.  Sautee the onions in olive oil along with the thyme until soft and slightly browned and then turn off the heat.

4.  Stretch out your pizza dough and brush with olive oil.   Evenly distribute the onions and the tomato mixture.  I used a teaspoon to distribute the tomato vegetable sauce all over the pizza (basically around all the spaces left by the veggies). 

5.  Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and a tiny bit of sea salt and then pop it into the oven for about 20 minutes or until it's done how you like it. 

6.  Eat!
Tomato and Caramelized Onion Pizza

Monday, November 1, 2010

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

Prepping the Butternut Squash

A few months ago I purchased a cookbook by Robin Robertson called Vegan Planet: 400 Irrestistible Recipes with Fantastic Flavors from Home and Around the World.  Whew, that's a long title!  Until today, I hadn't had time to really read through the book page by page but am I ever happy to have picked this up.  It's chock full of delicious sounding recipes.  I've already made note of at least 50 that I want to try and I'm only about half way through.  

For the cooking challenge this week I'm making Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili on page 316.  The recipe called for a cup of apple juice which I didn't have so I substituted some of my daughter's peach cocktail which contains apple juice and half of a leftover applesauce cup I found languishing in the back of the fridge.  It smelled really appetizing while it was cooking!    The peach juice added a little extra sweetness and an interesting flavour.  I want to make this again using the apple juice.  I also think the squash to bean ratio was a bit off, it may be that my squash was too large but next time I won't use the entire thing.   The whole family enjoyed this dish served over either quinoa or rice.      

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

Served with Quinoa


This week Kathryn from The Hedgehog in the Kitchen was run off her feet.  But, she did have time to create a simple rice pudding dish to satisfy a late night sweet craving.