Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

If these decadant treats are any indication of a typical dessert recipe in Alicia Silverstone's book The Kind Diet, I think I'll have to add a few more to my queue.  The steps were quick and painless, just two pots on the stove to melt a few ingredients, some layering in cupcake liners, sprinkle a few chopped nuts on top and then pop them in the fridge for a couple of hours.   Of course I had to sneak out of bed at 2 a.m. to test one after they had set!  

Be warned, the peanut butter base is very rich. I don't think I could eat more than one at a time.  There wasn't quite enough chocolate to cover all of the cups so next time I make these, and there will be a next time, I'll increase the amount of chocolate chips.

Alicia has kindly included the recipe on her website so if you don't have her book you can still enjoy these delicious treats!   Recipe here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chickpea Cutlets - Oh so ugly tasty....

There's a reason the Chickpea Cutlets recipe from Veganomicon is famous.   They are satisfyingly tasty in a down home kind of way.  I resisted making these for quite a while because the picture in the book was so unappealing.  I just couldn't believe that something so ugly could taste so yummy and the name wasn't exactly calling out to me either.  I had to take it on blind trust from various sources and I'm so glad I did.  This recipe is now on weekly rotation at our house.  It's not super quick to prepare because the chickpeas are mashed by hand but once that bit is accomplished the rest comes together fairly quickly.  I've been wondering what would happen if I whipped them into the food processor instead and gave a few quick pulses.  Would something crazy happen?   Is the hand mashing with a fork necessary to get the right texture?   I'll have to give a try one day.

So if you're craving something to bite into with a chewy, toothy texture I recommend these.  I love it when I get a hint of lemon zest and garlic in one bite.   This is ugly comfort food at it's best.   I usually make a double batch, throw half in the fridge and mysteriously the leftovers are gone by the end of the following day.    

Warning: the following photos are not pretty, I was too hungry to try and pretty up the final product. 

This is the mixture after kneading all the ingredients together for a few minutes.  It comes together very quickly and the gluten becomes stringy.  I find that you definitely need to add more oil to the pan when you flip them because they seem to soak up oil very quickly.  

My dinner tonight featuring the undeniably ugly Chickpea Cutlet. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


We rarely eat out but tonight we met my old friend friend Jane for dinner at one of Toronto's best known Vegan restaurants called Fresh.  It was a very busy place and I was tempted to try many items especially from the rice/noodle bowl selection.  I settled on the green goddess bowl with soba noodles in a tahini sauce.  It was loaded down with broccoli, bok choy, kale, grilled tempeh, pickled ginger, toasted nori, sunflower seeds and a ginger tamari sauce.  Super tasty! 

The menu is casual focusing on wraps, veggie burgers, rice bowls, salads etc.  The portions are large.   The garlic mayo was delicious as a dip for the french fries and at the table beside us I spied an order of quinoa battered onion rings that I wanted to kidnap.  We were too stuffed for dessert but after hearing my friend  Elizabeth rave about the chocolate cupcakes with lavender icing I decided to take one home.  Maggie and I split it and neither of us were impressed with the flavour of the frosting nor the quality and size of the cupcake.  I thought the cake was on the oily side.  I definitely prefer my own baking, I can make a mean cupcake. 

Green goddess bowl

Maggie enjoyed a big bowl of fries (thumbs up) chased down with a raspberry, banana and mango smoothie.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Butterscotch Pudding

I'm not sure why I thought it was a good idea to stand over a hot stove stirring pudding on a sticky summer night but I've been wanting to try this recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking all week.   Colleen's book has many classic dessert recipes and every one I've tried has been delicious.   My daughter and I wolfed down a pudding when they were barely cool and it was smooth, creamy and very brown sugary.   Yum. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

My first home-made veggie burgers!

Yesterday I was craving a veggie burger but couldn't find a recipe among my small collection of cookbooks that spoke to me.  The garbanzo and wheat gluten combo is inspired by the awesome Chickpea Cutlets recipe in Veganomicon.  My very picky four year old daughter actually liked them so I will be making these again with various additions and tweaking of seasonings but for the first attempt they were pretty tasty.  This recipe makes six medium sized patties or four large patties.

Lee’s Veggie Garbanzo Burgers

½ large onion chopped (about 1 cup)
½ red bell pepper chopped
8 white or cremini mushrooms chopped
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tahini
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp cumin
1 tbsp ketchup
¼ cup vegetable stock or water
¾ bread crumbs
¾ cup vital wheat gluten

Sauté onions, bell peppers and mushrooms in one tablespoon of olive oil until onions are translucent (about 3 or 4 minutes).

In food processor pulse together sauteed vegetable mixture, garbanzo beans, 2 tablespoons olive oil, soy sauce, tahini, coriander, cumin, and ketchup.
Empty mixture from food processor into a medium sized mixing bowl and add bread crumbs, vital wheat gluten and stock or water. Mix together and then knead with your hands for a few minutes until the gluten begins to form strings.

Divide into six equal parts and form patties. Fry on medium heat in a thin layer of olive oil until brown and then flip and cook another 4 or 5 minutes until done.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup

Just about every cookbook I own contains a recipe for black bean soup but again, none were quite what I wanted so I created my own.   This is a quick chop and throw in the pot recipe, fast and easy.   If you don't have an immersion blender (I couldn't live without mine!) you could smash the soup up a bit with a potato masher or put a part of it in the blender and then back in the pot depending on how chunky or smooth you like it. 

Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup Recipe

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion chopped
1 large carrot chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 large sweet potato peeled and chopped
3 large fresh tomatoes chopped
1 15 ounce can of black beans
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp turmeric
Sea salt
Black Pepper

Sauté the onion, carrot, pepper with the cumin and coriander for a few minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, black beans (rinsed) and veggie stock. Simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree to the desired consistency. Some people like it chunky but my daughter won’t eat anything with suspicious vegetable lumps I often err on the less chunky side. Add salt and pepper to taste.