Saturday, July 30, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burgers

For some reason, I'm completely uninspired by most of the black bean burger recipes in my cookbooks.  Here's my first stab at an original recipe, it's fun to create your own.  I like adding raw carrot (like I did with these Black Eyed Pea and Cilantro Croquettes) because it gives a moistness to the burgers they can sometimes be missing, especially if you get distracted and they get a wee bit overcooked.  These are fairly quick to prepare and although there's no heat in them because I'm catering to a child's palate, they still have great flavour.  You can always adjust the seasonings if you like your patties spicy.    


1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for frying)
1 can black beans drained and rinsed (19 ounces)
1 small onion chopped
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
handful of cliantro (approximately 1/2 cup)
1 carrot grated
2 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 cup gluten flour
3/4 cup bread crumbs

In a food processor pulse together black beans, chopped onion, chopped red pepper and cilantro until you reach the desired texture.  I like it slightly chunky, not completely puréed.

Add bean mixture to a bowl with grated carrot, worcestire sauce, salt, cumin and bread crumbs.  Mix until well combined and then add gluten flour.  I use my fingers to mix in the gluten flour and knead for a minute.

Form into a log shape and cut into 6 or 8 pieces depending on how large you like them.  With your hands, form into patty shapes.  Add the oil to a preheated non-stick pan and fry on medium heat until nicely browned on both sides.  Enjoy!

M's food styling

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

My husband had an upset tummy last night so I thought a nice bowl of soup would set him right.   Color Me Vegan was due back at the library last week and I've been frantically cooking as many recipes as possible before it gets dropped off later today. The Minestrone Soup with Kale seemed like the perfect recipe to try.  I added alphabet letters instead of elbow macaroni to entice my daughter to taste it and it worked!   She picked out the onion, carrots, tomatoes, and kale but the broth, navy beans and pasta received firm approval.   The only thing I noticed was that the alphabet pasta kept expanding and expanding.  Does it ever stop?   It's sort of taken over the pot, I'm not sure what the trick to keeping the soup from becoming a letter stew is but if someone knows please share your secret.  :-)

Expanding letters take over the pot!  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lemon - Strawberry Muffins - Sometimes Mistakes Are a Good Thing

Lemon - Strawberry Muffins

I wanted to make a muffin using the most plentiful fruit in the house right now - lemons and strawberries but couldn't find a vegan version anywhere so I adapted a recipe found on the web.  I guess I was a little distracted this morning while measuring because I accidentally left out half the flour.  (I used 3/4 cup instead of 1 1/2 cups.)  My intention was to make them again with the proper amount of flour before posting the recipe but they turned out so yummy that I can't help myself.  I must share!

Yes, I admit, they're not the most attractive muffins you've ever seen.  They're flat on top, a little on the small side and I had to cool them upside down on the rack because the bottoms were so moist I thought they'd collapse.  But don't let appearances fool you!  I broke one apart, popped a piece in my mouth and lemon, coconut (from the oil), and strawberry deliciousness flooded my taste buds.  I just ate four and want another.  As far as I'm concerned, cake disguised as muffins is always a good thing for breakfast.  

In writing the recipe below, I doubled the amount of flour so if anyone makes these let me know how they turn out.  Also, I used ground flax seeds and water as an egg replacer (for one egg) but you could use another method if you prefer.


1/4 vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
3 tablespoons water
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Whisk together the ground flax seed and water or other egg replacer.   Lightly beat in the oil, lemon juice and non-dairy milk

3.  In a separate bowl, mix the lemon zest, flour, salt, baking powder, white sugar and brown sugar.

4.  Add the strawberries and wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

5.  Bake in the preheated oven, in a lined or lightly oiled muffin tin for approximately 20-22 minutes.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fadge - Irish Potato Goodness


What's one of the best ways to use up left-over mashed potatoes?   Well, I'll tell you.  It's Fadge, also known as Irish Potato Scones.  These tasty, pan-fried, savory snacks are something I used to always look forward to eating when visiting my grandmother as a child.  She never gave me a recipe or instructions and she is long gone but it wasn't hard to figure out.  We tend to eat them straight from the pan but they would go well as a brunch item accompanying a tofu scramble or something saucy for dipping.      

They're super simple to make and kids love them.  My measurements are not exact because I tend to use left-overs but I promise, once you make these a time or two you will be a pro.  If you prefer precise amounts then Googling "Fadge" will yield you many results.

Fadge Directions:

1.  Pre-heat a non-stick fry-pan or cast iron skillet on medium heat.

2.  Take ANY amount of mashed potatoes whether they be left-over or fresh.  (If I'm making these with fresh mashed potatoes I mix in some Earth Balance (vegan butter), salt and non-dairy milk or stock as I normally would while mashing)

3. Mix small amounts of flour with the mashed potatoes until a soft ball is formed and you can roll it out without the dough sticking to the surface of your counter top.  Also add a small amount of salt to taste, if you don't they will be quite bland.  You might have to experiment a little with the seasoning, I just wing it.

4.  If you have a large amount of dough, divide into fist sized balls and shape into a flat, circles.  Roll out to the desired thickness. I don't like them too fat so they're usually about 1/4" thick.  Use a knife or a pizza cutter to divide the circle into as many pieces as desired, just like cutting a pizza.  I usually make 8.  

5. Add a little (1 tsp) Earth Balance or cooking spray to the pre-heated pan and fry until nicely browned.  Flip over and repeat until the second side is brown.  Be careful not to burn them.


I'm sure there are all sorts of ways you could fancy these up but sometimes simple is enough.      

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hearty Stew

Hearty Stew

I've had Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's lovely book The Vegan Table for quite a while now but haven't taken the time to explore it thoroughly.   Even though we are in the middle of summer, tonight I decided to make the Hearty Stew recipe featuring tempeh, potatoes, carrots and onions.  It's aptly named and was extremely simple to put together.  Even a novice cook could not possibly screw this up.  All the veggies get chopped up and thrown into one pot with veggie stock, a bit of tomato paste and some herbs including thyme, marjoram and tarragon.  You don't even need to peel the carrots and potatoes if you're feeling really lazy.  

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with tarragon.  I find the aroma quite strong and a little off-putting but can enjoy the flavour as long as it's balanced with other ingredients.  I was really happy with how the stew turned out and even happier that it took so little time to prepare.   There's something very satisfying about potatoes cooked in a savoury, saucy stew and the tempeh remained slightly firm while absorbing the flavours of the broth.   Yum.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Surprisingly Efficient Cook or Just Crazy?

Oatmeal Cookies
I recently took on a large project completely unrelated to cooking and strangely enough, instead of limiting my cooking experiments in the kitchen, it has inspired me to try about 20 new recipes over the last three weeks. I have been a cooking machine in the short time I’ve allowed myself to prepare food for the family. One tool that I find quite helpful in keeping me organized is a website called Cookbooker where I am able to keep track of every single recipe I try from my cookbooks, magazines, blogs or elsewhere. I’m always trying to get more people to use the site because the more individual ratings and reviews that are entered for each book, the more useful the site becomes. Even if I don’t blog for lack of time or a failing to take a decent photo, I can still keep notes about every single recipe I try. So there ends my plug for Cookbooker! Check it out.

I thought I’d mention some of the highlights from the recipes I’ve tried lately. I only have a photo of one because the other two were not very photogenic dishes. Coleen Patrick-Goudreau’s newest book Color Me Vegan is home with me from the library and I have so far cooked 6 recipes. Tonight we ate the Carrot and Avocado Salad and it was a surprise hit. I wasn’t expecting such a delicious contrast of flavours and textures from a relatively short ingredient list. The creamy avocado and crisp carrots combined beautifully with an acidic dressing and the roasted sesame seeds added a surprisingly awesome burst of yum with each bite. I love when my low expectations for a recipe are exceeded!

Last night I was starving and had a baguette home from the market but no ripe tomatoes to make the planned for bruschetta. My friend Lisa helpfully suggested I try a bean and garlic spread so I looked for and discovered a recipe for White Bean Aioli in Veganomicon. Honestly, it was outstanding. I was amazed at how a few simple ingredients were transformed in a matter of minutes with the help of my food processor into a creamy, lemony-garlic delight. Move over hummus! I slathered the Aioli on some toasted baguette and gobbled it down. I even snuck downstairs later (much later) when everyone else was asleep to eat some more. Talk about comfort food!

And last but not least something sweet. I’m just going to mention one dessert for now, Oatmeal Cookies from The Peaceful Palate. These babies are dark, chewy, and extremely addictive. I’ve actually made them twice in the last couple of weeks. I justify the second batch as an experiment to make them more kid friendly because my daughter was not impressed with the strong molasses flavor. Even cutting the molasses in half, she still didn’t completely go for them the second time around so my husband and I had to suffer through eating the whole batch. Life is tough eh?

My buddy Kathryn is also cooking from Color Me Vegan this week and she made the Orange-Glazed Tempeh. Take a look at her dish here along with her comments about the book.