Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vegan Zwetschgenkuchen

Say what!!???

Zwetschgenkuchen (pronounced svet-ch-ken-koo-gan, I guess) is a German plum tart. The word on the street is no one makes it like my great-grandmother, who served it with whipped cream.

I changed her original recipe (converted from metric and German by my mother and grandmother) to veganize it. The result probably didn't taste exactly like the traditional kind (which I have not had in a long time) but was yummy and gobbled up quickly.


Apparently this is tradionally made with Italian plums, which are not in season until August. Use whatever is ripe and looks good at the grocery store.

3-4 plums
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 Ener-G egg replacer "egg"
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 stick "butter" of your choice
1/4-1/2 cup water
cinamon sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, "egg", sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Crumble butter in using your hands. Add a little bit of water at a time until the dough comes together. Form a ball and put into the fridge or freezer.

While the dough is chilling, carefully cut plums into small slivers.

Remove dough from fridge/freezer after about 30 mins. Roll out on a floured surface until about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. If the dough is not holding together well, knead it up into a ball again a few times, your hands will melt the butter a little bit and the dough will become more elastic.

Place the crust in a greased pie tin and fold sides down on the insde so the crust only comes up about an inch. Now arrange the plums in a circle starting at the outside and working in. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 40-45 mins until crust is browned and plums look cooked.

Serve with vanilla soy or coconut ice cream.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ukrainian Poppyseed Cake

The weather in Colorado has been absurd these past few weeks.  We had almost no snow this winter, and then once spring came we have been hit by a series of major storms. I should be used to this by now, as this is a state well-known for its sporadic, unpredictable weather patterns. I was recently snowed in chez Lindsey, where I sometimes have the very fun responsibility of watching their personality-packed dog.  Such was the case a few weekends ago, and Lindsey encouraged me to take the opportunity to do some baking.  
I am part Ukrainian in heritage. People often mistake me for a large number of nationalities, but few rarely get it quite right without looking at my family name. This baking project allowed me to connect to some of my roots, and to make one of my mum's favorite treats, loaf. 
The recipe is from the original Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook-go check it out!  According to my paternal Grandma, this is one of the twelve traditional dishes served during Ukrainian Christmas, each one representative of an apostle. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Saucy Seitan

Last week I had the great fun of cooking with Lindsey, as she came home to visit her family in Colorado.  We took on seitan again, despite Lindsey's protestations that the brand of wheat gluten we had used in the past made it taste like elephant or horse.  (She has not eaten meat since her early childhood, which makes this comparison even the more troubling...).  She found a recipe for piccata sauce, which was an easy way to dress it up.  It tasted great, particularly when the seitan was cut in thin enough pieces to really take on the sauce.  

We were also Robin's sous-chefs for her chicken piccata. 
Sam, Lindsey's family's adorable black lab, liked them both. For desert I brought over some brownies that I had veganized, which despite their questionable texture tasted just fine with some dairy-free ice cream.  

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Vegan Pizza Party

Who doesn't love vegan pizza?! I have only made it twice now, both times it was very tasty. The first time, we purchased the dough already made from Whole Foods. This time, I made it from scratch from this recipe. I used half whole wheat and half all purpose flour, and although it was tasted OK, did not rise as much as I would have liked. I am willing to give it another try though. This recipe makes enough dough to make two medium sized pizzas, in case you are cooking with a non-vegan friend (ah hem, Mom, Phil!) who wants to add a little cheese to their pizza.

So, I made the dough, then got to work on some pesto to use instead of regular tomato sauce.

Here's my pesto recipe:

First, combine the following in the food processor
1/4 cup pine nuts

2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Large pinch salt
Small pinch pepper

Then add

Two heaping cups of fresh basil leaves

Keep the food processor running, and pour olive oil in through the feed tube until it is the consistency you want.

We brushed the pesto on to the pizzas, leaving room for a crust. To mine I then added some tofu-ricotta, basically pressed and crumbled tofu mixed with garlic, basil, lemon juice and nutritional yeast. I also thew some olives on top, and sun dried tomatoes in the last five minutes of cooking (they burn otherwise, I found out the first time).

The final product was qui
te a tasty pizza, that had a good amount of protein but not the fat of the usual cheese-laden kind. In the words of Oprah, "love that!"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Happy Passover!

THANKS MOM for making me this delish Vegan Matzoh Ball Soup!!!!

I think I am going to go have the leftovers for lunch now...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Back on the Chain Gang

This week I conquered two of my fears: soba noodles, and kale. I've been meaning to try out soba noodles for ages, but never knew what to do with them...After reading this posting about soba noodles, I felt inspired, but wanted to cook something that also used portabello mushrooms and kale while watching the movie Ghost on television, possibly the strangest movie I've ever seen. Here's what I came up with based on that idea:

Portabello Mushroom and Kale Soba Noodles
two generous servings

two portabello mushrooms
1 bunch of kale
half of a tomato (except for Lindsey because she doesn't like them)
1 can of butter beans

1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbps balsamic vinegar
1 tbps tamari
juice of half a lemon
splash of tabasco sauce

2 bundles of soba noodles

*how fun is it to have bundled noodles? seriously...I took a picture.
Ok so here's the drill: while you're boiling the water for the noodles, cook the sliced mushrooms, and then add the beans. After a few minutes, add the kale, and stir-fry together, and begin to cook the noodles.

Mix together remaining ingredients in a small bowl, and then add to the pan. Drain the noodles, toss in a little olive oil, mix together and presto:

Bonus: soba noodles are so good for you! They are made from buckwheat flour, and have nine (9!) grams of protein per serving. Add the protein from the beans and you're in serious business.