Friday, June 25, 2010

Blueberry Corn Muffins

I haven't blogged in forever! Well, now that I am on summer vacation hopefully I"ll get it together more. We shall see... Anyhoo, I am up to my elbows in blueberries (and romaine lettuce) this week thanks to our CSA. I froze many of them on a cookie sheet for a few hours, then stored them in a ziploc bag to use over the next few weeks. The remaining berries made their way into these blueberry corn muffins.

The recipe is from Vegan With a Vengeance, and someone posted it on the web here. I have made these in the past, and knew it would be worth the effort to turn on the oven in this unbelievably gross heat to bake them this morning.
Even if you don't try this recipe, I strongly urge you to experiment with the combination of blueberries and cornmeal, it's a delicious one. I made these extra large, so I ended up with 9 instead of 12. To me it's worth it, small muffins that don't rise past the tops of the muffin tin just aren't worth the trouble of baking, people. I will be shocked if any of these are left for breakfast on Monday...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Banana Nut Bread

It's recipes like these that prove that the old baking rule that you need eggs to make a moist bread or cake is crap! This bread is soooooooo good, and healthier than many other versions out there that are loaded with butter, eggs and sugar. I swear, you won't even know they are missing!
This recipe is originally from How It All Vegan! but I have modified it so much the past few times I've made it that it's pretty much a new recipe now... EVERYONE loves banana bread, so you really have no excuse not to make this the next time you look over to your fruit bowl and spy some sad, brown bananas :-)
Banana Nut Bread
  • 2 1/2 - 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chopped pecans (depending on how nutty you want it!)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Cinnamon sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until very mushy, then add the vinegar, oil, sugar and stir together. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, flax seeds, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and mix together gently until "just mixed." Fold in pecans. Spoon into lightly greased loaf pan and sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a knife comes out clean.

p.s. A handful of chocolate chips instead of or in addition to the pecans would turn this baby into the perfect desert to bring to a picnic- it wouldn't suck heated up with a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream on top either!

Risotto to help you win friends and influence people!

OK, even if you aren't vegan- this post pertains to you. If you want to impress someone who is coming over to dinner (date, in laws, friends, bridge and majong players, what have you) I have the perfect dish for you- this risotto.

I have attempted to make risotto in the past and frankly found it not only challenging but annoying to stand over the stove stirring forever. This recipe from the latest issue of Cooks Illustrated it surprisingly low maintenance and easily yields perfect results. I feel like I can post it here because I have veganized it, but if you must use non vegan ingredients it's obvious what you would substitute. But make it vegan people. It's yummier and saves the chickens :)

p.s. A Dutch Oven for this recipe is a must. If you don't have one yet (Mom!) you should get one asap- besides this recipe there about a million uses for them, and there are some cheap but sturdy ones out there!

Almost Hands-Free Risotto with Herbs

  • 6 1/2 cups fake chicken stock (I used 2 Edward & Son's Not Chick'n Boullion cubes), vegetable stock would work as well
  • 4 tbs. Earth Balance
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • Salt
  • 1 medium garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbs. chopped fresh chives
  • Ground black pepper
  1. Bring broth to a boil in a large sauce-pan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and maintain a gentle simmer.
  2. Heat 2 tbs. of Earth Balance in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When the EB has melted, add onion and 3/4 tsp. salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened but not browned, 4-7 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around edges, about 3 mins.
  3. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until fully absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir 5 cups of hot broth into rice; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until almost all liquid has been absorbed and rice is just al dente, 16 to 19 mins, stirring twice during cooking.
  4. Add 3/4 cup of hot broth, and stir gently and constantly until risotto becomes creamy, about 3 mins. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand 5 mins. Stir in remaining 2 tbs Earth Balance, lemon juice, parsley and chives; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Now that I have made this once successfully, I am wondering how I could jazz it up next time! I had some wonderful risotto in December at a French restaurant with butternut squash, pecans and cranberries that might be interesting to try make. I'm honestly not nuts about mushroom risotto, so that's out... Anyone have any other ideas about different kinds of risotto you could make using this recipe as a base? :-)

Alas, I did not get a picture of the risotto when we ate it last night- this is the sad small portion of leftovers... you get the idea though!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Greenpoint Food Market Today!

Vanilla-coconut-lemon and chocolate-orange cupcakes with homemade candied citrus peel will be waiting for you.... Details here.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Vegan Dinner for Carnavores (aka Mom and Dad)

I am at home once again visiting my Mom, Dad, and Sam. Last night they agreed to cook something from my Candle Cafe cook book... and eat it! We decided on cornmeal-crusted tempeh, a dish where the tempeh was marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, maple syrup, ginger and garlic and baked for one hour, then coated in cornmeal and pan fried. The results were pretty tasty, and hearty (my Dad even had seconds and thirds!). We also made some collard greens and smashed and fried potatoes topped with a lemon parsley vinaigrette. The following photo makes it all look a little sad, because the plate is so big, but trust me, this is a meal that will satisfy skeptical meat eaters!

For desert, I made strawberry short cakes, following this recipe, which I chose because it only made 3 or 4 biscuits at a time (it can be dangerous to have leftovers!). Instead of vegan whipped cream, I heated up the biscuits and topped with some rice ice cream. I highly recommend this recipe, not only is it pretty fast and easy, but the biscuits were some of the best I'd ever had- a success!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Home Made Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

If only this picture did it justice...

I can't wait until the weather is actually warm permanently- this will be my first summer with the ice cream maker, and I am going nuts thinking about the possibilities!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sometimes things are easier than you think...

pictured: baked-goods, back-on-track with the flax, and organic plant food for my bonsai tree stored in a glass jar (this stuff is amazing! have you tried it?!)

Sometimes you don't have time, and other times, you have to make the time. That's how I felt when I recently decided to put my foot down and get to it, already! I'd been imagining for eons how nice it would be to wake up and have freshly baked muffins to have for breakfast, and had a bag of frozen mixed berries (organic to boot) in the freezer for the purpose for what seemed like months. Come to think of it, it had been months! Enough, already, I thought and used to amazing recipe index at the vegetarian times' website to find this recipe. Thing is, once I got started, it was so easy I couldn't help but to think: what took me so long! I added some flax seeds for some extra oomph and nutritive value (an old trick in a new favorite). Up next: becoming a bona-fide morning person...yawn...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Gooey German Chocolate Cake

For a very special birthday!

This was the first German chocolate cake I had ever made, and I kinda didn't realize I couldn't frost the sides.. I think people usually use chocolate butter cream or something for that.... Whoops!

Anyhoo, it was delicious, I made one mini cake and four cupcakes. The recipe was from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, a book which has never let me down. The basic chocolate and vanilla cake recipes from this book are amazing, and thrill and amazing non-vegan people every time!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dinner for Two

A recent trip to Toronto allowed me to spend some quality time with one of my favorite people, who not only had me in her home, but also made me an increadable dinner that just happened to be vegan. Not only that, but get this: it is very similar to Lindsey's roasted coliflower with chickpeas! Marissa's version included cous-cous and some very yummy herbs. The best part of this recipe is perhaps her savyness in substituting the recipe's pine nuts with walnuts, which are much more economical and tasted amazing. By far one of the best meals I've had recently, made all the better by the company of a good friend. Thanks, Marissa! You are truly awesome...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Variations on a Theme

I have a crush...on whole wheat spaghetti. It's just chewy enough, filling, and is a really nice complement to tofu's lighter consistency. Bake the tofu or brown it in a skillet, and then add some veggies and some pre-sliced almonds tossed in a little olive oil and salt and pepper for a really easy base that allows for a lot of variation. Here are two quick meals that easy to take on the go.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Olives

When I was visiting home a couple of weeks ago, my Ma and I found this recipe from her latest issue of Cooking Light. It instantly appealing to me, as it contained two of my most favorite things to roast EVER, cauliflower and chickpeas- but I was hesitant that the olives would fit in to the mix. Anyways, olives won me over yet again and the dish was super good (except for a little overly cooked garlic) and I decided to make it again tonight.

When I made it with my Mom we decided the olives and garlic should be added af
ter the chickpeas and cauliflower had a chance to get a head start roasting, which I did tonight. The results were perfect! Cooking Light suggests serving this as a side dish or with other small plates, but I think it's a perfectly fine and filling meal on its own- an added plus is it doesn't result in a lot of dirty dishes :)

Please excuse the blury photo- I don't know what is up with my bad photography lately!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lime Cupcakes

For Tom's birthday!!!

If you're turning 80, let me know, my baked goods seem to be in demand for that particular birthday!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two years in a row now- yay! Luckily my school called the snow day yesterday before I left, so I went to Whole Foods to stock up.

Apple cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast with brown sugar, raisins and pecans... Made from scratch of course, I don't do the whole instant oatmeal thing.

Black bean "quesadillas" (sans cheese, of course) with homemade refried black beans, avocado with lemon juice and toffuti sour cream for lunch...

Dinner... who knows?! I am busy concentrating on hoping we have another snow day tomorrow (highly doubtful)! :-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Seitan Strikes Back

vegan to-go

I'm still on my minimal ingredients kick, and still lovin' the seitan these days. There is something really comforting about a piping hot bowl of nutrition in the middle of the day, and this did just the trick. Cooking enough for lunch the next day is another favorite thing of mine these days, because it ensures that I'll have something really yummy to look forward to.
Also, this little number uses bok choy, which I've been meaning to incorporate into a dish for a while now. So easy, so good, and super quick.

Seitan with Bok Choy and Mushrooms

1 package of chicken-style seitan
1 bunch of bok choy, chopped
a handful of chopped white mushrooms
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 lemon
1 tbps agave nectar
1 tbps soy sauce
Whole-wheat grain, such as rice or pasta

Heat a large skillet, add garlic and brown. Add seitan, and cook until browned. Add bok choy, stir fry until nearly done, add mushrooms and cook until browned. Squeeze the lemon over the pan, add agave nectar and if desired, soy sauce. Soy sauce can also be used to garnish.
I made some whole wheat penne to serve along side, but the obvious side choice would be rice. Just depends what you're in the mood for...

C is for Cookie...

...and that's a good enough reason for me to bake up two dozen every weekend.

Seriously, I seem to go through a vegan baking phase every winter. Two years ago it was vegan cupcakes. Last winter it was pies. This winter it's cookies. It's not a healthy habit, but life is short, and I do have help taking care of them from a certain cookie vacuum I live with!

These two cookie recipes are, sort of, healthy. The first one is agave sweetened peanut butter cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. So, they not sweetened with sugar, which is nice. However, the three generous handfuls of chocolate chunks I added to them had plenty of sugar, I'm sure. What are you gonna do? But these were gooood people. Like, shut. up. good.

My next attempt at "healthy" cookie making was the oatmeal, walnut and dried plum cookies from Alicia Silverstone's new book, The Kind Diet. I changed them quite a bit by using raisins and pumpkin seeds instead of plums and walnuts, and had to use 1/4 cup regular sugar instead of the maple sugar called for, but that's OK. They still were low(ish) on the sweeteners (they also called for maple syrup) and used only 3/4 cup flour. These flattened when they baked, which was disappointing, but they were chewy and actually pretty good! I would make them again for sure.

On that note, I highly recommend The Kind Diet. Although I have had the utmost respect for Alicia Silverstone for years for speaking out against cruelty towards animals and advocating a vegan/vegetarian diet, I was skeptical this book would be good (sorry Alicia!). I was wrong. It's awesome, and a great book for anyone wanting to try veganism, vegans who need a diet make over, and people who just want to know how to eat a little healthier. Although it's a "diet" book, Alicia makes a point to say if you are paying attention to what you eat and striving to eat lots of veggies and grains, that's the most important thing. She also stresses not beating yourself up if you eat crap every once in a while (I didn't just eat an Oreo brownie from Vegan Treats!), and to make sure you don't deprive yourself. Her view on exercise is very similar to mine as well, there is no point in forcing yourself to sweat on a treadmill at the gym if you hate it- you're much better off doing something you love, like yoga, or going for a long walk. She even says she likes to still go to beginner yoga classes just so she doesn't feel pressured and can move at her own pace- that's awesome!!!! OK, done gushing.

Chana Masala + Mac and Cheese

OY blogging. I have made lots of food and taken photos of it lately, but actually uploading them and writing something snazzy takes a lot of mental energy that I just do not have this week. Soooo, here's the quick version.

I have found 2 recipes recently online (which is very bad of me, as I have dozens of sad cookbooks crying out for attention) that are simple, yummy and quick-ish to throw together. They are both definitely winter comfort food, and both would be great for newer vegans to take for a spin (I'm talking to you, Shashley Sunshine!)

The first recipe I would like to introduce you to is a very simple, yet tasty, chana masala from vegweb (my interweb is acting crazy so I can't get the link at the moment, just go to and search for it). A dish I have often enjoyed at Indian restaurants, this is super simple to make at home. After trying this twice and reading the hundreds of comments accompanying the recipe, I suggest adding more tomato paste and a half can or so of coconut milk. We also added peas, cauliflower and potatoes last time we made this, making it a complete meal, served on top of brown rice.

The next recipe I recommend giving a go is this mac and cheese. Please note, it will never taste like the mac and cheese you remember from your pre-vegan days, but it's creamy and comforting, and also has waaaaaaaay less fat than it's cheesy cousin, I'm sure. Also note I have done the legwork looking for a good vegan mac and cheese recipe, and this is the best one I have tried thus far. I added about a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and the juice of half a lemon to the sauce to bump up the flavor. I left off some sauce because I thought it looked like way too much before I put it in the oven, but in retrospect I could have used most of it. That would be some roasted Brussels sprouts featured on the side- let me tell you, you have not had Brussels sprouts until you have had them roasted. For reals.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Spicy Saturday Feast

Last night for dinner we made.....

Jamaican vegetable patties from Vegan Soul Kitchen. A lot of work, but very worth it. Not only do they taste yummers, the spices in the filling make your kitchen smell amazing while it is cooking.

I was missing one key ingredient, turmeric, for the dough, which would have given the patties a nice yellow glow. But through the magic of iphoto, I have added it here! We had a nice arugula salad with a simple lemon vinaigrette on the side- perfect combo. This cookbook has yet to let me down, and there are still so many recipes left I want to try! Fried green tomatoes, anyone?

For desert, we made Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I had a strange experience with these cookies- they didn't taste so tasty warm out of the oven... a cookie experience I don't think I'd ever had before. However, when they cooled they were chewy and delicious and had a nice spicy kick to them!
Look out!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In With the New

I am drawn to the complicated. Ask anyone who knows me well, and they will surely agree. Guess what? New year, new me. Newly veganized, for one, (and finally so, I'm sure Lindsey will say!), and secondly, I've had enough of complications. One of the biggest challenges of any lifestyle change is figuring out how to simplify it enough to incorporate it into your everyday routine. I am on a mission to find meals to make that require no more then five ingredients, and that can be prepared in almost as little time as the convinience food I rely on. (Luna bar, anyone?). It is a subtle shift, but making meals is an integral part of being well, so for me the shift is an important one. These fajitas were my dinner tonight, and my lunch tomorrow. They also feature seitan, our blog's favorite protein source. Enjoy!

-1 package of chicken-style seitan
-1 large green pepper, cut as you like
-salsa (I am partial to Newman's Own Mild)
-whole wheat fajita wraps

Heat a large skillet, and cook seitan until browned and thoroughly warmed. Add the green pepper when the seitan is almost done cooking (it is easy to tell, but a good rule of thumb is when nearly half the seitan is browned on the exterior), and stir-fry until browned.
If you would like, heat the fajita wraps in the oven, and then assemble as desired. Top with salsa.
There are many other fajita toppings that you can think of adding, so be as creative as you like! Or, keep things as simple as you want to. It might do you some good.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Day Off

Most (sane) people take the Monday of a three day weekend to sleep in, curl up with a good book, take a long nap, watch seven episodes of The Millionaire Matchmaker... While I love doing all of those things, I spent today in the kitchen, cooking like a mad woman.

I have to say, I seem t
o have cooked up a storm, on top of dealing with a glass shower door that completely shattered covering our bathroom in mountains of tiny pieces of glass (long story), vacuuming the living room, and doing all of the laundry!

I began the day chopping up sweet potatoes and some celery root I got at the farmer's market to make soup...

The soup was based on a recipe recently given to me by my friend and coworker, Liron, and featured sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and curry powder... I turned out, dare I say, velvety!

I had been meaning to cook some dried chickpeas I've had in the pantry- that's a piece of kombu seaweed in the pot- apparently this is a great way to get nutrients into the beans you are cooking (thanks for the tip, Prysm!!!)

I made some granola for the week ahead, using up odds and ends in the pantry... I made it extra coconutty by using coconut oil instead of canola or sesame oil...

Granola close up!!!!!!

Since the oven was on anyways from the granola, I decided to throw a whole head of farmer's market garlic in to roast. When it was done, I threw it in the food processor and made pesto!

The chickpeas looked so good I decided to roast some and toss them with white truffle oil. They are supposed to be for a salad, but I already ate most of them... Whoops!

Phew! I think I am ready for that nap I never took...


I had been looking for a vegan brownie recipe that was reminiscent of how I remembered non-vegan brownies tasting for a long time now... however, most that I had found called for silken tofu, not really my thing when baking. I had made these brownies from The Vegan Scoop before, to put in ice cream, but had yet to make them to enjoy straight up by themselves. Saturday night I made them, using the author's suggestion to add some peanut butter, and cut them into hearts (a little experiment for some upcoming Valentine's baking).

I packed them in some tupperware and headed to dinner in Jersey City, where I think they were a hit, especially heated up with a scoop of coconut vanilla ice cream on top. The problem now is there are still some left over, and I'm in trouble, cuz I CAN NOT STOP EATING THEM!!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Over and Done With

I can think of no better way to start a weekend off then with a vegan BLT made with tomatoes, spring greens, sprouted bread, vegenaise, and smart bacon. Top it off with some avocado for a complete meal and you'll be humming all day long.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Holiday Madness

Due to weather delays, Lindsey and I had to cancel our gingerbread face-off. Sadness. We had such a good time making them together two years back, which encouraged me to get a little too ambitious for my own good and purchase a book you may be familiar with called The Gingerbread Architect. Having a architect in the family (hi Chief!), the standards were a bit higher then usual, and to be clear if this is a tempting thought for you for next year...this is ADVANCED baking. Veganizing the basic recipes is straightforward enough, though, and even though the elegant brownstone I had envisioned ended up looking more like a yet-to-be renovated duplex in a soon-to-be gentrified neighborhood, it was a fun project to take on.
But that was then, and this is now, or rather it was two weeks ago to be exact, and with flight delays on the east coast and a major snow storm in mountain country, it became apparent that the houses were going to have to be put on hold at least until next year. None the less, I needed to do some kind of holiday baking, as Lindsey insisted, with or without my partner in crime.
Lindsey was kind in sending me the link to the vegan gingerbread recipe from VegNews, and I used the icing recipe for the cinnamon rolls for decoration. Keeping it simple, I simply added a few of multi-colored sprinkles and called it good. I even sent a few on a whim to my Grandma-gingerbread is her favorite!
I have to say, they were delicious! Usually by the end of the house-making I don't want to be close to anything even faintly smelling of ginger, cloves, molasses nor tasting anything as sweet as icing, so this time around keeping it simple and enjoying the cookies themselves was a nice touch to my time away from the grind. Vegan or not, I can't imagine anyone not liking these.