Our daughter turns 3 tomorrow and her birthday party this weekend was a good excuse to add Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World to our 52 cookbooks list. Darlene made Gingerbread Cupcakes with Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting. Our non-vegan brother-in-law said they were the best cupcakes he’s ever had. There are other vegan cupcake recipes out there but since this book came out I don’t think we’ve ever turned anywhere else for a cupcake recipe because this book has it all.
Next up on our 52 cookbooks endeavor is Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Families. We’ve been fans of Dreena’s books ever since her first one came out long ago, and now that we have kids we especially like her books for their many kid-friendly snack ideas. The recipe for these Protein Power Balls was posted here by The Green Mama. We’ve been thinking about making these for quite a while and today we finally did. They’re sweet because they contain a lot of dates but they have no added sugar and they’re packed full of healthy proteins like hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Best of all, the kids love ’em. So here’s one answer to that question so commonly asked of vegans, “where do you get your protein?”
One of the latest books in our 52 cookbooks adventure is Kristy Turner’s But I Could Never Go Vegan. At first we weren’t sure about getting this cookbook because from the title it sounds like it could have a lot of very basic recipes for new vegans. While new vegans will certainly find it useful, we’ve been vegan for many years and have enjoyed using this book too. I love how it’s organized into chapters that reflect common questions about or criticisms of veganism: “Vegan cooking is too hard”, “Where would I get my protein?”, and “It’s all rabbit food” are a few of the chapter titles. Of course it’s not all rabbit food and we get plenty of protein. It’s not too hard to cook great vegan meals either and it was in that chapter where Darlene found this recipe. She wanted to have something savory for breakfast recently and these chickpea omelets came out great. She just used the recipe for the batter and instead of the vegetable suggestions she used up some kale we had in the fridge. They were especially good topped with a little apple kraut from local company Farmstead Ferments.
If you Google chickpea omelet recipe, you’ll find many variations of recipes. This recipe is just chickpea flour, a little nutritional yeast, black salt and seasonings (cumin, thyme, garlic powder, smoked paprika, turmeric and pepper) mixed with enough water to make a batter roughly the thickness of pancake batter. Throw in whatever veggies you want and fry in a skillet kind of like a pancake. Yum!
From our newest cookbook to one of our oldest ones. Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Cafe dates to our pre-vegan, vegetarian days. If you’re vegan, I can’t say I’d recommend this book because it’s pretty egg-heavy, but still, it has a lot of good breakfast ideas. Some of the recipes are already vegan and many others are easily veganized. Like these Buttermilk Barley Muffins for example. We happened to have some leftover cooked barley and these were perfect to make on a snowy morning. I think these would be good to make with leftover rice too. Here’s my adapted/veganized recipe.
What you need:
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. white whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. cooked pearl barley
1/4 c. toasted sesame seeds
1/4 c. minced raw cashew pieces, toasted
3/4 c. soy or almond milk
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 Tbs. chia seeds + 2 Tbs. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. maple syrup
What you do:
Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly oil 12 muffin cups. Mix the vinegar into the milk and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the barley and mix well until it’s evenly distributed. If you have a small blender, briefly blend the chia seeds and water. Alternatively, briefly grind the chia seeds in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, then whisk in the water. Add the chia mixture to the milk/vinegar mixture then mix in the maple syrup, canola oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, gently mixing until incorporated, then fold in the sesame seeds and cashews. Distribute evenly among 12 muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes or until just starting to brown. Remove the muffins from the pan and put on a rack to cool for another 20 minutes.
Our effort to cook from a different cookbook every week this year continues. Last night we went to Terry Hope Romero’s Viva Vegan for this Colombian-style Red Beans recipe. It occurred to me that we need to keep this in mind for the summer when we’re getting lots of onions and peppers from our CSA. This dish (and many other Latin recipes) starts with a sofrito, which consists of onions, peppers and garlic cooked long and slow in lots of oil. In addition to the sofrito, these beans were seasoned with cumin, paprika and oregano, and also included a diced plantain and a shredded carrot. Then they were simmered in veggie broth and served with brown rice with some broccoli on the side. I also doused mine with plenty of hot sauce and garnished with fresh oregano.
We hope everyone had a great holiday season and we wish you well for 2016. Yesterday we continued our tradition of having black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day. This year we had some friends over for New Year’s dinner so we made a lot of food. It was two years ago when we first made the Black-Eyed Pea and Collard tacos from Isa Does It, and again they were a great twist on our New Year’s Day tradition. We also made a variation of the Happy New Year Chili from Robin Robertson’s Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker. In addition to the black-eyed peas called for in the recipe we also added of collards and corn, so this chili was the embodiment of the phrase “peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and corn for gold”.
One fun idea we have for 2016 is to make at least one recipe from a different cookbook every week all year. Since there will likely be times we don’t keep up with this goal we’re starting with two cookbooks here. Some weeks we may miss and other weeks we may do more than one but by the end of the year we hope to have posted about 52 cookbooks. Check out the 52 cookbooks tag to see how we’re progressing!
Happy New Year!
For those of you who celebrate Christmas we hope you had a good one. For our Christmas dinner this year we turned to one of our favorite new cookbooks, Robin Robertson’s Vegan Without Borders. In a nod to our German and Austrian heritage we made Seitan Jagerschnitzel, or fried seitan cutlets in a creamy mushroom sauce. We also made the roasted brussels sprouts with walnuts from the same Eastern Europe section of the book. We rounded out the savory part of the plate with more roasted vegetables – root veggies in this case: golden beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, rutabaga and celery root. And finally we made cranberry relish, some version of which is pretty traditional for us on Thanksgiving and Christmas. This was a variation on a recipe we used at Thanksgiving from the Voluptuous Vegan cookbook and I’ll share my adapted recipe here:
Cranberry Apple Relish
What you need:
12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 c. spiced apple cider
1/4 c. maple syrup
3 Tbs. golden raisins
What you do:
Combine all the ingredients in a non-reactive pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes or until most of the cranberries have popped.
I’ve written this before but it bears repeating. Tradition is what you make it. Millions of people have turkey on Thanksgiving because it’s tradition. This was our 19th vegan Thanksgiving. This is our tradition. And we’re thankful we can have such a fabulous, flavorful meal without unnecessarily harming animals.
We generally have some sort of vegetable pie with puff pastry but we broke with that tradition this year and turned to one of the newest cookbooks in our collection, Street Vegan, and an older book from our collection, The Voluptuous Vegan. Street Vegan is packed with amazing recipes but many of them are rather involved so we hadn’t used it yet because so often we’re cooking meals that are simple and on the table quickly. Thanksgiving is a day to spend more time cooking so we decided to make the Hemp Seed and Rosemary Crusted Tofu with Tarragon Garlic Bread Pudding from Street Vegan. Rather than spelt bread as called for in the bread pudding recipe we used the Amaranth Studded Cornbread from The Voluptuous Vegan. Also from that same book we made the Sauteed Haricots Verts and Cranberry Relish with Apples and Pears. For the tofu and bread pudding we also made a mushroom gravy from the Oh She Glows cookbook. Despite the disparate sources it all came together nicely and was one of the best Thanksgiving meals we’ve made.
We also broke with tradition for dessert. Rather than our typical pumpkin pie or cheesecake we used our newly acquired donut pan and made these baked Maple Pumpkin Donuts with Spiced Glaze. The donut pan has been a big hit with the kids so far.
We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!