Catching Up

Wow, it’s February and we’re just posting about Christmas dinner! These last few months have been busy but it’s time to catch up a bit with this blog. Before Christmas I saw that Isa posted her recipe for Sweet & Smoky Glazed Tofu Ham from The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook. We decided to make it for Christmas dinner and it was fabulous. On the side we had roasted brussels sprouts, whipped sweet potatoes and bananas and cranberry sauce. The sweet potato recipe was something from Tyler Florence that we did for Thanksgiving long ago and enjoyed. The recipe calls for honey and butter but it’s easily veganized by using agave and Earth Balance. This time we cut way back on both the sweetener and the fat and it was still great.

xmas_tofuxmas_plate

On another note, we didn’t accomplish our goal of using 52 different cookbooks last year but we decided to keep plowing ahead to see if we can get through all 52 by the end of this year. We’ve since purchased the new Isa book and it’s added to our list (we also made the Cheeseburger Pizza for the Super Bowl and it was awesome) and we have a couple others to add. Another book we’ve added to our collection was just released recently – Kathy Hester’s The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot. We love our Instant Pot and this book has been a good addition to our ever growing cookbook shelf. So far we’ve made the Jambalaya (pictured below), which was quick, easy and tasty, and also the Southern Breakfast, which is grits and a tofu scramble made in the Instant Pot at the same time. We decided we like a tofu scramble made on the stovetop better but the grits were awesome. Despite living in the South we don’t eat grits often but this recipe will change that. We’ve already made grits multiple times since then.

Now step into the way, way back machine for another cookbook we just added to the list. The Horn of the Moon Cookbook was one of the first vegetarian cookbooks we ever bought (there were quite literally only about two vegan cookbooks available at that time) and we don’t use it much anymore because it’s fairly egg and dairy heavy but the Cashew French Toast recipe (pictured below) is one we keep coming back to. It was especially good now that we have a Vitamix because the batter whipped up super creamy. If you’ve read this far, congratulations! Here’s a bonus recipe: mix 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk with 1/2 cup cashews, 2 Tbs. sunflower seeds, 2 Tbs. sesame seeds and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract in a blender or food processor. Pour over some thick slices of bread and cook like you would French toast.

 

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Granola

granola

Over the summer the New York Times published a survey looking at nutritionists’ vs. public perceptions of healthy foods. They found that granola was one of the foods that generally have a public perception of being healthy but that nutritionists ranked as unhealthy. I think the main reason for this view of granola as unhealthy is that most commercial versions are packed with sugar. That’s one reason I make my own granola and don’t buy commercial varieties (it’s also really expensive to buy versus making it yourself).

I first started making my own granola many years ago after seeing Alton Brown make this recipe on Good Eats. I came to realize though that this recipe has a ton of sugar just like most commercial granola and gradually started cutting back on the sugar. My current recipe has six times less sugar than the original one and I honestly like it better. Here’s a simple recipe if you want to give it a try yourself.

Granola

3 c. rolled oats

1 c. nuts and/or seeds (I usually use cashew pieces, chopped walnuts and pumpkin seeds)

1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. maple syrup

2 Tbs. canola oil

Just mix all these ingredients together well in a large bowl then spread on a baking sheet. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes then turn the oven off and leave the granola in for another 15 minutes. That’s it! Super easy and healthy too!

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Fig Apple Crisp

fig_apple_crisp

It’s apple season! And that means it’s also fig season. Four years ago we planted a tiny fig tree in our yard and finally this year we’re getting a decent amount of fruit. Yesterday I combined the figs with some local apples from Carter Mountain Orchard to make a simple crisp. For the filling I used about a pound and  a half of apples and about a half pound of fresh figs, then I just added a tablespoon of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. The topping was 3/4 c. rolled oats, 1/4 c. flour, 2 Tbs. canola oil, 1 tsp. agave, and another 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. I think some nuts would be good in the topping so next time I’ll add some chopped walnuts. Then bake in a covered baking dish at 375° for about 45 minutes. Enjoy!

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Whole Grain Butternut Squash Waffles

butternut_squash_waffles

It’s been a busy summer, during which time we’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging, but we’re back with a fun recipe and announcement. On Saturday, September 24, we’re giving a demo at the Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival. If you’re in or around Charlottesville next weekend, come downtown to the Ix Art Park and catch our demo starting at 1:15 PM. We’ll be making these scrumptious butternut squash waffles with butternut squash applesauce.

We make waffles frequently because that’s what our kids have for breakfast almost every morning. And you might not think of waffles as a good way to get kids to eat vegetables but we often put a veggie of some sort in our waffle batter for just that reason. We often make them with spinach but we thought butternut squash might be better for the demo. Plus it’s nice to include seasonal vegetables. Right now we have a huge butternut squash patch growing out of our garden that was totally a volunteer from seeds that must have been in our compost. We’ve been using these squash in a variety of dishes, including waffles.

Whole Grain Butternut Squash Waffles

Ingredients

1 c. unbleached white flour
1 c. white whole wheat flour
1 c. rolled oats, ground into a coarse flour in a blender or food processor
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 3/4 c. cooked, pureed butternut squash (or a can of pureed pumpkin)
1/4 c. canola oil
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

What you do

In a small mixing bowl, stir the vinegar into the soy milk and set aside. In a larger mixing bowl, mix together the flours, ground oats, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Whisk squash, oil, maple syrup and vanilla into the soy milk mixture. Gently fold these wet ingredients into the dry, mixing just until the flour is incorporated. Cook in a waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note that you can also make this into a pancake batter by adding about 1/4 c. more of soy milk; then you can cook as pancakes in a skillet.

Butternut Squash Applesauce

Ingredients

2 c. peeled and sliced apples (about 2 large or 4 small apples)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 c. pureed butternut squash
1/4 c. maple syrup

What you do

Puree everything together in a blender or food processor.


Peanut Butter Waffles

peanut_butter_waffles

There are many great breakfast/brunch recipes in Vegan Brunch and it’s certainly our go-to book for waffle recipes (and now it’s added to our 52 cookbooks list). The Sneaky Dad’s Waffles recipe that I posted about long ago (and that I still make regularly for our kids) is a heavily adapted version of the Gingerbread Waffles from Vegan Brunch. Another favorite recipe is for these Peanut Butter Waffles (recipe posted here). They’re good with a drizzle of maple syrup or all manner of other toppings but sometimes I just want some PB&J action and I have my peanut butter waffles spread with strawberry jam.

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Happy Easter!

easter

Given the holiday today it was a fine time to add Alicia Simpson’s Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations to our 52 cookbooks list. We don’t use this book too often but we do open it up from time to time to get ideas for holiday meals. There are lengthy recipe collections for each major holiday and from the Easter chapter we made the Broccoli Frittata and Hidden Treasure Muffins (which are sweet potato and applesauce muffins made with whole grains). Either or both of these recipes would work equally well for breakfast or brunch but they made a fine dinner too.

To those who celebrate Easter we hope you had a wonderful holiday!

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Breakfast x2

chickpea_omelets

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!

 

barley_muffins

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.

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Brunch (with Peach Beignets)

peach_beignets

Yesterday we had some friends over to watch the penultimate stage of the Tour de France and we all enjoyed a delicious brunch. The tofu scramble and roasted vegetables were good but what really came out well were the peach beignets. Credit to Darlene for coming up with that idea. I’m not sure how authentic they were but they sure did taste good. I ended up using my tried and true recipe for Apple Uglies but instead of apples and cinnamon I used some nice local peaches we’ve been getting from our CSA. I cut back on the sugar a little too since the beignets got a generous dusting of powdered sugar at the end. The main modification to the recipe that I needed was to add a lot of extra flour since the peaches were so juicy. And rather than making each piece of dough into an oblong shape I rolled out the dough and cut it into squares beignet-style.

brunch4tour

I posted my basic tofu scramble recipe a long time ago on our previous blog and this one was similar. Instead of onion I used a leek from our CSA and I also added a shredded carrot, mushrooms and kale. The roasted veggies were all from the CSA – red potatoes, purple potatoes, beets and bell peppers. These were coated with olive oil, salt and some fresh herbs from our garden (thyme, oregano, rosemary and lavender) and roasted in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. All agreed it was an excellent meal!

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Banana apple whole grain pancakes

whole_grain_pancakes

I really love pancakes. Fluffy pillows of grainy goodness. I can eat them any time of the day. As a special treat my mom used to make pancakes sometimes on the weekends. When I was old enough to cook for myself I helped make them also. I really love passing on a love of food to the kids. Food is such a great social binder and nourishes the soul as well as the body. Corny I know but it really is all that and more. On that note, my ingredients have changed a little bit since my early cooking days. I am on a mission lately to add more whole grains and take out the refined sugar. So here is my version of whole grain pancakes sweetened with pureed apples and bananas. Sort of smoothie meets whole grains. Feel free to substitute any grains you have on hand. I used ground oats and white whole wheat flour.

Banana apple whole grain pancakes

1 cup rolled oats, ground

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, ground

2 tablespoons chia seed or flax seed, ground

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups almond hemp milk or other nondairy milk

1 medium apple peeled, cored and cut into slices

1 medium banana

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coconut oil for frying

Grind the oats, sunflower seeds and chia in a food processor or blender. Add the white whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. Puree the almond hemp milk, apple slices, banana. apple cider vinegar and vanilla in a blender. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix to combine. Add quarter cups of the batter to a cast iron skillet coated with oil. Fry a few minutes on one side. Flip and fry until both sides are golden brown and the center is done. Layer the pancakes with banana slices and blackberries. Top with maple syrup or my favorite, apple sauce. Enjoy.

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Granola with Almond Pulp or Okara

Since we got our soy milk maker we’ve been generating a lot of okara (the leftover pulp after straining the soy milk). We like to make almond milk too and of course there’s also pulp leftover from that process. A lot of this stuff has ended up being composted but we do try to make use of it as much as we can. We do love to make granola too. So much so that we’ve been buying oats in bulk by the 50 lb. bag.

Now we’ve taken our favorite granola recipe and modified it to include okara. On another note, we also cut way back on the sweetener. We’ve been trying for a while now to limit our sugar intake and have found that in many recipes we can halve the sugar called for and that tastes just fine to us. The thing about cutting back on sugar is that your taste buds adjust and soon anything that has a “normal” amount of sugar tastes sickly sweet. So go ahead and make this as is. If you find you want it sweeter  you can always drizzle a little agave or maple syrup on top when you eat it. Also, feel free to cut the recipe in half. This makes a LOT but we go through it fairly quickly in our house.

What you need:

6 cups rolled oats

3 cups nuts (use all one kind or mix it up – chopped almonds, walnuts, pecans or cashews are all good choices)

1 1/4 tsp. salt

6 Tbs. agave or maple syrup

1/4 c. canola oil

1/2 c. okara or almond pulp

1 c. raisins or other dried fruit (optional)

What you do:

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts and salt. In a small bowl, mix together the agave, oil and okara. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until all the oats are coated. Spread out evenly onto two baking sheets and bake at 300° for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the granola inside for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for another 20-30 minutes. Now you can mix in the raisins or other fruit if you want.

granola