Aquafaba Sweetness

aquafaba_sweets

Clockwise from top left: Fried Doughnuts, Sweet Whipped Topping, Lemon Meringue Pie, Swiss Buttercream

We were thrilled to have an opportunity to test recipes for Zsu Dever’s newly released Aquafaba book. We tested a mix of sweet and savory recipes and they were all delicious. It’s amazing to think that the water we were draining off our chickpeas all these years could be so versatile. Since receiving our copy of the book we’ve tried a few more recipes and have yet to be disappointed. In fact the Swiss Buttercream is our new favorite cupcake topping. It’s light and fluffy and not overly sweet.

This past weekend we went to Carter Mountain Orchard to pick apples. In addition to apple picking their specialty is apple cider doughnuts. Unfortunately these are not vegan. Aquafaba to the rescue! We wanted to bring a treat for the kids and the Baked Apple Cider Cake Doughnuts were perfect. Especially with the addition of some leftover Swiss Buttercream we had on hand after making cupcakes for a birthday party. The big kid has been bringing these for lunch this week and loves them.

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On another note, I started the year with the idea that we’d try at least one recipe from 52 different cookbooks this year, an average of one per week. I’ve fallen hopelessly behind on this effort but this will certainly count. We’ll see how many more we can add before the end of the year and maybe we’ll keep at it into next year.

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Cupcakes!

cupcakes

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.


Apple and blackberry grunt

appleblackberrygrunt01I love fruit desserts and in particular ones with apples. We are getting apples from our CSA fruit share and the kids love baked apples with cinnamon. I thought about making a pie but decided I wanted to make something easier and quicker. I then thought grunt. Lovely little flour dumplings in steaming fruit. Yum! The name is really fun also and you know that is what is really important. At least for kids that is the case anyway. So I had the brilliant idea of making the grunt in the Instant Pot. I wasn’t sure if I could do it all one step or if I would have to first make the filling and then add the batter. Well, only one way to find out. It turns out I can add everything at once. So this experiment anyway was a success. I made an instant grunt. If you don’t have a pressure cooker then you can definitely make this the traditional way by cooking the filling first and then adding the batter. It is really quick though to make in the Instant Pot so you may want to buy one just so you can make instant grunts. Feel free to add any fruit you like also. I have plans for many more versions of this one. Also you can add more or less sugar. I had really tart apples and blackberries so I added a bit more. On to the recipe.

Apple and blackberry grunt

Filling

6 cups peeled and slice apples

2 cups frozen or fresh blackberries

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour

3/4 cup water

Dumpling Batter

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1/2 cup ground oats, 1/2 cup ground buckwheat groats, 1/2 cup white whole wheat)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup nondairy milk

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Add all of the filling ingredients to the Instant Pot or a pan and mix well. If you are using regular pan then heat the filling on the stove until it is bubbly and the apples have softened. Mix the dry ingredients for the batter in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients together in a measuring cup. Add the wet to the dry and mix. The batter should be fairly thick. Add spoonfuls of the batter to the filling covering the top. If you are using the instant pot then add the batter on top of the uncooked filling. See the lovely photo below. Cover and cook for 4 minutes using the manual setting on low pressure and use a quick release. If you are using the stove top then cover the pot and steam for 14 minutes until the dumplings are firm. Enjoy! Darlene

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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.

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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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Quesadillas

I’m surprised we haven’t posted about this until now because it’s certainly the meal most requested by the 6-year-old. Long ago we picked up a used copy of the original Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak (which incidentally was way ahead of it’s time, having been published in 1994). Our go-to recipe from this book is the spread from her Grilled Cheeze Sandwiches. It’s pretty simple – just put all this stuff into a blender, whir it up until it’s smooth, then cook in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking frequently, until thickened:

1 1/3 c. water
1/2 c. pimiento pieces (see note below)
1/3 c. rolled oats
1/3 c. raw cashew pieces
1/4 c. nutritional yeast flakes
3 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 Tbs. tahini
2 tsp. onion granules
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic granules
1/4 tsp. dried dill
1/4 tsp. dried mustard
1/4 tsp. paprika

One note on the pimiento pieces – we usually use one whole roasted red pepper and that’s a fine substitution. We often buy a big jar of roasted red peppers and freeze them, though right now we’re still going through a stash of red peppers from our CSA. We got a bunch of them at the end of the season and roasted them. Then we laid them out on a cookie sheet and froze them, then put them in a freezer bag once they were frozen.

We use this spread on sandwiches or in burritos or even in baked pasta but most frequently it gets sandwiched between two tortillas and then fried in a pan in a scant bit of canola oil or Earth Balance. We’ve found that the kid will eat almost anything that’s included in one of these quesadillas. If we’re in a rush and/or don’t have anything else in the fridge, we might just add some frozen chopped spinach (just sprinkle it on frozen and it’ll thaw while cooking the quesadilla). What’s pictured below included some sauteed cabbage and leftover pureed sweet potatoes but anything we have handy and that’s nutritious is fair game: mashed beans, finely diced seitan, cooked greens, broccoli, avocado, etc. These can be part of a larger meal but often they’re a quick weeknight meal by themselves. If we’ve got a bit of salsa to put on the side so much the better.

quesadillas

 

I should also note that if you can find the time to make your own tortillas I highly recommend it. Since this is often a quick meal we usually use store-bought tortillas but we make our own on occasion. The trouble with most name-brand tortillas you find in mainstream grocery stores is that they’re filled with preservatives and other un-pronounceable ingredients. When we do buy ready-made tortillas we generally get them from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s and the store brand in either place has a much smaller ingredient list. But when you make them at home you can make them with nothing more than flour, water, salt and a little oil. We do like the recipe from Terry Hope Romero’s Viva Vegan, which includes the addition of chia seeds, a nice touch. Here’s a previous iteration with homemade tortillas.

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Winter Solstice

First, apologies for letting this blog languish for five months. We stopped our last blog not long after having our first kid; I’m not sure what made us think we’d have time to keep up with this one after having our second kid. But this one will not come to an end – at least not now. We’re determined to keep this one going and furthermore to make it a resource for busy parents like us who are trying to make healthy meals for their families – healthy meals that just happen to be vegan.

Since today was the winter solstice we wanted to make something to celebrate the gradual return of the sun and the longer days ahead. We settled on “sun cakes”, a.k.a., cornbread baked in a ring mold. And since that’s not a meal by itself we also made chili with lentils and seitan. We’ve been making chili quite a bit lately, in large part because we discovered that the 6-year-old will eat almost anything we put into chili form. It’s also easy to throw into the slow cooker when we have a few spare minutes and then not worry about until dinner time. The chili recipe was mostly from the newest cookbook in our collection, Robin Robertson’s Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker. This was an early Christmas present to ourselves, as was our Instant Pot, which we’ve really been enjoying so far and using a lot. I’m sure we’ll talk more about it in future posts. There’s no shortage of chili recipes out there and you can find any number of vegan cornbread recipes as well but I’ll leave you with our go-to cornbread recipe, which is adapted from Peter Berley.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 c. flour (we use either unbleached white flour or a mix of that and white whole wheat)

3/4 c. cornmeal

2 Tbs. nutritional yeast

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 c. + 2 Tbs. water

1/4 c. canola oil

3 Tbs. maple syrup

What  you do:

It’s pretty simple really. Mix together the dry ingredients then gently stir in the water, oil and maple syrup. We typically bake this in a 9 inch cast iron skillet that’s been pre-heated in a 350 degree oven with a little Earth Balance on the bottom. 25 minutes should do it. You could easily bake it in an 8-inch square baking dish too. Tonight I got fancy and baked it in the cast iron skillet inside several ring molds and with the batter that was left I made corn muffins.

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We got a soymilk maker!

We’ve been thinking about getting one for quite a while then one day recently I finally did the math and figured (conservatively) that with the cost savings of making soy milk ourselves vs. buying it at the store, the soy milk maker would pay for itself in around 8 months. Darlene just put up a post on her blog with more info and a recipe for using up some of the okara (soybean pulp filtered from the soy milk).

soy_milk

For storing our non-dairy milks we got these glass bottles at World Market that say “Le bon lait”, which is French for “good milk” and I love that our good milk doesn’t come from cows.