October 29, 2010

Blackberry Swirl Coffee Cake

This is an adaptation of Isa's East Coast Coffee Cake from Vegan Brunch. If you haven't purchased the cookbook yet, now is the time. It is a masterpiece. This coffee cake is perfect - easy enough to whip together with the ingredients in your kitchen and always a crowd pleaser. Any jam swirl will do but I usually stick to raspberry or blackberry.

1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
about 1 cup of blackberry jam, mixed

1 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup oil

Preheat your oven to 350. Combine the soy milk and vinegar and allow to curdle. Mix your dry ingredients together in a bowl (this really helps, thanks EJ). Next mix the wet ingredients together and add the soy "buttermilk" to the combo. Add the wet to the dry and mix until combined and still a little lumpy. Now prepare your topping. Combine the dry ingredients then use your hands to mix in the oil, a little at a time, until the crumble is a bit sandy but mostly clumpy. Pour the cake batter in a glass 8X8 dish and dollop the jam all over the surface. Now use a knife to cut the jam through the batter. Cover  with the crumble topping and pat down the surface lightly. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Once cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Making your morning better since 2010,

October 27, 2010

Home-Style Aloo Gobi

I am getting ready to move, so I am faced with the familiar challenge of using up all of the contents of my refrigerator. I saw the head of cauliflower and remembered a recipe my mum used to make that involved turmeric, ginger, and onions. Here's a variation on that recipe including potatoes and some hot peppers. My mum's recipe came from this old 1970's cookbook on Northern Indian cooking by Madhur Jaffrey. In the recipe, MJ makes a huge deal about breaking apart your cauliflower florets consistently and trust me, it's completely worth it. Otherwise they just crumble apart and you're left with a sloppy mess. There are lots of variations on this dish, so feel free to get creative. Peas make a great addition. Serve this on rice or on it's own and take it to potlucks!

1 large yellow onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
3 cm X 2 cm piece of fresh garlic, about 2 Tbs. (peeled and chopped)
1 medium-large head of cauliflower (cut into 3 cm. florets)
2 medium-sized potatoes (peeled and cubed)
4 Tbs. olive oil
2 hot peppers (minced, optional)
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. salt
juice of 1/2 lime
fresh cilantro

In a food processor, chop the onion, garlic, and ginger until the pieces are very fine. Add a few tablespoons of water if necessary. Heat your oil in  a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the onion-ginger-garlic paste in the oil for a 5 or so minutes. Add the hot peppers if you choose to use them. Next add all of the dry spices and fry for a minute. Add your potatoes and a half cup of water and cover, allowing the potatoes to cook. After 10 or so minutes, add the cauliflower and the salt and some more water if necessary. Let cook until potatoes and cauliflower are both tender (another 10-15 minutes). Remove from heat, add some fresh ground pepper and the juice from 1/2  a lime and voila! Serve over Basmati rice or with some plain soy yogurt. Top with fresh cilantro.

Still eating dinner outside in Texas,

October 25, 2010

Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Filling

When you know someone as  great as RN, and it's their birthday, you pull out all the stops. These cakes are the sunniest I could muster for one of the brightest people I have met in Marfa. Cupcakes are so versatile, so feel free to get wild. You won't regret it. As always, hats off to Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero for teaching us all how to make cake again.

1 c. soy or almond milk
1 tsp.  apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups a.p. flour
1 Tbs. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2  tsp vanilla extract
zest of 3 or so lemons

1 bag organic frozen blueberries
1 Tbs. sugar
juice of 2 lemons

Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup earth balance
2 (+) cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Combine milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle. Mix dry ingredients together with a whisk. Mix wet ingredients together. Add wet to dry, mix, fill cupcake liners, and place in oven for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Now prepare your filling and frosting. Just heat up the filling  ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer for a couple minutes, then remove and let the mixture cool. Use a hand mixer to whip up your frosting, adding powdered sugar and soy milk until you reach the desired consistency. Once your cupcakes are cool, cut little cone shapes out of the tops and fill with blueberries. Replace the tops and cover with frosting. Top with crystallized ginger!

Unfrosted cakes also make perfect leftovers for breakfast!

October 24, 2010

Mushrooms stuffed with Wild Rice, Shallots, Tomatoes, and Artichoke Hearts

I had been dreaming about giant stuffed Portobello mushrooms so I had to make something of the sort. This recipe was a complete experiment and I was so happy it went well! Stuffed mushrooms can be a real bore, so I tried to mix it up with these little caps. Sauteing the mushrooms in a white wine reduction before baking helped add flavor and kept the mushrooms from getting too dried out.  The mashed avocado held everything together (for the most part) and the shallots added a sweet and earthy flavor, complimenting the winey-mushroom-caps perfectly. Thanks to CBG for teaching me the beauty of wild rice, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. Serve these suckers piping hot!  

16 oz. whole mushrooms, the best you can find (capped and washed)
1 cup white wine
3 Tbs. earth balance

Stems of mushrooms (diced)
1 large shallot (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 box long grain wild rice (cooked)
2 Tbs. breadcrumbs
15 or so grape tomatoes (thinly sliced)
5 oz. marinated artichoke hearts (diced)
1 medium-sized avocado (diced and semi-mashed)
fresh sage
ground pepper

Prepare the wild rice and pre-heat the oven to 350. In a large frying pan, heat the white wine and earth balance over medium heat until the spread has dissolved  into the wine. Add the mushroom caps and saute as the wine evaporates, turning only once. Saute for about five minutes and then remove the caps and place them on an oiled baking sheet. Now prepare your filling.

In the same frying pan that has a bit of wine and oil left in it, saute the shallot over medium heat for about five minutes. Add the garlic and a touch of oil if the pan needs it. Add the diced mushroom stems and saute for another five minutes. Next, add all of your other ingredients and take the pan off of the burner. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fill your prepared mushroom caps to the brim (and beyond) and place them in the oven. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until they look done. Top with fresh sage leaves and serve toute de suite!


October 21, 2010

Texas Thai Lentil Curry

This recipe was a special request from LB, who has been with me in many spice-filled kitchens, and who has heard the midnight saute and tasted dozens of trials and errors. When we were in school, this was one of my go-to recipes because it is cheap, incredibly easy, delicious, and makes for great left-overs. Could it get any better? It's still one of my staples but I've had to make a couple of revisions since finding lemongrass and red lentils can be a bit impossible in Texas. Many hats off to RW and SCL for posting the root recipe for this curry in the Dialogue Cookbook. I am forever indebted to you.

1 medium-sized yellow onion (chopped)
4 cloves of garlic (minced and  trimmed)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. crushed red pepper (more or less, depending on your spice level)
2 cups lentils
4-5 cups veggie broth (I highly recommend Better than Bouillon brand)
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 regular-sized can of coconut milk
1 large, beautiful tomato (chopped)
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
 fresh cilantro

Bring the lentils and broth to a boil and then cover and reduce heat. Cook until soft (about 30 minutes).
Put some rice on. I like to use Jasmine with this recipe, and mix in a heap of cilantro when it's all cooked up.

Saute the onions and crushed red pepper in a large frying pan over medium heat until onions are soft. Add the garlic and saute for another  couple of minutes. Next, add you spice mix (turmeric, coriander, and cumin) and fry for 5 seconds being careful not to burn your spices. Now add the tomato paste and a couple tablespoons of water. After a few seconds, add in the coconut milk and the  tomato. Stir melange and let the flavors mix together for  a few minutes. By this time, your lentils should be ready. Add them to the sauce and let the  whole mixture simmer for 8-10 minutes. Taste and adjust spices as necessary. Your rice should be done now, so mix in a ton of cilantro and start fixing up the plates! Serve with a slice of lime and a dollop of unsweetened soy-yogurt if you can find some!


October 17, 2010

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Red Onions

M & I wanted to eat something simple tonight, and I remembered one of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's recipes that incorporated sprouts with apples. I don't remember her recipe exactly but here's what I came up with. The apples help keep the other vegetables from getting too dry and caramelize the onions beautifully.

12-15 brussels sprouts (halved, washed, and trimmed)
5 cloves of garlic (crushed, quartered, and trimmed)
1 medium-sized red onion (chopped)
2 crisp apples (chopped)
4  Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. fresh rosemary (rubbed)
coarse salt
loads of fresh ground pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 425. Toss all of the ingredients on a baking pan and coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Place the pan in the oven and wait for about 30 minutes or until everything is starting to brown. I usually move things around on the pan every 10 minutes or so to prevent sticking. 
Nothing says fall like the smell of roasted apples! Enjoy as a side dish or on its own. Brussels Sprouts are gorgeous and so good for you, so eat up!


October 15, 2010

Blackberry and Pear Tart

      Photo by AT                                                                                                                                                                                                        

We had a big event this week at the museum and there was a bunch of fruit left over so I scavenged a half-dozen pears and decided to try my hand  at making a pear tart. A vegan cream base usually requires a number of items unavailable here in west Texas, so I did my best at substituting ingredients with what I could find in town. I brought the desert to our bi-weekly vegangelical potluck and it was a huge hit! If you have one of those fancy tart pans, now is the time to use it! If you are like me and don't have one, use a wine bottle to roll out the dough and pinch together the outer edges of the dough for a relaxed, country finish.

Tart Crust
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup earth  balance
ice cold water

Mix together your dry ingredients. Now cut in the marg. using  two knives or a pastry cutter. Try to quickly work the  dough into a sandy texture. Next add the ice cold water by the tablespoon until the dough is sticky and can be formed into a round ball. Cover the ball and leave it in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the components.

Cream Filling
1 package (350 g.) silken tofu *soft is best, but use what is available
the juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tsp. corn starch
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of ginger

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until well blended. Taste and adjust as necessary. Add lemon or orange zest.

Fruit Filling
5 yellow pears (cored and thinly sliced)
1 cup sugar
3 Tbs. earth balance
1 pk. blackberries

Poaching pears works well for tarts, but I like to saute them in a big frying pan. Coat the sliced pears in sugar and place in buttered pan on medium heat. Turn the fruit after 3 minutes or once the pears begin to appear translucent. Caramelize the pears in shifts so that you have no more than one layer in the pan at a time and don't get rid of the juices!

     Photo by AT

Pre-heat your oven to 350. Roll the dough out between two sheets of waxed paper. Place the rolled dough in a tart pan or on a baking sheet. Pierce the dough lightly with a fork. Spread 1/2 the cream filling over the entire surface and cover with a layer of pears. Next, spread the remaining 1/2 of the cream onto the surface and cover with pears and blackberries. Pour the juices from the pear saute over the tart. Pinch together the ends of the dough and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until the crust becomes golden and the cream sets. Let the tart cool once out of the oven and then place in the fridge to cool completely.


October 13, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup with Hearth Bread

Even though it still feels like summer in Texas, I was determined to have a good outdoor fall dinner with my friends. B&C kindly offered me three gorgeous butternut squashes from their garden which inspired this soup. Peeling squashes can be a real pain, so I always cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast them face-down on an oiled baking sheet before I get started. You could also choose to peel the squashes, cut them into small cubes, and boil them with the rest of the ingredients. The apples and sage help make this soup savory, but if you want to make your soup sweeter, consider adding cinnamon and orange juice.

2-3 medium-sized butternut squashes
2 medium-sized leeks (washed and sliced- bottom portion only)
1/2 cup yellow onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (diced)
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. earth balance
2 tart green apples (peeled and chopped)
6 cups vegetable broth (heated)
1-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar (optional)
fresh ground pepper
fresh sage

If you haven't discovered earth balance buttery spread yet, now is the time. It's perfect for sauteing leeks and onions and will make your soup absolutely delicious. Heat up the e.b. and oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onions and leeks for 3-5 minutes. Next add the garlic and apples and saute until apples have softened. Now toss in your squash and veggie broth and let the whole pot bubble for 20 minutes or so to let the flavors blend. Now add in the vinegar and the fresh ground pepper. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to puree to your desired texture and voila! This soup is so easy. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh sage. Serve with hearth bread and apple pie (recipe to come).

This bread is as easy as the soup. It's an adaptation of Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe and once you get it down, it will be one of your staple bread recipes. I like it because it never comes out heavy like some wheat breads.

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
1-2 cups warm water
1 tsp. agave nectar

Stir together the flours, salt, and yeast. Stir together 1 cup of the warm water and the agave and add them to the dry ingredients. Knead the dough until it is springy and add more water as you see fit. You want the dough to come together in a ball and still be a little sticky. Place the ball of dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with a plastic bag and place it in your windowsill for an hour or so (until the dough has doubled in size). Punch the dough to deflate and shape it into a tight ball. If you're like me and don't have a baking stone, place the ball on a cooking sheet that has been oiled and covered with cornmeal. At this point, pre-heat the oven to 475 and place a low dish filled with water on the bottom rack of your oven. In 20 minutes, or once your oven is hot, coat the surface of the ball with whole wheat flour, make an X-shaped slash on the top of the bread and place in the oven. Bake at 475 for 10 minutes then decrease the temperature to 425 and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when knocked. I usually spritz the oven with cool water every 5-10 minutes to ensure a nice crumb.

Happy Fall!

October 11, 2010

Classic Tofu Scramble with Rosemary Potatoes

There is no better way to start than with breakfast. It took me a while to figure out the workings of a good scramble, but with the help of AW and Isa Moskowitz I finally have a recipe that doesn't come out like a big crumbly mess. There are hundreds of good tofu scramble variations,so feel free to add/ substitute the veggies as you see fit! Kale, Carrots, and Mushrooms are very complimentary.


1 lb. extra-firm tofu (pressed)
1 cup yellow onion (chopped)
3-4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1-2 cups grape tomatoes (quartered)
1/2 matzo cracker (crumbled)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme (crushed)
1/2 tsp. rubbed  sage
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt or Bragg's

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (more or less)
fresh ground pepper

Heat oil to medium heat. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 3 minutes or so. Add your spices (red pepper, sage, thyme, turmeric, and salt) and heat for a few seconds, being careful not to burn. Add a splash of water to keep everything from sticking!
Crumble your tofu directly into the frying pan. You can do this ahead of time, just make sure that you are crumbling the tofu into medium-sized pieces. They are going to break down in the scramble, so beware! Carefully stir the melange, making sure the spices and oil coat the tofu. Add the crumbled cracker if you choose to add it. This will help with your texture. After 5 minutes or so, add the grape tomatoes and saute for another 10 minutes. Add the nutritional yeast and fresh pepper and stir.
Serve with avocado and rosemary potatoes (as seen here) or wrap it all up in a tortilla with some salsa and beans! Delicious!

Rosemary Potatoes

2-3 medium sized potatoes (baked, or boiled and cubed)
3-4 Tbs. fresh rosemary (rubbed and de-stemmed)
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. earth balance
1 tsp. coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Heat up the oil and earth balance in a cast iron pan. Add the rosemary and fry for a few seconds before adding your potatoes and salt. The tricks to good breakfast potatoes are - making sure you are using potatoes that have already been baked or boiled and -remembering not to turn and stir constantly. Just let the cubes get golden on one side before stirring. I usually get this started at the same time as the scramble, and they take about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the cubes. Just be patient! Garnish with a spring of fresh rosemary and enjoy any time of the day!