Vegan Mofo 2014: Recipe Roundup!

160x220_r2

Hello friends and fellow bloggers! It is the Vegan Month of Food again!

Last year (MoFo 2013) I blogged about my oil free experiment and the year before that (MoFo 2012) I posted lots of recipes and info about my favorite cookbooksmeeting the animals, raising a vegan child, eating vegan in a non-vegan restaurant, and my favorite vegan doctors.

This year my theme is Recipe Roundup!

I am going through my blog, which is officially 3 1/2 years old, and rounding up my most loved and most successful recipes for all kinds of ingredients like tofu and tempeh, beans and pasta, and for all kinds of categories like soup, granola, ice cream, cheese and more.

It will be fun to review my recipes and see how far my vegan cooking project has come. Happy Vegan MoFo 2014 and I am looking forward to a great month of food!

850X315_r2_fb

What to Make with Summer Basil (Pesto & Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce)

IMG_5426This is my little baby crop of basil that I grew in a Greenbo planter on my railing. Today I turned it into two of my favorite sauces: pesto and roasted tomato sauce. Here are the recipes.

IMG_5446

Pesto
1 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 garlic clove
Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients into the processor and let it rip until incorporated. Use on pizza, toast or pasta.

IMG_5445

Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce
2 lbs. red and yellow tomatoes
1 big onion
6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, a few pinches
1/2 cup fresh basil

Cut the tomatoes and onion into quarters and peel the garlic. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt and roast in a 350 oven until soft, about 30 minutes.

Add all of the ingredients, including any juices, into the Vitamix or blender, add the basil, and let it rip. Process for 30 seconds or longer depending on how chunky you like your sauce.

Freeze any leftovers. Enjoy!

Luke’s Darth Vader Cake!

IMG_5391

My son wanted a Star Wars cake for his birthday so we decided to make it ourselves this year! I found a Darth Vader Cake pan on Wilton’s website along with a gel black icing color that Wilton confirmed is vegan.

81ZLhLiPuUL._SL1500_

I made Luke’s Angel Cake and made this decadent chocolate (black) buttercream frosting* recipe that combines a recipe from Isa and Terry’s Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and the recipe on Wilton’s site. It is going to be my new go to frosting (minus the black coloring!) but this recipe makes WAY too much for one little cake. Next time, I will definitely cut the recipe in half.

To make Darth Vader look like Darth Vader, I used a few different icing decorating tips to outline, fill in, and make Vader’s mask. It came out great for a first time cake decorator!

But most importantly, when my son saw it he said, “That’s Darth Vader!” and to hear that and to see his eyes light up was a thrill.

Happy 5th birthday my best Star Wars boy!

* The key to making perfect frosting is to make sure all of the ingredients are room temperature. Take the shortening and the butter out of the refrigerator and let them sit on the counter. Pour some water into a cup and let that sit out as well. Don’t start the process until everything is the same temperature. If making ahead of time, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Bring back to room temperature when ready to decorate.

2 sticks (1/2 cup) Earth Balance shortening
2 sticks (1/2 cup) Earth Balance butter
1 cup cacao powder
5 cups vegan powdered sugar
5 tablespoons water
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 oz. black gel icing color

Using a hand mixer, cream together the shortening and butter. Sift in the cacao powder and mix completely. Sift in one cup of powdered sugar at a time plus one tablespoon of water with each cup of sugar. Mix each addition well. Then, when it is all incorporated, add the vanilla and the black icing color and mix until fluffy.

Bake the cake. Be sure to oil and flour the pan well. When it is done, let cool for 20 minutes and then cut the rounded part off the top so that when it flips over it will lay flat on the serving tray.

Once on the serving tray, place pieces of parchment paper along the edges so that any extra frosting will not end up on the tray. Ice the cake and then remove the little parchments for a wonderful, delicious Darth Vader cake!

Ice Cream Shmice Cream #15: S’Mores

IMG_5364

IMG_5380This is my ice cream version of the best dessert ever! We have been making them all summer in our fire pit and I thought it would be fun to take the same ingredients and turn them into ice cream. Love it! And it is so easy too. And best of all, I finally got to use my culinary torch to smoke those marshmallows just like on the bonfire. Fun with fire in the kitchen!

2 cans organic coconut milk
1 package of Dandies marshmallows
6 graham crackers
1/2 cup vegan mega chocolate chunks

Torch the marshmallows with a kitchen torch or place them on a lined baking sheet and place under the broiler until the tops are toasted, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

Place the coconut milk and toasted marshmallows in the Vitamix and blend for a minute. It will be mostly smooth with tiny bits of marshmallow. Perfect!

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Pour mixture into ice cream maker and churn for 10 minutes.

While the ice cream is churning, place the chocolate chunks to the food processor and process until fine. Take out and then process the graham crackers into crumbs.

IMG_5366

Add them both to the ice cream maker and let it go until everything is mixed together.

Turn out into a Tovolo container or a freezer safe container with a piece of wax paper on top. Enjoy!

Homemade Crunchy Croutons & A Big Salad

IMG_5336 IMG_5338On our trip to Maine, we stopped at When Pigs Fly Bakery in York and bought three loaves of bread: 2 sourdough loaves and an amazingly delicious cinnamon-raisin-brown sugar swirl (which we ate all the way home!)

We got through a loaf and a half of the sourdough but then I found myself with a half a loaf of amazing bread that was a little too old to enjoy. What to make? Croutons! My mother always added croutons to our salads when I was young and they really do make for a great crunchy addition. And they are very easy to make!

For this salad, I chopped up lettuce, apples, cucumber, red and yellow peppers and added sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas and delicious Long Island summer corn. Topped with these flavorful, crunchy croutons, it’s a great meal!

Crunchy Croutons
Old Bread
Olive oil
Granulated garlic & parsley mix

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the bread into cubes. Drizzle olive oil and shake a few shakes of the garlic parsley mixture over the bread. Toss well. Add more oil and spice mixture and toss again. You don’t need to coat every piece but it is good to try!

Turn the bread cubes out onto the baking sheet and organize into a single layer. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cubes are dry and golden brown.

Let cool and store in a container. Enjoy!

Morning Glory Granola

IMG_5318

I have posted a lot of granola recipes on this blog because I love making different variations! We just returned from visiting our niece in Maine. We stayed at the Morning Glory Inn in York where we had a delightful vegan breakfast that included fantastic granola. Margie, one half of the duo who own the B & B, makes fresh batches almost daily! I loved it for two reasons (1) pine nuts. I never thought of that! and (2) Margie doesn’t cook the dried fruit. She adds it after. Never thought of that either!

So of course, I asked for the recipe. Turns out it is posted on the website here and I am reposting my slightly adapted version here.

Sticky Sauce
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons vegan sugar
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients
2 1/2 cups of rolled oats
1 cup mixed nuts: pecans, walnuts and pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup of shredded coconut

Dried Fruit
1/4 cup of golden raisins
1/4 cup Thompson raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a big bowl, whisk the stick sauce ingredients together until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix well until the wet ingredients are completely incorporated with the dry ingredients.

Turn out onto the lined baking sheet and pat down so that it is as compact as possible.

Bake on the middle rack in your oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Fill a large bowl with the raisins and cranberries. Break up the granola and toss everything together.

Store in an airtight container and serve with delicious homemade vegan milk. Enjoy!

Rustic Summer Tomato Sauce

IMG_1100

This is by far my most favorite sauce I make. Velvety tomatoes with a little kick. Personally, I like it chunky but if you prefer a smoother sauce, like my husband, run it through a Foley Mill.

serves 2

4 beautiful red ripe summer tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of good organic tomato paste
Red pepper flakes, big pinch
Sea salt, big pinch
Spaghetti, enough for 2 people

Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Make an “X” on the bottom of each tomato. Set up an ice bath.

When the water is boiling, drop the tomatoes in and keep them in there for 30 seconds. Drop right into the ice bath. When the tomatoes are cool, peel the skin off. Next, core and de-seed the tomatoes and chop them up. Set aside.

Dice the onion. Drop into a sauté pan along with a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes. Dry sauté until the onions start to stick and then add a bit of water to deglaze the pan. Cook until the onions become translucent. (Use oil if you prefer.)

Grate the garlic with a microplane or press in a garlic press and add to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Two minutes is slightly arbitrary. Remember, cooking is an art,not a science, and you just have to keep an eye and nose out for what makes sense. The garlic should be getting soft and smell really good.

Add the tomato paste and stir around to coat the onions and garlic.

Get the pasta going.

Add the tomatoes and a splash of water (so that the pan is not dry). Turn the heat up and bring to a boil. Cover and after a few minutes, reduce the heat. Cook for 15 minutes or so until it looks good enough to eat.

When the pasta is almost al dente, use tongs to drop it into the sauté pan. Toss well with tongs and cook together for another minute or two. This enables the pasta to soak up some sauce and finish cooking.

Serve in a big bowl with extra sauce on top. Enjoy!

Avocado Toast

IMG_5177

We love avocados on toast. And apparently it is the new “in” thing. Whatever. We love it with a little cumin and red pepper flakes. The key is to use good bread. It really makes a difference.

1 avocado
1 tablespoon lemon juice
A few shakes of cumin
Sea salt
Red pepper flakes
2 toasts

Toast some really good bread.

Mash an avocado. Squeeze in some lime juice. Add a few shakes of cumin and sea salt. Mix together well. Taste and adjust. Spread on the toast and then sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

Book Report: Salad Samurai

51Owf2N2EfL

If you read this blog regularly you know that my vegan idol is Isa Moskowitz. I have made her recipes, participated in Chopped/Vegan, follow her on FB, and even went to a book party that wasn’t even for her because I knew she would be there.

That book party was for Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero who is now tied for the title of “My Vegan Idol!” Even thought she coauthored several books with Isa, my idea of Terry’s cooking was limited to what I saw of her on Vegan Mashup where I got this really great recipe for Chipocado Cookies.

And now I find myself sitting here totally impressed with Terry’s recipes. Her ideas are brilliant and creative and her writing is totally accessible and humorous.

I bought Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-To-Make Salads You Don’t Have To Be Vegan To Love at the book launch party at Mooshoes and had a great conversation with Terry. She is totally down to earth and lovable!

And yes, this book is an entire book of salads! ! couldn’t believe it to be possible but Terry has put together 100 super creative recipes that take salad to the next level. Terry organizes the book by seasons, uses regular ingredients that can be found in any store, and opines about the best ways to prepare salad. One of the best pieces of advice: use long tongs for tossing.

I read through the book and marked at least half of the recipes to try. I decided to start with the Mexican Roasted Corn Salad with Avocado (Esquites) and the Curried Tempeh & Apple Salad in Radicchio Cups. I also took Terry’s idea to roast chickpeas in myy chimichurri sauce (which I had in the refrigerator) and just served them on the side.

All three recipes deliver! Layers of flavor and easy to make. Not only that, but the book is loaded with deliciously beautiful and artsy photos and the design is simple and easy to follow.

IMG_5242

Mexican Roasted Corn Salad with Avocado (Esquites)

IMG_5252

Curried Tempeh & Apple Salad in Radicchio Cups

 IMG_5250

Chimichurri Chickpeas

I’m going to be making many more recipes from this book and you should too! Order the book here. You can also catch Terry on Vegan Mashup and her blog veganlatina.com.

Ice Cream Shmice Cream #14: Salted Pistachio

IMG_4928

I love pistachios. And ice cream. So why not pistachio ice cream? To tell the truth, I have never had pistachio ice cream in my whole life. That green color was always such a turn off. But I always have pistachio meat in the house which I like to use for crusted tofupestoquinoa pilaf, or just on top of salads. But on this summer day, they found their way into my ice cream maker!

Note: If you want “white” ice cream, use vegan cane sugar. Check out my post on different vegan sugars. Today I used coconut palm sugar.

2 cans coconut milk
1/4 + 1/2 cup vegan sugar, divided
1 cup pistachio nut meat
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Combine 1 cup of pistachio meat and 1/4 cup of vegan sugar in the food processor. Process until finely ground.

Pour the coconut milk, the pistachio mixture, the rest of the sugar, the vanilla extract and the salt into a bowl. Mix together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Pour the coconut milk mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 10 minutes.

Turn out into a Tovolo ice cream tub or a freezer safe container with a piece of wax paper on top. Freeze, and enjoy!