Blue Plate Special #63: Baked Chipotle-Honee Tofu over Cabbage Slaw with Pan-Roasted Corn

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I literally can’t eat chipotles in adobo fast enough. I love this stuff – smoky, sweet, tangy, and a little spicy. Remember how I made my own? Now I am trying to figure out a million ways to eat it. How about this combo?  Chipotles + Bee Free Honee = a seriously sticky, delectable marinade. And what about the slaw? It’s pretty darn good too and could easily be served all on its own.

Serves 2

Baked Chipotle-Honee Tofu
1/2 block of extra firm tofu
6 tablespoons Bee Free Honee
2 teaspoons chipotles in adobo
Tomatoes, for garnish
Cilantro, for garnish

Preheat the oven at 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick foil. (Don’t use a Silpat. The marinade gets too sticky and doesn’t come off. Trust me, I know from experience.)

Press the tofu for as long as you have time for. Slice it into 4 to 6 slices, depending on the thickness you like.

Whisk together the honee and chipotles in adobo. Coat the tofu with the marinade.

Bake the tofu for 25 to 30 minutes. It will be bubbly and smell great. Use any extra marinade from the pan to drizzle over the finished dish.

Cabbage Slaw with Pan-Roasted Corn
1 1/2 cups corn (frozen or cut off the cob)
1/4 of a head of green cabbage
1/2 red bell pepper
2 scallions
The juice of 1 lime
Sprinkle of salt
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Homemade cashew mayo or store bought vegan mayo

If using frozen corn, no need defrost it. Simply add it straight to a heated skillet and cook until the corn starts to brown. If using fresh corn, cut the corn off the cob and add to a skillet with a bit of water or oil. Cook until the corn starts to brown. A few may even pop!

Shred the cabbage, dice the pepper and slice the scallions. Mix together in a bowl. Add the juice of the lime, salt, cilantro and the corn. Add a dollop of mayo and mix well. Taste and adjust for mayo and seasonings.

To serve, place the slaw in the bottom of a plate. Top with the tofu and garnish with tomato halves, cilantro and a drizzle of the marinade. Enjoy!

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Homemade Chipotles in Adobo

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I fell in love with chipotles in adobo after I starting making recipes from the Smith & Daughters cookbook. I see it every where now and I decided that I had to make my own. After searching the internet for some ideas, I came up with this version. It makes a lot and this stuff is strong, a teaspoon or two goes a long way. I have been keeping a portion in a 4oz glass jar in the refrigerator and using it whenever I crave it. For the rest, I froze it in ice cube trays and then popped them out to store in a container for when I run out of the stuff in the jar!

Note: I puree the entire batch, twice. Some recipes call for taking out some chipotles and keeping them whole but I think it is easier to just puree the whole thing! Also, I didn’t have the patience to pick out all of the seeds. But they don’t really bother me. If that would bother you, take your time to remove them before cooking (but after soaking.)

1 package organic dehydrated chipotle peppers, about 30 peppers
Boiling water to cover chilies
1 tube of organic tomato paste
1 cup water
1/4 cup Bee Free Honee
1 medium size sweet white onion
4 large cloves of garlic
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns

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Take any little stems off the tops of the peppers and cover them with boiling water. Let them soak for a half hour.

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Pour the chipotles and the soaking water into the food processor. Add the tomato paste, water and honee and process until a paste forms. Add to a small pot.

Slice the onions into half moons. Add them along with the garlic, vinegar, salt, and peppercorns to the pot.

Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about an hour and 30 minutes to an hour and 45 minutes. It will reduce down significantly and become very thick. Check at the 1:30 mark and keep cooking if you want it thicker.

Let it cool completely. Run through the food processor to get it as smooth as you can.

Store in a jar in the refrigerator or in ice cube trays in the freezer. Enjoy!

Hummingbird Cake!

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On our last trip to Florida, we had the most delicious Hummingbird Cake for dessert at Darbster. What is this mysterious cake, you might be asking yourself? Well, that is what I was asking myself…

From Wikipedia (the source of all things!):

“Created on the island of Jamaica, the Hummingbird Cake was named after the island’s national bird, where it is also known as the Doctor Bird cake (Doctor Bird is another name for the island’s national bird). In 1979, the Jamaica Tourist Board exported the recipe for the Hummingbird Cake off the island of Jamaica, along with other local Jamaican recipes in media press kits sent to the USA. The marketing was aimed at American consumers to get them to come to the island. As printed in the March 29, 1979 issue of the Kingston Daily Gleaner (Jamaica): “Press kits presented included Jamaican menu modified for American kitchens, and featured recipes like the doctor bird cake, made from bananas.””

This cake is one of the most delicious cakes of all time. All I did was veganize this recipe from kitchn.com. It was super easy to veganize – I just upped the oil and banana measurements. It could have been vegan in the first place! And for the cream cheese frosting, I use Kite Hill cream cheese, of course!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup vegan cane sugar
1 cup packed vegan brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups mashed bananas, anywhere from 4 to 6
1 cup sunflower oil
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup ground pecans, for garnish
Oil, for brushing the pans
Cream cheese frosting (see recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare 2 9″ round pie pans by oiling them lightly and then placing a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside.

Whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, baking soda and salt just to incorporate it.

Mash the bananas in a separate bowl to get the measurement right. It can be close enough. Add to the dry ingredients along with the oil, crushed pineapple, and vanilla.

Mix well, like the way you would make banana bread. Then add the pecans. Don’t over mix, but incorporate the pecans well.

Turn out the dough evenly into the two pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool for a few minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack. Peel the parchment paper off and let cool completely, about 2 hours.

To assemble the cake, add a dollop of frosting on the bottom of a cake platter or big plate. Gently slide pieces of parchment around the edges.

Place one cake on the bottom and place a nice amount of frosting on the top. Spread it out with an offset spatula, it should be a nice layer.

Top the bottom cake with the other cake. Frost the entire cake. Sprinkle the ground up pecans around the edges.

Place in the refrigerator to set and then take out a little while before you are ready to serve. Enjoy!

Cream cheese frosting
8 oz butter
8 oz cream cheese
4 cups vegan powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sift the sugar. Set aside.

Use a hand mixer to beat the butter, until light and smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat together until completely combined. Gradually add the sugar, a cup at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and salt and beat again until smooth.

The frosting should be at room temperature when ready to ice the cake.

Note: This recipe makes more than you will need for this cake. I like to freeze the rest of the batch and use it on my next cake! Just defrost it and beat it until it’s nice and smooth.

The New BLT: Parsnip Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato

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And can I just say, yum! This (P)BLT is one of my favorite sandwiches. The crunch of the lettuce. The mushy tomatoes. The crispiness of the PARSNIP bacon! Yes, I said parsnip bacon. It is not bacon exactly but it is a fun, tasty and cruelty free facsimile. And it is so easy to make. Check it out!

1 big parsnip
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
1 tablespoon sunflower oil

Peel the outer layer of the parsnip with a vegetable peeler. Drop them into a mixing bowl and add the sunflower oil and salt. Use tongs to mix around trying to get everything coated.

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Lay each piece on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake at 300 for 30 minutes.

Make a (P)BLT. See recipe below!

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To make a (P)BLT, toast up some nice bread. Slather with cashew mayo and layer with parsnip bacon, lettuce and tomato. Enjoy!

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Vegan Johnny Marzetti!

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This is Vegan Johnny Marzetti. It is inspired by an article I read in the Wall Street Journal. I never heard of it or even had it but I really like what I made! And I love baked pasta, don’t you?

It’s sautéed scallions, garlic, fresh tomatoes and tomato paste tossed with homemade cashew cheeze sauce made with raw cashews, a roasted yellow pepper, nooch and miso. All of that is tossed with lentils and macaronis and baked to perfection with breadcrumbs and a little extra cheeze sauce on top.

I like making this in individual serving size bake bowls. They are perfect for this and other baked noodle dishes. If you want to make more, double the recipe for an 8×8 casserole dish. It should work!

Makes 2 individual bowls

1 cup dry macaroni (it’s about 1/2 cup dry per person)
1/2 cup cooked lentils
4 scallions
2 cloves of garlic
6 fresh small vine ripened tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup cheeze sauce + more for topping (see below)
Pasta water, enough to thin out the sauce
Olive oil or water, for sautéing
Bread crumbs, for topping

Get the macaronis going. Cook until just al dente. Preheat the oven to 350.

Oil or water sauté the scallions and garlic until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook until the tomatoes burst. Add some pasta water if it seems like it needs a little moisture.

Add the lentils and cheeze sauce. Mix around to coat the lentils. Add some pasta water if it seems too thick.

Drain the macaronis and mix with the sauce. Portion out into bowls or add to the casserole dish. Drizzle with more cheeze sauce and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20 or so minutes until the top is browning. Enjoy!

Cheeze sauce
1/4 cup cashews
1 roasted yellow pepper
3/4 cup filtered water
1 heaping teaspoon chickpea miso

Process the cashews, pepper, water and miso in the Vitamix until smooth. If you don’t have a Vitamix, soak the cashews for a few hours or if you don’t have time, you can pour boiling water over them and let them sit for a few minutes.

Party Salads: Three Bean Salad with Arugula, Cabbage-Carrot-Corn Slaw & Greek Style Orzo Salad

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Three Bean Salad with Arugula, Cabbage-Carrot-Corn Slaw, Greek Style Orzo Salad

When ever I have parties, I make big bowls of salad. They vary from party to party but I wanted to show you how easy it is to make healthy and delicious dishes that go with anything. I’ll make apps like guacamole and chips or hummus. And something baked like spinach pie or pizza.

My three bean salad is an oldie but goodie. While I generally like to make my own beans from scratch, when I am in party mode, I am all about the cans. For a crowd of 12 to 14 people, I use 2 cans each of kidney beans, cannellini beans and garbanzo beans, 1/2 of a red onion, diced and a big bunch of arugula. It’s all tossed with 1/2 cup olive oil whisked with 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and seasoned with salt and pepper.

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Cabbage-Carrot-Corn Slaw

Slaw is a great party salad and can be made so many ways. I happen to love this combo in the summer because of all of the fresh corn on the cob at the markets. Shred a head of purple cabbage along with 3 or 4  big carrots. Cut the corn off 4 or 5 cobs and toss it all with lots of fresh parsley and chives. (We have tons in my garden!) For a slaw, I like a mayo style dressing. While I love my cashew mayo, party time calls for extra help, and I go for Fabanaise.

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Greek Style Orzo Salad

Pasta salad is a fun addition to the table. You can toss pasta with pesto or veggies. Or even just sauce. For this one, I went with a Greek theme. The key to this salad is tossing the orzo in the dressing right after you drain it so the hot pasta absorbs the flavors. The dressing is made with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 cup ume plum vinegar. Use 4 – 6 scallions, depending the size, 3 – 4 Kirby cucumbers, depending on the size, a lot of fresh dill and parsley and diced red onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make your salads in the morning. Cover and let them sit in the refrigerator so that the flavors have time to combine. Enjoy your guests and then take the salads out a half hour before you are ready to call for dinner. Party on!

Baked Alaska!

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Do you know Baked Alaska? My family used to go on cruises when we were growing up and the parade of the flaming Baked Alaskas in the dining room on the last night of the trip was always very exciting. It’s cake and ice cream covered in meringue that is lit on fire!

In my version, cake and ice cream are covered in aquafaba meringue and torched with my kitchen torch which makes it taste like marshmallows! If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember my sad, naked Baked Alaska from last July 4th. It was an awesome chocolate cake topped with strawberry ice cream! Sadly, I had an aquafaba fail because it wasn’t viscous enough. Lesson learned. You can either use the bean water from a can of chickpeas which tends to be more viscous than homemade or reduce your own aquafaba down a bit.

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But we ate that bad boy anyway! Now, this is what whipped aquafaba should look like!

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For individual Baked Alaskas, crumble up a cake (or cupcakes or brownies) and press them lightly into small dishes. Add a layer of ice cream and top with aquafaba. Torch and eat.

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For one big cake, make ice cream the way you normally do or let a 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream soften. Pour it into a bowl lined with plastic wrap and wrap the whole thing up. Freeze until solid.

Make a 9″ round cake.

When ready to serve, place the cake on a serving dish. Turn the ice cream over so the dome is on top and take the plastic wrap off.

Top with fluffy meringue and torch. Serve and eat!

Onion Rings v2 (Baked)

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This is an update to my original recipe for onion rings. Easier + baked = fun + healthy!

I like to soak the onions for an hour in just plain water in order to minimize the sharp bite of the onions. It isn’t totally necessary but the onions tenderize and end up being extra delicious.

1 big yellow or white onion
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup water
More chickpea flour, about 1/4 cup
1 cup dried breadcrumbs, seasoned with a few shsakes of any or all of the following: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried parsley, nooch, salt

Preheat the oven to 450.

Cut off both ends of the onion and slice into 1/2 inch slices. Separate into rings.

Drop the onions into a bowl and cover with water. Let sit for an hour. Drain and dry off as best as you can.

Set up a breading station:
1. 1/4 cup chickpea flour
2. 2 chickpea flour eggs (2 tablespoons chickpea flour + 6 tablespoons water)
3. breadcrumbs

Dip the onion ring into the flour. Shake off any excess flour. Dip the ring into the chickpea flour egg. Shake off any excess and then coat with the breadcrumbs. Place on baking tray and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until crispy.

Enjoy with homemade ketchup and veggie burgers!

Blue Plate Special #62: Marinated Tempeh over Parsnip Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Broccolini & Vine Tomatoes

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I’m loving all of the beautiful tomatoes I am seeing in the markets. But sadly, my husband doesn’t like tomatoes (what?!?) but I do. So when I make a dish like this, which I think is better with a velvety roasted tomato on top, I make mine with and his without. You can do whatever you want!

And honestly you can turn this Blue Plate Special into anything you want – whatever grain or greens you like. How about a nice rice pilaf? Or plain mashed potatoes? Or even pasta! How about spinach or kale? For me, this is about the tempeh. Marinate it ahead of time – in the morning before you leave the house or the night before. I love this flavors this marinade imparts with the nutty tempeh.

Makes 2 or 3 servings

Tempeh Marinade
8 oz. tempeh
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 tablespoon mustard (homemade is best!)
1 teaspoon paprika *
2 small cloves of garlic, pressed
2 shallots, small dice **
The juice of 1 lemon
Sunflower oil, a few turns of the pan, for pan frying

*You can add sweet paprika, smoked paprika, chili powder and/or chipotle powder. Whatever you are into will work! Or you can leave it out all together.

** Note: you can put the marinade into a food processor but only if you have a really small one like a mini prep. Otherwise there won’t be enough volume for a big processor bowl.

Cut the tempeh into 8 squares. Arrange the tempeh in a shallow pan/baking sheet with a cover ready to go. Whisk together the marinade and pour over tempeh. Use tongs to turn the tempeh over and rub the marinade all over each piece. It’s not a saucy marinade so do your best.

To prepare, heat oil in a non stick skillet and add the tempeh. When the first side is nicely browned, turn and cook on the other side.

Parsnip Mashed Potatoes
2 russet potoates
1 big or 2 little parsnips
Plant milk, as much as needed
Butter, as much as needed
Salt, to taste

Peel the potatoes and parsnips. Place in a pot and cover with water. Boil until soft and easily pierced with a fork. Drain the water and add back to the pot. Add plant milk and butter and mash until creamy enough for your liking!

Roasted Broccolini & Roasted Vine Tomatoes
1 bunch broccolini
Vine tomatoes, 2 or 3 or 4!
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt, a pinch

Toss the broccolini and tomatoes in olive oil and salt. Gently place on a baking sheet and roast in a 400 oven for 10 minutes or until the broccolini is getting crispy and the tomatoes are starting to split.

Plate it up and serve. Enjoy!

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

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OMG! Let me say that these are one of the best things I make. Hands down. They are literally perfect and I can’t stop eating them which is why I make small batches!

I started making biscuits because during my Rouxbe.com Vegan Desserts course I had to make biscuits but I didn’t like that recipe. So I googled around and found an oldie but goodie from Cook’s Country that I veganized with a lot of success. The flavor is perfectly biscuity and delicious. The texture is perfectly flaky and crumbly.

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Funny, I recently got the new America’s Test Kitchen Vegan for Everybody cookbook (same people as Cook’s Country) which veganized the same recipe I veganized (ha, anyone can veganize anything!) I am not crazy about that one because they use coconut milk and lemon juice to make the buttermilk. I am not a fan of using coconut milk in baking. I much prefer homemade plant milk, in this case cashew milk. And I like to use apple cider vinegar to curdle the milk. Lemon juice works just fine too.

Makes 6 biscuits

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan buttermilk (1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar + 1/2 cup plant milk (I prefer homemade cashew milk))
6 tablespoons sunflower oil

Preheat the oven to 475. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Double it up on top of another baking sheet to be sure the bottoms don’t burn.

Make the buttermilk by adding the vinegar into the plant milk. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt together.

Whisk the oil into the buttermilk. Pour into the flour mixture and mix well until a nice ball of dough forms.

Using a 1/4 cup (4 tablespoon) ice cream scooper and drop scoops of batter about one inch apart on the baking sheet.

Bake until the tops are starting to turn golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.

We usually can’t wait to eat these but it is a good idea to wait a few minutes for them to cool. Enjoy with homemade butter and jam!

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