Friday, January 11, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls aka "Buckeye Balls"

These are based off a recipe that we've had for years and years. I retested them with vegan ingredients, just to be sure they were okay. And they are. There was nothing inherently not vegan about the original recipe.




Ingredients:
4 (16 ounce) jars peanut butter = 64 oz.
3 1/2 (16 ounce) packages confectioners' sugar = 56 oz
1 cup vegan butter, melted
3 (12 ounce) packages vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips = 36 oz
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Directions:
  1. Blend together the peanut butter, sugar and melted butter. Allow to chill in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  2. Roll into 1 inch round balls and chill in freezer about 20-30 minutes.
  3. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate and shortening. Whisk together until smooth.
  4. With a toothpick inserted in the peanut butter balls, dip them into the chocolate. Place on waxed paper and allow to set in refrigerator.

Other Details:
  • Makes about 12 dozen (144) balls.
  • Great for sharing, as long as no one has a peanut allergy.
  • You can half or quarter this recipe.
  • I also think you could use coconut oil instead of shortening, but I haven't tried it. Let me know if you try using coconut oil instead and how it turns out.
  • "Buckeye Balls" refers to the mascot of Ohio State University, and is a type of chestnut.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Homemade Potato Chips

These are a quick and easy go-to for some yummy chips. I don't think they are really any healthier than eating processed potato chips out of a bag, but they are fresh and once you get the knack of frying them, terrific! We make them all the time.


Ingredients:
1-4 Potatoes (depending on how many people you are feeding and how long you want to cook)
salt
canola oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Peel and slice your potatoes thinly. You can leave the skins on if you like. You can hand cut or use a food processor to cut your potatoes. Since you fry in batches, you can have slightly uneven cuts.
  2. Add an inch or so of canola oil to a Dutch oven or deep cast iron pan.
  3. Heat oil to about 375ºF. 
  4. Add the potatoes so that they are a single layer in the fryer. Flip after a few minutes. Fry until you see a nice golden brown and the chips are at your preferred crispy level.


Other details:
I eat these as is and the child puts ketchup on them.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Curried Red Lentil Soup


Having a large amount of lentils and wanting something hot for the wintery day, I went searching for a lentil soup. We've been making lentil soups a lot since having a great one at Bananas Grill in Seattle. We've generally been disappointed. But this one, this one hit the spot! I found it at Vegetarian Times. I added potatoes and changed a couple spices since I was missing what they called for. Here's my adaptation.

Ingredients
2 cups red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 qt. low-sodium vegetable broth
1 large onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
4 celery stalks, finely chopped (1 ½ cups)
2 large carrots, finely chopped (1 ½ cups)
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed 
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
couple pinches of dried parsley 
couple pinches of dried basil
1 Tbs. curry powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbs. lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Bring lentils, vegetable broth, and 4 cups water to a simmer in large pot. Skim away foam that rises to top. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, and garlic; simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. 
  3. Add parsley, basil, curry powder, and cumin, and cook 20 minutes more, or until lentils are soft. Season with salt and pepper and stir in lemon juice.
Other Details:




Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cookbook Review: The Lotus and The Artichoke

I love The Lotus and The Artichoke blog. When Justin P. Moore started his Kickstarter to fund a vegan cookbook, I supported it. 



I received the e-book cookbook and I pre-ordered for my mother the physical copy. We both agree it is a beautiful book. She is interested to make a few recipes. I already made a few of the recipes that appear in the cookbook. Every recipe I have tried has been good and some have made it into the Codex. 

There are only 1000 printed, softcover copies of the first edition. You can purchase a signed copy as of the writing of this blog (12/29/12). 

The book opens with a photo journal of the travels of Justin. The Table of Contents is organized by continent of food origin. The e-book has page links to the recipes in the contents, which is nice. We get a nice Introduction regarding the history of Justin's eating and cooking preferences, followed by setting up the kitchen. 

Each chapter begins with Justin's experiences in that continent's cuisine. 16 pages in, we get our first full page photograph of food and a recipe. Not every recipe has a photo, but darn near every recipe does. I look forward to trying a number of the recipes in this cookbook. 

The website highlights these features to the book: 
  • 216 pages of amazing recipes, photographs, tips & tricks
  • 100+ vegan recipes inspired by world travel and over 20 years of dedicated kitchen experiences and adventures
  • 80+ full-color photo pages of mouth-watering delights
  • Cool, custom artwork: Hand-carved blockprints & miniature paintings
  • Easy to follow layouts, description, and details on how to prepare delicious and stunningly beautiful meals
Overall, I suggest purchasing either the physical copy or the e-book. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pumpkin Pie


The last of pumpkin season for me (runs September thru December.) I made this on the last day of 2012. Both kids enjoyed it. I liked it too and it was quite easy to make. For a reasonably easy dessert in the fall, I'll return to this recipe.




Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups raw soaked cashews
1 cup maple syrup
1 can organic pumpkin puree (16 ounces) 
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
8 ounces Better Than Cream Cheese

optional: 1/2 tsp salt to taste (depends how much salt you soaked your cashews in)
One standard vegan graham cracker pie crust (homemade or purchased from store)
Directions:
  1. Soak about one cup of raw cashews in about 2 1/2 cups of water in a large bowl. Add about 1/2 – 1 tsp of salt to the bowl – mix to dissolve.
  2. Soak this cashew bowl overnight in the fridge. Soak time should be 8 hours - 48 hours. Do not exceed these times in either direction.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400º.
  4. Drain the water from your cashews.  Add 1 1/4 cups of cashews to Vitamix, or other blender or food processor.
  5. Add in the maple syrup, vegan cream cheese, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. Blend on low -> high for about 3-5 minutes until the mixture is completely creamy. If your mixture is a bit thick for some reason – you can add in a few teaspoons of either water, maple syrup or even non-dairy milk. After blending, do a taste test and add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt if needed. 
  6. Pour your mix into a graham cracker pie shell.
  7. Bake pie at 400º for 10 minutes. Then reduce to 350º and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes. Your pie will firm up significantly upon cooling and chilling in the fridge.
  8. Remove pie from oven. Cool on counter for at least 30 minutes. Then place in fridge until ready to serve, at least 2 hours. 

Other Details:


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Side of Garlic Fries




I am loving The Minimalist Baker! If you have someone in your house who likes garlic fries, these are a fairly easy home version. You are flipping them frequently for half an hour, so not exactly leave and forget. But worth the effort.

Ingredients:
3 russet potatoes, roughly peeled and cut into even wedges or strips
2-3 Tbsp canola or olive oil to rim pan
1 Tbsp olive oil (for coating fries)
sea salt and pepper to taste (~ 1/4 tsp each)
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 475º.
  2. Soak potatoes in hot water for 15 minutes, then drain and dry thoroughly with paper towels or clean dish towels.
  3. Dry the bowl they were in and then place them back in. Drizzle with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil and add 1/4 tsp each of salt, pepper and minced garlic. Toss.
  4. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with canola oil and drain off any excess. Transfer fries to baking sheet and arrange in a single layer.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 5 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove from oven to turn over with a spatula. Make sure to keep them in a single layer to ensure even baking. Place back in oven to cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, flipping once more. Return to oven for 5-10 minutes more or until golden brown and crispy.
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to serving plate. Serve warm.


Other Details:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fettuccine in Coconut Cream Sauce



Marketed as Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo, I was intrigued with this dish. I halved the recipe and it came out great. I also approximated the ratios due to a lack of all measuring utensils since the day before was Christmas and the dishwasher decided not to finish the load of dishes - including ALL the measuring cups & spoons.

I'll make this recipe again, at least for the kids and I.

Ingredients:
1 lb fettuccine noodles
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp olive oil
dash of onion and garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Cook fettuccine noodles according to package instructions. Drain.
  2. Blend all remaining ingredients in Vitamix or other blender. Pour over the drained noodles.
  3. Cook over medium heat until sauce thickens slightly.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Vegan Preston Rolls





As I stated last year, Preston Rolls are a tradition at my house. I love Preston Rolls. However, I became vegan this year, so the standing family recipe would not be suitable. I have been learning vegan baking, and made just a couple edits. Because Preston Rolls are so finicky anyway, I think these turned out just about the same as previously - at least within the variation that one can expect out of Preston Rolls.



Ingredients:

1+ cake yeast
1⁄2 cup lukewarm water


2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
6 tablespoons water


2 1⁄2 cups (unsweetened) almond milk
 1⁄2 cup vegetable shortening  
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup sugar
8 1⁄4 cups flour


For rolling out:
1 stick vegan butter, melted
cinnamon
brown sugar
flour to coat counter and rolling pin
walnuts 



For icing:
1 cup powdered sugar 
1 tablespoon almond milk  

Directions:
  1. Soak yeast in lukewarm water. (I have a hard time with the “lukewarm.” Basically, lukewarm is room temperature, so I take my cup of water at a medium temperature out of the tap, and let sit for awhile on the counter. Then I add the yeast and stir just a tiny bit, lightly.) When dissolved, add 1⁄2 cup flour. Beat well and set aside to rise. 
  2. Make your flax eggs by beating your ground flax seeds with the water. Set aside.
  3. Heat milk and shortening together, stirring to dissolve shortening. Cool to lukewarm. 
  4. Add sugar, salt, and beaten flax eggs to milk mixture. (Do this in stand mixer using the low setting with beater attachment.)
  5. Gradually add yeast mixture and flour. After 1st two cups of flour, switch to dough hook. Knead well. (Let dough hook continue for 10-15 minutes.)
  6. Dough should not be stiff. Allow to rise (takes a few hours). Punch down, rise, punch down, rise, punch down.
  7. Set in rolls:  Pat out, brush melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts as desired. Roll up, cut up, and put in greased (with shortening, vegan butter, spray, or your favorite method) pans. (The rolls should be crafted within about 12 hours of first starting to raise the dough. Any later and they get a little iffy.)
  8. Allow to rise. (Can leave overnight if it's late.)
  9. Bake 350º for 30 minutes. Serve warm out of the oven with icing. You can serve straight out of the oven, or microwave individual rolls for about 20 seconds each.
  10. Just before serving make icing.
For icing:

  1. In a small bowl, stir milk into the sugar until smooth. Should be fairly thick. Add more sugar to thicken, add more milk to hin. Spoon over individual rolls. Icing will harden after a short time. Store in fridge. Stir to continue uese once hardened. Add milk to thin if necessary. 
Notes:
  • Makes 1 batch, ~ 4 dozen rolls. Double by adding another yeast cake.
  • Where to find cake yeast: Fleishmann's makes cake yeast, which I found in Seattle in the dairy section (next to the Toll House Cookie dough tubs) at a local grocery store (that is actually a part of a national chain.) When I lived near my mother, she'd procure cake yeast from a local bakery and deliver some to me. Cake yeast is called cake yeast because it is active live yeast in the form of a cake, rather than active dry yeast in the form of granules. Do not substitute other forms of yeast - they will not be Preston Rolls.