Vegan Falafel

Vegan Falafel
Vegan Falafel

I know Easter is tomorrow, but it just isn’t a food holiday for me. This year we won’t even be at home. We are taking my 3 year old skiing for the first time! I’m super excited. So instead, Falafel.

Falafel is one of the most perfect foods when done correctly; salty, herbaceous, crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, delightful alone and outstanding with a few sauces. The important part of these falafels is that the chickpeas are not cooked, but simply soaked overnight. It takes a little more planning, but is work the effort. The texture is lighter and the flavor more fresh. Serve with your choice of toppings, or just snack on them as is.

Ingredients

  • 2 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper (optional)
  • 6 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour or chickpea flour if gluten-free
  • Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
  • Toppings of choice.

Instructions

  1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain.
  2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
  3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and half of the flour, and pulse. Continue to add flour and pulse until the dough  easily forms a ball when shaped with your hands, and is no longer sticky.
  4. Once dough is the right consistency, cover it and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight. You can cook it right away, but the texture is better if you allow it to sit.
  5. When ready to use remove the dough from the refrigerator and form the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut.
  6. Heat 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a wide deep pot and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour and try again.  Then fry falafel balls in batches being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry until all sides are golden brown turning as needed.
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. I like my falafel best with baba ganouj and tahini sauce for dipping. Many like a sandwich in pita bread. Always serve with pickled or fermented something for that sour note.

Note:

For tahini sauce simply stir together tahini, water, lemon juice, salt and minced fresh garlic in proportions you like. I start with 2 TBL tahini, 2 TBL water, squeeze of lemon, one small clove of garlic, and a dash of salt. Minced fresh herbs go nicely here if you have extra parsley or cilantro.

Pie For Pi Day!

Vegan Mud Pie Ice Cream
Vegan Mud Pie Ice Cream

It’s my favorite time of the year, a celebration of Pie, or really, a celebration of people who don’t “get” math so we turn a math thing into a food thing. Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate Pi Day 2018!

Homemade Pie Crust

Vegan Pot Pie
Vegan Pot Pie

Pot Pie

Shepherds Pie

Vegan French Silk

 

Vegan Key Lime Pie Cheesecake
Vegan Key Lime Pie Cheesecake

Lemon Meringue

Mud Pie Ice Cream 

Blueberry Pie

Vegan Key Lime Pie Cheesecake

 

Vegan Colcannon non-traditional

Vegan Colcannon
Vegan Colcannon

Happy soon to be St. Patrick’s Day! Let’s celebrate with some yumminess. In the past I’ve done green food like these pancakes, and these muffins, and vegan Irish cream. This year we’re focusing on the potato. Oh how I love a potato. I’m going to play up the awesomeness of the Yukon Gold potato in this variation of  Colcannon, or mashed potatoes with green stuff if you aren’t Irish.

Traditionally Colcannon is as Irish dish made from mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage folded in. It is often perked up with scallions or leeks. For this vegan variation I am sautéing leeks and folding them in, and garnishing with kale chips. It’s pretty, yummy, and my girls love to pick the kale chips off the top. Honestly, that’s the only part they eat. I think I have the only kids in the world who won’t eat mashed potatoes.

Kale chips are a huge hit in our house, but they shatter and always leave tiny little pieces at the bottom of the container. This is a perfect way to use them up. And a perfect excuse to try making kale chips if you haven’t yet.

The twist in this recipe is adding the salt and vinegar to the cooking water for the potatoes. When you do this the potatoes are flavored from the inside out and each and every bite becomes a perfectly seasoned flavor bomb.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes cut into 1/4 cubes
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 large leek cut lengthwise, and then into 1/4 half moons
  • olive oil for sautéing
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup nondairy milk (plain unsweetened)
  • 1 TBL nutritional yeast
  • kale chips for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place potatoes in a 3qt pot and cover with cold water to 1″ above the potatoes.
  2. Add salt and vinegar to the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Continue boiling until potatoes are tender, 10-12 min.
  4. While potatoes are cooking heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot add olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add leeks and sauté until leeks are tender, about 7 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat if potatoes are not yet cooked.
  6. Once potatoes are cooked drain them and return to the cooking pot. Add butter, milk, and nutritional yeast and mash to your desired consistency.
  7. Fold in cooked leeks, taste and adjust seasoning.
  8. Garnish with kale chips and serve immediately.

Vegan Sourdough Bagels New York Style

I didn’t really know what a bagel was until moving to the East Coast. I mean, I had eaten plenty of bagels, but I had never really, truly, had a bagel. The difference is incredible. A true bagel has chew, but still remains light and fluffy, has a crust, but can easily be eaten. There were two places that made amazing bagels in Cambridge, MA Bagelsaurus and Forge Baking Co . What was even better about these bagels than other East Coast bagels, or even my own jalapeño bagels (which are still amazing), is that they are sourdough, and have been fermented for a few days. The slightly sour taste and incredible chewy but light texture take these bagels to the next level. Problem is when we moved to the West Coast I couldn’t find good bagels. So I learned to make them myself. These rock. Try the and fall in love with bagels all over again.

There is a ton that goes into sourdough and I am not an expert by any means. I just started my own sourdough starter a few months ago. I used this tutorial from The Kitchn. 

A few other notes:

  • I used volume measurements for some of the ingredients because my scale does not seem to be accurate for such small quantities.
  • Non-diastatic malt powder is for flavor, you can omit it if you don’t have it, though I think it adds something special.
  • I tried several times to make these without added yeast, but they did not reach the heights I was hoping for (literally they didn’t poof like I wanted them to).  You can omit the yeast, but be warned, as written, this recipe will create a pretty dense bagel. It is still pretty good, but I like to poof.
  • I start on Wednesday to have bagels for Saturday morning.
  • This recipe was adapted from Honest Cooking. 

Ingredients

For the Sponge

  • 500 g (4 cups) bread flour
  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • 160 g 100% hydration wheat sourdough starter

For the Dough

  • 1000 g (5 cups) of sourdough sponge (above)
  • 480 g (4 cups) bread flour, divided
  • 3 tsp non-diastatic barley malt powder
  • 3 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp dry yeast

Instructions

  1. Make the sponge:
  2. Mix your starter with the water and whisk until foamy. Add 500 g flour. Mix thoroughly until all lumps are gone. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Cover loosely with plastic or lid and leave for at room temperature least 6-8 hours.
  3. Make the dough:
  4. Measure 1000g of the starter sponge. You can use the rest to refresh your starter, throw it in some pancakes, or compost it.
  5. To the starter add the salt, malt, yeast and 480 grams of flour in a bowl of a stand mixer and mix together with the dough hook until they form a ball. – if you are measuring by volume not weight start with 3 cups of flour and add more a 1/4 cup at a time mixing until it is incorporated before adding more.
  6. Continue kneading the dough with the dough hook until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. You can do this by hand, but you are way stronger than me if you do!
  7. Immediately divide the dough into 12 equal parts. I weigh mine and go about 4.5 oz per bagel for 12 bagels.
  8. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  9. Roll each portion of dough to form a log about 10″ long, then shape into a bagel by bringing the ends together and folding one over the other. Set formed bagels on baking sheet with a little room in-between.
  10. Once all bagels have been formed cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator at least overnight, and up to 3 days. I like them best after 2-3 days, but sometimes I don’t plan far enough ahead and I just let them go overnight.
  11. It is super important to let the bagels rest for a bit. It creates the taste and texture you are looking for in these delightfully perfect bagels.
  12. On the day you are planning to bake remove the bagels from the refrigerator 1-2 hours before you plan to boil them. It is possible to boil right from the refrigerator, but I think the texture improves if you let them warm up a bit.
  13. Preheat your oven to 500F.
  14. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. I use a 3qt wide saucepan. It is about 5″ deep and has a large flat bottom. Any wide saucepan will do.
  15. I also have my cooling rack out and ready to go.
  16. Once the water has reached a rolling boil carefully add as many bagels as will comfortably fit into your pot. 4 fit into mine. I have to nudge mine a bit to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom.
  17. Once you have placed your bagels in the pot set a timer for 30 seconds. When it goes off flip all the bagels and set the timer for 30 more seconds. After the second timer remove the bagels from the pot and place them on the cooling rack. If you are going to add toppings now is the time to do it while they are sticky with water.
  18. Bring the pot of water back to a rolling boil before boiling another batch of bagels.
  19. Continue with above steps until all bagels are boiled and resting on the cooling rack.
  20. Transfer bagels onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
  21. Bake for 20-25 minutes until perfectly golden all over. Use the rack in your oven that is the hottest. For me it is the bottom rack.
  22. Once baked place bagels on the cooling rack and allow to cool until you can easily hold them.
  23. Store cooled, uneaten bagels in plastic on the counter for up to 3 days, or in the freezer if you can manage to keep them that long.
Bagel After fermentation, before boiling
After fermentation, before boiling
Bagel While Boiling
While Boiling
Bagel After boiling before baking
After boiling before baking

Valentine’s Day Vegan Date Caramel Sticky Buns -refined sugar free

Date Caramel Sticky Bun
Date Caramel Sticky Bun

If you love someone you make them sticky buns. If they are your one and only you make them healthier sticky buns because you want them to *stick* around longer.  These take my already delicious cinnamon roll recipe and turn it into a sticky mess of a bun. I took out all the refined sugar, replaced some of the butter with pumpkin, and covered it all with date caramel. These are still sweet, and sticky, and fragrant, and soft, and shout love. They are also great to make the night before and throw in the oven while you sit around sipping coffee. Or rush around getting ready for work and then sit together at the table for a few minutes eating a special breakfast showing your partner you love them because you took extra time to just be with them. Oh, love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Vegan Date Caramel Sticky Buns

Ingredients

  • For the date caramel
  • 12 oz medjool dates
  • 1 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp (4grams) fine sea salt
  • For the sticky buns
  • 4 1/2 tsp.(14 grams) Ener-G Egg Replacer powder (equivalent of 3 eggs)
  • 6 TBL water
  • 600 grams (4 1/2-5 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour- divided
  • 2 1/4 tsp. (8 grams) active dry yeast (one packet)
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 lb (1/2 cup) Earth Balance Buttery spread or sticks
  • 1/4 pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Filling
  • 1/2 cup (144 grams) date caramel
  • 1 1/2 TBL (15 grams) cinnamon
  • 1/4 lb (1/2 cup) Earth Balance Buttery Spread or sticks
  • 1/4 cup ( 68 grams) pumpkin puree (or more butter)
  • Topping
  • The rest of the date caramel
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread or sticks softened to room temperature
  • 2 tsp bourbon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup nondairy milk

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer whisk the egg replacer and water until smooth- set aside
  2. In a small saucepan heat together the milk, Earth Balance, sugar and salt until the butter is almost melted.
  3. Remove from heat and stir until butter is melted. Make sure this mixture is warm, not hot or it will kill the yeast.
  4. Add 260 grams (3 cups) of the flour and yeast to the egg replacer/water mixture.
  5. Add the warm milk mixture and mix with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer you can do this by hand.
  6. Switch to the dough hook add the rest of the flour and mix until the dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. If you are measuring by cups instead of weight add the flour a half cup at a time and mix until the flour is incorporated before adding more. The dough should be firm with slight resistance when you push on it and should just stick to the sides of the bowl, but not your fingers.
  7. Remove the dough hook and drizzle olive oil over the ball of dough, cover with a damp towel and set aside to rise for 1-2 hours.
  8. White your dough is rising make the date caramel and filling.
  9. For the date caramel place pitted dates in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them sit for about 10 minutes to soften.
  10. Drain dates reserving the liquid.
  11. Place dates, vanilla, sea salt, and 1/2 cup of the reserved date water in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If you are finishing the rolls in the morning cover and refrigerate the unused date caramel until the morning.
  12. To make the filling cream together 1/2 cup of the date caramel, 1/2 cup Earth Balance, and cinnamon until uniformly brown. Set aside.
  13. Once dough has doubled in size, punch it down then allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  14. While dough is resting combine the filling ingredients and set aside.
  15. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll dough into a rectangle about 18″ by 15″.
  16. Spread the filling mixture evenly over the dough, all the way to the edges.
  17. Roll dough into a log and slice into buns, as large as you like. I like mine to be about 1 1/2″ thick and I usually cut between 10-12 rolls.
  18. Place buns on a rimmed baking sheet or pan close enough to touch each other. I use my 9×13 pan. I like to line the baking sheet with parchment paper (for easier cleanup).
  19. If baking right away: Let the the rolls rise until almost doubled in size, about and hour.
  20. If baking the next morning: cover the rolls tightly and let them rise in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning set the on the counter as your oven preheats and proceed as usual.
  21. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  22. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes depending on their size, until golden brown.
  23. While the rolls are cooking combine the topping ingredients except for the walnuts, and just heat through on the stove.
  24. When rolls are done pour the topping over the hot rolls, and sprinkle with the nuts.
  25. Serve warm.

Happy Birthday To ME!

Vegan Key Lime Pie Cheesecake
Vegan Key Lime Pie Cheesecake

It’s my birthday today! I love my birthday. I pretty much take at least a week and give myself treats. So fun. Yesterday was date caramel sticky buns (recipe coming next week), today I’m making a cake (not sure what kind yet), I also went spinning (my new obsession) and had my husband bring the girls to take me out to breakfast after class. I know it is also the Superbowl, but lucky for me no one in my house really cares so we get to go to things that are usually crowded on a Sunday afternoon. Today it is going to the climbing gym. So, happy birthday to me and anyone else who shares my birthday. I’m sharing a few links below for my perfect birthday meal.

Start with a Vegan Mushroom Walnut Pâté

Then Vegan Lasagna 

And finish with vegan Key Lime Pie Cheesecake  I pretty much always have chocolate cake for my birthday, but I’m feeling citrusy this year.

Chocolate Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds

Chocolate Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds
Chocolate Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds

Never underestimate the power of chocolate. My lovely 3 year old, who has had chocolate only a handful of times but was not only willing to try this, but begging for a bite; and she kept eating. This is a fun treat, super easy to throw together the night before, and perfect for a quick breakfast, or in our case, a mid-morning snack. The toppings you use are totally up to you and what you have in your pantry. I love some sort of tart fruit, I usually use frozen raspberries, and the extra crunch of the almonds and coconut. Wolfie loved the bananas and Fox loved the coconut and freeze dried strawberries.

Makes 2 large servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 3 TBL pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 TBL cocoa powder – I used a mixture of dutch and natural
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • Toppings of choice, this time I used: 1/2 a banana, sliced, 1 TBL sliced almonds, 2 TBL coconut chips, 2 TBL freeze dried strawberries, and a few chocolate chips. Other ideas are nut butter, coco nibs, frozen fruit, fresh fruit, other chopped nuts, whatevs.

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the milk, maple syrup, vanilla, almond, and cocoa powder in a bowl that has a lid.
  2. Stir in oats and chia seeds, cover, and refrigerate overnight, at least 6 hours.
  3. If you’re using frozen fruit you can toss it on top the night before and it will be thawed and lovely when you get to it in the morning.
  4. In the morning top with anything you desire.

 

I’m cooking, I Promise

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know I’ve been the worst at posting the last few months; I’m sorry. I still feel as if I don’t have a routine, and the time I used to use for blogging has disappeared with the extinction of nap and no longer having a grandma within driving distance. I am cooking though, and working on lots of idea, it is just a different pace than before. I’m here, I have more amazing thing coming.

Sourdough Starter
Sourdough Starter

In the last little bit I have been experimenting with sourdough. Nothing worth writing about I’m afraid; a decent loaf, mediocre bagels, and pretty good pancakes. It’ll all come together eventually I think, though I would guess I’ll never be the definitive guide to all things sourdough.

Chocolate Peanutbutter Cup Slab
Chocolate Peanut butter Cup Slab

I’ve also been working my way through my Bravetart cookbook. Oh for yum. These are a favorite so far; Chocolate Peanut butter Cup Slab (I was too lazy to make them into cups so we have slab).

Also, I did a batch of brown butter chocolate chip cookies. So good. So, so, good.

Vegetarian Tater Tot Hot Dish or as I like to call it “Careful, your Midwest is showing”

Tater Tot Breakfast Hot Dish
Tater Tot Breakfast Hot Dish

I blame Pinterest for this one, and the short days, and just feeling a little homesick after the move. Not that this dish would be found anywhere near Cambridge, MA, but it would be found in Wisconsin where I’m originally from. All I can think when I look at this is “careful, your midwest is showing.”  That being said it is everything a midwest dish should be; homey, salty, comforting, easy, cheesy, serves a crowd, and topped with tater tots. It is truly perfect for New Year’s Day because you can make it ahead of time, and just hang out drinking coffee while it bakes in the morning. You can start your New Years resolution eating at lunch.

This is a perfect dish for when you have overnight guests as it feeds a crowd with minimal effort, and will make most anyone happy if they are ok with tater tots for breakfast. And if they aren’t, well, you might want to decide if you need that kind of negativity in your life. If you really want to make it minimal effort in the morning just sauté your vegetables the night before and assemble the morning of.

Happy Midwestern Breakfast to you. I hope you’re holidays are merry and bright.

Vegan Crème de Menthe Squares

Vegan Crème de Menthe Squares
Vegan Crème de Menthe Squares

Christmas is coming, and so are the cookies! My problem is I really like to make cookies, but know that I really shouldn’t keep that many of them in the house. They are just too easy to eat. So, I try to limit my cooking making and share whenever possible. I do end up making these almost every year. Chocolate and mint is the one flavor combination I usually like. Most often I’m a chocolate purest and just want my chocolate to be chocolate, but in the winter mint is allowed to make an appearance every now and again.

This is a recipe from my childhood where I made a few switches to make it vegan. I also cut the recipe in half so I wouldn’t have so many cookies on hand. If you’re doing a cookie exchange or just have a lot of company coming this one is easily doubled.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup + 2 TBL Cup earth balance or refined coconut oil (divided)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup finely crushed vegan graham crackers
  • 1/3 cup crème de menthe
  • 3/4 Cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips.

Instructions

  1. In a heavy saucepan combine 1/4 cup butter and cocoa powder. Cook & stir over low heat till butter is melted.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in 1/4 Cup powdered sugar, & vanilla.
  4. Add graham crackers; stir till combined.
  5. Press mixture onto bottom of Ungreased 9x9x2” pan.
  6. Melt 1/4 Cup butter.
  7. In mixing bowl combine this and crème de menthe.
  8. Gradually add remaining powdered sugar beating with mixer till smooth.
  9. Spread over chocolate layer.
  10. Chill in fridge 1 hour.
  11. In heavy small saucepan combine 2 TBL cup butter and chocolate chips. Cook and stir till melted.
  12. Spread over mint layer.
  13. Cover and chill 1-2 hours or till firm.
  14. Cut into small squares.
  15. Store in the refrigerator