Wednesday, October 31, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 23: Ube Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Ube (or purple yam) is used in several Filipino sweets ranging from cakes to pastries to ice cream to candy.  A quick  Google Image search for "ube" will yield vibrant photos of all the tasty ube treats I grew up eating.  The ube flavor is more subtle than sweet potato or pumpkin, but once you've tasted it, you'll certainly recognize it if you come across it in a dessert (and not just because of its purple color). 
Fresh ube can be a difficult thing to find. I've only had luck finding it at Asian supermarkets. If you can't find it fresh, it also comes frozen or powdered. You can even get it as jam! I've heard stories about ube cakes turning green during the baking process, so I was happy to see that these cupcakes stayed somewhat purple. :)
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 scant cup of almond milk (or soy milk)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1¼  cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup ube, peeled, boiled and mashed
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
  2. Place the vinegar in a measuring cup and fill the cup with almond milk so that it equals 1 cup. Stir well and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In another mixing bowl, stir together the almond milk mixture, canola oil, vanilla extract, and mashed ube. 
  5. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth using a hand mixer.
  6. Fill each muffin cup about ¾ full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. 
  7. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
1 container of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted (for garnish)
  1. Cream together the cream cheese, Earth Balance, and powdered sugar.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and ½ cup of coconut flakes and mix until combined.
  3. Toast the remaining ¼ cup of coconut flakes by oven or stove (instructions here)

These cupcakes are moist and not too sweet.  Feel free to add more sugar to the batter if you like things on the sweeter side.  And if you really want to achieve a bright purple color, you can try adding a few drops of red and blue food coloring, such as India Tree, which is vegetable based. 

This is the last day of VeganMoFo, but I hope you'll continue to check out this blog.  Thanks for a great month...and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 22: Avocado, Hummus, and Kale Toast

We’re in the VeganMoFo homestretch. It’s been awesome seeing so many creative and delicious vegan recipes shared from around the world. Admittedly, it’s also been exhausting coming up with daily blog posts…and I even took weekends off!  So, I'm taking a little breather today.  This recipe is a quick and simple one:   bread + hummus + veggies. It was an impromptu breakfast that was so pretty, I had to take photos for my food porn library. 

No precise measurements are needed.  Just bust out the following ingredients and have at it!
Your favorite bread
Your favorite hummus
An avocado, sliced
Your favorite greens, chopped
Olive Oil
  1. Toast bread and top with hummus, sliced avocado, and chopped greens.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and paprika.
  3. Eat ravenously.
I used Acme Bread Company’s herb slab, Hummus Heaven’s black bean and chipotle harissa hummus, kale, and Trader Joe’s garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil.  
Hummus Heaven is a food stand found at many Bay Area farmers’ markets. They offer an insane number of delicious hummus varieties, but their black bean and chipotle harissa hummus is my favorite by far. If you’d like to make it from scratch, there's a recipe posted here.
Tomorrow is the last day of VeganMoFo and also Halloween!  I’ll have to post something good [insert The Simpsons’ evil Mr. Burns face here].
Stay tuned!

Monday, October 29, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 21: Tofu and Kale Croquettes

This recipe is based on a tofu burger that I once had.  I've been experimenting more with dishes that require breading and frying (don't judge), and this tofu burger seemed like the perfect candidate for that.  If you're avoiding fried foods, I've included baking instructions below.  You can also easily swap out the veggies (edamame? zucchini? corn?), but I thought the kale and carrots worked fabulously here. 

Makes about 8 croquettes
Some vegetable oil for sautéing the vegetables and some for frying the croquettes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced or grated 
½ cup onion, finely chopped
½ cup carrots, finely chopped or grated
1 cup kale, finely chopped 
1 block of firm tofu, pressed and drained
1/4 cup light miso (I used white miso)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Egg replacer for 2 eggs (I used Ener-G powder mixed with water)
1 cup breadcrumbs (regular or panko)
  1. Sauté the garlic, ginger, onion, carrots, and kale in the oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the tofu using your hands.
  3. Add the cooked vegetables, miso, and sesame oil and mix well.
  4. Use about 1/3 cup of the mixture to form patties.  Set aside.
Frying the croquettes:
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
  2. Divide flour, egg replacer, and breadcrumbs into 3 shallow bowls.
  3. Dredge each patty in the flour, dip it into egg replacer liquid, and then coat with breadcrumbs.
  4. Fry each patty on both sides until lightly browned. 

Depending on the firmness of the that tofu you use, you may find that the patties are crumbly and don't stick together well.  In this case, you can try adding an egg replacement to the tofu mixture (Ener-G or maybe ground chia seeds mixed with water).  I had to continue to squeeze the patties together throughout the entire dredging process, but once I got them in the oil, they retained their shape just fine.

Baking the patties (without breading):
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Oil a baking sheet.
  2. Place the patties on the baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden.
Baked version without breading

If you have some of the unfried/unbaked tofu mixture left over, I think it would be great in a sandwich, wrapped up in some nori seaweed, or used as the filling in potstickers.  You can never go wrong with tofu and kale!  That's my new motto.  :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 20: Spanish Meatball and Kale Stew

I skim through a lot of food magazines looking for recipes to veganize.  Some are pretty difficult and some are easy peasy, like this one that I saw in Rachael Ray's magazine.  This dish is pretty quick to whip up with the help of store-bought vegan meatballs.  I added some green olives for more Spanish flair.  I also added kale because I think it's good practice to add kale to everything...except maybe ice cream. 
Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch of kale, chopped
½ cup green olives, pitted
Homemade or store-bought vegan meatballs, pre-cooked (I used Nate's)
Salt and pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the smoked paprika and carrots and sauté for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, and chickpeas. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.
  4. Add the kale, olives, and meatballs and cook for another 3 minutes.  
  5. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.
If you're in a meatball-making mood, here's a round-up of some homemade vegan meatball recipes that look fabulous:
Brown Rice & Lentil Meatballs (from My Vegan Cookbook website)
Gluten-Free Meatballs (from The Gluten Free Vegan website)
Soy Meatballs (from the PETA website)
Grain & Nut Meatballs (from the VegNews website)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 19: Earl Grey Guava Jam Thumbprints

My brother just came back from Hawaii and got me tons of Honomu guava jam!  Their jams are free of preservatives, artificial food coloring, and high fructose corn syrup.  Awesome.  I love guava jam on toast, but I’m also always looking for ways to incorporate it into baking because the flavor is so unique. Earl grey tea is another flavor that I love seeing in baked goods. So why not combine the two in the form of lovely little cookies? 
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon earl grey tea leaves (from 2 tea bags)
Some guava jam (or your favorite jam)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oil, sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt, and tea leaves. Stir until just combined.
  4. Using your hands, roll pieces of dough into teaspoon sized balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (the dough will feel oily)
  5. Make an indentation in the center of each ball. (the end of a wooden spoon is great for this; remember to dip the handle in flour so that it doesn’t stick to the dough)
  6. Fill each indentation with jam.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.

Some notes:
  • These spread a bit while baking, so I found that rolling small teaspoon (vs. tablespoon) sized balls results in nicely shaped cookies.
  • I also made a small batch using quince jam, but I didn’t think it was as flavorful as the guava version.  Try it out and let me know how it works for you!
  • If you use loose leaf tea, you may have to grind the leaves first...unless you like chewing on big pieces of tea leaves. 

The holidays are fast approaching and these will definitely be on my cookie giveaway list. What's on yours?  :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 18: Pumpkin Madeleines

I bought a madeleine pan years ago and have only used it twice.  The first time: years ago.  The 2nd time: this week. I once attempted to veganize a madeleine recipe by simply replacing Ener-G powder+water for the eggs and Earth Balance for the butter. It didn’t work out so well. They looked pretty, but instead of cakey, they were rubbery. I was about to leave my madeleine pan on the sidewalk with a “free” sign taped to it, but then I came across the new cookbook We Love Madeleines. It includes a vegan madeleine recipe involving coconut milk that looked promising. I modified the recipe a bit and made pumpkin madeleines in the spirit of fall, and because I love pumpkin baked goods so darn much.

Makes 2 dozen madeleines

¼ canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened MimicCreme*
1 ½ teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a madeleine pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the MimicCreme with the vinegar and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice.
  4. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract to the MimicCreme mixture and mix well.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.
  6. Fill each mold about 2/3 full. (I used a small cookie scoop to do this)
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are browned.
  8. Let the madeleines cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the pan.
*MimicCreme is an awesome vegan heavy cream substitute made of cashews and almonds. If you can’t find it, you can stick with coconut milk, but I’m not sure how it will balance with the pumpkin flavor.

I brought these to work and everyone seemed to love them (free food!), but I think I’ll continue to tweak this recipe by maybe reducing the amount of liquid or pumpkin puree. I thought they were a little on the moist side...which I guess is better than being too dry.
If anyone out there has a good vegan madeleine recipe, please share!   I’d like to use my madeleine pan more often than every few years. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 17: Rustic Tomato Tart

I love anything that involves pie crust.  Baking cookies and cake is fulfilling in its own way, but there's something deeply satisfying about getting your hands dirty with a pastry blender and rolling pin.  It's like Play Doh, minus the toxic neon colors.   If pie crust making isn't your thing, you can enlist the help of some store-bought puffed pastry for this recipe.  You can call this tart a galette if you'd like to be fancy...or even a delicate pizza. I call it delicious.

Dough for 1 single-crust pie (see recipe from previous post)
1/2 container of non-dairy Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1 tablespoon almond milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
A handful of fresh basil, cut into ribbons
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced into strips
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 tomatoes (different colors and sizes), sliced
For the crust:
  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie dough out into a circle or oval.
  2. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F.
For the filling:
  1. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, almond milk, salt, and pepper. Stir in basil ribbons. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic for about 20-30 minutes until the onions are caramelized. Set aside.
  1. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the rolled out dough, leaving a small border.
  2. Add a layer of caramelized onions, followed by a layer of sliced tomatoes.
  3. Fold the edges of the dough over (as pictured above).
  4. Brush the dough with some olive oil or almond milk.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
Some notes:
  • Since this kinda resembles a pizza, why not add some vegan sausage or seasoned tempeh?
  • If you're not a fan of store-bought vegan cream cheese, you can try using some homemade cashew cheese or tofu pine nut cream
  • If you'd like to serve this as an appetizer, just cut out small circles of dough and use one tomato slice per galettes!
  • This is best eaten fresh out of the oven when the crust is still nice and flaky.  I had some for lunch the next day and it was good, but not as good as it was the night before.  :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 16: Dark Chocolate Chip Almond Sea Salt Cookies

Grocery stores can be one big trap. I should know better than to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach because that usually means a full cart. And then when you make it to the checkout line, you’re surrounded by candy, chocolate, magazines, and other things you don’t really need (sometimes I really do need chocolate though…). The other day, a bar of Chocolove’s almond-sea-salt-dark-chocolate-bar was staring me down while I waited to pay for my goods. So, I did what anyone would do: I bought it, chopped it up, and made cookies!

For the cookie part, I used Dreena Burton’s tried and true vegan Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. If you haven’t tried it yet, do it. It’s the best cookie recipe in the world.  Hands down. 

Some notes:
  • One bar of chocolate is enough to make a dozen cookies.
  • I didn’t really taste any sea salt after trying a piece of the chocolate. So, to ensure that these cookies had that salty/sweet combo, I sprinkled them with some sea salt before baking.  
I once made cookies using a chopped up green earl grey tea flavored dark chocolate bar made by The Tea Room and the results were amazing. In this case, it would’ve been much more cost-effective to use good old chocolate chips and chopped almonds. Don’t get me wrong, these cookies were crazy delicious. I’ll just use a more exotic flavored chocolate bar next time to get more bang for my buck.

The cool thing about Chocolove bars is that each one comes with a love poem on the wrapper (awwwww). I don’t think I’ve ever actually stopped to read the poem before because I was too busy devouring the chocolate. So, for your viewing pleasure and mine, here’s the poem that came with the chocolate bar:
Sweet. :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 15: Tofu and Green Beans in Black Bean Garlic Sauce

Whenever I'm at a restaurant and see tofu and green beans on the menu, I immediately know that’s what I’ll order. Oddly enough, it’s something that I never cook at home. Weird! So, this week I decided to go for it. This is a combination of a bunch of different tofu and green bean recipes that I saw online. It’s such a simple dish that you probably don’t even need a recipe to follow.

 The one ingredient worth trying is the pre-made black bean garlic sauce. You can find it in Asian supermarkets or in the Asian section of most grocery stores.  It can be used in any stir-fry, so a small jar of it will go quickly (depending on how often you stir-fry, natch).  I think it's pretty salty on its own, so I didn’t include any additional salt or soy sauce in this recipe.  Also, if you can't find Chinese cooking wine, you can use dry sherry or any of the substitutes listed here.  You could also probably leave it out completely and just use water instead. 

Makes 2-3 servings
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch of fresh ginger, minced
1 package of firm tofu, cubed
½ pound of green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (or dry sherry)
1 teaspoon red hot chili flakes
  1. In a wok or large skillet, fry the garlic and ginger in oil over high heat until fragrant.
  2. Add the tofu and stir fry until golden brown on all sides.
  3. Add the green beans and stir fry for another 5 minutes or so.
  4. Add the black bean garlic sauce, cooking wine, and chili flakes. Toss everything together well and fry for 1-2 minutes more.
  5. Serve with brown rice or your noodle of choice.
How easy was that?  There are numerous ways to play around with this recipe...add mushrooms?  Bell peppers?  Use tempeh?  Seitan? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.  Even though the store-bought black bean garlic sauce is doing most of the work here, this is still a comforting homemade meal that you can whip up in no time.  No green beans?  Broccoli time!  No broccoli?  Use frozen peas!  I could go on and on, but you wouldn't want that.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 14: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

This is a spectacularly effortless pumpkin muffin recipe. I’ve made tons of pumpkin baked goods that require measuring out four to five different spices or having pumpkin pie spice on hand. I always thought that depth of flavor was needed to complement the splendid autumnal pumpkin essence that we all know and love. However, this recipe only requires one spice (cinnamon) and I think the finished product tastes absolutely fantastic. The muffins are moist and the pumpkin flavor really comes through.  

I found this recipe on VegWeb, which is an online gold mine filled with over 13,000 user-rated vegan recipes. They also have an awesome iPhone app that I often peruse during my commute home when I have to figure out what to make for dinner. It’s much more fun than playing the Scrabble computer when you’re stuck in a tunnel due to the frequent delays in San Francisco’s dreadful transit system!

Makes 12 muffins (original recipe posted here)

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 egg substitutes (I used Ener-G powder mixed with water)*
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup water
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe’s)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin pan or use paper liners.
  2. In a bowl, mix the sugar, oil, and egg substitutes. Add pumpkin and water.
  3. In separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and then fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full with batter and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
*If you don’t have Ener-G powder, there’s a nice list of egg substitute options here.
These muffins have a light texture, so they can also serve as cupcakes for your upcoming Halloween or Thanksgiving bash. I wouldn’t alter this recipe at all…the muffins are wonderful as is. Thank you, VegWeb!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 13: Sausage and Kale Stromboli

I’m calling this a stromboli because I just like the sound of it. It makes people think you slaved over a hot stove all evening while humming ‘That’s Amore’. You also can call this a pizza dog, a pizza pocket, a stuffed breadstick, etc. If you live in San Francisco, this is pretty close to the Vegan Pig in a Blanket that’s sold at the Whole Foods in the Haight. I wouldn’t really call this’s more like 'assembling'.  But it’s another vegan creation to add to my repertoire, so I hereby present to you, the lazy person’s stromboli:
Makes 4 pieces
  • Pre-made pizza dough (I used Whole Foods' refrigerated whole wheat dough…you can also make your own
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped
  • 4 vegan sausages (I used Tofurky Italian Sausages)
  • Vegan pesto, store-bought or homemade (optional)
  • Some tomato or marinara sauce
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Olive oil, for sautéing 
  1. Chop kale into small pieces and sauté in olive oil (or steam) until wilted. Set aside and let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. (or whatever the instructions on the package say)
  3. Divide pizza dough into 4 pieces. 
  4. On a lightly floured surface, stretch each piece into flat rectangles.
  5. Spread a layer of pesto on each piece, followed by a layer of tomato or marinara sauce, a layer of kale, and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
  6. Place one sausage in the center of each piece.
  7. Bring the dough over the filling and seal edges. (It’s ok if they don’t seal completely…they’ll look rustic that way!)
  8. Transfer each piece (with the sealed side faced down) to a parchment lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Some notes:
  • I guess for a fancier look, I’ll chop the sausages into small pieces next time.  
  • This would also be great with vegan burger crumbles, Gimme Lean, seasoned tofu, tempeh, etc.
  • If you’re a fan of vegan cheese, you can add some in for a more authentic Italian feeling.
This was pretty delicious. Lazy + hungry can sometimes be a dangerous combination for your wallet. A little bit of effort was required here, but everything came together in no time. Score 1 for the lazy person’s stromboli. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 12: Maple Pecan Cookies

Maple syrup does wonders in baked goods. It isn’t cheap, but consider it an investment for your health and taste buds. It brings a natural subtle sweetness and chewy texture to cookies. In general, you can substitute maple syrup for granulated sugar in baking by following the rules listed here, but it may take some experimentation to get the texture you seek.

Here’s a maple cookie recipe in celebration of fall. If you happen to have maple extract on hand (who doesn’t?), it’ll make these cookies undeniably maple-y. If you don’t have any, no worries, these cookies will still be delicious.

Recipe adapted from the Nigella Lawson website 

Makes about 2 dozen cookies
¼ cup of canola oil
½ cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons applesauce
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
24 pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the canola oil with the brown sugar.
  3. Add the applesauce, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and maple extract.  Mix well. 
  4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  6. Form balls of dough with your hands (or use a cookie scoop to save time) and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
  7. Place a pecan half on each cookie and press down lightly.  (Try not to flatten the dough too much)
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes and then let cool on a wire rack.

I rounded up some other mouth-watering vegan maple cookie recipes that I saw online. I still have yet to try these, but they’re on my to-do list!

Maple Oat Cookies
Maple Spice Cookies
Banana Maple Oatmeal Cookies
Chocolate Maple Cookies

And if you’re having a massive maple snack attack, but aren't in the mood to bake, the Trader Joe's Maple Leaf Cookies are vegan.  :)


Monday, October 15, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 11: Squash Boats

I saw the cutest little yellow, golf ball-sized globe squash at the farmers’ market yesterday. If you’re like me, you go to the farmers’ market for the ambiance, admire nature’s bounty...and then proceed to buy everything in sight without a recipe in mind. That’s how I got suckered into buying these little babies…I can never say no to miniature vegetables. (Can you?)  I ended up making little squash boats. You can serve them as an appetizer, but I had them as the main course with brown rice. Yum!
Recipe adapted from the Cooking with PETA cookbook
3 medium globe squash or zucchini (or 6 tiny ones)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup of crumbled tofu, tempeh, or vegan ground round (I used Gimme Lean Sausage)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
¼ cup tomato sauce or marinara sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Slice squash in half and scoop out the pulp. Transfer the empty boats to a greased baking dish. 
  2. Chop the squash pulp and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  4. Add onion and brown for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add vegan ground round, chopped squash pulp, nutritional yeast, oregano, red chili pepper flakes, and tomato sauce. Sauté for 2-3 minutes more.
  6. Season with some salt and pepper.
  7. Add 1-2 spoonfuls of filling to each boat.
  8. Cover with with foil and bake for 30 minutes in a 375°F oven.
  9. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Some notes:
  • Next time, I’ll try sprinkling some breadcrumbs over the filling for an added crunch.
  • I might add some finely chopped walnuts or pecans to the filling too.
  • I guess I could’ve easily skipped the boat part and just sautéed all the ingredients together as a stir-fry, but where’s the fun in that?  :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 10: Filipino Empanadas

There are tons of empanada variations in the world...from Spain to Argentina to Peru, and so on. Filipino empanadas are by far my favorite. There was always a huge tray of them at family parties when I was growing up. Filipino empanadas are made with a dense sweet dough, which is a nice contrast to their savory picadillo style filling. I remember sometimes eating only the fluted edge of dough because it tasted so good by itself. :)

Since vegan Filipino empanadas are hard to find, I created this recipe to satisfy my craving for a dish that’s tied to so many sweet memories from childhood. I left out the raisins because I hate raisins in savory food now, just as much as I did when I was little. Feel free to add them if you’d like.  :)

Makes 12 empanadas

For the filling:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
3-4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 medium onion, minced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
1 12 oz. package of vegan ground beef (such as Yves) -- or tempeh or seitan crumbles
1 cup vegetable broth 
1 cup peas (thawed, if frozen) 
Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.  
  3. Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes. 
  4. Add the potatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the vegan ground beef and let it brown for 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in the broth and let simmer until potatoes are tender and the liquid has reduced.
  7. Add the peas and season with salt and pepper, as needed.
  8. Set the filling mixture aside and let cool.
For the dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar (or other granulated sugar)
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
Soy or almond milk, for brushing
  1. In a large bowl, stir the flour, evaporated cane juice, water, and oil together until a dough forms. (the dough will feel oily-- that's ok!)
  2. Divide the dough evenly into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. On a cutting board or other clean surface, roll a dough ball into a flat circle about ½ cm in thickness.
  3. Place 1-2 spoonfuls of the filling on the dough.
  4. Fold the dough over to form a semi-circle, leaving a small lip on the bottom layer. 
  5. Using your index finger, fold the lip on the bottom layer over your other index finger repeatedly as you move along the edge of the empanada to form a rope crimp. (or just press the edge down with a fork to seal)
  6. Place the empanada on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat the steps above for each dough ball.
  7. Brush each empanada with milk.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Some notes:
  • There will probably be extra filling -- eat it with rice! :)
  • The empanada dough won't turn out flaky, in case you're wondering. 
  • I've used whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe with great results.
  • I honestly don't think I could ever get sick of eating these. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 9: Classic Cheesecake

Who doesn't love cheesecake?  I guess a lot of people, but I'm not one of them.  There are a bunch of vegan cheesecake recipes out there involving tofu or cashews that I'd love to try, but for now this recipe hits the spot.  It's foolproof and more importantly:  it tastes damn good. 

If you look for height in your cheesecakes, use a smallish pan (8-inch or smaller). You can also use an unbaked store-bought crust, such as Arrowhead Mills.

Recipe adapted from VegWeb

2 cups vegan graham cracker crumbs (I used Health Valley)
1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery sticks, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 containers of non-dairy Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese 
1/3 cup sugar
Egg replacer for 4 eggs (I used Ener-G powder mixed with water)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. To make the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted Earth Balance, maple syrup, and flour in a medium bowl. Mix by hand and press crust mixture into an 8-inch spring form pan. Set aside.
  3. To make the filling, add cream cheese, sugar, egg replacer, and lemon juice to a blender or food processor and blend until just smooth. Pour filling over prepared crust.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set. 
  5. Let cool and refrigerate overnight.
You can go buck wild with toppings...fresh fruit, jam, soy whip, chocolate, coconut, etc.   It's also good topless.  :)  I went with sliced persimmons because they're in season and I just love them to pieces.  Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 8: Avocado Cheese Pockets

Here's a tasty appetizer that you can whip up for your next shindig. If you opt to use store-bought puff pastry, this will be a breeze. I made my own pie crust because...well, I really enjoy making pie crust. 

This recipe is inspired by Averie Cooks.  There are some gorgeous photos on that blog. Check it out.
I won't get into specific measurements.  You can play with the size and shape of each piece and the amount of filling you want in each.  All you'll need is:
  • Vegan puff pastry (such as Pepperidge Farm) or your favorite homemade pie crust (see recipe below)
  • Some non-dairy Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
  • Some of your favorite salsa
  • 1 or 2 ripe avocados, diced or cut into strips
  • Soy or almond milk, for brushing
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
  2. On a lightly-floured surface, roll your dough out into a rectangle.
  3. Cut out small rectangles using a knife and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Fill one side of each rectangle with a dollop of cream cheese, some avocado, and a spoonful of salsa.
  5. Fold each rectangle over, push down the edges, and seal with a fork.
  6. Brush each piece with soy or almond milk.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  8. Let cool...then enjoy!

If you want to make your own crust, this recipe makes two 9" pie crusts.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance shortening sticks, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery sticks, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  1. Stir the flour and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Cut the cubes of shortening and buttery sticks into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter, until small pebble-sized pieces of dough appear.
  3. Add the ice water to the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix just until a dough forms. 
  4. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and place each half in plastic wrap.  Press down on each ball of dough to form a disk.
  5. Place dough in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
Some notes:
  • I'll probably increase the amount of avocado in each piece the next time I make it.  I was scared that I was overfilling, but the salsa cooks down a bit in the oven.
  • Maybe I'll also add some black beans.
There you have it:  a fancy looking, delicious appetizer that's easy to make.  Awesomeness.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 7: Japanese Curry Pan

Japanese curry is one of my favorite foods. In contrast to Indian curries (which I also love), it’s sweetened with grated apples and sometimes contains Worcestershire sauce. It’s usually served with rice, but you can also get a taste of it in Japanese kare-pan (curry bread). Muracci's in San Francisco offers a delicious veggie curry pan…talk about the best of both worlds:  savory and sweet curry all wrapped up in pillow of bread and coated with crispy panko breadcrumbs.

If you’re making the curry and bread all in the same day, you should start with the dough first, since it requires a few hours to rise. You should also let the curry cool down before filling the dough. It would probably be best to make the curry a day or two in advance.
Makes 8 pieces.  Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup water, warmed to 110°F - 115°F
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery sticks, melted and cooled
1 cup water
1 cup of Japanese curry (recipe below)
Egg replacer for 4 eggs (I used Ener-G powder mixed with water)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 cups canola oil, for frying
  1. Mix the yeast, ¼ cup warm water, and a pinch of sugar in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until the mixture foams.
  2. Stir in the flour, sugar, salt, melted Earth Balance, and 1 cup of water. Mix with a fork until a dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for about 60-90 minutes, until it doubles in size.
  5. Punch down the dough, cover again, and let sit for another 45 minutes.
  6. Punch the dough down again and knead for 2 minutes.
  7. Cut the dough into 8 pieces and set aside.
  1. Roll out each piece of dough into a 6-inch circle and place a spoonful of the curry in the center.
  2. Brush water around the edge of the dough, fold over, and pinch to close.
  3. Dip each dough ball into the egg replacer mixture and then into the panko breadcrumbs to cover. Transfer to a plate or baking sheet. 
  4. Cover the breaded dough balls with a clean towel and let rise while you heat the oil to 350°F in a large skillet or Dutch oven.
  5. Once the oil is heated, place dough balls (1-2 at a time) into the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  6. Place on a paper towel-lined plate and let cool.

For the curry:

In a pinch, you can use those pre-made blocks of roux, such as S&B Golden Curry. The packaged stuff is usually high in sodium, MSG, and other unsavory things, so check the label if those are things you’re trying to avoid. I used the Japanese curry recipe featured in the March 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times (posted online here). You can make the curry while waiting for your dough to rise.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, cut into ½-inch-thick half moons
2 ½ tablespoons curry powder, such as S&B
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 ⅔ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small apple, peeled and finely grated
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce, such as Annie's
1 tablespoon miso paste
1 cup fresh or frozen shelled edamame or peas
  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.
  2. Sauté onion 7 to 9 minutes, or until it starts to brown.
  3. Add carrots, and sauté 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in curry powder and garlic, and cook 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  5. Add broth, potatoes, apple, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and miso.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  7. Add edamame or peas, and simmer 5 minutes more.

Some notes:
  • Next time I’ll either mash the curry or cut the carrots and potatoes into smaller pieces so that it’s more manageable when filling the dough.
  • I’ll also roll the dough out thinner, because I ended up with more bread than curry in the final product.
  • I’ll also add cubes of tofu to the curry.  :)
As you can see, curry pan-making is quite a process, but I had to try it out. It’s such a fabulous snack and now I have a greater appreciation for the folks at Muracci’s. Try it out and let me know know how it goes!

Monday, October 8, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 6: Guava Jelly Doughnut Holes

As I said in my post last week, I love me some guava. So, I’m back with another sweet treat: guava jelly doughnut holes. Yum. You can find guava-filled doughnuts (or malasadas) in Hawaii, but I’ve never seen them here in San Francisco (vegan or otherwise). I recently bought a delightful jar of guava jam and instantly thought: great on toast, but even better in a doughnut!

I altered the miniature jelly doughnut recipe from the September 2009 issue of Vegetarian Times (original recipe posted here).  That issue featured a nice spread on DIY vegan doughnuts. These doughnut holes are yeasted, so making them from scratch is a bit time consuming, but well worth it. You'll also need a pastry bag and tip to fill the doughnut holes with jam, but you can also use a squirt bottle if you have one.

Makes about 25 doughnut holes

1 package of active dry yeast (1/4 oz. or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk, warmed to 110°F - 115°F
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 generous tablespoons of vegetable oil

2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup guava jam
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
  1. Mix the yeast with the warm milk and 1 teaspoon sugar in a measuring cup or small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes or until the mixture foams.
  2. Whisk together the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. 
  3. Add the yeast mixture and 2 generous tablespoons of oil to the flour mixture and mix until a sticky dough forms. 
  4. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes until smooth.  Add flour while kneading if the dough is too sticky.
  5. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. (I use my turned off gas oven for this)
  6. Dust a baking sheet with flour. Punch the dough down and then roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness on a well-floured surface. Cut 25 circles from the dough using a 2-inch round cutter.
  7. Transfer the rounds to the dusted baking sheet and cover loosely. Let rest for 15 minutes.
  8. Heat the oil in large skillet or Dutch oven to 365°F or until hot, but not smoking. Fry the doughnuts for 3 to 5 minutes, or until deep golden brown, turning two or three times. Drain on a wire rack or a paper towel-lined baking sheet and let cool.
  9. Poke a small hole on the side of each doughnut using a chopstick. 
  10. Using a small pastry bag fitted with a small round tip, fill each doughnut with about a teaspoon of guava jam.
  11. Dust the doughnuts with powdered sugar. (optional)
This jam is made of Hawaiian cane sugar, guava puree, water, and pectin. That's it. If you live in the Bay Area, you can find it at Rainbow Grocery or Berkeley Bowl.  It's also available online.

In an attempt to be healthier, I also baked a batch in a 375°F oven for about 10 minutes. The baked version is definitely not as soft and tender as the fried version. They puffed up significantly more in the oven and also developed a pale crust, which made them taste more like sweet rolls than doughnuts. (Side note:  I hope the photo below doesn’t remind you of a certain scene from Total Recall…although you’re probably thinking about it now that I mentioned it. This is perhaps another reason to not bake these...*wink*)

The golden, fried doughnut holes were pretty darn good.  I know deep frying can be scary/messy/unhealthy/gross, but for yeasted doughnuts, it's a must.  The baked doughnut holes were still tasty though. If you’re a dipper, they’d probably be great dunked into a nice, hot cup of coffee.  The choice is yours.  :)


Friday, October 5, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 5: Tofu Katsu Musubi

There's a Hawaiian inspired food truck in the Bay Area called Iz It that offers tofu katsu musubi (or doan-fu).  Holy smokes, it's good.  It's so good that I had to figure out how to make it myself.  You probably know that musubi is famously made with grilled Spam.  So, I tip my hat to Iz It for offering such a tasty veggie alternative.

This recipe makes 6 pieces.  I don't think it's absolutely necessary, but using a groovy musubi/sushi mold (available at Asian grocery stores or online) results in nice, uniformly shaped rolls.  The nori komi furikake rice seasoning really adds the flavor here.  You can find it in the Asian section of most grocery stores or online. It's a mixture of seaweed, salt, sugar, and sesame seeds, so you could easily make your own mix too.

  • 3 sheets of roasted nori sheets, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 package of plain firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • Egg replacer for 2 eggs (I used Ener-G powder mixed with water)
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Nori komi furikake rice seasoning
  • Steamed sushi rice (1 cup uncooked)
  • Some oil for frying
  1. Cut tofu into 6 rectangles about ½ inch thick (they should match the size of the musubi mold)
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
  3. Divide flour, egg replacer, and breadcrumbs into 3 shallow bowls.
  4. Dredge each piece of tofu in the flour, dip it into egg replacer liquid, and then coat with breadcrumbs.
  5. Fry on both sides until lightly browned.
  1. Lay down a nori sheet and place the musubi mold base in the center of the sheet.
  2. Into the mold, add a thin layer of warm rice and sprinkle with rice seasoning.
  3. Add a piece of breaded tofu and sprinkle with rice seasoning again.
  4. Top with another layer of rice, cover with the musubi mold lid, and press down.
  5. Lift up the musubi mold base while holding the lid down.
  6. Once the base is removed, lift the lid off (if the rice is too sticky, try sliding the lid off while pressing down…or use a knife to pry it off)
  7. Wrap the nori sheet around the rice and tofu, sealing the edge with water if necessary.

You may have to rinse the musubi mold with warm water if it starts to get too sticky. 

You can cut the rolls into bite-sized pieces or eat them as is.  They're best served when the rice is still warm and the tofu is still crispy.  I think I'll try this with brown rice and a sprinkling of shichimi tōgarashi next time.  The possibilities are endless.  Aloha!