Vegan Food Nerd


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Dutch Apple Pie

20141026_141021I’m not sure how I’ve never been apple picking before this year (at least not that I can recall) but it’s definitely a fun activity! We went to Carluke Orchards and got a mixture of Northern Spy, Empire, Mutsu and Golden Delicious apples.

We used the Spy and Mutsu apples to make some rustic apple pies, based on a recipe I found over on the Minimalist Baker’s website. Both of these apple varieties make a great pie as they hold their form and don’t cook down as much as a lot of other apple varieties. They also have the perfect tartness.

Original recipe here:
http://minimalistbaker.com/deep-dish-apple-crumble-pie/

We didn’t really change much, and we’ve now made four pies over the last few weeks. It’s a great recipe that is a huge crowd pleaser and will make your guest’s think you have incredibly impressive baking skills!

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Notes:

  • We’ve tried the crust with a mixture of Earth Balance butter and Earth Balance shortening, as well as with just the shortening. Both produce a nice crust, but I thought the shortening alone produced the flakier crust.
  • We also tried the crust with half all purpose and half whole wheat pastry flour, as well as just all purpose. Both were great!
  • Halve the ingredients below if you only need to make one pie, but you may as well make 2 pies while you’ve got all the tools out and freeze it or bring to a gathering.
  • There’s no need to pre-bake the crust for this recipe.
  • The Earth Balance butter and shortening sticks are easiest to use as each packaged piece is marked in tbsp measurements. (1 box has 32 tbsp, 1 individual package from the box is 8 tbsp)
  • Serve with a dollop of coconut whipped cream or some dairy free ice cream.

Ingredients (for 2 pies)

Pie Crust (yields 2 10″ crusts)

2 heaping cups unbleached all purpose flour (or 1 cup unbleached all purpose, 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold Earth Balance butter (or sub EB shortening)
6 tbsp cold Earth Balance shortening
6-12 tbsp ice cold water

Pie Filling

14-16 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (Northern Spy and Mutsu work nicely)
1 1/2 cups sugar (brown or granulated)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp flour
lemon juice and lemon zest

Crumble Topping

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup almond flour
1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
8 tbsp cold Earth Balance butter

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1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. To make the crust: Add flour, salt, butter and shortening to a food processor and pulse a few times until combined. You should have pea sized crumbs at this point. Add 6 tbsp of the ice cold water and pulse a few more times. At this point you may need to add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, until you have a nice dough that scrapes away from the bowl. 9 tbsp of water total seemed to work best for us.

3. Remove dough from the food processor bowl onto a well floured surface. Divide dough into two equal pieces and mold together with hands. Form each half into a 1 inch thick disc and then roll out into an even circle, adding more flour if it gets sticky. Roll onto a floured rolling pin to gently roll into your pie dish or cast iron skillet. Gently form your pie dough to your skillet or pie pan, trim if necessary, and crimp the edges if you desire although leaving it rustic works nicely here. Repeat with your second pie dough. Refrigerate while you prep the apple filling.

4. Apple filling. You can work with half the apple filling mixture at a time if you don’t have a large enough bowl. Mix together 7-8 of the apples, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tbsp of flour for each pie. Add some lemon zest for a nice bright flavour for your filling. It’s actually best to toss everything together as you’re cutting the apples to prevent browning. You can coat the apple slices in lemon juice as well while you continue slicing!

5. Fill your pie dough with the apples. It should be nice and full.

6. Pie Topping: Add the crumble topping ingredients together, minus the butter, and mix together. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork. I actually used my hands as it worked better. Just work somewhat quickly to keep the butter from getting too warm. Divide over your pies, spreading evenly to coat, and push down slightly to pack the topping.

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7. Bake pies for 40-50 minutes, or until nicely browned and the apples are cooked but still have a bit of bite to them. At 40 minutes, top the pies with foil to prevent from getting too browned if the apples are not cooked through. Pop back in the oven until the apples are cooked.

8. Let rest before slicing. Serve warm!

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Harvest vegetable stew

20141016_173321I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting very frequently this month. Life has been busy! We’re still cooking lots but I haven’t been taking the time to write down recipes and take pictures. However, this is the perfect season for a nice hearty stew so I wanted to put something together that is easy, yummy and filling that tastes like autumn in a bowl!

We have been getting bounty bags from the Mustard Seed Co-op that include a variety of local fruits and veggies and we had quite a bit left to use up after Thanksgiving, so I came up with this dish. I also used some leftover seitan roast we had made for Thanksgiving, and it went really well here. You can use your favourite veggie sausage chopped up instead, or make your own, or just leave it out! I apologize for not posting this last week when I made it in case you had some leftovers too.

Notes:

  • The tomato paste and balsamic vinegar in this dish really add to the flavour of the stew and will help round out the flavours. The added acidity they add is something I wouldn’t skip!
  • I used a mixture of mushroom and vegetable broths, but would recommend any stronger flavoured broths for this.
  • I wanted to add some chopped fresh pumpkin as well, but forgot that it was sitting on the counter!
  • My stew thickened up really nicely just by adding the lentils into the pot and letting them simmer in the pot for another 5 minutes or so. If you don’t find your stew is thick enough add a little cornstarch dissolved in water.

Ingredients

1 large leek (or 2 medium) cut into strips or small pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger root, minced
1 small acorn squash, peeled and cubed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3-5 small potatoes, cubed
1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
2 celery stalks, 1/4″ pieces
2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs (sage, parsley, rosemary and thyme)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried savory
1 tbsp tomato paste
6 cups veg broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
1 cup leftover seitan, cubed (optional)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1) Saute leeks in 1 tbsp of olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and stir and saute another minute, until fragrant.

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2) Add veggies (squash, sweet potato, potato, parsnip, carrot, celery) and saute 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

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3) Add veggie broth, herbs, smoked paprika, coriander, savory and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmerand cook uncovered about 15 minutes, or until veggies are fork tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. If veggies are not tender after 15 minutes, cover and allow to simmer another 5-10 minutes.

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4) Once veggies are tender, add lentils, seitan, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

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5) Heat through, simmering, about 5 minutes more. The addition of the lentils should thicken your stew up nicely. Check for salt and seasonings.

6) Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving to allow flavours to meld together. Serve with crusty bread!

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Cilantro-lime cashew cream

20141002_173044I used this as a topping together with a salsa roja on enchiladas but I’m only providing a recipe for the cashew cream sauce here, because I didn’t do any measuring for the rest of the dish. Sorry! However, if you’re new to cashew cream recipes, this will be a great one to add to your repertoire. It’s really flavourful and added a great dimension to the enchiladas, and I imagine it would be great for any Mexican inspired cooking in your household. I plan to use the leftovers with tacos since I got soooo many corn tortillas in the pack I picked up at the market today.

It would also be great to use as a topping for risotto or quinoa cakes, vegan chilli, or for your next buddha bowl. It tastes great uncooked, but it also worked out well baked with the enchiladas. Let me know where you end up using it!

Notes:

  • If you’re unprepared, like I often am, you can boil the cashews. Simply add to a pot with plenty of water and boil for 30 minutes. Just watch the water level as the cashews soak up the water. Allow to cool before blending.
  • Feel free to experiment! Add some roasted red peppers, or some different spices.
  • If you’re not sure how spicy your jalapeno will be, add less and taste your sauce. You can always add more spice.
  • The enchiladas I made had a sweet potato, black bean, red pepper and mushroom filling spiced with cumin, chilli powder, ground coriander, smoked paprika and salt and pepper. We also added some of this sauce to the inside of each tortilla before adding the filling and rolling. Feel free to make something similar because it was a great combination.

Ingredients

1 cup cashews soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight, then drained
1/2 a large avocado, or 1 whole small/medium avocado
2 limes, juiced
2 cloves garlic
1 cup of fresh cilantro
1/2 cup to 3/4 cups water
1/4 to 1/2 jalapeno sliced
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of cumin

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my poor tortillas broke as I rolled them..next time I’ll remember to heat them slightly!

1) Add all ingredients to a food processor or powerful blender and process until smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally and give your motor a rest every once in awhile. It will likely take 4-5 minutes to get it to a really smooth consistency. Add more water if the sauce is too thick.

2) Taste for salt and seasonings and spice. Add as you please and process again until smooth. If your limes aren’t particularly juicy you will likely need to add more lime (mine were big and juicy!).

3) Use as a topping for enchiladas, tacos, tostadas or any other recipe calling for a delicious sauce!

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Beet soup

20140925_182859I wanted to call this a borscht, but I’m not entirely sure if it can be classified as one. I mean there are some beets puréed into a delicious soup here, but I threw in a few extra veggies I had in the fridge that I don’t think are normally found in borscht. Regardless, this is really, really delicious. I love the earthy flavour beets lend to the soup, as well as the crazy colour!

This soup comes together fairly quickly, as long as you cook your beets ahead of time. I cooked the beets the day before and peeled and cut them as the veggies were simmering away. Delicious soup in minimal time is always a great goal!

Notes:

  • Steam or boil your beats until they are soft. This helps bring out their sweetness!
  • The agave helps to balance the soup flavours – use coconut sugar or other sweetener if you prefer. Or leave it out entirely.
  • My onion was really big – the soup doesn’t get overly oniony or anything though.
  • Feel free to make your own sour cream – I just didn’t have time to!
  • Serve with some crusty bread.

Ingredients

1 large white onion, diced
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper, diced
3 small carrots, sliced
3 small purple potatoes, cubed
2-3 large stalks of celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth (I used mushroom)
4 cups of cooked beets, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp hot paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
juice from half a lemon
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp agave syrup (optional)
1/4 cup almond milk
Veg sour cream for garnish (I used Tofutti brand)

20140925_17132620140925_1713071) Preheat a large heavy bottom pot over medium-low heat. Add olive oil, onions and a few pinches of salt and saute until onions are translucent, about 5-6 minutes.

2) Add carrots, celery, red pepper and garlic and continue sauteing for a few minutes longer. Add potatoes, broth, paprika and some freshly ground black pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove lid and lower heat – allow vegetables to simmer for about 15 minutes or until they are tender.

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3) Add beets, tomato paste, lemon juice and agave and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the beets are heated through.

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4) Remove from heat and use a hand blender to puree the soup with the almond milk until very smooth. Taste for salt and seasonings and add more salt and pepper if needed. If your soup is thicker than you’d like add some more almond milk.

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5) Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow flavours to develop. Serve garnished with more black pepper and a dollop of vegan sour cream.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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delicious, even if it does start to look a bit like a crime scene as you eat it..


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Sausage and dumpling dill stew

20140923_175206This is one of my favourite stew recipes from Isa over at theppk.com. Her Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings is just so delicious and perfect for the first day of fall (or any day in the fall/winter). I made a few small changes by adding some Field Roast apple and sage veggie sausages as well as some cauliflower, but otherwise was pretty true to the original recipe. You must make either Isa’s original version, or the version below if you want to eat delicious, comforting food. And I know you do!

Notes:

  • Slice and saute your veggie sausages first for some additional flavour.
  • The original recipe calls for sweet paprika, but I used hot and smoked paprikas instead for a nice change.
  • Instead of using all AP flour as was called for in the original recipe, I used a mixture of flours that produced a much lighter and fluffier dumpling. Use all AP flour if you prefer a denser dumpling!
  • I cooked my roux for an extra minute, and cooked the onions until the flour was quite dark – my goal was to add more flavour to the stew which worked here. I have made this recipe quite a few times, and cooking your roux for the normal amount of time is also delicious.

Ingredients

Stew:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 medium sized sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable broth, at room temperature
2 stalks celery, tops removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 pounds potato, in 3/4 inch chunks (about 2 1/2 to 3 cups)
2 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
1 large carrot, 1/4″ slice on the bias
1 tbsp fresh thyme, or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp hot paprika
Fresh.y ground black pepper
1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage sausages, cut into 1/2″ slices

Dumplings:

1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cake/pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoons dried rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or soy)
2 tablespoons olive oil

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Directions

1) Preheat a large, heavy bottom pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and sprinkle in the flour to make a roux. Use a wooden spoon or wooden spatula to toss the flour in the oil, stirring consistently, for 3-4 minutes. The flour should be clumpy and toasty.

2) Add the onion and salt and toss to coat the onions completely in the flour mixture. As the onions release moisture, they will coat more and more. Cook this way for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and stir for 30 more seconds or so.

20140923_1700523) Stream in the vegetable broth, whisking constantly to prevent clumping. Add the celery, potatoes, carrot, cauliflower, dill, thyme, paprika and black pepper, then turn the heat up and cover to bring to a boil. Keep a close eye and stir often, so that it doesn’t clump or boil over.

20140923_1705084) Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stew is nicely thickened and the potatoes and carrots are tender.

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5) In the meantime, prepare the dumplings. Sift the flour, baking powder, pepper and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the rosemary. Make a well in the center and add the milk and olive oil. Use a wooden spoon to mix together until a wet dough forms.

6) Heat a cast iron skillet with a little bit of olive oil and brown your sausage pieces.

6) When the stew is ready, mix in the beans and veggie sausage and plop dough right on top of the stew in spoonfuls. You should get about 13-14 dumplings.

20140923_1730417) Cover the pot tightly and cook for about 14 more minutes. The dumplings should be nice and firm. Use your ladle to dunk them into the stew to coat.

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8) Ladle stew into bowls, topped with dumplings. And serve!

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Lentil curry (a veggie packed dahl)

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So first thing’s first. Sometimes recipes don’t work out the way you intend them too. Sometimes, you plan and you put in lots of meticulous effort, and still…something goes wrong. Many times that means ruining a recipe, but in some cases you end up with a happy accident! That may be what happened here. What was supposed to be a red lentil curry soup, ended up as a puréed curry with a side of spiced rice (see notes), and it was absolutely delicious. Not at all what I had intended to make, but still lovely to eat!

This all started when I realized I was out of the red lentils I needed for the soup and subbed them with yellow split peas. I don’t remember yellow split peas taking eons to cook (and the package said they only needed 25-30 minutes to boot) yet mine just didn’t want to cook down. So this meant the soup had to stay on the stove so long that the veggies got way too mushy to be eaten as soup. I thought the hand blender would salvage the giant pot of gorgeous veggies and aromatic spices, and it worked out fine! This all got blended up and tasted like a really delicious Indian dahl dish. So, if that’s what you would also like, follow the instructions below.

Notes:

  • If you would rather have a soup, use red lentils as they will break down much more quickly and you’ll end up with the perfect veggies. Or, even with red lentils, go ahead and puree the batch for a curry. Yellow split peas don’t normally take an hour to cook like they did for me, so either ingredient should work fine for you!
  • I served this with brown basmati rice flavoured with cardamom and cloves. Cook your rice as per the package instructions, but throw in a handful of cloves and green cardamom pods when you add your rice to the water. For 1 cup of rice I used about 13-14 cloves and 7-8 cardamom pods. I also used a tsp or two of coconut oil to prevent sticking. The rice had a great flavour that contrasted well with the curry. (Just remember to remove the cloves and pods before serving)
  • We also ate the curry and the rice with some onion bhajis. Yum!
  • This makes a large vat, so halve the recipe if you don’t want a bunch of leftovers.

Ingredients

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced, fresh ginger
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/4 tsp saffron turmeric
1/2 large head cauliflower (8 cups)
2 small red potatoes
2 small sweet potatoes
1 cup yellow split peas or red lentils
8 cups vegetable broth (or 6 cups of broth, 2 cups of water)
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups packed greens such as kale and swiss chard
chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for serving

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Directions

1) In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, 4-5 minutes.

2) Add fresh ginger and garlic and heat for another 30 seconds – 1 minute, stirring, until fragrant. Add spice mixture (I like to get mine all measured out in a ramekin so it’s ready to go) and add to the pot. Cook for another minute or two, stirring, to toast the spices.

20140918_17060520140918_1711083) Add 6 cups of the vegetable broth, and the red lentils or yellow split peas to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Simmer for 10 minutes if using split peas.

20140918_1718404) Add cauliflower and potatoes. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until veggies are tender. If you need more liquid, add more broth or more water to the pot. If using red lentils they should have broken down after 25 minutes and you can go ahead and enjoy this as a soup. If not, keep cooking until everything is cooked. You can puree or not depending on your preference.

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5) Taste for salt and seasonings, adding more as desired. Add greens and cook until wilted. Stir in freshly ground black pepper.

6) Either ladle into bowls and enjoy as a soup (even the pureed version), or serve with rice. Garnish as desired.

Makes around 8 servings

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Onion Bhajis

20140919_185950I’ve been lucky to live in England and get to enjoy some really fabulous Indian food. Hamilton has it’s fair share of decent options though, and living on the East side means we get to feast on the Himalya whenever the craving strikes. The Himalya is all veg Indian fare and they have a great vegan thali special.

I have always loved the variety of veggie options and pakoras and onion bhajis are a favourite. My parents gave us a bag of onions they picked up from a farm so we thought we’d make some bhajis to go with a lentil curry (recipe for the curry coming soon).

Notes:

  • I wanted to try baking these to see if they would turn out, but we weren’t sure. If you try baking them let me know if it works out for you!
  • You can alter the spice mixture if you like, but these were really flavourful with just a little bit of heat. Increase the chillies or add some chilli powder to make them spicier.
  • We didn’t try to form the bhajis at all, so they are kinda rustic looking. Cut your onion slices in half to help with shaping into more of a ball and less spider shapes will result.

Ingredients

1/2 large white onion, finely sliced
1/2 large red onion, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, mashed
1 thumb of ginger, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 cup of chickpea flour + 1-2 tbsp
6-8 tbsp water
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus oil for frying
salt

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1) Add sliced onions to a bowl and separate each slice. Add spices, garlic and ginger and mix.

2) Add 1 cup of the chickpea flour, 1 tbsp of oil and 6 tbsp of water and mix. You may want to add up to 2 more tbsp of chickpea flour and water to make a batter to coat the onions that isn’t too thick. Some onions may release more liquid than others as well which will create a thinner batter.

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3) Heat about 1/2 inch to 1 inch of vegetable oil in a frying pan or cast iron pan. You want it hot but not so hot that your bhajis will get dark brown too quickly without cooking the onions. Drop a bit of batter in the oil and if it starts to sputter it’s ready.

4) Drop a spoonful of the onion mixture into the pan without crowding and fry until browned on both sides. At least 2-3 minutes per side worked for us.

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20140919_1840425) Place cooked bhajis on a paper towel lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt. You can leave them in an oven at 250 F to keep them warm. Serve hot!

Makes 12 bhajis

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