Vegan Food Nerd


1 Comment

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!

20141026_141150

20141026_141721

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

20141011_161103

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.

20141011_141712

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!

20141026_14102820141011_161023

Advertisements


1 Comment

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

20141002_174114

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!

20141002_172546

20141002_173105


5 Comments

Liebster Award

I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by a lovely blogger named Lissa over at The Kitchen Rebellion.  Thank you Lissa!

Liebster-Award

I have done a little bit of internet research, and the Liebster Award is given to bloggers by bloggers. The idea is to nominate newer or smaller blogs (ie. those with less than 200 followers) to share some more information about themselves, and in the process help promote and explore some new blogs. It’s basically all about spreading love amongst the blog community, and I am honoured to be included. I started this blog less than a month ago, and already I have made some wonderful connections and discovered some really great blogs.

Since I am currently participating in Vegan MoFo, I will be nominating some of the wonderful vegan food blogs I have discovered that are also participating.

Here are the rules:

1. Answer the questions given and then come up with 10 new ones to ask your nominees.
2. Nominate 8 other blogs, let them know you have nominated them and put a link to their blog in your post.
3. No Tag backs.
4. Nominees must have under 200 followers on any platform. (This can be difficult to determine if not listed!)
5. You must tell all the blogs that you nominate that you have nominated them

So here goes!

1) Do you have a favourite cookbook?

  • I have a few! Isa’s cookbooks tend to be my go to choices for everyday meals (ie. Veganomicon and Appetite for Reduction) – everything out of these books always tastes great! For dinner parties or fancier options I’d have to go with Vegan Secret Supper. We just picked up the Oh She Glows cookbook and I’m sure it will soon become a favourite.

2) If you had to choose one recipe on your blog for us to try, which would it be?

3) Who are your biggest inspirations?

  • In the kitchen? My mom and nonna have probably taught me the most in the kitchen, most of the time just from observing. My partner in crime/the dude in my life has definitely been my more recent inspiration. His culinary skills have helped me learn a lot and cooking together is one of my favourite ways to experiment and try new things.

4) What is the favourite piece of clothing in your wardrobe, and why?

  • Probably the new fleece tights I picked up for winter – they are so warm and dress season can continue! That or any of my cozy sweaters. Sweaters are the best.

5) What is your favourite one hit wonder?

  • Biz Markie – Just a Friend

6) When do you feel most awesome?

  • Every time a recipe looks and tastes great! Also, while teaching a fun topic. I do love my job.

7) What is the first thing you learned how to cook?

  • Eggs. Scrambled, soft boiled and every other way you can imagine. (My childhood self didn’t know I would stop eating eggs in the future)

8) Do you plan your meals each week?

  • Not in super fine detail. I’d like to be better at planning my week’s meals, but instead it tends to be planning for some meals and just picking up what looks good/what’s in season and turning them into something.

9) Do you have any pets? 😀

  • Yes. Her name is Molly and she’s a black cat.

10) What is one piece of advice that would you give to people who are brand new to vegan cooking?

  • Keep it simple at first and then try to add in more recipes to your repertoire and try more complicated things as you go. Also, use theppk.com and Isa’s cookbooks because they won’t make you miss your pre-vegan days!

Thanks for reading! I nominate the following yummy food blogs that I may not have learned about if it were not for Vegan MoFo:

Your questions:

  1. What is the most memorable meal you’ve had?
  2. What’s your favourite music to cook to?
  3. What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?
  4. Do you like to read? If so, what novel/book would you recommend?
  5. Is there one blog you have been most inspired by?
  6. What 5 pantry staples can you not live without?
  7. How do you wind down from a crazy, hectic day?
  8. What’s your favourite board game?
  9. Which three people (alive or dead) would you invite to a dinner party this weekend? Why?
  10. What’s your favourite quote? If you don’t have one, how about a favourite joke?


Leave a comment

Italian Stuffed Artichokes

20140723_193807I’m pretty sure artichokes have always been my favourite vegetable. I remember requesting them for birthday meals many times throughout my childhood and teen years. I just love them anyway you can prepare them; whether it’s a simple steamed artichoke, or stuffed then steamed, or marinated artichoke hearts, or grilled, etc.

Now, artichokes do take a little bit of work to clean and prepare and stuff, but the result is super delicious. Your stuffing can also vary slightly, but I will provide you with my favourite method.

Notes:

  • Artichoke size varies greatly! I like to use larger artichokes for stuffing (organic are preferred as they taste so much better, but this is not necessary). If you only see smaller artichokes, use those for grilling or other methods of cooking as they won’t work well here.
  • It can be a bit time consuming prepping your artichokes, and the larger the artichoke the longer they take to cook. Generally anywhere from 30-80 minutes could be required for cooking.
  • You may have some leftover stuffing. Save it in a ziploc bag for future use. On the other hand, if you stuff generously you may need to make a bit more.
  • After writing this post, I realize more pictures or a video might be required if you’re new to this method!

Ingredients

2 large artichokes
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1-2 garlic cloves (if they are large, 1 will suffice)
veg cheese or veg parmesan (optional)
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
olive oil

20140723_173645

1) First you need to clean up your artichokes so they are ready for stuffing. Using a sharp knife, cut off the top 1/4 – 1/3 of the artichoke. This will give you some room to get into the leaves.

2) Cut the bottom stem so that your artichoke can sit upright on it’s own.

3) Snip off the top of each of the leaves with scissors or a knife as they are quite sharp.

4) Turn the artichoke upsidedown (stem side up in your hand) and bang it on the counter or a wooden cutting board a few times to help open up the leaves. This will help you to get in between the leaves that are held fairly tightly together. You can also prod them open with your hands a bit.

5) Rinse your artichokes under cold water and if not using immediately place in a bowl of cold water mixed with lemon juice to prevent browning.

6) Mix breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Slice garlic thinly.

7) Now, working with one artichoke at a time, get in between each leaf with a bit of your stuffing. The amount you use is really up to you. Try to get in between each leaf but it’s ok to leave a few without stuffing. I usually leave the very middle untouched.

8) Sporadically place the garlic slices in between some of the leaves, you want maybe 1/3rd of the artichoke to have garlic rather than every single opening.

9) If you so desire, you can also repeat the garlic part of the stuffing with some grated veggie mozzarella or parmesan. I have used pecan parmesan in the past with success as well as store bought vegan parm.

10) Once your artichokes are stuffed place into a pot and fill with about 1.5″ of water (you want to cover the bottom third of your artichoke).

20140723_181511

11) Drizzle each artichoke with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper. Feel free to salt the water in the pot fairly generously as this helps to season the artichokes. Squeeze lemon juice over each artichoke, especially if they were not placed in the lemon water earlier. This will help to brighten the flavour.

12) Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer – be sure to keep the lid on or they will not steam.

13) Large artichokes will take roughly 45-60 minutes to steam but they can take longer. You will know when they are ready when you can pull a leaf nearer to the center of the artichoke out easily. The bottom portion of the leaf should be tender and have a buttery texture.

14) Once cooked, remove from pot with tongs and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Serves 2

To eat your artichoke

1) Starting on the outside layer, remove a leaf, and scrape the bottom portion of the leaf between your teeth. This will allow you to eat the stuffing as well as the tender portion of the leaf. Continue leaf by leaf!

2) Once you get closer to the centre of the artichoke, the leaves will be more and more tender allowing you to eat more and more of each leaf.

3) When there are no leaves left (you may have to pop off the really thin centre leaves), you will be left with the choke and the heart. Remove the choke (this is the hairy part of the artichoke) with a fork or spoon. Now you can eat the entire heart hiding below the little hairs. This is my favourite part of the whole experience as it is usually the most tender and delicious!


1 Comment

Vegan Pepperoni

20140714_200742As a vegan, I am incredibly thankful for Isa over at theppk.com and her numerous cookbooks. Her recipes are foolproof and super delicious. I have never been disappointed by any of the recipes I have tried! When I saw her halloween recipes last year, I didn’t have time to make any of them for my own halloween party. But, this summer I finally made use of the vegan pepperoni recipe she shared as part of this recipe. Just like the sausage recipe I posted a few days ago, they are simple to make and come together really easily. AND, they remind me of the taste of pepperoni and go great on pizza!

I didn’t take a picture of the pepperoni logs, but once they come out of your steamer simply slice and put on your pizza with the other toppings you like. These went super well with zucchini, onions, green peppers and veggie cheese. In fact, it’s probably one of the more delicious pizzas we’ve made (and it might just be because of the vegan pepperoni addition).

You can find the recipe for vegan pepperoni here, just use the ‘pepperoni eye sockets’ portion of the recipe:

Vegan Pepperoni at theppk.com

Notes:

  • I added about 1/2 tsp of ground fennel to the dough and upped the tomato paste by about a 1/2 tablespoon as well.
  • White or red kidney beans will work in the place of pinto beans, as I rarely have pinto beans on hand.
  • You will have leftover pepperoni logs and they freeze well. Just place in a freezer bag or airtight container and when ready to use thaw fully, slice, and put on your pizza once again.

Enjoy!


6 Comments

Coconut Whipped Cream

coconut whipped cream - from Oh She Glows

Image from Oh She Glows

If you haven’t heard of this wonderful phenomenon, you’re in for a treat! I made peach sundae’s with vanilla ice cream and homemade canned cardamom peach slices, and wanted to top them off with some whipped cream. I had used this recipe from Oh She Glows in the past for a peanut butter pie filling and thought it would work perfectly. It did!

If you’re from the local area, you’ll know that the Winona Peach Festival makes some delicious peach sundae’s. These were better! I absolutely loved them, maybe partially because of the nostalgia factor of eating them at the fair prior to switching to veganism and finally being able to indulge at home. The whipped coconut cream really makes it though, and you honestly wouldn’t be able to tell it’s dairy free.

You’re probably wondering, where is the picture of this fabulous peach sundae? Showing the vanilla ice cream, cardamom peach slices and dollop of coconut whipped cream? Well I took one, but it was clearly too dark in the room as the picture did not turn out. I obviously couldn’t check the picture first, because I was too busy digging in and eating it all up.

BUT! Never fear, there is a wonderful tutorial with pictures over at the Oh She Glows website that I followed. It is super simple, only takes 3 ingredients (coconut milk, sugar or sweetener of choice, vanilla), and will be ready in no time. You just need to make sure you have a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge all ready to go.

Coconut Whipped Cream

Note:

  • Angela states Thai Kitchen coconut milk won’t work for this, but it’s what I have used both times and it worked for me!
  • I used my stand mixer, and it took probably 5 minutes of whipping to get it to the consistency I wanted. We used the leftovers again the next day and just used a whisk to quickly make it light and fluffy again.
  • While coconut milk is a good source of saturated fat, I would still consider this a treat. It will be hard to resist using this on all of your desserts in the future though..


2 Comments

Zucchini Banana Bread with Pumpkin Seeds

20140901_210500

Last summer I could not keep up with the zucchini that was coming out of my garden. I baked with it, cooked with it, ate it raw, and gave it away. This year for some reason I thought planting two zucchini plants would be a good idea despite the overload last year. We have actually had a strange growing season this summer due to the inconsistent weather and frequent colder temperatures so we actually got a smaller yield despite the extra plant. Regardless, looking for different ways to use the zucchini can be a challenge. Luckily, Isa over at theppk.com has a wonderful Zucchini Banana Bread recipe that I adapted the other night to suit my pantry. It came out so wonderfully moist and delicious! If you have the following ingredients at the moment, you should probably stop what you’re doing and bake away!

Notes:

  • We made two loaves, so halve the ingredients if you only want to make one. But you should probably make two.
  • We used coconut oil spray to grease the loaf pans and they popped right out! You could also line the pans with parchment paper to pull the loaves out easily if you prefer.

Ingredients

2 large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two 8×4 metal bread pans with coconut oil spray or a little earth balance.

2) In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas well with a fork or potato masher. Add the apple sauce,  oil, sugar, and vanilla and use a strong fork to mix well. Mix in the grated zucchini.

3) Mix together the dry ingredients – flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt – in a measuring cup or medium sized bowl. Add two cups of the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix to combine.

4) Add the nuts and chocolate chips and the rest of the flour mixture, and mix just until no visible flour is left.

5) Divide the batter evenly in your two prepared pans – I just did this by eye. Sprinkle some more chocolate chips and nuts on top if you like as this will give your loaves a nice presentation.

6) Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick or knife. If it needs more time, turn heat down to 325 F and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

7) Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes 2 loaves

20140901_210519