Posts Tagged chocolate

VeganMoFo: Celebrations

This is my 300th post!  To celebrate, I figured I’d show you some celebration food.

St. Patrick’s Day – corned beef seitan, spinach potato patties, soda bread, a shamrock shake made with avocado and mint, and Guinness Extra Stout.  Guinness Extra Stout distributed in the US is vegan!

Cinco de Mayo – ground “beef” tacos with guacamole, rice and beans.

Valentine’s Day – Chocolate Covered Katie’s Snickerdoodle Blondies cut into cute little heart shapes.

Easter – homemade peanut butter cups.  I was going to make eggs but Michael’s was out of egg-shaped molds, so hearts it was!  The filling was 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter mixed with 2 teaspoons melted Earth Balance and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  The coating was a 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips melted with 1 Tablespoon coconut oil.  The cups had a really good texture, but you could taste the coconut oil a bit, so I’d reduce it next time.

all packed up for shipping

I made the Ultimate Vegan Brownies from veganbaking.net to send to my mom for her birthday.  There are a few steps to the recipe, but it’s so worth it – they are by far the best vegan brownies I’ve ever had.  They’re the perfect mixture of fudgey and cakey and crumbly, and even have the desirable crunchy top.

We went to a San Francisco Giants tailgate for Dave’s cousin’s birthday, so I brought cupcakes – yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting and white and orange sprinkles for the Giants fans.

I’m not a horseracing fan, but Dave and some of our friends are, so we had a little gathering for the Kentucky Derby.  I made Wolffie’s Derby Pie from La Dolce Vegan.  The filling starts as something like a dough, with flour, margarine, sugar and flax seeds, which you then combine with chocolate chips and walnuts.  It’s probably one of the richest things I’ve ever made, and so delicious.

Comments (3)

Thanksgiving 2012 – Dessert

I should probably conclude my Thanksgiving posts before, oh, next Thanksgiving.  So, here’s dessert!

One of our guests was bringing pies from a local bakery, so I didn’t need to make much.  We thought that something small and chocolatey would be a nice foil to the typical fall desserts, so I made truffles.

We wanted to have multiple flavors (to be the most fancy), so I made a giant list of all the possible flavor combinations I could think of, probably about thirty or forty.  We settled on hazelnut espresso, amaretto, and black forest – a coffee flavor, liquor flavor, and fruit flavor.  I used a different color candy cup to tell them apart.

I used this recipe as a base, and they were incredibly easy, rich, and delicious.  For the hazelnut espresso flavor I added instant espresso powder and rolled them in toasted chopped hazelnuts.  For the amaretto truffles I subbed the liquor for some of the liquid, and rolled them in toasted almonds.  The black forest truffles had chopped dried cherries and butter extract, and were rolled in cacao powder.  I was worried that the cherries would be chewy, but after they sat overnight they had a buttery texture and melted along with the chocolate.

I eyeballed everything, and luckily they all turned out wonderfully!  They kept well for days in the fridge too.  After dinner we discussed which flavor was everyone’s favorite, and it was pretty evenly divided across the board.

I wanted something more substantial for my main dessert, so I also made Oh She Glow’s Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream, which I had been meaning to try since she posted it about two years prior.

Nobody else tried any since there were like four pies and a million truffles, which was fine.  More for me!

The cake was deliciously spiced, with a dense but moist crumb.  The frosting had a LOT of pumpkin pie spice, but it wasn’t overly spicy.  Since the cake had very intense ginger flavor, the buttercream stood up perfectly.  Highly recommended!

Comments (1)

Home & Away for the Holidays

I showed you parts of my Christmas dinners last time, so I figured I’d write about the rest of my holiday eats.

We were eating fairly early in the afternoon on Christmas Day, so I made one light appetizer, mini quiches.

I used FatFree Vegan’s Mini Crustless Tofu Quiche recipe for the base, with red bell pepper and fresh basil for Christmas colors, and baked them in phyllo cups.  I also added a bit of kala namak to make the flavor more eggy.

Dave made steak for our guests, and I handled the side dishes.

Wild Mushroom and Cipollini Salad with Horseradish Dressing, from the Candle 79 Cookbook.

For the obligatory potato dish I sauteed a LOT of garlic in a good bit of Earth Balance, then tossed in halved cooked potatoes and sprinkled with fresh parsley.  These were some of the best potatoes I think I’ve ever made!

My plate, with Gardein Beefless Tips and corn.  I though the flavor of the beefless tips was good, but that the texture was a little soft inside to eat them on their own like this.

I had Candy Cane Jo Jo’s on the mind (and a box in the pantry), so for dessert I made a chocolate mint pie.  The crust is your typical cookie crust, made with the Jo Jo outsides.  The filling  used the recipe for Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding Pie from Vegan Pie In The Sky, with chopped up bits of cookies mixed in.  For the topping, I used a box of Healthy Whip and mixed in some pieces of the cookie filling which were left over from making the crust.

The pie set up quite nicely, and was both very chocolatey and minty.

A few days after Christmas, I flew to Florida to hang out with my family in Anna Maria Island.  Of course, I did the requisite research before going by googling “Anna Maria Island vegan”, but…there really wasn’t much info available.  I wasn’t too worried through, because the  house we were staying in had a kitchen and there was a Publix on the island, so I knew I’d at least survive.

Upon picking me up from the airport though, my dad told me that he had seen a sign outside of a restaurant that actually said vegan on it.  And it was a barbecue restaurant!

Mr. Bones is a really interesting little restaurant; they had a coffin full of beer, odd masks all over the walls, Asian specialties in addition to their barbecue menu, and a whole separate page of vegan food!

I started with the appetizer sized peanut noodles, which surprised me by being served cold.  The flavor of the sauce was really nice and a little spicy.

While the veggie burger sounded really good, I couldn’t pass up the General Moe’s Watercress, sauteed with garlic and ginger and served over curried rice.  The dish was a little oily for my tastes, but I was really happy to be able to eat a giant plate of vegetables.

Mr. Bones even had a vegan cobbler on the dessert menu, but I was far too full to give it a try.

The next morning, I ate overnight oats that my mom had made.  Mom’s the best, she brought chia seeds on vacation!

Lunch was a nice wrap with hummus, peppered Tofurky, cucumber and greens.  I ate a few of the Terra Chips on the side before I read the label and realized they weren’t vegan…oops…I guess I wrongly assumed all Terra Chips were vegan.

That afternoon I walked down the dock to the river and hung out with some fish friends, and that evening, as a present, I cooked a four course dinner for my family.

First, I spent a few hours making a giant mess of the kitchen.

I went with kind of a Moroccan-spiced theme for the meal.  The appetizer was Tangy Morrocan Carrots, pita chips and hummus.  The little dish in the upper left was for my sis-in-law, who I found out doesn’t like cilantro.  The carrots are steamed then left to marinate in the fridge, and I thought they were a nice, light way to start the meal.

Next up was the Wild Rice Salad with Oranges & Roasted Beets from Appetite for Reduction.  To go with the spice story (should I trademark that phrase?), I added ground cumin and coriander to the dressing, which was a nice touch.  I really liked the texture contrast between the wild rice, crisp lettuce and buttery beets.

For the entree, I chose Moroccan-Spiced Chickpea Cakes with Red Bell Pepper-Curry Sauce and Apricot Chutney from the Candle 79 Cookbook, which I talked about in this post.

Lastly, dessert was spiced chocolate fondue with bananas, strawberries, and pretzel rods.  I used this Rachel Ray recipe as the base, basically heating soy creamer and adding chocolate chips until it was the right consistency.  I also added some ground cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper to spice it up.  This was the perfect dessert to have right at the end of a meal, because it only took a few minutes to prepare.  Through rigorous trial and error, my brother and I figured out that the best bite was strawberry and banana together.

The next day was my sister-in-law’s birthday, so we headed to Sarasota to hang out at the Mote Aquarium.  The first order of business was lunch at The Old Salty Dog, which has the cutest mascot ever.

I was surprised to find a salad on the menu that was vegan as is, no modification needed!

The Chickpea & Edamame Salad came with corn, dried cranberries, cucumber, tomatoes and Greek dressing, and it was mighty tasty.  It was going to be a long afternoon, so I got some fries too to fuel up.

At the aquarium, I got to see this ugly mug.

…and learned that manatees have gas.

Dinner that night was the ol’ side salad and baked potato at a local bar and grill, but afterward we got to the good stuff.

A Candy Cane Jo Jo cake for sis-in-law’s birthday.  I added mint extract to a basic chocolate cake recipe, and mixed cookie crumbles into a can of vegan Duncan Hines frosting.

And just like that, my trip to Anna Maria Island was sadly over.

Comments (7)

My Final Presentation: Cooking For Vegan Children

For my individual final project at Bauman College, I was required to choose a specific health conditions on which to write a report and give a cooking demonstration.  My report was supposed to include a “brief” description of the condition, a 5-day menu plan, a few recipes and recipe costs.  Then, we were to give a 45 minute demonstration, preparing two recipes and showing cooking techniques and presentation abilities, as well as providing nutritional information.  There weren’t any health conditions I was really interested in reporting on, so I asked the program coordinator if I could choose cooking for vegan children, and she approved.  I chose this topic because it’s something I really knew nothing about, and at the time there wasn’t much good, consolidated literature on it.  Of course, this was before The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Eating For Kids came out.  I haven’t read the book, but I imagine it holds a lot of the same information I came across in my research.  I can also recommend Raising Vegetarian Children as an excellent resource.  While the title says vegetarian, the book is really vegan and generally against dairy and eggs.

Because I really didn’t know anything about cooking for children, I dove into the research, using vegan, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian resources.  My report ended up being not-so-brief; it’s 22 pages including biography.  For how long I’ve been out of school and away from writing in an academic manner, I was pleased with how it turned out.  I feel that it was comprehensive enough to be a good basic guide including solid nutrition information, but not overly detailed.  I am still in no way an expert, but here is a link to my report if you would like to read it:  Cooking For Vegan Children

Edited to add:  A reader pointed out that the nutritional yeast is missing from the ingredients list of the soup recipe in the report.  If you make the soup, be sure to add about 3/4 cup nutritional yeast when you blend it! The recipe listed below is correct.

(Explaining to visitors that the stack of books on my desk about raising and feeding kids was just for research was interesting for a while!  I got some funny looks.)

My demonstration also went well.  My audience (my classmates) felt a little cold to the topic at first, as none of them were vegan and they probably don’t agree with the idea of raising a child on a vegan diet, but as I started to cook they asked some questions and opened up as I answered and offered my opinions.  Once I made sure that they knew I wasn’t trying to tell them that children should be vegan, but instead that they could, everyone was cool with the topic.  We were only required to prepare two recipes, but I chose simple recipe and went for three, just because I enjoy challenging myself.  I came in at 45 minutes exactly, including plenty of time for discussion.

It was fun choosing the menu plan and recipes for my report.  I think sometimes as chefs and foodies, we get so caught up with fancy stuff like reductions, infusions, ethnic cuisines, garnishes, etc., so it was fun to step back and think of food like a kid would.

Chocolate-Avocado-Chia Pudding
by Erin Weldon

2 Tbs chia seeds
1 Haas avocado
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1 cup unsweetened, fortified non-dairy milk
2 Tbs agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

1. In a spice grinder, grind the chia seeds into a fine powder.
2. Place all other ingredients (avocado flesh through salt) in a food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.  Add the ground chia seeds and pulse a few times to combine.
3. Transfer the mixture into four ramekins or small serving dishes.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and serve cold.

Servings: 4
Yield: 2 cups

Amount Per Serving
Calories 160.09
Calories From Fat (49%) 77.78
Total Fat 9.19g 14%
Saturated Fat 1.37g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 108.4mg 5%
Potassium 338.57mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 18.64g 6%
Fiber 5.54g 22%
Sugar 10.67g
Protein 3.92g 8%
Vitamin A 65.4IU 1%
Vitamin C 3.81mg 6%
|Calcium 46.73mg 5%
Iron 1.03mg 6%

picture from an old post

Full Meal Muffins
Adapted from Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann

1 cup spelt flour
1 cup quinoa flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 ripe bananas, peeled
3 Tbs blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup apple juice, plus more as  needed
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs ground flax seed
1-2 carrots, shredded, to make 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped or ground
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly oil a muffin tin and set aside.
2. Combine flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together.
3. Place the bananas, blackstrap molasses, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and flax seed in a blender and blend until smooth.  Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, then fold in the shredded carrot, walnuts, and raisins.  Add a bit more apple juice if needed to wet all of the dough.
4. Divide the mixture evenly into the muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes or until the top springs back to the touch.  Remove muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
5. Store in an airtight container or freeze in individual freezer bags to eat as needed.

Yield: 12 muffins
Serving size: 1 muffin

Amount Per Serving
Calories 164.6
Calories From Fat (23%) 37.6
Total Fat 4.41g 7%
Saturated Fat 0.4g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 276.77mg 12%
Potassium 350.17mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 29.08g 10%
Fiber 3.51g 14%
Sugar 8.1g
Protein 4.06g 8%
Vitamin A 1140.22IU 23%
Vitamin C 6.64mg 11%
Calcium 111.54mg 11%
Iron 1.84mg 10%

Broccoli Cheez Soup
Adapted from The Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak

1 large potato, diced
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup vegetable broth or water
2 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15.5 oz can
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 cup unsweetened, fortified non-dairy milk

1. Place the potato, carrot, onion, and vegetable broth in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place the broccoli florets in a steamer basket and line a pot with water.  Cover, bring to a boil and steam for about 5 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork.
3. Place the remaining ingredients (chickpeas through milk) in a blender and add the cooked vegetable mixture along with any remaining broth or water.  Puree until completely smooth.  Pour the blended mixture into a clean soup pot.  Stir in the steamed broccoli florets and warm the soup over low heat until hot.  Do not boil.  If the soup is too thick, add some additional milk or broth to achieve the desired consistency.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Serve warm.

Servings: 5
Serving size: 1 cup

Amount Per Serving
Calories 260.13
Calories From Fat (27%) 70.13
Total Fat 8.08g 12%
Saturated Fat 0.87g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 742.84mg 31%
Potassium 505.68mg 14%
Total Carbohydrates 36.53g 12%
Fiber 9.35g 37%
Sugar 2.27g
Protein 14.36g 29%
Vitamin A 3673.92IU 73%
Vitamin C 42.05mg 70%
Calcium 92.64mg 9%
Iron 2.48mg 14%

The feedback on the recipes was generally good – the class LOVED the muffins.  Some people thought the soup was a little too nutritional yeasty, but what can I say?  I love me some nutritional yeast.

I’ve got one more post up my sleeve relating to Bauman, and then you won’t hear me talk about it any more!

Comments (10)

Decadent Breakfasts & Laptop Lunches

I woke up Saturday morning feeling as one feels the morning after one’s friends have come into town and bought one shots.  On a scale of 0 = no hangover to 10 = the worst one I’ve ever had, I was somewhere around a 3, which is really not so bad.  Anywho, the very first thing I thought when I woke up was that I wanted a “decadent” breakfast.  Decadent is not a word I use, nor an adjective I wish to describe my life (which it certainly does not), but apparently it was a breakfast I wanted.  So I made Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bran.  BF was borrowing my camera to craigslist some furniture, so you get a cell phone shot that is unworthy of the true deliciousness.

I like to plop pb on my oat bran right when it’s done cooking, that way when you stir it in it melts a little.  Some bites are more pb than anything else, and obviously, those are the best bites.  I left the banana chunky and used crunchy pb in this cause I like the texture, but mashed banana and smooth pb would be really good too.  This decadent breakfast is actually really good for you!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bran

1/4 c oat bran
1/2 c rice/almond/soy milk
1/4 c water
banana, chopped
handful chocolate chips
pinch of salt
1-2 Tbs peanut butter

1.  Combine oatbran, milk and water in a microwaveable bowl.  Microwave 1 minute.
2.  Stir in the banana, reserving some for garnish.  Microwave another minute.
3.  Stir in the chocolate chips and salt; microwave another minute.
4.  Stir again, and if a thicker consistency is desired microwave one more minute.
5.  Put the pb on top, and garnish with banana and extra chocolate chips.  Stir before eating.

Sunday morning I woke up with a hearty hunger.  I had been contemplating biscuits and gravy since I had biscuits to use up in the freezer.  I also though I had half a package of Morningstar chick’n strips, so I was thinking white peppery chick’n gravy.  Turns out they were steak strips, and so I made steak gravy.

It doesn’t make for the prettiest picture, but the gravy was so good!  I used the Easy Gravy recipe from Hot Damn & Hell Yeah as a reference.  I subbed rice milk for some of the water, added a dash of vegan Worcestershire sauce, used copious amounts of salt and black pepper, and threw in chopped “steak” at the end.  My singular complaint is that it took FOREVER for the gravy to cook down.  Like, over an hour.  Maybe my roux wasn’t as roux-ish as it was supposed to be, I’m no roux expert.  Even with the wait, this meal was well worth it, especially to use up more bits from the freezer.

I’m starting to freak out a bit about moving.  NEXT WEEK.  Until now it was some thing in the future that I had plenty of time to plan for.  Now it’s next week.  I had a really hard time falling asleep last night.  Partly because we watched the third Lord Of The Rings movie (which was really awesome, but far too action packed for just-before-bedtime), and partly because my mind started obsessing over all the stuff that’s still in my apartment that I can’t take with me.  It’s okay though, there are some people coming by tonight to hopefully by furniture, and I’ve set Friday as the date to cart off all the smaller stuff to Salvation Army.  Until I move it will continue to be simple eats for me, such as dinner from Saturday night.

There was a free preview of some MLB package going on, so we watched baseball all day and grilled lunch and dinner.  Lunch was an uneventful veggie burger.  Dinner was a prepackaged herbed tofu steak with mushrooms, grilled asparagus, a hedgehog potato (stuffed with minced garlic, salt and pepper – first saw the idea here), and grilled zucchini with red onion leftover from lunch.  The grilling gods were not smiling upon us, I think it took over two hours to complete this meal.  So I guess it wasn’t really that simple.  It was mostly due to the Publix Greenwise charcoal we tried to use – It would blaze for 15 minutes or so, then completely die.  We had to finish the potatoes in the oven.

Since there’s been so much on my mind I haven’t been keeping up with laptop lunches.  I still take a lunch every day, but more often I have been throwing stuff in tupperware instead of taking the time to arrange it.  Here are a few from last week.

7-15  chickpea cutlet & tomato parmesan, cherry tomatoes, spaghetti marinara w/
almond parmesan, roasted green beans, peach slices, blackberries

7-16  lima & edamame succotash, onion rings, ketchup, fig bar, blueberry muffin

7-17  bulgur pilaf, cucumber tomato salad, spaghetti marinara w/
almond parmesan, gherkins, dried apples & pineapple

Comments (28)

Potluck Brunch & Laptop Lunches

Janeen invited many lady friends over for a potluck brunch yesterday.  Yeah, I just had brunch with her last weekend but I guess she needed more lady company.  You can never have too much lady company, or too many mimosas in said company’s presence.  Well, I take that back.  You could certainly have too many mimosas.  We generally run out of champagne before we enter the danger zone.

Janeen suggested ideas of things to bring for those less potluck-obsessed than I, and of course quiche was on the list.  I’ve made good vegan quiche before from some random recipe I have filed away, but I set my sights on this quiche from the PPK blog, with the little bits of broccoli.  I had visions of my tofu quiche being way better than any eggy quiche that might dare to show up.  Of course, nobody else did quiche, but those who tried mine were complimentary.

quiche

I was momentarily worried it wouldn’t set up properly, and tempted to throw in a tablespoon of cornstarch just for guarantee, but then I remembered that pretty much all of Isa’s recipes are great and that I could trust her.  After baking it was still soft inside, but it definitely did set the way it should.

I also wanted to make something sweet, and settled on Double Chocolate Muffins from La Dolce Vegan.  I made them minis so we could go back for seconds and not feel bad.  These turned out well, although in this case I’m not sure where the line is between muffin and cupcake.

muffins

After not packing any lunches last week, I realized I never posted them from the week before!  So here they be.

6-16- lunch

6-16 orange “beef”, rice pilaf w/ tomatoes, grilled eggplant, zucchini & squash,
chipotle bbq kettle chips, fig bar

6-17 lunch

6-17 cottage cheez w/ half a pear, shredded carrot, squash & zucchini w/ balsamic vinaigrette, broccoli & green pepper w/ goddess dressing, gluten-free crackers, mambas candy

6-19 lunch

6-19 green-wa, roasted okra & tomatoes, mashed avocado, gluten-free crackers, fig bar

6-20 lunch

6-20 green-wa w/ green pepper, roasted okra & tomatoes, cottage cheez w/
diced pear, canteloupe balls

We did get to play wiffleball, but not till yesterday, and I hit a walk-off home run against bf’s pitching, so let’s not talk about it anymore.  I have restaurant foods to post, and will try to do so later tonight when I am at home where the pictures are.

Comments (8)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 250 other followers