Posts Tagged dessert

Food For Sports

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that Dave and I like sports – we like inviting people over to watch sports, and we love going to games!  Here are some foods that we ate while watching or preparing to watch sports.

Our friend Tom is a biiiiig Green Bay Packers fan, so we were very excited for their final playoff game against the Bears.  (Yes, all the way back in January.)  We had some friends over and observed what we’re told is a Green Bay tradition.  Apparently, Packers fans bring chili to their tailgates, then mix all the chilis together in a giant pot.  We didn’t have a pot big enough to hold all the chilis, so we just mixed them in our bowls.  Well…everyone else mixed them, I just ate my vegan chili.

For an attempt at authenticity, I based mine on this recipe for Wisconsin Chili.  I used soy crumbles instead of meat, and the only other major change I made was to saute the vegetables before adding the rest of the ingredients.  This was a simple chili, and very tasty!  Even the meat eaters liked it.

I topped my bowl of hot chili with some shredded cheddar Teese.

Oh, yes I did.  I made a chili cheese dog, and it was amazing.  Carbs on carbs, mmmmm…

Imagine our delight when the Packers won and advanced to the Super Bowl!  Naturally, we had friends over for a Super Bowl party.  Aaron Rodgers vs. Ben Roethlisberger, to me, was practically good vs. evil, so I was rooting for the Packers big time.

Jake greeted our guests by the door.

I made a seven layer dip a la this post, and served it with Trader Joe’s Corn Chip Dippers, which are awesome.  I also put out some TJ’s Trek Mix with chocolate, which is also awesome.  All on a green tablecloth, of course.

Dave was preparing some sort of meat with baked beans and mac n cheese, so I put together a similar plate.

Buffalo Tempeh from Appetite for Reductions.  SO GOOD.  I will be making this again and again.

Mac and Trees, no trees, also from Appetite for Reductions.  I put some breadcrumbs on top and baked (overbaked) it.  Also so good!

Fantastic football dinner!

I made a Packers cookie cake!  Toward the end of the third quarter, when the Steelers were threatening to mount a comeback, we decided we needed to “consume the power of the Packers” in order to help, and we dug in.  Cookie cakes are always loved.  After The Great Cookie Cake Catastrophe of 2008, when I dropped a blob of icing on the top of the N in NY, I was very careful with the frosting, and so happy with how it turned out!  To make a cookie cake, I just prepare the chocolate chip cookie recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance then press the whole thing onto a round pan covered with foil, and bake maybe a bit longer than the recipe calls for.  The edges get chewy but the middle stays nice and gooey.  The topping is just regular buttercream; I used the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

I like to believe that the cookie cake aided the Pack in the win.  After football was over, we had nothing to do other than look forward to baseball season.  For the first baseball tailgate, we needed a cold side dish to go with some barbecue, and I went with potato salad.

I don’t think a picture of potato salad can really ever do potato salad justice, because this potato salad was super duper delicious.  I started with Betty Crocker’s recipe for Creamy Potato Salad and replaced the mayo with half regular Vegenaise, and half low-fat.  I left out the egg, obviously, and added some relish and fresh chopped dill.  You can never have enough fresh dill.

Perfect meal for eating in a parking lot – potato salad, grilled mushrooms and barbecue tofu.

I wanted to make a special dessert for our first tailgate of the season, and I had a crazy idea about making something with Cracker Jacks.  I googled it, and found out that rather than baking with Cracker Jacks, I could make cookies that taste like Crackers Jacks.

I veganized this Cracker Jack Cookie recipe, swapping out egg replacer for the eggs and using organic brown rice cereal instead of Rice Krispies.  I also added peanuts, because what good are Cracker Jacks without the peanuts?  Somehow, the cookies actually did taste a little like Cracker Jacks.  I don’t like shredded sweetened coconut at all, but it was fine in this cookie since there were so many textures going on.  The cookies spread a little more than I would like, so I want to make these cookies again with more binder, and I’ll post a recipe once it’s perfected.

Finally, I know the Kentucky Derby isn’t very vegan, but its official drink is.  Dave is a fan of horse racing, so he invited a few friends over for the derby and we mixed up some mint juleps.

Apparently there are a few different ways to make a mint julep, but I followed the recipe on the derby website.  It’s super easy.  You just make a simple syrup and chill it with fresh mint, then strain out the mint.  Put ice in a glass, add syrup, whiskey and fresh mint, and sip!  Seriously though, sip.  This is one strong beverage.

We don’t have highball glasses or julep cups, so we drank ours out of half-pint mason jars.  We’re classy like that.

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VeganMoFo: OBR Week – Choosing Raw

My last (but not least) stop for OBR week is Gena of Choosing Raw.  Gena eats and blogs about what some might consider a “high raw” diet, with lots of raw foods and a good measure of cooked, healthy, whole foods.  I really like Gena’s approach to nutrition and health – In fact, just today she expounded on her personal balance between raw and cooked foods.  She is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist, and she really knows her stuff.  While most of Gena’s posts are about food, she’s not afraid to write in-depth about her thoughts on vegan lifestyle, ethics and nutrition.

For my meal to really reflect the Choosing Raw philosophy, of course it had to be mostly raw!  I chose two recipes from Gena’s Autumn Dinner Party post, her Kale Salad with Red Cabbage and Carrots, and Beet “Ravioli” Stuffed with Sweet Root Vegetable Mash.  For dessert, I whipped up Basic Chia Seed Pudding.

First, the kale salad.  I would happily eat kale massaged with only olive oil and salt, so this was a step up in the world of kale salad for me.  The shredded carrot and red cabbage gave the salad a great crunch, while the smooshed up avocado made it all creamy and wonderful.  My only very minor complaint might be that it was a little too lemony for me, so next time I would 3 Tbs of lemon juice instead of 1/4 cup.  Surprisingly, this salad kept really well in the fridge for a few days.

Bad picture of good beet ravioli.  I was concerned that the filling would turn out too sweet, with sweet potato, agave nectar and cinnamon, but the turnip, coconut oil and dijon mustard kept the puree firmly in the savory world.  I had to add a bit of vegetable broth to get the mixture smooth, and it was still thick enough to sandwich between the beet slices.  While these ravioli were a little sloppy to eat, they were really delicious.  I ate some of the filling this way, some by itself, and some mixed in with oat bran for breakfast.

Raw-ish lunch, gettin’ cozy by the fire.

I was feeling very lazy the day I made this, so I ate the chia seed pudding out of the measuring cup I mixed it in.  I already loved chia seeds, so Gena didn’t need to convince me!  The pudding is easy to make; you just mix it all together and whisk every once in a while so that the seeds don’t clump.  My pudding tasted a little bitter, possibly due to the combination of stevia and vanilla extract, but it was still good.  Next time I would use agave nectar or maple syrup instead of the stevia, and maybe add some cocoa or pumpkin or something else extra.

Next week is Vegetarian Times week!  I’m hard at work preparing recipes from the last five years of Vegetarian Times.  Have a good weekend!

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VeganMoFo: Squashes, Pumpkins and Other Things Autumnal

Welcome to Vegan Month of Food!  If you missed my last post with my plans for VeganMoFo 2010, check it out.  I’m starting out by catching up on some stuff that’s been going on recently.  To get into the spirit of Fall, I’ve been eating as many Autumnal flavors as possible!


This is autumn millet, tempeh, roasted brussels sprouts and toasted pepitas.  I don’t know if I can adequately express my love for roasted brussels sprouts.  I could eat at least three times the amount pictured here in one sitting.  Love!  For the millet, I was inspired by Lilveggiepatch’s Autumn Millet.  I’ve never been a huge fan of millet, because I had never figured out how to cook it correctly, and now I think I’ve found the formula.  Some people say to use 2 cups water to 1 cup millet, which I think turns out underdone and crunchy, and some people say to use 3 cups water to 1 cup millet, which I think turns out wet and squishy.  So, I compromised and used 2 1/2 cups water to 1 cup millet and the texture was perfectly light and fluffy.  I also toasted the millet very well in a dry pan before adding the water, which I think is key.  The tempeh was simmered then quickly marinated in orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, cumin and coriander.  The toasted pepitas totally sealed the deal on this dinner.

When I first saw the frittata recipe from the VeganizeIt! column in the May/June issue of VegNews, I knew I would love it.  The description promised an eggy texture and taste from chickpea flour and kala namak, and while it didn’t seem extremely eggy to me, I did like it a lot.

I served the frittata with roasted pumpkin, cooked in coconut oil and spiced with garam masala and coriander.  I used leek in the frittata instead of the onion which was called for, just because I had a leek in the fridge.  I also reduced the amount of margarine from 1/4 cup to 2 Tbs, because I just didn’t see the need for that much margarine.  The frittata didn’t feel low fat even with the reduced amount, and I was particularly happy with the calorie count – under 150 calories for 1/6 of the whole pie!

I bought a block of Galaxy Vegan Cheddar to try out on some chili, and when I came across (never home) maker’s Smoked Pumpkin Chili I thought it would pair perfectly.  Verdict on the cheese:  It’s…okay.  It’s not better or worse than Daiya or Teese, just different, and I guess I would buy it again if I needed some cheese and it was available.  It did shred very easily, so that’s a plus.

Verdict on the chili:  Delicious!  The pumpkin puree made the broth wonderfully thick, and the smoked paprika gave it a great smoky flavor.  I added a few dashes of cayenne pepper, because my chili has to be spicy.  My only complaint is that the recipe didn’t include any actual chili powder, which to me is an essential ingredient.  I hope to make this soup again sooner than later, and I will probably add a tablespoon of chili powder when I do.

The latest East Bay Vegan Bakesale was last Saturday, and while I didn’t have time to bake for it, I made sure to stop buy and pick up a few goodies.  This is a pumpkin whoopie pie and a sweet potato muffin, and they were both fantastic.  I also bought a mini-banana muffin and scarfed it too quickly to photograph.  There were also brownies, giant cinnamon rolls, cookies, cupcakes and all sorts of other goodies on display, and I used my amazing skills of self-control to not buy it all.  Or, I was broke at the end of the month.  One of those…

For dinner tonight, I baked up a spaghetti squash then tossed the flesh with Vegan Dad’s Alfredo Sauce and some steamed spinach.  I’ve had some major let-downs in the alfredo department since going vegan, but this sauce did not disappoint!  I again reduced the amount of margarine called for, because I just can’t justify putting 1/2 cup of Earth Balance in something that I’ll be eating all by myself.  I can see how the sauce would be more rich with the full amount, but I don’t think it really suffered for taking out some of the fat.  I also reduced the amount of onion powder a bit, and added 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, because everything needs nutritional yeast.  On the side, I had some roasted beets and radishes.  Beets and radishes play surprisingly well together.

I’m so excited to read all of the upcoming VeganMoFo posts from bloggers around the world.  There are over 500 blogs signed up!  A full list will be posted here within a few days:  http://veganmofo.wordpress.com/blog-roll-2010/

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Showcase #2

Jeebus, I’ve been busy!  Between baseball games, a bachelorette party, a wedding, a going away picnic for Melisser, a fundraiser date at Souley Vegan and Beer Revolution, finishing up my externship, trying to exercise regularly and being really swamped at work, I have been a busy lady.  I have tons to catch up on here, so I’m hoping to start posting more often and get caught up to current.  Expect some long posts coming up!

I introduced the showcase in my last post – it was basically a catered dinner that served as our final group project for the Natural Chef program at Bauman College.  We started planning about two months in advance, and we were divided into committees – decorating, budget and shopping.  We were all involved in recipe planning and the cooking, and some students served as front of the house staff.  It was a lot of work and the entire class couldn’t agree on much anything, but in the end it all turned out well.

We went with a theme called “American Twist” and made updated, healthy versions of American classics.  All vegetarian and gluten free!

The Berkeley Bauman kitchen classroom isn’t the prettiest of rooms, so it was interesting trying to fancy it up on a budget.  We used a lot of things that we already owned, as well as flowers and plants from our yards.

Setting up during the day.

Guests – Dave and our friend Matt are in the back of the room.

The class, with out showcase instructor, Chef Lizette.

Ed Bauman’s wife Chris Bauman came and took lovely pictures while we worked.  (These pictures are published as a student, with her permission.)  She spent a lot of time in the front of the house and I was in the back cooking, so this is the only picture of just me.  I am very serious about sauteing these tempeh meatballs!

On to the important part – the food!

Our “welcome beverage” was my recipe for Green Ginger Ale.  The color is so beautiful, and it tastes fantastic!

Green Ginger Ale

(recipe scaled for 10 servings – to make a lesser amount, divide all ingredients by 3)

3 oranges, peeled
3 green apples, quartered and cored
3-inch piece ginger
3 cups spinach
20 oz sparkling mineral water

Juice the oranges, apples, ginger and spinach.  Combine with sparkling water and serve immediately.  One serving is 1/2 cup juice plus 1/4 cup sparkling water.

We decided on passed appetizers versus plated, so that we’d have less plates to wash!  The first appetizer was my Tempeh Meatballs with Maple BBQ Sauce.  These received mixed reviews.  I absolutely love them (after testing many, many versions), but I think people who aren’t used to tempeh might not have been too into them.

Tempeh Meatballs with Maple BBQ Sauce

8 oz tempeh
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs water or Maple BBQ Sauce
1 1/2 Tbs wheat-free tamari
1 Tbs arrowroot
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 recipe Maple BBQ Sauce (recipe below)

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Cube the tempeh and simmer it for 15 minutes.  Drain and let cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Place the dried sage, thyme, marjoram and fennel seed in a spice grinder and grind into a powder.
4. Finely crumble the tempeh into a large bowl.  Add all remaining ingredients, including ground spices, and mix very well.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
5. Roll 1 Tbs of the mixture into a ball, and repeat with the rest of the mixture.
6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Line the skillet thinly with olive oil.  Place some of the meatballs in the skillet, being careful not to overcrowd, and saute, shaking the pan occasionally, until slightly browned.  Repeat with remaining batches, adding more oil as needed.  Dip the meatballs in the Maple BBQ Sauce to thinly coat, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes.  Dip the meatballs in the sauce again and bake for another 10 minutes.  Serve immediately, topping with more sauce if needed.

Servings: 6
Yield: about 24 meatballs

Maple BBQ Sauce

28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup organic, sugar-free grape juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 Tbs vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
12 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a medium saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring often.

Servings: 12

It was prime asparagus season at the time, so we wanted to be sure to incorporate asparagus with these asparagus pesto-stuffed mushrooms.  We based the asparagus pesto off of a recipe found online (might have been this one), and we tested a vegan version and vegetarian version with Parmesan.  The class preferred the one with cheese, so that’s what we used.

We chose to combine the soup and salad courses into a “soup, salad and sandwich” combination.

This is Roasted Cauliflower Bisque, Chopped Salad with Honey-Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette, and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (raw gouda and caramelized shallots on gluten-free brioche).  The cauliflower soup wasn’t vegan as originally proposed, but they ended up making it vegan.  I don’t know what they switched out for the butter – probably oil – but here is the original recipe for you to veganize if you want.  I was glad I got to try the soup – it was fantastic!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

1 head garlic
3 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 Tbs butter
3 medium onions, diced
4 tsp sea salt, divided
6 medium heads cauliflower, chopped
1 gallon vegetable stock, divided
2 bay leaves
fresh ground pepper to taste
3-4 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
truffle oil to drizzle
fresh thyme leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice the top of the garlic head, exposing the cloves.  Drizzle 1 tsp olive oil over garlic and wrap tightly in parchment.  Bake upright in a small baking dish for 30 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

On three large, rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment, spread cauliflower pieces in an even layer.  Drizzle evenly with 2 to 3 Tbs olive oil.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until cooked through and slightly golden.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions and 1 tsp salt.  Saute for 5 minutes, until translucent.  Add cauliflower, garlic, bay leaves and 3/4 of the vegetable stock.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

Using a high speed blender, puree cauliflower-garlic mixture until smooth, working in batches.  Return puree to pot, add remaining vegetable stock, remaining salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 5 minutes until heated through.  Stir in lemon juice, nutmeg and paprika.  Ladle into bowls.  Drizzle with truffle oils and garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

Yields:  36 servings

The salad was so pretty!  It was also not vegan, so I never got to try it, but I can imagine it was very tasty.  It’s easily veganizable by swapping agave nectar for the honey, so here’s the recipe!

Chopped Salad with Honey-Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette:
1/4 c honey
1/4 c lemon juice
2 tsp chopped onion
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c olive oil
1 Tbs poppy seeds
white pepper to taste

Salad:
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp agave nectar
2 red onions, sliced very thinly
1 bunch kale, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 lb carrots (various colors – purple, white, red, yellow), matchstick cut
2 avocados, pitted and diced
1/4 c dried cranberries
1 cup diced apple (optional)

To prepare vinaigrette, place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend well.  Add pepper to taste.  Set aside or refrigerate.

To prepare the salad, start by marinating the onions.  In a medium shallow bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil and agave.  Add onions and toss to coat thoroughly.  Set aside for 30 minutes to marinate.  Meanwhile, place kale in a large bowl and massage with sea salt.  Rinse.  Run kale through salad spinner to remove excess water.  Toss Brussels sprouts in a bowl to separate layers.

To assembly salad, place kale, Brussels sprouts, carrots, dried cranberries and avocado in a large bowl.  Add vinaigrette, 1/4 cup at a time and toss salad.  Top salad with marinated onions and apple before serving.  Each serving can be plated using a ring mold.

Serves 8.

For the entree, we served a Sprouted Chickpea Burger with Arugula, Caramelized Onion and Fennel, Sweet Potato and Parsnip Oven Fries, Homemade Ketchup and Cashew Mayo.

And, to serve as a “milkshake” with our burger and fries, the much anticipated Orange Coconut Creamsicle.  This stuff is so rich and good that a very small serving will do.  A high speed blender is really helpful with the preparation.

Orange-Coconut Creamsicle

6 large oranges
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 drops liquid stevia
1 pinch sea salt

1. Refrigerate the coconut milk.  Supreme the oranges over a freezer-safe bowl, catching the juice.  Squeeze any extra juice into the bowl.  Freeze the oranges and juice overnight.
2. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Thin with water 1 Tbs at a time if desired. Serve immediately.

Servings: 4

Our dessert was this amaaaaaazing chocolate cream pie thingy, which the recipe writer named Almost Grammy’s Chocolate Cream Mini-Pie.  They played around with this recipe a little, but I do know we added some cardamom and maybe a pinch of cayenne to the filling, so feel free to experiment!

Almost Grammy’s Chocolate Cream Mini-Pie

Equipment required:  high speed blender, food processor, mini-cheesecake pans, piping bag with decorating tip

Crust
1/4 c amaranth flour
1/4 c almond flour
1/4 c coconut flour
1/4 c potato starch
4 Tbs date sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 c solid coconut oil (chilled)
4 Tbs water
2 Tbs ground flax meal

Filling
1 1/2 c coconut milk cream, skimmed from the top of chilled coconut milk
1 Tbs agar agar flakes
1/2 c cocoa powder, raw and unsweetened
2 Tbs brown rice syrup
2 Tbs date sugar
2 Tbs date molasses (Middle Eastern Sylan)
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt

Frosting
1 1/2 c raw cashews; soaked, sprouted and drained
1/4 c coconut cream, skimmed from the top of chilled coconut milk
1/4 c fresh orange juice
2 Tbs date sugar
4 Tbs solid coconut oil, chilled
3 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
4 whole cloves, ground
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch cardamom
pinch sea salt

Garnish
strips of orange peel
cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 350F.

[crust] Mix flax seed meal and water in a small bowl.  Set aside to thicken.

[filling] Mix 1/2 c coconut milk cream and agar agar flakes in a small sauce pan.  Set to very low heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until flakes dissolve completely.  The final mixture should have the consistency of light eggnog.

[frosting] Combine all the ingredients into a high speed blender.  Pulse and gradually increase speed until the cream is silky and thick.  You may have to use a spatula to assure all ingredients blend thoroughly.  Taste and adjust as needed, especially if orange juice isn’t very sweet.  Transfer to a container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

[crust] Combine flours, date sugar, cinnamon and salt in a food processor fitted with a dough blade for 1 minutes.  Add coconut oil and process for approximately 2 minutes until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add flax meal slurry and process for 1 minute more, until dough forms.  Press dough evenly into the bottom of each mini cheesecake form, about 1/4 – 1/2″ thick.  Blind bake for 15 minutes or until golden.  Set aside to cool completely.

[filling] Combine all the ingredients in blender or food processor.  Add agar agar and coconut milk mixture.  Blend until silky smooth.  Taste and balance flavor as needed.  Final mixture should have the viscosity of chocolate cake batter, but should be completely silky.

Once the crust is cooled, fill each mini cheesecake form to the brim and place in refrigerator to set for at least two hours or overnight.

To serve, remove each mini pie from the cheesecake pan and transfer to a plate.  Pipe frosting on top and garnish with orange peel and cacao nibs.

Yields: 12 mini pies

(not my hands)

Dessert, waiting for the signal to enter the dining space.  This was a great moment, because it meant we were almost done!  Except for clean up, of course.

The showcase took a lot of work.  And a lot of time.  And a lot of energy.  And it stressed us all out.  But in the end it went really well!  I definitely gained some experience in menu planning, recipe scaling and cooking in larger quantities.

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Homework #3

My third homework assignment for Bauman College was to come up with two recipes for breakfast and three recipes for dinner, including one with seaweed.

For some reason, I made one of the breakfast recipe incredibly complicated, with multiple components.  Luckily, most of them can be made the night before and you can throw it together for an easy breakfast in the morning.  This breakfast kept me full twice as long as my normal breakfasts.  If nothing else, try the avocado cream the next time you make Mexican – it’s ridiculously good!

Breakfast Fajita Bowls with Spanish Millet, Mango-Radish Salsa & Avocado Cream

1 cup pinto beans, soaked overnight
Spanish Millet
1 cup millet, soaked overnight
8 oz can tomato sauce plus water to equal two cups
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Mango-Radish Salsa
1 bunch radishes (8-9 radishes), finely diced
1/2 large mango, peeled and finely diced
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Avocado Cream
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1/2 cup water
1 medium avocado
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
Fajita Vegetables
1 Tbs high heat sunflower oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large bell pepper (green or red), sliced
1 medium zucchini. cut into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 paprika paprika
1 dash cayenne pepper
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Drain pinto beans and place in a medium pot.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, checking for doneness after 1 hour.  Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, drain the millet and place in a medium pot.  Pour tomato sauce into a 1-cup measure and add water to equal 1 cup.  Pour into pot with millet, then add another cup of water.  Add cumin, onion powder and garlic powder and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 tsp salt, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. In a small bowl, combine the radishes, mango, lime juice, chili powder, 1/4 tsp salt and chopped cilantro.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Drain the cashews and place in a blender.  Add 1/2 cup water and blend until mostly smooth.  Add the avocado flesh, lime juice and 1/2 tsp salt and blend until completely smooth.  Thin with extra water if desired.  Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
5. When all other components are ready, heat the sunflower oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the bell pepper, zucchini, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook for 4 minutes.  Add the spices and continue to cook for 6 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender.  Add the pinto beans and black pepper and cook just to heat through.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
6. To serve. place some of the millet in a bowl and add some of the vegetable/bean mixture.  Top with salsa and avocado cream and garnish with extra cilantro.  Serve with hot sauce if desired.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 767.94
Calories From Fat (35%) 270.96
% Daily Value
Total Fat 32.12g 49%
Saturated Fat 5.17g 26%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 865.43mg 36%
Potassium 1830.52mg 52%
Total Carbohydrates 99.92g 33%
Fiber 19.93g 80%
Sugar 14.08g
Protein 27.11g 54%

To go with my fajita bowls: spiced pumpkin seed milk.

Pumpkin Seed Milk

2 cups pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight
3 cups water
1/4 cup organic maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch sea salt

1. Drain the pumpkin seeds and place in a blender.  Add 2 cups of the water and blend until very smooth.
2. Add the third cup of water and the remaining ingredients and blend until everything is well incorporated.  Pour the mixture into a nut milk bag over a pitcher and squeeze all of the liquid out.  Discard the solids or reserve for another use.
3. Refrigerate the milk until ready to drink.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 148.66
Calories From Fat (35%) 52.29
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6.24g 10%
Saturated Fat 1.19g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 260.04mg 11%
Potassium 300.83mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 18.4g 6%
Fiber 0.19g <1%
Sugar 0.84g
Protein 5.95g 12%

The rest of my recipes turned out just okay, so I’m not sharing.  I’ll show you what they looked like though…

This was supposed to be napa cabbage rolls with dipping sauce, but I didn’t like how the rolls tasted, so it turned in to…

Butternut Squash Skillet with Rice, Beans & Almond-Miso Sauce.  Unfortunately,decent but not really worth repeating.

This is Gomasio Green Beans, my side dish with seaweed.  It’s good, but you don’t really need a recipe – buy or make some gomasio and toss it on cooked green beans.  Yum!

My third recipe is still a work in progress – a vegan, soy- and gluten-free cheesecake.  It’s been a really long time since I had real cheesecake, so I asked my coworkers to help evaluate.  The flavor was good, but the texture was too grainy, so I tried again.  The first one had a really nice persimmon sauce, and…

The second one got a simple strawberry sauce.  This one had a better texture but could still use some work.  If I get it perfect I will surely share it with everyone!

Now I will regale you with pictures a classmate took during the third section of classes.

For the Grains, Legumes, Nuts & Seeds class I worked on this Pecan Loaf with Creole Glaze, which we paired with mashed cauliflower.  Tasted better than it looked!

We also enjoyed Hearty Greens in Cashew Curry Sauce.

On Sea Vegetables day we started with Sea Vegetable Caviar, which was actually very good, although I couldn’t compare it with “real” caviar.  Check out the adorable lemon flower.

Ruby Slaw with Sea Palm, a lot better than it sounds 🙂

Sesame Yams with Arame

Italian Bean Soup with Wild Nori

And for dessert, Apple-Pomegranate Kanten with Cashew Cream.

We didn’t get many pictures from the Alternative Ingredients class for some reason, but these are the gluten- and sugar-free Banana-Nut Blueberry Muffins I worked on.

This is a very pretty deconstructed Vegan Caesar Salad.

Our Breakfast class was heavy on eggs, but I got to try this Homemade Granola with Fresh Almond Milk.

And Spiced Amaranth Porridge with Coconut Blueberry Topping.  Amaranth has become one of my new favorite things since then.

Vegetable Proteins class was awesome!  It was one of only a few classes where I could taste everything since everything was vegan.  This Asian Salad with Ginger Marinated Tofu and Almond-Sesame Dressing was topped by some of the tastiest baked tofu I’ve ever had.

A classmate garnished this African-Style Quinoa Stew with pretty leaves made from leftover leeks.

Cranberry Braised Tempeh

High-Protein Lentil and Millet Burgers with Cheesy Cashew Sauce

I was a little more at a loss for dinner after the Fish and Chicken classes.  While my classmates practiced their filleting skills I made Lemon-Scented Quinoa with Oyster Mushrooms and Snowpeas.

To help feed the other vegetarians (including our kitchen manager), I made an Asian-inspired tempeh salad using what I could find in the fridge.  It was really tasty for something thrown together at the last minute.

During Chicken class, I got to improv.  I made a salad which was good but nothing crazy impressive.  I put most of my effort into this dish, Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds with Chard, Lentil Puree and Frizzled Leeks.  That’s what I’m calling it at least.  The lentil puree was silky smooth (thank you Vita-Mix), flavored with worcestershire and champagne vinegar among other things.  The presentation was a little sloppy because I was rushing to finish on time, but the flavors really came through.

And finally, desserts.  I didn’t work on as many desserts as everyone else because many of them included eggs, but I did work on this Pumpkin Tart with Coconut Cream.

And this is Raw Fall  Fruit Cobbler with Cranberry Coulis.  One of the girls that was in my group that day is pretty wild with presentation (in a good way), so we let her do her thing and just provided persimmon stars.

I hope everyone had Happy Holidays and a great New Year’s Eve.  I’m a lucky duck – I get about two weeks off of both work and school, so I’m home now relaxing but starting to take care of business again.  I’m working on some projects for school, organizing the pantry (pictures to come if it goes well), and continuing to relax as much as possible (meaning not thinking about the mess of work that awaits me when I return to the office).

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Homework #1

For my Natural Chef courses at Bauman College, I have to turn in a homework assignment at the end of each section.  These homework assignments involve either creating or adapting recipes, preparing at least one of them (I prepare them all), and writing up some different reports such as health benefits, recipe scaling or cost analysis.  I won’t bore you with those drab details, but I do plan on sharing my homework recipes as school goes on.  I always like to give myself an extra challenge, so I am trying to create all my homework recipes from scratch rather than adapting.

For our first homework assignment, we were to create three recipe for one meal – either breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I chose dinner and used some ingredients that had arrived in my CSA box that week.

Multigrain Sesame-Beet Pilaf

I designed this recipe to make for dinner after work, thus the short soaking time for the grains.  If you have more time you can soak the grains for up to eight hours, although they may need less cooking liquid.  The flavor is earthy and almost bland in a good way.

1/4 cup long grain brown rice, soaked for two hours
1/4 cup millet, soaked for two hours
1/4 cup amaranth, soaked for two hours
1/4 cup quinoa, soaked for two hours
1/4 cup arame
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 Tbs minced fresh ginger
4 beets, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
greens from four beets, sliced thinly and rinsed
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs tamari
2 Tbs sesame seeds

1. Drain and rinse the grains separately and set aside.
2. Place the arame in a small pot and add just enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, turn the heat off, and allow the arame to soak for 15 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, Bring the vegetable broth or water to a boil in a medium pot over medium high heat.  Add the brown rice and ginger, stir, cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium low.  The water should be just barely simmering.  Cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add the millet, amaranth and diced beets.  Stir, cover and continue to cook for 10 more minutes.
5. Add the quinoa and arame.  Stir, cover and cook for 20 more minutes.
6. While the grains are cooking, place the sesame seeds in a small pan over medium heat, and toast just until fragrant and turning darker, shaking the pan often.  Remove from the heat.
7. When there are only a few minutes left in the cooking time, add the beet greens to the grains and mix well.  The greens will wilt quickly.
8. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil and tamari.  Serve topped with toasted sesame seeds.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 310.06
Calories From Fat (21%) 65.12
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7.54g 12%
Saturated Fat 1.33g 7%
Cholesterol 1.23mg <1%
Sodium 1191.41mg 50%
Potassium 778.37mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 51.19g 17%
Fiber 9.24g 37%
Sugar 5.81g
Protein 11.1g 22%

Spicy Daikon Slaw

2 medium daikon radishes
2 medium carrots
1 small head of red cabbage
juice of 1 small orange (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 Tbs agave nectar
1/2 tsp ground allspice
pinch ground red pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1. Place the vegetables in a medium mixing bowl.
2. Combine all of the remaining ingredients except olive oil in a small bowl.  Add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly.
3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix well.  Serve immediately.

Servings: 5

Amount Per Serving
Calories 143.53
Calories From Fat (53%) 76.27
% Daily Value
Total Fat 8.65g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.16g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 252.63mg 11%
Potassium 524mg 15%
Total Carbohydrates 16.6g 6%
Fiber 4.09g 16%
Sugar 8.92g
Protein 2.34g 5%

Asian Pear Crisp with Sweet Sake

300 ml organic sweet sake, or about 1 1/4 cups
1 Tbs agave nectar
4 asian pears, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 Tbs spelt flour
3 Tbs rolled or old-fashioned oats
2 Tbs virgin coconut oil, softened
2 Tbs Earth Balance, softened
pinch sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place five 5-6 ounce ramekins on a baking sheet.
2. Pour the sake and agave nectar into a small pot and stir.  Heat over medium high heat until boiling then reduce heat to medium.  Boil, stirring often, until liquid is reduced by 1/2.  Take off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
3. Place the diced pears in a medium mixing bowl.  Pour the cooled sake over the pears, and sprinkle the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg over the mixture.  Mix well.
4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the spelt flour, oats, coconut oil and Earth Balance.  Mix well.
5. Divide the pear mixture between the ramekins.  Spoon the oat mixture over each portion, dividing evenly.
6. Bake the crisps for 30 minutes, and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Servings: 5

Amount Per Serving
Calories 273.38
Calories From Fat (35%) 95.05
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.84g 17%
Saturated Fat 6.34g 32%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 106.22mg 4%
Potassium 195.3mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 26.96g 9%
Fiber 5.36g 21%
Sugar 10.15g
Protein 2.97g 6%

I had decided not to take any pictures during class so that I could focus, but luckily for me two of my classmates have taken it upon themselves to take pictures and share with the rest of us, so I will be able to share some of the dishes I am enjoying in class.  There wasn’t much from the first section though, as we were focusing on very practical things such as knife skills, sanitation and culinary math.  I will definitely include some school food pictures in future posts.

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Potlucks & Parties

This is gonna be another long one, so I’ll keep the text concise!  I present to you a collection of all food-centric events I have attended in the last few months.

In early September we celebrated Dave’s birthday.  We invited a bunch of people over and made a bunch of food.

The usual pretty veggie tray.

Tasty guac.

I usually like to go a little crazy with birthday cakes, but Dave requested vanilla with vanilla, so that is what he got.  Not my best decorating effort, but it tasted really good!

The next day I headed out to Dolores Park in San Francisco to meet with some PPKers for a Labor Day potluck picnic.  I had spent most of my time getting ready for the party, so my picnic donation was non-labor intensive – chili cheese dog casserole.  It was literally layers of hot dog bun, sliced veggie dogs, veggie chili and cheesy sauce baked in the oven, and it was actually quite good!  I didn’t get any individual food pictures cause it was kind of awkward since everything was on the ground.

First plate, clockwise from noon:  tofu noodle salad, bread with spinach dip, purslane potato salad, grilled tofu with pesto, chili cheese dog casserole, bbq black eyed peas, empanada, tempeh salad sandwich and corndog nugget with sweet and spicy mustard.

Dessert plate:  on bottom, orzo salad and chicken fried tempeh that weren’t there my first time through.  Cinnamon bun, apple pie, chocolate thumbprint cookie, banana bread, baklava, pear crisp and an oatmeal cookie.

It was a beautiful day with great food and great company.  Dolores Park is a very interesting place, full of interesting people.  We definitely saw one person get arrested!

We went to the Niners season opener, which meant tailgating.  Dave was making carne asada tacos, so I made a roasted corn coleslaw with chili lime dressing to go along.  The frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe’s was really good in it.

I also made marinated portobello tacos with grilled onions and peppers, hot sauce and cilantro.  This was a great tailgating meal.

I felt like doing a thematic dessert, and the best I could come up with was “Gold Rush Blondies”.  I forget which recipe I used now, but these tasty blondies had both chocolate and butterscotch chips.

The next weekend we were invited to a potluck birthday party for Dave’s uncle’s partner.  I wanted to take enough so that I would have a full meal if there wasn’t anything else I could eat.  I made Hannah’s Sesame Noodles, adding edamame.

I also made Fat Free Vegan’s Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches, but now I forget which veggies I used.  Some people said they couldn’t tell that it wasn’t “real” quiche.

The hosts have working on their house for years, and they have really great style and throw fun parties.  I joke with them that every time I go over there they’ve rearranged their furniture or bought something new.  Here we are hanging out in “the lounge”, which used to be a second bedroom that they’ve turned into a 70’s style hangout.  You can’t really tell from this picture, but this is a really cool room.

That’s me and Dave in the back and our friends Tom and Hope in the front.  They had some mighty powerful mai tais!

Last weekend I went down to Santa Cruz for a harvest-themed potluck at Amey’s house, again with the PPK crew.  The food was phenomenal, and I took lots of pictures!

Pretty salad

Pumpkin ziti

Stuffing

Persimmon spice pretzels

Potato coleslaw with cumin seeds

Buttercup gnocchi with mushrooms and butternut squash

Cranberry braised tempeh, and my terrible handwriting (recipe below)

First plate

Dessert!  Harvest pie with mooses

Amey’s beautiful caramels

Chocolate chip peanut butter banana bread

Puppy chow

Apple cake

Dessert plate, also featuring “Emporer’s Pie”, this amazing pie with vanilla-scented rum custard and satsuma curd.

Cranberry Braised Tempeh

The tempeh turns an interesting mauve color after marinating, but it is very moist and flavorful.  I adapted the recipe from the Bauman College Cookbook that we use at school, where it was adapted from the Delicious Living website.

16 oz tempeh
1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cups apple juice
2 shallots, chopped
1 orange, zested and juiced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cinnamon stick
2 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated, or 1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 pinch cayenne pepper

1. Cut each block of tempeh in half horizontally, creating two thinner rectangles of equal size.  Cut each rectangle into quarters, and each quarter into two triangles.  Place the tempeh in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, place the cranberries in a small pan and add apple juice, shallots, orange zest and juice, sea salt and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a boil and cook 15 minutes or until cranberries are soft.  Remove cinnamon stick.  Carefully pour the cranberry mixture into a blender and add the remaining ingredients (maple syrup through cayenne).  Blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. Place tempeh in a baking dish and pour cranberry sauce over the tempeh.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake the tempeh, covered, for 20 minutes.  Remove the cover and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.
5. Using tongs, transfer the tempeh to a serving platter.  Carefully pour the cranberry sauce into a saucepan.  If you wish, you can pour it through a strainer.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook until reduced to a saucy consistency, about 30 minutes.  Pour the cranberry sauce over the tempeh and serve.

Servings: 6

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/6 of a recipe (11.6 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 317.7
Calories From Fat (23%) 71.63
% Daily Value
Total Fat 8.57g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.76g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 440.3mg 18%
Potassium 910.97mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 48.3g 16%
Fiber 2.72g 11%
Sugar 13.18g
Protein 18.31g 37%

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