Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Vegan Raspberry Tarts with Vanilla Custard, Tangerine Caramel, and Chocolate Cookie Crust

Tangerine Caramel Sauce

1 cup almond, soy, or coconut milk (I used half almond, half coconut)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cane sugar
1 tablespoon organic corn syrup or brown rice syrup
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tangerines, zested and juiced.
1/4 teaspoon sea salt.

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized, heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. You want the mixture to stay at a low to medium boil for about 15 to 25 minutes. The time depends on how thick you want your caramel sauce to be. 15 minutes will give you a drizzly caramel at room temperature. 25 minutes will give you the kind of caramel you need to heat before drizzling. Once you have reached the desired consistency, remove from heat. Add in the tangerine juice, zest, and salt. Stir to combine. If you accidentally take your caramel farther than intended, you can add a little extra almond, coconut, or soy milk to thin it out.

Chocolate Cookie Crust

1/3 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance, room temperature
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (for gluten free, use your favorite all-purpose GF mix)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons almond, soy, or coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and the Earth Balance, until light. About 3 minutes. Add cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Mix to combine. Add milk and vanilla. You will have a fairly sturdy dough.

Press dough into desired tart pans. I used four 4-inch round tart tins. You can also make one large 9 or 10 inch tart. Using a fork, poke a few holes in the bottom on the crust to prevent air bubbles when baking. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Gently line the unbaked tart shells with foil. Place pie weights, uncooked beans or rice into center of foil lined tart shells to ensure they bake flat. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size of tart shells. Tarts are done when edges are lightly browned. Let cool.

Vanilla Custard

3 tablespoons corn starch3/4 cup cane sugar
1 cup soy milk
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Earth Balance

Combine corn starch and sugar in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in the coconut milk and soy milk. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, for about 7 to 10 minutes. Once the mixture reaches a boil, it will begin to thicken. Cook another minute or so. Add salt, vanilla, and Earth Balance. Stir to combine. Let cool.

To Assemble the Tarts

Spread a thin layer of tangerine caramel in the bottom on each tart shell. Add a layer of vanilla custard on top of the caramel. Top the tarts with fresh raspberries and tangerine zest. Drizzle with more caramel.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Vegan Vanilla Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (without an ice cream machine!)

Vanilla Cashew Ice Cream Base

4 oz cashews, raw unsalted
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup agave syrup
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise, seeds scraped)  or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional, for texture)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (or any other add-ins you would like)

2 different sized large Ziploc bags (1 small enough to fit inside the other)
3-6 cups of ice
1/4-1/2 cup rock, kosher, or table salt

If you have the time, soak the cashews in the water overnight. Alternately, you can simmer the cashews in  the water for 15 minutes, cool slightly. Either way, reserve liquid. I think in this case, I prefer the simmer method. The warmth from the cashew water helps dissolve the raw sugar.

Place cashews, water, sugar, agave, coconut oil, salt, vanilla bean seeds, and xanthan gum in a blender or food processor. Blend on high until completely smooth. I use my Vitamix and it makes the cashew base super creamy.

If you do happen to have an electric powered ice cream machine, you can use this base and follow manufacturers directions at this point. If not...

Pour ice cream base into the smaller of the two Ziploc bags. I could only fit about half of the ice cream base into my smaller bag so I did this in two batches. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal it tightly and securely. Place this bag inside the larger zip lock bag. Fill the larger bag with enough ice to surround the smaller bag, with a little bit of room for movement. Sprinkle the ice with the salt and seal the bag.

*The salt actually lowers the melting point of ice, essentially allowing ice to be even colder for longer. Ice cream needs to be surrounded by temperatures lower than 32 degrees F in order to freeze. When you add salt to the ice, the melting point becomes lower than 0 degrees F. Science!!!

Now its time to shake. A lot.

I recommend a round of your current favorite show on Netflix. It helps pass the time while you shake away. This definitely takes a bit of elbow grease and it is nice to have another person to take turns with. My sister and I even tossed it back and forth like a weird game of catch. The bag gets cold. Like REALLY cold. And there is a lot of condensation. Wrap the whole thing in 2 or 3 towels. Gloves make this even easier. But you basically want to keep it moving until the mixture becomes mostly solid. The movement inhibits the formation of ice crystals.

Ice crystals=grainy ice cream.
 No ice crystals=creamy smooth deliciousness. 

This will take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Once it reaches the desired consistency, remove smaller bag from ice and rinse off the salt water. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. You can either leave it right in the Ziploc bag or transfer to an airtight freezer safe container. Place into the freezer for at least an hour to finish the freezing process.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Vegan Cranberry Apple Mini Pies

The sweetness of apples mixes so well with tart cranberries in these vegan mini pies. They can be fried for a special treat or baked in the oven for a lighter version. Any filling can be used in these; peach, blueberry, cherry. Whatever you want!

For the filling:

1 1/2 cup diced apples
1/2 cup frozen cranberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine apples, cranberries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to medium low and cook for about 15 minutes until soft. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Let cool.

For the crust:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour*
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, cubed. (very cold)
3 tablespoons ice cold water

In the bowl of a food processor, add flour and sugar. Pulse to combine. Add cubes of cold Earth Balance. Pulse 12-15 times to incorporate the butter into the flour, careful not to over-mix. Add the water while pulsing. The dough should still appear quite crumbly even after adding the water. Squeeze a handful of the mixture in the palm of your hand. If it holds together, you have added enough water. If it doesn't hold, add another tablespoon and then check again.

Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out as many circles as you can using a biscuit cutter. You need an even number, 2 for each pie. Any size will work. Place 1-2 teaspoons of apple cranberry filling onto the center of half the dough rounds. Brush the edges with water or soy milk. This will help the top and bottom rounds stick together. Place the other dough rounds on top of the filling. Gently press the dough rounds together, making sure no filling seeps out of the sides. Using your finger, a fork, or the back of a spoon, firmly press the 2 edges together. Using a toothpick or fork, poke a few holes in the top of each pie.

If frying, heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry each pie for about 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.

If baking, preheat oven to 350 degress. Brush each pie with soy milk. Bake pies for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.

For both, let cool slightly first. Right out of the heat, the filling is like lava!!! 

*These can easily be made gluten free. Just substitute the regular wheat lour with your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour, like Bob's Red Mill.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Vegan "Cheezits"

These little crackers pack a surprisingly cheesy punch. I have made these in the past using soy or other types of vegan cheddar cheese which gives that classic bright orange color. But I do try to avoid the artificial vegan cheeses and don't often have them on hand. This recipe is quick and easy. Perfect for when you have a craving for something salty and crunchy. The only part that is mildly time consuming is cutting the dough into 1-inch squares. You can totally make these into large squares to make it easier! But making all those tiny little crackers is quite satisfying if you have the time.

Cashew "parmesan cheese" is something I always have on hand. I put it on anything from pasta, to vegetables, to pizza. I use 4 oz. of this cashew parmesan as the cheese element in these crackers, and the rest can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Cashew Parmesan Cheese

2 cups raw unsalted cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Roughly chop cashews in a food processor. Add nutritional yeast, mustard, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Continue to pulse until the cashew are finely chopped and ingredients are well combined. Careful not to over mix, you are not looking for a paste here. 

Vegan "Cheezits"

4 oz. cashew parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter, room temp. (I use the soy free, but any vegan butter works)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2-4 tablespoons ice water

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cashew cheese and butter. Mix on medium for about 1 minute. Slowly add flour. Mixture will be dry. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thin "cheezit" thickness. These won't rise too much. Using a knife or fluted-edged roller, cut into 1 inch squares. Place on baking sheet, careful not to overlap. Poke a small hole in the center of each cracker. Spray with a thin coat of olive oil cooking spray. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake for 10-15 minutes. These can go from done to burned very quickly so keep an eye on them. You want them slightly browned for a nice crunch. Let cool completely.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Vegan Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw and Cilantro Lime Sauce

The taco "meat" is a mixture of diced potatoes, ground nuts, and spices. Homemade tortillas, cilantro lime cashew cream, and a tangy red cabbage slaw come together to make a fresh and delicious taco.

Corn Tortillas

1 3/4 cups organic masa harina
1 1/8 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

Combine masa harina, water and salt until a smooth dough forms. Wrap and let sit for 30 minutes. Form into equal sized balls, 10 to 15 depending on size you would like.  Place  dough balls between plastic wrap. Using a tortilla press or the bottom of a bowl or pan, flatten the dough balls.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat with oil. Cook tortillas 1 to 2 minutes on each side. You don't really want to brown these. They should still be soft and pliable enough to pick up and fold without breaking.  

Taco "Meat"

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
1 small potato, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup water
1.5 cups raw unsalted cashews
1/2 cup unsalted walnuts
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 lime, juiced

In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium. Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute or so, careful not to burn the garlic. Add spices and potatoes. Add water, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor, add cashews, walnuts, soy sauce, mustard, nutritional yeast, and lime juice. Pulse until the mixture becomes the texture of ground beef. Add the nut mixture to the potato and onion mixture. Stir to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt, pepper, or more spices. Keep over low heat.

Red Cabbage Slaw

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 jalapeno, mined (keep the seeds for heat, remove them for a mild flavor)
2 to 3 radishes, chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, lime juice, and salt. Whisk. Add cabbage, jalapeno, radises, and cilantro. Toss to coat.

Cilantro Lime Cashew Cream

1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight in cold water (30 minutes in hot water if short on time)
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

In a blender or food processor (Vitamix works best), blend cashews with enough water to form a sour cream like consistency. Add lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Lightly blend. The Vitamix tends to heat up the mixture, so blending in a few ice cubes at the end helps to cool it down and thin it out further.

To Assemble:

Spread a layer of cilantro lime cashew cream on tortillas. Add a few tablespoons of taco "meat". Top with red cabbage slaw, avocado, diced tomatoes, and jalapeno. Finish them off with hot sauce and more cashew cream.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Vegan Granola with Mulberry, Chia Seeds, Cashew Cream, and Bananas

Cashew cream is one of the most versatile and awesome weapons in the vegan kitchen. It can replace sour cream, yogurt, even cream in your coffee. In this recipe I use it 2 different ways. One is flavored with mulberry jam and thickened with organic chia seeds. The other is flavored with crystallized ginger, banana, and orange zest. Both are layered between homemade granola, chock full of nuts and fruit.

(based off of Alton Brown's basic granola recipe)

1/2 any sweetener of choice (brown sugar, maple syrup, agave, etc.)
1/4 cup mild flavored oil of choice
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped cashews
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup unsweetened large coconut flakes
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cocoa nibs

Heat oven to 250 degrees F.

Combine oil and sweetener of choice. Mix together the oats, nuts, and coconut flakes. Pour oil mixture over oats mixture and toss to combine. Clean hands work best for this. Spread granola evenly among 2 baking sheets. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the granola is lightly browned and crispy. Toss every 15 minutes or so to cook evenly. Once cooled, toss in cherries, cranberries, and cocoa nibs.

Cashew Cream

1 cup unsalted cashews, soaked overnight
3 to 5 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons mulberry jam
1/2 banana, smashed
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon orange zest

Combine cashews and water in a blender. Mix on high until very smooth and creamy, adding more water if necessary. You are looking for a thick yogurt like texture.

Divide cashew cream in half. 

To one half, add chia seeds and mulberry jam, Mix well and let sit 15 minutes.

To the other half, add banana, ginger, and orange zest.

To assemble, layer granola with mulberry chia cashew cream, banana ginger cashew cream, and fresh banana slices.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Vegan Gluten-Free Gnocchi with Broccoli, Portobello Mushroom and Sage

Gnocchi are delicious little pillows of goodness. The 3 main ingredients are always  flour, egg and potato. But a very similar texture and taste can be achieved using gluten free and vegan alternatives. This recipe makes basic gnocchi but any herbs, spices or flavorings can be added right into the dough. These gnocchi can be tossed with any vegetables and sauce you want. I mixed mine with sauteed broccoli, portobello mushrooms, garlic and sage. A simple tomato sauce would also be easy and so tasty! Once the gnocchi are boiled, they can be tossed with sauce for a more traditional, soft gnocchi texture. In this recipe, I lightly browned them in some olive oil. These are best eaten right away, as they firm up the longer they sit. 

Vegan Gluten-Free Gnocchi 
(Serves 6)


1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 3 medium sized)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour mix (I used Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 teaspoon Ener-G egg replacer
1 tablespoon water
1/4 of an avocado
1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large onion, chopped
1 large portobello mushroom, cut into 2 inch pieces 
1 cup chopped broccoli
2 cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
2-3 tablespoons fresh sage

For the gnocchi:

Peel and cut potatoes into 2 inch cubes. Place in a large pot filled with cold, salted water. Bring the water to a boil. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.

Run the potatoes through a ricer. This helps to give the gnocchi a lighter texture. If you do not have a ricer, you can mash the potatoes by hand, they will still be good!

In a small bowl, combine the Ener-G egg replacer, water, and avocado. Mix together to form a smooth paste.

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, avocado mixture, gluten free flour, and salt. I find mixing this by hand to be the easiest! It should form a smooth dough, not sticky at all.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Working in small batches, roll the dough into dowels, about 1-inch in diameter. I find that with this dough, it is easiest to pinch it into the rope shape and then gently roll it to smooth it out. Cut into 1-inch gnocchi. Roll each gnocchi along the back of a fork to get those little grooves! This helps sauce stick to the gnocchi.

Drop the gnocchi into boiling water and cook for about 2-3 minutes until the gnocchi float to the top. Gently remove from the water.

(At this point, the gnocchi can be served as is, with any sauce you would like! But in this recipe, I brown them in a pan with olive oil.)

In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium. Add the gnocchi and cook until browned. Flip and brown the other side. Remove gnocchi from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add red pepper flakes to the oil. Add onions and cook until lightly browned. Add portobello mushrooms and broccoli. Saute for about 10 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Return the gnocchi back to the pan and toss to combine.

In a small saucepan, heat Earth Balance vegan butter over medium heat. Add the sage and let the butter just a touch. Pour over the gnocchi right before serving.