Monday, July 23, 2012

Broth in a Bag (and other tips)

 A while ago I posted a recipe for vegetable broth.  And while that recipe is still good I've found a much cheaper way to make broth.  You know all of those veggie scraps you throw out, like the tops of onions and the ends of asparagus spears?  Those have lots of flavor!  So save them from the garbage and get the full bang for your buck with your vegetables.  I keep a gallon bag in my freezer for vegetable scraps.  When it's full I dump the scraps into my biggest pot, fill it with water, add some bay leaves and peppercorns, and simmer for an hour or two.  And then I have homemade vegetable broth for super cheap.  I pour the broth into some Tupperware containers, stick it in the freezer, and then I have vegetable broth whenever I want.  In the bag pictured above I believe I had the tops of some onions, kale stems, asparagus ends, carrot peels, garlic nubs, Brussels sprout leaves, and probably a few other things.  On top I threw in a handful of fresh chives I had that I had no immediate plans for, as well as bay leaves and peppercorns.  I never salt my broth because I prefer to salt for the individual dish.  
While we're on the subject of saving money let me tell you that I am a coupon girl.  It's a learned skill from my mom.  I shop for sales and always try to combine with coupons.  But some of the prepared vegan foods that I enjoy are somewhat expensive and rarely go on sale.  So what did I do?  I e-mailed the companies directly asking them to send me coupons.  Amy's, Follow Your Heart, Daiya, Tofurky, and Van's all gave me positive response and I've already receive the coupons from Amy's, Follow Your Heart, and Tofurky.  These companies want your business so you should shoot them an e-mail as well.  Let me know who you get a positive reply from!  Are there any other vegan companies that you like that I've missed?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chopped Vegan Dessert Contest

When I heard that the Post Punk Kitchen would be hosting a Chopped Vegan Dessert contest I was incredibly excited.  But also kind of nervous.  I mean, how weird were they going to get with the ingredients?  But then I saw the four secret ingredients and I felt that this basket was meant for me.  I mean, beets?!  I'm Queen Beet.

My dessert using mangoes, beets, rice cereal, and unsweetened flaked coconut:

Mango Crisp with Coconut and Rice Cereal Topping, served with Beet Syrup and Whipped Coconut Cream
Beet Syrup:
  • 3-4 medium sized beets, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice

Crisp Filling:
  • 3 mangoes, peeled and cubed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Crisp Topping:
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • ½ cup brown rice cereal
  • ¼ cup oatmeal
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Whipped Coconut Cream:
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk, placed in the fridge overnight
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

For the Beet Syrup:
Using a juicer, juice all of the peeled beets.  In a small saucepan add the beet juice, sugar, and cinnamon stick.  Simmer for about 20 minutes until the consistency of thick syrup.  Stir in orange juice.  Set aside while making crisp.

For the Crisp:
Stir together mangoes, sugar, and vanilla.  Pour into 8 inch round cake pan.

For the Crisp topping:
Mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and brown sugar.  Cut margarine into the flour mixture.  Stir in coconut, rice cereal, and oatmeal until combined.  Spread the crisp topping evenly over the mango filling.

Place the crisp on top of a baking sheet to prevent spill over in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes at 375 until the top is golden brown.  Cool before serving.

While the crisp is cooling you can make the whipped coconut cream.  Carefully open the can of coconut milk without shaking it.  Skim off the full fat cream on top and place into a mixing bowl.  Add the powdered sugar to the coconut cream.  Beat with a hand mixer until creamy.  Spoon on top of cooled crisp and drizzle with the beet syrup.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Garlic Chive Biscuits

When I heard about the recipe contest for Earth Balance Mindful Mayo I knew I wanted to participate, but I really had no idea what to make.  You see, I really dislike mayo.  I seriously don't like it.  I have started warming up to things like potato salad, but seriously, it's really just not my thing.

But while searching the internet for inspiration I found a lot of recipes for cakes and other desserts.  So I knew if mayo could work in cake it could certainly work in biscuits.

I've also been trying to find a decent, quick and easy biscuit recipe for a while but nothing ever turned out right.  Until this recipe.  Which is amazing.  The first time I made them I spooned a generous serving of vegan sausage gravy on top.  Currently, I'm just snacking on one straight, warm from the oven.  They would also make a great dinner roll.  It's up to you.  Just promise me you'll try them.

Garlic Chive Biscuits:
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance Mindful Mayo
  • 1 cup Earth Balance soy milk
  • 2-4 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Preheat oven to 350.  Gently whisk together the dry ingredients.  Add the mayo and soymilk and stir until combined.  Fold in the chives.  Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and spray with a little bit of cooking spray.  Drop in batter evenly until about two thirds full.  Bake for 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown.  Serve warm.     

I think other herbs, fresh or dried, would be good to.  Feel free to experiment and let me know how they turn out!  Just don't forget the mayo.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Key Lime Pie

As a native South Floridian I'm pretty serious about my key lime pie.  I only ever use one recipe, my mom's, for a very simple reason: it's the best.  I almost never order key lime pie at a restaurant because I'm always disappointed; it's never as good as mine. 

However, the family key lime pie recipe is certainly not vegan.  As it has 4 ingredients and 2 of them are super not vegan (eggs and sweetened condensed milk) I never thought I would be able to veganize the recipe successfully.  I always thought I would just have to find an already vegan recipe.  Well, thankfully that turned out not to be true.  See, I knew replacing the eggs would be easy (silken tofu, duh).  But sweetened condensed milk?  There is no such vegan thing.  But one day as I was reading that a fellow blogger made homemade vegan sweetened condensed milk accidently.  What a happy accident.

Vegan Key Lime Pie:
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust (homemade or store bought, I certainly won't tell on you)
  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup pureed silken tofu
  • 2-3 ounces Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice
In a saucepan over medium high heat simmer the coconut milk and the sugar for 30 to 45 minutes, until thick and the consistency of sweetened condensed milk.  Let cool.

Preheat oven to 425.  In a mixing bowl whisk together condensed milk, pureed tofu, and the lime juice until combined.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Let the pie cool slightly, then place in the freezer for at least 6 hours.  Remove pie from freezer about 30 minutes before serving.  Slice and enjoy! (Be sure to put it back the freezer or you'll have key lime soup in a pie crust).

Yes, it's that simple.  And I really think the homemade condensed milk makes the pie even better, as the subtle coconut flavor goes so well with lime.  And soon I will have an even better version of this recipe: mini chocolate covered key lime pies.