Sunday, December 22, 2013

Banana Walnut Bread

It seems to me that I am always buying bananas.  With the best of intentions of course.  I intend to eat them while they are nice and yellow and fresh.  I do not like to eat them when they are speckled and too ripe.  It rarely happens though that I am able to eat them all.  So they end up super ripe, peeled and placed in a gallon size plastic bag in the freezer, which continues and continues to accumulate.  Oh sure, some get used for green smoothies (for me) or strawberry banana smoothies(for the hubby), but there is always way too many in the freezer.  A few days ago I decided to reorganize my freezer and came across that big bag of frozen bananas and decided I was going to make some banana bread out of them.  I put the plastic bag on the counter in a big bowl and let them thaw out for a couple hours - until they were mashable.  Then I went over to one of my favorite vegan food blogs Oh She Glows, and made her Banana Bomb Muffins - minus the bomb part and used unbleached flour - not whole wheat.  Always so good!  Hubbs and I were definitely happy with the bread, and I was happy that my tiny freezer was that much less full.  Until the next time I have a bag full of frozen, super ripe bananas ....

Beautiful loaf of banana bread!

So moist and yummy!



Thursday, December 19, 2013

GF Testing: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake

I have been doing quite a bit of testing lately for my future business.  The menu is coming along great.  The only thing I really need to work on is the baked goods  Those always seem to be the most difficult items to test, because they require such expensive ingredients, they get thrown away if they don't work, and is impossible to eat for one family, let alone one couple.  Hubby doesn't always like to take my sample baked goods to his job for his coworkers, because he has the crazy idea that his coworkers are going to get to the point that they expect treats from him whenever they see him and it is such a pain for him whenever people constantly tell him how great the baked goods were.  I definitely get a smile out of each time he tells me when someone compliments the things I make.

Anyway, I decided I needed to test my gf baked goods, and since I just bought a huge tub of organic peanut butter from the coop, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to make a peanut butter chocolate chip cake.  And it turned out great.  Very fluffy and moist.  Not gritty or strange tasting at all.  My only complaint, as with all gf items I make, is that the shelf life is very small.  Like 3 days,  I would love to figure out something to add the the cake to give it a greater shelf life, beyond freezing that is. 

Beautiful Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cake.

Nice and moist and delicious!



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Eggplant and Soy Chicken with Brown Rice and Mixed Green Salad

The one thing I miss a lot about being away from NY, is the ease in finding vegan "meat" products.  There is a really great food coop here in Michigan that carries a ton of amazing, healthy, organic products, which I love, but I sometimes just really crave vegan chicken and other "fake" meats!  And they only carry veggie burgers, seitan, etc.  I remembered that there was this tiny, funky little health food store called Edson Farms that I literally had not been to for over ten years, and after finding out that it was still in business, I rushed over.  I remember that store carrying a ton of soy meat products.  After running over to the freezer section where those fake meats used to be, I was shocked to discover the same selection of veggie burgers and loaves that the coop carried.  There were only two packages of vegan "chicken strips" left in the freezer, which I immediately grabbed, for fear someone would take them, and rushed home. 

This just all goes to show how much I took for granted living in NY and the accessibility of really anything I wanted at any point.  Oh sure, I can and likely will order some fake meats online, but it was so much more fun and so much more interesting to be able to walk into a vegetarian supermarket and be able to purchase almost every item in there replicating all kinds of meats.  I was soooooo spoiled!  The whole reason I was wanting the soy chicken anyway was to make soy chicken and eggplant, a dish I used to get delivered to my apartment in Brooklyn all the time - pretty much every day I had off.  It was so delicious and I miss the ease and freedom of being able to pick up the phone and have something literally delivered right to my door.  So I found the soy chicken, had a couple Japanese eggplants in my fridge and made this dish.  It was out of control good!  Now I'll just have to have some soy chicken delivered and make this delicious dish again!  Yum!

Looks just like it did from Zen Vegetarian!

Omg, crazy good!

The whole delicious meal.  Just like in Brooklyn!

8 oz. soy chicken strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 small Japanese eggplants, halved and sliced on the diagonal
1/2 red onion, julienned
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons mushroom soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup filtered water
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1.  Place one tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium sized saute pan over medium heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the soy chicken strips and saute till browned and crispy.  Set aside.
2.  In the same pan over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Once the pan is hot, add the onion  and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until beginning to soften.
3.  Add the eggplant and saute, stirring frequently for several minutes.
4.  Place the lid on top of the pan and lower the heat slightly, allowing the eggplant to steam.
5.  After about 5 minutes of steaming, the eggplant should have softened.
6.  Add the mushroom soy sauce, filtered water, black pepper and red pepper flakes.  Cook for a couple minutes, or until the water evaporates about halfway and the sauce has thickened.
7.  Season to taste.  Serve over brown rice.  Enjoy with a nice side salad.  That's it!



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Vegan Broccoli Cheese Quiche

Quiche is something I used to love eating when I was simply vegetarian.  And it was always something that took a little bit more time, but was so worth it and such a great thing to make with guests.  I have made quiche several times since becoming vegan, but they have never really turned out so great before.  I think a lot of it had to do with the crust always being too health-foody.  I found a recipe for a quiche on the Oh She Glow's blog (I am a huge fan!) and decided to try it.  It was certainly the best vegan quiche I have made before, but it needed a little something extra.  So the next time around I made it, changing and adding a couple things, and it came out amazingly!  So delicious!  And who doesn't love broccoli and cheese? Yum!

Isn't this the most gorgeous thing ever?

Omg, I wish I could eat this again, after looking at the picture!

Base recipe from Oh She Glows website with the following changes:

-used homemade "buttery" crust
-blanched the tofu before blending - and blending it while warm
-used yellow onion
-didn't use: mushrooms, chives, basil, sundried tomatotes, spinach
-added an extra 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
-used 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-added 2 tablespoons cashew butter to make creamy
-added 1/2 teaspoon vegan boullion powder
-used 1/2 bunch of broccoli, blanched and cut into small pieces, folded into the mixture after it thoroughly blended
-added 1 cup of shredded mozzarella-stlye daiya
-baked for 45 minutes - anything less resulted in a too-soft texture

That's it - and it came out crazy good!



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Savory Vegan French Toast

 My Hubby and I differ quite a bit on what we like for breakfast, especially since we moved away from New York and due to the fact that he is not vegan (read - he loves eggs).  When we were in NY and had access to fresh plantains, yucca and other amazing Spanish foods, we would eat those most days.  Those things are not so easy to find here in Northern Michigan, and when we do find them, they are very costly and not super fresh.  Most of the time, Hubbs and I will choose a savory breakfast over a sweet one, even eating sandwiches sometimes.  But sometimes I just want some American-style breakfast - like pancakes, waffles, (tempeh) bacon, etc.  But when I make those suggestions, he groans. 

Then one day when I was looking through the freezer to see what we had, I noticed we had a ton of bread (Hubbs gets bread for free from his job when the expiration date is close and we just pop it in the freezer).  I hadn't had French toast in a long time - basically since I was a kid living back home.  I made the suggestion to Hubbs, and he was kind of grossed out, but intrigued.  He had one request though: don't make it sweet.  Not sweet?  I thought about it for a while and decided it was a great idea.  I came up with a batter to dip it in and it turned out pretty good.  After making a couple adjustments, it came out great and this is one of our go-to breakfasts - something we can both agree on.

Nicely Spicy with Cool, Tangy Sour Cream

Serves: 5-6 slices, about 2

Multigrain Bread - 5-6 slices
Olive oil/canola oil

French Toast Batter:
1/2 cup chickpea flour
3 tablespoons unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 pinches black pepper
2 pinches cayenne pepper
2 pinches chipotle pepper powder
pinch of each onion and garlic powder
1/2 cup water

vegan sour cream

1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, unbleached flour, baking soda, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chipotle powder, onion and garlic powder.  Whisk together until combined.
2.  Add the water and whisk together to form a batter.
3.  Place a medium saute pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon or so of the olive oil or canola oil.  Allow the pan to become hot.
4.  In the meantime, make an assembly line of the bread, batter and a clean plate.  Dip each piece of bread in the batter, being sure to evenly coat both sides.  Place up to two slices of the dipped bread onto the clean plate. 
5.  Once the pan is hot, place both of the dipped slices of bread carefully into the oiled pan.  Allow each side of the bread to cook for a couple minutes per side, or until golden and crispy.  While the French Toast is cooking, continue dipping both sides of the bread until all of the batter and bread is used up. 
6.  Once all of the dipped bread has cooked through, place two slices on a plate, cut each piece in half and top with the sour cream and hot sauce or salsa.  That's it - simple and crazy delicious!



Friday, November 29, 2013

Steamed Romanesco

I am Gorgeous!

Last Sunday my Husband and I attended a vegan potluck with the TC Vegans.  I believe we have gone to three of the potlucks so far since we have moved to Michigan, and this one was definitely the best so far.  So much tasty vegan food!  I made a couple tasty things too.  An Israeli cous cous salad (recipe coming soon) and Peanut Butter Cream Pie.  We also had some vegan gf lasagna, sweet potatoes, homemade baked beans, a sort of enchilada casserole and I'm sure a couple other things I am forgetting.  One of the lovely ladies there made a tasty stir-fry using romanesco and was talking about how much she liked the vegetable.  I told her I wasn't a fan of the vegetable and she gave me a piece of it raw, before she added it to her stir fry.  I was pretty sceptical, but tried it, and was pleasantly surprised by the flavor - a cross between broccoli and cauliflower.  Perhaps the one I tried all those years ago wasn't super fresh?  I was fortunate to have the Hubby bring one home from work and decided to try it again.  But since Thanksgiving was so close, I didn't want to make something super involved.  So I simply steamed it and tossed it with olive oil and sea salt.  It was very simple and tasty!   Hubby thought it was a little plain, so he added some tamari and red pepper flakes.  Simple and tasty - I'll definitely have to make something out of it again, once I feel more like cooking after the Thanksgiving food coma goes away!

Simply Steamed

Steamed Romanesco:

1 head romanesco, separated into florets
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Seasoned Salt, Red Pepper Flakes, Tamari, Chipotle Pepper as desired

1.  Steam the romanesco in a steamer basket over boiling water till just tender.  Remove from steamer basket, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt (or other desired toppings). 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Vegan "Shrimp" in a Creamy Sauce, Tomato "Cheese" Salad, Steamed Broccoli

One of the last times I went to the store May Wah in Chinatown in Manhattan, I looked at their board with posted sales.  It's usually the most random and strange veganized items you could imagine - like lamb, duck and shrimp - all vegan mind you!  So the shrimp were on sale and I decided on a whim to purchase them.  Years back, when I was still eating seafood, I had this delicious shrimp in a garlic cream sauce that I remember being out of this world.  I thought that would be a delicious thing to try to mimic. 

Since my husband still eats seafood, I decided I would just tell him that I was making a shrimp dish when he asked.  He thought that sounded good and I kept up the charade that it was "real" shrimp until I served it up.  When I put it in front of him, he looked at it a little strangely and asked me if I was sure it was shrimp.  I couldn't keep a straight face and ended up laughing a little hysterically.  I told him yes it was real shrimp - real vegan shrimp that is.  Way too funny!  He was very suspicious and kind of grossed out and took a tiny bite.  I have to say those things look way realistic and the texture was creepily reminiscent of how I remember shrimp being.  Hubbs thought the texture was similar, but the taste not even close.  I agreed that the taste was a bit strange - kind of sea-weedy.  It's probably not something I would buy again, but it was definitely fun and the sauce was crazy delicious!

Creamy Sauce, Fresh Crispy Broccoli and Yummy Tomato Salad

 Serves 3-4
1/2 package bowtie pasta, cooked until al dente

"Shrimp" in a Creamy Garlic Sauce:
1/2 package vegan "shrimp", thawed & cut in half if desired
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons earth balance
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-2/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup unsweetened mimiccream
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Tomato "Cheese" Salad:
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup daiya mozarella-style vegan cheese, chopped into cubes
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Steamed Broccoli:
1 head broccoli, separated into florets, hard outside of stems peeled
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and black pepper to taste

1.  Prepare the tomato and cheese salad first.  It comes together very quickly, but definitely is better after marinating for a little while.  In a medium bowl, add the chopped tomato, chopped daiya, a splash of vinegar and olive oil and sea salt and black pepper.  Toss well to coat.  Taste a piece of tomato and add more vinegar and salt if necessary.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate while preparing the rest of the meal.
2.  Bring a medium pot with a bottomful of water and a steamer basket inside, to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, carefully remove the lid and place the prepared broccoli inside.  Cover with the lid and allow to steam from 3-5 minutes, or until broccoli is cooked to your desired texture.  Once the broccoli is cooked, turn off the heat, remove the pot from the stove and place the broccoli in a bowl until closer to the time when dinner will be served.
3.  While the broccoli is steaming, start your sauce for the shrimp.  In a deep saute pan, add the olive oil and earth balance over medium heat.  Once the earth balance has melted, add the minced garlic.  Allow the garlic to slowly cook.  Do not allow it to become crispy or overcook.  It is preferable that the garlic have a slight raw flavor than a crispy, overcooked flavor.
4.  Increase the heat to medium-high and add the white wine - remember, never pour directly from the bottle, like you see Chef's on tv doing it - that is extremely dangerous!  The flame can leap inside the bottle, causing the contents to catch on fire, exploding the glass bottle in your hands.  Always pour the wine into a cup before adding it to the pan.
5.  Allow most of the wine to cook off.  Lower the heat back to medium.  Add the mimiccream, sea salt and black pepper.  Whisk together  and allow to cook for a couple minutes.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings - you may need to add more earth balance to give it a rich, buttery taste.  Add the shrimp into the sauce and keep warm over very low heat.
6.  Finish the broccoli: in a medium saute pan, add the olive oil and allow it to become hot.  Once it is hot, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant and beginning to crisp.  Add the cooked broccoli and sea salt and black pepper.  Toss to coat in the oil and garlic.  Season to taste.
7.  To serve: place a portion of the pasta on the plate and top with the shrimp and sauce.  Place a serving of both the steamed broccoli and the tomato salad and serve.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pasta With a Creamy Sauce, Steamed Broccoli

Do you ever crave super super simple things to eat?  Sometimes I find myself going through these phases where I only want some pasta with a creamy white sauce and either a steamed veggie or seasoned veggie on top.  This is one of those times.  I was very hungry, didn't feel like making something complicated or time consuming in the least and wanted really simple flavors.  So this tasty pasta came to mind.  I have my Mum to thank for this, because the base of the sauce came from her.  She taught me how to make a basic white sauce so long ago, and it comes in handy so often!  It is a kind of base for a vegan bechamel sauce, for a white sauce for a pizza or lasagna, pasta, or really anything at all.  So this is for you when you're feeling like eating simple tasty food, and are not in the mood to make something complicated or time consuming.  But still tasty!

Pasta with a Creamy Sauce, Steamed Broccoli:

Creamy Sauce with Yummy Steamed Broccoli

8 oz. desired pasta shape, cooked

1 head broccoli, separated into florets
extra virgin olive oil to coat
sea salt to taste

White Sauce:
4 tablespoons earth balance
2 tablespoons unbleached flour
2 cups unsweetened soymilk
3 tablespoons vegan cashew parm, or as desired
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.  Bring a large pot of salted, oiled water to a boil.  Drop in the pasta and cook until al dente.  Scoop the pasta out with a large slotted spoon.  You'll want to keep the boiling water to blanch your broccoli in.
2.  While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.  In a medium pot, add the earth balance over medium heat.  Once the earth balance has melted, add the unbleached flour, whisking together immediately, and continuing to cook until golden in color.
3.  Once the flour has cooked slightly, add the unsweetened soymilk, vegan cashew parm, sea salt and black pepper.  Whisk immediately or the flour will seize, creating a lumpy sauce.  Continue cooking over medium heat until the sauce has thickened and flour has cooked all the way.  Season to taste, adding more parm, salt or pepper as desired.
4.  While the sauce is cooking, submerse the broccoli in the boiling pasta water and cook for about one minute, or until softened but still crisp.  Drain, discarding the water.
5.  Toss the steamed broccoli with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.
6.  To serve, toss the cooked pasta in the sauce, coating evenly.  Place a serving in a bowl and top with the blanched broccoli.  Top with fresh cracked black pepper or additional vegan cashew parm. 


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mustard Sage Seitan, Tostones, Marinated Beet & Simple Salads

At this point in the season, most everything is out of our garden.  The only things remaining are some kale, beets and onions.  Hubby and I took it upon ourselves to finish harvesting everything from the garden and start preparing it for storage.  We dug up the onions and allowed them to "dry" for a couple days in our garage.  The beets were dug up as well, trimmed and allowed to sit for a couple days.  The kale has been sorted and placed in a big bag in the fridge, until I have some time to clean it, dry it and freeze it.  My mom also has a couple trees that produced nuts this year - very exciting!  So we picked heart nuts for a couple hours in the cold; searched for hazelnuts on the branches and the ground - and found 8!  This is the first year that tree has produced and we are definitely going to enjoy those nuts! 

We were also afforded the amazing opportunity to go to our neighbors and pick apples from her trees for free.  Such a generous woman!  She and her husband are in their late 70's, in the beginning stages of failing health and are unable to pick the apples themselves - and really wouldn't use them anyway.  We picked a ton of them!  We plan to make lots of pies and crisps and freeze the rest of them.  Exciting!   After picking all of those amazing things from off and around our property, I was really craving eating those beautiful beets.  And they were crazy delicious!  Seriously  - they taste nothing at all like they taste in the store - even as fresh as I have been able to purchase them.  So sweet, earthy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!  Yum!  We were also able to make it to the local Spanish food store and bought a couple plantains to fry up.  Delicious dinner!

Comfort food and healthy salads all in one!  Yum!

Mustard Sage Seitan:
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons filtered water
1 tablespoon tamari
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed in fingers
2 tablespoons white wine
1/2 teaspoon agave

4 large pieces seitan, homemade or store-bought

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  
2.  Place all of the marinade ingredients into a medium mixing bowl: the mustard, olive oil, water, tamari, black pepper, garlic, sage, rosemary, white wine and agave.  Whisk together very well until combined.  The taste will be strong before baking, but it will tame down after baking.  
3.  Slice the seitan into large slices and place in the bowl with the marinade.  Gently toss the seitan in the dressing and carefully place into an 8x8" baking pan.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until most of the marinade has been absorbed into the seitan.  
4.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.  



Monday, November 4, 2013

Yucca, Brazilian Braised Kale, Chickpea Artichoke Salad

While deciding what to make for dinner, I decided to make a couple recipes out of the billions of cookbooks I have.  I found the chickpea artichoke salad from the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook, which I love.    The other recipe I got out of one of my many cookbooks was the braised kale, which came out of Viva Vegan.  I have made several of the recipes out of that cookbook, some successful and some not.  It's a beautiful collection of recipes, but I also have my Dominican Hubby here to give me ideas first-hand into traditional Spanish food.  The good thing about getting recipes/ideas from him is that his recipes are all meat-based.  (Hubbs is not vegan or vegetarian at all.)  This does force me to be a little more creative, yes, however, it makes me understand the food a little more and the flavors I am trying to mimic and create.  I am always asking him about new ideas he has for food his mom used to make for him back home, and he has been giving me great feedback lately.  So I have a lot more ideas for tasty Spanish food coming up.  Until then, I have Viva Vegan and a lot more time to experiment and test!  

Yucca, Brazilian Braised Kale, Chickpea Artichoke Salad:

So much delicious food!

2 medium yucca, waxy outer layer peeled, sliced in half lengthwise and cit into 2-3" lengths

Simple Salad:
romaine lettuce
scallions, chopped
carrots, peeled and julienned
lime vinaigrette or preferred dressing

Brazilian Braised Kale:
1/2 bunch large kale, chiffonnaded  (leaves rolled into cigar shape and thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil (you can use whatever kind of oil you want)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, small diced, about 3/4 cup
1/4 cup filtered water
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
3/4 teaspoon vegetable boullion powder
pinch black pepper

Chickpea Artichoke Salad:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cooked chickpeas
4 cloves garlic, minced
7 artichoke hearts, squeezed of excess moisture and cut in half
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or additional, as desired
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1.  Prepare the yucca first.  Place yucca in a medium pot over medium-high heat and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook until yucca can be easily pierced with a fork.  Drain and return to pot, cover with lid and keep warm.
2.  While the yucca is cooking, prepare the Chickpea Artichoke Salad: in a large pan add the olive oil over medium heat and allow to become hot.  Once the oil is hot, add the chickpeas and cook for about 10 minutes, or until very browned and crispy, stirring periodically.  Add 1 teaspoon more of the oil and add the minced garlic.  Cook for a couple minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining ingredients:  the artichokes, toasted almonds, lemon juice, sea salt and parsley.  Stir to coat the chickpeas and season to taste. 
3.  Prepare the braised kale.  In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil and allow it to melt.  Once it melts, add the chopped onions and cook for several minutes, or until fragrant and lightly golden in color.  Add the minced garlic and cook for several minutes, or until fragrant.  Working in batches, add the chiffonaded kale to the pot, stirring constantly until it wilts and you can add more to the pot.  Continue until all of the kale fits in the pot and it has all wilted.
4.  Add the water to the kale and stir to coat.  Add the seasonings: the liquid smoke, boullion and black pepper, stirring to coat.  Season to taste. 
5.  Prepare the simple salad as desired.
6.  To serve, place a serving of each of the items on the plate: the cooked yucca, braised kale, chickpea artichoke salad and the simple salad.  Eat!  Yum!  (Keep in mind that once the kale is refrigerated, it will harden because of the coconut oil.  So, don't try to eat it cold out of the refrigerator like I sometimes do  - make sure to heat the kale thoroughly before eating, so that the coconut oil melts sufficiently.)



Monday, October 28, 2013

Public Class: Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy Free Cakes & Cake Decorating

I was recently going through the thousands and thousands of food pictures on my computer after our move and discovered a bunch of photos from classes I taught before leaving NY.  This is a vegan, gluten free, soy free cake and cake decorating class I taught at NGI.  I unfortunately don't recall what each of the cakes are, but they certainly look delicious!  And a lot of the time, when I look at a particular cake, I remember the student that decorated it.  And it brings back happy memories of a great time in my life.  Enjoy the pictures of these lovely, tasty cakes. 

I remember this cake was made by an 11 year old boy taking
the class with his mother.  He has gluten allergies and his twin
sister does not, so this was a great opportunity for him to make
something that he could do for his birthday.  So nice!

And this one was made by his mother.

This is half of a couple that attended together.  I believe the class
was a gift for the lady.  And she made this cake as a Thank You.

The top of this one almost looks like a pie.  Love it!

A sample plate of all the cake flavors.  Yum!



Friday, October 25, 2013

Mashed Potatoes with Corn Gravy, Mustard Sage Seitan, Steamed Broccoli, Simple Salad

I made this meal after browsing through the seemingly millions of cookbooks I have, and landing on Horizon Cafe's cookbook.  I looked through everything in the book and went with this recipe because I had the majority of the ingredients on hand and it seemed easy enough to make.  I was really curious about the corn gravy, thinking that there was no way I would really like it, but what the heck, as I keep telling myself, it is my impossible goal to make almost all of the recipes in the cookbooks I have, so another recipe down!  While I was making it, I was looking suspiciously at the corn simmering in the liquid and trying to imagine it as a gravy, but couldn't.  Same thing with the seitan.  I tried the marinade before it was cooked and was a little turned off - it was pretty strong.  But, I have learned that whenever you have a marinade that you whisk together and pour over a protein, and it includes an oil that has to be emulsified, the sauce will become nice and thick, which in and of itself makes a damn good sauce! 

When I placed the plate of food before both the Hubby and I, I was debating about telling him the names of the foods.  I was thinking I should just say, here's some baked seitan and potatoes and gravy and get on with it.  He wouldn't ask any questions and would dig right in, saying his usual "It's delicious honey, thank you".  But, of course I never learn to do that, so I told him I made Mustard Sage Baked Seitan and Mashed Potatoes with a Corn Gravy.  After looking at me a little strangely, then looking at the plate strangely, and giving everything a not-so-delicate sniff, he started eating.  After taking a bite of each the seitan and the gravy, he looked at me, surprised.  Then, after quickly skimming off and eating all the gravy from his potatoes, he holds up his plate and asks for more gravy.  He has never done that before with gravy.  Never!  So I knew it had to be ridiculously tasty, and was it!   Yum!  He ended up getting another serving of the potatoes and dousing it with the gravy.  Good choice of recipes to test!  I will definitely make both of these again!  So tasty!

Mashed Potatoes with Corn Gravy, Mustard Sage Seitan, Steamed Broccoli:

Serves 4

Corn Gravy:
1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups corn, thawed if frozen
4 ounces white wine
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon vegetable boullion powder
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed with your fingers
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Steamed Broccoli:
1 head broccoli, cut into florets, thick part of stem removed, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
pinch garlic powder
1.  While the seitan was cooking, I prepared the corn gravy.  In a large pot, add the olive oil over medium heat and allow it to become hot.  Once it is hot, add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, or until golden and softened.  Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.  Add the corn and saute for an additional 5 minutes, or until the corn has browned.  Add the wine to deglaze the pan and allow it to reduce by half.  Add the water, boullion powder, sage, thyme, paprika and black pepper.  Allow this mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes.
2. Working in two batches, blend the mixture for several minutes, or until completely smooth.  Pour the gravy back into the pan with a mesh strainer on top, stirring until all of the gravy goes through.  The fiber from the corn is all that will be left in the strainer.  Discard and repeat with the remaining gravy.  Season to taste (it should taste amazing!) Cover the pot with a lid and keep warm.
3.  Prepare the broccoli.  Place a steamer basket in a medium sized pot over high heat, filling the bottom with water. Cover the pot and allow the water to come to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, add the prepared broccoli, covering the pot again.  Allow the broccoli to steam for a minute or so, checking its doneness by poking with a fork.  Cook to desired tender-crispness.  Place in a serving bowl and toss to coat with the olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and pinch of garlic powder.  Season to taste.
4.  To serve, place a portion of the mashed potatoes on the plate, creating a well in the center where the gravy will go.  Place a portion of the  gravy on the mashed potatoes (believe me, you will be back for more!).  Arrange a portion of the seitan, steamed broccoli and simple salad on the plate as well.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gluten Free Private Class: Chicago

Before moving away from New York, I taught a private class for a family that lived in Chicago.  They had three girls that were gluten free with several other allergies, including soy, dairy, eggs, nuts and probably a couple other things I am forgetting.  It was such a great experience to be invited into somebody's home as an educator and help the family learn to prepare the dishes for one another that they have not had in so long.  The mother told me stories about how her children felt bad going to parties or get togethers because they were not able to enjoy the same snacks and treats as the other children and would feel left out.  So we were sure to make recipes for cookies, muffins, brownies loaves and other goodies that they could make and bring with them or simply have at home.  It was such a nice experience and I just wanted to share some photos from that time.  I love how the three girls were willing and happy to help during the class- not just their mom.  We made so much food and desserts it was crazy.  I think her freezer was definitely full for quite a while after that!

The local gluten free store, run by an eccentric lady (not the
one pictured).

Sandwich bread with a design from one of the girls.

Gluten free pizza to suit everyone - some with just sauce,
some with veggies and some with veggies and cheese. 
Kids are too funny!

Crispy eggplant with homemade gf breadcrumbs

Homemade baguette made into garlic bread.  Sooo good!

Giant pot of marinara.

The sauce for a lemon chicken dish my client wanted.  The sauce was great!

Vegetable Rissotto

Cooked gluten free quinoa pasta

Quinoa Tabouli

The Lemon Chicken Potato Dish

Gluten Free, Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

The table

Giant Platter of Eggplant Parmesan

More food.

And more.

And more.

The seriously delicious plate of gluten free, vegan food.

The happy family.

A tasty chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

The girls were very happy to put edible glitter on the cake!

Chocolate Cake, Banana Bread, Brownies

Seeded Sandwich Bread

Chocolate Chip Cookies - delicious!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Delicious blueberry muffins