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!