Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summertime Dessert!.....Vegan Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcake!

Who doesn't love strawberry shortcake?  Have some fun and throw in tart rhubarb and you now have a perfect and creative summer dessert!  Great for bbq's, pool parties and forth of July festivities!

I don't think you can ever ever EVER go wrong with anything strawberry-rhubarb.  It reminds me of my mom's strawberry rhubarb crisp.  My mouth waters just thinking about it.  So I guess I pretty much just took the filling of the crisp, and made it into a fruity topping for the shortcake.  Technically, I guess you would call the "filling" more of a compote
As for the shortcake, I used a great vegan recipe and cooked them in cupcake molds.  This would be a great idea for a party and have a little DIY station for guests to create their own.  Have the shortcakes out, the strawberry rhubarb in a bowl, and vegan ice cream or vegan whipped cream in a cooler.  You can even throw in some additional toppings to the station as well, get creative!!!  Coconut shreds or chopped walnuts would be good!

Vegan Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcake
Ingredients/Directions: serves 10-12 ppl

for the filling/compote:

1 quart basket of strawberries, washed and quarter sliced
about 3-4 stalks of rhubarb, washed and chopped
1/2 lemon juiced
1/4 c sugar

In a sauce pan, add in all the compote ingredients and turn on heat to medium-low.  Stir frequently for about 5 minutes.  Turn to low and cover for about 10 minutes or until the rhubarb is soft.  Add in more sugar if need be.  Set aside or refrigerate until ready to serve.

for the shortcake:
3/4 c sugar
2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
1 can low fat coconut cream/milk

    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    Creamy Avocado Hummus

    This is giving my beet hummus a run for its money!  I didn't think I could come up with a better combo for hummus than that recipe.  But now, I am not sure.  I mean, this is flippin' fantastico!

    Basically this recipe is a traditional hummus recipe, but just adding a delicious and ripe avocado to the mix.  The texture is tantalizing alone.  And seriously, I highly doubt you can have just one bite.  I could eat this with just a spoon....yeah, that's how good it is!

    And, if you are not a freak like me, try this in a pita sammy, with some falafel, or just with some veggies.  Crowd pleaser for sure!

    Creamy Avocado Hummus
     
    Ingredients/Directions:
    1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
    1 ripe avocado
    2 tbsp tahini
    2 tbsp evoo
    1 garlic clove
    1/2 lemon juiced
    salt to taste

    Transfer all ingredients to blender.  Add in more evoo if needed.  Salt to taste and refrigerate until you are ready to eat your awesome green and creamy hummus!

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

    Pistachio Crusted Tofu!

    It has been a rough start to the summer for me.  Torn pectoral fibers equals no work or strenuous activities for this little one.  What a bummer!  I guess this means more cooking..... and....back to being a puppy mommy.


    So this is a great, savory tofu dish that you cannot pass up!  A little bit spicy from the dijon mustard, a bit sweet from the agave nectar and a salty crunch from the pistachios.  You cannot go wrong.  I would guess this would be similar to a crusted salmon dish, which is where I got the idea from I suppose.

    Best part is, this recipe only has 5 ingredients and is simple!




    I loved loved LOVED the brand of tofu I used for this recipe!  Wildwood Sprouted Tofu is by far my favorite tofu ever.  It is super super firm, sprouted and has 14 grahams of protein per serving.  So if you have yet to try this brand, scoot your tush to a Whole Foods or local Co-op and grab some!




    This was an afterthought after I baked this, but this would also be great on the grill, and smoking it on a cedar plank.  So, if you are in the mood to grill, try it out!  I would imagine it would be tasty as all heck!

    Pistachio Crusted Tofu

    Ingredients/Directions: (serves 3-4)
    1 block of firm tofu, cut into 8 "cutlets" (about 1/2 inch thick)
    1/2 c pistachios chopped
    2 tbsp dijon mustard
    1 tbsp agave nectar
    1/2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
    s+p

    Preheat oven to 400.  With a paper towel, pat dry the tofu "cutlets".  In a small bowl, mix together the dijon mustard, agave mustard and tamari.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  With a brush, smother the tofu pieces with the marinade.  Now cover the tofu cutlets with the chopped pistachios and bake for 20 minutes.  Enjoy!


    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

    No Illusion, Its a Fusian!...Vegan Italian Style Shepard's Pie

    Well the 80's came aaaannnnnddd they left.  It's a somewhat chilly day compared to the high 80's we had over the past few days.  I thought I would go with something a little bit more comforting.  Heck, there aren't going to be too many more cool days left this summer to cook dishes like this (crap, I hope I didn't jinx us!)



    Anyway, I was having a "cookers" block.  And then I thought what can I do with Shepard's Pie to make it a fusion with a different cuisine.  Italian seemed to make the most sense for some reason.  Ryan has it doubts, so clearly...challenge excepted.  I had a feeling it would be pretty damn good. 







    Tvp mixed with your favorite marinara, topped with wonderfully sauteed zucchini and eggplant, then topped with mountainous pillows of garlic scape mashed potatoes????  Um yeah, pretty confident that this will be a winner. 

    If you are not familiar with garlic scapes or cannot find them, simply just replace them with minced garlic cloves.



    Vegan Italian Style Shepard's Pie

    Ingredients: (yields 2 personal "pies"
    1/2 c tvp
    1/2 c vegan beefless broth
    1/4 c yellow onion chopped
    3/4 c of our favorite marinara sauce
    Italian seasoning
    1 tbsp evoo
    1/2 c  zucchini cut and quartered
    1/2 c  eggplant, cut into small cubes
    1 potato, skin removed and quartered
    2 tbsp chopped garlic scapes
    1 tbsp vegan butter
    1/4 unsweetened almond milk, or vegan milk of choice
    s+p

    Directions:
    Preheat oven 350.  In a small sauce pan, bring vegan beefless broth to a boil, add in tvp, stir and remove from heat.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Once soft, add in marinara and combine thoroughly.  Add in Italian seasonings and s+p to taste.

    In the meantime, heat evoo over medium heat in a saute pan and saute zucchini and eggplant for about 5 minutes or until just soft enough.  Do not overcook.  Season with s+p.  Set aside.

    Now, time for the mashed potatoes.  Add water to a pot and boil potatoes and garlic scapes until potatoes are soft.  Remove from heat and drain.  Transfer to blender, add in vegan butter and almond milk.  Blend until smooth.  Add in seasoning and more "milk/butter" if needed.  Transfer your mashed potatoes to a pastry bag or a plastic baggie (this is only if you want to make the "peaks", if you do not care, no need).

    Now start to prepare your "pie".  Start with your tvp "meat" mixture, then spoon over the vegetables, and then top with the garlic scape mash.  Transfer to oven and cook for roughly 30 minutes or until the mashed potatoes are slightly golden.  



    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

    Vegan Grilled and Stuffed Avocado!

    Finally we have been granted with sunny skies and warm weather!  A perfect Memorial Day Weekend here in Chicago!

    When it comes to cooking and in the warm spring/summer months, everyone thinks grill time!  Now when it comes to being vegan, I bet many people think that we are limited.  But slow your roll....there are many more things to just throw on some skewers!  Remember last year we made grilled pizza and grilled seitan bulgogi sandwiches,

    This spring/summer, we are going to start off our vegan grilling with grilled stuffed avocados!  I love this because it is so flipping easy and a perfect, light meal on a hot day!  I filled it with a vegan creamy "texas caviar", but feel free to be creative if you wish!


    Vegan Grilled and Stuffed Avocado

    Ingredients (yields 3-4 servings)
    3 avocados 
    2 limes, cut in half

    for the Creamy-Chipotle Texas Caviar:
    1 c black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 c corn, drained and rinced
    1 large tomatoes, diced
    1 handful cilantro, chopped
    1/4 c red onion chopped 
    1/2 jalapeno seeded and chopped
    1 tbsp vegan sour cream
    2 tsp chilis in adobo sauce


    Heat grill (or your Breville/George Foreman).  Cut avocados lengthwise in half and carefully remove seed with spoon.  Set aside until grill is heated.

    In a meantime, combine all the texas caviar ingredients, aside from the vegan sour cream and chilis in adobo.  In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream and chili sauce.  Mix until combined.  Add in seasonings if desired.  If you need more dressing, I actually added in a splash of apple cider vinegar and a splash of original almond milk.  Toss over the salad and place in refrigerator until avocados are completed.

    Place the avocados and limes face down on grill and grill until there are nice char marks on them.  Once grilled, drizzle the charred lime on the avocado and fill each avocado with your tex mex caviar.  Enjoy!



    Friday, May 23, 2014

    Vegan and Gluten Free Choco-Chia Raspberry Pudding

    Oh man....remember all those annoying Jell-O commercials with Bill Cosby and pudding.  Ah the '80's and 90's.  Man, why did I have to think of that?  That voice of his makes me want to take the darn pudding and spoon it into my ears so I won't hear him.
     But yeah, uh....please don't try that home.  I'm thinking that that isn't the best idea.  Much better in your mouth.  This recipe is super easy.  Chia seeds are pretty fascinating.  I mean, yeah, they sprout, but they also are high in protein and can be used as a thickening agent.  This dessert is another protein packed and guilt free indulgent.  Keep in mind that when mixed with liquid, the chia seeds become a bit gelatinous.  So if you are not a fan of of the jelly-like texture, add in an extra step and throw your mixture in the blender until it is smooth.

    I love the addition of the raspberries.  They are beautiful and fresh right now, so why not include them???

    They also remind me of my childhood.  I used to love running down the hill and finding our raspberry bushes and just sitting there on a hot summer day snacking away!  I mean come on, every kid needs to experience that!
    Vegan and Gluten Free Choco-Chia Raspberry Pudding

     Ingredients/Directions:
    1 c almond milk (or your choice of non dairy milk)
    1/4 c chia seeds
    3-4 tbsp cocoa powder
    dash sea salt
    1 tbsp agave nectar
    half a handful of raspberries

    In a mason jar, or a jar with a lid, add in all ingredients except for the raspberries.  Shake the jar like a mad man, then place in refrigerator for about 4 hours.  This will become thick!  When time to eat, add in raspberries and stir.


    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    Vegan Doenjang Jjigae (Vegan Korean Soybean Paste Soup)

    If you never have heard of this soup or are curious as to what it tastes like, think along the lines of miso soup, though this soup is made with fermented soybean paste.  Like miso paste, soybean paste is quite salty.   Keep this in mind while preparing.  Taste often to achieve your desired sodium level.

    If you are wondering where to purchase this paste, I would think it would be where you traditionally find miso paste in your local market.  I personally bought it in a specific Asian Mart.

    Traditionally, this korean soup has anchovies or clams.  Clearly I eliminated them, though otherwise stuck with authentic ingredients, including kelp, enoki mushrooms, zucchini and tofu.  Don't be afraid of this soup!  The name may be tricky to say, but the cooking process is easy as can be.

    Plus, this is super super healthy!  Out of all fermented foods, soybean paste has shown to be the most effective in treating cancer.  Now that's pretty cool!  It also aids in digestion, lowers blood pressure, prevents osteoporsis and heart disease, and strengthens the liver.  Now those are just some of the benefits!

    So what are you waiting for?  Good tasting and good for you!

    Vegan Doenjang Jjigae (Korean Soybean Paste Soup)
     Ingredients:

    4 c vegetable broth
    3-4 tbsp soybean paste
    1 garlic clove minced
    1 tbsp korean chili paste (gochujang)
    1 potato peeled and cut into cubes
    1 zucchini washed and sliced
    1/2 enoki muchrooms or mushroom of choice
    1/2 package tofu drained and cut into cubes
    1 jalapeno seeds removed and sliced (optional)
    2 tbsp chopped scallions
     1/4 c wakame or dried kelp
    1 tsp sesame oil


    Directions:
    Pour sesame oil into pot and add in minced garlic.  Saute for about 3 minutes, then add in vegetable broth and spoon in chili paste and soybean paste.  Add in potatoes and bring the broth to a boil.  Stir and continue to boil the potatoes for about 6-7 minutes.  Add in enoki mushrooms, cubed tofu, wakame and jalapeno.  Cover and turn to lower and let simmer for about 5 minutes.  Garnish with scallions.