Sunday, December 7, 2014

Chocolate Orange Truffle Cookies

Chocolate Orange Truffle Cookies, enlightened a bit

When I was a child one of the Christmas cookies my Mom would make each year was something she called, "Pomander Balls", a no-bake cookie made from crushed Nilla Wafers and melted chocolate chips together with sugar and orange extract.  The recipe has since been a favorite of most of our extended family and especially of my husband and daughter.
I wanted to try and create a version without chocolate chips since I am avoiding fat and oil.
This is my version of Pomander Balls, which I respectfully re-name "Chocolate Orange Truffle Cookies" since they aren't exactly the same.

In a food processor combine all the ingredients:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsp Grand Marnier
1 tsp orange extract
1 cup pecans
2-3 cups original Grape Nuts cereal, not the flake kind, processed to a fine crumb

Blend everything together and shape into balls about the size of a walnut or about 3/4" diameter.  Roll in more powdered Grape Nuts or chopped pecans.
Store for up to 4 weeks in airtight container in refrigerator.  If they seem dry, occasionally sprinkle with more Grand Marnier as they mature.
Good luck having any at Christmas unless you hide them.

Note:  The goal is to have a crumb mixture that holds together when squeezed so you may have to bump up the moisture by adding more of any or all of the wet ingredients.  Today I had to add a lot more moisture because the air is so dry. Makes about 32 cookies.  (Hard to tell since someone kept snitching as I was making.)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Plant based Quinoa Casserole in the spirit of Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Spinach, Edamame and Artichoke Quinoa Casserole
(inspired by "")

Stirring together ingredients (could be served as a cold salad at this point).

Ready to pop into the oven

2 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup plain dry quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup filtered water
2 cups boiling water for soaking cashews
1 13.75 oz can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained
10 oz. frozen edamame beans (out of husk), coarsely chopped
2 cups fresh raw baby spinach chopped coarsely
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup vegan mozzarella shreds
1/4 cup vegan cheddar shreds
1 teaspoon flaxseed meal plus more for dusting pan and top of casserole

Ingredients for sauce to be pureed:
1 box soft silken tofu
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

Cover cashews with boiling water and set aside for 15 minutes or longer.
Cook quinoa in vegetable broth and filtered water, let rest for a few minutes while preparing the other ingredients.
Drain and divide soaked cashews in half.  Place 1 cup soaked cashews into food processor with other sauce ingredients and process until smooth.
Coarsely chop remaining cup of cashews and fold into other ingredients with the sauce.
Spread into prepared 9x13 baking dish (oiled lightly and dusted with flaxseed meal) and top with a sprinkling of cheese shreds and flaxseed meal.
Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes at 300 degrees F.

Note to self:  I actually prefer this prior to baking as a cold salad.  I think that making it a couple of hours ahead of serving time would be perfect.

Plant based Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie ready to pop into the oven.
Recipe for bourbon sweet potato pie made without eggs, sugar or butter for the plant based dieter for the holidays:

1 pre-made whole grain pie shell
2 cups baked sweet potato, without skin
1/2 box silken soft tofu
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup almond milk
4 ounces pitted dates
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon agar powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Soak dates in boiling water for 5 minutes, process in magic bullet or equal until smooth. Combine all ingredients in vitamix or food processor until smooth and pour into shell. Sprinkle coarse raw sugar over the top before baking at 350 degree Fahrenheit for one hour. Cool on wire rack, the agar will continue to set the custard as it cools.  Serve at room temperature and refrigerate leftovers.

Plant based Pecan Pie

Recipe for Pecan Pie without eggs, sugar and butter:

Glazed pecans prior to pouring custard filling over the top (which turned out to be less than optimal for the finished appearance—thus, no photo of the baked pie).

1 pre-made whole grain 9" pie shell
10 ounces pecans
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons vegan butter
1/2 cup boiling water
4 pounces whole pitted dates
1/2 box soft silken tofu
1/4 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon agar powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place pecans in nonstick skillet with the vegan butter and 1/4 cup of the maple syrup. Stir over medium heat until sauce is hot and bubbly and all nuts are coated for about 4 minutes--do not burn! Turn off heat.
Meanwhile, soak dates in boiling water (in a mixing cup used with a magic bullet if you have one). Purée until creamy.  Combine with all remaining ingredients in a vitamix blender or food processor and process until smooth. Stir custard mixture into nut mixture and pour into pie shell.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Note: On my first attempt I thought that placing the nuts in the shell first and then pouring the custard over the top would work but the pecans didn't rise to the surface while baking and the pie didn't turn out looking like a traditional pecan pie.  Learn from my mistake.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pumpkin Pancakes for a Plant based diet

Pumpkin pancakes on the griddle
 Recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes without eggs, butter or dairy:

1 15 oz. can Libby's Pumpkin
1 1/3 cups almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup oats
1 tablespoon coconut or date sugar
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Stir together until well combined but don't over-mix.
Heat griddle to 325 degrees fahrenheit and scoop batter with 1/3 measuring cup.  Flip when the pancakes look dry around the edges.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Vegan Cornbread, no added fat

Vegan Cornbread for the plant-based diet
Nearly fat free cornbread recipe without dairy, eggs and oil.  Re-posting in anticipation of Thanksgiving cornbread stuffing.
9x9 square pan, 400 degrees f for 35 minutes
Combine dry ingredients and set aside:
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (do not substitute plain whole wheat flour or it will turn out flat and dense)
3 tablespoons date sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sage
1/2 tsp chives
1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika

1/2 tsp thyme
Combine wet ingredients:

3/4 cup rice or almond milk
1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon Egg substitute mixed with 
3 Tbsp water (whip until frothy)
1/4 cup pumpkin, pureed

Add wet ingredients to dry all at once and stir just until combined and pour into pan.  Dust the top with more paprika.
Bake 30 minutes.  This is ideal for making corn bread stuffing.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Stuffing! Vegan Cornbread, Wild Rice and (not) Sausage Stuffing Recipe, or Plant-based with no added fat

Previous Post but this is the perfect time of year to bring it back!

On Thanksgiving, I can forego everything but the stuffing.  We began eating a plant based diet just a few weeks before Thanksgiving the year we started this and what a holiday to not be able to sit down and eat the traditional meal.  So it was essential for me to find a way to have a stuffing that tasted as close as possible to my recipe of cornbread stuffing with wild rice and sausage, the recipe for stuffing that became our standard after working on it for years.
The new plant based version is very similar, a combination of the stuffing I grew up with, cornbread stuffing, and the stuffing my husband likes--wild rice and sausage.  This version leaves out the diced boiled eggs, diced gizzard, heart and turkey broth and meat from the neck that I used to boil and include.
You know what?  I actually like this version better.

Cornbread Stuffing

1 batch cornbread from a plant-based, no added fat recipe prepared and cooled (can be made a day ahead, I always do it the night before--it's a tradition) 2 cups long grain and wild rice mix prepared by simmering in 2 cups vegetable broth and 1 tsp. dried herbs (Bragg 24 herb mix recommended)
2 cups vegan sausage substitute like textured soy, as low fat as possible (or see recipe below)
4 stalks celery, diced
1 cup soy curls, rehydrated with 3/4 cup hot not-chicken bouillon and diced into 1/2" pieces
1/3 cup walnuts (toasted) and chopped coarsely
3 cloves garlic finely diced
1 can sliced water chestnuts drained and chopped very coarsely
2 tsp. dried rubbed sage or poultry seasoning and 1 tsp. granulated garlic and dash of blach pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 cups 
broth (mushroom, vegetable or not-chicken bouillon stock)
Paprika to dust top of casserole with before baking

Cut cornbread into 1/2" cubes and set aside.
Sauté celery and garlic in nonstick skillet,
add broth and cook until garlic is tender.
Toss all ingredients in large bowl.  You may need to add more broth to make sure stuffing is moist but not saturated, then transfer to baking dish, 9x13 or similar.  Cover with foil or casserole lid and bake at 325 degrees farenheit for 60 minutes.

Sausage recipe:
1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein, unflavored)
1 cup vegetable broth, hot
1/4 tsp dry powdered ginger
1/8 tsp anise, crushed fine

1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sage
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp rosemary, crushed
Stir all seasonings and broth into TVP and let sit for 10 minutes.
(Stir in 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten if pressing into patties such as for breakfast.)

Stuffing is even better the second day!  Serving suggestion: sprinkle dried cranberries over the top of  each serving.
This is ideal stuffed into large mushroom caps and baked until mushrooms are tender in a covered casserole with a little vegetable broth.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Christmas Fruitcake made without eggs and butter!

Jewell's Rum Christmas Fruitcake  

(Derived from a traditional recipe to be made more plant-based friendly although this is not a low fat or low sugar recipe.  I haven't made fruitcake for 3 years now since being on this diet and it is about time to pull out the old recipe and work it into a new one.  When fruitcake is in the works all is right with the world…)

First, place all fruit into large bowl and cover with rum, or use one cup of rum and toss every so often.  Let soak for several hours or overnight.
Keep in mind you can use whatever dried fruits and nuts you prefer.  This is what I am using this year:

2 cups dried bing cherries
5 oz. sweetened dried cranberries
6 oz. sliced dried apples
6 oz. dried papaya, cut into 1/2" chunks
3/4 cup dried dates coarsely chopped
3/4 cup dried pineapple cut into 1/2" chunks
1 cup pecans coarsely chopped
1 cup macadamia nuts coarsely chopped
1 cup raw cashews coarsely chopped
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup rum

Fruit and nuts soaking in rum
For batter:

3/4 cup granulated sugarCREAM
3/4cup brown sugarTOGETHER
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/4 cupflaxseed meal
8eggs substitute (1 cup warm water whipped with 1/4 cup powdered vegan egg substitute)
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cupplain soy yogurt or vegan s. creamWET
1/2 cuppinapple juice or orange juiceINGREDIENTS
1 tspalmond extract
4 cupscake flour
2 cupsunbleached flour (not bread flour)
1 tspbaking powder
1 1/2 tspbaking soda
1 tspsaltDRY
2 tspcinnamonINGREDIENTS
3/4 tspcloves
2 tspmace
1 tspnutmeg
1/4 tspallspice

Makes 6 or 7 small to medium loaves, bake 1 hour at 325° or convection 300°.
Line 7 medium size loaf pans with heavy brown paper or parchment, grease and flour.  Set aside. Alternate method:  use spray oil and flour on non-stick pans.
In large measuring cup, combine applesauce, pineapple juice, almond extract, yogurt and any rum that can be drained off fruit. Set aside.
In large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Set aside.
In larger mixing bowl beat vegan butter until soft and add sugars, continue beating for 1 minute.  Add egg substitute (dry powder and water mixed according to package directions) and continue beating for 30 seconds. Add small amounts of wet and dry ingredients alternating until all flour mixture and applesauce mixture has been combined with butter/sugar mixture.
Fold all fruit and nuts and crystallized ginger into batter.  Spoon gently into prepared loaf pans. Bake at 325° for 1 hours. Loaves should be golden brown and have pulled away from sides of pans.
Keep cooled cakes wrapped in cheesecloth or cotton flour sack towel soaked in your favorite rum or brandy for a few weeks before Christmas.

Once you have a good base recipe for the cake part, you can use whatever dried fruit and nuts you prefer. Just don't use candied fruit—I think that is what gives fruitcake such a bad reputation.

7 medium size fruitcakes cooling on wire rack
At the last minute before baking we decided to top them off with maraschino cherries

Soak towel in rum and store in airtight container or gallon ziplock bag until Christmas/New Years.

Test piece, guess who sacrificed himself as general taster?