Tag Archives: vegetarian

Hippie Baklava Cake

5 Dec

Recipe Source: For the Love of Food

Baklava is my specialty – I’ve been making my great-grandmother’s recipe for years. And while I’m not at all biased in saying it is THE BOMB, and content to make it the same way over and over and over again, this take on a classic intrigued me. It’s a baklava cake rather than pastry, meaning no phyllo to wrestle with. And further, it’s gluten, soy, dairy, egg, and grain-free!

(I’m labeling this recipe as vegan, although I know some vegans do not eat honey. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a substitute that compares in flavor – agave is a neutral sweetener – and when it comes to baklava, I am a traditionalist.)

baklava cake

I also liked that this recipe calls for almond flour, as I’ve had 2.5 lbs of it sitting in my fridge for a while, neglected. I was intrigued by the use of saffron in this recipe, and happy to use the traditional rosewater, since my family recipe doesn’t call for it. Basically – nice job, Noosh! What’s not to love?!

saffron

Since there are no eggs in this recipe, chia seed meal is combined with applesauce to create a binder. (This can also be achieved with flax seeds.) If you’re thinking about Chia pets right now, you’re not far off – the edible grade of these seeds is considered a superfood, high in protein, calcium, fiber, iron, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Chia seeds absorb water, which gives them the perfect “gloopy” texture for replacing egg. I recommend grinding the seeds fresh in a coffee or spice grinder, if you have one.

chia meal & seeds

When the chia meal, applesauce, honey, rosewater, and saffron water are combined, they’ll have a syurpy texture. Combine with dry ingredients (almond flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and baking powder) to form the dough.

wet ingredients texture

The texture of this dough is somewhat crumbly and moist. In the original recipe, Noosh allowed for a range of measurements for the honey, and I used the higher end. I also sifted my almond flour, and I think these two decisions made the cake very smooth, sweet, and dense. Next time, I will scale down the honey (already done below), and perhaps not sift the flour to get the more crumbly texture from her pictures.

dough texture

I love using pistachios as a garnish – the green and purple are so lovely and eye-catching, and colors you don’t often get in baked goods. Top each slice with pistachios and a slivered almond, and this makes a unique, wonderfully allergy-friendly treat!

pistachios & almonds

Just be forewarned – you’ll want to serve this cake in small pieces – it’s very rich!

baklava cake

RECIPE – Baklava Cake
(gluten, soy, dairy, egg, grain free)

1/2 cup organic applesauce (unsweetened-just apples)
1 Tbsp organic chia seed meal
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tablespoon rose water
2 cups almond flour (Trader Joe’s)/7 ¾ oz/220 g
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon of prepared saffron (optional)

Topping
Slivered almonds
Ground pistachios

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease either an 8” glass or parchment-lined pan.

If using saffron, grind threads with a mortar and pestle, add 1/2 tablespoon boiling water, and let sit while you go on to the next step.

In mixer bowl, beat applesauce with chia meal on high for one minute, stopping once to scrape down the sides and bottom.

Add honey, rosewater, and saffron (if using) and beat until combined.

In a small bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: almond flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and baking powder. Add to mixer bowl and beat just until incorporated. Stir once or twice just to make sure the bottom was mixed in.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely on a rack, slice in diamonds, and top with crushed pistachios and slivered almonds.

Tarte Aux Pommes (Apple Tart)

15 Nov

Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.
~Jane Austen

French apple tart

Recipe source: David / Daniele

Today I want to share a very special recipe for classic French apple tart. This is a simple, elegant dessert where the fruit really shines – it has only a few ingredients, and little to no refined sugar. The basic recipe lends itself to a lot of creativity, with all kinds of options for jam and fruit. I really like apples because they’re not so juicy that they make the crust soggy. And since Fall is apple season, they’re plentiful!

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But before we bake…

Besides the obvious – deliciousness – I have another reason to get your mind on pie: the Mama’s Pie in the Sky Bake Sale.

If you live in San Diego, this annual fundraiser is just the thing to round out your Thanksgiving meal! Skip the Vons bakery and help out a good cause.

Mama's Pie in the SkyFrom the press release:
Dozens of San Diego County top chefs, caterers and bakers will lovingly prepare thousands of pies to raise much-needed funds for Mama’s Kitchen. The Mama’s Pie in the Sky Bake Sale is a Thanksgiving tradition, and is considered to be the west coast’s largest bake sale. Each $20 pie provides more than six home-delivered meals to a neighbor struggling with a critical illness such as cancer or HIV/AIDS.

All proceeds from pie sales go directly into funding thousands of free, hot and nutritious Mama’s Kitchen meals, which help ensure that no one living with AIDS or cancer will go hungry in the San Diego community.

Mama’s Kitchen hopes to sell more than 6,250 pies before Nov. 20, which will raise $125,000 and fund nearly 40,000 meals. With the rising cost of food purchased to prepare the meals delivered by volunteers to hundreds of men, women and children in San Diego County, the funds raised through the Mama’s Pie in the Sky fundraiser are needed more than ever.

Here’s how Mama’s Pie in the Sky works:

1. Visit www.mamaspies.org to purchase the Thanksgiving pies of your choice: apple, pumpkin, pecan, or no sugar added apple pies. If you have a friend or colleague selling pies, choose their name. Otherwise you can just purchase from Mama’s Kitchen directly.

2. Select a convenient pick-up location. The pies will be available for pick-up at one of 19 Wells Fargo Bank branches throughout San Diego County or at Mama’s Kitchen, located at 3960 Home Avenue, San Diego, Calif. 92115.

3. Go to the location you selected on Wed., Nov. 23 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to pick up your pie(s) from one of our volunteers. When you open your pie, you’ll discover what baker prepared your pie.

4. To purchase a pie that will be hand-delivered to Mama’s Kitchen’s clients on Thanksgiving morning, select the “Love-A-Client” option. For every “Love-A-Client” pie purchased, the donor will receive an entry to win a 64MB iPad2.

There is still time to sell pies this year. Mama’s Kitchen is looking for individuals and groups to form teams to sell pies before Nov. 20. Volunteers also have opportunities to win prizes from generous sponsors. To sign up to sell pies, visit www.mamaspies.org.

But don’t just take my word for it! Here’s a little message from Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien and Elizabeth Harris of Elizabethan Desserts –

The last day to purchase the handcrafted pies is Nov. 20, 2011. Fifteen dollars from each $20 pie sale is tax-deductible. Pies can be purchased online at www.mamaspies.org or by calling (619) 233-6262.

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OK! Back to the blog…

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might know that I’m a big fan of homemade pastry crust. That is largely thanks to David, who taught me this recipe. So I thought it would be appropriate to pass on a few crust-making tips from the pro:

kitchen scaleThe scale! An essential kitchen item.

The perfect weights for this pastry dough are 200 grams of all-purpose flour, 100 grams of cold unsalted butter, and 100 grams of ice-cold water. This will make crust for an 11-inch tart. But if you insist on cheating, this was about 2 cups + 3 tablespoons flour, 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon butter, and just under 1/2 cup of water.

Probably, the best way to make a pastry dough is the old-fashioned way: working the cold butter into the flour, rolling it until the butter turns into thin sheets of flaky pastry goodness, then carefully and gradually working in a bit of ice-cold water. But the fastest way is in the food processor.

However you bring your crust together (don’t worry, more help below), you’ll want to turn it out on a sheet of plastic wrap, form into a disc, and freeze for at least an hour. You can see here that chunks of butter are still intact – a good thing!

wrapped pastry dough

Skipping ahead (okay, so I’m not actually in the mood to give tips tonight – check out this earlier post for step-by-step instructions!)… once your crust is in the tart pan and pre-baked, it’s on to the fun part! The filling. The base of this tart is traditionally a fruit spread, and you can use any kind you like: apricot or blackberry, pumpkin butter, or maybe even Nutella.

confiture collage

This time, I used the Bonne Maman chestnut creme I brought back from a summer trip to France. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to find in the U.S.

You only need a thin spread (about 2 tablespoons), then you will commence layering 5 peeled, cored, and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples in a pretty design, like so:

French apple tart

If you have an apple peeler corer slicer, lucky you! You’ll save the hand cramp I got after refusing to buy a fourth one. If not, just think positively about how slicing these uniformly is going to improve your knife skills.

Granny SmithLooks sweet and innocent, right?

It can be nice at this stage to sprinkle a layer of sugar over the top of the apples before baking. Or, you can brush a light coating of light-colored jam (such as apricot) or maple syrup over the top while it’s still hot from the oven.

sugared apples

Bake at 450 degrees F for 25-35 minutes, or until the crust is slightly brown and completely firm, and apples are desiccated. Serve warm or room temperature.

French apple tart

Recipe – Tarte Aux Pommes (Apple Tart)

200 grams all-purpose flour
100 grams cold unsalted butter
100 grams ice-cold water
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fruit spread of your choice
5 Granny Smith apples
2 teaspoons granulated sugar, optional
1 teaspoon nutmeg, optional

To make the dough, sift and weigh 200 grams of all-purpose flour into a large bowl, stir in sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and cut in 100 grams of cold butter. With your hands, gradually mix in 100 grams of ice-cold water until all is well combined. (This step can be done in a food processor, but be careful not to over-process the butter at this stage.) Turn the dough out onto a cold surface and with your hands, form into a disk, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Remove dough from refrigerator and turn out onto a cold surface. Roll it to a thin round disc, fold in half and then into thirds, and wrap tightly in cling film; refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Remove dough from refrigerator and roll it one last time, as round as possible, leaving about 1″ to go up the sides of the pan. Fold the dough in quarters and place it in a 15″ tart pan with a removable base. Unfold and press the dough into all sides, using a rolling pin to trim excess dough from the top edges of the pan. Cover the top of the dough with cling film and refrigerate until ready to assemble the tart.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Peel and core apples, slice into 1/4-inch rounds, then cut in half. Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator and spread the bottom crust evenly with your preferred jam (apricot, boysenberry, or chestnut creme all work nicely).

Starting on the outer edge and moving inward, tightly overlap the apples until all slices are used. Sprinkle the entire surface with a light layer of sugar and nutmeg, if desired. (For those going sugar-free, you can brush a light layer of jam over the apples just before baking, and this will create a nice shine on the surface. I recommend St. Dalfour brand, which is only sweetened with grape juice concentrate.)

Bake immediately for 25-35 minutes, or until the crust is slightly brown and completely firm, and apples are desiccated. Serve warm or room temperature.

-apple illustration-
http://www.inkart.com/pages/food/apple.html

VegWeek Day 2, Vegetarian Chicken Salad

26 Sep

VegWeek_2011 Welcome to Day 2 of VegWeek!

Before you consider embarking on a vegetarian diet, you might be tempted to ask the basic question, what is a vegetarian? There are several different variations on the vegetarian diet, ranging from modest omissions of animal products to strictly plant-based diets.

Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian. A person who eats dairy products, eggs, fruits, vegetables, greens, legumes, grains, soy products, nuts, and honey. This is the most common type and what is commonly meant by “vegetarian.”

Lacto Vegetarian. A person who eats dairy products, but not eggs.

Ovo Vegetarian. A person who eats eggs, but not dairy products.

Pesco-Vegetarian (pescatarian). A person who eats fish.

Vegan. A person who does not eat anything from animals, including honey. Vegans also minimize the use of any product made with animal byproducts. Their main goal is to lessen animal cruelty and exploitation.

Low Fat Vegetarian. This diet is primarily used to treat diseases and lower the fat content of your diet. The diet consists of less than 10% of its calories from fat.

Raw Vegetarian / Vegan. A person who does not eat anything that has been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fruitarian. A raw vegetarian who only eats fruit, greens, and some nuts and seeds.

Flexitarian. A person who consciously reduces his / her intake of animal products. Movements such as “Meatless Mondays” promote this type of diet.

Lisa Simpson, vegetarian

Why be a vegetarian?

I can think of four major reasons people choose to limit their intake of animal products, and for most people, it’s usually a combination of these. The reasons most important to you will likely change throughout your life.

Concern for animals. Farming as it is practiced today is extremely cruel to animals. They are crowded and caged to the extent that it’s impossible to move, beaten and tortured, housed in unsanitary conditions where disease is rampant, and force-fed bizarre items that would never exist in their natural diet, such as plastic pellets, the remains of other animals, and a bevy of vitamins and antibiotics.

Concern for the environment. Large-scale factory farming uses an enormous amount of resources and is one of the largest contributors to our current environmental crisis. Animal farming has contributed to air, land and water pollution, scarcity of water, deforestation, and the erosion of topsoil.

Concern for health. Meat and dairy consumption has been linked to a number of physical ailments, especially heart disease and cancer. The antibiotics routinely fed to livestock have resulted in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that threaten public health.

Preference. Some people simply dislike meat, and have an aversion to its taste and texture. It can also be difficult to digest, with dairy allergies being especially prevalent.

Hug a Vegetarian

Want to learn more about adopting a veggie diet? Check out this article: Six Simple Steps to a Healthy Vegetarian Diet.

Vegetarian Chicken Salad

Recipe Source: Wheat Free, Meat Free

I know the title of this recipe is Vegetarian Chicken Salad, but I’ll admit it – I’m a sucker for a good tuna sandwich. Tuna salad is one of those easy staple recipes I grew up with, and it holds a certain kind of comfort for me. But the fishing industry is damaging the delicate balance of our oceans. Animals such as whales, dolphins and porpoises are often caught accidentally, and over-fishing has left other species in danger of extinction.

Fish are FriendsFish are friends, not food!

This might not be the most gourmet of recipes, but it makes for a fast lunch to prepare at night during the hectic work week. It’s basically smashed chickpeas mixed with vegan mayo and whatever else is tasty in a tuna or chicken salad.

smashed chickpeas

The most important part of this recipe is smashing up the chickpeas. It’s nice to have some mashed, and some intact. Then, you can add in any number of veggies: pickles, carrots, celery, cucumber, etc. – along with some vegan mayo, lemon juice, and maybe a spice or two… black pepper, smoked paprika? The only limit is your imagination!

veg chicken salad

RECIPE – Vegetarian Chicken Salad

2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas (~3 cups), drained and rinsed
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4-1/3 cup mayo, miracle whip, or veganaise*
1 heaping tablespoon dill relish
1 heaping tablespoon dijon mustard
freshly cracked black pepper

*For vegan mayo, you can also try this homemade marcona almond mayo recipe!

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and lightly mash. (Some chickpeas whole and some pretty smashed.)

Stir in the celery and onion.

Then add the mayo, relish, mustard and pepper to taste. Mix well. Serve.

(Makes about 4 cups)

veg chicken salad sandwich

Veggie Roundup!

23 Sep

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might remember the series of all-vegetarian recipes I posted during VegWeek last year. This past month I’ve been researching and gearing up for Round Two, and this time I’m going for the real nitty-gritty! I’m going to share some great vegan recipes with you as well as reviews of books and documentaries, information on factory farming and health, and even some controversy for good measure!

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to recap some of my favorite veggie recipes from blogging days past. If you missed these, or are just looking for some new inspiration, enjoy!

Clockwise from left:

1. Easy Breakfast Frittata
2. Jicama Slaw with Herbacious Spicy Lime Vinaigrette
3. Roasted Vegetable Soup
4. Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwich
5. Warm Red Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese and Spinach
6. Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers

Oranges with Lavender and Mint

24 Aug

Recipe Source: The Kitchn

oranges
I almost feel like I’m cheating to post this recipe, but I would never have thought of it, so maybe you haven’t, either! This really is the perfect dessert – quick, simple, fresh, and healthy. It makes a beautiful presentation and feels gourmet with hardly any work. It’s the kind of recipe that makes me want to get poetic about simplicity, the purity of ingredients, food in its natural form, maybe something about the earth’s bounty and, um, being earthy… but I’ll spare you.

The only catch to it is the orange flower water, which I couldn’t find. It’s a traditional Moroccan ingredient and has a lot of fascinating applications, but around here, somewhat exotic. While on the hunt I discovered Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters instead (thanks BevMo!), which has its own delightful possibilities… I’ve already had fun splashing it into gin-tonics!

The tartness of the oranges, sweetness of the orange water and honey, and freshness of the mint complement each other perfectly, with the lavender adding a layer of floral complexity. Light and refreshing, this dessert won’t weigh you down after a full meal.

Oranges with Lavender and Mint
Serves 2

2 teaspoons orange flower water
2 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon dried lavender buds
3 medium Mandarin oranges
1-2 mint sprigs

Combine orange flower water, honey, and lavender in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring to dissolve the honey. Remove from heat.

Peel and cut the oranges into 1/4-inch thick slices and remove any seeds. Arrange on a plate and drizzle the syrup on top.

Garnish with mint and serve.

Lentil Ragu with Zucchini ‘Noodles’

28 Jul

Recipe Source: Adapted from stonesoup

Over the past couple of years, my love for vegetables has grown significantly, and I’ve started trying to cut down on my meat consumption whenever possible. But at times, I find it difficult to find vegetarian dishes that don’t feel like sides and/or take a ton of time to prepare (oh veggie lasagna, how I love you). This recipe combines the best of both worlds – it’s a great one-dish weeknight meal, and it’s hearty even for those who are used to eating meat. I love homemade spaghetti bolognese, but realized while eating this that I didn’t miss the meat – or pasta – at all! So this is also a great recipe for those watching carbs or gluten.

zucchini ribbons: beforebeautiful zucchini sliced on the mandoline – before

I modified the original recipe only slightly, by adding garlic and onions – must-haves, in my opinion! Since I tend to be pretty heavy-handed with ingredients, these little embellishments to Jules’ minimalist five-ingredient recipes still save me time during busy weeknights.

zucchini ribbons: afterzucchini after baking – slightly shrivelly!

To make this recipe vegan, simply omit the butter and parmesan, or use substitutions. A light sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs or pine nuts would be nice as well. If you’re feeling creative, you can add other goodies to the sauce – herbs, fennel, chili powder, etc. This concept might also translate well to a bechamel or cream-based sauce… if you experiment with it, I’d love to hear your stories!

lentil ragu with zucchini noodles

RECIPE – Lentil Ragu with Zucchini ‘Noodles’

2 zucchini, thinly sliced, long-ways
2 tablespoons oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
1 (14 oz) can lentils
4 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated parmesan, to serve

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200C).

Layer zucchini ribbons over a baking tray a few layers deep. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes or until the zucchini is no longer crunchy.

Heat 3-4 tablespoons olive oil and/or butter in a medium saucepan. Saute onion and garlic for about 10 minutes, then add lentils and tomato paste and cook for a few minutes until hot.

Taste and season lentils, adding a little more olive oil or some butter if the tomato is too sharp.

Divide zucchini between two plates and top with lentils.

Serve with parmesan on the side and a green salad.

Lunchtime Quinoa Salad

22 Jul

Hey! This is an impromptu post because I was excited about my lunch today, and because I’ve been terrible at blogging lately. As such, I don’t have any pictures to share with you. But I hope this might inspire you with a break in the doldrums that can be packing a work lunch.

eat your veggies!
(Ah, what the heck, here’s a picture I stole from the interwebs.)

What I prepped for myself last night might well be called a “fridge-cleaning salad,” because I used almost entirely ingredients I had leftover from other cooking ventures. Here’s how it went:

quinoa – cooked fresh, since I always keep some on-hand from bulk bins
feta cheese – leftover from frittatas and salads
walnut oil, lemon zest, and black pepper – always on-hand
pine nuts – about 1 tablespoon left in the bag
black olives (sliced, from a can) – leftover from a frittata
cherry tomatoes – bought fresh
carrot – bought fresh
cilantro – bought fresh
red bell pepper – leftover from frittata and a tuna salad
onion – leftover from who-knows-what
jalapeno – leftover from a tuna salad

I have a tendency to get bored with cold, lettuce-based salads, so I really enjoyed using quinoa as a base this time. I nuked the quinoa for about 40 seconds and the veggie-feta mixture for about 10, just to remove the refrigerator chill before combining them. Quinoa is a great source of protein and fiber, as well as gluten-free, so it’s primo vegetarian fuel.

quinoaThis site has even more info about quinoa!

My cooking method is to boil 1 1/4 cups of water, then turn the heat to low and add in 3/4 cups of quinoa. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. I used about half the quinoa in this batch, and the other half I’ll probably prep for breakfast (another blog to come in the future!).

veggie loveMuch to my delight, this made a yummy, healthy, and very filling salad! And it was good geeky fun to see how much I could throw into it. I’m sure I will be making more salads like this in the future.

If you decide to try this out, I’d love to hear about your concoction in the comments section! 🙂