Saturday, December 08, 2007

Persimmon Date Medley Creation

There are a couple persimmon trees around my campus. In early fall there's a downpour of these squishy orange fruits that floods the ground and tempts any sweet-toothed passerby. By halloween there's enough of this nature candy lying around to satisfy any (health-conscious) tricker-treater. I've discovered several things to do with the fruit. Here's one creation that makes for a richly-flavored dessert. If you don't have persimmons, you might try using mango instead.

Persimmon Date Medley Creation:

1 cup of persimmons, washed and skinned
1/2 cup dates, pitted
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 Tablespoon Maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix everything together, and that's it!


Jewish holidays, distinctly food-centered by nature,  can present a culinary challenge for vegans. Thankfully, most staple holiday treats, if they're not already vegan, lend themselves well to "veganization." Latkes, the greasy potato pancakes of Hanukkah, traditionally stuck together by eggs, are no exception. In the past I have used brand name egg replacer, the stuff you'll find in powder form which is usually a mix of potato and tapioca starch. I have found these to yield inconsistent results; besides, something about adding potato starch to potatoes seems oddly redundant. 

But this year I tried something new: quick oats. My initial skepticism eased when I saw the batter and was all but wiped away when I tasted the final results. The greasy creations were well-liked, comments ranged from that they tasted the exact same as regular latkes to that the vegan ones were actually better; some noted a "wholer, healthier taste." I would say that if there's any difference, and there really isn't much, the quick-oat ones are slightly denser. 

I look forward to the day when vegan latke recipes are printed on the box of Quaker Oats. Until then, I'll share the recipe I used, slightly modified from Nava Atlas's original.  The recipe calls for grating all the potatoes, but if you have a food processor you can puree them instead. For an ideal balance though, you might try grating half and pureeing the rest. 

Latkes (makes about 3 dozen)

2/3 cup quick oats
6 large potatoes, peeled & finely grated 
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup flour (or mazo meal, or bread crumbs)
salt & pepper to taste
vegetable oil

In a heatproof bowl, combine the oats with 1 1/3 cup boiling water. Stir and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the grated potato, onion, and flour. Stir in the oats (which by now should be a thick, gooey oatmeal) and add desired salt and pepper.

Heat just enough oil to coat the bottom of a large, nonstick skillet or griddle. Drop enough batter to form 3 inch pancakes. Fry on both sides over medium heat until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towel. 

Serve with applesauce 

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Chocolate Kahlua Mousse Pie

A favorite of mine, this recipe from VegFamily Magazine whips together an odd mix of ingredients to a form a surprisingly decadent dessert. I've included a recipe for homemade crust. You can, however, find a pre-made vegan crust at most large grocers. 

Pie Crust:

1-1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled margarine cut into cubes
3 tablespoons cold water

Preheat oven to 425˚F. Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Add margarine and blend with fork, pastry cutter, or your fingers until mixture is fairly course. Add water, I tablespoon at a time, gently mixing dough after each addition until dough forms a ball. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 10 to 11 inch circle. Line 9-inch pie pan. Flute edges. Prick sides and bottom of pie shell with fork. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crust is brown.


1 package Mori Nu firm silken tofu
1 package dairy-free chocolate chips
1/4 cup Kahlua (if unavailable use vanilla soymilk)
1 tsp vanilla
T tbsp maple syrup

Melt chocolate chips. Thoroughly puree melted chips in food processor or blender with tofu, vanilla, Kahlua, and maple syrup. Pour into prepared crust and chill for 2 hours. Enjoy!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Check out this awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe and make sure to watch the accompanying baking video. These cookies took over my life for the short time they lasted, and were a big hit among all the people who tried them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cheesy Pasta & Veggie Casserole

Here's  a top-notch casserole dish I learned from a friend. Although I happen to call for mushrooms and broccoli, there are tons of possibilities for what sort of veggies to use (cauliflower, onion, spinach, kale are some ideas). Nutritional yeast is an inactive, golden-hued form of yeast rich in protein and B vitamins. This recipe capitalizes on the yeast's distinctive, cheese-like flavor (which also makes it good in pesto and on popcorn). Nutritional yeast is typically sold in bulk at natural food stores. It is also sometimes stocked in the vitamin section, being that it is so very nutritional.  

3 cups elbow macaroni 
1/2 cup margarine (aim for Earth Balance or other nonhydrogenated brand)
1/2 cup flour
3 1/2 cups boiling water
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dill 
1 teaspoon cheyenne, turmeric, or paprika
2 Tablespoons cup olive oil
1  cup Nutritional Yeast
1 broccoli floret chopped
1 cup shitake mushrooms chopped

Preheat oven to 425°.  Cook the noodles. In a saucepan, melt the margarine over low heat. Mix the flour in with a whisk and stir until smooth and bubbly. Add water, soy sauce, salt,  and other spices. Let sauce cook until thick, then add oil and nutritional yeast. Place noodles in casserole dish. mix in about 2/3 of the sauce with the pasta. Place the vegetables on top of the pasta. Pour remaining sauce atop veggies. Bake for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are soft and crispy and sauce is browned. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Coconut Cupcakes

These days, a vegan blog is incomplete without cupcakes. Ever since Isa Chandra Moskowitz published her groundbreaking work, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, vegan baking has not been the same. This recipe actually comes from her first book, Vegan With A Vengeance. The handful of cupcake recipes in this classic were a tasty preview of things to come. The first time I tried these coconut cupcakes, I was blown away. They are incredibly rich. If you are a coconut enthusiast like me, look no further. The only modification here is that I reduced the amount of frosting, as the original recipe calls for more than is needed. 

For the Cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (if only sweetened is available, just use less sugar)

For The Frosting:
3 tablespoons nonhydrogenated margarine at room temperature
2 tablespoons cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

Bake the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a twelve-muffin tin with paper liners, set aside. 
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the oil, coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until smooth. Fold in 1 cup unsweetened coconut. Fill each muffin tin about 2/3 full. bake for 20 to 22 minuted; the cupcakes should be slightly browned around the edges and spring back when touched. Remove from the muffin tin and let cool. 

Make the Frosting:
Cream the margarine until light and fluffy. Add the coconut milk and vanilla and combine. Sift in the confectioner's sugar and mix until smooth, about 5 minutes unless you're using an electric mixer. Add the unsweetened coconut and combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Frost when the cupcakes have completely cooled. You can sprinkle some unsweetened coconut or add a berry on top for decoration. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Cold Udon Noodles with Lime-Peanut Sauce

This is a considerably simplified version of a recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance. I left out a number of ingredients that I didn't have around. The great thing about Isa's entree recipes is that they have so many ingredients that you can often leave out half of them and still get a great result. The only things I included that weren't originally called for are lime juice and poppy seeds. Both of these additions made for a wonderful dish dish, and perhaps offset all the omissions.

2 teaspoons oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2/3 cup smooth all-natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
10 ounces udon noodles
1/4 cup poppy seeds
juice of 2 limes
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

In a small saucepan, sauté the garlic over medium heat. Add the water, soy sauce, and coriander and bring to a boil. Add the peanut butter and turn the heat to low. Whisk will until the peanut butter and oil are combined. Mix in the maple syrup. Remove from the heat and let cool. Prepare the udon noodles according to package directions. After draining them, rinse under cold water until they are cool to the touch. When the peanut sauce is completely cooled mix in with the noodles. Add in the poppy seeds, lime juice, and red pepper flakes (if you like).

Monday, June 04, 2007

Quinoa-Coconut-Cardamom Pudding: the best dessert in the world

I based this creation on the "Coconut-Cardamom Rice Pudding" recipe from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. Only instead of rice, I used quinoa, a nutritious and nutty grain. The recipe calls for already-cooked grain, so this was an easy way to recycle some leftover quinoa. More important though, I realized that substituting quinoa (KEEN-wah) would complete a triple alliteration with Coconut and Cardamom. If there's anything I've learned from my vast cooking experience, it's not what a recipe tastes or looks like that determines the quality -- it's what it sounds like.

Anyway, the dish turned out quite well. I would still say that rice makes for a tastier and more satisfying dish. Rice gives a smooth feel, whereas quinoa results in a denser, crunchier texture. It's really a matter of preference. Rose water adds a great pizzazz but it's hard to come by and by no means essential. If unavailable, try using 1 tsp. of vanilla extract.

Serves 4

2 cups cooked quinoa (or basmati rice)
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup sugar or natural sweetener
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/3 cup coarsely chopped raw pistachios
1 1/2 tsps rose water (optional)
pinch of salt

Place the rice, coconut milk, sugar in a medium size saucepan over low heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cardamom and salt and simmer until thick and creamy, 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the pistachios and rose water. Let cool to room temperature before serving, or cover and refrigerate to serve chilled.