Tag Archives: baking

Vegan Quiche, Blueberry Picking, and Parents!

23 Jul

So, last Wednesday, for What I Ate Wednesday, I posted a picture of the vegan quiche lorraine that I made for dinner.  I used to love the quiche that my Nannie (that would be my mom’s mom) used to make.  She made the most delicious and buttery pie crusts, and her quiche was always perfect.  It was filled with eggs, cream, swiss cheese, bacon, and with tomato slices on top.  I always really liked the slightly dehydrated tomato slices.  I could eat pretty much none of that anymore, but this crustless vegan quiche is a nice substitution.  I didn’t put tomato slices on top, but I will try that next time around!

 

Crustless Vegan Quiche Lorraine

adapted from Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food

Ingredients

24 oz. light silken tofu (I used the refrigerated, water packed kind from Nasoya)

1 Tbsp. tahini

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

1/4 tsp. Spike seasoning

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1/4 large white onion, diced very small

1 vegan sausage, diced (I used the Sweet Seitan Sausage from this same cookbook, delicious!)

2 minced garlic cloves

Directions

1) Preheat your oven to 375F, and spray a 9″ springform pan with cooking spray.  Set the pan aside for later.

2) Place the first eleven ingredients in a blender and blend until combined and smooth.  Using a spatula to scrape down the sides, empty the mixture into a medium sized bowl and set aside while you assemble the remaining ingredients.

3) In a medium sized frying pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and the sausage and cook them for 3 or four minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until it’s fragrant, don’t let it burn.

4) Add the onion-sausage mixture to the blended tofu mixture and stir well to combine.

5) Transfer that mixture to your prepared springform pan, and cook in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes.  If you toothpick test the middle, it should come out clean.  Let it rest in the pan for about ten minutes, then remove from the springform until ready to serve.

I served it at room temperature and warmed up, and they were both delicious!

This weekend was another really nice weekend!  Paul and I took a journey back into New York on Friday to spend the weekend with my parents.  Vermont was right these standing between us and New York, and when we drove through the Quechee Gorge area, we decided to stop and look around.

 

It’s a very nice area, with a wide trail going down to the bottom of the gorge, and what looked like well-blazed trails off of it.  I think I’d like to go back there for more exploring.

Once we got to my parents, we had even more of a fun time!  We got in late on Friday due to various pit stops, so Saturday was our day of fun.  (As an aside, Paul and I entered Moe’s Southwest Grill as a very hungry couple right before closing on Friday night.  They took my dairy allergy very seriously and I really appreciated all the extra steps they took to make sure I wasn’t going to get any cross-contaminated food.  Thank you guys again!)

On Saturday, Paul, my mom and I went to Schuylerville.  We drove up to the cemetery where my Nannie and grandpa are, since I haven’t visited in a while, and walked around the town a bit.  There are a few really neat stores in this super small town, especially thrift store and a used book store.  I got a nice polyester flower print shirt with ruffles on it, and copies of Viktor Frankl’s The Unconscious God and Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard.  I love me some Frankl.  And some Russian authors.

On top of all of the awesome books, this store has great decor.  I especially liked this skeleton in the horror section:

 

He’s reading The History of Orthopedics, of course.

We also went blueberry picking!  We each ended up with six or so pounds of blueberries.  My mom is a picking machine:

 

She filled up her bucket at least ten minutes before Paul and I filled the one that we were working on together!  Geesh!

Here’s our stash.  Paul’s “letting” me make a small batch of blueberry jam with them, but he mostly wants to cram them into his face unaltered.

 

Four quarts!

The last thing we did on Saturday was run.  We were scheduled for a nine mile run based on our half marathon training.  My farthest and longest run ever!  It was not pretty, let me tell you.  But I did it!  My parents have a mile loop around their neighborhood, so we ran that nine times.  It was funny, and we got encouragement from other people in the neighborhood as we kept going around and around.  But man, old and compact asphalt is hard.  And afterwards, I felt so weird.  It took an hour and a half or so for my stomach to be able to handle more than little sips of water or chocolate soy milk (this will definitely never be my after-run food of choice).  Paul is much more used to the long runs than I am.  Well, he’s done them before because he ran a marathon a few years ago.  So he hit his groove during this run.  Afterwards, while I’m rocking back and forth wondering whether or not I’m going to be spending the next little while with my head in the toilet, he’s pouring himself a big glass of wine!  Ugh!

Anyway, I recovered and became so ravenously hungry.  Good thing we had picked up food from Antipasto’s, which has some of the tastiest vegan and vegetarian Italian food in the capital district.  Granted, there’s not a lot of choices, but this is still a solid one.  I would have taken a picture of my tofu parmesan (the Paul McCartney, as Antipasto’s calls is), but I was busy rocking back and forth post-run.  Whoops!

Hanging out with my parents was super fun.  Even sitting on the couch and watching the Comicon movie and Saturday Night Live was pretty awesome.  Thanks, parents!  (I told them I was blogging again and my dad got annoyed at the name.  Again.)

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The Freshest Bread and Vegetable Soup

2 Dec

Wooo, bread and vegetable soup.  Sounds boring, right?  Yeah, it sounds boring.  But when everything is fresh and home made, holy geez there was a party going on in my belly.

I’ve still been working my way through The Vegetarian Epicure, Book 2 but the bread chapter is so large!  I can only eat and give away so much bread.  Really, bread is becoming a treat for me, not something that I’m going to eat regularly.  But, I had bought a bag of rye flour and wanted to put it to use.  Rye bread is my favorite bread.

I’m still working on my bread baking skills.  I can do anything with white flours, but when I turn to whole grains I end up with something a bit more dense than I would expect.  Does anyone have any tips?  Or is this just the way it is?

The rye bread was actually a mixture of unbleached bread flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour and oatmeal.  The overwhelming flavor ended up being wheat.  Disappointing, but not bad.

To offset the carby carbs, I decided to start the soup chapter as well.  Soup is, afterall, one of my favorite things.  And with the snowy Rochester weather, it’s a perfect time to start cooking some up.

The vegetable soup recipe in The Vegetarian Epicure, Book 2 is really just a loose outline  of a soup.  Here’s what I did with it.

Fresh Vegetable Soup

makes six very large servings

1/2 medium eggplant, peeled

1 red bell pepper, seeded

1 medium potato

2 medium zucchini

a handful of mushrooms

3 scallions

1 medium onion

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 large dill pickle

1 1/2 cups baby spinach

2 medium tomatoes

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 vegetable bouillon cubes

salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper to taste

1) Chop the eggplant – onion into large chunks.

2) Slice the garlic and pickle into thin slices, and chop the tomatoes into 6 – 8 wedges each.

3) Add all of the vegetables to a large stock pot.  To this, add about 12 cups of water, the oil, vinegar, bouillon cubes, and spices.

4) Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for at least 30 minutes.  The longer this soup goes, the better it is!

Really, it’s silly to write up a recipe for this.  Throw whatever vegetables you have in a pot and season them to taste!  I meant to put some corn in there too.  I would try seasoning this differently, using some vegetable stock/broth instead of water or using some Braggs.

Regardless, this makes a very brothy and chunky soup.  Incredibly filling, especially with some bread torn into pieces and thrown on top!

Hey, that exciting news I mentioned before is still coming!  Woo woo woo!

Chickpea Taco Calzones

20 Sep

Oh hey I’m back again!  Really, I am so bad at this blogging thing.  I make food, I take pictures, I plan on writing a blog post.  Then I’m unhappy with the pictures and I decide not to write anything.

But hey, I’ve been making some delicious food.

I was at an antique shop with the boy and I came across a big bookcase full of cookbooks.  Most of them were vegetarian or vegan!  I decided to pick up The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two by Anna Thomas.  Flipping through the book on the drive back home, I realized I wanted to cook every single thing in there.  So, I’m starting from the beginning!

I made my first recipe from it  yesterday, but I’m going to back up a bit because I made some delicious food the other weekend and I want to tell you about it.

Lately I’ve become a fan of Healthy Food For Living and last weekend I came upon the post for Taco Calzones with Avocado Cream.  I showed it to the boy and we were both making our hungry noises, so I decided they should be made.  But without meat!  So I proposed we make them with my favorite taco filling: chickpeas.

Since I changed this recipe around a little bit, I figured I would share it!

Chickpea Taco Calzones

makes 4 calzones

1 lb. prepared pizza dough (I bought Wegmans whole wheat pizza dough, which is surprisingly delicious for a pre-made dough!)

2 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 can drained and rinsed or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

1/2 of a green bell pepper, chopped

taco seasoning to taste (I used Trader Joe’s)

1/4 cup salsa (I used Trader Joe’s Garlic Chipotle Salsa)

2oz. reduced fat cheddar or monterey jack, shredded (I used Organic Valley Reduced Fat Monterey Jack)

1) Preheat oven to 450F, place a pizza stone on the middle rack.

2) Divide your dough into four equal portions, and roll them out into circles about 1/4″ thick.  Set them aside while you prepare the filling.

3) Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan, add the  onion and cook until translucent.  Add the chickpeas and cook until heated through.  Mash the chickpea and onion mixture coarsely, leaving some big chunks of chickpea.  Add in the green pepper, garlic, and taco seasoning.  Continue to cook and stir until mixed thoroughly.  If the mixture is sticking to your frying pan, deglaze with a little bit of water.

4) Stir in the salsa, remove from heat.

5) Divide the chickpea mixture among each dough circle, placing it on one half of the dough and leaving a 1/2″ border to close the calzone.  Top the mixture with some shredded cheese.

6)  Fold the other half of the dough over to close the calzone, and pinch them shut.  Pierce the tops of the calzones with a fork to allow steam to escape.

7) Place the calzones onto the preheated pizza stone with a spatula or peel.  Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the calzones are browned on top and puffy.

Thanks so much to Healthy Food For Living for the great recipe and inspiration!  Please do check out the original post, it contains directions for freezing and reheating (which I didn’t try as it didn’t take us long to feast through these babies).

We ate it with the avocado cream (also included in the original post linked above!) and additional Trader Joe’s salsa.

I’ll be back soon with the results of my first recipe from The Vegetarian Epicure, Book 2 adventure.  Also, I’ll introduce you to the boy that’s been eating all this food with me!

– Ellen

Where’d my sickeningly sweet tooth go?

1 Mar

I have a confession.

There was a time when I could polish off a good portion of a can of frosting all by myself.  I have put away a pound of gummy bears in under 24 hours.

I guess it’s not unheard of, but it is definitely gross.  My tastes have changed dramatically since I’ve lost those one hundred some-odd pounds.  To be honest, eating a can of frosting still sounds like it would be the greatest thing.  But in practice, not so much.

My favorite sweet now?  DATES.  I can’t pass the bulk bins at Wegmans (oh dear I miss Wegmans so much and I need to move back out to Western NY soon because I’ve been shopping at Price Chopper and it is not cool.  SO NOT COOL)  without loading up on them.  As much as I like dates in my baked goods, they usually never make it long enough for me to bake something with them.

I was determined this time, to make some date muffins.  This is a mish-mash of recipes that have all come together into one slightly sweet, crunchy yet still moist muffin.  The little bursts of apple and date make up for the fact that there is only 1/4 cup of brown sugar in the recipe.  I didn’t leave the bran cereal to sit in milk and soften this time, and I liked the crunchy texture it added.  But I don’t imagine it would change a thing if you like your cereal soggy.  I feared these muffins would be too dry.  Not so!  Yum!

Apple Date Bran Muffins

makes 12 muffins

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup bran cereal

1/3 cup dried dates, pitted and chopped

1 1/2 tsp. Ener-g egg replacer

2 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. canola oil

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup soy milk

1 cup apple (peeled if you want, I didn’t want!), diced

1) Pre-heat oven to 375F.  Spray 12 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or use liners.

2) In a medium bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and bran cereal.  Stir in the chopped dates.

3) In another bowl, prepare the egg replacer with the 2 Tbsp. water.  Add the canola oil and brown sugar, and whisk to combine.  Stir in soy milk and apple.

4) Add liquid ingredients to dry, and stir just until moistened.  Divide among the 12 muffin tins and bake 15 – 18 minutes.

5) Remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Bran Muffins: The official food of this blog

21 Feb

Bret is the muffin man.  I believe he cooked his way through the entire muffin section of Vegan with a Vengeance.

He even made Ginger Raisin Bran Muffins.  But this time I made muffins of my own!  Raisin Bran Muffins!  No ginger, although I do love ginger a whole lot.

I had a muffin almost directly out of the oven, a puff of steam billowed out at me when i broke it open.  This muffin was incredibly moist for being bran, and has no added fat.  The fresh muffin wasn’t dense in the slightest.

Honestly, I just subbed vegan ingredients for your basic All Bran muffin recipe.  I did use a vanilla flavored soy milk, which added a bit more sweetness than I think there would be otherwise.

Raisin Bran Muffins

makes 12 muffins

2 cups bran cereal

1 1/2 cup soy/rice/almond milk of your choice (I used a low fat vanilla soy milk)

1 1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

egg substitute for one egg (I used 1 1/2 tsp. Ener-g egg replacer with 2 Tbsp. water)

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup raisins

1) Pre-heat oven to 350F.

2) Combine bran cereal and milk in a medium bowl, and set aside for fifteen minutes to soften.

3) Meanwhile, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon in another bowl.

4) After bran cereal has softened, mix in egg replacer and applesauce.  Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir until moistened.

5) Add in raisins.

6) Divide mixture evenly between 12 muffin cups that have been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake for 15 minutes in 350F oven.

7) Cool for 5 minutes in muffin tin, then remove to cooling rack.

Fatfree Vegan Kitchen, will you be my Valentine?

14 Feb

I hope everyone is having a nice Valentine’s Day, filled with hearts and flowers and all that junk.  I spent my Valentine’s Day unpacking and resting after a long drive in a very large truck.  I also went grocery shopping and observed a gaggle of men and children hovering over the sparse supply of bouquets left in the floral section.

I have no recipe to post but I will tell you that Susan from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen posted a cookie recipe for Valentine’s Day.  Banana-Maple Oatmeal Cookies, to be exact.  And you should make them, because I made them this evening and they are yummy.  Actually, I made Banana-Agave Oatmeal Cookies, but I’d like to try them with maple syrup sometime.

I usually make baked oatmeal (I will get around to posting this recipe) every week to take with me to work as snacks.  What a nice change!  Thanks, Susan!

Making more soup tomorrow, I will let you know how it comes out!

Best Pumpkin Muffins

24 Jan

Vegan with a Vengeance, you’ve done it again. This time I made your Best Pumpkin Muffins recipe, and I think it’s my favorite muffin recipe in the book. Not too sweet, and moist and good and spicy.  I only have one more muffin recipe to go and then I’ll have made every muffin in the book!

-Bret

Rosemary Focaccia

8 Jan

I’ve made bread a total of two times in my life. I always wanted to, but the time commitment seemed daunting. If I go out, what if I don’t get back in time to punch the dough down? Will it keep growing until it takes over my apartment? I think I read a story about that happening when I was a kid.

Another thing keeping me from making my own bread is what doctors would call “yeast anxiety”. Maybe the bread wont rise. I don’t want to be a bread failure.

I’m slowly getting over my bread disorders, and I’ve made this focaccia twice. The first time Bret was there to help if I needed it. He used to work in a bakery and he knows bread. But it turns out that the only help I needed from him was when it came to eating it.

Since I’m currently out of a job (until my new one starts up), I have all the time in the world to bake bread. So I decided to do it again, and take pictures!

The recipe I use came from Epicurious. It’s a good recipe. I haven’t yet made it with the olive topping, but I do love olives so I’m sure it will happen. I had some leftover rosemary from making the white bean dip for the New Year’s party. I love rosemary. It was begging to be part of my focaccia.

Rosemary Focaccia, or whatever kind of topping you choose

Ingredients!

2 cups warm water

2 tsp. dry yeast

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (and more for dusting your work surface and adding to the dough if needed)

2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. olive oil

chopped rosemary or whatever else you might want to throw on top

Directions!

Put the warm water in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Mix it around with a fork and let it sit for about 10 minutes to dissolve.

Add 4 1/4 cups of flour and the salt to the water and yeast and stir until a sticky dough forms. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding flour to make the dough less sticky if you need to. Form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl. Cover that with plastic wrap and let it sit somewhere warm for about 1 1/2 hours until it is doubled.

Once it’s doubled, punch the dough down (my favorite part!), knead it again on a floured surface and reshape into a ball. Place it back in the same bowl, cover and let sit until doubled again, about 45 minutes or so.

Punch the dough down again! Yeah!

Place it on an oiled baking sheet and press out to a rectangle shape, about 10×12 inches or so. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then drizzle the two tablespoons of oil on top and sprinkle with rosemary or whatever you have to sprinkle. I also added some coarse salt. Let the dough rise in a warm spot for about 25 minutes.

Make little indentations all over the bread with your fingers. I’m not sure exactly what this does other than make little puddles of olive oil deliciousness. But do it anyway. Cook in a preheated 475F oven for about 20 minutes until it’s brown and puffy.

Oh focaccia, you are so pretty.

I roasted a head of garlic for Bret and I to eat with it too!

And Bret got some tomatoes and basil. It was a carby meal, but so tasty.

– Ellen

Ginger Raisin Bran Muffins

29 Nov

I am still making muffins. This time it was Ginger Raisin Brain Muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance. Though I’m starting to cheat on Vegan with a Vengeance with The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook. Pictures from food I made out of that coming soon! Now check out my muffins!

 

-Bret

Cherry Almond Muffins

26 Sep

So, I’ll plug Vegan with a Vengeance any chance I get. I made the cherry almond muffins from in there, though I actually couldn’t find any cherries. Can you believe it? So I used a trick (that Vegan with a Vengeance taught me) and bought some dried cherries and then just soaked them in hot water for five to ten minutes. Then I took these to a breakfast that my family was doing. They were weird about eating tofu but they weren’t suspicious of muffins at all.

They might have been my favorite ones so far. Next – ginger raisin bran muffins!

-Bret