Monday, October 17, 2011

Maple Syrup and Vegan Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is a perfect meal for fall and winter! The squash will be in season and the maple syrup and sausage combo has a delightfully warm and fall-ish taste. Mmmmm!

2 small Acorn squash
1 tbsp. oil of choice
1 tube Lightlife Gimme Lean ground sausage style
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. pecans
3/4 c. maple syrup

Cut the top off of the acorn squash and scoop out the seeds and guts.  Cut the tip off the bottom of the squash so that it sits flat on a cookie sheet (don't cut too much off! You don't want all of your filling to fall out through the bottom.)

Heat your oil over medium high in a frying pan.  Put the sausage in the pan, you'll need to use your spatula to break up the sausage (it might not break up entirely, but get it as small as you can!) one the sausage is starting to brown add the pecans and raisins. Cook together for about a minute and remove from heat.

Fill the acorn squash with the sausage mixture and pour half of the syrup over the mixture in each squash.

Bake at 400 for about 45 minutes.  Check it periodically, it will be down when the squash is soft (poke it with a fork to check!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Yumm! A simple oatmeal raisin cookie for when you have a craving!

1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

2 TBSP ground flax seed mixed with 3 TBSP hot water, let sit until it is goopy
1/2 c. margarine (softened)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl use a whisk or rubber spatula to mix the margarine and sugars.  Add in the flax/water mixture and mix. Stir in the vanilla.  Now mix the margarine mixture in with the dry mixture.

Scoop in 1 oz. balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  I like to flatten them down a bit before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  This may take longer depending on your oven.  Just judge the best you can! or maybe do a test cookie to figure out the ideal timing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vegan Chiles Rellenos with Mushrooms and Daiya cheese! (for 2)

Prior to my life as a vegan, chile relleno was my favorite mexican food dish. One year I made them for mother's day, so I knew I was up to the challenge when I thought about making them vegan!

2 poblano peppers

10 cremini mushrooms
1 tsp. cumin
1 clove garlic or 1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Daiya brand mozzarella
Daiya brand pepper jack

1/2 c. flour
3 TBSP corn starch
1/3 c. unsweetened almond milk (or other type of milk, or water)

Oil for frying

Start by preparing the mushrooms.  Simply saute them in some olive oil with the cumin, garlic, salt and pepper until they start to secret liquid and are soft.

Now you will need char the skin of the poblanos over a gas stove or in the broiler.  Rotate the peppers until the skin is sufficiently charred.

Put to peppers in a plastic bag and tie it shut so that the steam loosens the skin of the peppers. Or put the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam the skin loose. After the peppers have cooled enough to touch, remove from the bag or bowl and peel the skin off.  Be VERY CAREFUL when handling the peppers, they will be very weak at this point and you don't want to tear it anymore than needed to stuff it.  Once the skin is removed, cut a 1" slit into the pepper, just large enough to fit a spoon inside.  Use a spoon to carefully scrape out the seeds and innards of the pepper (you may want to wear gloves for this, if your skin is sensitive this may make them burn later).  Once your pepper is seeded, they are ready to be stuffed.

Put a small amount of mozzarella Daiya into the peppers through the same slit you made to seed them, then add some pepper jack Daiya.  Next stuff them with the prepared mushrooms.  This is a very delicate process, so don't try to stuff all of this in at once, do it a little at a time.  After the mushrooms, add more of both of the cheeses.

Start to heat the oil.  Pour about 1 1/2" into a pan and put on medium high heat.  Mix the batter (flour, cornstarch and almond milk).  Dip the peppers into batter before frying.  Fry the peppers for about 3 minutes on each side.

Ta Da! You now have Vegan Chiles Rellenos! MMMM!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vegan Red Wine Poached Pear and Cashew Cream Tart

So, what do you get when you cross Vegan Month of Food with a girl, pears, and a foodie blog? A poached pear tart, of course!

Tart Crust
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. vegan margarine (I use earth balance. It should be COLD)
1 tsp. salt
4-8 TBSP of ice water

Measure out the flour, salt and margarine in a bowl or in the food processor. (personally, I find cleaning the food processor annoying, so I do this manually) Cut the butter up in the flour until you have a sand-like texture using the butter knives in a scissor style action. Add the water one TBSP at a time, depending on your humidity you may use more or less than the recommended amounts.  Mix the water in with a fork, your dough should  stick and stay when you press it together. Don't skimp on the water to the point that it crumbles, but you don't want it to be anywhere near sticky either.  Knead the dough for a few minutes (this is where you find the difference between pie dough and tart dough. A pie dough should be handled as little as possible, but a tart dough needs to be kneaded...haha get it? needs to be kneaded?) Roll it into a ball and refrigerate it overnight or at least an hour before rolling out and placing it into a tart pan.

When it is ready to roll out, roll to about 1/4" thickness and place over the pan, lift the edges to settle it into the corners of the pan. I folded a little bit of it over onto itself, but that isn't necessary! Cook the crust at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown, I usually check it at 15 minutes.

Cashew Cream
1 c. raw unsalted cashews (soaked overnight then drained)
3 TBSP. sugar (or other sweetener such as agave nectar)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. to 1 c. water

Place all ingredients in a blender, add the water slowly.  If you add too much water, your cashew cream will be soupy. You want it to be creamy, so keep that in mind! Simple as that.

Red Wine Poached Pears
4 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and halved (the should be ripe, but not soft)
1 c. red wine (I used a Zinfandel)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. water

Put all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over med. high heat.  Cook the pears in the red wine mixture until tender and stained red. Remove the pears and continue to cook the red wine down to a thick sauce. This will take quite a while.. you will know you are getting close when it starts boiling up a lot. just keep cooking it and cooking it until it gets thicker. It will still run, but will be noticeably thicker.  Slice the pears in very thin slices, no thicker than 1/4".

Once your tart crust has cooked and cooled, spread the cashew cream onto the crust.  Lay the pear slices out on top of the cashew cream in whatever pattern your heart desires.  You can even just dump them on if you are going for the beautifully chaotic look. Then drizzle your red wine sauce over the tart.

Cut the tart up and enjoy with some vegan vanilla ice cream or some Soyatoo whipped cream! Yum Yum! Don't forget to share!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chipotle Mexican Chocolate Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate Ganache Drizzle

Ok... So I kind of like chipotles. I made this cake for my brother's birthday and it was DELICIOUS.

Chipotle Mexican Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. ground chipotle
1 tsp. ground ancho chile
1/4 tsp. salt

1 c. cold water
1/4 c. canola oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9" round pan and line with parchment, spray over the parchment as well. *note: this makes one thick layer of cake, if you want a two layer cake, you will need to double the recipe!*

In a bowl, combine the wet ingredient. Sift together the dry ingredients and add wet to dry by making a well in the center of the dry ingredients and mixing until smooth.  Pour the batter into the pan.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Once you remove the cake from the oven, let it it cool 10 minute in the pan.  Remove the cake from the pan and let it finish cooling before icing.

Vegan Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz. container vegan cream cheese
1/4 c. vegan margarine (I use earth balance)
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. cocoa powder

Beat together the cream cheese and margarine. Beat in the salt and extract.  Add the cocoa powder and beat until blended.  Slowly (1 cup at a time) add in the powdered sugar.  Beat until smooth.

Now, frost the cake!

Chocolate Ganache Drizzle
1/2 c. unsweetened milk substitute of your choice (I use almond)
1 1/4 c. vegan chocolate chips

Combine in the top of a double boiler.

Drizzle over the frosted cake!

I used some red peppers to jazz up the appearance of my cake!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chipotle Quinoa Salad with Green Apples

The other day we realized we had no meals planned and had not gone grocery shopping. As a vegan, quinoa is a staple of the house, we usually have a couple of green apples hanging around and since we just got out of jalapeno growing season we had some of those. I dug around in the kitchen until I pulled together what we had and this is the result!

1 c. red quinoa
1 large green apple, chopped into small pieces
1/2 c. finely chopped red onion (1/2 of a large red onion or 1 medium small red onion should be enough)
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lime juice
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. ground chipotle
1 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper

In a small pan, bring the quinoa to a boil in 2 cups of water. Once it is boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 more minutes.  Once the quinoa is done cooking place in a salad bowl and let it cool while you chop and prepare the dressing.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Once the quinoa is cooled, add in the apples, red onion and jalapeno and drizzle with the dressing!

Ta Da! Simple, quick and delicious :)
Serve room temp. or chilled

Side Note: I didn't do this when I made it, but it would be even more tasty if instead of ground chipotle you used canned chipotles in adobo sauce! I would use half a chipotle and finely chop it up and mix it in with the dressing! If you think half a chipotle would be too spicy, go with less! The canned adobo chipotles will give you more fire and flavor, where as the ground chipotle tends to give less fire, but more smokey flavor!