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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

East-West Quiche

tofu quiche

When I think of quiche, I think of France. And when I think of tofu, I think of a few different countries in the East. That is why I call this my East-West Quiche, which, by the way, happens to be my new favorite way to make quiche. I'll get back to the deliciousness of East-West Quiche in reference to typically made quiche in a moment though.

First, I want to address all of you out there who are grumbling and staring at this creation with a heart full of doubtful negativity. I can read some of your minds now 'Oh, these vegans and vegetarians with their bland tofu and other odd foods'. I know. I know. It does sound a bit strange to make quiche from tofu. For any of you with the aforementioned feelings, I understand at least some of your sentiment.

However, tofu is a good food product in that it has no cholesterol or trans fats along with only a bit of healthy fat and things like soy isoflavones, B vitamins, & protein. It's also one of those foods like cream cheese, for example, in that it can take on sweet or savory flavors. This is nice when it comes to having a healthful and versatile product in your kitchen. And, yes, it's up to you to make the tofu taste good or excellent.

Well, this quiche is very good. I would wager that some of you would call it excellent considering that it's made with tofu, not delicious cheese or rich eggs. My Cauldron Boy took a bite out of it yesterday and, with a mouth full of steaming hot quiche, mumbled 'Yum, what kind of cheese did you use?' He also mentioned that it tasted like chicken was in there.

At that moment, I was pretty content with myself (smile)...

p.s. I know I need to come up with a more healthful crust. This one is super delicious though.

East-West Quiche
1 1/2 Packages Extra Firm, Organic Tofu (21 0z.)*
1 Large Garlic Clove
2 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp. Yellow Mustard
1 1/2 Cups Sliced Zucchini
1 Small Carrot (thin sliced)
1/2 of a Medium Red Onion or 1 tiny red onion (chopped fine)
1/2 Tsp. Herbes de Provence (or your favorite dry herb blend)
1/4 Tsp. Sea Salt
Paprika and spices for sprinkling quiche
*I pressed the outside of my tofu block with paper towels just to dry them a bit and remove excess water (Nasoya Extra Firm Tofu is best for this application in my experience)!

1 Cup A.P. Flour (Arrowhead Mills is excellent)
1/2 Cup (8 Tbsps.) Earth Balance or Smart Balance Buttery Spread
About 3 Tbsp. Cold Water

In a bowl, place the flour and butter. With your hands or a pastry cutter, push the butter into the flour till you see mostly pea sized pieces of floury butter. Add the water, and form the dough into a ball. If your ball is a bit sticky, just add a bit more flour to it.
On a very floury surface, roll out your dough into a flat round that is about 1/8 -1/4 inch thick. Carefully lift it and place it into a 9 inch pie or tart pan. Place in the fridge to set.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Now, sauté your onion zucchini, and carrots in about 3/4-1 Tbsp. of olive oil on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. About 2 minutes into this process, add 1/2 Tsp. of herbs de Provence and 1/2 tsp. of sea salt. Pepper as you like. Set aside to cool on a plate when done.

In the food processor, place the tofu, garlic, soy sauce, & nutritional yeast. Blend till smooth. I blended mine for about 30 seconds, but time can vary from processor to processor. Once smooth, add a pinch of sea salt and the tbsp. of mustard. Stir with a spoon till combined. Now, stir in the vegetables.

Pull the crust out of the fridge, and smooth the tofu mix into the pan. Sprinkle with paprika, onion & garlic powder, & black pepper. Bake for about 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vegan Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Tart

chocolate chip pie

Happy Weekend Everyone!

I just wanted to quickly share this recipe with you all before my Cauldron Boy wakes up from his slumber and wants to watch a movie. This is a peanut butter and dark chocolate chip cookie pie. Yes, it's the same type you ordered at the restaurant when you were little that came out a tad warm with a big scoop of ice cream on top. This is my vegan version of the pie, but I will show non-vegan alternatives in case this suits your fancy...

I adapted this recipe from Almost Bourdain, but actually got the idea to veganize it from another site that had linked to Ellie. I can't remember which site this was, so, if it's you, let me know!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Tart/Pie
1 Cup Organic A.P. Flour
1 1/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/8 Tsp. Salt
3/4 Cup Organic White Sugar
4 Tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread (or butter)
5 Tbsp. Creamy Peanut Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Flax Egg** (or 1 organic egg)
3/4 Cup Vegan Dark Chocolate Chips

**Flax egg is the easiest thing to make. The night before you plan to make this pie, place 2 1/4 tbsp. of golden flax seeds in 1 cup of water. Cover and leave in the refrigerator over night. About 8-10 hours later your flax egg is ready. I allowed flax seeds to be in my 1/4 Cup of flax egg-they're healthy and I didn't notice even one in the pie despite them being there!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 inch tart or cake pan.

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt thoroughly. In another bowl, use a hand held mixer to cream the earth balance, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla till smooth. Then add the egg and cream until combined-not too much! Slowly add the dry ingredients using a fork to mix, not the mixer. Last add your chocolate chips gently. Push the batter into the greased pan and distribute it evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes. I baked mine for about 23...

Allow to cool on a wire rack for about 3 hours before slicing.

p.s. Hey TigerFish, I have this nice Le Creuset tart pan b/c of you. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Corn Quesadillas w/ Summer Veg

Cheezy Tortillas

This post is probably just as much a confession as it is a recipe idea or reminder for quick summer food. This might sound a bit odd until you are made privy of the guilt I have over eating so much non-organic corn product. And you now might be confused at what issue one could possibly have over typically grown corn. However, if you've seen the movie Food Inc. or read any of the many books on this topic, you know exactly why I want to kick myself over my addiction to cheap corn tortillas.

Yes, Dearies, corn tortillas are so inexpensive, often vegan, and just plain practical. So if you know of a company that makes organic corn tortillas, please do let me know. I'd be interested despite a sneaking suspicion that they might be pricey.

Back to the food. These are corn tortillas stuffed with Galaxy Vegan Cheese, grated zucchini, red bell pepper and garlic. I obviously make up for the tortilla by stuffing these with organic vegetables and vegan cheese made with organic soy. The result is a delicious snack or meal when paired with salad or soup. Making them also does not involve firing up the oven or letting a soup roar for an hour. Nope, just a quick sear in earth balance or butter on both sides and you're done. No hot, steamy house to exacerbate the existing heat of summer!

Summer Veg Corn Quesadillas for 2

8 Corn Tortillas
3/4 Cup shredded Zucchini (arugula is great too)
1/3 Cup diced Red Pepper
1-2 Tbsp. minced garlic
8 Slices Galaxy Vegan Cheese (or your favorite cheese)
Earth Balance Buttery Spread
Red Pepper Flakes
Black Pepper
Garnish-fresh cilantro, scallions, lime, salsa, hot chilis, etc...

Place about 3/4 Tbsp. of Earth Balance in a pan and bring it to medium heat.

Once the heat is at medium, place a tortilla in the pan. Place a cheese slice, an even distribution of the veg, some garlic, salt and pepper. Put the top on and watch for the bottom piece to become a bit golden (1-2 min). Turn carefully and give the other side 1-2 min. Continue this till you are done. Turn your heat down if your pan starts to smoke. This happens usually on electric stoves, but can happen on any stove that does not maintain constant temperature.

Note: *Do not place tortilla in butter that is not fully heated. *Add more earth balance or oil in small amounts or as needed while making these!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cherry Corn Muffins

Corn Muffins (cherries)

Happy Saturday, Dearies!

I hope you all are having a great Father's Day weekend. I know that many of you are thinking about what special thing to make for Dad or Gramps tomorrow for breakfast or brunch, so I wanted to share my delicious and healthful cherry topped corn and sorghum muffins with you. They are not only super perfect in terms of texture and fluffiness, but they are also delicious. All of this and with no A.P. flour or Xanthum Gum!

This recipe could probably also be done with only corn meal, but, for accuracy purposes, I'm listing exactly what I used. These muffins are also gluten free and that baked cherry on top tastes like cherry pie. Healthful yumminess in a cupcake wrapper!

Note: the muffins pictured had molasses in them, hence their tan appearance. I remade the exact recipe last night sans molasses and ended up with the most perfect corn muffin. So just know if you follow the recipe you will get a beautiful and more yellow muffin! These photos really don't do justice to the recipe at all, but you all know how night photography goes...

Here's the recipe:

Cherry Topped Corn Muffins
1 1/2 Cups Fine Grind Corn Meal*
1/2 Cup Sweet Sorghum Flour
1/4 Cup Organic White Sugar
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1 Organic Egg
2 Tbsp. Low Fat Yogurt
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Cups Low Fat Milk
Fresh Cherries
*I used an organic corn meal that looked a lot like a flour to me. So this would most likely be considered a fine grind corn meal not a grit or more textured one.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with oil sprayed paper cups.

In a bowl, mix the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt thoroughly. Create a well in the center and add the yogurt, oil, milk and the egg (beaten already). Mix gently till homogeneous. Spoon batter into the muffin cups and place the cherry on top. If you have trouble making it stay at the top, you can do like I did and put another cherry or a piece of chocolate below it in the mix so that it has something in which to lean. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Recipe makes 10-12 muffins depending on tin size.

Enjoy with honey butter, jam, or whatever you like.

Happy Father's Day everyone!

p.s. if you want your muffins to be shiny on top, brush them with a smooth, chunk free apricot jam. Oh, and I'm going to try this with flax egg, soy milk & soy yogurt soon for my vegan lovelies!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Kale Salad!

Kale Salad

Hello Dearies!

I have been very busy this week entertaining and such, however, I wanted to quickly share this salad with you. I know it is just a salad and we all know how to make one, but this is a special salad. Not in the sense of it being close to my heart or anything (smile), but in the sense of dense nutrition along with fresh deliciousness. Who could ask for more in a salad?

If you are not familiar with Kale, it is a member of the cabbage family believed to be a more original version of the plant meaning it has been less genetically tampered with by human farming methods. Some nutritionists and even cancer experts also consider kale to be a miracle food not only for its super high levels of vitamin K, C, & A (Beta Carotene), but also for its high levels of glucosinolates. These are cancer fighting compounds like the notorious sulforaphane, which are found to be plentiful in kale!

If the cancer fighting benefits aren't enough to sell you on Kale, know that Vitamin K is extremely important for proper skin health and healing. So this is one of those foods that make you glow being that a cup of boiled kale has 1,327.6%* of what your daily intake for vitamin K should be...

Wilted Kale Salad
4 1/2-5 Cups of Chopped/Sliced Thin, Organic Kale
1 Small Carrot (grated)
1/4 Cup Thin Sliced Red Onion
1 Garlic Clove (minced)
1/2-3/4 Tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste*
Sliced Cucumber for garnish (as pictured)

*Make sure to use enough salt to cut the vinegar. I start with 1/8 tsp. and move up as needed.

Cut the stems of the kale out of the middle of the leaf with a sharp knife. Slice the kale as you like and then place it in the strainer of a salad spinner and rinse a few times. Spin to remove excess water. Place the dry, chopped kale and the other ingredients in a bowl and mix. Store in the fridge for at least 20 minutes and up to a few hours before eating.
If you want a truly wilted salad, cover and leave in the fridge for a few hours being sure to stir the salad from time to time in order to distribute vinaigrette evenly.

p.s. Kale can be really sandy and dirty, Dearies, so be sure to wash well and dry properly before making your salad...
*See more nutritional info on kale here at www.whfoods.com/.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Vegan Tres Leches

I sometimes spend a while thinking about what approach to take in introducing a new post with a recipe or idea in it that I obviously think is worthy of people's time. I can't afford to do that today, as getting to the point is imperative in respect to this creation. So I will just say it:

This is the best Tres Leches cake I have ever tasted or eaten and it's vegan. Yes, it's vegan.

That is coming from someone who has eaten this cake made by one of the arguably best female Latin chefs in the U.S. at present, along with other authentic homemade versions. Since we are still not at the point of scratch and sniff/taste screen technology, I can only hope that you will take my directness as sincerity. That's certainly what it is, my lovelies!

*Note: This cake requires a bit of planning only in that one needs to place a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge the night before making this cake and allow it to cool over night. Otherwise, this is an extremely easy cake to make!

For the Cake:

1 1/2 Cups A.P. Flour
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/8 Tsp. Salt
1 Cup Almond Milk (unsweetened)
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
3/4 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 8 by 8 by 2 inch square baking dish with Pam.

Thoroughly mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Create a well and place the almond milk, oil, extract, and vinegar in the center. Gently mix till homogeneous (do not over mix). Pour the batter into the pan a bake for 30-35 min. Allow to cool for an hour.

After cooling, use the end of a spoon or something with a bit of girth and stab the cake to create holes or wells for the milk to soak into later.

For the Milk:

Gently retrieve and open the can of coconut milk. With a spoon, gently remove the heavy fat/cream from the can being careful not to include the non fatty and more watery coconut milk. Place the fatty cream in a bowl in which you can whip it. Once done, set the bowl of cream in the fridge to whip later. Then, measure out 1 cup of the coconut milk (It's okay if it has fat in it-yum) Mix it with 1/2 Cup Vanilla Soy Milk and 1 1/2 Tsp. sugar. Pour this into the cooled cake that has been prepped with wells to soak up the milk. Be sure to turn the pan or use your spoon to ensure that enough milk falls into all of the wells. This will ensure a true tres leches moistness.

For the Cream:

Remove the coconut fat from the fridge. Whip it with a whisk to your desired consistency. Pour over the top of the cake once most of the milk has absorbed.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Creamy Avocado Tossed Salad w/ Feta

This post is to serve two purposes, my Dearies:

1. To enter the challenge that I call the DenLaz Challenge a.k.a Denise and Lazaro's contest requiring a dish made with avocado and feta cheese.

2. To remind or even inform you of the power of leafy greens, cabbage family plants, and orange/red colored veggies in reference to cancer and overall health!

Here are some study results that may shock you:

*Men who eat a regular diet of green vegetables, such as cabbage and broccoli, can lower their risk of prostate cancer by 41 percent according to the Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
*Two large Harvard studies of more than 124,000 people showed a 32% reduction in the risk of lung cancer for those who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods.
* Eating as little as three servings of raw cruciferous vegetables from the cabbage family per month has been found to decrease the risk of bladder cancer by an astonishing 40% according to researchers at the Roswell Cancer Institute in Buffalo (only 3 times a month)!

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And Dr. Neal Barnard, a famous cardiologist and vegan, reveals to us how smokers truly show us the power of whole, organic greens and other foods in his book "Food For Life" when he states this:

"Smokers have provided dramatic demonstrations of the power of vegetables and fruits. A fifty five year old male smoker whose diet is low in Vitamin C has a one-in-four (25%) risk of dying of lung cancer in the next twenty five years. But if the smoker has a high intake of vitamin C, either through diet or supplements, his risk drops to 7 percent. People who quit smoking benefit from fruits and vegetables too. Researchers at the University of Texas found that former smokers who do not eat many vegetables and fruits are five and a half times more likely to develop throat cancer compared to ex-smokers who eat more fruits and vegetables."

New research has also come out showing that one's overall cancer risk can drop a whopping 50% automatically by simply eating more than 5 servings of cabbage family vegetables a week. I'm not going to site the study, as I can't find it now that I need it. But I encourage you to 'google' information on cancer and greens, cabbage family plants, carotenoids, and green tea. You will most likely be pleasantly surprised at what we can all easily and deliciously do for our health in reference to cancers! And I'm not even going to go into how voraciously powerful diet is in reference to Heart Disease and Type II Diabetes...

Vegan Avocado Dressing
2 Whole Avocados
1/2-1 tsp. Sriracha (hot sauce)
3-4 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Cilantro
Squeeze of lemon
1/2-3/4 Tsp. Salt

Place above ingredients in a food processor and whirl in order to get the most delicious & creamy vegan dressing ever! Be sure to serve this dressing over salad with a side of lemon or lime-it adds tang!

Mixed Green Salad w/ Avocado Dressing & Feta! Topped with shrimp for Cauldron Boy...I might have liked them too though (smile).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Portuguese Orange-Olive Oil Cake

This post is for m'dear Casey over at Eating, Gardening, & Living in Bulgaria. She is hosting a Portuguese Day cooking event. If you'd like to participate, you still have time!

As you may know, Portugal is a small country in Europe on the Western side of the continent. It runs along the Atlantic ocean and looks as though it's almost a neighborhood within the country of Spain. If you had asked the lady, Senora Cefarina, that took care of me while I lived in Spain about Portugal, she would have curtly stated that Portugal should be part of Spain. She even quickly declared to me 'el portugues es muy mal hablado espanol', which translates to English as 'Portuguese is simply poorly spoken Spanish'. Cefarina obviously didn't hold the country of Portugal or it's language and culture in high esteem.

I, however, love Portugal. The language sounds a bit like Spanish spoken with a French accent to my ear, which is perfection in and of itself to me at least when it comes to the human tongue. The food is delicious not only in terms of traditional recipes, but also in terms of high quality and naturally grown agriculture. And the place is gleaming with beauty being that it runs along the coast and runs inward towards Europe, which we all know is just beauty in raw form.

Now, Portugal has some raunchy history just like the rest of us, but I won't go into that. One nice characteristic of Portugal's history though is something that it shares with many parts of Europe as well as North Africa and that is afternoon tea! I love afternoon tea, which is preceded by a 'siest' or 'siesta' (a nap). In fact, I might argue that there is nothing better in this life than afternoon siest followed by afternoon tea with homemade cakes, cookies, confections, and bread. Usually taken with family, friends, & neighbors-the ones we love. Yes, this is life!

Unfortunately, we don't stop work, school, or anything else in the U.S. for afternoon tea.The Portuguese and many Europeans close shop for anywhere between 2-3 hours in the afternoon, so that people can go home and eat some lunch, make love, sleep, and wake up to afternoon tea. Then, they go back to work for a couple more hours till the work day is done.

Sounds nice, no? Well, write to the president or somebody. WE NEED AFTERNOON TEA LIKE PORTUGAL! Am I wrong here, Dearies?

Anyway, here is a traditional Olive Oil & Orange Portuguese Tea Cake. It is delicious, traditional and easy. I adapted the recipe from Leite's Cake. It caught my eye as Leite describes it saying that it is even better the 2nd or 3rd day after sitting. He even goes so far as to command one not to take a bite out of it till the next day, so this cake holds well, Dearies!

Here is my version:

Portuguese Orange-Olive Oil Cake
1 3/4 Cup A.P. Flour
1 Cup Sugar
3/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
3/4 Cup O.J.
3/4 Cup Olive Oil
1-2 Tsp. Orange Zest (optional but fragrant)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a bread pan with sprayed Parchment Paper.

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs. Then add the oil, o.j., and zest to the eggs and whisk well. Slowly pour the wet mix into the dry mix and gently stir till homogeneous-do not over stir. Pour into bread pan and bake for about 45-50 min or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy with afternoon tea!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

El Queso De Marly

queso de marly

This is Marly's cheese, Dearies!

If you don't know Marly, then you really need to visit her. She is a super interesting and, I must say, thoughtful lady that also happens to be a blogger. Her blog is about names, Marly's love of names, and all of the mystical things that a name can be, mean, and even create for us in our lives.

In addition to this charming preoccupation with names, Marly is also a vegan. So sometimes she shares some vegan deliciousness on her blog. This cheese is one of those things, and I must say it is quite rich and delightful. It also smears well on chips, carrots, apples, and celery without guilt, which I really like a lot. Cauldron Boy also liked it and kept swooning and breathing heavily while eating and grumbled a bit to himself about 'good hummus'. I don't know that Marly would appreciate this 'good hummus' comment or maybe I should say name. For those of you that don't like the idea of vegan cheese though, this could be considered somewhere in the realm of 'good hummus'. Kind of....

Marly's recipe is here. The only thing I did differently was to add a tsp. of paprika for color and only 1/2 Tbsp. Agave (my cashews were sweet enough). Next time, I'm going to throw a chipotle pepper and maybe some smoked paprika onto the scene to see how that is.

Thanks for a delicious and healthful snack, Marly!

*Ooh, and this recipe contains nutritional yeast, Dearies. I don't know if you all are familiar with it, but, as the name describes, it is very nutritious. Especially in the realm of B-Vitamins, which is very helpful to vegans!