Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies w/Spelt Flour

I’ve made these cookies many, many times but this is the first time I used Spelt flour instead of whole wheat flour and I found the cookies turned out to be lighter tasting.  I always add walnuts to my batter for a extra crunch.

Chocolate Chip Cookies w/Spelt Flour
(Dreena Burton’s Homestyle)

     1 c + 2-4 T       Spelt Flour   (the amount varies with brand of spelt flour and whether you are using a refined spelt flour versus a less process spelt flour). 
     1 t        baking powder
     ½ t       baking soda
     ¼  c     unrefined sugar
     ¼ t       sea salt
    1/3  c    pure maple syrup
    ¼ t        blackstrap molasses
    1  t        pure vanilla extract
    ¼   c     canola oil
    1/3 c     non-dairy chocolate chips
                 walnuts, chopped (optional)

Directions:  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the sugar and salt, and stir until well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup with the molasses and vanilla, then stir in the oil until well combined.

Add the wet mixture to the dry, along with the chocolate chips and stir through until just well combined (do not over-mix).

Note:  If, as you are mixing together your batter appears quite floury and thick, simply mix together a couple of teaspoons more canola and maple syrup and incorporate it into the batter. 

Place large spoonfuls of the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten a little.

Bake for 11 minutes, until just golden (if you bake for much longer, they will dry out).  Makes 9-12 average to large sized cookies.

***I like to add chopped walnuts or pecans!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tofu Crab Cakes

This recipe is from a new Vegan cookbook by Roberto Martin, Ellen DeGeneres’s personal chef.  I had a bit of a rough go at keeping these together, maybe I didn’t drain the tofu enough but I found that the cakes stayed together and fried up better after cooling in the fridge over night.  These were very rich and tasty.

Tofu Crab Cakes-served over slaw
Roberto Martin “Vegan Cooking for Carnivores”

1/4         green cabbage, shredded
1            fat carrot, peeled and grated
1            tablespoon vegan mayo
1/2         teaspoon onion powder
1/2         bunch scallions, green parts only, cut on the bias
              salt and pepper

Tofu Crab Cakes
1            14-16 oz. block firm tofu
2            teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons high-heat oil as safflower or grapeseed oil
6            medium celery stalks, minced
1/2         bunch scallions, white and green parts, minced
2            teaspoons garlic powder
2            tablespoons Toasted Nori  (instructions below)
1            tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2         cup panko bread crumbs, plus 2 cups for crusting
1/3         cup vegan mayo
              Quick Crab cake Sauce  (recipe below)

***Nori:   Take a sheet of nori seaweed, hold sheet of nori about 4 inches above an open flame and keep it moving until the corners turn up and it dries. Don’t panic if it catches on fire; just blow it out and keep tasting.  Rumble up the nori sheets into a powder.

****Quick Crab Cake Sauce
            1/4       cup whole grain mustard
            1/3       cup vegan mayo
                        juice of 1/2 small lemon
            2          teaspoons Old bay Seasoning

Chop tofu and pulse in a food processor until minced but not pureed.  Set aside.

Heat a medium sauté pan over high heat. Add the 2 teaspoons of oil and wait until it shimmers. Add the celery and scallions and cook until the celery has softened. Allow the vegetables to cool slightly. Mix the tofu and celery mixture in a medium bowl and fold in the garlic powder, nori, Old Bay seasoning, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, and vegan mayo.

Place the remaining 2 cups of bread crumbs in a pie pan or shallow bowl and set aside. Shape a heaping tablespoon of the mixture into a small disk and gently press both sides into the breadcrumbs. Using the palm of your hand, gently press the bread crumbs into the cake.  Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of high-heat oil, and wait until the oil shimmers. Place the tofu crab cakes in the pan and cook until brown, hot, and crispy. Transfer to paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Apple Tarts

I’m going to give you Ina Garten’s original recipe modified because I had to improvise a bit.  I accidentally purchased the mini appetizer sized puffed pastry where the top comes off, so I rolled those out into a round shape, which worked perfectly.  I also mixed my apples with the suggested Granny Smith and a few red apples that we purchased from the local Farmer’s Market. 

Apple Tarts - Ina Garten's recipe modified 

1            pkg. (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
4            small  Granny Smith apples
3/4         cup sugar  (I used less)
6            tablespoons soy butter, small-diced  (I eye balled it)
3/4         cup apricot jell (Trader Joe’s was delish)
3            tablespoons water or Ina’s recipe suggested Calvados or rum

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Cut each sheet of puf pastry into 4 squares. Divide the pastry between the prepared sheet pans and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.

Peel and cut apples in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife.  Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4 “ thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally across the pastry and place one slice of apple on each side of the arranged slices.  Sprinkle the apples evenly with the sugar and dot them with the diced soy butter.

Bake for 40 minutes, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. The apple juices will burn in the ban but the tarts will be fine.  When the tarts are done, heat the apricot jelly together with the water or Calvados until bubbly and brush the apples and pastry completely with the jelly mixture.  Loosen the tarts with the metal spatula so they don’t stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Creamy Artichoke Soup

Yes, I know it’s 95 degrees outside and we are making soup but because Artichoke is the main ingredient, it just feels light and fresh.  The original recipe calls for mascarpone cheese which is in the cream cheese family so I just substituted with soy cream cheese and a little soy sour cream for a bit of tang. 

Creamy Artichoke Soup
(Giada De Laurentis modified)

2            tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2            leeks, white part only, washed well and chopped
1            clove garlic, minced
1            small potato, peeled and chopped
1            8-oz. pkg. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed  (I only had canned)
2            cups vegetable stock
1/2         teaspoon salt
1/3         teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2            tablespoons plus 1/3 cup soy cream cheese (or 1 T. soy cream cheese, 1 T
                                                                                     soy sour cream and same with 1/3 cup)
2            tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish

Heat olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and the garlic and stir. Add the potato and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the artichokes, stock, salt, and pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Using a handheld immersion blender, or in a blender in batches*, puree the soup. Add the 2 tablespoons soy sour cream or soy cream cheese and blend again to combine. In a small bowl, stir the remaining 1/3 cup cream cheese to soften.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Dollop the top of each of the soups with a spoonful of the softened mascarpone cheese and top the cheese with chives.
* When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.