Thursday, October 30, 2008

Autumn Recipe Contest

I've been neglecting this blog a lot lately, to such an extent that I actually totally overlooked a wonderful comment (about the Spinach Pie post) for MONTHS. Months! I am a bad blogger. Mea Culpa.

So, to rejuvenate things around here, I am starting up an Autumn/Thanksgiving RECIPE CONTEST. I expect this will end up being a pretty small contest, since, although I have many friends who cook, most of them do not type, and after I inadvertently ignored my one, solitary comment for three months, my prospects for new blog-friends submitting recipes seem pretty slim.

BUT STILL. Here are the rules:

1) Recipe must be vegan*

OK, now that we've reviewed the rules, get cooking! I would prefer original recipes, but if you have a favorite recipe from a cookbook or other blog, send it in, just provide the correct citation. If you've veganized an omnivore recipe, you get all the credit for that.

Since the theme is Autumn and/or Thanksgiving, seasonal recipes are preferred, but if you have something that transcends seasons with its awesomeness, by all means, submit it!

Obviously, if you know me, you can just e-mail me your recipe. If you don't, just paste it into the comments section. The world will be the judge. All viable recipes will be posted for everyone to try. If you submit a recipe, please know that it will posted here, where all three of my regular readers will be able to see it!

I will not be publishing a cookbook, so please do not worry about me stealing your recipe for my own profit. That is not how I roll.

*Vegan: no animal products, at all. No honey, no milk, no eggs, no meat, no dairy by-products. Even sugar can be non-vegan if it is processed with animal bone char. Keep an eye on those labels!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vegan Mac & Not-Cheese

I've been meaning to post this one for a while. Now that the weather is getting cooler, maybe it's time to think about warm comfort food like this again.

This is the best-tasting vegan version of Mac'n Cheese I have been able to create. It isn't really like traditional Mac'n Cheese. There is only one way to create that particular combination of flavors and textures. And it involves actual cheese.

But Veggie Mac is delicious and healthy, lower in fat and sodium, cruelty-free, and flavorful! This recipe provides some of the creaminess of the original, with a subtle and complex taste, pleasant texture, and cozy comfort-food feeling. So, here it is:

Vegan Mac’n Not-Cheese

You’ll need:

Elbow Pasta
1 block of Vegan Rella (cheddar flavor)
1 c. soy creamer or soy milk
4 tbsp Earth Balance margarine
½ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup Rice Wine (Mirin)
2 tbsp Brewer’s Yeast

1 cup of chopped leeks
2 tbsp olive oil
½ bag of frozen broccoli, thawed

2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp soy sauce, nama shoyu, or tamari
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp mustard (Grey Poupon or other Dijon mustard)
1 tsp garlic

Bread crumbs or crushed whole wheat crackers sufficient for topping.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Thaw the frozen broccoli and boil the elbow pasta according to instructions on box. Drain excess water from both. Set aside in large bowl or pan; add 1 tbsp of margarine to keep pasta from getting sticky.

Saute the leeks in the olive oil over medium-low heat until they are soft. In a small dish, mix garlic, mustard, and soy sauce. Stir the mustard mixture into the warm leeks and remove from heat.

In a saucepan, melt the remaining margarine over low heat. Cut the Vegan Rella block into smaller cubes, and add it to the margarine. As it begins to melt, slowly pour the soy creamer into the mixture.

Whisk the melted cheese mixture until the “cheese” is mostly melted. Stir in the nutritional yeast and whisk until smooth. Add the Brewer’s yeast and the rice wine and blend until smooth. Remove from heat and add onion powder, sea salt, nutmeg and pepper.

Combine all ingredients in an 8 x 8 casserole dish, stirring until the "cheese" mixture is well-blended. Top with bread crumbs or crackers, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Favorite Lemon Cake

Vegan Lemon Sour Cream Cake


* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup soy margarine, room temperature
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* Equivalent of 3 eggs (powdered egg substitute works well for this recipe)
* grated zest of 1 large lemon
* 1 cup vegan sour cream

* Lemon Glaze:
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 325°. Generously butter and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.

Into a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl with hand-held electric mixer, cream 1 cup soy margarine and granulated sugar; beat at high speed until mixture is very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in egg substitute. Blend in lemon zest. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, adding each in 3 additions. Scrape sides of bowl frequently.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan; bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden pick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine lemon glaze ingredients in a bowl, blending until smooth. Carefully turn cake out onto a platter; drizzle evenly with glaze.

Serves 12 or more, depending on size of servings.


In today's troubled economic times, who can afford $2.00 bars? But who wants to eat substandard bars with 46 non-food ingredients? If you have access to a store with a bulk foods section, perhaps this simple recipe for delicious bars (like LaraBars or ClifNectar bars) can save you some bucks while maintaining your high standards for optimal nourishment.

Here are several combinations. Each recipe will yield 2 bars:

Cherry: 1/4 c. dates, 1/4 c. dried cherries, 1/3 c. whole pecans, almonds, or walnuts, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Cashew Cookie: 1/3 c. dates, 1/2 c. raw cashews

Chocolate Chip Cookie: 1/3 c. dates, 1/2 c. raw cashews, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, pinch of cinnamon, 1/2 oz. finely chopped semisweet chocolate

Blueberry: 1/4 c. dried blueberries, 1/4 c. dates, 1/3 c. almonds, 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, 1 drop almond extract

Pulse the dried fruit in a food processor until it has a paste-like texture, and transfer to a medium bowl. Chop the nuts very finely (by hand or use the food processor). Add them to the fruit paste. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly (you might have to get in there with your hands and squish everything around).

Transfer mixture to waxed paper or plastic wrap. You can divide the mixture into two blobs and wrap each in plastic, then form into a bar shape and refridgerate to firm it up a bit, or just use a spatula to spread the entire mixture over a piece of waxed paper on a baking sheet. Refridgerate, and once it's firm, cut the resulting "megabar" into smaller pieces.

It's easy to think of other great combinations. I'm planning to try cranberry-apple, chocolate-coconut-almond, golden-raisin-pecan, and several others!