Archive for June, 2012

Blueberry Pancakes

My daughter loves blueberries and pancakes, so I made her blueberry pancakes this weekend for breakfast. This recipe is adapted from the basic recipe in King Arthur Flour’s cookbook. I’ve been trying to use different whole grains besides just whole wheat, so I made this with millet flour. I couldn’t believe how incredible they turned out. You know that heavy feeling you get after eating pancakes? Like you swallowed a sponge that’s expanding in your stomach? Or maybe it’s just me. Regardless, the millet flour made these light and airy on the plate and equally light in the stomach. They puffed up beautifully as they cooked. The millet added a natural gold hue to the pancakes that was a softer shade than corn and made them look even tastier. I used Bob’s Red Mill millet flour. They usually keep it stocked at my local health food store and in the natural food sections of the larger grocery chains. I would have used ground flaxseeds instead of the egg-replacer, but I hadn’t been out to the store to get any yet. If you have that, feel free to use that instead of the egg-replacer.

1 Tpsp egg-replacer

4 Tbsp warm water

1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk

2 tsp vanilla

3 Tbsp Earth Balance, melted

1 cup millet flour

1/2 cup vital wheat gluten

2 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp sugar

8 oz blueberries, rinsed

Combine the warm water and egg-replacer in a small cup and mix until it thickens. In a large bowl, combine the milk, vanilla and egg-replacer mixture and beat until foamy. Add the earth balance and blueberries and stir without breaking the blueberries. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, vital wheat gluten, baking powder and sugar. Whisk briskly so that the ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour the dry ingredients in to the wet ones and use a spoon to gently fold everything together. Mix just until the flour is moistened, but there wills till be clumps. If you have time, let it stand anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. You can make them immediately if you want, but I think they come out tastier and fluffier if you let the batter rest a bit. Heat a griddle or non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Once it’s hot, ladle in the pancake batter. When it’s ready to flip, the top will bubble and half way up the sides will look cooked. Carefully flip it and allow the bottom to cook.

Irish Soda Bread

I got this recipe from a first generation, Irish-American friend. It’s her mom’s recipe. The only ‘veganization’ I did was replace the buttermilk with non-dairy milk and vinegar. It smelled so good that I had to have a slice before I got set up for the photos. On the plus side, this way you can see how beautiful the inside looks!

3 cups of all-purpose  flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup raisins

2 cups non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)

2 Tbsp white vinegar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray some oil in an 8 inch cake pan. In a small bowl or measuring cup add the vinegar to the milk, mix and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Whisk briskly for about a minute to distribute the baking powder and baking soda as evenly as possible. Stir in the raisins. Add half of the milk to the flour mixture and mix with your hands. Once the milk is absorbed add half of the remaining milk and stir. Depending on the amount of flour, you may not need all of the milk. Keep adding the milk in smaller amounts until the dough is wet, but not gooey. Turn onto a floured surface and need until the dough is no longer sticky to the touch. Place it in the prepared cake pan, cut a cross in the top and bake for about 1 hour.

Categories: Baked Goods, Bread, Breakfast, Ethnic Tags: ,

S’More Bars

A few months ago my daughter emailed me a picture of s’more bars and told me that’s what she wanted when she came home from college. The recipe wasn’t vegan, but I decided to try and veganize it. I picked the wrong night to try it, though. After I got half way into the recipe, I realized that my son used the last of the flour yesterday without telling me. He also used almost all of the baking powder and dirtied all 3 sets of measure spoons. Why he needed 3 sets of measuring spoons to make 1 batch of waffles is beyond me. My daughter had my car, so I couldn’t run out and get flour or baking powder. I only had amaranth, quinoa, and millet flours on hand, so I used quinoa flour. I also was out of flax seeds and had to use egg replacer. Even with all of those bumps in the road, these actually came out!  Now, I couldn’t measure the egg replacer, baking powder or vanilla because washing the measuring spoons was my son’s responsibility. So I eye-balled them and wrote down what they should have been in the recipe. Oh, and feel free to replace the quinoa flour with all-purpose if you don’t have it.

I used ricemellow creme instead of marshmellows or marshmellow fluff. Not only is it vegan, but it actually tastes like toasted marshmellows, which is perfect for this dish.

1/2 cup Earth Balance

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbsp egg replacer

4 Tbps warm water

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cup quinoa flour

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 cup Ricemellow Creme

2 baking bars of semi-sweet chocolate (I used SunSpire)

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars. In a coffee cup, combine egg replacer and warm water and mix until it thickens. Add vanilla and egg replacer mixture to the butter mixture and blend. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, graham crackers and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir until combined. The mixture will be crumbly. Spray and 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Take half of the graham cracker mixture and press into the bottom of the pan. Spread the ricemellow creme evenly over the graham cracker layer. Lay the chocolate bars side-by-side on top of the ricemellow creme. Pour the rest of the graham cracker mixture on top of the chocolate bars and gently press until it evenly covers the chocolate. Be careful not to push too hard or the ricemellow will start to squish out along the sides. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

I only used the equivalent of 1 egg when I made this, but the graham cracker crust was too dry. I think it was because the quinoa flour absorbs more liquid than wheat flour. In the recipe above, I doubled the egg replacer to help with that. I also cooked mine for 30 minutes, but the ricemellow bubbled out along the sides and ended up almost caramelizing along the edges. The center was still nice and marshmellow-y though. I think reducing the baking time from 30 minutes to 20 minutes will correct that.

Categories: Dessert, Kid-Friendly Tags: , ,

Quinoa Pilaf

I love this dish. Love it! The cumin and cloves really make it stand out. I normally make this with rice, but tonight I was in the mood for quinoa. My kids ended up fighting over the last of it for dinner tonight. That was a first!

1/2 red onion, small dice

2 carrots, peeled and cut into a small dice

1/3 cup frozen corn

1/3 cup frozen peas

1 cup quinoa

1 1/2 cups water

1 clove garlic, minced

4 cloves

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1 bay leaf

Heat a large sauce pan that’s about 3 inches deep. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add carrots, onion, garlic, cumin seeds, bay leaf, and cloves. Saute until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add quinoa, water, corn, peas, ground cardamom, and ground cumin. Salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce hit to low and cover. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for another 10 minutes.

Philly Cheese Steaks

I’m from Pennsylvania originally. And when you think of food and PA, your first thought is always a philly cheese steak. This isn’t fancy or complicated and I doubt you need a recipe for it, but this really hit the spot for dinner and I had to post.   Instead of beef, I just use slices of large, portobello mushroom caps. The onions came out so good I was sneaking them out of the dish while the mushrooms cooked. The veggies were hot and juicy and messy as I ate. Just like a good cheese steak should be. I honestly think that it’s the cast iron frying pan that makes this taste so good. There’s something about the way it cooks the veggies that gives it that little extra something that has you burning your fingers as you snatch peppers and onions out of the pan to taste. You do need to taste check as they cook, right?

2 green bell peppers, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch strips

1 large yellow onion, pealed, cut in half and sliced width wise to create crescent shaped slices

3 large portobello mushroom caps, stem and gills removed and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

Daiya chedder cheese to taste

4 hoagie rolls

Pre-heat oven to 350. Heat a cast iron frying pan over medium high heat until hot. Pour in a tablespoon of olive oil. Lower heat to medium and add the peppers and onions and season with salt and pepper.  Saute over medium heat until the peppers or cooked and the onions are almost caramelized. They should be shades of light to medium brown, but not all dark brown. This should take about 15 minutes. Remove them to a dish and add another tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper. Let this saute until the mushrooms release their juices. Remove them to the dish with the peppers and onions. Slice a hoagie roll, add cheese to taste and then pile on the mushrooms, peppers and onions. At this point, I usually go one extra step before eating. I roll the hoagie in aluminum foil and place it in the oven for about 10 minutes. This heats the bread and gives the outside a nice crisp crunch. It also melts the cheese and gets all of the flavors blending together. Remove it from the oven, unwrap and enjoy!

Categories: Sandwich Tags: , ,

Lemon Bundt Cake with Strawberry Syrup

The recipe for the bundt cake is from The Millenium Cookbook. I made this for Mother’s Day and everyone loved it. However, the strawberry sauce I used that time called for putting strawberries in a blender with some water and sugar and blending. The sauce came out the same shade as pepto-bismol. I hate pepto-bismol. Bad memories from childhood have permanently scarred me from using, wearing, buying or eating anything that shade of pink. So, no offense to the sauce, but I decided to make something simple on my own. This time I made a strawberry flavored simple syrup.

1 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

3 strawberries sliced

Bring the water to boil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. When it boils, add the strawberries and let it boil for another minute or two. Add the sugar and stir till combined. Lower the heat to medium and let simmer for another 3 minutes. If you want a thick syrup, let it boil for about 7-9 minutes and it will thicken. Pour the syrup through a fine mesh sieve and into a bowl. You should now have a clear syrup with a pink tint. I sliced fresh strawberries and placed them on the cakes. Then I poured 2 tablespoons of the simple syrup over the strawberries and cakes. These were perfect for me.

Red Wine Braised Carrots and Seitan


I know this is a fall/winter dish, but I really got hungry for it today. This is one of my favorite dishes. It’s warm and homey and loaded with flavor. I didn’t have any home-made seitan on hand, so I used a bag of Gardein. I also have learned the wonders of home-made stocks. I used a dark stock that I use in place of a beef stock. I’ll post the recipe for that stock in a separate post. I usually serve this with mashed potatoes. I have a tagine that I use for this dish, but you should be able to use a dutch oven.

1/2 red onion, small dice

1 clove garlic, minced

3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 stalk celery, small dice

10 oz cooked seitan cut in to large cubes

3/4 cup dark stock

1 1/2 cup full-bodied red wine

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

3/4 tsp smoked paprika

Heat the tagine over medium heat. When hot, add some olive oil and saute the onion, celery and garlic until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the carrots, stock, wine, tomato paste, and spices. Raise heat and bring to a fast simmer. Turn heat to medium low, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes. Add the seitan and cook another 30 minutes. Check the liquid when you add the seitan. If you need more, you can add equal amounts of wine and stock. Don’t check the liquid too often though as the tagine is designed to self-baste.

Categories: Comfort Food, Dinner Tags: , , ,