Monday, May 30, 2016

Blended Mocha Iced Coffee

Just a quick post to help beat the summer (spring?) heat. A good blender is a great investment, especially when you can churn out tasty drinks like this that aren't cheap at your local coffee place (and are really mostly ice anyway). Add whatever you want to this base recipe to customize it to your liking.

INGREDIENTS
Makes 2 servings
- 4 tsp instant coffee
- 4 tsp cocoa powder (I like Dutch process)
- 1 1/2 cups non dairy milk
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
- splash of vanilla extract
- 14 ice cubes (i.e. one tray)
- whipped topping (optional)

METHOD
1. Place all ingredients except the whipped topping in the blender and blend on high until smooth.
2. Top with whipped topping, if desired. I like the "Better than Whipping Cream" from Homemade Vegan Pantry. That stuff is some serious vegan voodoo.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Umami Burgers

These burgers came about from trying to use up the cans of chickpeas in my fridge from making batch after batch of Lemon Meringue Tarts. I first turned to my three go to sources of umami: tomatoes, soy sauce, and mushrooms. For texture, I used barley (like my Tourtière recipe). The end result is a durable (i.e. grillable) and non-mushy burger with plenty of flavour. These burgers freeze well (just thaw them before grilling) and when cooked keep well in the fridge. They taste good cold, or microwaved a few days later. The kids love them for lunch so I grill them up on Sunday and they take them to school throughout the week.

INGREDIENTS
Makes 12 burgers
- 1/2 cup pot barley, cooked (in veggie broth or beer) until soft (about 30 mins), cooled
- 1/4 olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 celery rib, minced
- 3 cups chopped cremini mushrooms (about 8 oz/227g)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Montreal Steak Spice, ground
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup instant oatmeal
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup instant tapioca
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (i.e. day old bread ground up in a food processor)
- seasoned salt and black pepper to taste

METHOD
1. Cook the barley until tender, drain, then set aside to cool in a large bowl.
2. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Sauté onion, garlic, and celery for 5-7 mins, until soft and onion is translucent.
3. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 5 mins, until mushrooms have released their water and have cooked down a little.
4. Remove from heat and add to the barley. Mix well.
5. Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor. Be careful not to make them into a paste.
6. Add the pulsed chickpeas to the bowl, along with the tomato paste, soy sauce, spices, nutritional yeast, oatmeal, flour, and tapioca. Use a wooden spoon to mix well.
7. Add the fresh bread crumbs and mix well. Season to taste.
8. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.
9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a silicone spatula, press the mixture into a crumpet ring (or what have you) to make 12 burgers on the prepared baking sheet.
10. The burgers are more durable when they are cool. Slide the baking sheet into the freezer while you fire up the grill.
11. Grill on a med to med-lo grill (around 400-425 degrees) for about 5 mins per side (so keep the heat moderate so the outside does not burn before the inside cooks). Brush the grill and the burgers with oil to keep them from sticking. The burgers should be firm to the touch and not mushy when they are done.



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sloppy Joes

I've done a few versions of Sloppy Joes but the kids never really liked any of them. This recipe is a nice compromise--some lentils, some mushrooms, some veggie ground round--that we all love.

INGREDIENTS
- 1/3 cup brown lentils, cooked
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 celery ribs, minced
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 3 cups chopped cremini mushrooms
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 pkg veggie ground round (340g)
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 5.5oz can tomato paste
- 11 oz (i.e. 2 cans) water
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Montreal Steak Spice, ground
- Tabasco sauce or Sriracha to taste
- salt and black pepper to taste

METHOD
1. Cook the lentils until soft but not mushy, about 25 mins.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions, celery, garlic, and green pepper for 5-7 mins, until soft and onions are translucent.
3. Add mushrooms and oregano and cook for another 5-7 mins, until mushrooms have released their water cooked down a bit.
4. Add the lentils and the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Bring to bubbling, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 mins. If too runny for your liking, simmer with the lid off.
5. Serve on toasted buns (I like them open faced).

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Lemon Meringue Pie

I know I am late to the aquafaba/vegan meringue party, but better late than never I suppose. The issue was that I was never able to get the aquafaba to beat into stiff peaks and so I stopped experimenting months ago. Even after endless whisking on high in the KitchenAid, very soft peaks was the best I could get. And then I recently happened upon recipes that use xanthan gum. Problem solved! Perfect peaks every time (and I wonder if you could cut it down to 1/4 tsp for this recipe). Lemon Meringue Pie is one of Vegan Mom's favourites (and we have not eaten it for over 10 years) so I was happy to be able to take her down culinary memory lane. The filling is tangy and sweet, and firm without being rubbery. The meringue is some serious vegan magic.

The filling calls for both corn starch (white) and corn flour (yellow). This may cause some confusion because what the Brits call corn flour, Americans/Canadians call corn starch.

This recipe makes one big 10" pie or, as I found out tonight in preparing for a departmental party, 45 tarts.

INGREDIENTS
- 1 10" pre-baked pie crust

Filling
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/4 cup corn flour
- generous 1/2 tsp agar powder
- 2 cups + 3 tbsp (17.5 oz) white sugar
- 1 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (15 oz) water
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 cup soy milk

Meringue
- 3/4 cup salt free chickpea aquafaba
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 7.5 tbsp (5 oz) superfine white sugar

METHOD
Bake your shell per whatever recipe you are using. It is best if the crust is slightly underdone since you will be baking the assembled pie. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Whisk the corn starch, corn flour, agar, and sugar together in a saucepan. Whisk in water, lemon juice, and zest, then whisk in soy milk.
2. Bring to bubbling over medium high, stirring constantly. When bubbling, reduce heat to med-lo and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Immediately pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and set aside to start cooling. The filling will be a bit runny, but it will set in the fridge.
4. Make the meringue: whisk the xanthan gum into the aquafaba, then place in a stand mixer and whisk on high with a balloon whisk until stiff peak form.
5. Whisk in the 1 tbsp of lemon juice, then whisk in the sugar a bit at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly.
6. When the sugar is incorporated and the meringue is no longer gritty, gently spread the meringue over the pie filling. The filling will be wobbly, so be gentle (or pipe the meringue on).
7. Bake at 375 for 8 to 12 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned (or browned to your liking). I like to use convection for this step.
8. Let the pie cool for an hour, then transfer to the fridge. When pie is cool, put in a container in the fridge and completely cool (about 4 hours or up to overnight). If you are in a rush, place the cooled pie on ice packs in the fridge.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Yogurt


This recipe is a mashup of the two yogurt recipes Miyoko Schinner has given us in Artisan Vegan Cheese and Homemade Vegan Pantry. I like the thickness of the soy yogurt recipe, but I prefer the taste of almond milk so this recipe is the best of both worlds. A purely soy yogurt will set beautifully on its own without the aid of the cornstarch or agar, but I find it to be rather temperamental. If the yogurt gets too hot it will separate. Here, the starch and agar help set the almond milk whilst keeping the final product homogeneous. Perfectly thick yogurt every time.

NOTE 1: this recipe makes a lot (but with four kids it does not last long). Half the recipe if needed, but also note that it will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

NOTE 2: Start this recipe by using a commercially available yogurt as your starter (you can use a dried yogurt culture, but usually they contain skim milk powder). For the next time you make yogurt, save 6 tbsp of yogurt from this recipe. The first batch might taste a little weird (depending on the quality of the yogurt you bought--they are all pretty horrible around here) but by your second batch and beyond you won't taste it anymore.

INGREDIENTS
Makes about 6.5 cups
- 1 cup raw whole cashews, soaked for a few hours
- 2 cups almond milk
- 4 cups soy milk
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp agar powder
- 6 tbsp yogurt with live cultures

METHOD
1. Blend the soaked cashews with the 2 cups of the almond milk. If you have a super blender like a Vitamix, you don't need to soak the cashews. Blend until smooth.
2. Whisk the cornstarch and agar into the 4 cups of soy milk in a saucepan. Add the cashew mixture and place over medium heat.
3. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and glossy. You won't need to bring it to a boil (about 180 F), but it will be hot and steaming. You will notice the mixture getting glossier and sticking to the bottom of the pot a bit as you stir. It's going to take a good 15 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and let cool to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. When mixture is cooled, whisk in yogurt.
5. Pour boiling water into a large container with a lid to sterilize. Pour out water before adding yogurt. I use a massive 6 cup mason jar.
6. Pour yogurt into sterilized container and put on the lid. The trick now is to keep the jar warm (at around 110 degrees F) for the next 8-15 hours. I wrap my mason jars in a bunch of towels and leave it  near the heater. In the summer, I leave it out in the sun. The longer you leave the yogurt, the more it will set and the tangier it will get.