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Monday, December 31, 2012

QUICK VEGAN MICROWAVED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE IN A CUP (OR DISH)-- REDUCED-SUGAR-AND-FAT, WHOLE GRAIN, SF & CAN BE GF

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A little New Year's present to my readers: In the interests of  (kitchen) science, I spent my afternoon today experimenting with a lower-fat, sugar-reduced, whole grain, vegan version of the latest microwave mug dessert craze-- chocolate chip cookie in a cup. This sounded like a wonderful idea to me (if I could pare down the calories and still have it taste wonderful) because I rarely make cookies anymore.  There's only the two of us and neither of us can just eat one! With this recipe, we can have the satisfaction of a sweet, gooey treat in a matter of minutes, with no danger of sneaking another one, and it can fit into just about anyone's dietary peculiarities.

Can't say this often enough: This cookie must be eaten fresh and slightly warm-- after they cool off they get kind of stiff and cakey.

                     Single serving made in a wide pottery latte cup, using Ener-G egg replacer
                                         
NOTEThis cookie must be eaten fresh and slightly warm—after they cool off they get kind of stiff and cakey.

Printable Recipe (both 1 serving and 2 servings)

BRYANNA'S VEGAN MICROWAVE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE IN A CUP (OR DISH) (Whole Grain, and Fat-and-Sugar-Reduced; SF and can be GF)
1 serving
I like making this treat in a shallow dessert dish rather than a cup, but it’s up to you.  So nice to indulge in this treat and know that there are no more cookies sitting there to tempt weaklings like me!  I cut down the butter in this recipe by using a little syrup rather than applesauce. Applesauce works well in cakes, but syrup works better in cookies.
NOTE: If you want this a little sweeter and gooey-er, add 1/2 tablespoon granulated unbleached organic sugar and another 1/2 tablespoon chocolate chips.
           
1/2 tablespoon vegan butter (I use my homemade vegan palm oil-free “Buttah”)    
(I prefer the brown rice syrup because of its rich butterscotch-y flavor.)      
1 tablespoon brown sugar (packed firmly)     
1/16 teaspoon pure vanilla extract     
1 pinch fine sea salt
1 vegan “egg yolk” (see list of alternatives below recipe)     
1 tablespoon organic fair trade chocolate chips (dairy-free)  

Directions:
Melt the vegan butter in a wide cup or small dessert dish (about 5 inches in diameter across the top and about 3 inches wide in the bottom). Do this in the microwave-- I use 20% power for 20 seconds. Stir in the syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Add to your choice of vegan “egg yolk” (see list of alternatives below recipe) and stir again. Add the flour; stir again. Add the chocolate chips and stir briefly just to distribute them. Microwave the cup or dish for 40-60 seconds. Start checking for doneness at 40 seconds. How long you cook depends both on the strength of your microwave and how you like the consistency.  I’ve decided I like mine at 60 seconds in my 1200 watt oven.

Serve warm. I let the cup/dish cool on a rack for 10 minutes before serving. NOTEThis cookie must be eaten fresh and slightly warm—after they cool off they get kind of stiff and cakey.

Vegan “Egg Yolk” Alternatives (choose one):
1.) 1 tablespoon water whisked with 1/2 tablespoon powdered egg replacer (like Ener-G or Orgran) until frothy, with no lumps
2.) 4 teaspoons water whisked with 1/4 teaspoon Vegg powder until smooth
3.) If you have the book “The Cornbread Gospels” by Crescent Dragonwagon, you can use her recipe for “Eggscellence” (pps. 352-353) homemade egg replacer, which is really excellent. It worked the best of all in my experiments, but is less accessible than the two above. If you don’t have the book (which is well worth purchasing) you can read the recipe on the amazon.com “Look Inside” function for the book.  Use 1 teaspoon of the powder whisked with 1 tablespoon water and 2/3 tsp. liquid lecithin (soy or sunflower).

NOTE: I didn't like the results with this recipe using "flaxseed glop" as the egg replacer.

 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving):
324.5 calories; 24% calories from fat; 9.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 365.3mg sodium; 169.4mg potassium; 61.3g carbohydrates; 4.3g fiber; 25.9g sugar; 57.1g net carbs; 5.1g protein; 6.5 points

Nutrition facts with an extra 1/2 tablespoon EACH chocolate chips and organic unbleached  granulated sugar added: 374.1 calories; 24% calories from fat; 10.8g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 365.9mg sodium; 169.6mg potassium; 71.0g carbohydrates; 4.6g fiber; 32.2g sugar; 66.4g net carbs; 5.3g protein; 7.6 points.

Comparison—the Nutrition facts for one serving of the recipe that I used as a guide to develop my vegan, whole grain, and lower-fat-and-sugar version are as follows:
729.1 calories; 47% calories from fat; 40.5g total fat; 270.8mg cholesterol; 1188.0mg sodium; 156.1mg potassium; 90.7g carbohydrates; 3.3g fiber; 39.5g sugar; 87.4g net carbs; 7.9g protein; 17.3 points  

The Ingredients

                                         Double serving batch made in small dessert dishes
The batch above was made using Crescent Dragonwagon's "Eggscellence" egg replacer (see text below)

NOTEThis cookie must be eaten fresh and slightly warm—after they cool off they get kind of stiff and cakey. 

BRYANNA'S 2 SERVING VEGAN MICROWAVE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE IN A CUP (OR DISH) (Whole Grain, and Fat-and-Sugar-Reduced; SF and can be GF)
2 servings
I like making this treat in shallow dessert dishes rather than cups, but it’s up to you.  So nice to indulge in this treat and know that there are no more cookies sitting there to tempt weaklings like DH and me!  I cut down the butter in this recipe by using a little syrup rather than applesauce. Applesauce works well in cakes, but syrup works better in cookies.
NOTE: If you want this a little sweeter and gooey-er, add 1 tablespoon granulated unbleached organic sugar and another 1 tablespoon chocolate chips.
           
1 tablespoon vegan butter (I use my homemade vegan palmoil-free “Buttah”)       
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup, or organic corn syrup, or golden syrup        
(I prefer the brown rice syrup because of its rich butterscotch-y flavor.)  
2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed firmly)    
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract     
2 pinches fine sea salt
2 vegan “egg yolks” (see list of alternatives below recipe)    
2 tablespoons organic fair trade chocolate chips (dairy-free)

Directions:
Spray the 2 cups or small dessert you are going to “bake” the cookies in with oil from a pump sprayer, or grease with a little vegan butter. Use wide cups or small dessert dishes (each about 5 inches in diameter across the top and about 3 inches wide in the bottom).

Melt the vegan butter in a small mixing bowl. Do this in the microwave-- I use 20% power for 25 seconds. Stir in the syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Add to your choice of vegan “egg yolk” (see list of alternatives below recipe)  and stir again. Add the flour; stir again. Add the chocolate chips and stir briefly just to distribute them. Divide the mixture evenly between your two prepared cups or dishes. Microwave the two cups or dishes for 60-80 seconds; start checking for doneness at 60 seconds. How long you cook depends both on the strength of your microwave and how you like the consistency. 

Serve warm. I let the cups or dishes cool on a rack for 10 minutes before serving. NOTEThis cookie must be eaten fresh and slightly warm—after they cool off they get kind of stiff and cakey.

Vegan “Egg Yolk” Alternatives (choose one):
1.) 2 tablespoons water whisked with 1 tablespoon powdered egg replacer (like Ener-G or Orgran) until frothy, with no lumps
2.) 8 teaspoons (2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) water whisked with 1/2 teaspoon Vegg powder until smooth
3.) If you have the book “The Cornbread Gospels” by Crescent Dragonwagon, you can use her recipe for “Eggscellence” (pps. 352-353) homemade egg replacer, which is really excellent. It worked the best of all in my experiments, but is less accessible than the two above. If you don’t have the book (which is well worth purchasing) you can read the recipe on the amazon.com “Look Inside” function for the book.  Use 2 teaspoons of the powder whisked with 2 tablespoons water and 1 1/3 teaspoons liquid lecithin (soy or sunflower).

NOTE: I didn't like the results with this recipe using "flaxseed glop" as the egg replacer.

 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving):
324.5 calories; 24% calories from fat; 9.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 365.3mg sodium; 169.4mg potassium; 61.3g carbohydrates; 4.3g fiber; 25.9g sugar; 57.1g net carbs; 5.1g protein; 6.5 points

Nutrition facts with an extra 1 tablespoon EACH chocolate chips and organic unbleached  granulated sugar added to the 2-serving recipe: 374.1 calories; 24% calories from fat; 10.8g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 365.9mg sodium; 169.6mg potassium; 71.0g carbohydrates; 4.6g fiber; 32.2g sugar; 66.4g net carbs; 5.3g protein; 7.6 points.

Comparison—the Nutrition facts for one serving of the recipe that I used as a guide to develop my vegan, whole grain, and lower-fat-and-sugar version are as follows:
729.1 calories; 47% calories from fat; 40.5g total fat; 270.8mg cholesterol; 1188.0mg sodium; 156.1mg potassium; 90.7g carbohydrates; 3.3g fiber; 39.5g sugar; 87.4g net carbs; 7.9g protein; 17.3 points  

Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

MY NEW VERSION OF VEGAN TOURTIÈRE (QUEBEC "MEAT PIE")

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Our "Boxing Day" (day after Christmas) buffet- one leftover Tourtière is in the center, behind the mashed potatoes. (Tofu Pot Pie in the foreground, with my Seitan "Ham" to the L [and you can barely see the crusty homemade bread to the R]; mashed potatoes, "Ham Gravy", homemade cranberry sauce and chutney, red cabbage and apple coleslaw, and stuffing surrounding the Tourtière; and, at the very back, Sarah's cranberry chutney,  SIL Ben's vegan sweet potato casserole, and some leftover sliced Seitan "Turkey" and gravy.


Many of us bring with us Christmas holiday food traditions from our grandparents and parents, and their family backgrounds. If we’re part of a couple, our partner brings more, sometimes very different, traditions along. Unless both come from the same ethnic and religious background, there will be some compromising, and some making of new traditions. (I love this— it gives us more scope for experimentation!) If vegetarian or vegan diet is in the mix, new culinary traditions must be found as well. 

If you have a mixed ethnic background, as I do, you probably choose what appeals to you from the different traditions in your family (or combined families). For instance, my father, Alejandro Jaime Urbina, a Peruvian of Spanish and Italian descent, fondly recalled the Panetón (the Peruvian version of Italian Panettone) that his Tia Maria baked in a brick oven in the central courtyard of his large, Spanish-style boyhood home in Lima. Because of his memories, I began making Panettone for Christmas many years ago, eventually devising my own low-fat, vegan version. (Panettone is a rich yeast bread, slightly sweet, and flavored with citrus zest, dried fruit, anise and almonds.) I later discovered that my father’s Italian family, who immigrated to Peru from the Italian Riviera in the 1800s, may have been making Panettone Genovese, rather than the Panettone di Milano, which most Italians simply call Panettone. The Genovese version is not as rich as the Milanese version, and is flavored more exotically. It’s the inspiration for my own vegan version of Panetón, which I included in my book World Vegan Feast



                     This is a bread machine version of Panetón, from my book "World Vegan Feast".

A newer tradition: My husband Brian, though not French-Canadian, was born in the province of Quebec and he was so happy when I came up with a vegan version of Tourtière (a special "meat" pie). It's an integral part of many Canadian Christmas celebrations now- certainly in our house, when we celebrate Réveillon, the Quebec Christmas Eve. This is something that I had never heard of before coming to Canada from the USA and, even then, because we lived in Western Canada, I had no real experience with it. But over 20 years ago, I devised a vegan recipe for my book The Almost No-Fat Holiday Cookbook and have used that recipe all this time, although I usually use commercial vegan hamburger “crumbles” now, instead of ground seitan. 


This year I decided that it needed a make-over—more “oomph” in the flavor department. I also read about some versions of the pie that are made with oatmeal as the thickener instead of the usual potatoes, so I decided to try that, too. I made four pies (Brian’s always afraid that there won’t be any leftovers! ) and my new Tourtière was a big hit. 


Tourtière is traditionally eaten at any meal, hot or cold, with gravy, relish, chutney or ketchup (some members of our family have been known to eat it with hot sauce or salsa). This year I made a tomato-apple chutney that resembles an old-fashioned homemade Quebec accompaniment to Tourtière which is called French-Canadian “Ketchup”, but is chunky and a little spicy, made with tomatoes and fruit. I’ll post that recipe below, too. 



Tourtière with homemade Tomato-Apple Chutney

Printable Recipe (includes pastry recipe and chutney recipe)

BRYANNA’S NEW VEGAN TOURTIÈRE (QUEBEC "MEAT" PIE), 2012 

Serves 6-8 
Tourtière is good any time of the year, and makes good picnic fare. The recipe can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled, and Tourtière freezes well.

A Double crust of Low-Fat Oil Pastry (see below) or your favorite pastry.
Nondairy milk for brushing
FILLING:
1 large onion
2 cups chopped celery with leaves
2 large cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 tablespoon dried savory
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 package Yves “Ground Round” or other vegan “hamburger crumbles”,  OR 2 cups of your favorite vegan hamburger substitute, such as ground "beefy" seitan or textured soy protein (TSP or TVP) reconstituted in a tasty broth
1 cup hot water mixed with
1 1/4 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon "No-Chicken" broth paste
1/2 cup dry red wine (can be non-alcoholic)
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (oatmeal)
2 tablespoons ordinary ketchup (can be organic)
(NOTE: do not omit the ketchup!  Strange as it may seem, the ketchup rounds out the flavor nicely and you don't actually taste it.)
1/4 teaspoon EACH ground allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

If you have a food processor, cut the peeled onion into chunks and add to the processor bowl along wit the celery and garlic.  Pulse until minced. (Otherwise, you'll have to mince the vegetables by hand with a sharp knife.)

In a large heavy skillet over high heat (nonstick, if possible), saute the minced vegetables in the 2 oils over medium-high heat until the onion softens, adding drops of water as need to keep from sticking. Add the bay leaf, dried savory and rosemary and saute for a few more minutes.  Stir in the hamburger substitute, the hot water mixed with the broth paste, red wine, rolled oats and ketchup. Simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.

Remove the bay leaf and stir in the allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Taste for salt and add freshly-ground black pepper to taste.  Smooth the mixture out on a baking sheet and place in the freezer to cool off quickly while you make and roll the pastry (see recipe below). 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 9" pie dish with half of the pastry and fill with the cooled Filling (which should have thickened as it cooled). Cover with remaining pastry and trim and flute the edges. (I cut a star in the center this time with a little cookie cutter before placing the pastry on top of the Filling.)  Cut slits in the top and brush with nondairy milk.  Bake for 50 minutes. 

Cool on a rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature with relish, chutney or ketchup (some members of our family have been known to eat it with hot sauce or salsa). 

Nutrition Facts for 6 servings per pie
Nutrition (per serving): 412.5 calories; 39% calories from fat; 18.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 687.1mg sodium; 633.6mg potassium; 44.7g carbohydrates; 7.6g fiber; 4.8g sugar; 37.1g net carbs; 17.2g protein; 9.0 points.

Nutrition Facts for 8 servings per pie
Nutrition (per serving): 309.4 calories; 39% calories from fat; 14.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 515.3mg sodium; 475.2mg potassium; 33.5g carbohydrates; 5.7g fiber; 3.6g sugar; 27.8g net carbs; 12.9g protein; 6.6 points.


Printable Recipe
BRYANNA’S LOW-FAT PASTRY MADE WITH OIL 
Makes two 9-inch crusts 
This crust contains about half the fat of ordinary pie pastry dough, and I use oil, rather than solid shortening, and half whole wheat flour. This is the pastry I have used for many years and the only pie crust that doesn’t give my husband indigestion. The pastry flour and nondairy “buttermilk” make a tender, crispy crust rather than a flaky one, but I have never had any complaints. (PS: The recipe can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled.)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (do not use ordinary whole wheat flour or the pastry will be tough)
7/8 cup (14 tablespoons or 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) unbleached white flour
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon granulated unbleached organic sugar
6 tablespoons soy, hemp or nut milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice or cider vinegar
6 tablespoons oil (olive oil for savory pies; canola or sunflower for sweet pies)

Mix the 2 flours together in a medium bowl with the salt, baking powder and sugar. In a small bowl, mix together the non-dairy milk with the lemon juice or vinegar. Whisk in the oil until it is emulsified (you can’t see any oil globules). Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix the dough gently with a fork until it holds together in a ball. (If it’s too dry, sprinkle with a tiny bit of water.) 


If you have time, place the flattened dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to an hour before rolling out. Divide the dough in half, roll out and bake the pastry as you would an ordinary crust. Tip: Roll the dough out on a lightly floured sheet of baking parchment– it never sticks! 


Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 195.6 calories; 48% calories from fat; 10.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 184.1mg sodium; 123.6mg potassium; 22.3g carbohydrates; 2.2g fiber; 0.6g sugar; 20.1g net carbs; 3.7g protein; 4.4 points.

Printable Recipe 
BRYANNA'S TOMATO-APPLE CHUTNEY (KIND OF LIKE FRENCH-CANADIAN "KETCHUP") Makes about 6 cups 
This is easy to make and just spicy enough. 

One 28 oz. can plum tomatoes 
4 apples, diced (don't peel)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
6 to 8 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 cup raisins (any kind)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Dump the canned tomatoes (juice and all) into a large pot and, with clean or gloved hands, squish the tomatoes with your fingers to break them up into small chunks. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 45-50 minutes, or until it has a thicker consistency, almost like a chunky jam. Cool to room temperature. This will keep 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator, or you can seal it (while hot) into 6 half-pint canning jars and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  



Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/4 cup serving): 71.0 calories; 1% calories from fat; 0.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 162.6mg sodium; 211.7mg potassium; 18.7g carbohydrates; 1.3g fiber; 14.2g sugar; 17.4g net carbs; 0.7g protein; 1.2 points.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

CHRISTMAS CAPIROTADA (MEXICAN BREAD PUDDING) WITH RICH VEGAN CREAM FROM WORLD VEGAN FEAST

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Something a little different for a Christmas dessert

I want to wish Merry Christmas to all of my readers, who keep me inspired.  Here's one more holiday recipe I 'd like to share from "World Vegan Feast".

This inviting and unusual bread pudding (from my book "World Vegan Feast"), which is traditionally prepared during Lent in Mexico, has its roots in old Spanish cookery. It is open to many interpretations and there are myriad recipes for it. Capirotada is quite different from what most North Americans think of as bread pudding-- it contains no milk or eggs.  Instead, the liquid is a sweet syrup mixed with mild cheese, making it an easy candidate for converting to a vegan version. My rather unorthodox Christmas version utilizes some very Canadian, as well as vegan, ingredients, such as maple syrup instead of the sugar syrup made from piloncillo (the traditional Mexican brown sugar sold in cones),  dried cranberries instead of raisins, vegan mozzarella, and pecans instead of the usual peanuts and/or almonds


BRYANNA’S CHRISTMAS CAPIROTADA (MEXICAN BREAD PUDDING) WITH RICH VEGAN CREAM
Serves 8

6 cups 1/2-inch fresh bread cubes (use a baguette or light sandwich bread)
1 tablespoon melted vegan butter (try my homemade palm oil-free vegan Buttah)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups maple syrup
1/2 cup water
8 ounces vegan white cheese, diced small or shredded
1 tablespoon grated organic orange zest
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup chopped lightly-toasted pecans

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread the bread cubes on two 10 x 15-inch baking sheets and toast them for 10 minutes. Toss the bread cubes with the melted vegan butter and cinnamon. Combine them with the remaining ingredients, saving 1/4 cup of the pecans to sprinkle on top.


                                                                 Toasted bread cubes
Lots of orange zest!
                                                       Vegan cheese mixed into the pudding

Spread the mixture into an oiled 2-quart round casserole. Sprinkle the remaining pecans on top. Bake the casserole, covered, for 35 minutes. Let the pudding stand, covered, for about 15 minutes before serving with your favorite commercial vegan creamer or Rich Vegan Cream (recipe below) or your favorite vanilla nondairy “ice cream”.




BRYANNA’S RICH VEGAN CREAM
Makes 1 generous cup

1 cup rich, full-fat soy milk or nut milk
5 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup neutral-tasting vegetable oil

Mix the milk, sugar and vanilla in a blender. With machine running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream. When all the oil is added, the milk will have thickened up a little. Pour the mixture into a container and refrigerate.

Happy Holidays!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

VEGAN ESPRESSO & TRIPLE-GINGER CAKE FROM "WORLD VEGAN FEAST"

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This ginger cake is the cosmopolitan cousin of the familiar gingerbread many of us grew up with. The cake itself is very light in texture (you would definitely not call this “bread”!) and infused with a generous amount of both fresh and ground dried ginger. Topped off with a fluffy espresso frosting and a plenty of sweet-hot organic candied ginger, this cake always gets rave reviews (and recipe requests) at potlucks and community get-togethers. Tasters are pleasantly surprised at the pairing of coffee and ginger and keep going back for more. But, really, how many times have we enjoyed a cup of coffee with a ginger cookie or a piece of gingerbread? It seemed like a match made in heaven to me and I think I was right.


BRYANNA’S VEGAN ESPRESSO AND TRIPLE-GINGER CAKE
Serves 9 
Wet Mixture:
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup fancy (light) molasses
1/2 cup soft brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup vegan butter (try my homemade palm oil-free Buttah) or oil
1/4 cup unsweetened smooth applesauce
1/4 cup nondairy milk
3 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
Dry Mixture:
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (do not use ordinary whole wheat flour or the cake will be tough)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Espresso Frosting:
1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water
1 tablespoon instant espresso granules (or 2 tablespoons good-quality instant coffee granules)
2 tablespoons softened vegan butter (try my homemade palm oil-free Buttah)
2 3/4 tablespoons nondairy milk
2 cups organic powdered sugar
NOTE: If you have no instant espresso powder and you can make espresso at home, you can use 8 1/4 teaspoons cold liquid espresso as the TOTAL liquid and omit the nondairy milk.
Candied Ginger Garnish:
1 cup chopped candied (crystallized) ginger
Tip: Organic candied ginger has a stronger ginger flavor and “bite” to it than the ordinary variety, so if you really like ginger, look for it!

Oil a 9-inch square cake pan and line the bottom with baking parchment cut to fit. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large heatproof bowl or measuring pitcher, pour the boiling water over the vegan butter (or oil) and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the molasses, brown sugar, applesauce, milk and grated fresh ginger.

In another bowl, stir together the flours with the baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt and allspice. Add this to the molasses mixture in two additions, stirring until smooth. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center. Cool thoroughly on a rack.

To make the Espresso Frosting, pour the boiling water into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the espresso or coffee granules and stir to dissolve. Add the vegan butter and milk. Whisk together well. With a hand-held electric mixer or the whip attachment to your mixer, gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the frosting is creamy and smooth. Spread it immediately over the top of cooled cake (not the sides) so that icing drips over the sides but does not cover them completely. Sprinkle the top evenly with the chopped candied ginger. Cut into 9 squares to serve.

Enjoy!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

FROM WORLD VEGAN FEAST, SWEET POTATO AND YUKON GOLD LATKES (POTATO PANCAKES) WITH MAPLE-PECAN GRILLED PEARS

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I'm attending a Hanukkah party tonight, which reminded me that there are only three more days left of Hanukkah, and I wanted to share a favorite latke recipe from my book "World Vegan Feast".


According to the Free Dictionary, latke means "A pancake, especially one made of grated potato.[Yiddish, from Ukrainian oladka,]".  As you probably know, they are traditional fare in many Jewish homes during Hanukkah, usually fried in plenty of oil to celebrate the miracle of the Hanukkah oil. But what if you are vegan and you are trying to cut back on fat?

Good news-- yes, you can make delicious latkes without eggs and with only a small amount of oil (or even no oil-- see the alternative cooking methods below the recipe).  This is my "fancy pants" recipe, but, if you don't want to bother with the grilled pears, you can serve them simply with the traditional applesauce and with Tofu Sour Creme (homemade or commercial) or Cashew Sour Creme.  (You could even be a rebel and serve them with cranberry sauce.)

Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S SWEET POTATO AND YUKON GOLD LATKES (POTATO PANCAKES) WITH MAPLE-PECAN GRILLED PEARS 
Serves 4 (Can be Gluten-Free and Soy-Free)
A recipe from my book "World Vegan Feast"

This is a beautiful dish and a luscious combination of cold season vegetables and fruits. It can be the centerpiece for an elegant brunch at any time of the year, but is spectacular for a Hanukkah meal. This recipe can be easily multiplied as needed. The pears can be cooked ahead of time and the pancakes can be made earlier in the day, transferred to baking sheets (any size), covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until just before cooking and serving.

Maple-Pecan Grilled Pears:
4 medium-sized ripe, but firm, pears, peeled, cored and thinly-sliced
4 teaspoons vegan butter, melted (try my homemade palm oil-free vegan Buttah)
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/4 cup lightly-toasted chopped pecans
Latkes (Potato Pancakes):
2 2/3 cups shredded peeled sweet potato
2 2/3 cups shredded scrubbed Yukon Gold potato
1 medium onion, shredded
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or a gluten-free flour mix)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons cooking oil for frying
To Serve:
Tofu Sour Cream or Cashew Sour Cream  

Make the Grilled Pears before you start the pancakes. Turn on the broiler in your oven and place the rack on the top setting. You want the pears to be about 3 to 4 inches below the heat source. Transfer the sliced pears to a baking sheet (any size) and toss the slices with the melted vegan butter. Broil the pears until they start to brown around the edges. Stir gently and broil further, but don't burn them or make them too soggy.


Remove from the oven when they look appetizingly “grilled” but still hold their shape, and scoop them gently into a shallow bowl. Drizzle with the maple syrup and add the pecans, folding gently. Set aside. 




To make the Latkes (Pancakes)
: Transfer both the shredded sweet potatoes and potatoes to a large square of cheesecloth (fine mesh, or layers of the coarser kind) or cotton cloth, gather in the corners and squeeze and twist them to remove as much of the liquid you can. This is important!Transfer the squeezed, shredded potatoes (both kinds) to a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Add this mixture to the potatoes and mix well. (TIP: This mixture is more solid than the traditional egg-y latke batter.)
 


Divide the potato mixture into 12 equal "balls". Press the balls down on a sheet of baking parchment on your work surface or on a 12 x 17-inch baking sheet, to make pancake shapes.

Heat the half of the oil in a large nonstick, cast iron or hard-anodized skillet and carefully transfer the 6 latkes to the skillet using a thin non-metal spatula-turner. Fry the latkes in the hot oil over medium-high heat until golden and crispy on both sides. Repeat with the rest of the oil and latkes.


Serve the latkes hot and fresh, topped with the Grilled Pears and offer Tofu Sour Cream or Cashew Sour Cream on the side.

ALTERNATIVE FAT-FREE COOKING METHODS:

#1.) You can cook these latkes on several large nonstick, cast iron or hard-anodized skillets, lightly-sprayed with oil from a pump sprayer, over medium-high heat. However, the easiest way is to use a nonstick electric pancake griddle-- this accommodates quite a few pancakes and they cook evenly.

Place 1/4-cupfuls of the potato mixture onto the preheated griddle or skillets. flatten them into thin pancakes with a spatula. Cover pans with lids or foil, or use inverted cookie sheets over the griddle. Cook until the bottoms are golden-brown, then flip them over and cook, uncovered, until the second side is golden-brown. Serve hot.
 


#2) Preheat the oven to 500°F. Flatten the pancakes as instructed above on nonstick cookie sheets, lightly-sprayed with oil from a pump sprayer, or with cooking spray. Bake them for 15 minutes, then turn the pancakes over and bake 5 or 6 minutes more.
 

Happy Hanukkah!