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Saturday, February 23, 2013

HOMEMADE VEGAN IRISH CREAM-STYLE LIQUEUR-- EASY, UNCOMPLICATED & LOW IN FAT (NO SATURATED FAT)

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I don't know what got me into a tizzy the other day about making my own version of homemade vegan Irish Cream-style liqueur-- maybe someone reminded me about St. Patrick's Day coming up and, being married to a Grogan, it stirred up my creative juices. Whatever got into me, I was on a roll.  (Just for the record, tasting was in VERY small amounts!)

I don't drink much, but I've always enjoyed a little Bailey's when it was offered, and I actually found a bottle in the back of a kitchen cupboard (left behind by a guest at Christmas) with a tiny bit left in it which I could use judiciously to judge the taste of my own concoction.

I wanted my recipe to be simple to make, with easily-available ingredients; to NOT involve a can of full-fat coconut milk (too much fat, and saturated fat, for my taste, plus I didn't want a coconut flavor); to be as similar as possible in texture and flavor to Bailey's; and to not separate on standing. I decided to use So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer (which is deliciously creamy without tasting coconut-y, but only 10 calories a tablespoon) as the base for my mixture.  NOTE: I don't know the non-dairy creams that are available worldwide, but whatever product you use instead of the So Delicious creamer/cream alternative should have only about 10 calories per tablespoon in order to match the nutritional stats of this recipe. You could use your favorite soy creamer or, if you don't mind more fat, use a homemade cashew creamer (but don't make it too thick-- think coffee creamer consistency), but add the cashews that are in the recipe as well.

My first batch tasted very good, but I added far too much vegetable gum in an attempt to make it a little creamier, which resulted in a kind of pudding-like gloppy mixture (I'll use it in desserts). My second batch is a winner, I think. I blended raw cashews (softened in the hot espresso) with the rest of the ingredients for just the right amount of creaminess, and this time I was very sparing with the guar gum (you can use xanthan instead, if you like), which accomplished what I was hoping it would-- keeping the mixture from separating without thickening it too much.

The calories in my final version are about the same as the popular coconut-milk based version, but, as you will see from comparing the Nutrition Facts of both (see them below the recipe), my version is quite a bit lower in fat and contains no saturated fat. (The original Bailey's is higher in calories than either one and even  higher in fat.)

In any case, I hope you will enjoy making and imbibing this treat for your St. Patrick's Day.



Printable Recipe (includes no-fat chocolate sauce recipe)

BRYANNA'S VEGAN, LOW-FAT HOMEMADE IRISH CREAM LIQUEUR (SOY-&-GLUTEN-FREE)
Servings: 24/ 1-ounce servings
Yield: 3 cups

1/2 cup chopped raw cashews (measure after chopping)  
1/4 cup HOT freshly-brewed fair trade organic espresso or strong coffee
1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer  or soy creamer (See NOTE in paragraph 3 above)
3/4 cup Irish whiskey (Jamesons or Bushmills are recommended)  
10 tablespoons (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) granulated unbleached organic sugar  
2 Tbs No-Fat Chocolate Sauce (see recipe below) OR Wax Orchards (Fat-Free) Classic Fudge Sauce  
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract  
1 tsp pure almond extract  
1/8 tsp guar gum (no more than this!)  
1 pinch salt  
  
Soak the chopped cashews in the hot espresso while you assemble the other ingredients.

Place the creamer, whiskey, sugar, chocolate sauce, vanilla and almond extracts, guar gum and salt in a blender. Add the cashews and coffee. Cover and blend at high speed until the liquid is absolutely smooth and not grainy at all when rubbed between your fingers. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, bottle and refrigerate.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition per ounce/2 tablespoons:
69.2 calories; 18% calories from fat; 1.5g total fat; 0.0mg saturated fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 35.1mg sodium; 7.9g carbohydrates; 0.1g fiber; 7.2g sugar

For Comparison:
Popular vegan Irish Cream internet recipe using full-fat coconut milk:
Nutrition per ounce/2 tablespoons:
67.4 calories; 49% calories from fat; 3.9g total fat; 3.9mg saturated fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 18.8mg sodium; 57.8mg potassium; 4.7g carbohydrates; 0.0g fiber; 4.0g sugar

Original Bailey’s Irish Cream
Nutrition per ounce/2 tablespoons:
117 calories; 52 calories from Fat; 5.8g Total Fat; 3.5 saturated fat g; 136mg Cholesterol; 33mg sodium; 7.4g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 5.7g Sugar   
          

BRYANNA'S RICH-TASTING NO-FAT CHOCOLATE SAUCE (GF and can be Soy-free)
Servings: 8 (2 tablespoons per serving)
Yield: 1 cup
This also makes a good icing or filling when cold.

2/3 cup non-dairy milk
2/3 cup brown sugar or granulated organic unbleached sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened organic fair trade cocoa powder
4 tsp organic cornstarch
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In blender mix the first 4 ingredients until smooth.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat in a small saucepan until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. (Or cook in the microwave at 100% power in a microwave-safe bowl or pitcher for 1 minute; whisk and microwave 1 minute more; whisk.) Stir in the vanilla.

Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate in a covered jar for storage. Use cold or reheat in the microwave at low power, or in a double boiler over simmering water on the stovetop.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 2 tablespoons): 82.8 calories; 5% calories from fat; 0.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 12.8mg sodium; 68.8mg potassium; 20.5g carbohydrates; 1.3g fiber; 17.4g sugar

Enjoy!



Monday, February 18, 2013

HOMEMADE HABITANT PEA SOUP (SOUPE AUX POIS), VEGAN-STYLE

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French Canadian Habitant Pea Soup (made with whole dried yellow peas), Vegan-Style, with some rather smeary smoked paprika

It's unfortunate that it's more and more difficult (at least where I live) to find whole dried yellow peas.  I say that because one of my favorite soups is Habitant Pea Soup, the traditional potage that was basic sustenance for the farmers of Quebec for centuries.

My husband is from Quebec City and he was surprised to hear that when I was growing up in San Francisco, my dad used to buy us the large cans of Habitant Pea Soup (which have been around since 1918):

Disclosure:  I am NOT recommending that you go out and buy this soup!  Unfortunately, this would be vegan except for the addition of lard!  But the image of the can holds pleasant memories for me because we loved it.  (The company was apparently bought out by Campbell's, BTW.)  So, I had to learn to make it myself, and then make it vegan-- and it's even better!

"Habitant" is a French Canadian term for "country dweller" (more or less) and it's easy to see why it was such a staple for French Canadian farmers, being easy and cheap to make with dried yellow peas that could be stored for a long time.  Warming, filling and nutritious, the soup had much to offer these hardworking people during the frigid Quebec winters. 

You will see many recipes for this soup using split peas, but I think that is partly because of the difficulty of finding the whole ones, or just because split peas are more familiar to many of us.  But I like the fact that the whole peas have the skins that float around in the soup (extra fiber) and also the fact that the soup doesn't thicken into a "peas porridge" when cooled.  My husband assures me that whole peas are more traditional, and he likes the slightly thinner quality of the the soup when made this way.

In any case, I hope you will be able to find some whole yellow dried peas and try my recipe.  I have to make it regularly now, because our dog, Pheobe, really likes a little of it on her vegetarian dog kibbles!
Pheobe

WHERE TO BUY: You can order whole dried yellow peas from the farm gate here in the USA, and also order them here.  In Canada, check health food stores, supermarket bulk bins and natural foods markets. NOTE: Whole peas should be soaked for about 8 hours before cooking.

Dried whole yellow peas look a bit whitish because of the skin covering the yellow pea, like this:
Dried whole yellow peas from Purcell Mountain Farms

Printable Recipe
BRYANNA'S VEGAN-STYLE HABITANT PEA SOUP (FRENCH CANADIAN SOUP AUX POIS)
(Adapted from a recipe in my book "The Fiber for Life Cookbook")
Serves 6-8

2 cups dried whole yellow peas
8 cups tasty vegetarian broth
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, scrubbed and diced small
1/2 cup chopped celery (with leaves)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice  
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon liquid smoke 
Optional: 1 tablespoon soy bacon bits
or 1/4 cup chopped vegan "ham" or "bacon" or smoked tofu
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil  

Soak the peas in water to cover generously  for about 8 hours, then drain.

Mix the soaked peas in a large heavy pot with the broth, vegetables, herbs and spices, liquid smoke, optional "ham", "bacon" or smoked tofu, and sesame oil.  Simmer for 2 hours.  

With a hand/immersion blender, blend just enough to puree some of the peas, but not all.  Just pulse briefly around the pot.  Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve hot with crusty bread.

No-Knead Crusty Artisanal Bread from my book "World Vegan Feast".

Enjoy!


    

Sunday, February 10, 2013

VEGAN KEY LIME OR LEMON-LIME BARS

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A friend of mine just asked me if this recipe was in one of my books, or if I'd ever posted it on my blog.  I answered no to both possibilities, and realized that, since this is one of our favorite family recipes, I should post it!  It is luscious but light, and very easy to make, and it would be a perfect ending to a Lunar New Year feast.  Happy Year of the Snake!

Printable Recipe
BRYANNA'S VEGAN KEY LIME OR LEMON-LIME BARS
(Can be GF)
Makes 9 bars
These are spectacular!  An easy summer dessert to serve to non-vegans, who "will never know there's tofu in it"!  But this dessert is excellent any time of the year as a light ending to an Asian meal (or Caribbean, or Indian, or Mediterranean....

CRUMB CRUST:
1 1/2 cups vegan graham cracker crumbs (or vegan animal cracker crumbs)
(see notes below recipe)
1/4 cup fine unsweetened grated coconut
3 tablespoons melted vegan butter (try my homemade palm oil-free vegan Buttah)
FILLING:
10 tablespoons raw cashews, soaked in hot water for a few minutes and drained
12.3 oz box extra-firm SILKEN tofu, crumbled
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) key lime juice 
      OR 5 tablespoons regular lime juice and 5 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or organic bottled)
grated zest of one large lemon or lime, or 4 key limes
1 pinch salt
1 tsp agar powder
1/4 cup cold water
GARNISH:
Grated lime zest
Toasted grated coconut         

Mix the Crust ingredients well and press evenly into a parchment-lined 9 x 9-inch baking pan.   Bake at 325ºF for 10-12 minutes.  Cool thoroughly before filling.

Mix the drained cashews in a blender with the tofu, lime and/or lemon juice, zest, and salt. Process for several minutes (be patient!), until it is very smooth.  Stop the blender and scrape the mixture down if necessary.

Soak the agar in the cold water for a few minutes, in a small pot or a microwave-proof bowl with plenty of room for boil-up. Cook it, stirring, over medium heat until dissolved, OR microwave it in two 30-second intervals (stir after first one).  Stir in sugar to dissolve. Scrape this carefully into the mixture in the blender (try to get it all with a rubber spatula). Process the mixture until well-blended.

Pour this immediately into the baked, cooled crust.  Sprinkle with the garnish of your choice. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting into 9 squares.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 290.5 calories; 34% calories from fat; 11.5g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 193.7mg sodium; 154.7mg potassium; 44.3g carbohydrates; 1.2g fiber; 30.8g sugar; 5.9g protein.

COOKING TIPS: 
Some bulk graham cracker crumbs are vegan-- check the label on the bin (if it's visible) or ask your grocer to let you see the original bag. Otherwise, you will have to make your own crumbs (in a dry food processor or blender) from vegan graham crackers.

VEGAN GRAHAM CRACKERS-- The following are vegan (without palm oil or high-fructose corn syrup):

Health Valley makes 3 kinds of vegan graham crackers (they contain soy):
and one that's gluten-free and vegan:  

Another option would be to make crumbs out of animal crackers:
Barbara's Bakery Snackanimals Animal Cookies (organic, whole grain, palm-oil-free, HF-corn syrup-free, but they do contain soy lecithin)
Kirkland Organic Animal Crackers [Costco brand] (I'm told that they are vegan, but I can't find an ingrdient list)
365 Organic Animal Cookies [Whole Foods brand]

Another option: There are numerous vegan (and vegan, GF) graham cracker recipes on the 'Net, if you are into making your own.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

AMERICAN VEGAN KITCHEN OR WORLD VEGAN FEAST GIVEAWAY

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FROM MY PUBLISHER, VEGAN HERITAGE PRESS (the giveaway is on their page):
February is cold and dreary in most parts of the US, and many of us just want to stay inside with bowls of steaming hot soup or warm and comforting soup. To help you stay warm and cozy, we're having a comfort food cookbook giveway! Chose from either American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes or World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan.

American Vegan Kitchen is full of recipes to make vegan versions of favorite comfort food dishes found in diners, delis, and cafes across the US. Spaghetti Pie with Arrabbiata Sauce, Southern Fried Seitan and Beer-Simmered Seitan Stroganoff with Cracked Pepper are just a few of the many warm and hearty dishes in this book.

World Vegan Feast includes authentic dishes from around the world that you won’t find in other vegan cookbooks. Ugandan-Style Peanut Butter Stew, Seitan Wellington and Curried Vegan Meatloaf are some of the comforting recipes you'll find within the pages of this book. 

To enter, leave a comment at the Vegan Heritage Press blog page listing which of these two cookbooks you’d like to win.  To increase your chances of winning, in addition to leaving your initial comment, you can do any or all of the following, and leave a separate comment here for each that you do:


  1. “Like” Vegan Heritage Press on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vegan-Heritage-Press/120897831319698
  2. Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/VeganPress
  3. Subscribe to Vegan Heritage Press Blog
  4. Link to this giveaway on Twitter
  5. Link to this giveaway on Facebook
  6. Link to this giveaway on your blog

Winners will be chosen at random for each book. Contest ends on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 at 11:59pm, EST. US residents only please. One winner will be chosen at random for each book.

Monday, February 4, 2013

BAKED VEGAN BUBBLE AND SQUEAK-- COMFORTING LOW-FAT WINTER FARE

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I've always loved the idea of Bubble and Squeak (or Bubble 'n' Squeak), a traditional working-class British dish made with shallow-fried leftover vegetables from a roast dinner. Potato and cabbage (I prefer Savoy cabbage) are the norm, but carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cooked greens, or any other leftover vegetables can be used (a mix is good).  Basically a type of hash, the chopped vegetables are fried in a pan together with mashed potatoes or crushed roast potatoes until the mixture is well-cooked and brown on both sides. (The name comes from the bubbling and squeaking sounds made during the cooking process.) It not only makes a thrifty supper, but leftovers are good for breakfast, too.

According to my research, Bubble and Squeak is now eaten most frequently with just the leftover potatoes and vegetables (but often with animal fat), but originally it was more beef than potatoes. "1881 Leicester. Gloss. (E.D.S.) Bubble-and-squeak, slices of underdone beef fried and seasoned, laid on cabbage, boiled, strained,chopped, and fried in dripping." http://www.theoldfoodie.com/2010/08/bubble-and-squeak.html

"It turns out it didn’t begin life as fried mashed potato patties, but as something quite different. In "Economical Cook, and Frugal Housewife: An Entirely New System", Mary Holland – in 1837 – describes a recipe that makes use of leftover boiled beef, not potatoes. The beef should be thinly sliced and fried up with chopped boiled cabbage in butter and some salt and pepper. This recipe goes back as far as the mid-eighteenth century. Indeed recipes for it in this form run right up the mid-twentieth century. It cannot be a coincidence that the dish went from beef-based to potato-based at around the same time as the Second World War and rationing." http://britishfoodhistory.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/65/

So, you have the option of adding cold chopped veggie-"meat", if you like (I used slivered seitan "turkey" this time, but some leftover plain-cooked beans would be a good addition, as well), but it's not necessary.

I used to make it once in a while in old meat-eating days, but, strangely, haven't made a vegan version until lately.  We had a vegan friend over for dinner and I made a vegan from-scratch version, of which we devoured over half in one sitting!  I chose to bake my vegan Bubble and Squeak in a very hot oven, ensconced in a parchment-lined 14-inch cast iron skillet, to avoid the frying and all the fat that involves.

This worked very well, but I realize that not everyone owns a giant cast iron skillet (and not everyone wishes to heft around a hot heavy pan!).  I had to transfer the Bubble and Squeak onto a round pizza pan (using the parchment) in order to flip it to the other side (using more parchment and  another pizza pan), and then hoist it into the skillet again, using the parchment.  So I am recommending what I will do next time-- just use 2 pizza pans (or baking sheets).

However you choose to do it, the potato "body" of the dish was nicely browned and crispy, full of tender broth-simmered Savoy cabbage and diced carrots, and sauteed onions and mushrooms.

This dish is traditionally eaten with what the Brits call "brown sauce", better known in North America as HP Sauce, but DH, of course, chose ketchup, and I was happy with vegan gravy.  NOTE: you can try making your own "brown sauce"-- here a couple of online recipes: http://www.lovefood.com/guide/recipes/14390/niamh-shields-brown-sauce  and  http://kansasa.blogspot.ca/2007/04/hp-sauce-recipe.html


 Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S BAKED VEGAN BUBBLE AND SQUEAK
Serves 4 to 6
You need two 13-inch round pizza pans and some baking parchment for this method. (You could also use two ordinary baking sheets, if necessary)  NOTE: If you aren't worried about fat, you can cook this in a large heavy skillet with some olive oil mix with a bit of dark sesame oil, frying the mixture in smaller "cakes" over medium heat until they are golden brown on the bottom, and then flipping them over and browning the other side.

3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (more-or-less)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil (Optional-- omit if you are fat-free and see note in instructions)
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil  (Optional-- omit if you are fat-free and see note in instructions)
4 large mushrooms (any kind), halved and sliced
3/4 of a small Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced and then chopped about 1/2-inch long
1 large carrot, scrubbed, in 1/2-inch dice
(Note: peas, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, greens, or any other leftover cooked vegetables can be used instead)
3 cups vegetarian broth
OPTIONAL: about 1 1/2 cups slivered meat sub of choice, or plain-cooked beans, drained
1/2 tablespoon dried sage (not powdered)
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme leaves (not powdered)
salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 500 degrees F.

The next 3 steps can be done pretty much at the same time:

1.) Place the potatoes on to cook until tender, in whatever sort of steamer set-up you use.  I like to place them in a microwave-proof casserole, cover (no water necessary) and cook on high for about 10 minutes.

2.) While they cook, put the simmer the cabbage and carrots together with the broth in a covered pot just until tender.  Drain off the remaining broth.


3.) That done, heat the oils in a large heavy skillet and saute the onions over medium-high heat until they are softened and starting to brown.  Add the mushrooms and saute until they start to wilt. FAT-FREE NOTE:  You can omit the sauteing in oil by microwaving the onions in a microwave-safe covered casserole or dish until softened, and then browning them over high heat, along with the mushrooms, in a nonstick skillet until they begin to brown, adding a squirt of water, broth or white wine as needed to keep the mixture from sticking.


When all the above are done, dump the potatoes into a large, shallow bowl and coarsely mash them-- remember that you're not making mashed potatoes, though!  Add the cooked vegetables, and the herbs, and mash together, leaving it a rather rough mixture.


Add the protein option, if using.  This is what I used:

                                               Sliced seitan "turkey"

Taste the mixture for salt and pepper.  Line both pizza pans (or baking sheets) with baking parchment (no need to cut-to-fit; over-hang is good).

Scoop the Bubble and Squeak mixture in a mound onto one of the parchment-lined pizza pans (or baking sheets).  Press and shape it into a firm round "cake":



Spray the top of the "cake" with a little oil from a pump-spray bottle and place in the pre-heated oven.  Bake about 15 minutes, or until the bottom is nicely browned.  Remove carefully from the oven.  Place the second piece of baking parchment over the top of the Bubble and Squeak and the second pizza pan (or baking sheet) upside-down over that.  With one hand (in an oven mitt!) firmly under the bottom pan and one firmly in the middle of the top pan (and working over a counter or table), quickly flip it over, so that the browned side is on the bottom.  Remove the used pan and parchment, which are now on top.  Place the Bubble and Squeak back in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes more, or until the second side is nicely browned.

This one was photographed made in a cast iron skillet-- I changed the method to using pizza pans or baking sheets to make it easier to handle.
Cut the Bubble and Squeak into wedges and enjoy hot with HP Sauce ("brown sauce" in the UK), ketchup ("red sauce" in the UK), or vegan gravy (British cookbook author Nigel Slater recommends adding "a slug of Madeira" to the gravy).

Nutrition facts:
For 4 servings, with oil:
Nutrition (per serving): 269.9 calories; 22% calories from fat; 7.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 357.8mg sodium; 1429.7mg potassium; 48.9g carbohydrates; 5.1g fiber; 3.3g sugar; 43.8g net carbs; 6.8g protein; 5.2 points.
For 4 servings, without oil:
Nutrition (per serving): 210.0 calories; 0% calories from fat; 0.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 357.7mg sodium; 1429.7mg potassium; 48.9g carbohydrates; 5.1g fiber; 3.3g sugar; 43.8g net carbs; 6.8g protein; 3.4 points.

For 6 servings, with oil:
Nutrition (per serving): 179.9 calories; 22% calories from fat; 4.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 238.5mg sodium; 953.2mg potassium; 32.6g carbohydrates; 3.4g fiber; 2.2g sugar; 29.2g net carbs; 4.5g protein; 3.3 points.
For 6 servings, without oil:
Nutrition (per serving): 140.0 calories; 0% calories from fat; 0.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 238.5mg sodium; 953.1mg potassium; 32.6g carbohydrates; 3.4g fiber; 2.2g sugar; 29.2g net carbs; 4.5g protein; 2.1 points.

Enjoy!