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Monday, December 28, 2015

GOLDEN SOURDOUGH ROLLED BISCUITS

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I've been refreshing my old sourdough starter lately, thanks to the interest of a couple of friends.  I've been playing with no-knead crusty sourdough bread and will do a post on that very soon.

While refreshing my starter and making extra for my friends, I found myself with too much starter today, but so nice and bubbly and sour that I couldn't bring myself to throw it away.  Since we were expecting company today, I decided to make a batch of sourdough biscuits.  I literally hadn't made them for years.

These are the BEST biscuits-- golden and crispy on the outside and tender and layered on the inside.  Make sure that your starter in active and fresh.  It should be about the consistency of a pancake batter, but full of bubbles.

Fresh, bubbly sourdough starter


Printable Copy

BRYANNA'S SOURDOUGH ROLLED BISCUITS
Yield: 12

1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup very cold (or frozen) vegan butter (see my homemade palm oil-free vegan "Buttah" recipe)
1 cup fresh, bubbly sourdough starter (see my starter recipe and instructions for use)
NOTE: you may need a few sprinkles of non-dairy milk OR flour

Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Add the cold vegan butter and quickly rub in with a pastry cutter or your fingers until bits of vegan butter are like crumbs.

Pour in the starter and stir with a fork until it is a dough that holds together.  If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour.  If it is too dry, add a few sprinkles of non-dairy milk until it hold together.

On a floured surface (best to use a piece of baking parchment or a silicone mat) pat or roll out the dough into a rectangle about 3/4" thick.  Fold in thirds.  Roll out again and fold into thirds.  Roll and pat into a rectangle about 1/2" thick.

Turn oven to 425 degrees F.  Cut the dough into 12 squares or, with a biscuit cutter, into 12 rounds or hexagons. (You can push the scraps together, fold once and roll out gently, then cut out as many as you can.)

Place the biscuits in a 9-10" round shallow layer cake pan, not quite touching.  Cover loosely with a clean tea towel and let rise for 15 minutes.  Brush the tops with soymilk or spray lightly with oil. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.

Serve hot or cool on rack and reheat in a 350 degree F oven for a few minutes

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per biscuit):  95 calories, 36 calories from fat, 4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 175.5mg sodium, 51.5mg potassium, 12.4g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, less than 1g sugar, 1.9g protein.

Enjoy!






Wednesday, December 16, 2015

USE-IT-UP TACO-STYLE POTATOES FOR A QUICK PRE-HOLIDAY MEAL

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Last week I made a batch of my vegan taco filling from one of my older books ("Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause") and we had tacos for two days running.  (I had added some coarsely-mashed black beans to the taco filling this time.) I stored the remainder of the filling, Tofu Sour Creme, salsa and shredded lettuce in the refrigerator. A couple of days later, we arrived home late and I contemplated the contents of my refrigerator, and  spied these leftovers. However, I didn't feel like messing with taco shells this time.  I grabbed some potatoes (locally grown thin-skinned yellow German Butter [Sieglinde] potatoes), scrubbed and poked them with a knife, and microwaved them while I heated the taco filling.

Sieglinde (German Butter) Potatoes
The buttery-tasting potatoes were delicious topped with our taco filling and condiments, and I served a friend's tasty bean salad (made with his home-grown beans) alongside.

This recipe, by the way, includes my recipe for making homemade red chile paste, which is very easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator, in a sealed jar, for weeks.  

I love it when we can use up good food in a delicious and creative way!



Printable Copy (of both recipes)

BRYANNA'S EASY VEGAN TACO, TOSTADA, OR BURRITO FILLING
(From my book "Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause", slightly revised.)
© Bryanna Clark Grogan 2015
Enough for 12 tacos or tostadas, or 6 burritos.

If you package of taco shells in the pantry, or some tortillas in the refrigerator, this deliciously spicy, kids-of-all-ages-pleasing dinner won't take long.

Your choice of vegan "burger":
3 to 31/2 cups firm tofu, which has been frozen at least 48 hours, thawed, squeezed dry and crumbled
OR commercial vegan "hamburger crumbles" 

OR ground seitan 
OR reconstituted granulated textured soy protein (my favorite is So Soya+ Ground Veggie Burger, which is organic and kosher certified) 
OR the crumbs from Soy Curls (or crushed Soy Curls), reconstituted
Additional ingredients:
1/4 c. Bryanna's Red Chile Paste (see recipe below)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the vegan "burger" of your choice with the Red Chile Paste in a bowl, combining it in well.

In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the onion and sauté until it softens.  Add the "burger"/chile paste mixture and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, adding a little water if it dries out too much.

Fill the heated taco or tostada shells, or warm soft wheat or corn tortillas-- we add shredded lettuce or cabbage, a good spicy tomato salsa, avocado, if we have it, and tofu sour creme.

Cooked pinto or black beans, or vegetarian refried beans, are optional.  You could also add some hashbrown potatoes and/or grated vegan "cheese", if you like.

BRYANNA'S RED CHILE PASTE
(From my book "Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause", slightly revised.)

© Bryanna Clark Grogan 2015
Yield: 1 3/4 cups


1/2 c. good-quality chile powder
7 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. dried red chile pepper flakes
4 vegetarian broth powder or paste (or enough for 4 cups liquid)
1 T. dark sesame oil 
1 T. unbleached flour or 2 tsp. rice flour
1 T. Marmite (or other yeast extract paste) OR 2 T. red miso 

1 T. water
1 T. salt 
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp. dried oregano 
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!





Wednesday, December 9, 2015

MY NEW, EASY VEGAN YOGURT

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I used to make my own yogurt all the time.  I made it with my homemade soymilk.  But I've gotten lazy in my old age and have only made it a few times in the last few years-- maybe because we finally got Whole Soy yogurt up here in Canada.  And then, just when we were enjoying it so much, Whole Soy closed down.  So sad!  There aren't that many choices where I live, and the coconut yogurt (which I don't like) and almond yogurt are just way too expensive for my budget. So, recently I've had the urge to make yogurt again, using commercial soymilk instead of homemade (which I do make for drinking and cooking).  After all, 2 L of soymilk only costs about $4 Cnd and, even figuring in the cost of the other ingredients, it's alot cheaper than $5 for 3 cups of Nancy's soy yogurt! 

I wanted a simplified version, with less thickeners than I had used before and without using added soymilk powder, which gives the yogurt a chalky mouth feel and taste.  I thought of using raw cashews, which would add rich flavor and mouth feel, as well as their own thickening power. I'm so glad I thought of that-- I don't know why it took me so long!


This yogurt is the creamy kind, which my husband likes best.  You could strain it by hanging it in a cheese bag (like this)if you want a thicker, more concentrated yogurt.


Some important info before you start:

NOTE about non-dairy milk: There are many types of non-dairy milk on the market now, but I use soymilk because it is the most nutritious (7 g protein per cup, compared with 1 g in 1 cup of Silk almond milk). I now blend it with some soaked raw cashews to make yogurt for added creaminess, and they add some thickening power, too. (I have not tried this yogurt with other non-dairy milk.)

I use what is usually called "Original", NOT Unsweetened, soymilk. I know that many people balk at the fact that "Original" contains sugar, but that is because dairy milk naturally contains sugar, and if you don't add a little it doesn't taste like milk. To give you some perspective, there twice as much sugar (12 g) in 1 cup dairy milk than in Silk Organic Original Soy Milk (6g).

Sodium content: 1 cup Silk "Original" contains about 105mg sodium and 1 cup of various types of cow's milk contain between 98 and 103mg sodium. (Silk almond contains 160 mg sodium.)

Equipment:
You will need a blender, a fine sieve, a 2L microwave-safe batter bowl/pitcher (see photos below for the ones I have-- one is Pyrex and one is stoneware), a medium whisk, a microwave large enough for a 2L batter bowl, a slim spatula, a stick/immersion blender, a candy thermometer, measuring utensils, an incubation set-up (see Tips below). EVERYTHING needs to be scalded with boiling water before use!

Stoneware and Pyrex batter bowls:

So, here's the new recipe:




















BRYANNA'S EASY NEW HOMEMADE SOY/CASHEW YOGURT
© Bryanna Clark Grogan 2015
Servings: 18
Yield: 9 cups

Ingredients
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 Litres (8 1/2 cups) Original (NOT unsweetened!) Silk Organic Soymilk from UN-opened carton (use 2 quarts if you are in the USA-- it will just be a little less yield) (OR your favorite non-dairy milk, but I have not tried any others) 
(See Note above about unsweetened vs original)
2 Tbsp tapioca starch (or tapioca flour-- it's the same thing)
1 tsp agar powder
1/4 cup cultured soy yogurt for a starter, or about 2 tsp. dairy-free powdered live yogurt starter/culture (see Tips below)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum


IMPORTANT: Scald all of your utensils with boiling water and set aside.

Pour boiling water over the raw cashews to cover in a heat-proof bowl and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Drain in sieve.

Blend the soaked, drained cashews in the scalded blender jar with 2 cups of the milk from an UN-opened carton (replace cap on the carton until next step), the tapioca starch and agar powder until VERY smooth.

Pour the blended mixture into the batter bowl. microwave on High for 2 minutes. Whisk well and whisk in the remaining milk until thoroughly mixed and smooth. (You can use the immersion blender if you prefer, but don't let it get too frothy.)

Insert the candy thermometer into the mixture and check the temperature. It will probably be at least over 120 degrees F. You want to get it down to 90-105 degrees F before adding the starter. Cover the bowl loosely with the lid or a clean cloth (not touching the milk mixture). Let it cool down on the counter or in the refrigerator. Check the temperature frequently (washing and scalding the thermometer each time). When the temperature is in the correct range, add the starter and the xanthan or guar gum, whisking with a freshly-washed-and-scalded whisk or immersion blender until smooth. Don't let it get too frothy.

Pour the mixture into your prepared incubating container(s) [see Tips below about incubating methods] and cover. Incubate for about 7 hours. If you incubate longer and the mixture sort of "rises" and separates a bit, you will have to blend it again and it won't be as firm, but will be just fine.

Refrigerate overnight and enjoy! Save 1/4 cup for the next batch.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/2-cup serving): 76 calories, 40 calories from fat, 3.7g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 48.5mg sodium, 184.1mg potassium, 6.5g carbohydrates, 1.2g fiber, 3.2g sugar, 4.1g protein.

Tips
NON-DAIRY YOGURT STARTER:

Either use non-dairy yogurt, such as Nancy's (in Canada) or Wildwood (in the USA) 
OR

OR in the USA:
and

FOUR WAYS [+1] TO INCUBATE YOUR YOGURT:

#1.) You can use 3 wide-mouth quart jars with screw-on lids (the plastic lids, preferably) and place them inside an inexpensive Styrofoam cooler or a camp cooler (clean the inside well!) along with 2 quart jars of boiling water (with lids-- and the jar should not touch the yogurt jars). Warm up the cooler with the jars of hot water while you get the yogurt ready. Place the cooler cover firmly in place and cover with an old heavy blanket. You may have to add more hot water to the jars halfway through the incubation time.


#2.) Use a non-electric yogurt incubator, such as the Yogotherm, which has a 2-quart plastic container nestled in a Styrofoam liner inside of a canister. (I insulate this with blankets on the outside as well.)

 I have an older one, which looks like this-- sometimes you can find them in thrift stores.

3.) If you prefer a glass jar, check out the Euro Cuisine 2L Yogurt Maker. They sell a glass jar that fits into the machine in place of the plastic one that comes with it.

#4) Use stainless steel thermos bottles: Almost fill wide-mouth thermos bottles-- such as two 32 ounce bottles-- with boiling water, cover loosely and let sit for 10 minutes.  Pour out the water and add your inoculated yogurt mixture at the right temperature.  Secure the lids and wrap the thermoses in two or three terry towels, or a small quilt. Set it in a warm, draft-free place for required time.

+1) Oops! I forgot one-- evidently the new Instant Pot, among other things, functions as a yogurt incubator. PS: I'm getting one for Christmas, so I will update if there are any changes needed when made in the Instant Pot.



Enjoy!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

VEGAN ONE-POT PASTA WITH BROCCOLI, SPICY SAUSAGE & SOY CURLS

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Another "quickie" recipe this week!  We're eating pretty simply these days.  But, since many of you are preparing for the delights and excesses of American Thanksgiving, I thought it would be good to share this recipe I threw together a couple of nights ago.  You might want something like this in the days leading up to the feast, or afterwards when you, too, are wishing for a little simplicity!

I love one-pot pasta meals-- not much fuss or and very little time, but, with the right mix of ingredients, plenty of flavor and substance!

I have 3 more one-pot pasta recipes on my blog:


One-Pot Cheesey Farfalle (Bowtie Pasta) with Asparagus & Soy Curls  


My version of Martha Stewart's One-Pan Pasta

One-Pot Vegan Pastalaya (Jambalaya's Cousin)


Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S VEGAN ONE-POT PASTA WITH BROCCOLI, SPICY SAUSAGE & SOY CURLS
Servings: 6

1 Field Roast Chipotle Vegan sausage (or your favorite), sliced and crumbled a bit
4 ounces  dry Soy Curls, reconstituted in 2 cups hot "chicken-y" vegan broth and drained
(or, you can use about 2 cups of any other vegan chicken sub strips)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups good-tasting "chicken-y" vegan broth (I like Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Vegan Broth Base)
3 cups dry spiral macaroni (cavatappi) or similar pasta
1 lb. broccoli florets, cut into smallish pieces
2  Tbs lemon juice 
2 Tbs rich nutmilk or unsweetened vegan creamer (such as So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer)
1 ounce (about 1/2 cup) vegan parmesan sub (I like Go Veggie!) 
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the drained Soy Curls, garlic and crumbled sausage together and place on a lightly-oiled baking sheet (rimmed).  Place about 4" under your oven's broiler and broil on high (watching often) until it starts to brown a bit.  Mix and turn and broil again until the mixture is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and scoop into a large pot. (NOTE:  If you prefer, you can saute the ingredients in a tablespoon or two of olive oil right in the pot.  I like to broil ingredients in order to brown without anything but a few sprays of oil.)


Cavatappi pasta
Add the broth to the pot and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta and adjust the heat to a good simmer.  Cover and cook for 9 minutes, stirring now and then.  Add the broccoli, cover and cook for about 3 minutes more, or until the broccoli is cooked to crisp-tender.

Stir in the lemon juice & creamer or nut milk, along with the vegan parmesan sub.  Stir well and taste for salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 377 calories, 52 calories from fat, 5.8g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 582.6mg sodium, 341.1mg potassium, 54.1g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 2.1g sugar, 23.4g protein.

Enjoy!



Sunday, November 15, 2015

LUSCIOUS 6-INGREDIENT LEEK & MUSHROOM SOUP

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I'm sorry for not posting for so long... I've been fighting a bad cold and thanks heavens it's almost gone, because now I'm getting ready for some very welcome house guests!.

I haven't been that interested in cooking while I've been sick, but soup is always good, especially when the weather is dreary.  The day before yesterday I was tryig to think of a simple soup to make, perusing the contents of my refrigerator for ideas, when I spied a rather large leek that needed tobe used, and a bag of cremini mushrooms that were starting to get a bit sad looking, but still usable.  I like both leeks and mushrooms very much, so I thought I would combine them.

I want to keep it simple and have a slightly "chunky" soup with some creaminess without making an actually creamed (puréed) soup.  I wanted to add a bit of white bean flour to add a little nutrition as well as to thicken the broth. (Two earlier posts about using white bean flour: here and here.)

This is what I came up with and the results were pretty amazing-- this soup is an explosion of flavor, despite the few ingredients, quick cooking, and ease of preparation.


Printable Recipe
BRYANNA'S LUSCIOUS 6-INGREDIENT LEEK & MUSHROOM SOUP
Servings: 4

1 large leek, white and green part, cleaned
14 ounces cremini mushrooms
2 Tbs vegan butter (or olive oil) (here's my homemade palm oil-free vegan "Buttah")
1/4 cup white vermouth (or dry white wine)
4 cups rich-tasting "chickeny" vegan broth (I like Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Vegan Broth Paste)
1/4 cup white bean flour
Optional Garnish:
Non-dairy yogurt, whisked
smoked paprika
parsley

Cut the leek across in half, then slice the halves lengthwise in half and then in half again.  Thinly slice the lengths of leek across into little slices. Set aside.

Clean and thinly slice the mushrooms and set aside.

Melt the vegan butter in a heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Add the leeks and sauté for about 5 minutes.


Add the mushroom slices and sauté with the leeks for about 5 minutes more.


Add the vermouth and boil for 1 minute.  Add the broth and simmer for 15 minutes.

Ladle about 2 cups of the soup (broth and solids) into a blender and add the white bean flour.  With the middle cap removed from the blender lid (to prevent the steam from making the hot mixture explode all over the place!), place the lid in place on the blender container and cover the hole loosely with a folded tea towel.  Blend until smooth.

Scrape the blended mixture back into the soup and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Serve the soup plain, or drizzle it with a bit of non-dairy yogurt (whisked to make it pourable) and sprinkle with a bit of smoked paprika.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 133 calories, 61 calories from fat, 6.9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 701.3mg sodium, 496.5mg potassium, 13.3g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 4.1g sugar, 5.6g protein.

Enjoy!



Sunday, November 1, 2015

SPICY VEGAN BASQUE CHICKPEA & SAUSAGE STEW

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About 3 years ago we discovered that one side of my father's family might have Basque roots in Spain.  That, of course, made me curious about Spanish Basque culture and cuisine.  (UPDATE, 2017-- this has been confirmed by my sister's DNA test.) The cuisine is quite meat-heavy, but many dishes can be made vegan. One category of dishes that Basques are well known for is their delicious bean stews. (I posted one with red beans a few years ago.)

The following vegan version of another common Basque bean stew based on chickpeas is from my book "World Vegan Feast".  Since I always keep a good store of home-cooked beans (including chickpeas) and some Field Roast Chipotle sausages, in my freezer, this satisfying stew is one of my go-to dishes for a quick, easy and delicious dinner.


Printable Recipe


BRYANNA'S SPICY VEGAN BASQUE CHICKPEA & SAUSAGE STEW 
Serves 4
There are many versions of this common Basque bean stew-- this one, thick with vegetables and spicy vegan sausages, is super-simple and super-delicious. The recipe is easily doubled.

**This recipe, slightly altered, is from my book World Vegan Feast.**

8 ounces dried chickpeas, picked over, rinsed and drained and soaked overnight in plenty of water
OR USE 3 1/4 cups drained cooked or canned chickpeas (If you use these, omit the first step in the recipe.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium carrot, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
4 to 6 ounces vegan chorizo or spicy vegan sausage (such as Field Roast Chipotle, which is very spicy) coarsely crumbled or sliced diagonally into 1/4-inch thin rounds
1 (14-ounce) can plum tomatoes, with juice
1/2 to 1 cup vegan broth (depending on how "soupy" you prefer the stew)
salt to taste

1.) Drain the soaked chickpeas and put in a medium pot with water to cover, with 2 to 3 inches water above the beans. Simmer for 2 hours or until the chickpeas are tender. Drain them and set aside.  (Omit this step if you use cooked or canned chickpeas.)

2.) Use the same pot to heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and carrot and sauté until the onion starts to brown. Add the chorizo or sausage and brown it a bit. Add the tomatoes and juice, crushing the tomatoes a bit. Add the broth and bring the stew to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes. Taste for salt and serve with crusty bread, or, though it's not as authentic, you could substitute steamed rice or cornbread to soak up the juices.

Enjoy!




Friday, October 23, 2015

BRUSSELS SPROUTS & PEAR SALAD WITH PECANS AND DJON-MAPLE-BALSAMIC DRESSING

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A couple of weeks ago, I had a big bag of lovely little fresh Brussels sprouts--they are always a great price this time of year.  I also had some beautiful firm-but-ripe pears froma friend's tree, and it occured to me that they might mix well in a salad.  This is what I came up with and they did, indeed, mix well!  We've had it a couple more times since then. (I think it would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast, BTW.)


Printable Copy

BRYANNA'S BRUSSELS SPROUTS & PEAR SALAD WITH PECANS AND DJON-MAPLE-BALSAMIC DRESSING
Servings: 6

Salad:
1 1/2  lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced 1/4" thick
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large pears, firm but ripe, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4" thick
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
2 large green onions thinly sliced
Dressing:
2 Tbsp water or aquafaba
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (smooth or grainy)
1/4 tsp salt

Toss the Brussels sprouts with the 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until they have browned a bit on top. remove from the oven.

Cut the pear slices into about 1" pieces. Whisk the dressing ingredients together well. Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Serve at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 205 calories, 98 calories from fat, 11.5g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 125mg sodium, 598.3mg potassium, 25.4g carbohydrates, 7.6g fiber, 11.9g sugar, 5.1g protein.

Enjoy!



Monday, October 19, 2015

LAURA THEODORE'S BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH QUICK CASHEW “CREAM”

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My results for Butternut Squash Soup with Quick Cashew “Cream” 
You might know Laura Theodore as "The Jazzy Vegetarian", which is the title of her first book.  Laura is not only an author and talented singer, but is also a popular vegan radio host (she interviewed me a while back) and television cooking show host. She's one busy woman, and very down-to-earth and kind one, too (evidenced by her long-time vegan lifestyle and support of animals). She is an accomplished chef, as well, and her busy lifestyle has made her aware of the need for colorful, healthful, tasty and EASY meals to help other busy vegans put meals on the table.

And that is the theme of her latest cookbook "Laura Theodore's Vegan-ease", which I've had the pleasure of reviewing.  Yes, it it is full of gorgeous photos, but I was impressed by much more than that: 1.) The practical advice and tips about menu planning, holiday menus, tips and recipes, shopping, ingredients, kitchen tools, no-oil cooking, eco-cleaning your kitchen, and basic vegan nutrition; 2.) The concept of the "Ease-Factor" rating for each recipe; 3.) The fact that, though she has soy-free options, she's not afraid to use tofu! 4.) The book is not fat-free, but she's very moderate with fats (and there's a no-oil Crispy Steak Fries recipe!); 5.) The use of whole foods throughout the book; 6.) The dessert recipes are inspiring, but easy on sugar of all kinds; and 7.) Last but not least, colorful, flavorful, interesting dishes made with real foods!

I've got quite a few recipes marked in this book to try soon (Deep Dark Chocolate Truffle Pudding, for one!), but, this being squash season and a bountiful squash year where I live, I chose to try this delectably smooth butternut squash soup for this review. It was a cinch to make, lovely to look at, full of rich flavor and very satisfying.


Bon Appétit!

A photo of this soup from the book Laura Theodore's Vegan-Ease
Butternut Squash Soup with Quick Cashew “Cream” 
Makes 4 to 6 servings / Ease Factor 2

This simple-to-prepare potage is rich in taste and creamy in texture, without the use of dairy. A quick cashew “cream” (no pre-soaking of the cashews required) adds a touch of elegance, and the coconut milk beverage adds richness and depth to this impressive soup.
Recipe from Laura Theodore's Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet © Laura Theodore (Jazzy Vegetarian, LLC 2015), reprinted by permission.

5½ cups cubed butternut squash, (about 1 medium squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 1½-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend (I didn't have any, so I used a blend of dried basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary, ground in a spice grinder- BCG)
¼ teaspoon sea salt (Laura recommends that you use salt according to your taste-BCG)
2⁄3 cup raw cashews (I soaked mine in boiling water for 10 minutes before blending-BCG)
2½ cups filtered or spring water, plus more as needed
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage or nondairy milk of your choice (I used soy milk- BCG)
4 to 6 basil leaves, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.

Put the cubed squash, olive oil and Italian seasoning in a large bowl and toss gently until thoroughly coated. Arrange the squash in a single layer on the prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the squash is soft and slightly golden. Put the pan on a wire rack and sprinkle with the sea salt. Let the squash cool for 25 to 30 minutes (see note).

Meanwhile, put the cashews and 1⁄2 cup water in a high-performance blending appliance and process until smooth and creamy. Transfer the cashew “cream” to a small bowl, leaving about 2 heaping tablespoons in the blender container. Add the cooled squash, coconut milk and 2 cups water to the cashew “cream” in the blender container and process until smooth, adding more water, about 1⁄4 cup at a time, as needed, to achieve the desired consistency.

Pour the soup into a medium-sized saucepan, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until heated through. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Using a small spoon, swirl about 1 tablespoon of the cashew “cream” into the top of each serving, in a pretty pattern. Garnish with a basil leaf (optional). Serve piping hot (see notes).

Chef’s Notes
-  You may roast the squash up to 24 hours ahead of time. After cooling, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until use.

-  This soup may be made up to 24 hours ahead of time. If making in advance, let the soup cool after blending, pour the cooled soup into an airtight container and refrigerate. To reheat the soup, pour it into a pot. If the soup seems too thick, add a little more water to achieve the desired consistency. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until heated through.

- The cashew cream may be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until use.

Nurtrition Facts:

Amount per serving, based on 6 servings:  93 Calories; 4g Fat; 1g Saturated fat; 2g Protein; 8mg Sodium; 15g Total Carbohydrate; 3g Sugars; 2g Fiber

Enjoy!





Saturday, October 17, 2015

CREAMY, CHEESEY VEGAN MASHED POTATO SOUP

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I made WAY too many mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving last weekend.  I ended up freezing a big bag of them, which I had never done before.  I was a little worried about freezing them, but I checked some cooking sites online and was assured that, though the liquid might separate from the solids (it did) and the solids might get a bit "grainy" (they did), they could be re-mashed when reheated and be as good as new.

So, the other night we wanted something lighter for dinner, like soup, and I wanted to use up at least some of those mashed spuds, so I decided to make a vegan and lower-fat version of something I've read about, but never tasted-- mashed or baked potato soup with cheddar cheese and bacon.  There are a zillion recipes out there for this soup, so it must be wildly popular, especially after holiday meals!

The usual recipes for this soup are, of course, laden with butter, cream, cheddar cheese (sometimes 1/2 a lb. in one recipe), and, quite frequently, bacon (the bacon fat being used to sauté the onions). What I had in mind was something, not only vegan, but much lower in fat than these recipes.

To begin with, I don't use vegan "butter" or even olive oil in my mashed potatoes. I use yellow potatoes, which have a lovely color and texture and some varieties even have a "buttery" taste. Yukon Golds are fine, and easily available, but our favorite is the German Butter potato-- Sieglinde or  Carola (German Butterball).  Fortunately, they are grown locally.  I generally steam them.  (You can either peel them before steaming, or run the potatoes under cold water and pull off the peels after steaming.) If I'm in a hurry and making a smaller amount, I peel and chunk them and microwave them in a covered microwave-proof casserole for about 10 minutes-- no water needed.  (This method saves energy as well as water and nutrients.) Then I mash them well (or run them through a potato ricer if I have time) and then beat in some soy milk (or other plant-based milk) and salt to taste until they are creamy. Believe me, these mashed potatoes  are delicious, and, if you or your guests insist on "butter" (like my homemade vegan palm oil-free "Buttah"), it can be added at the table individually. See: http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.ca/2008/06/how-to-make-fluffy-buttery-no-fat-vegan.html

Anyway, if you have leftover mashed spuds, I think you'll be pleased with this yummy way to use them up.


Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S CREAMY, CHEESEY VEGAN MASHED POTATO SOUP
Serves 6 (Can be GF and soy-free, if you wish)

1  Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups cooked, peeled potatoes (made with about 2 1/2 lbs. potatoes [I prefer yellow]-- microwaved, steamed or baked)-- these can be leftover
Mashed with: 1 cup (approximately) soy milk or other plant-based milk and salt to taste
Extra-Tangy Melty Cheddah Cheeze Sauce:
1 cup water (OR use 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup beer)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp white flour
(another option would be 1/4 cup very finely-ground oat flour instead of the starch and white flour)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp tahini
Additional:
4 cups vegan "chickeny" broth (I like Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Vegan Soup Base)
1  cup unsweetened vegan creamer (such as So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer) OR 1/2 cup each plant-based milk blended with 1/2 cup extra-firm silken tofu (or medium firm regular tofu)
Garnish:
vegan "bacon bits"
smoked paprika
chopped green onions (green parts only)

Sauté the chopped onion and minced garlic in the two oils over medium heat until soft OR microwave them with the oils in a microwave-safe pie plate or bowl with lid for about 4 minutes.

Mash the cooked potatoes with the soy or other milk.

Make the Extra-Tangy Melty Cheddah Cheeze Sauce: In a blender, mix all of the Cheeze Sauce ingredients EXCEPT the tahini until smooth.  Microwave in a 1-2 qt. microwave-safe batter-bowl or measuring pitcher on High for 2 minutes; whisk; microwave for 2 minutes agai and whisk.  OR Pour the blended mixture into a medium saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens.  Let bubble for 30 seconds, whisking vigorously.  Remove from heat.

Stir the tahini into the sauce.

Mix the Sauce in a large pot with the sautéed onions and garlic, the mashed potatoes, the creamer and the broth. Use an immersion blender right in the pot to make it smooth.  (Otherwise, you will have to blend the mixture together in a regular blender in two batches and return it to the pot.) Bring to a simmer, turn down and simmer, partially covered for about 10 minutes.  Add more vegan creamer or plant based milk if it's too thick for your taste.

Serves hot with plenty of vegan "bacon bits" on top and a sprinkle of smoked paprika and green onions.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving, with no garnishes):
335 calories, 59 calories from fat, 6.9g total fat, Saturated Fat 0.87g, Monounsaturated Fat 3.02g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1.71g, Trans Fatty Acids 0g, 0mg cholesterol, 657.5mg sodium, 1550.9mg potassium, 58.1g carbohydrates, 6.2g fiber, 4.3g sugar, 12.3g protein.

Compare the recipe above with this fairly standard non-vegan version of the soup from http://www.midwestliving.com/recipe/soups/bacon-and-baked-potato-soup/ :
510 calories, 360 calories from fat, 40g Total fat, 23g saturated fat, 12g Monounsaturated fat, 2g Polyunsaturated fat, 188 mg cholesterol, 1056mg sodium, 610mg Potassium,  22g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 2g sugar, 17g protein.

Enjoy!




Monday, October 12, 2015

ASIAN CORN CABBAGE SOUP FROM KATHY HESTER'S NEW BOOK "THE EASY VEGAN COOKBOOK"

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Leave it to Kathy Hester to come up with a book full of easy-peasy, healthful, inspired vegan recipes for time-challenged cooks!  Kathy is the author of four previous books and blogs at healthyslowcooking.com This new book contains 80 recipes that are full of healthful ingredients (lots of beans-- a plus, in my opinion!) and many inspired by cuisines of other cultures.  She has a chapter of "Make-Ahead Staples", which is really handy, and everything from Soups, Stews, Pasta, Stir-fries, and other Mains, followed by more recipes for easy Sandwich Fillings and Spreads, Sides, and of course, Desserts and Drinks. The recipes are low-oil and there are many GF and soy-free recipes and options, as well.


I had a hard time selecting the recipe to try for this post on Kathy's blog tour, but I'm so glad I chose this soup recipe.  We had our vegan Canadian Thanksgiving feast (12 of us) last night and over-ate, of course. This easy, light and delectable soup (and I love corn so much!) is the perfect simple-but-delectable day-after-feasting meal. The chopped mushrooms in the broth give it wonderful flavor.

Congratulations on another winner, Kathy!



KATHY HESTER'S ASIAN CORN CABBAGE SOUP (From "The Easy Vegan Cookbook", with permission from Page Street Publishing)
• gluten-free option** • oil-free option* • soy-free option**
This soup isn’t the prettiest, but the taste is bold and delicious. This recipe is my favorite way to use up the extra cabbage from my CSA.
SERVES 4

½ small onion, minced
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil (*or sauté in water)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups (105 g) minced mushrooms
Pinch of salt
2 to 3 teaspoons (10-15 g) minced ginger
4 cups (356 g) chopped cabbage
2 cups (282 g) corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
4 cups (946 ml) water
1 tablespoon (5 g) nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vegetable bouillon
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ to 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce (**or use coconut aminos)

STOVE-TOP METHOD (This is the method I used.)
Sauté the onion in oil (*or water) until it’s translucent, then add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the mushrooms have cooked down and released their liquid, about 10 minutes. Add everything except sesame, sriracha and soy sauce (**or coconut aminos) to the pot and cook until the cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes. Before serving, add sesame, sriracha and soy sauce (**or coconut aminos). Adjust seasonings if needed. (NOTE from Bryanna: I used 3 teaspoons of vegan broth paste [Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken vegan Broth Paste] and 2 teaspoons of soy sauce.)

SLOW COOKER METHOD
To prep the night before, sauté the onion in oil (*or water) until it’s translucent, then add the garlic and cook one more minute. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the mushrooms have cooked down and released their liquid. Store the cooked mixture with cut cabbage and corn in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, add everything except sesame, sriracha and soy sauce (**or coconut aminos) to your 4-quart (4-L) slow cooker. Cook 7 to 9 hours on low. Before serving, add sesame, sriracha and soy sauce (**or coconut aminos). Adjust seasonings if needed.

Per serving with oil: Calories 156.8, protein 5.5 g, total fat 5.8 g, carbohydrates 22.4 g, sodium 41.8 mg, fiber 4.9 g

TIP: Cheater Slow Cooker Shortcut: Skip the onion sauté and use ½ teaspoon of onion powder instead. Then add the raw mushrooms into the slow cooker for a throw-it-all-in-and-go meal!

Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

VEGAN-STYLE SOPA DE FRIJOLES (PERUVIAN BEAN SOUP)

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Soup is the ultimate comfort food in most cultures. In Peru it is part of the their  culinary history and tradition, eaten at home as main dish, and even for breakfast. (I am partial to soup for breakfast, I must confess.)

It is estimated that there are around 2000 different soups in Peru. This amazing number reflects the three main geographical zones of Peru (the coast, the Andean highland and the jungle) and the fusion of influences from different times and immigrant cultures-- the indigenous people, the Inca Empire, the Spanish,  Africans, Italians, Chinese, and Japanese.

As many of you know, my late father, Alejandro Jaime Urbina, was Peruvian.


Peruvians love their soups, and he was no exception.  I've been veganizing Peruvian recipes for a few years now-- slowly, I grant you.  This soup, very common in Peru, with many versions, is my latest.  I see Italian influences here-- the pasta and the fact that it is sometimes served with Parmesan cheese.  (Italians are the 2nd largest European population in Peru-- my paternal grandmother was Italian-Peruvian.)  Sopa de Frijoles is usually made with pork, but there is no need for meat to make a delicious stew-like soup in the Peruvian spirit.


Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S VEGAN-STYLE SOPA DE FRIJOLES (PERUVIAN BEAN SOUP)
6 servings
Peruvian yellow beans are also known as Peruano beans, and they are the same as Mexican yellow beans ( canary/canario beans or mayocoba beans). Their cousin, the pinto bean, makes a good substitute.

Ingredients
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
2 cups  cubed seitan, OR reconstituted Soy Curls OR textured soy protein chunks (See Tips below for reconstituting)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cups  cooked or canned Peruvian or Mexican yellow beans, or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup diced peeled raw orange winter squash (or orange sweet potato, if you have no winter squash)
BROTH INGREDIENTS:
4 cups  boiling water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp flavorful vegan "chicken-style" broth powder or paste (or equivalent cubes for 2 cups) (my favorite in Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Broth Paste)
2 tsp flavorful vegan vegetable or "Beefy" broth powder or paste (or equivalent cubes for 2 cups) (my favorite in Better Than Bouillon Vegetable or No-Beef Broth Paste)
2 tsp Sriracha hot sauce
2 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp liquid smoke
1  tsp salt
ADDITIONAL:
4 oz dry tubular pasta-- penne is the preferred variety

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sesame oil.  Add the seitan or alternate and sauté quickly until browned a bit. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon.

Add the chopped onion, garlic, tomato, oregano and cumin.  Sauté over medium-high heat for several minutes, adding a bit of water as necessary to keep from sticking, until the onion has softened a bit.


Add the drained beans and the squash cubes, and all of the Broth Ingredients.  Stir well.  Bring to a boil, then turn down, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

While the soup simmers, cook the pasta in boiling water for about 8 minutes, or until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

After the 30 minutes are up, add the drained, cooked pasta to the soup. Taste for seasoning and serve with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro.  Some people serve some parmesan on the side. I didn't bother, but, if I did, I would use Go Veggie! Soy Parmesan sub.

NOTE: This is traditionally served with boiled yucca or yellow potato chunks, and/or cooked plantain and sweet potato, but the soup is so hearty that I didn't think it needed any accompaniment.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 331 calories, 64 calories from fat, 7.2g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 973.1mg sodium, 652.9mg potassium, 48.7g carbohydrates, 10.4g fiber, 4.7g sugar, 20.7g protein.

Tips
RECONSTITUTING TEXTURED SOY PROTEIN CHUNKS OR DRY SOY CURLS:

For 1 1/2 cups dry textured soy protein chunks (the amount you need for this recipe), bring to a boil in a medium saucepan:

3 cups water
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp ketchup or tomato paste
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
Add the soy protein chunks and turn dow to a simmer.  Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, or til tender.  Drain.

For 1 1/2 cups dry Soy Curls:
Use the same broth as above, but you will need only half the amount.  You need only pour the boiling broth over the Soy Curls and let them soak for 5 minutes, then drain.
NOTE: You can reconstitute 3 cups of Soy Curls with the whole recipe fro the broth above and then freeze half of the drained, reconstituted Soy Curls for another meal.

¡Buen Provecho!