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Thursday, May 28, 2015

VEGAN AEBELSKIVERS! (DANISH PANCAKE BALLS)

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"Not quite a doughnut and not quite a popover, an ebelskiver ( pronounced "able-skeever") is a light, puffy, filled pancake cooked in a special pan on the stovetop." http://www.sj-r.com/article/20130424/News/304249903  And, I might add, no oven is necessary and no frying is involved!

Aebelskivers (the more common spelling) are Danish pancakes cooked in a special pan with deep, round cavities so that they emerge as small "puffs", or "balls", which are traditionally filled with an apple slice, or, more recently,applesauce or jam, and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. The round shape is achieved by a special method of rotating the cooked dough to the top of the pan (explained in the recipe-- and not as hard as it sounds!).This makes a novel treat for children and adults alike. It would be fun to experiment with all sorts of sweet and savory fillings-- vegan cheese or thick cheesey sauce, for instance, or fruit butters and curds, vegan caramel sauce, vegan chocolate sauce or hazelnut/chocolate spread (a vegan version of "Nutella") or whatever you fancy.

I developed this vegan batter about 10 years ago and somehow it never made it to this blog! I was reminded to post it by an old friend who originally sent me the special pan from California.  I hope you'll give it a try-- if you have children in your life, they will love them!

Note: This vegan batter is thicker than the traditional egg-y aebelskiver batter. I tried thinner batters and they resulted in soggy centers.

Cooking Tip #1: Corn flour is not the same as cornstarch (confusingly, what we call “cornstarch” in North America is referred to as “corn flour” in the UK) — it is very finely-ground yellow cornmeal. You may find it in the Asian or Indian section of large supermarkets, but also look for it in Indian (South Asian) markets and health food stores (Bob's Red Mill brand, widely available in North America, has it).  If you can’t find corn flour, or if you prefer to use organic products, grind the finest yellow cornmeal you can find in a clean coffee/spice mill until it is powdery, or grind yellow cornmeal on the finest setting of your electric grain mill (I had to run it through mine twice).

Cooking Tip #2: To avoid competing tastes and odors, deodorize your coffee or spice mill by grinding several tablespoons of white rice to a powder in your mill and then discarding it. The rice powder will absorb the residue and oils, which contain flavors and odors.

There are several models of aebelskiver pans and they are, surprisingly, not hard to find online!




Printable Copy


BRYANNA’S VEGAN AEBELSKIVERS (DANISH PANCAKE BALLS)
Serves 4

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons plain soy, hemp, coconut milk beverage or homemade nut milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Dry Ingredients:
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoons corn flour (see text above)
1 tablespoon brown rice flour
1/2 tablespoon granulated organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Egg Replacer:
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon golden flaxseeds, ground in a dry electric coffee or spice mill (see Cooking Tip #2 above about deodorizing the mill before grinding)
1 teaspoon Ener-G or Orgran egg replacer powder
Other:
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 tablespoons nondairy milk of choice
Vegan butter or oil for greasing the aebelskiver pan

Mix the soy, hemp or nut milk with the lemon juice to make vegan “buttermilk”, and set aside.

Mix together the Dry Ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk. Set aside.

For the Egg Replacer, mix together the water, ground golden flaxseed, and egg replacer powder with a hand immersion blender or electric egg beater until like a thick, frothy egg white. Add the oil and 2 tablespoons nondairy milk and mix briefly.

Pour the "buttermilk" and the flaxseed mixture, into the dry ingredients and whisk briefly just until no dry flour is visible-- it will be lumpy and quite thick.

Place the aebelskiver pan over medium to medium-low heat. When the pan is hot, brush the depressions (cups) in the pan with melted vegan margarine or spray them generously with oil from a pump sprayer (even if your pan is nonstick!). Fill each cup to slightly below the top with batter.



My pan comes with a small dome lid, which I place on top during the first half of cooking. If your pan did not come with a lid, you can improvise with other lids you have around.

The cooking time will vary with your pan (the size and what it is made of), and your stove, but it may take about 5 minutes per side.

To rotate the aebelskivers: Let one side of the batter cook, covered with the lid, until the bottom is golden brown and crisp, then pierce the crust gently with a bamboo skewer and carefully pull the pancake all the way around so that the golden brown part is on top. Cook, uncovered, until the second half is golden and crisp, then carefully remove the balls from the pan with the skewer and eat hot.

(Photo from Williams-Sonoma)
To make filled aebelskivers, fill each cup of the aebelskiver pan only halfway, using half of the batter. Place one level teaspoon of whatever filling you want into the center of the batter in each cup. Spoon the remaining batter over each cup to cover the jam. (See photo above.) Proceed as directed above.



To serve, sift confectioner’s sugar over the hot aebelskivers (unless they are savory ones). If you did not fill them before baking, split them with the tines of a fork and fill them with jam, applesauce, or sautéed apples.




Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 225.76calories; 25% calories from fat; 6.43g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 315.93mg sodium; 239.44mg potassium; 35.72g carbohydrates; 4.83g fiber; 2.09g sugar; 7.90g protein; MyPoints 5.9 (calculation does not count powdered sugar, jam, etc.)

Enjoy!




Saturday, May 23, 2015

TWO DELECTABLE ASIAN-FUSION FULL-MEAL SALADS,ONE AN OLD FAVORITE & ONE NEW

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This is the time of year that I switch from making soup several times a week to making hearty full-meal salads with whole grains, potatoes, pasta and noodles, or sweet potatoes, with beans or tofu or other vegan protein and lots of vegetables (and sometimes fruit-- fresh or dried-- and nuts).  This ensures that we have something ready-made, nutritious and tasty in the refrigerator at all times for quick meals or snacks.

These recipes are two that we have enjoyed recently-- one an old favorite, and one new, made up to utilize what I had in the freezer and fridge.

NOTE: About Szechuan chili garlic paste in the first recipe-- the best kind contains fermented soybeans, which give added flavor and umami to this condiment. My favorites are Six Fortune Mandarin Jah-Jan Sauce (ingredients: vegetable oil,  bean curd, chili sauce, soybean paste, bamboo shoot and mushroom) or Six Fortune Soybean Paste with Chili Paste (ingredients: Chili, soybean paste,salt, sugar, sesame oil), but there are other brands with similar ingredients.



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 Printable Copy

BRYANNA'S ASIAN-FUSION VEGETABLE-NOODLE SALAD  
Serves 8

This is a very easy, versatile and delicious salad, which I adapted from a recipe in Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" (Broadway Books, NY, 1997) about 15 years ago.  I often make it for potlucks or  family gatherings, and invariably have several requests for the recipe.  I've adapted it even more over the years to use various types of noodles, vegetables and vegan protein.

The noodles:
1 lb. gan mian or ji mian (plain, thin flour and water noodles) or mian xian (extra-thin Amoy-style flour and water noodles), or egg-free chow mein noodles
OR, if you can't find Chinese noodles, spaghettini, vermicelli or cappellini (thin Italian pasta)
1-2 bunches green onions, chopped
1/4 c. toasted sesame seeds (and/or 1/2 cup roasted peanuts)
The vegetables:
1 lb. of lightly cooked vegetables-- any of the following or a mixture:
whole green beans  or asparagus, cut into 2" lengths
broccoli flowerettes, thinly sliced
broccolini, broccolette or gai lan, thinly sliced
snap peas (cut in half if they are large)
Protein:
slivers or cubes of any vegan protein you like, such as:
strips of crispy "B of T"
cubes or strips of vegan "ham" or any type of seitan
reconstituted Soy Curls
any sort of marinated, grilled and/or fried tofu or tempeh (see 2nd salad recipe below for a quick grilled tofu that is also good in this salad)
Dressing:
7 T. soy sauce (can be low-salt)
1/4 c. dark sesame oil
3 1/2 T. brown sugar
3 T. balsamic vinegar (or Chinese black vinegar)
3 T. water
1 T. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. salt (this sounds like alot, but it's a BIG salad)
1 tsp. Szechuan chili garlic paste (preferably the type with fermented soybeans in it-- see text above  recipe for more information)
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water until tender.  Run cold water over them in a colander.  Drain well. Mix the Dressing ingredients together well and pour over the noodles.  Toss well.  Add the green onions, sesame seeds (and/or peanuts), vegetables, Protein of choice and optional red pepper slices, if using.  Toss well.  Store in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.

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Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S BULGUR SALAD WITH GREEN BEANS, MUSHROOMS AND GRILLED TOFU
Serves 4
This is the new salad-- definitely worth repeating. You could substitute other grains for the bulgur, but I love it's earthy flavor, which melds well with the sautéed mushrooms.

Salad:
1 cup medium (#2) bulgur wheat
1 lb. slim green beans, trimmed  and cut in half
10 large mushrooms (I use creminis), sliced
1 cup sliced green onions
Grilled Tofu:
12 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 tablespoons soy sauce (can be low-salt)
1 tablespoon brown sugar or maple syrup
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
Dressing:
1/4 cup plain rice vinegar
2 tablespoons oil of choice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed

Bring the bulgur to a boil with 2 cups of water in a small saucepan.  Turn down to low, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the bulgur is tender and the water all absorbed. Set aside to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

Plunge the green beans into boiling water and cook for 4 minutes.  Immediately drain and plunge into very cold water to stop the cooking.  Set aside to drain in a colander.

Sauté the sliced mushrooms in a bit of oil until cooked to your liking.  Set aside.

Combine the tofu cubes with the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic.  Spread the tofu cubes on a rimmed baking sheet with the marinade ingredients and place about 4 inches below the heat source of your oven's broiler.  Broil for a few minutes, watching carefully, until the cubes start to brown and stir them around to mix with the remaining sauce. Broil a few minutes longer, until browned to your satisfaction. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Whisk or blend together the Dressing ingredients. Fluff the cooked bulgur with a fork and scoop into a large bowl.  Add the drained, cooked green beans, the sautéed mushrooms, tofu cubes and green onions.  Mix well.  Add the Dressing and toss well.  Serve at room temperature.


Enjoy!




Monday, May 11, 2015

CHEDDARY VEGAN ROASTED CORN AND CHIPOTLE CHOWDER

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This was a rather spur-of-the-moment soup, but we really enjoyed it.  I had one Field Roast Chipotle sausage left (we haven't been able to buy them in Canada for a while, so this was the end of my freezer stash) and I felt like making a corn chowder, so I decided to make a spicy one.  Then I thought of adding the jar of homemade Golden Cheesey Sauce to the pot and-- voilà-- a new family favorite has been born!



The Golden Cheesey Sauce is an updated version of the "Golden Sauce" from my very first cookbook, circa 1994.  I've noticed that there are a number of new versions of this potato and carrot-based sauce going around, but it actually originated years ago in Seventh Day Adventist recipe books. I've made it a bit stronger-tasting than my original version.  It's great on steamed veggies, as well as in this soup.


Printable Copy (includes Cheesey Golden Sauce recipe)

BRYANNA'S CHEDDARY ROASTED CORN AND CHIPOTLE CHOWDER
Serves 6

1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup celery, sliced
1 lb yellow potatoes, diced
4 cups vegetarian broth (I like Better Than Bouillon Vegan No-Chicken Broth Paste)
3 cups frozen corn kernels
1 Field Roast Chipotle sausage, thinly-sliced (Or use 1 vegan Italian sausage and add a bit more chipotle chile to the soup.)  
1 recipe Bryanna's Golden Cheesey Sauce (See recipe below. Make this before starting the soup.)
1 canned chile chipotle in adobo sauce, chopped
Optional: a few shakes of liquid smoke
Optional: add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes if you want a stronger flavor.
Garnish: smoked paprika
NOTE: For a *really* creamy soup, blend another 6 oz. of tofu (leftover from the Cheesey Sauce recipe) with  a little of the soup until smooth, and stir it in at the end of cooking. 

Combine the chopped onion, garlic and celery.  Sweat the vegetables in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, adding a little water as needed to keep them moving.  If you prefer, you can use a little olive oil.  When they start to soften, cover the pan and let them steam in their own juices until soft. Alternatively, you can microwave them in a covered microwave-proof casserole or dish for about 5 minutes on High, or until soft.

Spread the corn kernels on an oiled cookie sheet and place under your oven's broiler (about 4 inches from the heat source) and broil them until they start to char a little bit.  Remove from the oven.

Combine the cooked vegetables, potato cubes, and roasted corn kernels in a soup pot along with the broth.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.


Add the sliced sausage, chopped chipotle chile and the Golden Cheesey Sauce, along with any optionals you wish to use (taste first).  Simmer a few minutes longer and serve.

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BRYANNA'S GOLDEN CHEESEY SAUCE (LOWFAT)
Yield: 2 1/2 cups

1/2 cup water (or beer for stronger, more "aged" flavor)
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 medium carrot, peeled and cubed
1/2 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup medium-firm tofu (or use 1/2 box/6 oz. firm or extra-firm silken tofu)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1-2 Tbs tahini (Optional but recommended)
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp salt (OR 1 tablespoon light miso + 1/2 tsp salt)
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp garlic granules
NOTE: For a slightly thinner sauce, cook the vegetables in 3/4 cup liquid.  
Cook the potato, carrot and onion in the water in a covered saucepan until the carrot is tender.

Combine the vegetables and cooking liquid in a blender with the remaining ingredients.


 Blend until very smooth. CAUTION: Uncover the center hole of the blender lid and cover with a folded towel while blending, to prevent hot liquid from exploding!

Use as a vegan cheese sauce on vegetables, etc..

Enjoy!