Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Two baking posts in a row. Crazy considering I don't bake much. The weather was awful yesterday and I started to get cabin fever and knew doing something in my kitchen would take that feeling away. After surveying my baking cabinet I saw that I had everything to make chocolate chip cookies, and everything is better with nuts, so why not throw those in too. I searched the web for a while looking at different cookie recipes and then figured I would just kind of wing it. I was planning on bringing them to work and letting Matt bring some to his co-workers. The worst that could happen was they wouldn't turn out and I would just have to toss them. It wouldn't be the first time our garbage can was full of inedible baked goods. The dozen muffins and pan of bars that I forgot to add sugar to came to mind but I baked on.
I'm actually very happy with the way they came out. I tend to like crunchy cookies over super soft and these were crunchy but a little soft on the inside. They didn't drop as much as I would have liked so I think I will flatten them down more next time before putting them in the oven.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup Sucanat
1/2 cup Earth Balance melted & cooled
1 tsp vanilla
1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened almond mil
1/2-3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans

-Melt Earth Balance and chill in the fridge until it is no longer warm. It works best if it is at room temperature.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-In one bowl mix together flour, baking soda, & salt. Stir in chips and pecans.
-In another bowl mix the melted EB and sugars together. When thoroughly mixed add the vanilla ans almond milk add stir everything together.
-Pour the wet mix into the dry adding a little more liquid if needed. This will depend on how many chips & pecans you added.
- Spoon onto un-greased cookie sheets and push each cookie down a bit.
-Bake for 9-11 minutes.
*These cookies will crisp up after they come out of the oven so don't cook them too long or they may be too hard/crunchy for your liking
*One trick I learned was to rotate the cookie sheets every 4 minutes. This seems a bit tedious, but makes a huge difference. If your cooking in an older stove or using more than one rack in your oven, your cookies aren't all cooking at the same time.

I hope you like these as much as we did and feel free to be creative. Once you get confident with getting a good cookie/muffin/bar recipe down the hard part is over. These cookies would taste great with any kind of nuts, fancy chocolate chip flavors, peanut butter or some dried fruit. Happy baking!

Monday, January 10, 2011

In and Out of Season Muffins

I havent blogged any of my baked goods, because frankly I really don't like sweets. I do love the decorating part that comes with making cupcakes or a cake, but the eating part doesn't excite me at all. I also tend to enjoy cooking because it's more season as you go, instead of putting something in the oven and biting your nails for 20 minutes until it comes out. I have also had quite a few baking mishaps, which have discouraged me a bit, but haven't entirely kept me away from a set of muffin tins or a piping bag.
I call this blog in and out of season muffins because obviously blueberries aren't in season right now and cranberries are. I want people to keep in mind that frozen berries are not a negative thing to use when baking at all. It's best to add the berries straight out of the freezer instead of letting them thaw, and allow a couple of extra minutes of baking time. I have messed around with muffin recipes for a bit and finally got confident enough to write this one down as to not forget. I may forget to add sugar or baking soda the next time I make them, but that is another story all together.

Blueberry Vanilla Almond Muffins
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup vegan margarine melted
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raw almond pieces (smash one cup in a a bag with a rolling pin)

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
-Line muffin trays
-Place dry ingredients (first 4) in a bowl and mix together
-Combine wet ingredients in a bowl and stir together
-Pour wet mix into dry and mix all ingredients together
-Fold in blueberries & almonds
-Fill muffin tins about 1/2-3/4 full, depending on how large you want them
-Bake for 20-24 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffin

Cranberry Orange Oat Muffins
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup orange juice
1/3 + 2tbs cup vegan margarine melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cranberries
1 cup rolled oats

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
-Line muffin trays
-Place dry ingredients (first 4) in a bowl and mix together
-Combine wet ingredients in a bowl and stir together
-Pour wet mix into dry and mix all ingredients together
-Fold in cranberries & oats
-Fill muffin tins about 1/2-3/4 full, depending on how large you want them
-Bake for 20-24 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffin

Happy brave, experiment, and have fun!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Crockpot Seitan Roast

We got a crockpot for a wedding gift and although I have been using it a lot more this winter, at first I didn't really understand it. I love to cook, so throwing everything in a pot and walking away not only made me nervous, but a little bored when it came to the usual dinner prep/cook time. I had used the crockpot already to cook seitan in a stew with veggies, but I wondered if there was a way to actually make seitan in a slow cooker. After a google search I came across the blog Vegan Planet and realized it had already been done. So I made the roast with the same cooking directions, using my own seitan recipe, and it came out great.

I surrounded the seitan roast with shallots, carrots & red potatoes. I cooked it on low for about 3 hours, then turned it to high for the last hour.

The texture was so perfect on the outside and not at all dried out on the inside. The roast itself didn't have a ton of flavor so I made a brown gravy, seasoning it with worcestershire, soy sauce, a hint of liquid smoke and fresh sage. It brought everything together beautifully. I also roasted asparagus to add a little bit of green to our plate. The seitan not taking on a ton of flavor turned out to be a great thing because I used it for a couple of other dishes that week and it took on completely different flavors magnificently. This may be my new way to make seitan because of it's texture, if I have 4 hours to spare instead of just one.

I know I have talked up Tal Ronnen's book The Conscious Cook before, but seriously every recipe has been out of this world. I made his pine-nut crusted "chicken" and "lobster" Beurre Blanc sauce.

I tend to not be able to follow exact ingredients and/or cooking techniques which is what I did here. Pine nuts are just too expensive so I opted for almonds and used almond milk for the sauce instead of cashew creme. I roasted brussel sprouts and braised kale for our sides.This is a dish I would easily make again and if you don't already have this book, go get it.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

White Bean Chili

This is a chili recipe I have been working on for a while. The fire roasted tomatoes and tomatillo salsa bring everything together nicely. You can add Gardein sliced scallopini or any other chicken substitute you want for added protein.

White Bean Chili
1 bunch green onion diced
1/2 red pepper diced
1/2 green pepper diced
1/2 orange pepper diced
1 jalapeno pepper diced
1 15oz can white beans
1 15oz can fire roasted tomatoes
2/3 cup veggie broth
2/3 cup tomatillo salsa
1 tbs lime juice
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 tbs soy sauce
Salt & Pepper -amount of your choice

-Heat olive oil in a stock pot and saute green onion and garlic with 1 tsp cumin & chili powder until soft.
-Add bell & jalapeno peppers and stir for about 4 minutes, tossing in the soy sauce two minutes after the peppers begin to cook
-Pour in veggie stock, tomatillo salsa, tomatoes, white beans, lime juice and spices. Continue cooking at a low heat for ten minutes.
-Remove from heat and stir in cilantro, reserving a bit for garnish if you like things pretty.

Friday, December 17, 2010

This blog is just an excuse for me to get back into blogging and show off a few of the many things I have made and with laziness not blogged in Decenber. My excuse should be be shopping in lines full of soccer moms, wrapping gifts and baking holiday goodies,and while part of that is true...I have no excuse for being away this long.

I have been really into quinoa lately and turning it into things most people wouldn't think of. This is my version of quinoa spanish rice.. It turned out great and tasted better the second day after it sat in the fridge.

I finally got around to using the crock pot and made a leftover thanksgiving stew with seitan, potatoes, mushroom gravy, carrots, potatoes & kale that slow cooked for 6 hours and made three days worth of food. It's still hard for me to wrap my brain around a crock pot whenm I like the cooking part...but it did make a delicious stew.

Matt requested biscuits and gravy for our day off, that I made with uptons seitan.


The finished breakfast.
More to come I promise.....

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vegan Mofo #21 Italian Beef Sandwich... kind of

This last vegan Mofo blog came from an idea of trying to use up some Gardein beef tips we had lying around. Matt mentioned that we should make an italian beef. I was totally down, but admitted that I had never made an actual Italian beef and I actually confuse that with a French dip sandwich. I said I will make an Italian beef sandwich but just do whatever I want with it and not try to mimic what that sandwich actually is. So I give you my version of a vegan riot's
Italian Beef
1/4 red pepper julienned
1/4 green pepper julienned
8 Gardein Beef tips thawed
2 cloves garlic chopped
3/4 tsp fresh rosemary
1 tbs fresh basil
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs California white cooking wine
2 tsp tomato paste + 3 tsp water

-Saute peppers and onion in the pan until tender
-Add beef tips,dried oregano,onion powder and lemon juice
-Keep stirring until tips get browned on all sides
-When tips are sticking to the pan deglaze with white wine
--Mix tomato paste and water in a small bowl and add that mixture to the pan at the end cooking so that it heats and thickens a bit
-Remove from heat and stir in rosemary & basil
-Assemble sandwich

I served it with one of our favorite sides...beans -n- greens

So comes the very end of November. Vegan Mofo was something I had forgotten even existed and for some reason at the ass end of October I jumped on the ppk to look at food porn and was reminded of this. I thought about doing it, talked to Matt, even posted something on facebook, but even then I really wasn't sure I would follow through. I promise Matt heard me talking about it and probably thought I would be done 3-5 posts in. I may have started one or two things in the past without finishing....a few.
I want to thank everyone for all your blog comments. They motivated me and made me want to keep going. I want to thank my friends who messaged me on facebook saying that they were reading and loving it. The people who texted Matt, the co-workers who would randomly tell me they loved last night's post, the mentions of my blog over beers at the bar. THANK YOU! It's hard to do something like this and keep going if you're not really sure anyone is reading or cares one bit about any of it.
I can't end this without thanking Matt who pushed me to keep doing this, gave me great dinner/blog ideas, helped me edit my far too long sentences and poor spelling, and for making me feel great about myself and about something I was doing.
This isn't the end of this blog, just the end of this month. Vegan Mofo was a blast and you haven't seen the end of me....or Noodles

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vegan MoFo #20 Herbed Seuitan Roulade

Woo Hoo! I did what I said I would, and I still have one day left. I promised myself I would post 20 times in November, and I followed through. I'm not gonna say it didn't take some pushing from Matt on days where I just wanted to relax on the couch after work, and for that I thank him.
This recipe I made for the first time on Thanksgiving two years ago. I have tweaked it quite a bit, and tried different fillings, but I'm pretty positive this is the best version so far. The fresh herbs and kale and mushroom filling I feel were the two things that brought this dish to the level I was hoping for. So below is the recipe and first a step by step photo guide to get you motivated. I also have a step by step to making this without a filling, along with photos in vegan Mofo post #9. So if you are really new to seitan, look there first for pictures to guide you through every single step

Here it is, after mixing the dry and wet mix together and rolling it out flat.

After the filling cools, I lay it on top, leaving a little space around each side, so it sticks together when rolled up.

Wrapped in foil and ready for the oven

Here it is out of the oven. It's best to let it cool a bit before cutting, so the filling sets up.

Dinner time!

Roulade Filling

1/2 - 3/4 bunch of kale de-stemmed and chopped
10 0z baby bellas chopped
1 tbs shallots chopped
5 cloves garlic chopped
1/3 cup veggie broth
1 tbs balsamic vinegar

-Saute garlic and shallots together until translucent
-Add mushrooms and cook until all the liquids are out, then add the balsamic vinegar
-Turn the heat to low, add kale. Stir for about a minute until kale has started to wilt. Then add veggie stock
-Place in a bowl in the fridge & use when it's cooled down

Herbed Seitan

Dry Mix
1 Box Vital Wheat Gluten
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
1 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs. thyme
2 tbs. rosemary
3 tbs sage
3 tbs oregano
2 1/2 tbs basil
1 tsp Pepper

Wet Mix
1 1/2 cups Veggie Broth
1 1/2 tbs Granulated Garlic
2 tbs Tomato Paste
4 Drops Liquid Smoke
1 tbs Soy Sauce
1 tbs Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire

-Preheat oven to 350
-Put dry mix together in a bowl and set aside
-Stir wet mix together until tomato paste isn't clumpy
-Pour wet mix into dry mix
Knead the mix with your hands until its a tough dough
- Roll the seitan out until in between two pieces of wax paper until its flat
-Lay cooled filling on top of gluten
-Roll the gluten up and wrap in foil making sure there aren't any holes
- Cook for one hour and 15 minutes, flipping the loaf every 20 minutes. When you press on it and its no longer soggy but firm, its ready to go

As always thanks for reading. It's a time consuming recipe, but totally worth it in the end. Please don't hesitate if you have any questions/comments. See you mofo's tomorrow for post 21 and the end of vegan mofo.