Bread Pudding

3 Sep

This recipe comes from a great cookbook called Vegan Cooking for Everyone by Leah Leneman.  It’s a tasty, warming, and filling dessert that’s a little sweet too.

  • Vegan margarine as required
  • 5-6 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1/2 cup raisins (I omitted these but I’ll give it a try next time)
  • 1/6 – 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons soy flour (I used whole wheat flour instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2-1/2 cups soy milk
  • Grated nutmeg as required
  1. Spread margarine on the bread slices and cut them into strips.
  2. Layer the bread slices with the raisins and sugar in an ovenproof dish.
  3. Place the water, flour, and baking powder in a bowl and beat together with a fork.
  4. Heat the soy milk in a saucepan, and remove from the heat before it boils.  Beat the flour mixture into the heated milk.
  5. Pour the milk and flour mixture over the bread and sprinkle with grated nutmeg.  Leave to soak for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Bake the bread pudding at 350 degrees for about half an hour.  Or, cover with wax paper and microwave for 12 minutes.  (I baked it in the oven, I just don’t believe food tastes as well when microwaved.)

Chocolate-Banana Pudding Parfaits

2 Sep

This is a great vegan recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.  It’s a layered pudding of chocolate and banana flavors and I find it absolutely delicious, and I’m personally particularly fond of the banana part.  Feel free to make just the chocolate part or just the banana (just double the quantities of ingredients), or both.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lb silken tofu
For chocolate layer:
  • 4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For banana layer:
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.  Cool for at least 10 minutes.
  2. To make the chocolate layer:  Put half the sugar syrup, half the tofu, all of the chocolate, and all of the vanilla in a food processor or blender (I don’t have either so I placed them in a bowl and used a mixer).  Puree until completely smooth.
  3. To make the banana layer:  Puree the remaining sugar syrup, the remaining tofu, the bananas, and the salt together until completely smooth.
  4. Place the chocolate and banana puddings in separate bowls, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours.
  5. Before serving, stir each pudding until smooth.  Layer alternate spoonfuls of the puddings in tall glasses or champagne flutes.

Easy-make Foods

2 Sep

Here are some ideas for vegan foods that you can very easily make from store-bought mixes:

  • Falafel.  Serve with hummus.
  • Matzo ball soup.  Use an egg replacer instead of the eggs the instructions call for.
  • Various rice, pilaf, and couscous dishes.  I like the brand Near East.
  • Barley or kasha.
  • Potato pancakes.  Try Streit’s or Manischewitz.

Other Recipe Blogs I Like

30 Aug
Here are some other food/recipe blogs that I’ve found insightful, all featuring at least some vegan dishes:

Fried Potato Pierogi with Onions

29 Aug

Who says vegans can’t have hearty, fried comfort food?  And trust me, you haven’t had pierogi until you’ve had them home-made!  (Please note:  “pierogi” is the plural in Polish, not “pierogis”; the singular would be “pierog.”)

Eastern European cooking often does wonders with just a few simple ingredients, and this is the perfect example, creating fulfilling and delicious flavor out of just potatoes, onions, canola oil, and salt and pepper.  The project of making pierogi can be time-consuming and messy, but it’s worth it and can be a fun way to spend a stormy weekend afternoon.

I adapted this recipe from one that was published in Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and reprinted here on epicurious (for some reason epicurious doesn’t have the entire thing but I was able to find the missing page in Google books).  My boyfriend and I aren’t big on sauerkraut so I only made the potato filling, adjusting some of the ingredient quantities, and I used a different method to form and close the pierogi.  The original recipe incorporates a lot of unnecessary commentary that crowds up and complicates the directions, so I’ve simplified it.  Also, this particular author seems to be strongly against frying, but I believe pierogi are best when lightly fried after cooking, so I provide directions for that as well.

I used a 4 1/2-inch wide dessert dish as a cookie cutter because this was about the size of my Polish grandma’s home-made pierogi when I was growing up, but you may be used to smaller sizes.  The dough was enough for 13 sizable pierogi and I had quite a bit of leftover filling (which is delicious enough to eat on its own).

The entire process including prep and cooking took me over 3 hours.  Depending on your own preferences, kitchen space, and ability to multitask, you may work on the onions and filling in any order or simultaneously with each other or with the dough, as there are long cooking times.


For the caramelized onions:

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 lbs sweet onions, diced
For the potato filling:
  • 3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the dough:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus extra for dusting
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
For serving:
  • Applesauce
To make the caramelized onions:
  1. Pre-heat a heavy-bottomed skillet.  Add the oil and onions (I also added 1 tablespoon margarine), toss the onions to coat.
  2. Cover, leaving a small gap for steam to escape, and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.  Stir every few minutes.  Onions should turn an amber color but shouldn’t burn, though a few dark spots are ok.
  3. Remove the cover and turn up the heat to a medium setting.  Cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring often, until the onions turn a darker amber color but do not burn.  (I reduced the heat to more of a medium-low halfway through to prevent burning and kept stirring almost constantly.)
  4. Remove from heat but cover the onions again to keep them warm until serving.
To make the potato filling:
  1. Place the cut-up potatoes in a large pot and pour in enough water to cover them.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, cook the potatoes for 20 more minutes, until soft and easily pierced with a fork.  Drain when done.
  3. Put the oil and onion in a large pan and sautee over medium heat for 7 minutes.  Turn off the heat.
  4. Add the cooked potatoes, salt, and pepper to the pan with the onion and oil.  Mash the potatoes until fluffy, stirring them into the oil and the other ingredients.
To make the dough:
  1. Pour the water and oil into a large bowl.  Add the salt and 2 cups of the flour, setting the 3rd cup aside.
  2. Stir with a fork until the ingredients begin to combine, then knead with your hands until a dough forms.
  3. Sprinkle your counter or rolling surface with flour and turn out the dough.  Knead the dough for about 10 minutes while adding the reserved cup of flour a little bit at a time, until it is smooth and elastic but no longer sticking to your fingers.  You may not need the entire cup of extra flour, or you may need a little more (I didn’t use the entire cup).
  4. Roll out the dough, dusting the counter and rolling pin with flour, until very thin but not see-through, about 1/16 of an inch thick.  Depending on your counter space, you may need to divide up the dough and do this in batches.  (In my tiny Manhattan-sized kitchen, I actually did this on a large plate in several small batches, with a Nalgene bottle as a rolling pin.)
  5. Use a glass or a cookie cutter that’s between 3 and 4 1/2 inches in diameter to cut circles out of the dough.  Transfer the circles onto a plate or plates; try to not stack them, but if they must overlap, make sure to dust them with flour so that they don’t stick together.  Combine the excess dough you cut off, roll it out, and try to get more circles out of it.
To combine and cook the pierogi:
  1. Take each dough circle and put about a tablespoon (adjust depending on the size of the circle) of the filling in the center.  Fold the dough in half, and roll and pinch the edges together to seal them.  Feel free to experiment with your own method for sealing up the pierogi, but they should basically look like a tiny calzone.  (The original recipe called for wetting the edges with water, but I found this to make the dough too sticky and thin.)
  2. Pour about 3 quarts (12 cups) of water into a pot and add a teaspoon or so of salt (I forgot the salt and I think that’s why my pierogi were sticking together after I boiled them).  Bring to a rapid boil.
  3. Lower the pierogi into the boiling water one at a time with a slotted spoon, but only cook a few at a time together so that they don’t stick together.  Cook each for about 4 minutes, at which point they should start to float.  Remove one by one with a slotted spoon.
  4. Pour a thin layer of canola oil into a skillet.  Fry each pierog on medium heat until golden, a few minutes on each side.
  5. Serve the pierogi warm, together with the caramelized onions and with applesauce.

Summer Fruit and Vegetables

28 Aug

It’s always best to use locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables.  Produce that hasn’t been transported long distances is healthier and likely cheaper; moreover, you’re helping your local community as well as the planet.  Here are some fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are seasonal in the summer:

  • Apricots
  • Basil
  • Bell Peppers
  • Blackberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Mango
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

Polish Apple Soup

28 Aug

This recipe comes from The Best Soups in the World by Clifford A. Wright.  It’s supposed to be served chilled, but I also like it warm.  I substituted tofu for the sour cream that the recipe originally calls for, and I added cinnamon.  Silken tofu works best, although when I couldn’t find it in my local cheap Asian market, I used regular tofu that I pureed with a mixer.

It makes about 4-6 servings.  If you want to eat it warm, it’ll be fairly quick; otherwise it’ll take a few hours to chill.

  • 1-1/4 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and chopped or diced small
  • 4 cups water
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon, plus 4 thin slices of the other half
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups silken tofu (or pureed firm tofu)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons raisins or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Cinnamon to taste
  1. Place the apples in a pot with the water, lemon juice, and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then continue boiling until the apples are softened, about 12 minutes.
  2. Stir together the tofu and flour.  Add to the apples, stir, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Stir in the lemon slices, raisins, and sugar.  Turn off the heat, and season with cinnamon to taste.
  4. Either serve warm, or let cool and then chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours to serve cold.

Sauteed Parsnips and Carrots with Honey and Rosemary

28 Aug

Here is another delicious recipe that was originally published in Bon Appetit magazine and is now also on epicurious.  I’m actually not a fan of parsnips so I’ve only made the carrots, and they go really well with the sweetness of the honey.  I sometimes use baby carrots instead of cutting up large ones.

Roasted Potatoes with Herbs

28 Aug

Bon Appetit magazine published this amazing recipe last January for roasted potatoes with herbs, also found on the epicurious site.  It’s absolutely one of my and my boyfriend’s favorite potato recipes.

Note:  I usually use regular Idaho potatoes that I cut into quarters or smaller, and my baking time seems to be closer to about an hour.

Ma-Po Tofu

28 Aug

I adapted this recipe from one I found in one of my favorite books, The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman.  The recipe normally also adds pork, which I’ve omitted for obvious reasons, and cilantro for garnish which I decided not to add because I think the other ingredients make it flavorful enough.  I also use dried ground ginger instead of fresh minced, because you just need to buy one spice bottle of it that lasts a long time, and I chose to use red pepper flakes instead of chile flakes for a little less spice.  I’m generally not a fan of anything overly spicy, but as my boyfriend says, this one is “one of the most flavorful” dishes I make.

It makes about 4 servings and is very quick to make.  I recommend serving it with brown rice or pilaf.

  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil (enough to cover the surface of your skillet)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups peeled, chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • One 1-lb. package firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt
  • Cilantro (optional)
  1. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When it’s hot, add the garlic and cook less than a minute, until it begins to sizzle.
  2. Add the tomatoes, dried ginger, red pepper flakes, and scallions.  Add the tofu.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu begins to brown and absorbs some of the taste of the other ingredients.
  3. Stir in the soy sauce.  Season with salt to taste and more red pepper flakes and/or cilantro if you like.  Serve warm.
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