Tag Archives: vegetarian

I’m back…

4 Jun

So yes, I’ve neglected this blog for about a year and a half now, primarily due to my own cooking inactivity. I live in a much smaller apartment now and have the tiniest kitchen possible, with almost no counter space, no oven, only two electric burners, and a measly dorm-sized half-fridge. Mr. Vegan and I have also been forced to eat much more cheaply, and sadly that usually means ramen or something equally as boring. Vegetables and most other things are just way too expensive in the city, especially out of season – and we had an unusually long winter.

BUT… I’ve resolved to start cooking more often now and to eat more healthily, and so I’m also resolving to go back to writing about it as part of my self-motivation.  So here I am.

Few things:

  1. This might mean having to use a friend’s kitchen from time to time.  I recently became close with someone who has a quite size-able kitchen by young-poor-person-living-in-the-big-city standards, so I’m excited.  And if you’re reading this and I know you personally and you want to offer your kitchen to me in exchange for something delicious, please let me know.
  2. Even despite my limited cooking, my collection of vegan-friendly cookbooks has been somehow still growing.  There is a list in one of the side-bars on this blog, and as always, I will be sure to cite appropriately in my posts.
  3. I also finally have a way to get vegetables more cheaply:  my synagogue is involved in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with a local-ish organic farm, Free Bird Farm, so Mr. Vegan and I paid upfront in the spring for a “share” and will now get a delivery of fresh, organic, seasonal vegetables every week from June through October. It actually works out to much cheaper than buying veggies at the grocery store, and I actually KNOW for a fact that they are organic (I never fully believe any grocery labels).
  4. To clarify, my husband-in-training (I decided to call him Mr. Vegan in this post, maybe I’ll continue that) is vegan and has been for over a decade, and I cook for him.  I wasn’t completely vegan myself when I started this blog, but I have been gradually moving towards that direction; right now I still eat cheese and sometimes yogurt, but never meat, poultry, shellfish, milk, or other dairy products, and almost never eggs or fish.  I’m still working on it.  Either way, when I cook at home, it’s vegan.
  5. An optional part of the above-mentioned CSA, besides the vegetables, was eggs… and Mr. Vegan and I decided to give it a try and order a half-dozen per week.  This is ONLY because we know exactly where they are coming from, and we are certain that they are organic and straight from the farm and that the chickens are truly cage-free and not raised unnaturally or fed antibiotics or hormones.  Normally, the Mr. will not eat eggs any other way, and on the rare occasions that I do I feel guilty afterwards.  And yes, I know there are “cage-free” eggs you can buy at the grocery store, but I don’t believe those labels and I’m pretty sure they don’t actually mean anything (I know someone will probably try to argue with me on this, but I stand firm in my distrust of large food manufacturers and whatever labels they put on their groceries).

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to these eggs as a source of protein and perhaps a way to bake some of the things that it’s impossible or super hard to as strictly vegan.  I may post these egg recipes on here, but will be sure to mark them as not completely vegan.  And if anyone wants to give me reasoned arguments for why eating organic and truly cage-free eggs is still evil then go ahead in the comments, but please, try to be at least as logical and non-judgmental as I have been.

So that’s about it.  Get excited for some awesome recipes coming up.  I know I am.

And the good news is, I still have a dishwasher.

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Coconut Tart with Chocolate Smear

16 Jan

Here is a sweet coconut tart combined with a rich chocolate filling.  This was taken from The Food Matters Cookbook, with substitutions for the egg whites and yolks, and a modification for the unsweetened coconut that the recipe called for because I happened to have sweetened on hand:

  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu
  • 3 separated “eggs” made from Ener-G Egg Replacer or a similar substitution for binding
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped or in the form of chips
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the coconut, sugar, silken tofu, 1 egg substitution, vanilla, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9- or 8-inch tart pan.  Bake until the tart shell is firm and lightly toasted (the recipe stipulates 10-15 minutes but I think it takes longer due to using tofu as opposed to egg, and it took me over 20 minutes).
  4. Meanwhile, combine the chocolate, 2 egg substitutions, and coconut milk in a saucepan over low heat.  Cook, whisking almost constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted and steaming, but not boiling or separating.
  5. When both the tart shell and the chocolate mixture are ready, take the tart out of the oven and spread the chocolate in it.
  6. Chill the tart in the fridge, uncovered, until it becomes firm.
  7. Cut the tart into wedges to serve.

Vegan Baking Substitutions

16 Jan

Here are some substitutions you can make when a baking recipe calls for a non-vegan food item:

Eggs – for leavening, for a light and fluffy finished product (per egg):

  • 1/4 cup silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 mashed ripe banana
  • 3 tablespoons pureed fruit
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoons water

Eggs – for binding, for a dense and thick finished product (per egg):

  • Ener-G Egg Replacer (follow directions on the box)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons water + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch + 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons instant mashed potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder + 2 tablespoons water + 1 tablespoon oil

*For the mixtures, make sure to mix well until blended before adding to the recipe

Eggs – for custards (per egg):

  • 1/4 cup silken tofu
  • For just an egg white:  1 tablespoon plain agar powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon water, whipped, chilled, and whipped again

Milk (use equal amounts):

  • Soy milk – for creaminess
  • Almond milk – for sweetness
  • Coconut milk – for thickness and richness
  • Rice milk – for neutrality
  • Oat milk – for neutrality

*Use unsweetened flavors

Sweetened Condensed Milk (to make 14 oz.):

  • 2-1/2 cups soy milk + 6 tablespoons margarine + 1/2 cup sugar + dash of salt:  heat the soy milk until boiling; melt the margarine in a separate pan over medium heat and then add the sugar; once the sugar begins to melt, add the soy milk and salt; boil gently while stirring for about 5 minutes

Buttermilk (per 1 cup):

  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk + 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar, whisked together until well combined and creamy

Butter (use equal amounts):

  • Margarine (only use full-fat, not light)
  • Vegetable or olive oil, frozen or refrigerated until solid and opaque

[These substitution suggestions were taken from the PETA Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet as well as The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman]

Mediterranean Orzo Pilaf

15 Jan

Here is a recipe for a tasty and quick orzo pilaf that I’ve made a couple times.  I was inspired by a non-vegan recipe I found on the back of a San Giorgio orzo box and made several substitutions and redactions, and I love the flavors of the simple ingredients combined with the toasted orzo.  It makes about 4 servings if served as a side, or 2-3 entree servings.

  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 8 oz. uncooked orzo
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (such as a mix of thyme and oregano)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or chopped fresh tomato
  • 2 tablespoons chopped black olives
  • pepper
  1. Melt the margarine in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the orzo and cook a few minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown.
  3. Stir in the water, bouillon, and seasoning, and heat to boiling.  Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the tomato and olives, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  5. Add pepper to taste and serve warm.

Mocha Chocolate-Chip Muffins

25 Dec

Yesterday I made these delicious and simple mocha chocolate-chip muffins, which come from a recipe that has been posted and re-posted on the internet but apparently originates in Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  I won’t re-do the copy-and-paste job here, you can click one of the aforementioned links for the recipe.  I’m posting my own photos however, and here are my specifications and observations:

  • I made 12 muffins, though I filled the muffin cups a little more than 3/4-full of the batter, so they probably came out a little bigger than intended.
  • I didn’t use cupcake liners, just greased muffin pans.
  • To be clear, I used plain-flavored soy milk and soy yogurt.
  • I used a Dutch gourmet baking cocoa powder, regular instant coffee, and bittersweet chocolate chips — the resulting muffins were very rich and chocolaty, dark in color, and not too sweet.


Cranberry-Coconut Refrigerator Cookies

25 Dec


Here’s a festive, sweet, yummy cookie that I made for the holidays.  The original recipe can be found in Vegan Cooking for Everyone by Leah Leneman; it actually incorporates dried cherries instead of cranberries, but I find dried cranberries to be easier to obtain and perhaps sweeter and more reminiscent of the season.  Feel free to use either, or to experiment with different types of dried fruit.

Makes about a dozen cookies.

  • 1/4 cup (2 oz.) vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (the original recipe calls for whole-wheat flour, but the regular kind keeps the cookies sweeter)
  • Pinch of sea salt or Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  1. Beat the margarine and sugar together in a large bowl until light and a little fluffy.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together.
  3. Add the soy milk to the margarine mixture.  Then add in the flour mixture, then the coconut and cranberries.  Mix well.
  4. Knead the mixture into a dough and form it into a large roll.  Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator to chill for several hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  6. When ready, take the roll out of the refrigerator, remove the wrap, and slice into 1/4-inch thick round cookies.
  7. Place the cookies on an oiled baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes.  Pierce a few of them with a fork or toothpick to test and make sure it comes out clean.

Sweet Potato Latkes

24 Dec

Two nights ago I did a twist on the traditional Chanukah dish and made latkes out of sweet potatoes, following a recipe I found here on Epicurious but substituting the eggs with Ener-G Egg Replacer.  A word of advice:  you may want to use more of the replacer mix than the directions call for, because I found my latkes to not be sticky enough and they were slightly falling apart.

However, they tasted absolutely superb!!  I think the sweet potatoes make even more delicious latkes than regular ones.

Vegan Potato Latkes

22 Dec

It’s Chanukah, so you know what that means:  the delicious potato pancakes known as latkes.  They’re a perfect comfort food for the winter, whether used as an entree or side dish.  Here is a vegan recipe, that makes about 8-10 latkes:

  • 1-1/2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (preferably Kosher or sea salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Canola oil as required
  1. Peel the potatoes, then coarsely grate over medium holes in the grater (strips shouldn’t be too fine).
  2. Place grated potatoes in a colander over the sink, and squeeze out the liquid using your hands.  Then place the potatoes in a large bowl.
  3. Peel and grate the onion.  Place in the bowl with the potatoes.
  4. Add the parsley, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and mix well with a spoon.
  5. Pour an approximately 1/8-inch layer of oil into a large skillet and heat over medium heat.
  6. Form the pancakes by taking a heaping tablespoonful of the batter and flattening it gently.  Place the pancakes a few at a time in the skillet, preventing them from touching, and fry a few minutes on each side until golden brown.  Repeat until you use up all the batter, adding more oil if necessary.
  7. After removing the latkes from the skillet, drain on paper towels.  Serve with applesauce and/or vegan sour cream.

Kosher Dairy-Free Baking Cookbook

22 Dec

I just ordered The Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer, and it looks really good so I thought I’d share it with you.  I’ll post a review after I get it and try some recipes out.  It seems that all of the recipes use no dairy products.  I’m expecting that they still use eggs, but I plan on instead using Ener-G Egg Replacer, 3 tablespoons silken tofu per egg, or a mixture of 2 tablespoons water with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon cornstarch per egg.

Judging by the table of contents, the book includes all kinds of desserts, from cakes to fruit tarts to scones to mousse, as well as challah of course.

If you hurry up within the next 12 hours, you can get it at a discount from JDeal (the Jewish version of Groupon) here.  Otherwise, it’s available on Amazon here (the site includes a “look inside”).

[Note:  Apologies for being away from this blog for so long.  I was preoccupied with some personal stuff, but now I’m back and hoping to make this a regular thing again.]

Banana Pudding Follow-Up

6 Sep

This is a follow-up to my earlier post about the chocolate-banana pudding parfaits.  I made it again yesterday, this time just the banana part.  Here’s a picture, since I didn’t have a good picture of the banana layer last time:

To adjust the ingredients, I used:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 lb silken tofu (1/2 of a standard package)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

After making the sugar syrup (see the previous post), I pureed everything together with a hand-held mixer, then chilled it in the refrigerator.

I wanted to point out I used a soft but not silken tofu last time, so it was much harder to mix and was almost a little chunky.  This time, I used silken tofu, which is smooth and creamy like a yogurt, and cut up the bananas into thin pieces to make the mixing easier.  After I blended everything with my mixer, it came out very smooth.

Also, while chilling in the refrigerator, the top of the pudding browned a little – so make sure you mix it with a spoon before serving so that it retains a more yellow-ish color.

This pudding is absolutely delicious and one of my favorite recipes by far!

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