Monday, June 30, 2014

Forty-Clove Chickpea and Broccoli

What to do with all these chickpeas! I just spent all morning simmering them and getting them to the perfect creamy consistency. Hummus is in my near future. And I think some freezer bags might also be in my near future.

From “Appetite for Reduction” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz here is my take on her Forty-Clove Chickpea and Broccoli.  I couldn’t believe how delicious this recipe is – it looks very plain and really too ‘vegan’ (if you know what I mean.) But it is an absolute winner! We have eaten it twice this week. The broth is scrumptious and perfect for spooning over rice. The broccoli melts in your mouth and has nice crispy brown spots. Did you know that broccoli is packed with tons of nutrients - more vitamin C than an orange! Yes. And it even has protein!

Your mother was right, “Eat your broccoli!” (I don’t think my mother ever said that.)

Here’s what you need: (my changes are reflected here)
2 bunches of fresh, raw broccoli
12 cloves garlic, smashed and peel removed
1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 t olive oil
Salt, pepper to taste
Lemon zest from one lemon
1 ½ t dried oregano
Pam vegetable oil spray
2 C vegetable broth
Fresh lemon juice

Here’s what you do:
Wash and cut the broccoli into large pieces. Smash the garlic cloves with the side of a large knife until the paper is loose and the clove is, well, smashed. Remove the paper skins. Chop the cloves roughly – you do not want small bits. Place the broccoli, garlic and chickpeas in a 9x13 baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over all and stir a bit. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, lemon zest and oregano. Spray with oil and stir some more.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring at the half-way point. After 30 minutes, add the vegetable broth and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Squeeze with fresh lemon juice before serving. It’s perfect over white rice!

And for those of you who want a chicken version of this recipe click here for my Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Baked Falafel

I’m embarrassed to say this, but I have never made falafel before in my entire life….. and come to think of it, I have only eaten it once. Strange, because I am from Detroit, where Middle Eastern food is in abundance. My first falafel wrap was eaten at a food stand last summer and I have literally been thinking about it ever since. My second falafel wrap was eaten in my very own kitchen. Of course, the first one was deep fried and dripping with a creamy sauce. The second was baked and served with a bounty of fresh veggies.

Actually, I don’t know why I write that this embarrasses me; what *really* embarrasses me is that some people have never even heard of falafel. If this is you – it’s time to widen your eating experiences!

I served these on warm flour tortillas, slathered with hummus on one side and sour cream on the other. Chopped cukes, sweet tomatoes, buttery lettuce and a squeeze of lemon over all. Really simple and really good.

Zillions of thanks and all recognition for this excellent recipe go to Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of “Appetite for Reduction” – my current favorite cookbook.

Here’s what you need:
1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
2 cloves garlic, peeled
½ small white onion, chopped (about 3 T)
½ C fresh parsley leaves
2 t olive oil
2 t hot sauce
3-4 T chick pea flour (or regular flour)
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
½ t paprika
½ t baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you do:
Pulse the chickpeas, parsley and garlic in food processor till crumbly. Add the onion, oil, and hot sauce. Blend until relatively smooth, scraping down sides when necessary.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and add 3 of the 4 tablespoons of chickpea flour, the cumin, coriander, paprika, baking powder salt and pepper. Mix with hands until well blended. The mixture should be “mushy but firm enough to shape into balls.” If it doesn’t seem firm enough, add the remaining 1 T flour.

Shape into large walnut size balls, flatten and place on greased baking sheet. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 16-18 minutes. The bottoms should be brown. Remove from oven, spray with oil and flip over. Bake another 8-10 minutes more.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Berries and Cream Cheesecake – vegan and awesome

Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup. Wendell Berry

I was extremely nervous to serve this at a recent dessert party. I don't know if I was more worried about the sloppy appearance or about how much I diverted from the original recipe. Silly me! Every bite was gone and folks raved. Seriously, they raved. 

The original recipe comes from an old magazine and calls for blueberries and full heavy cream and of course dairy cream cheese. See how perfect the professionals can make their cake and their photo look? I made this years ago for a Boy Scout banquet and I remember people raving then also. (Look closely and  you can see I gave it two 5 star ratings.) 

So if you have time to kill and want to bring a most impressive dessert to a party then look no further.

Here’s what you need:
2 T sugar
Zest from one lemon
2 T fresh lemon juice
¾ C black berry preserves
¾ C fresh blackberries, plus more for garnish
¾ C fresh strawberries, plus more for garnish
8 ounces room temperature non-dairy cream cheese (Tofutti brand)
¼ C powdered sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 can full fat coconut milk stored in the fridge at least 24 hours
¼ C powdered sugar
½ t pure vanilla extract
24 ounces pound cake, sliced 1/3 inch thick

Coconut cream straight from the can - Chilled 24 hours
Here’s what you do:
Make the coconut whipped cream: Make sure the coconut milk has been chilled thoroughly in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Turn the can upside down and open – this will allow all the liquid to easily pour out. Scrape the thick part out and place in a small bowl which has also been chilled for 15 minutes in the fridge. Whip with hand mixer or stand mixer until light and fluffy. (I have read that if you use a brand without guar gum, it will fluff up better. Look in an Asian market.) Don’t be afraid to let it whip up for a good long time. Add ¼ C powdered sugar and ½ t vanilla and whip again. Delicious!

Whip until light and fluffy. 

Make the lemon glaze: In a small pot bring 1/3 C water to a boil. Add the 2 T sugar and the lemon zest. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Allow to cool.

Make the berry syrup:  In a medium pot combine ¼ C water, the preserves and the berries and cook over medium heat until thick – about 15 minutes. Stir often. Remove from heat and strain out any seeds. Allow to cool.

Prepare all the necessary ingredients before beginning to assemble. Note: the berry syrup is chilling in an ice bath. 

Make the coconut cream cheese: Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, mix the cream cheese, ¼ C powdered sugar and 1 t vanilla until light, smooth and fluffy. Carefully fold in the prepared coconut whipped cream.

My store bought cake was  pre-sliced, which created layers that were too thick. 

Assemble the cake:   Arrange one layer of pound cake in the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan, cutting to fit as needed. Brush with lemon glaze. Spread half of the berry mixture over the cake. Spoon half of the coconut cream cheese mixture over the berries. Repeat this layering process one more time, ending with cream cheese. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Remove from spring form and decorate with remaining berries.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Triple Lemon Cupcakes –vegan and awesome

I have been in a baking groove lately and that’s a good thing. House smells warm and cozy. Plates are piled high with beauty.

I just made 4 loaves of bread for a brunch at my school -2 Banana Breads and 2 Honey Pecan Loaves. I also made a throw-back Pineapple Upside Down Cake and a Berries and Cream Cheesecake for a dessert party. When my parents were over last month I made a Double Chocolate Adonis Cake and these gorgeous Triple Lemon Cupcakes.

The big reveal about all this baking?? It was ALL vegan – not an egg or stick of butter in sight. Good for my heart. Good for the planet. And especially good for the critters. (Also good for my neighbors and friends who shared in all the baked goodness.)

These Triple Lemon Cupcakes were featured on the cover of a recent FoodNetwork Magazine and I made some simple changes – for the better, I contend. There are quite a few steps and you need lots of lemons! So read the recipe through a few times before you decide how many lemons you need and what order you want to tackle this recipe. My suggestion is to make the candied lemon peel first. This recipe makes way more than you need for 1 dozen cupcakes, so be prepared to make more cupcakes or use the candied lemon peel in another dessert. (Lemon Cheesecake, anyone? Click here.) The candied lemon zest keeps well stored in sugar in an air tight container.

(Ener-G Egg Replacer is a combo of potato starch and tapioca flour and can be found in health food stores or in Asian markets. It gives plenty of body to baked goods and actually produces a better flavor – much less rich and bulky than eggs – plus NO cholesterol. Try it! I am SO GLAD I switched over and got eggs out of my baked goods.)

Here’s what you need:
For the cupcake:
1 ¼ C all-purpose flour
¼ C sliced almonds
¾ t baking powder
¼ t baking soda
¼ t salt
2 Ener-G Egg Replacer ‘eggs’ (3 t Ener-G powder and 4 T warm water. Whisk well and set aside to thicken)
¾ C sugar
½ C nondairy milk (I used almond)
1 ½ t lemon juice
½ C vegetable oil
1 T finely grated lemon zest
2 T fresh lemon juice

For the frosting:
2-3 C powdered sugar
¼ C Earth Balance non-dairy butter, room temperature
¼ C fresh lemon juice
Zest from one lemon
Tiny, tiny bit of yellow food coloring (1/2 drop or less! Use a toothpick to add it)

For the candied lemon peel:
4 lemons
¾ C sugar
¾ C water

Here’s what you do:
Make the candied zest: remove the lemon peel carefully, avoiding the white pithy part with a vegetable peeler. Slice into very thin strands. Place in small sauce pan, cover with water, bring to a simmer, drain. Repeat this process two more times. You will be amazed at how much bitterness washes away from the zest.

Bring the sugar and water to a simmer in another pan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon zest and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes – watching carefully. Drain the zest and arrange in clumps on parchment paper. Allow to dry and pull the strands apart. Store zest buried in white sugar.

Make the cupcakes: Place the flour and almonds in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to combine.

Add the 1 ½ t lemon juice to the almond milk to create sour milk (a great buttermilk swap).  Allow to sit for a few minutes. Pour the prepared Ener-G eggs into a large bowl. Add the sugar, the sour milk, the oil, the zest and the lemon juice. Mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently mix until just incorporated. Fill prepared cupcake tins about ¾ full. I think you should spray the paper cups to insure that the cupcake comes out nicely. Bake 350 for about 16-18 minutes – checking at the 12 minute mark. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the puffiest part of the cupcake comes out cleanly. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: Place the soft butter in a large bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer for this). Mix the butter until fluffy – about a minute. Slowly add 1 C powdered sugar, incorporating well and scraping down the sides. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, food coloring (just a tiny, tiny bit!  You don’t want your frosting to look like egg yolks!) Slowly add the remaining sugar until you have a perfect spreading consistency.

Frost the cupcakes and decorate with the candied lemon zest. Beautiful! 

(printable recipe)

More ways to use lemons:
Lemony Wild Rice

Lemon Almond Pesto

Apple Lemon Bread

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Roasted Curry Cauliflower

Roasted Curry Cauliflower was a perfect side dish to my Easter Sunday Citrus Roasted Tofu, which also has a hint of curry. (click here for that recipe) Use regular curry if you must, but don’t shy away from a hot curry.

Basically, cut cauliflower into large pieces, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle curry over all. Massage together with clean hands and bake on a foil lined baking sheet in a 400 degree oven until soft and toasty. I turned the veg over so it didn't get too brown on one side. 

Finish the dish with a big squeeze of lemon juice and some coarse sea salt. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Asparagus Gruyere Tart

Is there anything as lovely as a morning in June? Tomatoes are planted. Basil is tall and leafy. The grass is green and growing like crazy. Baby ducks swim around with their mamas leading the way. Kids come home for the weekend for cookouts and bonfires. Asparagus abounds.

This simple tart can be made with puff pastry or filo dough. You can use Gruyere (which is the all-time best cheese) or you can use cheddar. You might even use some type of vegan cheese. Look carefully at all the variations in these photos.

This beautiful and versatile tart is excellent served with a green leafy salad or even as an appetizer when cut in small squares. I first made this after seeing it on a Martha Stewart site, but have since modified it many times.

Here’s what you need:
1 puff pastry – thawed in fridge (OR 6 sheets of filo dough)
5 ounces grated cheese (Gruyere or Cheddar or Vegan or whatever suits your fancy)
1 ½ pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
Olive oil for drizzling
Coarse salt for sprinkling

Here’s what you do:
On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 10 x 16 rectangle. Trim if necessary. Place on a baking sheet which has been lined with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, lightly score a 1 inch border all the way around the dough. Prick the middle part of the dough with a fork so it does not puff up too much. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

(If you choose to use filo dough instead of the puff pastry, carefully lay one layer of dough on an oiled baking sheet. Brush more olive oil over the filo and carefully lay another sheet on top. Continue until you have about 6 sheets layered with olive oil in between each layer.  Prebake for about 5 minutes. Continue with the rest of the directions.)

Remove from the oven. Sprinkle the cheese in the middle of the pastry. Arrange the asparagus over the cheese in a pleasing way. Bake for another 20-25 minutes.

Sprinkle with coarse grain sea salt before serving.