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from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo

Coconut Breakfast Cakes
2 c whole flax seeds, or 3 c flax seed meal
2 tbsp liquid coconut oil
1/2 c agave or maple syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 c water

Put flax meal, coconut oil, agave, salt, and water in a large bowl and mix well. Form four balls and flatten into a “pancake” shape, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

To serve, top with Cashew Coconut Pudding (recipe follows) and fresh fruit.

Batter will keep for four to five days in the fridge. Makes 4 servings

Cashew Coconut Pudding
2 c cashews
1 1/2 c water
1/4 c pitted dates
1/2 shredded dried coconut or fresh coconut

Blend the cashews and water until smooth. Add the dates and coconut. Blend until smooth.

Will keep for three to four days in the fridge. Makes 4 servings

We recently had some friends visit who are pretty into raw food, so I was more than happy to bust out this cookbook in order to whip up a breakfast treat. I chose these two recipes because not only did I have all of the ingredients on hand, but Cleo has been totes gaga over cashews lately. And pancakes. She doesn’t seem to mind the other ingredients either.
We ended up making these the night before; I say we, because I put my guests to work forming the pancakes. They were huge! (the cakes, not the guests). We ended up making 5, and had plenty. So much actually, that none of us were able to finish our servings. Except for my husband, who has a hollow leg- he ate the biggest pancake, and probably the most pudding, before we even got up. He did have an early morning that he needed fuel for. Not that I’m complaining… The recipe for the pudding made enough for me to bring a bunch to share with my co-workers, several of whom are interested in raw food. I think they were pleasantly surprised (here’s the recipe, as promised, RF!)
I mostly followed the recipe… I might have added just a pinch extra salt (and it might have been divine) to the pancakes, and we chose to go with the maple syrup. Be sure that you measure out the coconut oil after you melt it (if it isn’t already melted in your cupboard…); the measurements are different when solid and liquid. And if your ingredients are cold, like mine were, the oil will solidify again. Mine did, since I keep my flax meal and seeds in the fridge, as well as the maple syrup. I just popped it in the warm oven for a few minutes to warm it up enough to melt it. You don’t want to cook it though! That wouldn’t be fitting of a raw food adventure at all.
This was a breakfast that I was really surprised by. I kind of thought I’d be hungry when I got to work, but I actually stayed full for most of the day. It was actually a little creepy how unhungry I was.

from The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen

Salad
1/4 lb green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 radishes, finely diced
Agave nectar
1/4 English cucumber, finely diced
12 red and yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
Kernels from 2 ears raw sweet corn
1 avocado, diced
1 c baby arugula
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp minced fresh basil
1 tsp minced fresh oregano
Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Blanch the green beans in boiling water for 30 seconds, then chill in an ice bath. In the same boiling water, blanch the radishes for 20 seconds, then chill in an ice bath sweetened with a touch of agave nectar.

Place all of the ingredients except for the Vinaigrette and lemon juice in a large bowl. Drizzle with the Vinaigrette and toss to coat. Sprinkle the lemon juice on top just before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Vinaigrette
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp agave nectar
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the vinegar and agave nectar in a small bowl, then, whisking constantly, slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I love a hearty salad, and this cookbook really delivers when that’s what I call for. The recipe is prefaced with a note- that the salad can get soggy if it sits for a bit; but I did prepare it ahead of time, but waited until I was ready to serve it before I added the arugula, avocado and lemon juice. It traveled well, and our extended family loved it! The sweet corn is such a treat, and it’s so good this time of year, especially if you can get local veggies. I could see how kids would really enjoy this dish, but mine is still at the tender age where she’s skeptical of anything that is combined, mixed, or tossed. She might love each ingredient, but won’t trust me when I tell her she’ll LOVE this. Oh well, more for us.
I didn’t have white wine vinegar, so I used apple cider vinegar. Perfect! Other than that, I stuck to the recipe. I’ll have to make this salad at least once more before the corn disappears from the farm we like to go to.
Here’s Cleo helping to harvest some oregano. Hopefully her thumb is greener than mine:

Oh my. Would you look at all that vegan sushi?

We had a party a little while back. I have always wanted to learn to make sushi, and found a friend who was willing to teach me, and a few friends who were willing to eat my homework.

We started with a big pot of cooked brown rice (because it’s healthier than brown rice, of course, and gave it a really hearty flavor), as well as some tofu strips fried in a little bit of canola oil:

My teacher brought a fabulous selection of roasted veggies. Those eggplants were the best!

We also had radish sprouts and avocado, as well as some roasted broccoli and sauteed portabella mushrooms to roll with. I would have taken pictures of the rolling procedure so as to teach you too, but after making my first roll, I was absolutely smitten. I loved the challenge of making neat and tidy little concoctions. I love how well contained the sushi roll is. I felt I had a gift for it, and wouldn’t stop to give anybody else a turn. Luckily we had two little rolling stations set up, so others were able to make a few rolls beside me.

Here are a few of my favorites (basically anything with a radish sprout or avocado gets that title): Broccoli with red pepper, tofu, and radish sprouts. WIN!

One of our guests made miso soup! She thought she might have gone overboard with the nori, but I don’t think so. Seaweed is really good for you! And look at those little baby mushrooms.

This was one of the best nights of my life. Learning something new (that I felt I was actually pretty good at right off the bat), eating A TON of food made from scratch that’s really good for you, and making something beautiful; all things I really enjoy. And, with people that I love! It was a pretty small party, but there were no leftovers. That’s just how we roll. AH-HAHAHA!

You might remember that I’ve got an ongoing organization project going on in my house. One thing that had really been getting to me was my flour collection. It was contained in a smaller cupboard (we have no pantry, sigh), and was basically a pile of flours that look like this, but much bigger:

It’s not that I have a flour hoarding problem, (ok, maybe I do, but it’s nothing like my toiletry issue!), but I need a variety of them because I’m always making goodies to share with my sister, who can’t tolerate gluten. I would reach for fava/garbanzo flour and find that the bag has been punctured. I’d pull out my spelt flour and find that the clip had popped off in the shuffle, and now it was stale. Ugh! Finally, we inherited a mid-century buffet, and were granted some more space. I have a little pantry! Time to act. I went out to the local home and garden store, Down to Earth, where I buy adorable little dishes, and found some canning jars. I bought a pack of 12, and they gave me a bulk discount! I also bought some labels, so that I wouldn’t get my flours mixed up. I dumped each flour into a jar, which was a bit messy, and discovered that Cleo has a taste for buckwheat flour. By itself. Anyway, here are my labeled jars:

This project was really easy, but it made such a huge difference in how I approach baking. No longer do I have to gingerly sift through a pile of bags, hoping that I won’t make a huge mess when I rip it accidentally, and now it’s so much easier to see what I have on hand before I head out to the market. Before tucking them into the buffet, I lined them up on the windowsill for a pretty moment, and relished in their neatness.

Finally! Order has come to my flour collection. What a relief.

from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed and halved
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 400F.

Lay the Brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet; douse with the olive oil. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, add the chopped garlic, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, using tongs and toss to coat. Return to oven, roast for 5 more minutes. Before you remove the Brussels sprouts from the pan, rub them into the garlic, and, when you serve them, sprinkle them with whatever toasted garlic remains in the pan. Serves 6

This was one of THREE recipes I tried from this cookbook in one weekend. It was so simple, and so divine. That last step- the sprinkling of the toasted garlic? Genius. After the weekend of amazing eats that Isa provided the road map for, I just had to order her new cookbook, Appetite for Reduction. I have all of her other cookbooks, so I thought I didn’t need another one. BUT I DO. Because this woman is responsible for so many of our good meals, a few pounds I’ve gained. And maybe this book will help take a few off. But I doubt it, because I can’t control myself around good food.
If you don’t have any of her cookbooks, I’m telling you, you’re missing out. She’s never failed me. EVER.

from The 4 Ingredient Vegan by Maribeth Abrams with Anne Dinshah

1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 c vegan mayonnaise
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 1/2 tsp sweet or dill pickle relish
salt and ground black pepper

Put the chickpeas in a food processor. Pulse 6 times, or until the chickpeas are coarsely chopped. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, celery, and relish. Stir until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or transfer to a storage container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 3 servings.

You might remember the saga of the stove, and how it died. Well, for a while we were restricted to microwaved, rice-cooker-cooked, or raw foods. Or takeout. Here’s a recipe that I found for one of the NINE dinners we didn’t have a stove/oven to use…
It’s a little creepy how closely this resembles a tuna salad sandwich. Who would’ve thought? I used a potato masher to smoosh the beans up (who wants to pull out the food processor for beans? You could also use a fork…) That caused our two cats came running over, circling me just like they used to in the height of our tuna eating days. The only way this sandwich differs from the fishy original is the lack of stringiness that the tuna brought, and the need to use a TON of mayo to cover up the fishy taste and dry texture. And not only to beans have protein, they have fiber! This recipe was so amazingly tasty and easy that I am making it again this week!

 

from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Omelet:
2 garlic cloves
1 pound silken or soft tofu, lightly drained
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fine black sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 c chickpea flour
1 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch

Filling:
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch broccolini, chopped
2 tbsp capers
shredded vegan cheese (go for Daiya mozzarella style shreds!)

Chop up the garlic, if using, in a food processor. Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, olive oil, turmeric, and salt. Puree until smooth. Add the chickpea flour and arrowroot and puree again for about 10 seconds, until combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides so that everything is well incorporated.

Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Well-seasoned cast iron works great, or use a regular nonstick skillet. Lightly grease the pan with either cooking spray or a very thin layer of oil. Also, make sure that you use a large skillet, as you need room to spread out the omelet and to get your spatula under there to flip. Don’t use an 8-inch omelet pan or anything like that…

In 1/2-cup increments, pour the omelet batter into the skillet. Use the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula to spread the batter out into about 6-inch circles. Be gentle- if there are any rips or holes, that is fine, just gently fill them in as you spread the batter.

Let the batter cook for about 3 to 5 minutes before flipping. The top of the omelet should dry and become a matte yellow when it’s ready to be flipped. If you try and it seems like it might fall apart, give it a little more time. When the omelet is ready to be flipped, the underside should be flecked light to dark brown. Flip the omelet and cook for about a minute on the other side. Keep warm on a plate covered with tinfoil as you make the remaining omelets.

To make the filling, preheat a large pan over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the olive oil. Add the broccolini and saute for about 7 minutes. Add the capers and saute until just heated through. Divide among the omelets, top with the “cheese,” and fold the omelet over. Sprinkle with a little extra sea salt. Makes 4 omelets.

I must say, I was a bit skeptical trying out this recipe. I’m not a HUGE fan of the tofu scramble, and have mostly limited my special brunch makings to the sweeter side of things since going vegan. But, in an effort to be adventurous (and because I have been craving brunch for dinner for months now, but am too grown up to eat a sugary dinner, wow), here we go.
First off, there were challenges. You’ll notice that my fabulous Daiya shreds are not melted. Not a fault of the “cheese,” but of my stove. I finished cooking the filling and had two of the omelets kickin’ it under their foil blanket, when ZZZZT, stove dies. Dead! We have to move this production to the electric griddle, mid-omelet. Did I mention that the oven died too? Yeah. So, while waiting for the griddle to heat up, the filling is cooling off. It’s ok though, because I found that in the future, I’d totally use the griddle anyway- though I did end up using more oil than recommended because I had trouble flipping that first omelet (making the first and third of the four NOT PRETTY AT ALL). They were still yummy though! And so was the filling. Capers? Oh my, yes. The recipe originally called for broccoli rabe, which apparently is a bit more on the bitter side. I’ve never had it, and my store didn’t have it either. The broccolini was tasty though, and offered a nice crunch.
And about the black sea salt- apparently it has a slightly sulfuric taste that reminds one of an egg yolk. Moskowitz recommends skipping it if you aren’t in to the taste of eggs. I’d try it (heck I’ll try any salt), but the reddish salt I had was tasty too. She offers all sorts of filling ideas, which I’m so excited to try, now that I’ve crossed over into the savory brunch dark side.

from The 4 Ingredient Vegan by Maribeth Abrams with Anne Dinshah

Barbecue Tempeh
1 package (8 ounces) tempeh, cut in half
1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 to 2 c barbecue sauce

Fill a medium saucepan about halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down slightly to maintain a simmer. Add the tempeh, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Drain. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook and stir for about 7 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned. Cut the tempeh into 1-inch cubes and add it to the vegetables. Cook and stir for about 7 minutes, or until the tempeh starts to brown, adding up to 1/2 tablespoon more oil if it starts to stick.

Stir in 1 cup of  the barbecue sauce and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, adding more barbecue sauce, 1/4 cup at a time, if the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

New-Fashioned Greens and Black-Eyed Peas
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 large bunch collard greens, trimmed and coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)
2 cans (15 ounces each) black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/4 c vegan worcestershire sauce
salt and ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add the collard greens and cook and stir for about 5 minutes, or until bright green and slightly tender. Add the black-eyed peas and worcestershire sauce and mix well. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the greens are tender to your liking. Season generously with salt and pepper before serving. Makes 3 servings.

I must admit, I kind of thought that being limited to four ingredients per recipe would make the recipes easier, and they do, just a bit, as far as prep work is concerned. I also thought that it might compromise the yumminess of the dishes. NOT SO. This was one of those meals where a sadness set in as I started to feel full. The texture of the tempeh was really good. I’ve never boiled it before! I think I might try it next time I make curry- it softened it up a lot, and seemed to make it more friendly toward the sauce. I used Annie’s BBQ sauce, and their worcestershire sauce is a staple in our fridge. Served atop a toasted mini-baguette, this was a heavenly sandwich.
Now, about those Greens and Black-Eyed Peas… they could become a regular in our house, but I’d always miss the BBQ tempeh partner in crime. I’ve never made collard greens because I was always afraid that I’d overcook them, but this recipe came out perfectly. The instructions have you seeking out a boil, and there’s not much in the way of liquid to boil, so just clear some greens and peas out of the way to see that shallow liquid in there, and you’re good.
Basically, of the two recipes I’ve tried from this book, we have two winners. So far, so good!

from Gluten-Free Goddess

You’ll find the recipe here!

And with this recipe, we wrap up my Holiday 2010 Baking Marathon. I didn’t make a single savory item- not from scratch anyway. It was all about sugar and flour and fruit this year for Wootie. After making this pumpkin cake (like 6 times) from The Gluten-Free Goddess, I thought I would try out another of her recipes for Christmas dinner with my family. You might recall that my sister has trouble with gluten and soy, so again I turned to the source of what has become one of my favorites. This cake was really good, but it was almost too reminiscent of the pumpkin bundt- I think due to the buckwheat flour. Still a really tasty, moist and satisfying cake! Spicy and weighty, with little fruity chunks of heaven. I’ve never used cranberries in the kitchen, so there’s another item to cross off my list of things to try. I have some leftover, so we’ll see what else I can come up with. Any suggestions?
One of my favorite things about this cake is how pretty it is. The colors are so festive, and the way that sugar glistens on top is quite fetching, if I do say so myself. Topped with some Coconut Bliss, and things became REALLY FETCHING. It was a really nice way to wind down our busy Christmas day.

from Apron Strings

You’ll find the recipe here!

I’ve had this recipe printed out and lurking next to my grocery list for the longest time. But then the holidays got in the way, and then I wasn’t in the mood for cauliflower… but finally, the time came. It was a super cold day, and I felt a bit like I was coming down with a cold. Thankfully I didn’t- perhaps because of this soup? I busted out my big soup pot, as this was a recipe to be doubled. Again, so glad that I did! What a hearty bowl of soup to cozy up to. Mike had seconds, but one bowl was super filling for me. Perhaps it was the rice? I used a brown and wild rice mix, which was super yummy- adding some texture to this smooth soup. The funny thing about this soup is that it isn’t overly sweet potato flavored, nor is it cauliflowery. I’d say it’s mostly a savory curry veggie flavor, very mellow. I might even guess that there were garbanzo beans in it, if we were playing such a game. It’s pretty thick- I ended up needing extra broth to cover the veggies before I could simmer them, but that was easy enough. And Daiya cheese? Heaven. I didn’t have enough of the mozzarella style, so I did a mix of both mozzarella and cheddar style. Ungh. So glad there’s still some in the fridge; I know what we’re having for dinner tonight. Thanks for the great recipe, Lana!