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from The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook by Cathe Olson

1 c chopped dried apricots
1 1/2 c boiling water
1/4 c maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or agave nectar
1/4 c oil
1 c apricot soak water
1/4 c orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c wheat germ
1 c walnuts, chopped

Place apricots in heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over apricots and let sit about 15 minutes. Drain apricots, reserving 1 cup of the soak water.

Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a loaf pan. Beat together sweetener, oil, apricot soak water, orange juice, and vanilla. In separate bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Stir in wheat germ. Stir in liquid ingredients until just mixed. Gently fold in apricots and nuts. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until tester inserted in center of loaf comes out dry. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. For added flavor and moistness, wrap loaf and let sit overnight. Makes 1 loaf

Here’s one for the health nut in you. The sugar addict in you might have some trouble with it though, as might the fat addict. This is a really good breakfast bread. Topped with coconut oil (a THICK layer, mind you), it’s a cozy way to get your day going, alongside a cup of coffee. I do recommend wrapping it though; it needs all the added moistness it can get. The chewiness of the apricot along with the soft crunch of the walnut is what I enjoyed most about this dense bread. The orange juice gives it a little touch of sweetness, though I’d definitely be disappointed if you served me this for dessert. Unless it had a big scoop of Coconut Bliss on top of it.

from Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann

1 c walnuts
1 c cooked brown rice
1 c canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 c oat bran (isn’t always gluten-free, read your labels of course!)
1/2 tsp sage (I used 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped)
1/2 tsp marjoram (again with the fresh)
1/4 tsp thyme (1/4 tbsp fresh)
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
1/4 c tomato sauce
7 medium bell peppers , tops lopped off, ribs and seeds removed

Preheat oven to 350F.

Using a food processor fitted with the S blade, process the walnuts into very small bits. Scrape the walnuts into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Add the brown rice and chickpeas to the bowl of the food processor and process until the mixture forms a coarse mash. Add this mash to the mixing bowl along with the oat bran, sage, marjoram, thyme, onion powder, soy sauce, mustard, peanut butter, and tomato sauce. Using your hands, knead the mixture well until it is thoroughly mixed and holds its shape… Stuff this mixture into the peppers, and replace the tops if you desire. Place them on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes.

You’ll have to excuse me, I made some changes here. First off, the original recipe is for wellingtons, to be made with puff pastry instead of bell peppers. I don’t do puff pastry (too tasty, too dangerous), so I was happy to see that the author included a variation that her sister-in-law came up with. Second, the bell peppers that I picked up at the farmers market were HUGE. So I used 4 of them. Also, I realized that I had no tomato sauce once I had the mix all kneaded up. So I smashed a tomato with a little garlic and a splash of olive oil. Ugh. Maybe that’s why I didn’t find this to be my favorite recipe to date? The filling to pepper ratio was too much, and made for a lot of the same texture throughout the entire pepper. The tomato sauce situation was a sin, I know. I have no excuse- I was hungry and I panicked.
I must say though, that the filling itself was really good. The mustard-peanut butter-onion powder combo is simply brilliant. It was savory and dense- total comfort food. I will definitely make these again, but only with the sauce, and I might knead some red onion in at the end to give it a little more texture. And as far as traveling well and making for a good leftover for a hearty lunch? Indeed.
Still, my apologies. I’ll try not to cook when I’m THIS hungry.


from The Gluten-Free Vegan by Susan O’Brien

4 c washed and chopped baby spinach
1 c Maple Candied Nuts (another recipe from the cookbook, but I used some from Shutterbean– recipe to follow)
1/4 c finely chopped red onion
1/2 c seeded and chopped red bell pepper
2 large pears, cored and chopped (about 2 cups)
Vinaigrette of your choice (I used Balsamic)

Place all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with your preferred dressing. Chill and serve. Serves 4.

The Gluten-Free cookbook author wrote that she loves to make this salad so that she can eat the walnuts. As soon as I read that, my mouth watered as the memory of some spicy walnuts that arrived in a fabulous Christmas package from my BFF last winter came to me. I don’t think my husband even knew that they were in our house. Surely he didn’t know how many I had- I might have given him a sample and acted like I was going halvesies with him, but really I’d already eaten 90% of the bag. (Sorry Mike, I hope that the fact that I made this batch and will certainly make more will make up for that. Sheepish grin…) They’re really, really easy to make, and when I brought them over to my mom’s house the day before we were to eat the salad, they asked me to hide the container so that there would still be some left for the salad! I know what I’ll be stuffing stockings with this year… Just look at these little gems! Spicy and sweet perfection.

Spicy Maple Glazed Walnuts from Shutterbean

(Recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine)

1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 c (about 7 ounces) walnuts

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, black pepper, cayenne, ginger and cinnamon; set aside. Pour the maple syrup into a large bowl and set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, toast the walnuts over medium-high heat, stirring or shaking the pan constantly, until they are hot, about 5 minutes. Immediately add the nuts to the maple syrup and toss to coat. Stir in the spice mixture until the nuts are evenly coated. Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Let cool completely before serving, about 20 minutes. Makes 2 cups.

from Shutterbean, originally from The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method by Jim Lahey

3 c bread flour
1/2 c raisins
1 1/4 tsp table salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c walnuts
1 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp instant or active dry yeast
pinch of fresh ground pepper
wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour for dusting (I just used extra flour)

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, raisins, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, yeast, and pepper, mixing thoroughly. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. If it’s not really sticky to the touch, mix in another tablespoon or two of water. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third, and place the covered 4 1/2 – to 5 1/2 -quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue baking until bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more (It took me and Shutterbean about 15). Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

I love bread, and I love baking (like you couldn’t tell), but for some reason I’m really intimidated by recipes that call for yeast. What if I don’t get the water temperature right? What if it doesn’t rise? What if I hurt the bread when I’m kneading it? Well, this recipe was such a super intro to breadmaking for me, and it is SO TASTY. I would consider doubling the walnuts next time I make this (and that will be soon, you can count on it), as I’m a total nut fiend. Biting into the bread for the first time was lovely indeed, but when I came to a bite with a walnut, I finally understood the raves that Shutterbean gave it. Such a delightful chew-crunch!
I also must thank Shutterbean for her advice on rising. I was so afraid that our house wasn’t warm enough for the dough action we needed, and I was also concerned about the cats getting into it. She suggested that I heat my oven to 200 degrees F and turn it off. Once it’s cooled a bit, you can put the bowl in there to rise. Perfect! This solved both of my problems. It worked like a charm for both rises.
I started the dough at 9pm, and had the bread out of the oven by 1pm the following day… and promptly gave half of the loaf to my mother in-law, as I knew from that first bite that this bread was trouble! Note to self: do not make this bread before your husband has to work late at night. You will regret it.

from Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm

1/2 c pine nuts, dry toasted (I used walnuts. I fear the pine nut!)
1/3 c sun-dried tomatoes, oil packed
1 roasted red pepper (jarred peppers work fine)
1 zucchini
1 tsp (or a little more) olive oil
1/2 to 1 tsp Italian herbs, dried, of your choice
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 French baguette (I used 2 ciabatta rolls, rubbed with a garlic clove before toasting)
1 c baby spinach

Place the (pine) nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. Toss occasionally; more often when nuts turn shiny. When browned on both sides, remove from the pan immediately. Be careful not to burn these- you don’t want to leave the kitchen while toasting!

Place (pine) nuts and tomatoes in a food processor and blend until smooth (or however close to smooth you feel like getting). It can be chunky, too. The oil in the tomatoes is usually enough to make a nice spread consistency, but if you’re using dry sun-dried tomatoes, add a drizzle of olive oil. Set aside.

If you’re roasting the pepper, start that now. Jarred roasted peppers (water packed) work great too.

Chop the zucchini into rectangles 1/4-inch thick. Heat 1 teaspoon or so of the olive oil in a saute pan, just enough to coat the bottom. Turn the heat up to very high and wait a minute or two for the pan to get very hot.

Place about 1/2 teaspoon of herbs on the bottom of the pan; they should sizzle. Add the zucchini rectangles in one layer, pressing down on them with a spatula. You want to cook them very quickly, browning them on both sides before they get too soft. Sprinkle with salt and pepper while in the pan and remove once each piece has some color on both sides.

To assemble the sandwich,  toast or grill the bread. Spread each side generously with the (pine) nut and tomato mixture. Lay the zucchini down, followed by the roasted red pepper. (You can keep the pepper whole or slice it into strips.) Add baby spinach, press sandwich together, and serve or wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Makes 2 large baguette sandwiches.

Lauren, you’ve done it again. Managed to sneak your way into my rotation! These are the kings of vegan sandwiches. The key to any good sandwich is having a spread barrier between the bread and the innards to keep the bread from getting soggy while you head out to your picnic destination. We didn’t have far to go- just to the couch to enjoy some Project Runway, so the zucchini was still warm, and… wow. I could have eaten two of these, even though they were ginormous.
I’m still afraid of the pine nut. I don’t know if that will ever go away… so I used walnuts instead. The spread was definitely tasty, but I don’t think the walnuts added much flavor. I tell you what though, I wouldn’t skip that garlic rub prior to toasting- that was a nice touch, I must say. I did use the jarred peppers, and I wouldn’t recommend slicing them. As it was, they weren’t terribly eager to stay on the sandwich. And I had enough to do two layers of zucchini, so I put the peppers and spinach in between those two. This would be super tasty with eggplant as well, but of course I’d think that about my favorite veggie. I think we might have to invest in a picnic basket for when the weather gets nice…

from The Gluten-Free Vegan by Susan O’Brien

2 tbsp olive or coconut oil (I used coconut, and it really added a traditional curry flavor!)
2 c chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia
4 c (1 head or about 1 1/2 pounds) coarsely chopped organic cauliflower florets
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 c cored and diced apple
1 c chopped walnuts
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 (32 oz) carton organic vegetable stock, or homemade (4 cups)
2 c water, or 1 c water and 1 c white wine
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 c chopped fresh cilantro
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a 3- to 4-quart stockpot over medium-high heat and add the onions and cauliflower. Saute until the onion is soft and cauliflower is crisp-tender. Add the garlic, apples, walnuts, curry powder, and turmeric, and continue to cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, water (and wine, if using), agave nectar, and cilantro. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are fork tender. Add the salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Serves 4.

This soup is perfect for a rainy spring day! It was quick and easy to make. I halved the recipe because I was short on walnuts, and then served it with rice. It was kind of a zingy little soup, mixed with some sweet, thanks to the agave, apple, and coconut oil. The author says that a soup like this would normally be blended, but I’m glad it wasn’t. It has such a great texture. And a crunch in soup, I kinda like it. I did not add the cilantro, because it’s my enemy. Feel free to add it if you like, but I feel it was just fine without it. Next time I’ll definitely make a full recipe, so that we can have leftovers that allow time for those super flavors to mingle overnight!

from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo

1/2 head read leaf or romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 bunch dinosaur kale (aka Lacinato kale), ribs removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
2 c red cabbage, chopped
1 c walnuts
1/2 c cherries, dried or fresh
Orange-Cucumber Dressing:
1 small cucumber, about 5 inches long, diced
1 medium orange, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c cashews
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic (I might have used 2… they weren’t huge!)
Juice of one lemon, about 2 tbsp
1 tsp sea salt

Place lettuce, kale, cabbage, and walnuts in a large salad bowl.

To make the dressing, place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

To serve, toss salad with Orange-Cucumber Dressing. Top with cherries for color.

Tossed salad will keep for one day in the fridge. Salad mix will keep for two days, and dressing will keep for three to four days when stored separately. Makes 4 servings.

Dang! This was even better than I expected it to be. It was like a fresh variation on the Caesar salad… with cherries and walnuts in place of the croutons. I was a bit worried that the kale would be too green tasting in here, but Mike said he didn’t really notice it when I asked him about it later. I think it mostly added texture… which made this salad so great. The dressing is heavenly; the cashews make it nice and creamy. I wonder if we would have tasted more cucumber had I resisted my garlic addiction? Perhaps next time I will have the strength. I can’t wait to make this for my family.

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