Friday, January 31, 2014

Turmeric-Chili Cornmeal Muffins

yellow is a food group.
Turmeric-Chili Cornmeal Muffins
the realest of deals.

Turmeric is hot right now but not in that obnoxious paleo diet, food-trendy, "kale is the new everything" way. It's every inch the real deal. Let's tick off the positives, shall we? It is insanely good for you, a key component in an endless variety of awesome foodstuffs and as a bonus, it's PRETTY, like really, intensely, fully-saturated color-bomb pretty.  And as we all know, pretty food is the very best food. Long story short, turmeric deserves every bit of the praise that's being showered upon it (there's totally a dirty joke in there somewhere...). I've been on the turmeric train for years, but for some completely inexplicable reason, it did not occur to me until this very
moment to add it to baked goods.
This has been what one might refer to as a "eureka moment."
Turmeric-chili cornbread muffins are...EVERYTHING.
Like a heretofore undiscovered level of everything.
Get on it, kids.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mini Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

tiny cake for the win.
Mini (Raw Vegan) Chocolate Cheesecake.
because tiny cake always wins.
I could, if properly motivated, carefully craft some sort of elaborate origin story
 for this cake, but it would be a filthy lie. 
The truth is simple. 
I wanted raw cheesecake, the ingredients were on hand and...cake happened. 
More specifically raw vegan chocolate cheesecake with coconut walnut crust. 
Now go make some, 'cause its pretty dope. 

(shortest. blog post. EVER.)

Mini Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake
(makes one 4 1/2" cake)

you will need a mini springform pan
something comparably sized. 
1/2c raw cashews
1/2c raw walnuts +
water for soaking
3Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2Tbsp raw agave syrup
(can also use maple or brown rice syrup, not raw)
1/2tsp sea salt
2Tbsp softened raw coconut oil
1Tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2tsp vanilla extract

Saturday, January 25, 2014

vegan cashew mac & cheese

the greatest love affairs are cheese-based.
Vegan Cashew Mac & Cheese

the sparkle is back.

One of my clearest food memories from early childhood is that of a baked macaroni and cheese casserole. My family did not eat such things, a fact which I regarded with resentment at the time but have grown to appreciate over the years. But there are perks to visiting relatives and sometimes those perks are cheese-covered. One sunny Florida day, my father's cousin took something from her oven the likes of which I had never seen. Surely my memories have been exaggerated over time, but this bubbly, cheesy, bread crumb-topped thing...I remember how it smelled and can picture it now,  majestically glowing like so many gold bricks. WHAT WAS MACARONI AND CHEESE CASSEROLE AND WHY HAD I NEVER EATEN IT BEFORE??? That was the moment our love affair began, macaroni and cheese and I.  In all of the intervening years, we have stayed true to each other. We even survived VEGANISM together; our bond is stronger than oak. Because of this unwavering devotion I have eaten A LOT of mac and cheese over the years,
some of it very very good and a good amount of it very very bad. 
I wouldn't say our relationship was in trouble (mac and cheese and I) but, as with any long term commitment, the sparkle might have faded, just a teensy bit.
So, I've been doing some (cashew-based) tinkering and what can I say? 
This stuff...YOU GUYS. 
This stuff is like a little bit of magic. Or a whole lot of magic. 
A whole lot of cashew-y cheesy-y magic. Without the cheese. 
The sparkle is back. 

(cashew) cheesy goodness.

Vegan Cashew 
Mac & Cheese
(serves 4... or 1 if you're me)

1 (heaping) cup raw cashews
+ water for soaking
1Tbsp tomato paste
1/4c water
2Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon, juiced
1tsp sea salt
1/2tsp turmeric
1/4tsp black pepper

1lb pasta of your choosing.
I prefer rice (for gluten free) or 
whole wheat elbows.

1/2c unseasoned breadcrumbs 
1-2tsp olive oil
scallions/ crushed red pepper for garnish

Soak raw cashews in cool water for 1 hour.
Drain soaked cashews and place them in a food processor or blender.
Add nutritional yeast, tomato paste, salt, turmeric, pepper
and pulse a few times to combine.
Add lemon juice and water.
Blend until completely smooth.

Prepare pasta according to instructions.
Drain and combine with cashew cheese.
Add water, a tablespoon at a time, if sauce seems too thick.
Serve as is, with garnishes of your choosing
Spread prepared mac and cheese into a greased loaf pan.
Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and extra olive oil.
Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.
Garnish and serve.
we've got a lot of good years left in us, mac and cheese and i.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

turmeric-spiked potato, leek and carrot soup

harvest fantasies and a heart of gold.
Potato, Leek and Carrot Soup.
body warming/ soul warming.

I've been listening to a lot of Neil Young lately, and eating a lot of soup.
I'm not saying that the two are necessarily intertwined, but...
When the world is frozen and dark, Harvest is one of those albums that transports me.  Suddenly I'm outside on a warm night, a beer in hand, bare toes curled into dewey grass.  It seems counterintuitive, but the right kind of soup can have a similar effect. Sometimes the things that grow in winter can seem a little... sparse.  All the same old roots and scraggly greens.  But rounded up together in a bright, soup-y showcase, they can make summer and all of it's abundant growing things 
feel a little bit less out of reach.  

Music and soup to warm the (tired winter) soul.

Potato-Leek and 
Carrot Soup
(serves 4)

2 medium leeks
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
4 large carrots,
peeled and diced
about 1lb of fingerling, or other similarly waxy potatoes, scrubbed and diced
2Tbsp olive oil
2tsp sea salt
1tsp ground black pepper
2tsp turmeric
1Tbsp fresh lemon juice
6c unsalted vegetable stock or water

extra salt/pepper for seasoning

Friday, January 10, 2014

Vegan No-Bake Toasted Coconut Macaroons.

because we're all little cookie monsters at heart.
No-Bake Toasted Coconut Macaroons.
pretty little balls of unbaked goodness.
I could live without candy. Don't get me wrong, I love it and will eagerly shove all manner of vegan confections into my face hole when the opportunity presents itself. But if I HAD to, I could live without it. Cookies, on the other hand, not so much.
Life without cookies wouldn't be worth living. 
Cookies bring the happy,
and if we've learned just one thing from watching Sesame Street it's that
MORE cookies = MORE happy.

soon to be cookie-d. yes i made cookie a verb.

So, clearly we should all be eating more cookie-centric meals. 
And thus I've been giving the concept of  breakfast cookies
some serious thought this winter. 
I've always been a firm believer in the "if a cookie has nuts you can eat it for breakfast" rule, but chocolate chip cookies with walnuts?
Probably not the best way to start your day, at least not EVERY day. 
But these cookies...these cookies are day starters. 
Full-on good for you day-starters.

Plus, as a nice little bonus, you don't even have to bake 'em.
With an optional, but recommended, dark chocolate drizzle.
Because there's not a damn thing wrong with a little bit
of dark chocolate for breakfast. 

Recipe notes:
I use a large flake coconut for the cookies, as opposed to a finely shredded one. 
I have tried both and found that the large flake holds up better to the food processor and gives the cookies a much better texture.

cookie-d is a verb. cookie-d is also a state of mind.
No-Bake Toasted Coconut Macaroons.
(makes 12 small cookies)

1 1/2c large flake unsweetened coconut
1/3c melted coconut oil 
5 medium pitted medjool dates
2tbsp raw hemp seeds
1/2tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4tsp finely ground sea salt

for optional chocolate drizzle:
2tbsp dark chocolate chips
1/2tsp coconut oil

toast your coconut:
Heat a frying pan over medium heat..
Add coconut, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.
This will only take a minute or two.
Keep an eye on the coconut and do not stop stirring, as it can easily burn.
Remove from heat when lightly browned and allow to cool.

make cookie "dough":
Add dates and 1/3 of the toasted coconut to bowl of a food processor and pulse 
until dates have broken down, about 30 seconds. 
Add the remainder of the toasted coconut, melted coconut oil, vanilla and sea salt.
Process for about 1 minute until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
Transfer mixture to mixing bowl, add hemp seeds and stir well to incorporate.

form cookies:
Using a tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop up enough mixture to fill the spoon.
Press to pack tightly.
Pop cookies out of spoon and onto a parchment-covered cookie sheet.

for optional chocolate drizzle:
Melt chocolate chips and extra coconut oil in microwave or over a double boiler.
Using the tines of a fork, drizzle chocolate over each cookie.

Chill finished cookies in the freezer for at least an hour.

om nom nom nom nom.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Vegan Chickpea Omelette

breakfast stuffs delivery system initiate.
Vegan Chickpea "Omelette"

Two pretty perfect (if I do say so myself) chickpea omelets, fully loaded
with tempeh, sautéed kale and avocado.
 I haven't missed/ don't miss eggs. I baked my first batch of vegan cookies at the ripe old age of 14, followed shortly thereafter by my first vegan cake, and never looked back. But every now and again, while watching breakfast companions devour eggy omelets, I feel little pangs of jealousy. Not over the eggs themselves, but because *DAMN* the omelette is an optimal breakfast stuffs delivery system.
You can put anything in there, and a lot of anythings at that.
Breakfast burritos and breakfast bowls are all well and good,
but omelets bring the fully-loaded fancy.
And we should all be bringing more of the fancy in 2014.
So I've spent a few snowed-in days tinkering with ingredients
and came up with this non-eggy solution.
A variation on a traditional socca, or chickpea crepe,
tailor-made for all your breakfast needs.
Fancy pants.
Days this cold are best spent indoors, over a hot stove, avoiding frostbite.
Snow falling, omelets cooking.
Ingredient gathering.