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Vegan Koulourakia (Easter Cookies)

Over the last month, Facebook has been abuzz with talk of using the liquid from a can of beans (Aqua Faba) to make meringue. (totally works!) Last week, Somer, from Vedged Out, tested the liquid as an egg replacement in baking, and made the best vegan chocolate chip cookies. Her success inspired me to try making koulourakia, an old favourite. I haven’t had them since going vegan, and am so happy with the results.

If you want to try Aqua Faba in your favourite recipe, 3Tbl liquid = 1 egg

If you want to check out all of the amazing things people are doing with Aqua Faba, visit the Vegan Meringues Facebook page.

Vegan Koulourakia

This recipe makes 5.5 dozen (I quartered the original recipe).

Ingredients:

1C Sugar

2tsp baking powder

1/4tsp salt

1/4tsp cinnamon

3C flour (you may need up to a cup more)

Juice of 1/4 orange

1 stick butter (Earth Balance), melted

1/3 shot brandy (Metaxa if you have it)

1/2C + 1Tbl Aqua Faba

Olive Oil

Sesame seeds

Combine sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon. Add butter, orange juice, and brandy, mix well. Add Aqua Faba. Add flour. You want this dough to be dry enough to roll into a snake. If your dough is still sticky after you’ve added 4 cups, put the dough in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.

Roll into snakes, and twist them in half, then twist again. I fit 4×4 cookies on a cookie sheet (average size). Brush with olive oil and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Bake at 350*F for 18 minutes, or until slightly golden.

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Vegan MoFo: Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday! For my first Thankful Thursday, I want to express my gratitude for the food growers of the country. They’re passionate about what they do, they don’t get nearly enough love and they work harder than most of us could ever imagine. Please, go to your farmers market or your local farm, and thank a grower.

I’m completely spoiled. I live just outside California’s Central Valley, so I have the opportunity to eat local and have a relationship with growers in the area. I try to hit the farmer’s markets as often as I can, I try to visit local farms in the area, and, lucky for us, Fresno State has an amazing farm on campus with a fantastic farm store.

During the long, fruitless winter months, I long for summer produce. It doesn’t matter what the calendar says, summer starts when cherries are in season. From there, I look forward to tomatoes and corn (Fresno State grows the best. It’s not organic, but it is GMO-free). Then summer squash and peppers. I know the end of summer is near with the Fay Elberta peach crop. They signal the beginning of peach season, and my favourite time of year. Around the beginning of August, the Fay Elbertas are available. They’re only around for about a week, and they can be hard to find, but, they are the best peaches on the planet. If you can find some, it’s worth the hunt. Once peach season begins, I have about 6 weeks to gorge myself on locally grown peaches. So far this season, I’ve had 6 different varieties (and still, there are more to be had!). I eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert. One of my favourite desserts is pandowdy. Mostly because halfway through baking, I get to smash the crust into the pie.

Endless Pandowdy

Endless Pandowdy

Tonight, instead of the traditional pie-shaped pandowdy, I made a 9×11 massive pandowdy.

Summer Peach Pandowdy (adapted from my peach pie filling recipe)

4 lbs peaches

3Tbl tapioca starch

1/3 C sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

a shake of nutmeg

Your favourite pie crust (I can’t lie, I was too lazy to make my own tonight. I used a frozen one)

Mix filling ingredients and add to pan. Lay your crust over the filling and bake at 425 for about 20 minutes. Pull the pan out of the oven and turn the oven down to 350. Slice the crust into 1 inch diamonds (like baklava!). Take a spoon and smash (gently) the diamonds into the filling.

Return it to the oven and bake at 350 for 28 minutes.

VeganMoFo Day 4 – The fluffiest pancakes

itssofluffy

Seriously, These are the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever made. Every time you feed your sourdough starter, you’re supposed to throw out all of it except 4oz. I hate to waste it, and have found a handful of great looking recipes for the unfed (or throwaway) starter. Pancakes is one of them.

Stack 'em high

Stack ’em high

I used the King Arthur Flour Classic Sourdough Waffles or Pancakes recipe. Their recipe calls for buttermilk. I used Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk + apple cider vinegar to make buttermilk. It also calls for 2 eggs. I left them out and added 2tsp of baking powder (in addition to the baking soda). The recipe makes 28 pancakes, so be prepared to feed at least 7 people. Or just be very hungry.

I topped them with soy-free Earth Balance and homemade boysenberry syrup. Killer.

A mountain of fluffy pancakes

A mountain of fluffy pancakes

My Current Food Obsession

Lately, I’ve been craving salads like crazy (I imagine his has something to do with all the junk food and comfort food I’ve been eating since late summer). So, inspired by a photo I saw on Pinterest, I made a week’s worth of salads in mason jars.

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They’re so easy to make and I love having something to grab on my way out the door in the morning. It makes a great time-saver if you make them ahead of time.

The concept is simple: put your dressing on bottom and top with your salad toppings and then, your greens. When you want to eat it, just dump it into a bowl and enjoy. I have a bowl that folds flat that is perfect for carrying to work (from The Pampered Chef!).

The salads keep for a solid 5 days without getting soggy.

The top jar is (bottom to top):
Salsa, avocado, black beans, and spinach.

The next photo is:
(Front) Orange dressing, mandarin orange slices, sunflower seeds, and spinach.
(Back) spicy tahini dressing, cucumber, radish, sunflower seeds, spinach.

Bottom photo:
Avocado, creamy mustard vinaigrette, cucumber, cranberries, sunflower seeds, spinach.

Vegan MoFo Day 17; Dehydrating

I can’t believe it’s already day 17 of Vegan MoFo! Where has the month gone? I feel terrible about not blogging as much as I have in the past for Vegan MoFo, but, it’s been a busy month, and, honestly, when I signed up, I wasn’t sure I’d get more than a post a week in. 😦

So, this one’s a quickie. Dehydrating is pretty easy, and you can dehydrate anything.

I usually store dehydrated goods in an airtight container in the fridge, if it’s still moist; in the freezer, if I plan on keeping it a while; or in my pantry, if I know I’ll probably be using it quickly, and there isn’t much moisture left in it.

A few dehydrating tips:

1. when foods are still warm from the dehydrator, they’re going to be more flexible than they will when they cool down.

2. try to cut your food into chunks or slices that are about the same size. That way, they’ll all be done at the same time.

3. If you’re dehydrating different foods at the same time, remember, they may not all be finished at the same time. Keep them on separate trays, so, when one is finished, you can easily remove it.

Today, I started my second-favourite dehydrated food – watermelon. It tastes like candy. You should all do it. Just remember, the watermelon will shrink to less than half its original size.

Tomorrow’s post, more peaches! Stay tuned!

Vegan MoFo weekend two; Chopped Challenge

Happy weekend, foodies!

This weekend’s challenge is a “Chopped” challenge. In our baskets this weekend, we have:

Butternut squash, popcorn, fresh rosemary, and apricot preserves

The challenge is a brunch challenge, so we have to make brunch with these four ingredients. I was totally worried at first. I’ve never cooked with popcorn before. And I certainly never would have thought to put these flavours together.

I decided to go with one of my favourite brunch/breakfast/snack items – muffins. I can’t get enough muffins. Especially if they’ve got a crumb topping.

I give you – Apricot Filled Butternut Squash Muffins with Caramel Corn Crumb Topping.

Roast a small squash (you’re only going to need a cup of mashed squash). Once it’s roasted, spoon out the inside and smash it up. Set aside.

For the caramel corn:

3 quarts popcorn (pop 1/3 C kernels in 1T coconut oil)

1/2C coconut oil (measured solid)

1C brown sugar

1/4C dark corn syrup

1/2tsp salt

1tsp vanilla

1/4tsp baking soda

melt coconut oil in sauce pan. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it’s at a boil, let it boil 5 minutes without stirring. Take off heat, add baking soda and vanilla.

Pour over popcorn, mix well. Spread popcorn over a baking pan. Bake at 250* for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the muffins:

1/2C your favourite vegan shortening

1C sugar

1/2C non-dairy milk

1C mashed butternut squash

a 2 inch sprig of rosemary

2C flour

3tsp baking powder

1/2tsp salt

3T apricot preserves

Take leaves off rosemary stems and smash them up really well in a mortar. Add to squash.

Cream the shortening and sugar. Add non-dairy milk. Add squash/rosemary mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to sugar/squash mixture.

Fill greased large muffin pan halfway. Add 1/2 tsp apricot preserves to each muffin. Top with remaining dough.

Bake at 375* for 30 minutes. Top with chopped caramel corn, and bake another 5 minutes to melt the caramel onto the muffins.

Makes 6 giant muffins, or 12 regular sized muffins.

Vegan MoFo Iron Chef Challenge; 1st Weekend: Beetroot!

Okay, so I was going to take a weekend break from Vegan MoFo blogging, as I’m running out the door to go camping. However, when I saw that beets are the secret ingredient, I couldn’t just leave it alone. One of my favourite pickled foods is beets. They’re even better if you pickle them with radishes. They’re great on sandwiches, veggie burgers, salads, and all alone. Make these.

Roasted Pickled Beets and Radishes

You’re gonna need:

6 pint jars
10 beets (about 3lbs)
4 cups radishes
1/3C sugar
1T canning salt
2 3/4 C vinegar
2 1/2 C water

Roast beets in foil for 45 minutes. Let cool, then peel. Once peeled, cut into wedges.
Cut radhishes into wedges.
Prepare your canning equipment.
In a large-ish pot, combine sugar, salt, vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil. Let it boil for about a minute. Add beets and radishes and let it all simmer until heated through. Remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon to tightly pack the beets and radishes into the jars – you’ll want to leave about an inch of headspace. Once packed, pour liquid in jars – you’ll want to leave about a half inch of headspace. After removing air bubbles, add more liquid if necessary. Place lids and rings on jars
Place jars in pot and return to a boil. Process for about 30 minutes. Once finished, let the jars sit in water for about 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a cooling rack and let sit for 24 hours. Refrigerate (and enjoy) any jars that don’t seal.

Vegan Food Swap September!

I completely forgot about my blog post for the Vegan Food Swap last month and I’m two days late.

 

I got an absolutely wonderful box from  Stacy at Stacy’s Adventures in Wonderland. It was apple-themed in honor of Michigan’s orchard season. I love apples!

 

The box included apple chips, a container of apple oatmeal, apple granola, apple spice tea, two apple pie Larabars, and a mint chocolate Endangered Species chocolate bar. I’m in apple-heaven. Thank you, Stacy!

Vegan MoFo 2012; Day 1: Happy Vegan MoFo!

It’s the first day of the Vegan Month of Food! Happy Vegan MoFo!

Still don’t know what VeganMoFo is? It’s a blogger celebration of vegan foods started 6 years ago at The Post Punk Kitchen. Read about it here.

Interested in following VeganMoFo? Check out my posts from the last two years, visit the VeganMoFo blog, pull up #VeganMoFo on Twitter, and, most importantly, subscribe to the VeganMoFo rss feed.

My theme this year is Preserving the Harvest. I know many of you around the country are winding down on their local summer harvests, but, mine still seems to be in full swing. Our pepper plants are a little out of control (There will be pepper jelly!), we still have tomato-heavy plants, and I finally got my first zucchini of the year. While we’ve still got loads of summer food left to preserve, our fall harvest is starting to come in. Our peach tree is so heavy with fruit, a huge branch broke off it. For all those peaches, we only got a few apples on three trees. Luckily, there’s a great local orchard who grows the best apples I’ve ever eaten.

I don’t know if I’ll get a post in daily this year, but, I’m shooting for 3-4 posts per week, with at least one recipe per week.

Is there anything you want to see preserved? Any preservation techniques you want me to write about? Let me know!

 

Vegan Food Swap August

Happy September! I can’t believe the summer has flown by!

Last month, I participated in the Vegan Food Swap again.  For those who didn’t catch my last food swap post, Cat over at The Verdant Life started this great food swap. Every month, she matches people up from all over the US to swap vegan goodies. It’s awesome. To sign up, go here. If you’re in Canada, sign up here.

This month, I got a wonderful box of goodies from Kim.

It contained Raw Masala Chai Super Cookies, Orange Creamsicle Kale Krunch, Krinkle Cut Salt & Pepper Kettle Chips, a Raw Revolution Spirulina Dream bar, Sea’s Gift seaweed snacks, a Double Chocolate Decadence Cookie, an Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint bar, and an adorable handwritten note in a beautiful card.

All the treats were wonderful. The snacks I had never tried before, I loved, and those I’m familiar with are some of my favourites.

Thank you, Kim!

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