Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chloe’s Vegan Desserts

Chloe Coscarelli has done it again – made being vegan so easy and delicious! As the winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars and the author of Chloe’s Kitchen, Chloe has proven herself when it comes to vegan cooking, but Chloe’s Vegan Desserts is an absolute treat (pun intended). It is filled with delicious recipes that are packed with flavor. Everything from Tiramisu Pancakes to Raspberry Coffee Cake, and from Chocolate Doughnuts to Pumpkin Pie has been made vegan and simple. There are options for making recipes gluten and soy-free, but you never have to sacrifice on taste with these goodies. Chloe is realistic about baking – while everyone loves a treat, not everyone has the time to spend hours in the kitchen. With these recipes, it is easy to make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls and Apple Cider Doughnut Holes, and a delicious Chocolate Babka. You honestly cannot go wrong with this book – it is packed with flavors that you will crave year round, and Chloe’s approachable style which makes vegan baking so much fun!

Vegan Buffalo Style “Chicken” Salad

I have to admit – this is not my original idea, but after seeing the traditional recipe with real dairy and chicken in Eating Well magazine, I knew that I had to try to veganize it. The final result was great – it is perfect for a light dinner, or an easy lunch. There won’t be much left over, though, because this is so good. My husband is already looking forward to having this again. Also, I used Heidi Ho Veganics brand feta (it is neutral enough that it tastes a bit like feta, and a bit like blue cheese, so it was a great choice – if you can’t find it, you can substitute it with any specialty crumbly vegan cheese).
Vegan Buffalo Style “Chicken” Salad Dressing: 1/4 cup vegan blue cheese or feta, plus more for topping salad 6 Tablespoons almond milk 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast Salad: 1 package vegetarian chicken strips, cut 1/2″ thick 2 Tablespoons flour 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 Tablespoon olive oil 2 Tablespoons hot sauce 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce 2 cups diced carrots, diced 3 stalks celery, diced 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced Salt to taste 1. Blend all of the dressing ingredients in a small glass bowl. Stir, slightly mashing the vegan cheese, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. 2. Put the flour and ground pepper in a freezer bag. Place the chicken strips into the freezer bag and toss to coat. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until golden and just beginning to form a crispy crust, about 5 minutes. Pour hot sauce and vinegar into the pan and continue to cook just until coated, about 1 minute. 3. In a salad bowl, toss together lettuce, carrots, celery, cucumber and bell pepper. Drizzle dressing over salad and top with “chicken” and additional blue cheese, and salt if desired.

Sugar Baby

For kitchen creatives and sugar fans, Sugar Baby is a dream come true. With great imagination and ingenuity, Gesine Bullock-Prado has a fun book that is truly unique. The recipes in Sugar Baby are unlike traditional dessert recipes in most cookbooks because they focus on delicious sweets that are cooked at least in part on the stove top. These aren’t really candies and aren’t truly baked goods, but the recipes are delicious with goodies like a Dresdener Stollen, Pumpkin Eclairs, and Pannetone, this book is packed with great flavors. Using a pot and a candy thermometer and lots of enthusiasm, it is possible to make all sorts of fun desserts ranging from Rock Candy to Torrone, and Lemon Curd to G’s Gelee Shots. Bullock-Prado makes dessert fun – and all of these treats are beautifully photographed so that readers have a clear sense of vision as they begin the recipes. Additionally, Sugar Baby features lots of details about cooking with a thermometer and using unique flavors and has inspiring stories with each of the recipes which are arranged based on the desirable temperature for sugar. Sugar Baby is a fun, creative cookbook, not for the faint of heart. While the recipes may take some time, they are unique and don’t require crazy ingredients. This is definitely worth a look!

Sweet Tahini Dressing

Although salad dressings should be so simple, they say so much about a salad. I love vinaigrettes, but occasionally I want something a little creamier. The following recipe is what I came up with when I was craving just that, but wanted a healthy dressing for a Greek-style salad. It was perfect.
Sweet Tahini Dressing Juice of 2 large (or 4 small) lemons 3 Tablespoons tahini paste 1 Tablespoon dried parsley 1 Tablespoon honey 1 teaspoon white miso paste 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 Tablespoon water (plus more to get dressing to desire thickness) 1. In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together until combined. Refrigerate until needed.

Creamy Indian Lentil Soup

Because my husband isn’t a huge fan of soup, I knew I had to dress up a traditional Indian-style lentil soup if I wanted him to enjoy a super healthy dinner. After experimenting this was the winner – and it is vegan and gluten-free. We both loved it and enjoyed the mild spice of this hearty soup. You can definitely add some heat to this by using traditional Indian spices, but this version is great for everyone.
Creamy Indian Lentil Soup 2 Tablespoons olive oil 2 finely diced onions 2 cups chopped carrots 2 teaspoons garam masala spice mix 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon cumin 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 Tablespoons minced garlic 4 cups vegetable broth 2 cups water 3 cups cauliflower florets (about 1/2 head cauliflower) 1 1/2 cups red lentils 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes 2 cups finely chiffonaded dinosaur kale (the flat kale leaves) 1. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots, and cook until onions are translucent and carrots are tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. 2. Add garam masala, turmeric, cumin, pepper, salt, and garlic to onions and carrots and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, water, cauliflower, lentils and tomaotes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 35 to 45 minutes. 3. With an immersion blender, blend until cauliflower is mostly pureed and soup is creamy (the soup will be thick and will not be smooth, so don’t overblend). While soup is still hot, add thinly sliced dinosaur kale and stir so that the kale becomes wilted. Serve while still warm.

Veggie Faux-sagna

Okay, so the name is a bit ridiculous, but this is an ideal dinner when you want the flavors of lasagna, but don’t have the time. Because of that, I had to call it “faux”-sagna because there is no other way to put it. With mushrooms, bell peppers, green onions, and Swiss chard, this dish has the flavors of a traditional Italian pasta dish, but is perfect for a weeknight meal.
Mushroom “Faux”-sagna Cashew Ricotta 3/4 cup raw cashews 1/2 cup nutritional yeast 3 tsp. minced garlic 1/2 cup nondairy milk 1/2 teaspoon salt Pasta 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil 2 packages sliced crimini mushrooms 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and finely diced 4 green onions, green and light green parts thinly sliced 3 large leaves Swiss chard, large ribs removed, and thinly sliced 1 pound tube pasta, cooked and allowed to cool slightly (I used capunti) 1 jar prepared marinara sauce 1/2 cup non-dairy cheese (I used Daiya) 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 2. Mix all of the cashew ricotta ingredients in a food processor until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Set aside. 3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, and cook until the moisture is cooked off, approximately 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and green onions and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, or until wilted. 4. Pour 1/4 of the jar of sauce into a large baking dish. Spoon 1/3 of the pasta, 1/2 of the cashew ricotta and 1/2 of the vegetables into the baking dish. Repeat the process, topping the final layer of pasta with sauce and the non-dairy cheese. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then broil on high for 5 minutes, or until the top is golden and slightly crispy.