Almond Joy Cake April 8, 2012
Three of my favorite flavors all in one cake — amazing! I was worried at first that the almost delicate, almond- and vanilla-flavored cake wouldn’t meet my expectations for a rich, decadent dessert, but I was happily wrong. This is a slight adaptation of a recipe I found here: http://sharetheveganlove.blogspot.com/2011/12/almond-joy-cake.html. I replaced the rather cumbersome frosting in the original recipe with my own favorite fudgy buttercream. It has been a big hit with vegans and non-vegans alike – definitely a keeper!
3 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 c sugar
1/4 c canola oil
1/4 c coconut oil (or double the canola oil)
2 Tbsp no-sugar-added applesauce
1 1/2 c unsweetened almond or soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix sugar, oils, applesauce, milk, and extracts. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt. Add flour mixture slowly, stirring. Stir in vinegar. Cake batter will be thick. Line the bottoms of two 8″ or 9″ round cake pans with wax paper and grease the sides. Pour cake batter evenly into pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cake sit in pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack. When completely cool, cover bottom layer with frosting/almond/coconut mixture, then put other layer on top. Frost.
2 sticks Earth Balance margarine, softened
2-3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c dark cocoa powder
1/4 tsp almond extract
sliced almonds and coconut for garnish
1/3 of frosting
1/3 c sliced almonds
1 c flaked coconut
Tofu Jambalaya February 26, 2012
I love other people’s blogs, especially Susan Voisin’s Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. I have several of her recipes in my permanent cookbook binder that I make over and over again — especially Impossible Vegan Pumpkin Pie and Red Beans and Rice. Today I tried her Tofu Jambalaya, which was, not surprisingly, wonderful. Out of respect for Susan and her copyright, I will share the link to her page instead of the full recipe: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/03/tofu-jambalaya.html.
The only change I made was in the tofu. The recipe calls for the tofu to be frozen and then thawed and pressed, but I don’t particularly care for the texture that this process imparts. So I pressed my tofu well and went with that. Extra firm tofu, pressed well, held up fine.
I used 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, which made it just hot enough for me — my lips were definitely tingling after that first bite!
Shepherd’s Pie January 10, 2012
Not the most visually-appealing dish, Shepherd’s Pie is all about comfort food. This version uses pearl barley and lentils — my favorite legume, full of protein and iron! This is my favorite meal to make for meat eaters because they are familiar with both vegetable stew and mashed potatoes — no scary or strange “vegetarian ingredients” (just don’t mention the Marmite!) Also, it’s easy to split this up just before baking and toss a non-vegetarian ingredient in half, if necessary to keep the peace.
Although this meal is heavy on the pot-and-pan usage, it’s not technically difficult, requiring only a little chopping, measuring, and stirring. If you can make soup, you can make shepherd’s pie! The basic premise is a stew (usually made with a non-vegetarian ingredient) topped with mashed potatoes, and baked in the oven until the potatoes brown slightly on top. Easy, if messy — but who doesn’t like mashed potatoes??
Ready for the mashed potato layer (steaming up the camera lens!)
1 tsp Marmite
1/2 cup dry lentils
1/4 cup barley
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 large baking potatoes, chopped
2 Tb Earth Balance
1/4 c soy or almond milk
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine 1 cup broth, Marmite, lentils, and barley. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes or until tender.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup broth, carrot, onion, and walnuts. Boil until tender, about 15 minutes. Add white pepper.
Boil potatoes until tender; drain and mash with Earth Balance and soy milk.
Combine carrot mixture and lentil mixture and pour into a 2 quart casserole dish; top with mashed potatoes and baked until lightly browned on top, about 20-30 minutes.
A Christmas Eve Tea Party December 26, 2011
My mother, Pat (http://thebestmoments-pat.blogspot.com/) took these photos – she has a nice camera and actual talent in photography! Her specialties are “tablescapes” – but only while the garden isn’t blooming. This was our family’s Christmas Eve Tea Party, at my place.
I set the table, and Mom was nice enough to forbear comment upon my use of (horrors!) paper napkins and a slightly wrinkled tablecloth (I don’t own cloth napkins, and I absolutely refuse to iron anything). Hey, when the cook also sets the table, certain shortcuts must be made (especially if the cook has to find time to smear a little makeup on and do something with her limp hair in order to pose for family photos)!
This dessert platter was my pièce de résistance – mini chocolate cupcakes (Crazy Chocolate Cake: https://vegincowcountry.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/crazy-chocolate-cake/) and Lemon Bars (from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking). Tiered platter scavenged from Mom’s extensive collection of garage sale and Goodwill bargains, of which she is very proud. 🙂
Sometimes the simplest treats like fresh berries and orange quarters can compliment a meal perfectly. Mom contributed the floral arrangement – and Sister insisted on the bow, which sets it off great. I’ll have a hard time returning that cute little silver vase, but something tells me Mom will insist…
Sandwiches, clockwise from bottom left:
* Ham and swiss (I wore gloves to prepare these – a sacrifice, yes, but believe me, a necessary one. Those sandwiches kept the peace.)
Combined platter on the right:
* Chickpea salad
* Cashew “goat cheese” with apricot preserves (Cashew goat cheese: https://vegincowcountry.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/vegan-cashew-goat-cheese/)
My sister the confirmed carnivore surprisingly declared her favorite to be chickpea salad!
(Note to self: never, EVER use cocktail bread again. It’s DRY. Find a bakery that will slice thin bread the day of or use English muffin wedges, as on the avocado-and-tomato sandwiches.)
Hope you and yours had a Merry Christmas also!
From Colleen Patrick-Goudeau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated, non-dairy butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup silken tofu (soft or firm)
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest from 2 lemons
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 to 3 lemons) [I had big lemons and got 1/3 cup out of one]
2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch [I doubled to 4 Tbsp, as per some online comments, and it set up perfectly]
Confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan with canola oil (or use a cooking spray) and sprinkle with just a light dusting of all-purpose flour
3. To make the crust, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the flour, and beat until the dough just comes together
4. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned
5. Remove crust from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling
6. To make the filling, blend the tofu in a food processor or blender until creamy, about 1 minute
7. Add the granulated sugar to the tofu, and blend until nice and smooth [I burned up the motor in my blender earlier in the day making cashew cheese, so used an electric hand mixer with great results]
8. Blend in the lemon zest, lemon juice, flour, and cornstarch
9. Pour the filling over the baked shortbread crust and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is set
10. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool – if the filling isn’t completely set, it will set as it cools
11. To serve, cut into squares or bars and dust with the sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 can or equivalent amount chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 – 3/4 cup Vegenaise
2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
4-5 green onions, sliced
diced celery, optional
smoked paprika, optional
Chop chickpeas roughly, with a knife or food chopper. Add Vegenaise to desired creaminess, then add relish, mustard, spices, green onions, and other optional ingredients. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Eat on a sandwich or with crackers.