Veg in Cow Country

cooking (and eating) vegan and vegetarian in the midwest

Asparagus Mushroom Casserole April 9, 2012

Filed under: Casseroles,Comfort Food,Entertaining,Holidays — vegincowcountry @ 1:14 pm

I’ll admit to a certain amount of bias when I state that I come from a family of great cooks! And I wasn’t at all surprised when my sister Laura made a great dish for Easter brunch. It’s a Taste of Home recipe, called “Asparagus Mushroom Quiche” — but it didn’t stick together like a quiche and it called for only two eggs. We agreed that it was more of a casserole with a crust in a pie pan. The basic recipe is definitely a keeper, though, and I immediately began thinking about how to veganize it… Mom and Laura made a few alterations and I made a few more. This is the result!

Although I’m all for off-brands when they taste the same and cost less, I bought the Pillsbury brand crescent rolls this time because the off-brand (HyVee) contained trans fat! You learn so much reading labels…

This is for a half recipe, but it’s easily doubled in a deep dish pie pan. We decided we would prefer crust on both top and bottom, so I used a whole tube of crescent rolls for half of the filling. It ain’t health food, but it’s a nice treat.

1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls

1 tsp spicy brown mustard

3/4 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 medium red onion, chopped

1/4 c sliced fresh mushrooms

2 Tbsp Earth Balance

¼ c pureed soft tofu

1 c (4 ounces) mozzarella-style vegan cheese (I used Daiya)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano and rubbed sage

 

Separate crescent dough into triangles; place in an ungreased 2-quart and press onto the bottom to form a crust; seal perforations. Spread with mustard; set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté the asparagus, onion and mushrooms in butter until asparagus is crisp-tender. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; stir in asparagus mixture. Pour into crust.

Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 4 servings.

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Almond Joy Cake April 8, 2012

Filed under: Baked Goods,Chocolate!,Entertaining,Holidays — vegincowcountry @ 8:46 pm
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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.

Frosting:
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

Filling:
1/3 of frosting
1/3 c sliced almonds
1 c flaked coconut

 

Tofu Jambalaya February 26, 2012

Filed under: Casseroles,Entertaining — vegincowcountry @ 12:57 pm
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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!

This is a half recipe, and it fills up my skillet — it makes a lot. This is a very versatile dish, and I can see myself splitting it between two skillets and cooking half with shrimp for a tofu-fearing guest, and the other half with tofu for me. Definitely a keeper!

 

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!)

2 cups broth (made with Better Than Bouillon “Not Beef” if you can get it)

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

Filed under: Baked Goods,Chocolate!,Comfort Food,Entertaining,Holidays — vegincowcountry @ 9:54 am
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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…

Dishes are Winterberry by Pfaltzgraff.

Sandwiches, clockwise from bottom left:

* Tomato-avocado-and-Vegenaise

* 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.)

 

Thanks, Mom!

Hope you and yours had a Merry Christmas also!

Lemon Bars

From Colleen Patrick-Goudeau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking

Crust:

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated, non-dairy butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Filling:

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

Chickpea Salad

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.

 

 
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