Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vegan Rice Flour Thumbrint Cookies!

This is a slightly adapted, well-loved jam cookie recipe. As I prepare to move, I try to eat up everything in the pantry so I don't have to move it.  This is how I ended up with rice flour cookies.
These cookies are dead easy to make.  They're made of just under 1 cup of rice flour which is combined with just under 1/2 cup of margarine that's been creamed with 1/4 cup of sugar and a tsp of vanilla.
They're allowed to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes, then rolled into 15-20 small balls and pressed flat, with a small dollop of jam in a thumbprint in the middle.
Bake these beauties at 350 degrees for 15-30 minutes (they're done when they start to go slightly brown, and how long it takes depends on how large you made them).  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vegan Millionaire's Shortbread!

Caution: chopped chocolate is dangerously delicious!
Keep stirring!

Almost there!
Here we go!

This dessert was a delicious pain in the butt.
Okay, I exaggerate.  It wasn't so bad, but I am certain that it's not very good for you.  It's full of sugar and Earth Balance margarine, and Soy Creamer (which I will never buy again because it is terrifying).
Still, if you want to make an oldschool dessert, or get that 'you're frigging kidding it's vegan?!' reaction, this is a great dessert to make.
I have no pictures of the final product because, frankly, I'm embarrassed at how it looked.  The thick, set chocolate got hard in the refrigerator and shattered when I tried to cut into it, leading to broken, dusty shapes a co-worker called 'parallelograms'.  If I were to make this again, I'd probably them just after they'd set in the refrigerator instead of waiting until the next day.
The process is basically this:  make shortbread by combining 1/2 cup of Earth Balance or other vegan margarine, 1/4 cup of sugar, and just under two cups of flour (I mixed regular flour with 1/4 cup of rice flour). Press this stuff into a small baking pan lined with wax paper.
Bake at 400 degrees until golden (just keep an eye on it, it could be 15 minutes or closer to 40, depending on the thickness and your oven).  Take it out and let it cool. 
Combine another 1/2 cup of Earth Balance with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1.5 cups of vegan cream in a heavy-bottomed pot.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium and allow the mixture to thicken and get dark.  It will take awhile, and you have to stir vigilantly the entire time.  My friend Edie and I took shifts on this one.
When it's thick, amber coloured and greatly reduced, remove it from the heat and continue to stir for a minute or so.  Then pour the guk over the shortbread and gently spread it. 
Refrigerate until set.
Melt just under 2 cups (about 20g) of chopped chocolate in a double boiler.  When it's melted, pour it over the set cookie and caramel, and spread evenly.
Let them shits cool again.
When it appears fully set, gently lift it out of the container by the edges of the wax paper and try to cut it into squares.  This is where I failed, so I wish you better luck.
Also: you'd better share this or you and your tight-ass jeans will be sorry!

Doenjang Jjiggae - Korean Soybean Tofu Stew!

Spent another portion of the week cooking with youtube.  This week I spent trying to get over a flu-type sickness that hit me over thanksgiving. When I started feeling a little better, I thought that a spicy, bubbling Korean stew would be a good way to get a load of nutrients and feel comforted.  
This stew is about as easy as they come.  
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, quartered
1 tsp chili flakes
1 medium potato, chopped into large chunks
Roughly 1 cup of coarsely chopped vegetables (I used a combination of zucchini, Broccoli, Red pepper and a small amount of Brussels Sprouts)

Everything is thrown into a pot (a Korean stone pot, if you have one) and just covered with water.  Turn them shits up to med-high, and when it starts boiling, add 1-2 tsp fish or vegetable stock powder and 2-3 tsp Korean Soybean paste or Miso.  If you like it hotter, at this point you can add some hot pepper paste to the mix.
Simmer until bean paste dissolves.  Then add about a half package of medium firm or soft tofu, chopped into 1 inch cubes.  Gently submerge them and allow them to heat.
Once they're hot, you're done! Garnish with sesame oil if you like and serve over rice, quinoa, or by itself with a lovely salad.

Om nom nom nom...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vegan Sauerkraut and Mushroom Pierogi!


I was cat-sitting recently, and thought: 'Why don't I cook something wonderful in the kitchen while I spend time with the little kitty?' I gathered the gear to make vegan pierogi for the first time and headed to Edie's place to spend the afternoon with Poppers. These Pierogi were easy to make (although they took quite some time to assemble) and tasted delicious!  I got the recipe from this site, and was pleased to find a 'traditional' pierogi recipe that happened to also be vegan.  It was worth all the work!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"It's so hot" Vegan Carrot Cake

Since it's 40 degrees with the humidity...I decided to bake. I chose the photo on the left even thought there were better ones because it seems to express the hazy Toronto heat of the past few days.
I had some beautiful dark purple and pale yellow carrots and decided to make a vegan carrot cake. With a whole handful of substitutions and omissions, I roughly followed a recipe from Group Recipes. The bones of it are located here, but I skipped the ginger and swapped the apple juice for orange and omitted the nuts and glaze and opted instead to top the whole thing with sugar.
Now for a complaint. Why is it that I have to create a google search half a mile long to get a vegan recipe without egg replacer, flaxseed meal or some other weird thing? Just give me the basics, PLEASE!
Stay cool,

Friday, August 13, 2010

Japanese Cold Noodles - Hiyashi Chuuka

These noodles are awesome. They travel well, (I took them on a picnic to the island) are a filling and healthy meal, and they're dead simple.
Cook one serving of chinese-style noodles (the kind that come on in 4 or 6 pack bricks) al dente, then rinse thoroughly and drain.
Chop any combination of vegetables, tofu, fake meat, or real meat and place on top. Essentials are thinly shaved cucumber (done with a peeler) and tomato.
Add a squirt of mustard to the side of the dish.
Assemble a sauce of 1-2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp stock or water, 1-2 tsp sesame oil, 1tbsp tahini or ground sesame seeds, and 1 tbsp vinegar (all ingredients can be adjusted to taste). Add some pickled or thinly shredded ginger, and assemble right before eating. Nom!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Four Pie Date

Got together with Edie this weekend to dispatch of some Rhubarb in her freezer, and to take advantage of the new crop of Ontario Strawberries. Three hours and a bit of sweat and blood, and we ended up with four beautiful pies.
We loosely followed an old Betty Crocker sixties recipe for the crust:
5 cups of flour
6-7 tbsp ice water
2 tsp salt
1 and 2\3 cup of butter

The filling was about two pints of strawberries and 5 cups of rhubarb with several cups of sugar added. Man, what a joy. We split one between the two of us :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mushroom Risotto

I finally made risotto! You'd think that since my parents are both Italian, I would have made this before, but I've never eaten it with my family. It was delicious, and very easy to make.
I soaked dried shitake in boiling water for a few minutes, then sauteed onion in olive oil. I added the rice and sauteed it until the oil was mostly absorbed and the rice translucent, then I added the mushrooms and their liquid. After that, I added vegetable stock one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Once the stock was absorbed, I added another ladleful and stirred it in. I repeated this for about 20 minutes, until I had used up all of the stock. Amazingly creamy, and delicious!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nikuman! (Without the Niku!)

After I told my friend Edie about making these, she kindly reminded me that Niku means meat in Japanese. Since I made them without meat, I don't know what to call them. Steambuns? Doesn't sound as impressive as Nikuman.
I went crazy for the youtube cooking show 'Cooking With Dog' a couple of weeks ago, and vowed to myself to test out one of the recipes on the show.

I made the steambuns with a filling of green onion, tvp, shiitake mushrooms, and zucchini flavoured with hoisin sauce, soy and mirin. The results were delicious, but the recipe took the better part of a day! I had to proof the buns twice to get them to rise. I think they're not as beautiful as the ones on the internet video, but I might make these again someday...if I become a housewife and have endless hours to kill :)

Homemade Pasta 2 - ENTER THE MACHINE

Finally broke down and bought a pasta machine. Turning into a proper nonna over here! I love fresh pasta, but rolling and cutting it by hand can be a pain, and I wanted that fresh taste with a little less work.
Unfortunately, no pictures of the machine in action (hey, I needed both hands to wrangle the noo
dles!) but some of the process steps are below. I plan to make spinach or tomato noodles next!
This dough wasn't vegan, but the next will be. For the first try, I stuck with a basic recipe of 2 eggs to 2 cup
s of flour, mixed gently with a fork, kneaded for 10 minutes and then allowed it to rest covered in plastic wrap. I rolled it out into sheets using successively smaller settings on the pasta machine's flat roller, and then dusted the sheets with a little flour before running them through the fettuccine-type setting. I tossed them in flour and allowed them to dry for a few hours (well, I cooked up a bunch before that happened, with a little pesto and some tofu steaks. YUM!)

Friday, January 15, 2010


I've wanted to make this dish forever. It seemed so simple and satisfying, and I think the only thing that's stood in my way all this time is the buying of the rice cake.
I've been watching a lot of Maangchi's Cooking videos lately, and she inspired me to just get down and do it.
I adapted her recipe slightly, but most of it is the same.
I sauteed thinly sliced tofu in sesame oil while I boiled four cups of water with some dashi soup stock base. Then I separated store-bought rice cake. I added 2 spoonfuls of hot pepper paste (gochujang) and 3 tsp of sugar to the boiling water, and threw in the rice cakes. I let the evil looking stuff boil until it began to thicken, and added chopped green onion and my fried tofu.
MMMM! Nose-running goodness!

Pate a Fruits

Edie and I have been cooking together more often since she and I moved into the same neighbourhood (hooray for neighbours!).
First we made macarons (Chocolate and Prune from David Liebovitz). They were a great success, and our next mission was to make Pate a Fruits. I've personally only ever had one measley serving of the stuff, at Canoe Restaurant as a part of a dessert dish. It was delicious, and we aimed to try to veganize it.
What was inter
esting about this adventure was that we each used a slightly different recipe and different ingredients. Hers was to be a mango pate de fruits, while mine would be apple. Mine had juice in it, while hers did not. Hers had more pectin in it, and no straining.
God, I wish mine had required no straining. I microwaved fresh apples and pears, then smushed them through a wire sieve (which took the better part of an hour).
We both stood at the stove, adding pectin to our fruity, lemony mixtures, and stirring. We had no candy thermometers, so we guessed when the mixtures had come to the app
ropriate temperature, and then poured them into containers lined with parchment paper to set.
Next morning: they're still loose. No lovely jelly.
We both try to
salvage ours by boiling them again. This time, I added agar to mine while she added gelatin to hers. We both got a great result this time! Mind you, we'd been futzing with this jelly for hours.
Some issues: I end
ed up with WAY TOO MUCH JELLY, and had to throw a bunch of it away. I don't know what I was thinking. No one wants more than a couple of small pieces of fruit jelly, and some people don't want even that!
Also, I sugared it the night before, and it got sweaty and had a runny, honey-like coating the next morning. That didn't prevent kind co-workers from eating it, but it felt like a bit of a fail.
So remember, Liz, for you French fruit jelly is not worth the effort!

Blueberry Chutney

Triple-post today. I made a few things over the holidays, but since school's started I haven't got around to posting.
I was going to an X-Mas party, and wanted to bring something interesting, low stress, and good for sharing. I thought I invented this dish, but googling proved me wrong on this, as it often does.
The process was quite similar to making Mango Chutney - I simmered a pint of blueberries, half a chopped onion, 1 1/2 cups vinegar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, a handful of raisins, a teaspoon of salt, some mustard seed, cinnamon and ground cumin together until it became chutney-like, tweaking the seasoning until I liked it. I also threw in a small chopped apple for substance about halfway through the simmering.
Verdict: not as good as its mango cousin. A little too sweet, and with a background taste that did not mesh well with the papadum I served it with. However, my host claimed she loved it, and saved the leftovers to have with her dinner the next day. Go figure.