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Vegan MoFo button 2013

Friday Try-out

Friday seems a good day to try things. Like those unfamiliar ingredients I bought on a whim, or that instant dessert I got sent but haven’t dared dip into yet. And don’t forget about the vegetables I don’t like much and need to find tasteful recipes for. Like beetroots, for example…

Gonna beat those beets!

Beets & I, we don’t get along very well. Can’t blame them because I used to HATE them as a child -of course that was in the time the only beet dish we knew in Holland was (over) cooked- but it beats me what my excuse is. Love their colour. ;) Okay, I guess I just don’t like the combined flavour of sweet and “earthy”. I’m more of a spicy, savoury kind of grrl; not too fond of a sweetish dinner.

Over the years I’ve found a few beet recipes that I can appreciate: beet risotto, red beet hummus, cooked beet salad or roasted beet salad, even chocolate beet cake. Still, each time those red veggies pop up in my CSA I go like: uh-oh. And I give them to my aunt. So the search continues until I root for beets!

Beet ‘n Berry smoothie

Beet & Berry Breakfast Smoothie
Time to try a beet smoothie. I found this rather attractive looking recipe on Choosing Raw combining beet with orange (juice) and frozen berries. Many of the ingredients I usually have at hand… unfortunately not today. I was not to be deterred though and experimented with substitutes from my pantry.

Ingredients
Serves 1 (about 1 litre)

1 medium beet, steamed (cooked), cooled, peeled & roughly cut
3 handfuls frozen mixed berries & strawberries (about 200 ml)
200 ml apple juice
250 ml vanilla soy milk
splash of rice milk
1 teaspoon of almond butter, heaped
1 tablespoon hempseed
1/2 tablespoon flaxseed oil
1 teaspoon sucanat (or other sweetener)

Preparation
Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender. I have a multi-purpose kitchen machine with blender option in which it took less than a minute.

The Verdict

Although it was not as delicious as my favourite breakfast smoothie, I rather liked this beet breakfast. I barely noticed anything earthy; only when the liquid starting warming up it appeared. Of course nothing beats the flavour combination of beet and orange of the original recipe so next time I’ll definitely try that. Still, apple juice complements quite nicely as well. I would have loved to use dates for sweetener but I hadn’t planned that: they need to be soaked for several hours. I’ve tried using dates dry once and I tell you: my immersion blender did not like that. At all. O_o Of course you need to cook, steam or roast your beet in advance as well, and give it a chance to cool down. So unless you’re using the pre-cooked kind that gives you enough time for soaking too.

I did a not-100%-successful experiment roasting my beet in the microwave… It seemed logical: if you can make jacket potatoes in it, the same goes for beets? Well, guess again (or smell my kitchen). Next time I’ll just nuke it in a normal way or cook it on the stove. If you’re lucky to have a Vitamix you can just blend beet raw!

Another thing: next time I’m going to use only frozen strawberries or raspberries. A smoothie should be velvet-y and the hard seeds of other berries annoy me. But your hearing me right: I’m talking about next time!

If you can recommend any beet recipes I’d really appreciate it!

* This post will be updated later to share whether this breakfast took me all the way to lunch or if I got hungry before that. *

Banner Vegan Month of Food 2013

VeganMoFo brings you a Month of Vegan Food. Bloggers all around the world share their favourite recipes, mouthwatering food pics, quick cooking tips, nutritional info and anything else food related to show that vegan living is awesome. It’s the best choice for animals (dûh), our planet and people! Check out the blogroll and drool… Or better yet: join us!

* Due to circumstances MoFo posts #3 and #4 are currently missing but will be updated as soon as possible *

Once upon a time… I promised you a category on Graasland intended for Cabbage Recipes. It did appear, but fell into a slumber after I’d only shared three dishes with you. Well, now’s the right season to revive it!

Here’s a vegan version of coleslaw that I adapted from the Dutch vegetarian cookbook Gezond genieten: Groentegerechten by Jan & Ineke Stevens.

This salad is a kind of tsukemono (preserved vegetable) recipe, so it holds well and is perfect for travelling, like in this Goodbye Bento.

Coleslaw with Avocado Dressing

Coleslaw with avocado dressing

Ingredients
Serves 3-4.

  • 350-400g white or pointed cabbage
  • salt
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 sprigs cilantro
  • 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbs vegenaise, soygurt or faux sour cream
  • salt ‘n pepper

1. In advance

Cut its core from the cabbage, discard wilted outer leaves and thinly slice the veg. I don’t have a fancy machine to do this so I use my mandolin or a big, sharp knife and heavy wooden cutting board. Of course you can also buy pre-chopped cabbage…

Put the cabbage in a bowl, scatter some salt over it and weigh it down with a pan filled with water, supported by a saucer. Let it rest for a while until water comes out, preferably for a few hours.

2. Dressing

To make the dressing, scoop out the avocado, slice the green part of the spring onion in rings and put these aside. Chop the rest of the onion in small pieces and blend with avocado, cilantro, lemon juice, veganaise (or substitute). Add pepper to taste but refrain from adding salt until you’ve tasted the cabbage in step 3!

3. Assemble

Put the cabbage in a sieve, rinse and drain, pressing out excess water by hand. Now taste! Decide whether your dressing needs any more salt – if so, add it.

NOTE: if you do not intend to eat all of the coleslaw at once, just drain the cabbage you’re reserving and put it in a Tupperware box in the fridge. Only rinse and wring the veg when you’re ready to use it.

Place the cabbage on a nice plate or in a salad bowl, spoon the dressing in the middle and sprinkle the remaining onion rings on top.

As you can see I added some tomato and olives to the salad last time. Possibly it’s better without to let the smooth avocado dressing come to its full advantage.

Enjoy!

ExtraVeganza logo, © variomatic

Logo Veggie ChallengeIn June and July this year, the Dutch youth foundation Viva Las Vega’s organized the Veggie Challenge: a dare to eat less animal produce for at least one day a week during a whole month. Depending on their diet, participants would set their own goals, i.e. 1 day vegetarian for omnis, a day vegan for vegetarians, an extra day veggie for flexitarians et cetera. 2000+ people gave it a go! Among them were three people I know — and no, I had nothing to do with that ;) Curious about their experiences, I decided to interview them for VeganMoFo.

First up is YvonneP from Loisirs et Plaisirs. I met her on-line 14 years ago (!) when I joined the Dutch Boekgrrls, a virtual book club by mailinglist, exclusively for women. :) Later I got to know her in real life on book-related outings (swaps!).

YvonneP’s asked to be represented by this colourful picture of red, blue and purple fruit. That doesn’t surprise me, as she once initiated a summer theme on the Kookgrrls’ blog for which she made a pink blackberry-yoghurt pudding/blob. I wonder if it can be veganized..?

fruit and berries

Before the Veggie Challenge (VC) I was maybe a flexitarian. I ate very little meat (don’t like most meat), sometimes fish, some cheese, but I love eggs, yoghurt and soft cheese (kwark). So that could be the hard part of the vegan thing.

When I read about the VC I thought it was the best I could do, because of all the alarming news about food. I am really worried about the way food is produced and the way we are not told the truth about production mistakes, etc. Though I am not the sentimental type about animals I do not think it is right the way they are treated to serve as food.

So I decided to eat 2 days vegetarian and 2 days vegan. The other 3 days I would try to slow down eating ‘wrong’ things. Well, I ended up by doing the challenge for 2 months and now, we still eat vegetarian, very, very little fish, eggs and cheese. Even our way of shopping has changed. No supermarkets anymore, no ‘grootgrutter‘, but we buy our food at EkoPlaza. So, in fact, everything from the challenge lasts. I am still refining… :-)

In the beginning I did not know what to eat my bread with on the vegan days. But then I discovered all kinds of spreads and now, long time after the challenge we never buy anything else. Those spreads were my biggest discovery! And because it was sometimes very hot I made loads of strawberry (!!) basil ice and melon mint ice! Just blend the fruits and put them in the freezer. Love fruits, love strawberries, love blueberries, love myrtilles (don’t know the English word for it).

I can not decide what was the best we ate. I ate one recipe from the Provamel publication 20 Winnaars met smaak (shared below) with tofu and oranges that was extremely tasteful, but then again: so much was so tasteful.

My partner joined me in the challenge and he is now addicted to lentil curry spread. Does not want anything else on his bread. I do not know what he eats when he is traveling for business, but at home he eats what I make and he likes it…

I have told enthusiastically about the VC to others, but everyone has to decide for themselves whether they do it or not. I liked it very much, but maybe because the time was right for me…

Wow. I’m very impressed how YvonneP (and her partner!) went way beyond her goals while she’d expected it to be difficult. It’s had a huge impact on their lives; a real success story! That’s several animal lives saved a year — yay YvonneP!

Tofu Curry with Orange

Serves: 4
Estimated time: 45 minutes
Recipe by Great Baten
Source: Provamel publication 20 Winnaars met smaak p.20-21

Ingredients

  • 225 g tofu
  • 250 g apple-green tea flavoured soygurt (Provamel)
  • 1 organic orange
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbs raisins
  • 2 tbs almond flakes
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs 100% vegetable margarine
  • 1 tbs curry powder or curry paste of choice
  • a bunch of fresh cilantro
  • salt ‘n pepper

Preparation

  1. Wash the orange and grate some of the skin until you’ve got half a tablespoon of orange zest.
  2. Squeeze the juice from the orange, add the raisins and et them soak until needed.
  3. Shortly toast the almond flakes in a non-stick pan. Don’t take your eyes of them! ;)
  4. Chop the cilantro and onion (keep them separate).
  5. Cut the tofu into small blocks.
  6. Heat the oil and margarine together in a pan. Add the curry (powder or paste) and stir for 1 minute.
  7. Add the tofu and onion. Stirfry on high heat.
  8. Add orange juice & raisins, orange zest, apple-tea yofu, plus salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Garnish with almonds and cilantro and serve with rice.

Sounds like an easy recipe that I must try sometime! Personally I would insert a step #0 to drain the tofu first (how to do this is described in steps 1&2 of the Faux Feta recipe on Graasland). And maybe add some cinnamon which, to me, seems to go perfect with this dish. What do you think?

Next week:Uniflame from She Likes Bento.

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ExtraVeganza! button

I can hardly believe it: here’s Monday again and a whole week of VeganMofo has passed. Not only that, I managed to post every day! Yay me. ;) I’m really enjoying blogging again. :))

Today we’re having comforting Thai carrot soup here at Graasland. There are three ways to make this recipe:
a) quick and dirty easy,
b) less quick but still dirty easy,
c) elaborate — involving making your own curry paste from scratch.

I’m a medium-sized grrl. ;) So here’s version B!

Thai Carrot Soup Recipe

Thai Carrot Soup

Ingredients
Serves 2-3.

  • 300 g clean carrots (if you’d like to peel instead of wash them you’ll need about 450 g to start with)
  • 1.5-2 tbs olive, peanut or rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 heaped tbs of red curry paste (check the ingredients to make sure it’s vegan)
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • salt & pepper
  • optional: 1 tbs lime juice
  • optional: chopped cilantro

Oven-roasted carrots for Thai Carrot Soup

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 225 °C (gas 5).
  2. Cut the carrot into 1 cm pieces. Put them in a casserole with 1 tbs of oil and mix until all the carrot is coated with oil.
  3. Put it in the oven for about 25-35 minutes or until tender.
  4. In the meantime chop the onion.
  5. When the carrots are done, heat the left over oil in a pan. Bake onion, crushed garlic and curry paste for a few minutes until soft.
  6. Add carrots, stock and coconut milk, bring to a boil and quietly simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and blend to a smooth consistency.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste, plus lime juice if using.
  9. Garnish soup in bowls with chopped cilantro.

The easy way out -you may have guessed- is to just cook the carrots in the stock. The soup is still good that way, but I really recommend roasting the veg in the oven because it enhances the taste. And it’s not much effort; just waiting time in which you can type up a blog post. ;)

This is one of the favourite dishes on our rotation scheme. It’s great for bento too, as it can be eaten on room temperature or chilled. If you plan to eat it cold I advise you to add some more broth as the colder the soup, the thicker it is.

I hope you’ll like this Thai carrot soup too!

ExtraVeganza logo, © variomatic

ExtraVeganza logo, © variomatic

Sometimes you try a recipe and it immediately turns into a favourite. That happened this summer, when I served spinach pesto for the Italian Kookgrrls Cookalong.

I made it several times since and always to a great success. It came to a garden potluck and we spooned it out as a starter at a special dinner for my mother-in-law and one of her friends. The verdict is unanimous: this dish is GOOD!

So here’s the recipe, translated and slightly adapted from the Dutch vegetarian cookbook Gezond genieten: Mediterraan koken by Jan & Ineke Stevens.

Spinach pesto

Spinach Pesto with Olive Crackers (1st Kookgrrls Cookalong: Italy)

Ingredients

  • 300g clean fresh spinach
  • 2 tbs pine nuts
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh basil
  • salt & pepper
  • a good variety of olive oil (extra virgin)

When it’s still wet from washing, put the spinach in a saucepan and cook the leaves on high for a couple of minutes while turning them over a few times — until welted but still bright green. Drain thoroughly.

Blend the cooked spinach together with the garlic (it’s best to start with one clove and add more if necessary), pine nuts and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add the olive oil until the pesto has a smooth consistency. Using a good type of oil improves the taste!

Now that’s easy, isn’t it?

This spinach spread is good with toast, crudités, as a side dish, on a sandwich and probably with pasta. And it’s perfect for bentos!

Courgette Flower Bento #193

Courgette Flower Bento #193

Summer Picnic Bento #191

Summer Picnic Bento #191

Bulghur Bento #190

Bulghur Bento #190

As I told you last time, we get loads of salad greens among our organic CSA. We love that, but notwithstanding the Salad Sac it’s sometimes still hard to keep up… Causing the veg drawer in the fridge to overflow. A perfect moment to put lettuce soup on the menu!

I’m sure some of you can relate to this, so today I’ll share the recipe with you after my menu plan at the end of this post. There will also be a translation available for Dutch readers.

But first: this week’s veggies!

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 24, 2012

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables wk 24, 2012

  • strawberries again!
  • pak choi
  • parsley
  • Romaine lettuce
  • vine tomatoes
  • garlic scapes (flower stems)
  • Batavian endive (escarole)

Another sunny bouquet of vegetables and fruit. :)

Menuplan 6-12 June

  • Mihun with bok choi, broccoli stems, chestnut mushrooms and ginger stir-fried in light soy sauce, ‘apple juice tempeh‘ and salad with miso dressing (miso, ume vinegar, sake, agave syrup, cumin, sage). Cantaloupe and strawberries for dessert. [Wednesday]
    Veggie stir-fry, mihun and 'apple juice tempeh'
    Mixed salad with miso dressing
  • Leftover pumpkin curry with cashews, pimped up with peas, baked garlic scapes, Thai noodle salad with leftover rice noodles (La Dolce Vegan! p.80), cantaloupe and the first 2 strawberries harvested from the balcony for dessert. [Thursday]
    Pumpkin curry and baked garlic flower stems
    Cold Thai noodle salad
    Cantaloupe and 1st strawberry harvested from balcony
  • Snow pea salad with Japanese dressing, (VEGAgerechten p.191), garlic-sunchoke soup (freezer stash) and bake-off mini baguette. [Friday]
    Garlic-sunchoke soup
    Snow pea salad with Japanese dressing
  • Potato mash with endive, faux ‘chicken’ from the Vegetarian Butcher and tomato salad with homemade basil dressing (La Dolce Vegan! p.91).
  • Saffron couscous with vegetable goulash (La DolceVegan! p.140; challenged by Dani on NVV forums).
    Saffron Couscous with La Dolce Vegan!'s Veggie Goulash
  • Courgette & fresh peas in persillade, lentil loaf, escarole salad with mustard vinaigrette (Eethuis Iris’ Verrukkelijk vegetarisch p.41) Fry’s schnitzel and baked potato.

Lettuce soup

Lettuce soup

Ingredients
Serves 3-4

  • 1 tbsp neutrally flavoured cooking oil
  • 1 potato
  • 1 shallot
  • white of 1 leek (sliced)
  • 1 bundle garlic (sliced) or garlic clove
  • about 3/4 litre vegetable stock (fresh or instant)
  • 1 head of ordinary lettuce
  • 1 dl soy millk
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • black pepper
  • optional: a dash of white wine
  • optional: chives to garnish

Preparation

  1. Clean the vegetables
  2. Cube the peeled potato.
  3. Tear the lettuce into pieces.
  4. Shred the shallot.
  5. Heat the oil and gently sauté the onion, leek and (bundle-)garlic until the shallot is transparent.
  6. Add stock and potato and bring to a boil.
  7. After about 10 minutes add lettuce and simmer for a few minutes more.
  8. Add soy milk, wine, tarragon and more (hot) water if necessary.
  9. Purée the soup.
  10. Flavour with salt and pepper to taste and heat the soup before serving without letting it boil.
  11. Serve in bowls and garnish with chives.

Enjoy!

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Evernote LogoDo you know the Evernote Food app? I’m creating a food photo diary with it — easy and fun! I only wish I could also edit entries in the equally handy all-round Evernote application, but maybe I’m missing something obvious?

On Saturday May 19th Evernote organized its first ever Evernote cook-along. ‘Chef’ Lauren Atkins provided us with the task to make crêpes.

You all know how I love challenges — and food! So I decided to take this up, even though I hadn’t baked any crêpes since going ExtraVeganza over a year ago… Pancakes? Yes. Crêpes? No. And I really even don’t like pancakes that much, but I just LUUUURV crêpes!

Het Grote Vegetarische KookboekSo the first question to tackle was: sweet or savoury?

As we had no dinner plans yet (and would be hiking during lunchtime), I chose the latter and picked Asian style rice crêpes with a mushroom-tofu filling.

It actually proved to be quite the dare! I had to adapt a basic vegan sweet crêpe recipe and combine it with the savoury dairy mushroom-tofu one from my vegetarian cookbook Het Grote Vegetarische Kookboek (p.138). Not a smart project to take on for a first attempt… So how did it turn out???

Rice Crêpes with Tofu-Mushroom Filling

Vegan crêpes for the Evernote Cook-along

Serves 2 (4 pieces).

I started out with this vegan crêpe recipe in my Vegweb iPhone app (substituting vanilla for a pinch of salt): whisking 1 cup of all-purpose flour (about 150 grams) with 1 1/2 cup rice milk (350 ml) and 2 heaped teaspoons of No-egg with 4 tablespoons of water mixed beforehand (note that the ratio for 2 ‘eggs’ is different from Ener-G egg-replacer). Adding 2 tbsp of sunflower oil and a pinch of salt.

I then continued putting additional ingredients in the batter that the non-vegan recipe in my cookbook called for: 1 tbsp kecap manis, 1 tbsp chopped cilantro, 50 grams of cooked rice (a combination of red, black and unpolished) and a mix of chopped and stir-fried fresh ginger (2 cm), 1 chilli pepper and 1 green onion.

Cooking rice

Cooking rice in the morning

You’ll have to cook the rice in advance or -preferably- use leftovers!

Each pancake was baked for about 3 minutes on one side and 1 more after having flipped them over.

The filling consisted of 100 grams of tofu sautéed for about 5 minutes in a combination of sunflower & sesame oil, then adding 150 grams mixed mushrooms, a clove of garlic (crushed), 1 tsp of white miso, 1 tbsp kecap manis and 1/2 tbsp lime juice, stirring for about 1 more minute.

Result

Vegan crêpes for the Evernote Cook-along

We had a great dinner! Two crêpes each plus a large portion of salad.

I’ll admit the recipe needs a little tweaking because the pancakes were difficult to flip over — and stay in one piece at the same time. ;) My batter was probably a bit too thin from adding the extra ingredients. Next time I’ll adjust the amount of ‘milk’ accordingly and/or add some cornstarch.

Or maybe… I should just make sure to have a foolproof vegan crêpe recipe first?! Off to make some crêpes for lunch!!!

Here’s how the meal looks in Evernote…

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Not sure how to pronounce “quinoa”? Learn on YouTube!

Quinoa & Vegetable Laksa

Whaddayaknow: it’s is already the fourth time four Dutch foodie bloggers are getting together for a weekend cooking blog hop! This time we’re focussing on quinoa. Have you ever had quinoa for dinner? Or breakfast for that matter — I’ve seen several recipes but haven’t dared trying yet for myself. Just like I’m reluctant to eat rice in the morning… But what am I saying? Contrary to how it’s used in Western cuisine, quinoa is not a grain but a vegetable related to leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard! Well, the seeds of it anyway.

The first time I tried quinoa was during my 10-day ExtraVeganza project. I made a stir-fry from The Guardian. Since then I’ve used it a few times in bento’s (#131, #161, #176, #177), but as I’m only halfway my second package… I guess it has not been used not that often! Rather surprisingly. O_o Because I like the taste, it’s quick & easy to make and belongs to the category of ‘super foods’ — meaning that it’s ultra healthy. ;) Quinoa is gluten-free, high on so-called complete proteins, vitamins B1&2, E, iron, copper and magnesium. Reading that you already feel better, right? ;)

The quinoa dish I’m sharing today is Quinoa & Vegetable Laksa. Laksa is an Asian chowder-like thick soup. Mr Gnoe and I had two helpings each so that our bellies were filled but not the I-need-to-lie-on-the-couch kind of full. Very satisfying but low-fat! This is a perfect weekday meal for when you’re tired and the fridge is empty.

I veganised the original recipe from BBC’s Good Food and made some adaptations dictated by the (barren) contents of my cupboards.

Quinoa and Vegetable Laksa

Quinoa & Vegetable Laksa

Ingredients – serves 2

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Patak’s mild curry paste
  • about 50 ml water
  • 500 ml oat milk
  • 400 g frozen mixed vegetables, or any veggies at hand which were in my case: frozen peas and green beans, corn kernels from a can, a large spring onion/small leek (sliced), an old turnip (nuked), some red and green bell pepper in small pieces
  • 85 g quinoa, rinsed (!)
  • 2 ts vegan broth powder
  • salt & pepper

Preparation

  1. Simmer the onion, curry paste and water for 5 minutes in a large saucepan, stirring from time to time. Begin with a splash of water and add some when the mixture gets too dry.
  2. Heat the oat milk in a jug in the microwave.
  3. Add the vegetables, quinoa, broth powder and stir in the milk.
  4. Bring to the boil, simmer gently for 10 mins until the quinoa is cooked.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Let it sit for a short while longer if the directions of the quinoa call for that.

Mixed salad that accompanied our laksaServe with salad and bread – naan would be awesome!

Suggestions

Next time I would like to try this recipe with almond milk instead of oat. Mr Gnoe thinks that will be too overwhelming but I think it may be good. Or maybe half of each. Of course you can use any plant-based milk but some will be better than others.

Also, the original recipe was titled “Spicy vegetable and quinoa laksa” but my tastebuds failed to notice any heat. Of course that depends on the the type of curry paste: I may use a stronger one next time, or just add a red chilli.

Always remember to rinse your quinoa seeds before cooking. They have a bitter-tasting coating (called saponins), which is mildly toxic and meant to make the kernels less-palatable to birds and other seed-eaters. These days quinoa has already been cleaned by the manufacturer but it’s good to get rid of possible remnants. Just follow the instructions on the package.

<whisper mode> Of course I shouldn’t say so in a post dedicated to quinoa, but you can also use 150 grams of basmati rice instead — just cook until done. But you didn’t hear that from me, okay?! ;) <whisper mode off>

And now that you’ve opened a package of quinoa: hop over to my fellow foodies for their awesome recipes!

Chinoiseries goes south with her North African Quinoa Stew ~ vegan
JannyAn serves a Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Apricot ~ vegan
Uniflame baked some Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers ~ vegetarian

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Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logoWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has some kind of food-related post to share: book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. It is hosted by Beth Fish Reads.
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I’m writing this post in whisper-mode. That has nothing to do with Mr Gnoe sleeping late this Saturday morning. I’m just embarrassed to confess that with the dawn of February, I still had some ‘fresh’ cranberries left over from… Christmas. Oops!

So I felt a jolt when I stumbled upon the cranberry muffins Uniflame had baked. Just perfect! Except.. they weren’t vegan. But now that I’ve been ExtraVeganza for more than a year, it’s about time I took on a challenging recipe to veganize. So I went back to the original Dutch recipe on Yummy in my Tummy and got to work.

What do you know? I was done in a jiffy! :) [drumroll..] Here’s the result!

Vegan cranberry muffins

These muffins are awesome! Light, sweet -but not too much- and with a sour ‘pang’ each time you bite a cranberry. So I’m MEGA proud of myself — and future veganizing projects seem less daunting! #happy :)

Now I’m rather eager to share the recipe with you all!

Vegan cranberry muffins

Makes about 16 cakes.

Ingredients

  • 150 gr fresh cranberries (washed)
  • 265 gr all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 160 gr demerara sugar (cane) sugar
  • 240 ml (1 cup) vanilla soy milk
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) soy yoghurt
  • 85 gr vegan butter or margarine (I use Provamel Bio Soya Cook & Spread)*
  • zest of 1 organic orange
  • pinch of salt
  • optional: powdered (confectioners) sugar

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C ().
  2. Grease a muffin tin or fill either silicon or disposable cupcake liners.
  3. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Whisk well.
  4. Add orange zest.
  5. Melt the butter.
  6. Combine the soy milk and yoghurt in another bowl or measuring cup, add the melted butter and stir well.
  7. Add the wet to the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until batter is just mixed.
  8. Spoon batter in muffin pan/cupcake liners. (You can also use a piping bag or sturdy plastic bag with a corner cut of but I find this too much trouble.)
  9. Bake the muffins about 20 minutes in the oven; they should be golden and when you pierce them with a skewer it should come out dry.
    Mine took 23 minutes but it depends on your oven.
  10. Let the cakes cool down in the tin for 5 minutes, then take them out and let cool further on a rack.
  11. If you wish you can sprinkle the muffins with powdered sugar after they have cooled down completely. I didn’t find this necessary taste wise.

Enjoy! :)

The whole batch of cranberry muffins cooling down

Can you freeze these muffins?
Although these muffins are best eaten on the same or next day, they stay pretty good for a while longer. It’s just that the top gets a little sticky after two days, but you can hide fix this with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
After freezing they still taste very good, but again the top gets sticky and the texture less fluffy: a little drier and more compact. So they’re fine, but not their original awesomeness. ;)

With all the exclamation marks in this post I guess I left the quiet-modus very quickly. :) Well, that just shows you my enthusiasm about these muffins! So I hope you’ll be trying them someday too. :)

Now Mr Gnoe has woken up and it’s time to get the day started — maybe do some more baking this weekend? ;)

- – – – -

Part of the February Sweet Luv event on Zesty Palette

'Sweet Luv' event button

& Zesty Palette’s ongoing Bake Fest #4 hosted by Tomato Blues

Bake Fest button

* I’m not a shareholder of Provamel! ;) I’ve just had great experience with their products. You can use any plant-based butter but if it’s got vitamin D3 added (which it often does), it’s not vegan!

Don’t you think my first bento of 2012 has a bit of a festive look to it?

Confetti Bento (1st of the year), 12-01-2012

Since CSA season is over I had to made do with the last veggies in my fridge. But lunch turned out to be a feast anyway!

So what’s what?

The left tier contains a Mexican-inspired salad of 3 colours paprika, pickle, cucumber and a (vegan) chilli sauce based dressing. Next to that a nut mix of almonds & pistachios and a vegan variation of the cauliflower dip Chinoiseries shared in our New Year’s Dip Quartet, topped with a black olive.

The right tier has some bean sprout mix, simmered kabocha pumpkin (freezer stash), mini plum tomatoes — the very last tomatoes in da house, saved especially for this lunch — kiwi fruit, an orange baby bell pepper, ‘floppy Jane’ (a vegan sloppy Jane I totally messed up by misreading the recipe) and another gherkin.

Curried cauliflower dip

Chinoiseries' Cauliflower Dip

I’m a real cauliflower fan but due to a bad local season for this type of veg we hardly got any in our CSA. By Christmas I was really craving it so when one of my fellow members of the New Year’s Dip Quartet posted a cauliflower spread recipe… I couldn’t get it out of my head!

A large head of cauliflower was about the first thing I bought in the new year. :) We ate part of it cooked with mushroom gravy, a few florets went into a stir-fry and then I still had about 135 grams left. I told you this head was a BIG!

Now it was time to have a taste of that delicious sounding dip. Just one problem: Chinoiseries’ recipe calls for 200 grams of cauliflower! But she said we’d better use less… so I figured it would be all right. And was it?

I’ll tell you right away: I really like this spread and will certainly make it again! But it didn’t taste enough of cauliflower for my liking… More of onion and garlic :) Now I really like those too, but this is a cauliflower dip so next time I will go back to the original amount of 200 grams.

I also didn’t use all of the lemon juice and soy yoghurt the instructions called for: just 1 teaspoon of juice and 4 yoghurt. True, my spread could have been smoother. But the more liquid I added, the less veg I tasted! Now the interesting thing is: I also really liked the stage before adding these! It may even become my favourite way to make the recipe from now on?! The paste is more like a roasted cauliflower tapenade that way.

You can find the original cauliflower dip recipe in the New Year’s Dip Quartet on Always Cooking Up Something (please use soy yoghurt or faux sour cream for a vegan version). I will share my roasted tapenade below!

Roasted cauliflower tapenade

With my love for cauliflower, you can bet on me checking out several of the recipes in the Healing Foods event held on Zesty Palette this month! I hope some of the other participants will also try this roasted cauliflower tapenade?

Healing Foods: Cauliflower (button)

Ingredients

  • 175-200 gr cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • salt & pepper
  • optional: a little lemon zest or yuzu powder

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 190 °C.
  2. Clean the cauliflower and cut into small florets, edible parts of the stem into small dices.
  3. Pat dry and transfer to a baking dish. Note: you could line your baking dish with aluminium foil first as the original recipe tells you, but I try to keep my use of tinfoil to a minimum as its production is VERY bad for the environment. I think the only use here is that you don’t have to wash your baking tin afterwards… And we are no lazy bums, are we? ;)
  4. Mix in garlic and onion with cauliflower.
  5. In a bowl, mix all remaining ingredients (except optional lemon zest/yuzu powder).
  6. Add the dressing to the vegetable mix, making sure all the cauliflower is covered.
  7. Put into the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes. Check to see whether the cauliflower is done, a knife should easily cut through.
  8. Transfer to a food processor and blend until you’ve got a pasty mixture resembling tapenade.
  9. If you chose to add lemon zest or yuzu powder: this is the time. You may also add more salt & pepper to taste.
  10. Let it cool.

Enjoy!

Check out What’s for Lunch Wednesday (week 85) for some other great bentos!

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Midnight Maniac’s Meatless Mondays

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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