(Bacon) Bourbon Truffles

Posted: February 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Dessert, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , | No Comments »


Photo by Edrabbit

I know, I know, it’s a little late, but these rich treats are a perfect Valentine’s day gift. Bookmark this for next year! I made these for my sweetie this year. I made half of them with bacon and half of them without. Both versions are delicious, it just depends on how much you love bacon. They’re dairy free, and if you leave out the bacon they’re vegan!

(Bacon) Bourbon Truffles

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

INGREDIENTS

For the filling:
1/4 cup soy milk (or heavy cream)
4 tablespoons dairy-free margarine, like Earth Balance (butter works too, if you aren’t vegan) (Note: replacing part of this with bacon grease would be good if you really like bacon!)
12 oz semisweet chocolate (I like Guittard chocolate chips, which are vegan)
1/4 cup bourbon (I used Bulleit)
4 pieces of bacon
Cocoa powder, for rolling

For the coating:
12 oz. semisweet chocolate (again, Guittard chocolate chips are great)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut bacon into bits and cook it in a frying pan. Allow to drain on paper towels.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the soy milk and margarine over medium-low heat. Stir until the margarine melts and the soy milk simmers. Remove from heat and add 12 oz. chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. A whisk is helpful here. Pour in the bourbon and bacon bits and mix thoroughly. Pour into a bowl. Cover and freeze until just firm enough to mound in a spoon, about 40 minutes.
  3. Line the bottom of a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Scoop out the filling by tablespoonfuls, spacing them evenly. Roll them into rough balls. This will be messy, and they don’t have to be perfect-looking. Cover and return to the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. Pour cocoa powder onto a plate. Roll chocolate balls in cocoa powder to coat evenly. Re-roll balls to even them out — the cocoa powder will help them not melt and stick to your hands. They should look more like actual spheres now.
  5. Return truffles to the foil-lined baking sheet, cover, and put in the freezer while you prepare the coating.
  6. To make the coating, melt 12 oz. of chocolate in a double boiler until it’s smooth. Remove from heat.
  7. Re-roll truffles between your palms to remove any loose cocoa. Gently drop one truffle ball into the melted chocolate coating, tilting the pan if necessary to coat the ball completely. Slip a fork under the truffle, lift it from the chocolate, and tap the fork gently against the side of the pan to allow any excess chocolate to drip off. Using a knife, gently slide the truffle off the fork onto the foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining truffles.
  8. Refrigerate, uncovered, until firm, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

(Bacon) Beer Bread

Posted: February 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Bread, Dairy-free, Quickbreads, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , | No Comments »

Bacon Beer Bread

My friend Mazzie tipped me onto this crazy stuff. Beer bread is a quickbread, but some reaction between the beer and the flour gives the bread a texture that’s surprisingly similar to yeasted bread (which, of course, takes significantly longer to make). It has a slight sweetness to it, making it somewhat perplexing: is it savory, or is it for dessert? Well, honestly, you could have it either way. It would be great with a hearty stew. You can also put whatever you want in it. I chose to put bacon in it, but chunks of cheese would be a good choice too. Or, if you leave the bacon out, the bread becomes vegan. It takes about 5 minutes to stir together and an hour to cook. Easy peasy.

(Bacon) Beer Bread

Adapted from this recipe

INGREDIENTS

3 cups all purpose flour, sifted*
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 12-ounce can of beer
4 slices bacon (omit for vegan)
1/4 cup bacon grease, or butter, or margarine

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. Cut bacon into bits and cook in a frying pan. Place on paper towel to drain.
  3. Mix dry ingredients with beer.
  4. Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Pour bacon grease, butter, or margarine over the top of the batter.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from pan and let cool at least 15 minutes before serving

* According to the recipe I used, sifting is not optional. If you don’t want to sift, you can spoon the flour into the measuring cup. The goal is to avoid scooping it out of the container and leveling it off, which compacts the flour. If you do that, you’ll add too much flour and the bread will turn out brick-like. I used the spooning method and it worked fine.


Tom Kha Gai

Posted: February 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Poultry, Soup, Thai | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Tom Kha Gai

A few weeks ago we had a Thai-themed potluck at our house. It was a fantastic success. Tom kha gai! Cucumber salad! Banh mi! Spring rolls! Tea salad! Pineapple fried rice! Pumpkin curry! Pad thai! Sticky rice & mango! My contribution was tom kha gai, the delicious coconut milk soup that has always been my favorite Thai dish. I’d never cooked Thai food before, but it turned out to be incredibly easy. The catch is that you have to have access to some ingredients that might be hard to acquire, especially if you don’t live in a big city. But if you can find the ingredients, this soup is well worth making.

Tom Kha Gai

From CHOW

INGREDIENTS
4 cups chicken stock (Swanson’s Organic is good)
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
Juice and zest of 1 lime
2 crushed kaffir lime leaves (if you can find them – if not, it’s okay to omit)
4-inch section lemongrass
1-inch section galangal, sliced (similar to ginger)
1/4 pound chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk (Chao Koh brand is good)
2 to 10 (to taste) small red thai chiles, slightly crushed
Cilantro leaves for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring chicken stock, fish sauce, lemongrass, and galangal to a boil. Simmer 20 minutes. Strain if desired (the lemongrass and galangal is not edible).
  2. Add chicken pieces, coconut milk, and chiles. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add lime juice and zest and stir till mixed. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Posted: February 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Cookies, Dairy-free, Dessert, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: | No Comments »

Peanut Butter Cookies

When I was a kid, I loved my mom’s old Betty Crocker Cooky Book. I think it was all the colorful cookies that enthralled me. Oddly, I only ever made one recipe from it regularly: Peanut Butter Cookies. They’re fantastic cookies so I never got bored of it. A few years ago for my birthday, my parents gave me a reprinted version of this book, which was originally published in 1963. It was then that I renewed my love of this peanut butter cookies recipe. Tonight I made a vegan version for a bunch of friends and everyone raved about how good they were. Thanks Betty!

Betty Crocker’s Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe is doubled from the original, and produces about 3 dozen cookies.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup peanut butter (best if you use good, natural, unsalted, crunchy peanut butter)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Mix butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingedients.
  4. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients until well blended.
  5. Roll dough into 1 1/4″ balls and put them on a cookie sheet. Mash with a fork in a criss-cross pattern. Bake in a 375°F oven for 10 minutes. Cookies should be very slightly browned around the edges but still gooey and shiny looking in the center. Allow them to cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

To make these vegan, I substituted Earth Balance margarine for the butter, and Ener-G egg replacer for the egg. Two eggs worth of replacer is 1 tablespoon of egg replacer powder + 1/4 cup warm water, whisked together. I found that there wasn’t enough moisture though, so I added some soymilk, a bit at a time, until the dough came together with the right consistency. It should stick together and not be crumbly, but it shouldn’t be too mushy. I also added a little canola oil because some of the peanut butter I’d used was extremely dry.


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