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.


Chicken Dumpling Soup

Posted: January 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Other, Poultry, Soup | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Chicken Dumpling Soup

On Wednesday evening, my friend Morley came over for an evening of wine, soup, Obama, and studying. It was a good night. I had a bunch of bread-ends in the freezer that needed to be used up, so I decided to make chicken dumpling soup. The basic soup started with the chicken noodle soup recipe I posted not too long ago, but I omitted the noodles in lieu of dumplings. Morley had brought some lovely farm share leeks so I chopped those up and added them to the stock, which added a lovely, subtle new dimension. I’d never made dumplings before so I kind of winged it but it turned out great! The dumplings were a perfect, slightly sweet, spiced foil for the salty soup, and they stayed together wonderfully (much to my surprise). I used this recipe as a starting point for the dumplings, but ended up changing it pretty heavily. Here’s how I did it.

Chicken Dumpling Soup

INGREDIENTS

One batch of my chicken noodle soup, omitting the noodles and adding one chopped leek at the same time you add the onions, celery, and garlic.

6 cups bread crumbs (I used the ends of a few loaves of Orowheat whole wheat bread, pulverized in the blender)
1 cup soy milk (or real milk, or cream — I used soy so Ed could eat them)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 whole egg + the yolk of another egg
Olive oil for frying (a couple tablespoons)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make chicken soup per the other recipe.
  2. While the soup is boiling, whisk together bread crumbs, salt, nutmeg, thyme, turmeric, nutritional yeast, and pepper.
  3. Add soymilk and mix well. Allow to soak in for a few minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and egg yolk well. Add to the breadcrumb mixture and mix well. Roll into 1 1/4 inch balls and place on parchment paper. They’ll be a little mushy but don’t worry about it.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat it.
  6. Place evenly spaced dumplings in frying pan, minding the fact that it might spatter. Don’t place the dumplings too close to each other or they’ll be difficult to turn.
  7. When dumplings are dark golden brown on one side, turn them to another side and cook till it’s dark golden brown too. Repeat as many times as necessary until all sides are golden brown and crispy.
  8. Keep the dumplings separate from the soup. Add them to each bowl just prior to serving. They stay together fairly well in the soup, but not much longer than the time it takes to eat it. To reheat dumplings (as serving as leftovers), microwave them for 30 seconds before adding them to hot soup.

Italian Sausage Soup with Croutons

Posted: January 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Soup | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Italian Sausage Soup

I’ve discovered the wonders of soup-making just in time for this ultra-rainy San Francisco winter. It’s so easy and satisfying! There’s nothing quite as lovely than a steaming hot bowl of homemade soup to slurp as the rain drips outside and the heater struggles to keep your home warm.

Italian Sausage Soup

Adapted from this recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 lb ground Italian sausage
3 cloves garlic, smashed
6 leaves fresh basil, ripped
2 carrots, peeled, cut into rounds
2 red potatoes, peeled, cubed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 15oz. cans beans (butter beans are good, and so are black eyed peas), drained
1 15oz. can diced tomatoes
26 oz. container of Swanson’s beef stock (the good stuff, without MSG)
1 15oz. can’s worth of water
Splash of olive oil (1 tablespoon?)
Splash red wine
Salt, to taste (1 1/2 teaspoons?)
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste (1/2 teaspoon?)
Crushed red pepper, to taste (1/4 teaspoon?)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop all veggies. Drain beans.
  2. Remove sausage from casing and separate into chunks. Heat olive oil in large pot. Brown sausage in oil till cooked through.
  3. Add onions, garlic, and basil. Saute a few minutes.
  4. Add everything else except the beans. Stir well. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Cover and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, covered. Add beans. Simmer another 5 minutes, covered. Make sure potatoes and carrots are soft enough. Serve with baguette croutons (recipe below).

Baguette Croutons

INGREDIENTS

Sweet baguette
Olive oil
Salt
Garlic salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Toss slices of baguette with a generous amount of olive oil, salt, and garlic salt, to taste. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Flip each crouton over and bake another 10 minutes, checking to make sure they aren’t getting burnt. Croutons should be golden brown and crispy.

Popovers

Posted: January 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Bread, Dairy-free, Vegetarian | Tags: | 2 Comments »

Popovers

Martha Stewart has treated me well this month. This recipe is easy as pie to make and quite tasty. Also very simple to make dairy-free.

Incidentally, everyone was right: a Dutch Baby is nothing more than an overgrown popover.

Popovers

From Martha Stewart Living, January 2010

Yield: 12 small popovers made in a regular muffin tin, or 6 popovers made in a popover tin.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups whole milk or soy milk
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs, lightly whisked
butter or margarine

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Whisk eggs. Whisk together milk, flour and salt. Batter will be lumpy. Whisk in eggs.
  3. Heat muffin tin or popover tin in oven for a few minutes. Brush butter or margarine in each cup generously.
  4. Fill each cup a little over halfway with batter. Bake 20 minutes.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until golden brown, about 25 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.
  6. If not serving immediately, poke a small hole in each popover to let steam escape. Reheat when you want to serve them.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Posted: January 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Pasta, Poultry, Soup | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Chicken Noodle Soup

My poor Ed has come down with some sort of sickness, so I decided to make him some chicken noodle soup from scratch. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to canned soup now. This stuff turned out downright amazing. I combined a recipe for chicken soup from the January 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living and this recipe by Tyler Florence and came up with this. Tasty tasty. Comfort food at its best.

NOTE: I have edited this a bit since I first posted it. Tweaked the quantities to make more soup happen! It’s great reheated. I’ve also made a few variations since I originally posted it: adding leftover spiced rice or dumplings instead of noodles, adding leeks, etc. I’ll post the dumpling recipe soon…

Chicken Noodle Soup

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, January 2010, and Tyler Florence

Yield: About 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs chicken thighs (about 5 thighs) (frozen or thawed, doesn’t really matter)
14 cups water
3 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 celery stalks, sliced in half lengthwise then chopped
3 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
1 small jalapeno pepper, cut into rounds (optional)
6-8 oz. wide egg noodles (or rice, or dumplings, or whatever you’d like)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring chicken, water, salt, pepper, bay leaf and thyme to a boil.
  2. Add onions, celery and garlic. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken thighs. Add carrots. Simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes.
  4. While soup is simmering, remove chicken from the bone by using two forks. Pull into bite-sized pieces. Add bones back to soup as you’re going.
  5. When 30 minutes is up, add egg noodles. Taste broth and add more salt or pepper if it’s needed. I added a bit more salt. When in doubt, add more salt.
  6. Turn up the heat a bit and cook, uncovered, until noodles are tender — about 10-12 minutes.
  7. Add chicken back into soup and stir until it’s heated. Remove bones. Adjust salt and pepper as necessary. At the very end, add jalapeno peppers.

I love how easy it is to make soup!


Rum Balls

Posted: December 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Cookies, Dairy-free, Dessert, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments »

Rum balls - the final product

This is another Lynch family classic recipe. I’ve been making these with my mom for as long as I can remember. Be warned: since these aren’t baked, they remain slightly alcoholic. However, the amount of alcohol in a single rum ball is pretty minor so you don’t need to worry about getting drunk unless you eat a whole batch (in which case you probably have other problems to worry about, like a stomachache!). I don’t know where the recipe originates, but I think it’s one of those 1960’s recipes that was passed around between housewives. I have at least one other friend who grew up making these.

The funny thing is, these decadent confections can easily be made vegan, with a little attention to ingredient lists. Make sure that your chocolate chips have no dairy (Guittard is my favorite) and look for generic brand Nilla wafers that don’t contain any eggs or dairy. The brand I use, Valu Time (!) is actually far “better” for you than name-brand Nilla Wafers. The name brand version contains all kinds of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup, whereas Valu Time is mostly real sugar and non-hydrogenated oils. And they leave out the dairy products too (name brand Nillas have whey in them).

You can make these with bourbon instead of rum if you wish. I’ve never done it (the family tradition is to use rum) but I bet it’s delicious!

Rum Balls

INGREDIENTS

6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (vegan)
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup rum or bourbon
2 1/2 cups crushed Nilla wafers (approx. 1 12-oz. box) (real Nillas are not vegan, but sometimes the generic brands are)
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Ingredients for rum balls

DIRECTIONS

  1. Crush Nilla wafers in a food processor, blender, or by putting them in a bag and rolling them with a rolling pin. Chop nuts, if they’re not pre-cut.
  2. Mix nuts, powdered sugar, and crushed Nilla wafers in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Melt chocolate chips and corn syrup in a double boiler.
  4. Pour melted chocolate mixture over the Nilla wafer mixture. Add rum and mix well.
  5. Let stand 1/2 hour at room temp for 30 minutes. Do not skip this step! It gives the rum time to soak into the Nilla wafer crumbs.
  6. Roll dough into balls and coat with powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container.

Rum balls marinating


Cranberry Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Posted: December 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Cookies, Dessert, Vegetarian | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Cranberry shortbread cookies

What does one do with a bunch of leftover cranberry sauce? Make cookies, of course. The cranberry sauce is sweet enough that it can be enjoyed in both sweet and savory contexts. It was the inspiration for these tender little sandwiches.

Cranberry Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Adapted from Sunset Magazine, December 2009

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour
1 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
leftover cranberry sauce (you shouldn’t need too much)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Using an electric mixer (preferably a stand mixer), mix flour, butter, sugar, and salt on low speed until just blended. Increase speed to medium and mix until dough is no longer crumbly and just comes together. It might take a while; don’t lose patience.
  2. Form dough into a disk and chill 30 minutes.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough 1/8″ thick. Cut out cookies into whatever shape you desire. I used a knife to cut mine into squares, but you can use cookie cutters too. Re-roll dough if necessary. Cut small “windows” out of half of the cookies: they will be the top of the sandwich.
  4. Preheat oven to 325°F. Put cookies into refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes while the oven is preheating. Bake until light golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Let cool.
  5. Spread each bottom half with about 1/2 teaspoon cranberry sauce, then put the top half on top and press very gently (cookies will be delicate, so be careful not to break them).
  6. Store in a covered container. You can eat the cookies right after you make them, but they’re actually better the next day when the sauce has soaked in a little.

Martha’s Cranberry Sauce

Posted: December 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Other, Preserves, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

Midnight snack

I know, I know, Thanksgiving is a couple weeks past already. But this recipe is just too good to not share! I brought it to two Thanksgivings this year and everyone was a big fan. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart. It’s also incredibly easy to make. Thanks, Martha!

Pictured above on a post-Thanksgiving dinner midnight snack: a tiny turkey & cranberry sandwich, featuring my dad’s delicious dairy-free biscuits.

Cranberry Ginger Relish

From Martha Stewart Living, November 2008

INGREDIENTS

1 12-oz. bag cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
pinch salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. If using fresh cranberries, rinse well and pick out any mushy ones.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring everything except vinegar to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of the cranberries have “popped”, 10-15 minutes.
  3. Stir in vinegar.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate up to 3 days. (Personally, I find it lasts much longer than 3 days in the fridge, given the high sugar and acidity.)

Coconut Chicken (or Tofu) & Rice

Posted: December 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Poultry, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Coconut Chicken & Rice

Tonight was one of those nights. I got home from work and asked Ed, “Have you thought about dinner yet?” “I would like to eat it.” “Yeah, me too.” Both of us were feeling pretty apathetic about the whole thing and neither of us had a clue what we wanted to eat. Being accustomed to eating out all the time, we have these nights pretty regularly now that we’re trying to cook at home more often.

I decided I would make something with chicken and rice, since we had both readily available. But what kind of chicken and rice? “Chicken and rice” sounds so utterly boring. I searched the internet and came up with a million recipes involving cream of mushroom soup. No thanks. Even if that was something I stocked my pantry with — and it’s not — Ed would never in a million years be able to eat it. Finally, I happened across this recipe — a breath of fresh air! I decided to spice it up a bit, leaving out the things I didn’t have (pimiento, saffron, green peppers) and adding a bunch of things I did (coconut milk, raisins, red peppers, and a bunch of spices). The result was hearty and delicious — salty, sweet, and subtly spicy: an updated version of the classic cream of mushroom soup recipes. Perfect fare for those freezing nights when all you want to do is eat some comfort food and curl up with a good book.

This dish is also dairy and gluten free, and can easily be made vegan by substituting cubes of tofu for the chicken. And did I mention it was incredibly easy to make? Just leave a bit of time for it to bake; it needs to be in the oven about an hour and a half.

Coconut Chicken & Rice

Yield: 4 large servings, plus extra rice
Time to cook: 1 1/2 hours, plus a few minutes of prep

INGREDIENTS

4 1/2-lb pieces of chicken (I used 2 bone-in thighs and two boneless skinless breasts) (replace with 1 pound of firm tofu, cut into 1cm cubes for vegan)
2 cups short grain brown rice
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 small cloves garlic, smashed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz frozen green peas (half of a 16-oz. package)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup raisins (I used thompson flame raisins)
1 13.5oz can of coconut milk
1 1/4 cups water (stock would be tasty too, I bet)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat a cast-iron dutch oven (or similar heavy, oven-safe pan) over med-high and add olive oil. Sautee pepper and onion until onions are starting to get translucent and soft.
  2. Turn off the heat and add all other ingredients except chicken (or tofu). Stir well, till everything is mixed. The veggies will float but that’s okay.
  3. If using chicken, dunk chicken pieces into the mixture till submerged, then bring them back out and rest them on top of it (chicken will be submerged about halfway). Sprinkle a little more kosher salt over the tops of the chicken pieces. If using tofu, just mix the cubes of tofu in with the rest of the ingredients. Cover the pot and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove cover and cook for 5 more minutes. That’s it!

Dairy-free Cherry Ice Cream (vegan, if you eat honey)

Posted: November 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Dessert, Ice Cream, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: | No Comments »

Coconut milk cherry ice cream

At the request of my lovely lactarded fiance, I made some cherry ice cream with coconut milk. Added bonus: it cleared some of those damn cherries out of our freezer!

Dairy-free Cherry Ice Cream

Adapted from 101cookbooks.com

INGREDIENTS

1 14 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup pitted, chopped cherries (I used ones I picked during the summer and froze)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Amaretto or cherry liqueur

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a bowl, mash the chopped cherries so some of their juice comes out. Add juice + everything but the amaretto to a saucepan and heat until honey is melted. Don’t let it boil fully — just heat it.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in Amaretto. Cover and put in the fridge to chill until it’s cool. Be patient — if you try to freeze the mix while it’s still warm, your ice cream won’t have a good texture.
  3. Freeze per your ice cream maker’s instructions. Put in containers and let freeze fully in the freezer for another 12 hours or so.

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