Apricot Cupcakes (vegan)

Posted: September 16th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Cupcakes, Dairy-free, Dessert, Ice Cream, Vegan, Vegetarian | No Comments »

Apricot cupcakes

For our friends Alice & Tom‘s Babywarming/Birthday party, I wanted to make something a little different, a little brunchier than my typical uber-rich chocolate cupcakes. Since I have a pantry full of apricot jam I decided to make apricot cupcakes.

I used the “Golden Vanilla Cupcakes” recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World which, by the way, you should own if you don’t already. No cookbook on my shelf is more dog-eared than this one. The recipes are truly delicious and even the most hardened butter lovers will have to admit that these are damn fine cupcakes, rivaling animal product filled-pastries any day. Why vegan, Heather? After all, you eat bacon like it’s going out of style! Well, my husband is lactose intolerant and the percentage of my friends that are vegan is high enough that there’s always a couple of people whose faces will light up when you tell them your cupcakes are vegan. Plus, as I already mentioned, these are fantastic cupcakes in their own right. Frankly, I’ve tried making non-vegan cupcakes and they’re just not as good, not as moist and flavorful. And just look at them!

Apricot cupcakes

As I said, I used the “Golden Vanilla” cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. I added an extra 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract because almond and apricot are two flavors that go together fabulously. Once the baked cupcakes were cool, I poked a hole in the center of each one and used a chopstick to shove some apricot jam in there. Yum. I made frosting according to the “Raspberry Buttercream” recipe in the same book, substituting about 4 tablespoons of apricot jam for the raspberry syrup. I threw in another 1/4 teaspoon of that almond extract in to boot. The result? Wonderfully moist, apricoty, almondy cupcakes. Happy Sunday!

Apricot cupcakes


Olallieberry Jam

Posted: July 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Preserves, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , | No Comments »

Baskets of berries

A few weeks ago, my friend Rich alerted me that olallieberry season was upon us. We’d previously talked about how much fun it would be to go berry picking, especially for the elusive olallieberry, a hybrid available almost exclusively in Central/Northern California and almost never in the grocery store. So on a sunny Sunday in late June, a bunch of us piled into the car and headed south to Swanton Berry Farms’ Coastways Ranch to pick some berries. We had a great time in the sun, picking strawberries and olallieberries with a central coast ocean breeze whipping our hair about and keeping us cool.

Mella is pleased
Mella, proud of her haul.

For more photos, please visit my Flickr set.

After a day of picking, we headed back to the Mooflyfood, Inc. kitchens in San Francisco. Rich started on a couple of olallieberry-strawberry pies, while I began the process of making jam. The reason I began canning again in 2008 was because I wanted to make olallieberry jam, but unfortunately I kept missing the season by a couple of weeks. I was excited to finally be making the jam I’d been waiting literally years to make. I cobbled together the recipe from a few different sources on the internet, modifying them extensively to suit my low-sugar preferences. This is what I did.

Olallieberry Jam

This should work fine with blackberries if you don’t have olallieberries in your area.

INGREDIENTS
1 1.75 oz. package Sure-Jell no-sugar pectin (powder)
8 cups olallieberries (about 2.5 lbs)
4 cups sugar

DIRECTIONS
In a large pot, crush berries with a potato masher. Stir in pectin and mix well. Heat mixture on high until it reaches a full boil. Add sugar all at once and mix well. Continue cooking on high heat till it reaches a full boil again, stirring constantly. Cook at a full boil for one more minute, skimming foam. Remove from heat. Ladle into sterilized jars and process. For a reminder on how to sterilize jars and process jam, please click here for my tutorial.

Yield: About 6 half-pint jars, maybe a little more.


(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.


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.


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.

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!

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