Veganifying “Mrs. Fields” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted: November 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Cookies, Dairy-free, Dessert, Vegan | No Comments »

Chocolate chip cookies, fresh out of the oven.

Remember this? It’s my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe in the world. My only problem with it is that it’s not vegan, nor is it dairy free. This means that neither my fiance nor many of my friends can eat them. Needless to say, that’s not a good situation for my waistline. So I figured out how to veganify them. They’re just as delicious without animal products — though be warned, they don’t stay good for nearly as long. If your house is anything like mine, though, that won’t really matter.

Vegan “Mrs. Fields” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: About 50 cookies


1 cup Earth Balance margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Ener-g egg replacer plus 1/4 cup warm water, mixed well
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 12-oz. package vegan chocolate chips
1/4 cup soy milk (approximately)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Cream the margarine, sugars, and vanilla with a mixer until fluffy.
  3. Add replacer + water. Mix well.
  4. Add salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour. Mix well.
  5. Put the 2 1/2 cups oatmeal into the blender and whiz it till it’s ground like flour. Add to the dough and mix well. It should be pretty thick at this point.
  6. The dough will probably be pretty dry and crumbly at this point. Add some soy milk and mix it in until it’s the consistency of thick cookie batter — about 1/4 cup.
  7. Add chocolate chips and mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly incorporated. It should look about like this:

    Nothing quite like cookie dough.

  8. Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet.
  9. Bake one sheet at a time for about 9 minutes, or until the peaks of the cookies are just getting golden brown but the rest of the cookie is still light and looks uncooked (it should still be shiny).
  10. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire cooling rack. (Cookies will fall apart if you try to transfer them sooner.)
  11. Devour.

Vegan Alfredo

Posted: November 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Pasta, Vegan, Vegetarian | 3 Comments »

...Vegan alfredo! Yum.

Inspired by Arlette, I’ve been making Vegan Yum Yum’s vegan alfredo the past couple of weeks. The only reason I haven’t posted about it yet is because it’s surprisingly hard to photograph: by the time you remember to get the camera out, you’ve already eaten it all! This happened to me at least twice. It’s just that good. No, it’s not exactly the same as “real” alfredo but who cares? It’s tasty in its own right, and far healthier.

I like to call this recipe a vegan chemistry experiment. It’s made out of a bunch of random pantry and fridge staples that most people would probably never think to combine. It’s really satisfying to turn a pile of ingredients into something you’d never expect from them.

Vegan chemistry experiment

I took a cue from Arlette and doubled the cashews. I also reduced the soy sauce and nutritional yeast quantities a bit because the first time I made it, those flavors were too strong for my taste.

I have to say, this recipe is one of the easiest things to make in my dinner arsenal. You literally throw all the ingredients into a blender, turn it on, and about 1 minute later you’re done. Oh, and boil the pasta. Seriously though, cooking doesn’t get much quicker than that. It reheats pretty well too (unlike real alfredo).

Vegan Alfredo

Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum’s Hurry Up Alfredo

Serves about 4 people — depending on appetites.


1 cup soymilk
2/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons Earth Balance
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pinch nutmeg
black pepper, to taste
toasted pine nuts (optional)


  1. Boil water and cook your favorite pasta to eat with alfredo.
  2. While the pasta’s cooking, put all ingredients into the blender. Blend on high for about 30 seconds to a minute, until it’s reached a creamy consistency.
  3. Pour sauce over cooked, drained pasta and toss. I like to throw in some toasted pine nuts too. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you add to this dish.
  4. Serve with fresh ground black pepper. (Don’t tell but I like to put fresh grated parmesan cheese on top of mine. Hey, I never claimed to be vegan myself! I just like to make tasty things for my lactose intolerant fiance and my vegan friends.)
  5. That’s it!

Swiss Chard with Bacon and Habanero

Posted: November 15th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »

Swiss chard with bacon and habanero!

Last weekend, my dear friends Morley and Mike had Ed and I over for dinner. Morley whipped up this incredible swiss chard, which she made with habanero infused olive oil. Tonight, I decided to see if I could make something similar. I didn’t have any habanero infused olive oil, but I did have a delightful little orange pepper at my disposal. I’d seen a recipe for chard with pancetta in a magazine, so I was inspired to throw a slice of bacon in, too. The result? Absolutely delicious.

Swiss Chard with Bacon and Habanero

Serves 2 as a side dish.


4 stalks/leaves swiss chard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 piece bacon, chopped (I like thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon) (omit for vegan)
1 clove garlic, smashed
a bit of habanero, minced — to taste
kosher salt, to taste


  1. Mince habanero (use gloves, as this is a spicy spicy pepper). Chop bacon. Cut stems off of chard, chop into bite-sized pieces. Chop chard leavees into rough, bite-sized squares. Keep leaves separate from stalks.
  2. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Cook bacon bits a minute or two, turning, until it’s nearly done.
  3. Add garlic and habanero; sautee another minute or two.
  4. Add chard stalks and toss. Sautee 4 minutes.
  5. Add chard leaves. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Toss until everything is mixed well.
  6. Cover and cook 4 more minutes, or until leaves are wilted and soft. Serve immediately.

Note: Can easily be made vegan by omitting the bacon. Still quite tasty without it!

Vegan Pumpkin Ginger Ice Cream

Posted: November 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Dessert, Ice Cream, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Pumpkin Ginger Ice Cream (vegan!)

I think this ice cream speaks for itself. It’s vegan–made with coconut milk–and has chunks of candied ginger and ginger cookie dough. It’s ridiculously creamy, spicy, and delightful. I got the idea for the ginger cookie dough from my friend Josie, who, upon tasting this particular dough, declared that it would be fantastic in ice cream. She was absolutely correct.

Vegan Pumpkin Ginger Ice Cream

Adapted from Pumpkin Ice Cream, by Williams-Sonoma and Ginger Sparkle Cookies from Vegan With A Vengance.

Yield: About 1 quart.


For the ice cream:
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 14 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ tsp. salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1 tablespoon bourbon (I like Maker’s Mark)
¼ cup chopped candied ginger

For the cookie dough:
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
generous ½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon soymilk
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla


For the ice cream:

  1. Whisk together all ice cream ingredients except bourbon and candied ginger. Cover and refrigerate as long as you can stand, up to 24 hours. The longer the better. Admittedly I was impatient and only let it cool for about a half hour. It was still good.
  2. This is a good time to make and roll the cookie dough (see below).
  3. Freeze the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s directions. In the last five minutes of freezing, add the bourbon and candied ginger. When it’s done freezing, gently fold in the cookie dough balls. Transfer to a container and freeze in the freezer for another 12 hours. You can eat it now, but it will be really soft and much tastier after it’s hardened a bit.

For the cookie dough:

  1. Sift together flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the canola oil, molasses, soymilk, sugar, and vanilla.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.
  4. Roll into small (dime-sized) balls of dough.

*Note: This cookie dough won’t bake into proper cookies because it doesn’t have any leaveners in it.


If you prefer real dairy ice cream, just substitute 2 cups (1 pint) of heavy cream for the coconut milk. It will be divine, I promise.

If you accidentally picked up canned pumpkin pie mix instead of plain pumpkin, just reduce the sugar and spices a bit. Here’s what I did:

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
small pinch cloves
small pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Everything else remains the same.

Malaysian Chicken Curry… sorta.

Posted: November 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Curry, Dairy-free | Tags: , | No Comments »

Malaysian curry, sorta

Well, I’ve never actually had Malaysian curry before, so I have no idea how authentic it is — but this turned out pretty damn well. We had some frozen chicken breasts, coconut milk, potatoes, an onion, tomato paste, and a lot of spices. I knew I should be able to throw something tasty together. A quick search yielded this yummy-looking recipe, which I used to base this dinner on.


3 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large clove garlic, smashed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ lb. potatoes (I used 2 small purple ones and one medium red one), cut into uniform bite-sized pieces
3 oz. tomato paste (about ½ of one of those little cans)
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 ½ cups water or chicken stock
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon sugar
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried cilantro (¼ cup fresh would be way better)


  1. Chop up your potatoes, onions, and chicken.
  2. Mix all spices and sugar together in a small bowl. If you’re using fresh cilantro, leave it out till the end; otherwise, add it now.
  3. Whisk together the coconut milk, water or chicken broth, and tomato paste in a bowl.
  4. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and sautee until translucent.
  5. Add chicken and cook it a little, a minute or two.
  6. Add spices, liquids, and potatoes. Mix well.
  7. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through. Taste and adjust spices as necessary. If you’re using fresh cilantro, add it just before serving.

Serve over brown rice. Yum yum!

Broiled Grapefruit

Posted: October 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Dessert, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , | 7 Comments »

Hello friends! It’s been far too long since I posted. A lot has happened in the past few months. I went to Lark Camp, Burning Man, and the Florida Keys for Ed’s cousin Stephanie’s wedding. Oh and did I mention, I got engaged!! That’s right, my dearest Ed asked me to marry him the last night of Burning Man. :) Needless to say, it’s been a flurry of activity for a few months solid, leaving me with very little time or energy to cook, let alone write about cooking. But now that things have calmed down a bit, I can get my head straight and start getting back into my old routines.

Broiled Grapefruit

Tonight I was inspired by three delightful little grapefruits left at our house by the lovely Arlette. She had brought them to our engagement party to make some truly inspired Greyhounds, rimmed with homemade smoked salt. But I digress. Tonight there were no greyhounds– I’m sure mine would pale in comparison to Arlette’s anyway. Instead, I made a dessert that my parents have made for me for as long as I can remember: broiled grapefruit. It’s incredibly quick and easy to make. It doesn’t even really need a recipe.

First, turn your broiler on. Then cut your grapefruit in half horizontally and place it on a cookie sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut the edges of each triangle, which will make them easier to remove with a spoon later. Sprinkle with granulated sugar, followed with a bit of sherry. Place in broiler for about 8-9 minutes, until it starts slightly blackening on top (but don’t let it burn!). Take it out of the broiler, let it cool for a few minutes, and eat it with a spoon. Be sure to slurp up all the tasty juices from each grapefruit half! Getting messy is half the fun.

Broiled Grapefruit

Absinthe-Cardamom Cupcakes

Posted: July 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Cupcakes, Dairy-free, Dessert, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: | No Comments »

Absinthe-Cardamom Cupcake

Oh yes.

I have no special story for these ‘cakes, just a stroke of inspiration and a homey Sunday afternoon. I chose to make these vegan because Ed can’t do dairy and because I have a lot of vegan friends. And honestly? Vegan cupcakes are just as scrumptious as their animal-product counterparts. My cupcake bible is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. This recipe is based on the “Golden Vanilla Cupcakes” and the “Fluffy Buttercream Frosting” recipes in that book. The absinthe and cardamom are pretty subtle, but definitely there.

Absinthe-Cardamom Cupcakes

Adapted from “Golden Vanilla Cupcakes” and the “Fluffy Buttercream Frosting” in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Yield: 12 cupcakes


1/4 cup absinthe (I used Kubler)
3/4 cup soymilk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (heaping)
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (or more vanilla extract)

1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I like Spectrum)
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (I like Earth Balance)
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
3 tablespoons absinthe



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Whisk together soymilk, absinthe, and apple cider vinegar in a 2-cup measuring cup. Set aside to curdle.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.
  4. To the soymilk mixture, add sugar, oil, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix thoroughly. I like to use a whisk for this job.
  5. Add wet mix to dry and stir until there are no more clumps.
  6. Line cupcake tray with cupcake liners. Fill each cup 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  7. While they’re cooling, make the frosting!


  1. Beat all ingredients together till well incorporated and fluffy.
  2. When cupcakes are 100% cooled, frost them. Then devour.

Cherry Jam

Posted: July 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Preserves, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Last month, my friend Kai and I went on an epic cherry-picking expedition. We found ourselves at the Seko Ranch in Brentwood, California, high atop ladders, filling 10-gallon buckets with plump maroon Bing cherries. I picked 18 lbs and Kai got 14. We had our work cut out for ourselves.

Cherries cherries cherries cherries cherries cherries

After countless hours of pitting–with some much-appreciated assistance from my boyfriend Ed–I was ready to make some jam. Once again, David Lebovitz saved the day with his No Recipe Cherry Jam Recipe. I’ve adapted it a bit to suit my needs. I reduced the sugar and am giving you exact measurements. It’s easier than measuring out how much hot pre-sugared jam you have! Because I reduced the sugar, this jam is a bit runnier, but it’s still quite tasty. I really like it on pancakes and ice cream. It’s almost like chunky syrup.

Cherry Jam

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s No Recipe Cherry Jam Recipe

Makes 8 half-pint jars.


4 lbs cherries, pitted (weigh after pitting)
2 Meyer lemons – zest and juice only
4 cups sugar


  1. Start your water bath canner boiling. Put in 10 jars and rings to sterilize. If you’ve never canned before, please refer to my canning tutorial.
  2. Pit your cherries. I love my Oxo cherry pitter. Be warned: cherry juice will go EVERYWHERE, and it stains. You will end up looking a little like this:

    Cherry nonsense

  3. Reserve a couple handfuls of whole cherries, and roughly chop the rest. Put them in a large, heavy pot with the zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons.
  4. Cook for 20 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring often and scraping the bottom to prevent burning.
  5. Add sugar and boil for 10-20 minutes, skimming foam and stirring often.
  6. When bubbles die down and the jam starts to look gelled, go ahead and process it. (I had trouble getting it to gel, so I didn’t bother.) Ladle into hot sterilized jars, wipe rims, put lids and rings on, and boil in water bath canner for 15 minutes. Place hot, processed jars on cutting board or dish towel and allow to cool for 12 hours. If any of the lids don’t “pop” (indicating a proper seal), refrigerate and enjoy within two weeks.
  7. Note: David Lebovitz recommends adding a little kirsch (cherry liqueur) just before processing the jam. I think its a great idea, but I didn’t have any on hand so I haven’t tried it out.

Kathy’s Banana Bread, remixed

Posted: June 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Dessert, Gluten Free, Quickbreads, Vegetarian | Tags: | 5 Comments »

Banana bread!

Last week, I baked some banana bread for my friend Cat over at Baking With Cinnamon, which is a great baking blog that you should check out. Cat has thyroid cancer and is in the midst of preparing for another round of radioactive iodine treatment. Having had thyroid cancer myself and going through the same process a couple of years back, I know just how rough it is to be on a low iodine diet — where you have to make basically everything from scratch — while simultaneously experiencing severe thyroid hormone withdrawal. So I baked her some delicious low iodine banana bread so she’d have something nice to munch on without having to make it herself. Because there’s no dairy or soy in this recipe, the only thing I had to do to make it low iodine was leave out the egg yolks and make sure to use kosher salt (not sea salt or iodized salt) — but of course, you don’t have to do this unless you’re on a low iodine diet too. For the record, I noticed the loaf was a bit flatter and denser without the egg yolks.

This recipe originally came from my old boss, Kathy, who would bring loaves of banana bread into the office on a regular basis — much to our delight and our expanding waistlines. I mixed things up a bit by adding the spices and using 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar instead of one full cup of white sugar.

Kathy’s Banana Bread, Remixed


1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I like Spectrum, which is organic and made out of palm oil)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 ripened bananas – mashed
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour a loaf pan. For those not familiar with the technique, here’s how you do it. First, using a paper towel, rub a thin layer of oil — I use shortening — around the inside of the pan, completely coating it. Then add about a tablespoon or so of all purpose flour. Over the sink, shake it around so the flour coats the all surfaces: the bottom and all four sides, up to the top rim. Tap out any excess flour. You should now have a thin layer of grease and flour coating the inside of the pan. This will prevent sticking like nobody’s business.
  3. With a mixer, blend shortening and sugars till thoroughly combined.
  4. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Spices are to taste, so if you want to add more, have at it!
  5. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Make it gluten free!
To make this bread gluten free, substitute a flour blend of oat, millet, and sorghum (equal parts). Add 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum and 1 tablespoon (yes, tablespoon) baking powder. The flour mix is from Gluten Free Girl Every Day and the additional xanthan gum and baking powder is from the America’s Test Kitchen How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook.

Mom’s Apricot Jam

Posted: June 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Preserves, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: | 3 Comments »

Remember my story about making apricot jam with my mom and grandma when I was a kid? Well guess what folks: it’s finally apricot season. Last weekend Kai and I made the trek out to Brentwood to pick some cherries (more on that later). While we were there, we decided to stop by Peter Wolfe Ranch, which was right down the road. We were delighted to discover that they had apricots. And not just any apricots: Royal Blenheims, the best of the best, the apricots of my childhood. Jane Wolfe, who was tending to the fruit stand, greeted us with a half an apricot apiece. It was delicious and perfect: sweet, tart, just the right amount of softness and no mealiness whatsoever. Kai and I, despite having just picked more cherries than we knew what to do with, knew we had to buy some apricots. After chatting with Jane for a while, we each walked away with a half a lug of apricots — about 12 pounds apiece. The real kicker was the price: only $1 a pound! Let’s hear it for buying local, in-season produce.

Just look at these gorgeous apricots

This is the recipe for apricot jam that my mom used when she used to make it. It involves boiling the jam with the apricot kernels. To get at the kernels, you have to break the pit open with a hammer. This was always my job as a child, much to my delight. (What child doesn’t enjoy smashing things with a hammer?) The kernels give the jam a slightly almond flavor, which I love. They also contain cyanide, so don’t eat too many of them. I recommend using whole kernels so you can easily fish them out before canning the jam. That said, I’ve been eating this jam my whole life and my mom eats the kernels raw and we’re both still alive and kicking. If you’re really concerned, just leave them out. It’ll still be good.

Mom’s Apricot Jam

Yield: 10 half-pint jars


12 cups (about 6 lbs) apricots, halved and each half quartered. IMPORTANT: Use Royal Blenheim apricots ONLY — they’re the best!
3 cups sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
6 apricot kernels (use only whole kernels; discard any crushed kernels)


  1. Start your water bath canner boiling and place 12 half-pint jars in it to be sterilized. (The extra two are in case you end up with more jam than expected.) See my canning tutorial for more information on water bath canning.
  2. Chop your fruit, reserving pits.
  3. Using a hammer, smash the pits to retrieve the kernels inside.


  4. Stir apricots, lemon juice, kernels, and sugar together in a large, heavy pot. The pot should be larger than the amount of fruit it can hold, otherwise it will boil over. The one I use is 8 quarts.
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring regularly and skimming foam, for about 30 minutes until “jammy”. The jam should bubble up and eventually subside. Be sure to stir often, and scrape the bottom of the pot to avoid burning.
  6. Fish out kernels and discard. Make sure to get all six.
  7. Ladle jam into hot, sterilized half-pint jars. Wipe rims clean with a damp cloth. Put on lids and rims. Boil in water bath canner for 15 minutes. Transfer jars to a wooden cutting board (do not place jars directly on a cold surface). Lids should “pop” to indicate a proper seal. If a jar doesn’t pop (i.e. if you can depress the lid and it pops back up), refrigerate it and eat it within a few weeks.

Apricot Jam

Can you say YUM?

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