Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Vegan mudslide cupcakes

They taste just like the drink, but cruelty-free.





CUPCAKES

1/2 c. plus 2 T. soy milk
1/8 c. vodka
1/4 c. khalua
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 T. cornstarch
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. oil
3/4 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. almond extract

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.) Mix apple cider vinegar into soy milk to make it curdle.
3.) Stir together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
4) In a mixing bowl, beat together oil, sugar, extracts, vodka and khalua.
5.) Add the soy milk and mix well.
6.) Add the flour mixture and mix until the batter is full.
7.) Pour batter into cupcake pan lined with paper liners. Fill liners two-thirds full.
8.) Bake for 22 minutes.
9.) Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool on a wire rack. I usually remove the cupcakes when they're still warm to the touch. If you let them cool completely, they'll get soggy.
10.) Frost with Khalua buttercream (recipe below) and drizzle with vegan chocolate ganache. I got my ganache recipe from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

KHALUA BUTTERCREAM

1 stick of Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks, softened
3 c. powdered sugar
pinch salt
3 to 4 T. Khalua

Whip Earth Balance, salt and Khalua until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until it looks like frosting. If the frosting seems stiff, soften it out with a splash or two of soy (or other plant-based) milk.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Vegan French Onion Soup recipe

It's been cold outside, so I've been reading every soup recipe ever out of my vegan cookbook collection. I want to make something warm and hearty for dinner these days, and what could be more comforting than soup and fresh, homemade bread?

Yesterday, all I could think about was French onion soup, so I made my own vegan version. I don't have any pictures because it just wasn't a very photogenic soup, and it was gone so quickly.

The soup was a mix of a lot of recipes and research on french onion soup. Everyone has an opinion about what makes a good french onion soup, it seems. Some people use red wine, some use white. The mixture of cheeses used to garnish the soup also varies, from Swiss to Gruyere to Asiago and Mozzarella. Between the copious amounts of cheese and the meat-based broth used in the soup, it is very vegan unfriendly! But no more!

French onion soup is notoriously unhealthy, and my variation is no different. Onions are simmered in vegan butter for hours. I don't know how you would possibly want to avoid this step. Just splurge and enjoy it. The butter is mixed with flour to make a roux. The end result is a thick, velvety, almost gravy-like soup, rather than being thin and brothy like other french onion soups. I floated a piece of fresh rosemary wheat focaccia on the top of my soup, but you can stick to traditional french baguette if you want.



Vegan French onion soup
Makes 4 large bowls for a main dinner course, or six small bowls for appetizer or lunch
Cooking time from start to table: About 4 hours, most of it inactive 

Four medium Vidalia onions, sliced into very thin half-moons.
1 stick of Earth Balance butter
1 cup dry red wine (I used Cabernet)
1 teaspoon thyme
3 bay leaves
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 ½ teaspoons Annie's Naturals Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 scant teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
4 cups water
freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
Slices of baguette or focaccia
Slices of Daiya cheddar or your favorite vegan cheese

1.)    Melt Earth Balance in a soup pot over VERY LOW heat. Peel and slice your onions while the Earth Balance is melting. It should barely be bubbling by the time you’re done. Add the onions and let them hang out in the pan, stirring occasionally, until they’re gooey, brown and caramelized. This will take almost three hours, but it’s totally worth it. Go do something else while the onions are caramelizing. Avoid the urge to jack the heat up to make them cook faster. They will, just be patient.
2.)    When your onions are done caramelizing, add thyme, bay leaves, wine, salt and pepper. Now you can turn up the heat pretty high. Let the wine boil vigorously, stirring until it is mostly reduced.
3.)    Lower the heat a little and sprinkle flour over the onion mixture. Stir quickly until flour is incorporated and the mixture is pasty, about a minute and a half.
4.)    Add nutritional yeast, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, water. Salt and pepper it to your liking. Stir constantly until mixture is thick and bubbling again.
5.)    Turn off the heat and give the soup one more stir. Remove the bay leaves. Ladle it into bowls and float a piece of baguette or focaccia on top. Lay slices of cheese on top of the baguette. Place soup bowls under a hot broiler until cheese is brown and bubbly. Carefully serve soup. Bowls will be HOT.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shoo-fly pie recipe, made vegan!

A half-devoured slice of shoo fly pie.
A few months ago, I got Isa Chandra Moskowitz's "Vegan Pie in the Sky" cookbook*. Shortly after that, my husband and I went to the York Fair, where he announced he's always really liked shoo-fly pie. We live about 45 minutes from Lancaster County, so shoo-fly pie is kind of a big deal here.  Unfortunately, there was no recipe for vegan shoo-fly pie that I could find, so I made my own.

I used ground flaxseed for an egg substitute, and it worked really well! In my vegan cooking adventures, I've found flaxseed is a more reliable binder than actual egg. Real eggs are so temperamental, and there's no point in buying eggs when chicken farms aren't that nice to their chickens. All you have to do is pulverize a tablespoon of flaxseed in a coffee grinder and whisk 3 tablespoons of water into it. Refrigerate it while you're assembling the rest of the pie ingredients.  Here's a good tutorial for making flax eggs.

In my recipe, the filling is spongy and damp, with a thick, powdery layer of crumbs on the top. The bottom crust virtually disappears. It's a "wet bottom" pie, but it's not runny.


Sliced pie shot of the shoo-fly pie. The filling
is spongy and wet when baked, but not runny.
The crust practically disappears.
Vegan Shoo-Fly Pie

Ingredients:

1 unbaked pie crust for a 9-inch pie. The basic pie crust recipe in "Vegan Pie In The Sky" is my favorite, but my mom likes to use Betty Crocker's. For the love of all things holy, don't use frozen pie crust. You might as well line your pie plate with cardboard. Just learn how to make your own. It's not that hard.

Topping:
1 1/4 c. flour
3 T. Earth Balance butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. ginger
1/8 t. cloves

Filling:
1 t. baking soda
2/3 c. boiling water
3/4 c. molasses
1 flax egg

1.) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees farenheit
2.) Make your pie crust and put it in your pie pan.
3.) Pulse topping ingredients in a food processor.
4.) In a separate bowl, combine baking soda with water and whisk to dissolve. Add molasses and flax egg and whisk until completely incorporated. The molasses mixture will be kind of viscous.
5.) Pour the molasses mixture into the crust. Sprinkle the topping on top. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour before cutting and serving.

*OMG, if you don't have "Vegan Pie In The Sky" or any other of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's books, GO GET THEM/IT NOW. I've discovered a whole new addiction: baking without animal products. It can be tough, but it's so much fun. Vegan cooking and baking has opened up a whole new world of flavors, methods and ingredients I would have never considered as a meat eater.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mike's Superhero/Villain afghan





Superhero/Villain Afghan
By Mike Rupert

The idea for creating this afghan came from a desire to create something that reflected my interests. After creating three afghans from pattern books, I wanted to create my own pattern.

I found the Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Superman, Captain America, X-Men, Wonder Woman, Fantastic Four, and Dead Pool patterns online, and they ended up in the blanket. It was a good foundation, but not enough for a full afghan. I used the 50x50 chart from the patterns I’d already found, uploaded it through some photo editing software, and cleared out all the color. I was then able to create all the other patterns you see on the blanket by filling in each individual square on the blank chart to create the other squares need for the blanket.

The superheroes were the easiest to create and knit because most superheroes have a simple logo I could use to identify them in the afghan. The villain side was not as easy as most villains don’t really have a simple symbol so I had to convert facial pictures into patterns. Some worked well enough to put in the blanket, but many others didn’t.  For instance, I created three different Joker squares before creating a plain text one that appears in the blanket; same with Loki as well.

Size: 6 feet by 4 feet
Materials: Various colors of worsted weight acrylic yarn. I found all colors in big chain craft stores. It wasn’t anything fancy. You can use whatever fiber makes you happy.
Needles: Size US 9 straight needles
Notes: Each square is 50 stitches by 50 rows. After the squares are knitted, they’re sewn together with black yarn. The afghan has two sides that are sewn together to hide unsightly ends and knots!