Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Frozen Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie

My friend and her daughter came over today to help us make (and eat!) some pie. I wanted to try something different and thought coconut would be good because-heck, I add coconut to almost all of my recipes! (Sorry, Ang.) But most vegan coconut cream pie recipes call for tofu as the thickener, and I wanted Abiline to be able to eat this. So I decided to try to thicken it up with some melted chocolate chips, tapioca starch, xantham gum, and some time spent in the freezer. I was also trying to mimic amy mother's fabulous frozen chocolate cheesecake with which she won many a baking contest back in the day. Anthony says that it would need more chocolate to measure up to my mom's, but that it is still mighty tasty. Abiline loved it, and she doesn't usually go for sweets. And, in case you are wondering, no, I don't only make desserts. I promise my next post will be for a yummy stir fry I have been imagining for the past few days.

Frozen Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie

For crust (based on a recipe from Sweet Utopia)

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 c. dried coconut flakes
1/4 c. coconut oil (could sub canola)
1/4 c. agave nectar or liquid sweetener of choice

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9" pie pan. Grind oats and coconut in a food processor. Add oil and sweetener and process until everything is moistened. Press into the prepared pan and bake for 12 mins.

For Filling:
1 cup coconut milk (the much lower fat kind they are selling next to the soymilk nowadys; I used So Delicious vanilla)
3 tbsp. tapioca starch or arrowroot powder (could sub cornstarch if no corn allergy)
1 tsp. xantham gum
1 c. dairy-free chocolate chips, melted
1 can regular coconut milk
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
flaked coconut, for garnish

1. Whisk the cup of coconut milk and the starch in a small saucepan and place over medium heat until thickened.
2. Add thickened milk and all other ingredients to a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Alternately, you could combine all in a food processor or blender.
3. Pour filling into prepared crust and sprinkle with flaked coconut. Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. You can then move it to the fridge for a good pudding pie. If you want a really frozen pie, then keep it in the freezer for 4 or 5 hours to get it really set up and then store it there.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade on My Mind

I guess strawberry lemonade has been on my mind since it has been so hot lately. Or maybe these recipes were inspired by my impulse purchase of lemon extract a few weeks ago. Last week I made lemon strawberry bars for the kids, and then for my birthday we had strawberry bundt cake with strawberry lemonade ice cream. The bars are one more creation in a series of experiments with how to incorporate beans and avocados into tasty baked goods. The cake I adapted from a recipe in 500 Vegan Recipes, which is an awesome cookbook overall, but I have found that they frequently call for way too much flour in their cake recipes. It is super-moist despite having no oil in it, but we found that it did need some fat to round out the flavor, so the ice cream was born. The cake and ice cream got a thumbs up from everyone, but Abiline was not into the bars, which Sawyer happily munched. They were a bit too dense in texture for her limited chewing abilities, I think, so I would recommend them for the age two and up set.

Strawberry-Glazed Lemon Bars or Thumbprint Cookies

1 c. garbanzo beans
1/2 medium-sized ripe avocado
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. tahini
1 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
3 Tbsp. agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 c. flour (I used kamut, but any other light-colored flour would do nicely to preserve the yellow shade of the chickpeas)

For Glaze: 1/4 c. strawberry preserves mixed with 1 tbsp. yogurt of choice (I used So Delicious plain coconut yogurt)

1. Preheat the oven to 350. If you are making bars, then grease an 8x8 in. pan. For cookies, prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease liberally.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine beans, avocado,lemon juice, oil, tahini, lemon extract, agave, and powdered sugar and puree until completely smooth. Add the oats, baking powder, and salt, and pulse until oats are completely ground. Add the flour last and puree until smooth. If the batter is too thick for your blender/ food processor before adding the flour, go ahead and stir it in by hand.
3. For bars, just scoop the batter into the pan and bake for 18-22 mins., until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. If you prefer cookies, then roll the dough into walnut-sized balls, line them on the tray, and indent with your thumb bef0re baking for 8-10 mins, or until just slightly golden on the bottoms. Prepare the glaze while they bake by combining the preserves and the yogurt in a small bowl.
4. Place the baked bars/ cookies on a cooling rack. When completely cool, prick the bars all over with a fork and then spread the glaze over the top. For the cookies, just fill the thumbprints with the jam.

Strawberry Bundt Cake

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/3 c. agave nectar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. cane sugar
1 1/2 c. soy or hemp milk mixed with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon extract
1/2 c.applesauce

For glaze: 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1-2 tbsp. lemon juice

1. Add strawberries, agave, and lemon juice to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
2. Preheat oven to 350 and generously grease a bundt pan.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ww pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. Add the non-dairy milk, lemon extract, applesauce, and strawberry mixture to the dry ingredients and fold to combine, being careful not to over-mix. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 40-50 mins, or until golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely (I placed mine in the freezer for a few hours) before inverting the cake onto a serving platter. You can then whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice to make the glaze. Poke a few holes in the cake with the tines of a fork and pour the glaze over it. Enjoy with the ice cream recipe that follows!

Strawberry Lemonade Ice Cream
1 14 oz. can coconut milk
1 c. rice or hemp milk
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. strawberry preserves
1/2 tbsp. lemon extract
Just combine all of the ingredients in a blender and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Alternately, I have heard it rumored that you can make ice cream in the freezer without the ice cream maker; here's one method you could try.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Carrot Breakfast Cake- No Sugar Added

I put together this recipe yesterday at the request of my good friend Laurie, who said she was craving cake but didn't want to be eating tons of sugar. It is super-moist, with no added sugar--just sweetened with dates and pineapple. I had no qualms about feeding it to Abiline for breakfast. And my husband and his notorious sweet-tooth even enjoyed it. The frosting is a bit adventurous, based on a sweet potato frosting recipe I saw in the Feeding the Whole Family cookbook, but it goes quite well with the cake. The cake and frosting taste best after being chilled overnight in the fridge.

This recipe is also posted on Whole Foods Wednesdays :o)

Ingredients for Cake
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. finely shredded coconut
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

1 cup pitted dates
3/4 c. pineapple juice
1 c. crushed pineapple, undrained
2 c. finely shredded carrot (about 3 medium)
1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree
1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. melted coconut oil (you could sub canola or safflower oil here)
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange extract

1/3-1/2 c. of your favorite vanilla or plain yogurt. I used So Delicious plain coconut milk yogurt, which is quite sweet.

Ingredients for Frosting

1 medium sweet potato (1/3-1/2 lb.), baked or microwaved until very tender
1/3 c. cream skimmed from the top of a can of coconut milk (refrigerate the can for at least an hour to make it easier to scoop just the cream without the watery part)
1/3 c. crushed pineapple (a little of the juice is ok)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. orange extract
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 baking pan.
2. Place the dates and pineapple juice in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes to soften the dates. Let the mixture cool down for a few minutes, and then place the dates and juice in a food processor and puree until smooth.
3. Combine the whole wheat pastry flour, shredded coconut, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
4. Add the date puree, crushed pineapple, carrots, pumpkin puree, applesauce, coconut oil, vanilla, and orange extract to the well, and stir just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter will be on the thick side. Spread it into the prepared baking pan and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Place the cake on a cooling rack and poke holes all over it with the tines of a fork. Then spread the yogurt on top--just enough to cover without being too thick. The yogurt will seep into the cake and make it even moister.
6. When the cake has cooled completely and the yogurt has soaked in, make the frosting by pureeing all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Spread the frosting evenly over the cake and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Corn-Free Cornbread

Disclaimer: this post may only interest those who have to deal with a corn allergy. But read on; you may be intrigued enough to give it a try.

I know this sounds ridiculous, but it has been my holy grail as the mom of a son who is allergic to corn, but who got a taste for it before we figured out his allergy. I stumbled upon this cornbread-cousin completely by accident when I was just experimenting with some different flours yesterday morning. The ingredient combination sounds unlikely, but the bread truly does come out with a cornbready taste, minus the grittiness. Put butter and agave on it, and you have a darn good replacement for cornbread with your chili. We ate it last night with barbecue root veggies and seitan. Yum! This recipe is small, but it should double well.

Cornbread Muffins without the Corn

1/2 c. kamut flour
1/2 c. garbanzo-fava bean flour (You could probably use plain garbanzo bean flour, which is cheaper.)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. full-fat coconut milk
1/2 c. crushed pineapple with juice
2 tbsp. maple syrup

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 and grease 6 muffin cups or a pan of 12 mini muffins. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Make a well in the center and add the coconut milk, pineapple, and maple syrup. Mix with a fork until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon evenly into the prepared muffin cups and bake for 17-22 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out dry.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pesto From Our Garden!

We planted some Swiss chard, carrots, and basil on the back porch this spring, and Sawyer has been in charge of watering them every day. Although I know little about gardening, the chard and basil looked to me like they needed to be pruned a bit, so we picked a bunch of the leaves, and I made pesto sauce for our dinner last night. Sawyer had been telling me that although he likes to water the chard, he was not interested in eating it. He changed his mind after trying this sauce! Victory for Mom!

Chard and Hemp Seed Pesto

1/2 c. fresh basil leaves
1/2 c. Swiss chard leaves
1/4 c. shelled hemp seeds
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. chickpea miso (or any miso if you aren't allergic to soy)
Dash of pepper

Substitution Note: If you do not have miso, you can sub 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt, to taste. Also, hemp seeds could be replaced with pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Obviously the flavor will not be the same, but that will do in a pinch.

Directions: Puree all in a food processor or blender and toss with 1/2 lb. pasta and any veggies of your choice. We did radiatore and grape tomatoes with much success. Even Abiline ate it all up!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sweet Carrot Tahini Sauce

My kids love pasta, but it is hard to find good veggie-based sauces that please them. A few days ago Sawyer wanted udon noodles and " something different" for the sauce. So I came up with this sauce that was eaten with what would pass for gusto in a picky eater like Sawyer. As a side note, I was pleased to find out when reading the nutrition label that 2 tbsp. of tahini provides 30% RDA of calcium!

Sweet Carrot Tahini Sauce

2 medium carrots, chopped and steamed until very soft
1 tbsp. tahini
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. chickpea miso (or any light miso if soy allergies are no problem)
2-3 tbsp. hemp or non-dairy milk of choice to thin as desired

Substitution note: I have made this successfully with soy sauce instead of miso. That won't work if you have a soy-allergy, of course, but those who don't might prefer the option since soy sauce is more accessible.

Directions: Place steamed carrots, tahini, maple syrup, and miso in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Add milk 1 tbsp. at a time and blend to thin to desired consistency. I used it thick as a spread on some seitan sandwiches Anthony and I had for dinner, and then thinned it out to use as pasta sauce for the kids.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Best Vegan Rice Pudding-Fit for a Baby!

This past week my daughter Abiline has not been much of an eater, so I have spent much of my time in the kitchen trying to concoct something that will please her. Tonight I think I found a winner. I was flipping through The Friend magazine we get from church and found a recipe for rice pudding called "Pioneer Pudding." I subbed for the whole milk and brown sugar and added some dates, but I kept the white rice since I had exactly 2/3 cup arborio rice in my cupboard that I have had for a few years and needed to be used up. I just took it out of the oven, and it is divine. It tastes like carmel! The rice is really soft, which should please little ones who are lacking some teeth and are not as confident chewing. If you want a heartier, more wholesome bite, I bet you could sub brown rice for the white.

2/3 c. arborio rice
1/3 c. brown rice syrup (I really prefer the mild sweetness of brown rice syrup, but you could sub another liquid sweetener here.)
2/3 c. coconut milk (full fat!)
1 1/2 c. plain hemp milk (I use Trader Joe's brand), or soy milk if soy is not an issue for you
1 1/2 c. water
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. pitted dates, coarsely chopped (Don't be shy of the dates--they melt in your mouth!)

1. Preheat the oven to 275 F. Lightly oil a 9x9 in. square glass casserole dish and add all of the ingredients. Stir to combine and disperse the brown rice syrup throughout.
2. Cook in the oven for 2 hours, uncovered.
3. Let cool and enjoy warm or chill a few hours in the fridge.