Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tapioca Pudding

As a child I loved tapioca pudding!  I have not thought about it for years and recently started craving it.  After some research I found that for the most part all are milk and egg custard based.  So I set out to make a vegan version.  At first I bought minute tapioca and was not satisfied.  The tapioca pearls were tiny and it just did not do it for me.  The pearls I found at my local grocery that worked were Bascom's and looked like this.  However buy what you can find or order from an online supplier like amazon.  With almond milk and coconut milk this tapioca is what I remembered as a child and I know now it's much better for me as well.  It's simple but does take a bit of patience.

1/3 cup tapioca pearls
2 cups unsweetened almond milk (divided)
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave syrup
pinch of salt

In a small pot (or bowl) soak one cup almond milk with the tapioca pearls overnight in the fridge.  I like to soak them in the pot I will be cooking them in to lessen the dishes I will have to clean later... lazy!  Also the starch that the pearls release while soaking also act as a thickener later on.  Once soaked add the other cup of almond milk and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  (If not soaking in the pot you will be cooking it in transfer the soaked pearls and liquid to a small pot and add the other cup of milk and bring to a boil.  When the mixture is at a boil add the coconut milk, vanilla extract, and the agave syrup.  Add more or less agave according to how sweet you would like it.  Keep at a decent boil stirring constantly for about ten minutes.  After ten minutes add the pinch of salt and pour into a container to cool down.  Once it's not steaming cover and put in the fridge to completely cool.  However if you like your pudding hot you can enjoy it that way as well.  I however prefer mine cold or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Wasabi Seaweed Snacks

Seaweed is such a nutritious and delicious vegetable.  Lately I've developed an addiction to Seasnacks especially the wasabi flavor.  So I decided to try making some myself and realized how easy it was.  

sheets of nori
about two tablespoons of wasabi (more if you want it REALLY wasabi-y like I like it)
water to thin out the wasabi a bit so you can paint it on the sheets
some salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 250 F.  Take a sheet of nori and fold it in half.  Reopen and paint half of the sheet with the thinned out wasabi.  Sprinkle the inside with a bit of salt and then close.  Then paint the top with a bit more of the wasabi and set aside and repeat with as many as you want to make.  You can eat them as big chips or cut them into smaller strips.  A pizza cutter works perfectly for making the strips.  Place on baking sheet with a silpat or lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy.  Cool on wire rack and enjoy.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Whole Wheat Velveeta style Shells and Trees

one of my favorite combinations is broccoli, cheese, and pasta.  this is reminiscent of velveeta style mac n' cheese but better for you and cruelty free.  this can also be made gluten free by using gluten free products.

2 cups whole wheat shells cooked to package directions (for gluten free I recommend these quinoa shells)
2 cups chopped broccoli 
1 tablespoon Earth Balance
1 and 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour (chickpea flour for gluten free)
1 and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (room temperature or slightly warmed)
4 oz. cubed Daiya Cheddar Style Wedge
1 teaspoon salt (plus extra for salting pasta water)
pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
fresh cracked pepper

serves two hungry people with left overs
or four with a side salad of greens

bring salted water to a boil and add pasta when boiling.  cook according to directions on package.  however I cook whole wheat or gluten free pastas a little bit longer then the package directions.  just start tasting the pasta 5 minutes in or so.  when pasta is slightly passed al dente add in chopped broccoli right into pasta water and cook for 2 minutes longer.  drain and shock with cold water.  let drain while you make the cheese sauce.  in the same pot you boiled your water add the earth balance and melt over medium high heat. add flour to create roux by stirring constantly to cook out the starchy taste (about 2 minute or until barely tan.)  add in warmed almond milk and stir very well and bring to a boil.  when milk comes to a boil add in cubed daiya cheese, salt, nutritional yeast, and pinch of nutmeg.  stir until all cheese is melted and sauce takes on a thick consistency.  stir in pasta and broccoli and warm through and serve promptly!

I had to have seconds however!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Simple Pan Fried Tofu

tofu is one of my favorite foods.. however getting out the extra water is essential.  one of my favorite kitchen gadgets is the TofuXpress.  the container also doubles as a marinating dish.

1 lb. organic firm tofu (pressed for one hour)
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or canola oil)
fresh ground pepper
paper towels 

16 slices or so

heat oil with a cast iron pan on medium high heat.  while heating pan.. slice tofu into 1/4 inch slices.  pan fry each side for about five minutes on both sides (10 minutes total) or until browned marks are present.  I usually do this in two batches.  drain on paper towels to get extra oil off the tofu.  sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.  enjoy hot or cool them and stuff them into sandwiches.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dark Chocolate Truffles

who doesn't love chocolate?  this is a great gift for the holiday season!

8 oz. 85 or 90 percent dark chocolate (i used this lindt chocolate)
1/2 cup plain almond milk
4 and a 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons cacoa powder
4 tablespoons sugar (extra for your hands)
1 teaspoon salt
wax or parchment paper

1 tablespoon chili powder
candied ginger
smoked sea salt instead of regular
zest of an orange
raspberries, blueberries, or mango

makes about 40 teaspoon sized truffles

line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper for chilling in the fridge

place almond milk in pan and bring to a gentle boil.  chop up the chocolate bar as you are warming up the almond milk.  once at a gentle boil remove from heat and add chocolate and maple syrup.  stir until all ingredients are incorporated.  pour into container and place in the fridge to set for at least an hour or two (maybe more maybe less.)

meanwhile mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  once chocolate is set use a teaspoon to scoop out the truffles.  if you cover your hands in some sugar it makes it easier to roll out this chocolate.  mold into a sphere.. and don't be frightened by it seeming a bit dry.. just use the warmth of your hand to warm up the chocolate.  i'm not gonna lie it's a bit messy but worth every bite!  edible play dough!  place in bowl with cacoa powder, sugar, salt, and optional ingredients and mix up.  after mixing place on lined baking sheet and place in fridge to set.  at least 3 hours and up to over night.  if serving as a dessert serve with fresh fruit with each bite.  (or thawed frozen fruit... it is almost winter.)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Kidney Bean Tacos

I've been craving hard shell tacos for some time.  I finally couldn't take it anymore.  I think you'll agree that this is some good eats!

6 corn tacos shells
2 cups fresh cooked Kidney Beans or 2 15 oz. cans
1 cup sliced iceberg lettuce
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander 
6 tablespoons Tequila Lime Salsa
6 tablespoons Toffuti Sour Cream
1 lemon
black pepper


serves two with left overs

preheat oven to package directions to warm up taco shells.  mine were 325 F for 7 minutes.  while shells are warming put kidney beans in a large mixing bowl.  if using canned kidney beans drain and rinse.  with beans add paprika, chili powder, nutritional yeast, onion, garlic, coriander, and about a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice (or to taste.)  if you want it spicy add some sriracha.  with a fork mash up beans but leave a couple whole beans for texture.  taste and adjust flavorings to your liking.  warm up on the stove top or pop it into the microwave for a minute and a half or so.  shred cheese and chop up lettuce.

to assemble take taco shell and add lettuce on the bottom.  layer with kidney bean mixture, more sriracha if you like, then add the cheese, salsa, sour cream, and then top off with fresh cilantro.  serve with slices of fresh lemon and fresh pepper.

optional add ins: 
cubed pineapple
sliced jalapeƱo (or pickled)
diced tomatoes
lime instead of lemon
pickled red onion

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gingersnap Mango Sliders

I know that iced desserts may be out of season at this point.  However gingersnap cookies are not!  If someone was giving me one of those word association tests if you said ginger I would say mango.  The two are a match made in heaven.  These are more like sliders then they are a sandwich but if you can buy (or make) larger cookies I won't stop you.  The mango sorbet is store bought... mangos this time of year come from hundreds of miles away and take a week to ripen (where I live that is) but again.. don't let me stop you from making your own fancy homemade sorbet.

homemade or store bought gingerbread cookies
mango sorbet  

I made these cookies from scratch so once they come out of the oven I let them sit for about 5 minutes or so to let them cool down then put them on a plate and transferred them to the freezer to harden a bit.  Then with an ice cream scoop (about 2 tablespoons worth) of mango sorbet is put onto each cookie them topped with another.  Pop back in the freezer to further set and sit back and wait.  IF YOU CAN!