Saturday, March 22, 2008

Vegan Substitutions

Vegan baking is tricky, and it takes practice. Don't get discouraged if things don't turn out right the first time (or even the second or third time)! Believe me, I've thrown away my fair share of awful "cookie" lumps.

Some of the most common ones are:
1/2 banana = 1 egg
3 Tb. applesauce = 1 egg
1/4 c. blended soft tofu = 1 egg
1 Tb. ground flax seeds (or 2 Tb. flax powder) + 3 Tb. water = 1 egg
1/4 c. soy yogurt = 1 egg

Just remember that the banana and applesauce add a slight fruity flavor while the ground flax seeds are kind of granola-y (best for whole grains breads and such).

This link takes you to the Post Punk Kitchen website. It contains more info on how to make those delightful vegan substitutions you want to learn so much!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Italian-Style Barley Stew

I made this stew up as a way to use some leftover veggies. I also wanted to try barley, as I haven't ate any in forever! I really liked what I got!

Italian-Style Barley Stew:
1 Tb. olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 c. baby portabello mushrooms, sliced
1/4 head of green cabbage, cored and chopped
1 (6 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts
3 red potatoes, diced
1/2 c. pearl barley
5 c. water
1/2 c. frozen yellow corn
1/2 c. frozen green peas
1 vegan bouillon cube
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. thyme

1 Tb. lemon juice
Sea salt to taste

1. Saute the onions, mushrooms, and cabbage in olive oil for a few minutes. 

2. Chop the artichoke hearts. Add them, along with all their marinade, to the skillet. 

3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed. 

4. Meanwhile, dice potatoes and add them to your soup pot along with the barley (I rinse it first), 5 c. water, peas, corn, and bouillon cube. Bring it to a boil and then add the cabbage-onion-mushroom mixture. Season with herbs. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Add sea salt and lemon juice.

There you go!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Vegan Carob Chip Banana Bread

I have just discovered carob and all it's deliciousness and because of that, I've decided to once again try vegan baking. My previous attempts at baking had been utter disasters, but now that I understand substitutions I've been more successful. The spicy flavor of the carob chips pair very well with that of the banana bread, but feel free to use regular dairy-free chocolate chips as well. Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips are a very good (and affordable) brand!

There are many recipes out there for vegan banana bread and well, I didn't like any of them. I created my own instead and they turned out amazing! Also, some kinds of carob chips contain dairy, so don't forget to check the labels!

Carob Chip Banana Bread:
Wet Mix:
3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 c. Turbinado sugar
1/3 c. no-sugar-added applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
4 Tb. oil
1 c. almond milk

Dry Mix:
2 and 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 c. vegan carob chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Mix together the mashed bananas, sugar, applesauce, vanilla, oil, and almond milk. Set aside.

3. In a larger bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until it's just combined. Stir in the carob chips.

5. Spray a standard-size loaf pan with nonstick spray and pour in batter. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.

This bread is really good when ate hot out of the oven, slathered with Earth Balance!

You can also make a plain version. Just leave out the carob chips and add in 3/4 cup of toasted, chopped walnuts if you like them (if not, you can leave them out). Everything else is the same and you wind up with results like this:

Actually, I took out some of the batter to make muffins, otherwise it would be as tall as the top one, lol. This is a great recipe, nice and moist and not too sweet. Great as a snack!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

French-Style Lentil Soup with Spinach

This stuff is great! I mixed up some French herbs, lentils, and leftover veggies and this is what I got. I bet it would be great with some hot, crusty bread.

In case you were wondering Herbes d'Provence is a French blend of herbs and spices. It usually contains marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, fennel seeds, sage, and sometimes lavender. Lavender doesn't really appear in true French versions, but rather in American mixes. Mine had lavender in it though, and I thought it added a wonderful touch.  

Here's a simple DIY Herbes d'Provence:
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon chervil
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon summer savory
1 teaspoon lavender
1 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon mint

Mix together all of the ingredients and store in a tightly sealed container. Makes about 1/3 cup herb mix.

This spice blend can be used for Mediterranean recipes. You can also mix it with some olive to coat vegetables for roasting OR, you can add it to some hearty lentil soup! 

French-Style Lentil Soup with Spinach:

1 c. Vegi Soup Mix (Bob's Red Mill)
4 c. water
1 tsp. Herbes d'Provence
1/2 tsp. oregano
A few shakes dill weed
1 vegan bouillon cube (with sea salt)
1 c. crushed tomatoes, drained
8 oz. fresh baby spinach, washed

1. Rinse and pick through lentil soup mix. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add herbs and bouillon cube. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.

2. Add drained tomatoes and let simmer another 15 minutes.

3. Add spinach and let cook 1-2 minutes or until just wilted.

Voila! Beautiful soup!