5/19/2014

vegan banana-kin waffles

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Alright, I caved: we are now the proud owners of a waffle iron. I know, I know, the last thing a tiny kitchen needs is another additional appliance. But my argument here is that surely that rule can't apply to something as essential as a waffle iron. "But I'll use it allllll the time," I told myself, similar to the ways I've convinced myself to shell out for an insanely cute but impractical pair of shoes. Well, while those heels lie collecting dust somewhere in the back of my closet, the waffle iron was broken in immediately, many mornings covered in coconut oil cooking spray and remaining pieces of crushed blueberries: this thing is getting loved.


It's not a top-notch iron by any means, but it's been getting the job done and hitting the craving spot hard. When I'm in the market for a more permanent fixture down the road (ah, cover its ears), I may spring for something with removable plates. But for now: perfecting the vegan waffle. I admit I had my doubts, though I have been pleasantly surprised by other vegan treats before. While waffle batter varies slightly from pancake batter, and we have successfully pulled off vegan pancakes a time or two, I was hoping that any vegan-swapping would still result in the perfect waffle: crisp on the outside, warm on the inside, food for my very heart and soul.

Well, the first time was a total flop. And the time after that? Only okay. I was determined to find a way to recreate the waffle and then have people say, "Wait, that was vegan? Really? Are you sure?" So I took a little bit from here and there, things that worked and things that didn't, and came up with a banana-pumpkin hybrid (hence my over-the-top cute name, banana-kin) that oh-so-perfectly delivers all the best parts of having a waffle for breakfast should.


For this recipe, you'll need:

1/2 cup very ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats or multigrain hot cereal
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal to 2 1/2 tablespoons water)
1 cup almond milk, coconut milk or a combination of the two

Begin by setting up your waffle iron to preheat. I had mine set on a medium-high setting (which will help determine the color and crispness of your waffle), but this part is completely up to you. Prepare your flax egg and set aside.


In the bottom of a large bowl, mash together your banana, pumpkin purée and baking powder until evenly mixed. Whisk in your cinnamon, milk and flax egg. Fold in your flour and rolled oats until just combined. If you're going to add anything like chocolate chips or blueberries (or both, because really, waffle-making is not really the moment to employ self-restraint) now's the time to do it.



Prep your waffle iron with a light coating of cooking spray (coconut oil is my fave) between batters and cook your waffles according to your particular iron's instructions. This particular recipe will make 3-4 thick/Belgian waffles or 6-8 regular waffles.

Honestly? I've had a lot of waffles in my life. I have distinct memories of waking up just a little bit earlier in order to employ my parents' old square iron on many mornings. If there is a waffle option on any brunch or breakfast menu (strangely rare), I'm there. And these totally met those waffles and said something along the lines of, "Is this seat taken?" because they're so good and can blend right in with the regular waffle crowd. We've made this recipe several times since (weekends and weekdays alike) and it has never failed us, not once.



5/12/2014

cinco de taco

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Let's clear one thing up from the very start: it does not need to be the fifth of May in this household for us to whip up a batch of killer tacos. Not at all. BUT, seeing as we will take advantage of any opportunity to celebrate a holiday centered around food (so, all the holidays, I guess?), we decided to join in the Cinco de Mayo festivities.




Now I don't really have a taco "recipe" to present to you here, really just a collection of prep photos on how we enjoyed our particular vegetarian (and mostly vegan, minus the cheese on mine, YES) take on tacos. I think the most basic rule here is that there are no rules: if it fits in the shell, it works. Too loose? Maybe. But I've never met a taco I didn't see eye to eye with, to be perfectly honest.


What you need is a good variety of flavor, some classic and more unexpected toppings and salsas to choose from (cucumber-mango-pineapple-radish, anyone?) and I bet you you'll have a hard time stopping at just one, or two, or three.

Happy belated Cinco!



5/07/2014

chickpea tikka masala

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These days, life is a whirlwind. I know, when is it not is the bigger question, but somehow things have felt exceptionally busy the past few weeks. While spending most of my days working from home would seem to free up a lot of other time (you know, the time people spend commuting or picking out workweek outfits while I lounge about in something lightyears more comfortable - lightyears is the right measurement for the comfort of pants, right?) and would seem that I could spend some time whipping up some pretty fantastic meals, sometimes I still find myself feeling really short on time. How can that be, you might wonder, and trust me, I often wonder, too. Weeknights like these (when I can make a tasty, healthy meal that seems like it was a lot of work) are best for quick recipes with lots of flavor, like this easy tikka masala inspired by Vegetarian Times.


For this recipe, you'll need:

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon garam masala (We took turmeric, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, cumin and cardamon and crushed them up using Jamie Oliver's genius flavour shaker)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
Salt


Heat your olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add your onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or until they start to brown and caramelize. Add your garam masala, tomato paste, ginger and, if you'd like, a bit of salt. Stir together and cook for one minute more. This will start to sizzle and stick to the pot, so it's best to work quickly. Which is the name of the game anyway, right?


Next, stir in your crushed tomatoes and chickpeas. I also added a bit of water to loosen up the mixture. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer, covering for about 15-20 minutes. Now, the trick of this is that it's a super quick meal, but of course the flavors can always be enhanced and intensified if you can let it cook longer. That, of course, is up to you and how hungry you are.


These stewed chickpeas are great over rice or quinoa, and the heat can be nicely balanced with a small scoop of plain yogurt. VT also recommends serving with a bit of chopped cilantro (pass), but I think fresh mint would also be pretty damn delightful.