6/29/2015

confetti collard wraps

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I'm not really a low-carb kind of girl. See Exhibit A or this entire blog for all the proof you need. So when people start wrapping their sandwiches in lettuce or kale or collard, I'm like, "Yeah, sure, that seems okay, but where are you guys hiding the bread?" Mostly because I like lettuce, kale and collards but I'm not trying to avoid wraps or breads or anything in the bread family in favor of anything in the greens family. What if you made a kale wrap filled with bread. I don't think I would mind.


Anyway, I'm sure that's not what whoever-invented-this had in mind. Still, I'm happy to say that these practically bite-size wraps were surprisingly satisfying and easier than they look (a quick blanching goes a long way in getting these guys more foldable).

For this recipe, you'll need:

1-2 medium carrots, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
1 small cucumber, seeded and diced (about 1/4 cup)
2 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 an apple (any variety), diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon chives, chopped (optional)
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons sweet mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup rice, prepared
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6-8 collard green leaves, excess stems removed


In a medium bowl, add your carrots, cucumber, radishes, apple and bell pepper. Toss together until everything looks evenly distributed. In a smaller bowl, whisk together your mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Dress your vegetables with this quick dressing and set aside.


In a large pot, get some water boiling. Set up an ice bath in a large bowl and keep nearby. Drop your collard leaves into the boiling water one at a time for one minute only and then transfer immediately to the ice bath for one minute more. Pat gently with a paper towel to dry and repeat this process with all your leaves.


In the center of each collard leaf, add a small spoonful of your rice/chickpea combo, a small spoonful of your vegetable mixture and top with a small sprinkle of fresh chives, if using. Fold both ends inward and roll together.

These wraps are super-fresh bites, perfect for a starter, a side or a light meal. Enjoy!

Want to take your leafy greens beyond salads?


6/22/2015

vegan cheesecake with rhubarb jam

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Alright, so I know what you might be thinking. How? See, I knew you were thinking that, too. Because when it comes to vegan food, there are certain things that can be done with no telltale signs of anything being missing. I've had my fair share of vegan ice creams that don't make me miss the the cream. I've had baked goods like cookies and cakes and felt nothing but pure joy with every bite (I'm pretty enthusiastic about food, so). Even traditional takes on things like eggplant parm have gone over well: all I did was hold the parm and offer no half-ass substitute, and you know what? Still good.



The line always comes with cheese though. It's a tough flavor and texture to replicate. And cheesecake, I anticipated, would be no different. Even with added ingredients and flavors, I had a tough time being a believer. Until this past New Year's Eve, that is, when Sprig & Vine delivered a vegan pumpkin cheesecake that could have rivaled any traditional take I had ever tried. I talked about it for a long time after, and clearly I haven't stopped since.


So when I decided to make my own version of a vegan cheesecake, I decided to go summer-y with the classic combination of tart, ruby rhubarb and fresh strawberries.

So what's the secret, you want to know? What are we doing about our lack of cheese? Lean in close: it's cashews, and lots of 'em.

For this recipe, you'll need:

For the cheesecake:

3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the topping:

5 cups rhubarb, chopped
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
8-10 medium strawberries, halved

Begin by soaking your cashews in about six cups of water. I just put them in a huge bowl before I went to bed and left them there until morning, which is really the best way to do it. The longer they soak, the softer they'll get and the easier they'll be to blend up to a nice, creamy consistency.


You can also make your rhubarb topping the day before if you're looking to save a little time. It's super simple, but this will ensure that it's chilled and ready to go when your cheesecake is done. In a medium sauce pan, add your rhubarb and sugar. Toss together to evenly coat and cook on medium-low heat or until the rhubarb has fully broken down into a jam-like consistency. Remove from heat. Allow to cool on a stovetop for about twenty minutes.


At this point, you can choose to leave the topping as is if you'd like to retain a little texture. Personally, I'm a bigger fan of this topping when it's smooth, so you can blend it up using a handheld or traditional blender until uniform. (Any leftovers are great for topping toast or oatmeal or just eating with a spoon.)


In the bowl of a food processor, add your almond flour, pecans, dates and sea salt. Pulse until broken down into a medium-to-fine crumb. What you're looking for is for the crust to hold together when you pinch a small piece between your fingers. If you find it helps, add a teaspoon of water to encourage a little more stickiness. Once you've gotten to the right texture, evenly press the mixture into the bottom of a tart or springform pan and transfer to the refrigerator.


For the filling, add your cashews, lemon juice, maple syrup, coconut oil and sea salt to a high power blender. Blend on high until completely smooth (which really shouldn't take long considering how long the cashews have been soaking). What you're looking for is a filling that's smooth but still holds up in solid peaks when dipped into with a spoon. Spread evenly on top of the crust and return to the refrigerator to chill for 3-4 hours or until firm.


When you're ready to serve, top with the rhubarb jam and decorate with fresh strawberries. A sprig of fresh mint in the center adds a pretty touch. Enjoy!




6/15/2015

dairy-free pistachio honey ice cream

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I feel like I should start this post with this song. In fact, as much as I hate when websites start randomly playing music (I'm looking at you, boutique hotel sites playing clinky-classical Muzak), if I could get Y'all Ready For This, and probably a gif of Will Smith dancing, to play in the background of this post, I would. I would give up everything I believe just to make that happen.

Because this is going to be the best non-dairy ice cream you've ever had. Girl, it just might be the best ice cream you've ever had. Period.


It can't be vegan, not exactly, because the addition of honey negates that possibility. But it doesn't have a drop of dairy, nor does it need it. And if you want to go full-vegan on this one, you can swap the honey for maple syrup (if I were you, I'd add a little less, just so the maple flavor doesn't overpower), agave or just regular sugar. Whisk a little longer if you use granulated sugar, though, just to make sure it's fully dissolved.

For this recipe, you will need:

2 15-ounce cans of coconut milk (I went with one full fat, one light)
3/4 cup of honey
1 1/2 cups roasted unshelled pistachios
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot
2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder (optional)


Once you've shelled your pistachios (a painstaking task, so make sure the people enjoying the results of your labor know just how much labor was involved), add 1 cup to a food processor fitted with an S-blade. Reserve the other 1/2 cup for later. Pulse the pistachios until they've gotten as fine as possible, about 20 pulses should make this happen. From here, you can either add a 1/2-1 cup of your coconut milk directly to the food processor and blend together until creamy. But for the absolute smoothest results possible, transfer the pistachio crumbs and 1/2-1 cup of coconut milk to a high power blender. Blend until you've achieved a peanut butter-like texture. 


In a large-ish stockpot, add your coconut milk, honey, pistachio paste and vanilla. Bring this mixture to a light simmer over medium heat, whisking often to avoid burning. The heat should make these ingredients meld together pretty seamlessly, but if you notice some obvious separation, keep whisking until evenly combined.

Put a few tablespoons (two to three) of your warm mixture into a small bowl. Add your arrowroot and whisk together until completely smooth. Add this mixture back to your stockpot. Whisk together for about one minute and then remove from the heat. If you're using the matcha (mostly what it will do is give your ice cream a more traditional green-ish hue), whisk in now until fully incorporated.


Transfer your ice cream base to a large bowl and refrigerate for about 3-4 hours or overnight. Once chilled, add to your ice cream maker of choice to churn. (If you're using the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment, this will take about 15-20 minutes, give or take a few.)


Transfer again (lots of transferring in the ice cream making process, no?) to a freezer safe container, layering your remaining 1/2 cup of pistachios (which you can chop or leave whole) as you go. Put in the very back of your freezer to harden further. This will take about 4-6 hours, depending on the coldness of your freezer.



This stuff is so unbelievably spot on, I truly believe if you didn't tell people they weren't eating regular ice cream, they may not even suspect. What they will do, however, is ask you for the recipe, at which time you're going to have to come clean. At which point they may feel like this, but it's all in good fun.

If you top your scoops with a few remaining chopped pistachios and a drizzle of honey, it gets even better. Next time, I may swap out the vanilla extract for some rosewater and just go full-on baklava flavors with it. Happy scooping!

Want even more flavors?
And many more to come! Next up, vegan rocky road with Dandie's miniature vegan marshmallows!


6/08/2015

crispy chickpea tacos with cabbage slaw

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Non-traditional tacos always make me think of Chopped. Whenever some savvy up-and-coming chef gets a basketful of weird, unidentifiable ingredients (candy corn? with radicchio? WHY?), every now and then someone has the clearheaded-ness, even under all that pressure, to put these mystery ingredients into a taco. Suddenly, the crazy components are transformed by the unity of a corn tortilla. If you're really lucky (or maybe really talented), Aarón Sanchez will sing your praises.

Of course, if you don't watch Chopped, then I've lost you already. But really, you should: Tuesdays at 10PM EST. This post is totally not sponsored. But maybe it should be.


What I'm getting at is that when I'm feeling a little lost on what to make for dinner or scratching my head at what remains in our fridge at the end of the week, chances are these leftovers and add-ons will work great inside of a corn tortilla. Which, by the way, have pretty much become a staple in this household. They bring together to otherwise un-introduced ingredients. Like crispy chickpeas and sweet and sour slaw. Just like that, dinner can go from confusing to "Is there enough for seconds?" Of course there is.


For this recipe, you'll need:

1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
1/4 small head purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded or thinly sliced carrots (in rainbow colors is fun)
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 small cucumber, seeded and diced
1/4 cup fresh pineapple, diced
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 avocado, sliced into wedges
8-10 organic corn tortillas


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place your chickpeas on a small roasting pan and coat with turmeric, paprika, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Shake around until the spices are evenly dispersed and roast for 20-30 minutes or until the chickpeas start to turn golden and split.


Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss together your cabbage, bell pepper, carrots and golden raisins. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil, if desired. In a smaller bowl, add together your cucumber, pineapple and your juice from 1/2 a lime.

When the chickpeas are out of the oven, warm the tortillas. This works best in a large cast iron skillet (about 30 seconds per side) or in a microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel. (Two at a time is best so they don't get overcrowded/dry out.)


All that's left now is assembly and eating! Top with avocado slices, a little extra lime juice if you want, more salt, more pepper, and even a little hot sauce.



6/01/2015

vegan AND gluten-free waffles

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It feels like summer. It's only June 1st, I know, but it's felt like summer since May 1st, really. These eighty-degree days feel confusing, but comforting, in a way. Winter is a officially over, and I have the sweat stains to prove it.


Not that we're here to discuss my self-diagnosed hyperhidrosis. NO, we're here to talk about waffles! That are, yes, still vegan but, surprise, also gluten-free! Not an easy task, I have to tell you, to defeat two dietary restrictions at once. When you go for broke, a lot of times you can end up sacrificing something kind of crucial, like texture or, worse, taste. This recipe lacks neither! In fact these waffles are the lightest and crispiest of the bunch, at least among the bunch that have come out of our kitchen. They've got a nice neutral flavor, as in not too sweet, making them the perfect vehicle for any variety of toppings: jams, maple syrup, nuts or even all of the above. They're also the ideal way to enjoy the season's first strawberries. It's like having shortcake for breakfast.


For this recipe, you will need:

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup organic cornstarch
1/4 cup gluten-free oat flour (Bob's Red Mill makes a good option here)*
1 teaspoon arrowroot
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 cups almond milk, unsweetened

*Oat flour is not naturally gluten-free, so definitely look for an option that has no gluten. That, or substitute another favorite gluten-free flour option.



Begin by preheating your waffle iron to the desired setting. I like my waffles pretty crisp, so I tend to crank up the heat. In a large bowl, whisk together your brown rice flour, oat flour, cornstarch, arrowroot, baking powder, salt and sugar. Form a small well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour your oil and milk into the center of the well. Whisk together until your batter is uniform. It's going to be pretty thin at this point, so allow it to sit for about 10 minutes in order to thicken up.


Cook according to your waffle iron's specifications. The only tip I can offer you is to grease the iron generously, as I found these to be a little stickier than other waffles. After the first time or two, I got the hang of it. Colin proclaimed these to taste slightly like Cheerios, the fully credit for which goes to the oat flour. They've got a great lightness with just a hint of sweetness and yet still retain that fluffy interior that you expect from a traditional waffle. Definitely one to keep for lazy weekends ahead.



Going for less gluten?