Monday, March 29, 2010


These are a classic for Passover! In my family we always have those ones from a can but, come on! Everybody knows, cookies are supposed to come from the oven!

These are incredibly easy to throw together, and you can make them a couple of days in advance, just store them in a tupperware once they're cool.

Yield 2 dozen cookies

1 (7 oz.) bag sweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cups slivered almonds
1/2 cup matzoh meal for cake--this type is much finer than regular matzoh meal
1/3 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup soymilk (or substitute coconut milk for extra coconut flavor! But I didn't have any so I used soy.)
Optional: chocolate, to melt & drizzle across the tops

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put the almonds in a blender or food processor and pulse until they're ground. When they're done, they should look sort of like sand.
2. Put the coconut, ground almonds, and matzoh meal in a bowl and use your hands to combine them and break up any big clumps of coconut.
3. Mix the apple sauce, oil, and agave, and pour this into the coconut mixture.
4. If it's doesn't hold together easily, add a little of the soy milk until it's wet enough to hold together.
5. Use a tablespoon to pick up balls of dough and roll them LOOSELY in your hands, just to help it keep its shape, but you don't want to squeeze it too hard. Place the cookies on a lightly greased baking sheet. You can put them pretty close together, because they won't spread.
6. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the coconut looks nice and golden. Be careful with them when they're still warm; they'll fall apart easily. I think the safest way to get them onto a cooling rack is with a thin metal spatula.

For that Mounds Bar effect, you can drizzle the tops with melted chocolate once they're cool.

Note: if you can't find the special cake matzoh meal, you can put some regular matzoh meal through the blender until they're the consistency of flour.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I have a new-ish obsession with dried chickpeas. Mark Bittman told me in his cookbook How to Cook Everything Vegetarian that they're about a hundred times tastier than the ones from a can, and it turns out he wasn't lying. So here's how I cooked them today:

1 bag of dried chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), picked through for pebbles and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
one small onion, chopped
lots and lots of cloves of garlic (like 8-ish would be about right), smooshed with the side of a knife

To soak or not to soak?
I don't usually bother with soaking beans before cooking them, but chickpeas take forever otherwise so do yourself a favor and soak them the night before. Or else you can quick-soak them by covering them with water, bringing to a boil, turning off the heat, and then letting them sit, covered, for one hour. Whichever method you use, drain the soaking water and cover with some new water to cook them.

Put the beans in a pot and add enough water to cover. Throw in the smooshed garlic, the chopped onion, and the pepper and bring to a boil. Cook it, stirring occasionally, for about two hours or so, until they're soft. This takes a long time, even with the pre-soaking, so you'll probably want to call someone on the phone, or read a book, or cook some side disihes, or wash some laundry, or wash some dishes, or write a paper, or study for a test, or paint your nails, or do SOMETHING to amuse yourself while they're cooking. Ok? Don't say I didn't warn you.
Once they start to get soft, that's a good time to add some salt. Taste them and ask yourself, what delicious spices would go well here? This can vary a lot depending on your mood. If you are feeling under the weather, this would make an awesome broth+chickpeas for some chickpea-noodle-soup. Just add some carrots, some noodles, and if you want it to taste like my grandma cooked it, some fresh dill. And then you can tuck yourself into bed and sit around feeling sorry for yourself until your cold goes away.
Or, a less sick-in-bed variation:
Just now when I made this, I added some cooking sherry, and another onion, which I first chopped and sauteed with about 2 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin, and 3 cloves of finely-chopped garlic. (I like garlic, can you tell?) Then I added the sauteed stuff to the beans, deglazed the pan with some more sherry, poured that in too, and stirred. And guess what? It's yummmmmy.
I'm going to eat this for dinner next to some roasted brussels sprouts and some rice, and it's gonna be so tasty that my family and I eat it all up!
And watch out for a post about coffee cake, comign soon!

Coffee coffee coffee cake

(AKA Spring break coffee cake)

The dough is adapted from Kris Holechek's Braided Holiday Bread from the amazing book 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes. (Buy her book! It's freakin' awesome! And since I don't like to go around telling you recipes that are the intellectual property of somebody else, I shall not print that recipe here. That would be mean!)
If you don't have her lovely book, you could also use a regular enriched-white-bread type recipe, or your mom's favorite cookbook's yeasty coffee cake recipe, and here's how to veganize it: Substitute 1 tbsp flax meal + 2 tbsp warm water for each egg, and use margarine + soy/almond/rice milk instead of milk + butter. (I love substitutions! Hoorah.)

The filling is yum yum yum, and here's how you make it:
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp brewed coffee
3/4 cup pitted prunes (I know right? But I was out of raisins and we had these and I tasted one and it didn't kill me and it was actually pretty tasty, and trying new things is good!)
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp ground cloves
a little flour for dusting

Coat the prunes with a little flour to make them easier to chop. That was my mom's idea, and boy is she smart! Chop up the prunes. Combine all the ingredients and let them sit while the dough is rising so that all the flavors can really meld and the prunes (BTW, you could also use currants or raisins or even dates) get nice and juicy.

Once your dough is finished rising, roll it out on a floured surface into a rectangle about 14x20 inches or something like that.

Spread the filling on the dough, leaving plenty of room around the edges without filling. Then roll the whole thing up lengthwise (like a jelly roll or a magic carpet) and seal it together with water and lots of patient pinching. Gently pull the edges around into a ring shape--if this is difficult, let the whole thing rest for a minute and try again. Pinch the edges together, using water again to seal it. If it's really thin on one end and fat on the other, you can gently scootch it around until the shape is more even.
Flip it into a 10" round baking pan (a springform pan is probably easiest) with the sealed side down. Let it rise for about 20-25 minutes, covered, in the baking pan.
When it's ready to go in the oven, cut some nice little slits in the top of the ring, and bake it at 375 for 15 minutes, and then about an hour more, until the it sounds hollow when you tap it.

You can ice it with a mixture of powdered sugar and soy/almond/rice/etc. milk, if you want. (I want! I want!)

Let it cool and serve it with coffee, duh.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Feeling good and springy

Springlike? Anyway, I'm pretty much over this cold that's been bothering me all week, so that's good good news. And of course that means I'm cooking again, which is also happy.
On second thought, cooking might not be the right word for it because --alas!--it's midterm week here in Oberlin, and I am busy busy busy. But I did have time today to make some white bean dip, which I will now share will all of you (All of y'all.)
It's not even pretty, so there is no picture. It basically looks like hummus.

White bean dip
1 can white beans (navy, cannelini, or great northern are all good)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 of a small onion, chopped
1 tsp Zaatar spice*, if you are lucky enough to have them in your cupboard

Put everything in the blender and process until smooth. Eat with crackers and sliced veggies such as carrots, cucumbers, and bell pepper. You can also smear this onto a sandwich, if you feel like it.

*Zaatar spice is a blend of sesame seeds, sumac, thyme and oregano, and is used in some Middle Eastern dishes. It's tasty, but don't feel too bad if you can't find it--you can still make yummy dip! I promise.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I haven't been cooking much cause I've been sick, but here's something that's been bothering me. When I search for vegan recipes on Google, it substitutes vegetarian as a search term. If I search for "vegan lasagna recipe," that does not mean that I want the second result to say "Cheesy vegetable lasagna."