Friday, October 28, 2011


Today I was supposed to clean the kitchen, so instead I made a mess in the kitchen. Sound familiar? I made some stuff and dipped it into chocolate. It was fun and Halloween-y.
Here is what I made:
Peanut butter candies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Candies
(Or you could use the same basic recipe to make peanut putter cups.)

1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 pinch salt
12 oz. vegan chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Combine 1/2 cup peanut butter (the no-stir variety) with a pinch of salt. Sift in 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and stir until well combined. Add more (sifted!) powdered sugar as needed until you have a stiff dough-like consistency. Roll the peanut butter into teaspoon-sized balls and place on a piece of parchment  on top of a cutting board or cookie sheet (something flat.) Put the peanut butter balls in the freezer to firm up for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, make one by placing the chocolate in a metal mixing bowl on top of a pan of simmering (not boiling!) water. The mixing bowl should be wider than the pan, so that steam doesn't get into the melted chocolate.

Use a fork or a toothpick to dip the peanut butter balls into the melted chocolate. Try not to worry about making them look professional! Drippy chocolates with fingerprints on them will still impress your friends.

If you want them to harden really quickly, put them back into the fridge or freezer until the chocolate has set. You might want to store them in the fridge, too, depending on the temperature of your house.

Peppermint Patties
Peppermint patties
1/4 cup agave syrup
2 cups powdered sugar
1 drop pink or green food coloring (optional, of course)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp. peppermint extract
1 pinch salt

Combine the agave, salt, food coloring, and extracts in a small bowl and mix well. Sift in 1 cup of the powdered sugar, and stir to combine. Sift in enough additional powdered sugar to make a firm dough.

Dust your hands and a work surface with more powdered sugar. Form heaping teaspoons of peppermint mixture into balls and smoosh them to form patty shapes. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes.

Prepare your chocolate for dipping, as in the above recipe.
I had a really hard time dipping these, since the patties were sort of soft. Instead, I spread a spoonful of melted chocolate on top of each peppermint patty, and put them back in the fridge. When the chocolate was set, I gently peeled the parchment of the bottoms, flipped the candies over, and coated the other side with chocolate.

And don't eat these for your entire dinner! Unless you want people to start asking you questions like, "Where do vegans get their protein?"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Meat-less pies revisited, and a pita recipe

Do you remember those Lebanese meatless pies I made back in March? Well I finally got around to making a batch with the pita crust, and it was very yum yum. I left out the soy sour cream from the filling, and didn't miss it at all. I also added a little more paprika and cinnamon, and a little extra mint since it's still really thriving in my garden.
One advantage of making a pita crust is that if you have leftover dough, you can make pita bread! They get nice and puffy in the oven. I was too hungry to take pictures, sorry!

Pita dough
Combine 1 packet of yeast with 2 1/2 cups warm water. Let stand 5 minutes.
Combine 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour with 2 tsp. salt. Add to the yeast mixture and whisk until smooth.
Knead in 3 1/2-5 cups white flour, until a soft but not sticky consistency is reached. Knead until stretchy. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place about an hour, or until doubled in size. Punch down and let rise again. (That step isn't really necessary, but the extra time gives the pita more flavor.)

If you have a pizza stone, this is a great time to use it. Place the stone near the bottom of your COLD oven and preheat to 450 F.
If you don't have a pizza stone, you can preheat a cookie sheet and bake the breads on that.

To Make Pies:
Divide your dough into 12-16 equal pieces. Roll them out to 1/4 inch thickness and spoon some of the "lamb" mixture into the center. (Don't worry if they're not perfectly round, just do your best.) Bring up 3 sides of the circle and pinch together in the middle. Pinch the seams closed to form a triangular pie. Brush the tops with olive oil. Bake them 2 or 3 at a time on the preheated baking stone or cookie sheet for about 9 minutes. The tops should be barely golden and the dough should still be soft.

To Make Pitas:
Roll out the dough into 1/4 inch thick rounds (or ovals or amoebic shapes or whatever) and let rest 5 minutes. Bake on a preheated baking stone or sheet until puffy, about 5 minutes.

Serve the pies and pita with some green salad, and maybe some hummus and baba ganouj, for a gigantic and tasty Middle-Eastern feast.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vegan Challah Round 2

Poppy seeds, or sesame? I can't choose!

I made another batch of challah today. The recipe is courtesy of challah-genius Sara Rivka at Check out her blog!

She also has posted a really neat guide for how to braid round challah for Rosh Hashanah. I made one loaf with sesame seeds, and one with poppy. Instead of an egg wash, made a little bit of flax seed goo (that's the technical term for it, anyway.) I poured 3 Tbsp of boiling water over 1 Tbsp of flax seed meal, whisked it for 3 minutes, strained out the bits of flax seed, and brushed it over the top of the loaves. Using soy milk is a little easier and works fine, but this way comes out shinier.

Ready to go into the oven

There was a little cross-pollination that happened with the two loaves on the same pan, but I think that probably won't hurt anything.

Here they are about to go in the oven.

Let cool before cutting

Let them cool on a wire rack. And don't overbake! Because then you'll have to make a whole lot of French toast.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vegan Rosh Hashanah

Here is attempt #1 at vegan challah.
Here is the dough that I used:

3 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 packet dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp tumeric

Whisk all that together in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk 2 Tbsp flax seed meal with 1/4 cup warm water. Beat this mixture for about a minute. It should be sort of gooey. Add 1/4 cup soy milk and another 1/4 cup warm water. Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon.

Turn the dough out onto a clean, floured cutting board and knead until the dough is stretchy and elastic.
Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled in size. Punch it down, and let it rise another hour.

Now it's time to shape the dough. This is the fun part!

Turn the dough onto a cutting board. I didn't need to dust it, but you can use flour if you need to.

Cut the dough into two pieces, one about twice the size of the other.

Divide each of these pieces into thirds. Roll each piece into a rope. You want all the ropes to be equal in length.

 First, make a big braid from the three bigger ropes. Next, make a smaller braid from the remaining dough.

Using the rush the top of the big braid with some soy milk. Tuck the ends of the braids underneath so that it will look pretty, and stack the little braid on top of the big braid. Now brush the whole thing with soy milk.

Cover the loaf with plastic wrap, and put it in a warm place to rise for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake for about 40 minutes. To test for doneness, tap the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it's ready to come out of the oven.

I think I'll try adding more oil and more water next time, and baking it in a slightly cooler oven. In the meanwhile, this is yummy with apricot jam.

Peanut butter & sesame seed cookies

This is just to say

I have eaten the cookies
I baked for my weblog
and I didn't even take any pictures.
Forgive me, but they were delicious
with a hot cup of coffee. 

I did a bad thing. I made a batch of cookies, and then I ate them all without taking any photos for you.
Fortunately, it is an exaggeration to say that I ate them all. I had help. But still, no photos. I'm sorry. Forgive me. These are very similar to regular old peanut butter cookies, but with a slightly more assertive flavor. They are a little chewy and a little crumbly and a little crunchy all in one, and they're not too sweet.

Here is the recipe:

1/4 c peanut natural smooth peanut butter, unsalted*
1/4 cup sesame tahini
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine*
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar*
1 1/4 c flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt*
1 Tbsp each of black and white sesame seeds*

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease two cookie sheets. Using an electric mixer or fork, cream together the margarine, peanut butter, tahini, salt, and sugar in a medium-large bowl. Beat until the mixture is fluffy. Taste a tiny bit and adjust the salt, if necessary.

2.  Add the cornstarch and the flour. Mix with your hands until the dough comes together. If it's really really dry, add a tablespoon of soy milk, but only do this if the dough is too crumbly to work with.

3. In a shallow bowl or a plate, mix the two colors of sesame seeds together.

4.  Scoop up a 2-tablespoon sized piece of dough, and roll it into a ball. Flatten it a little between your palms, and dip one side into the sesame seed mixture. Place seedy-side-up on the cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. If you want to, you can use a fork to make a criss-cross pattern on top of each cookie, as you would for classic peanut butter cookies. Bake the for about 12 minutes, until they are golden-brown around the edges.

*So many stars, right? Well, here's what you should know. You can absolutely use salted peanut butter, but if you do, and especially if you're using salty Earth Balance, then leave out the additional salt. 
As for the margarine, you are of course welcome to use regular old hydrogenated margarine. Cookies aren't really good for you anyway. But read the ingredients to make sure they haven't snuck any whey or other dairy ingredients in there, or else the cookies won't be vegan and you'll have worked so hard only to make cookies that you won't want to eat, and that would be the pits.
If you don't have light brown sugar, you can just use white sugar. If you don't have white sugar, you can use Sucanat. The sesame seeds are primarily for decoration, and while they are lovely, they can be omitted without really ruining anything. You will still have yummy cookies! If you don't have sesame seeds, you can dip the cookies in coarse sugar instead.
In short, you are your own person and you can cook however you gosh darn please.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A search bar!?!

I've added a search bar to the blog--Fancy!
The only thing is, it doesn't always work. For instance, I searched for the word "kasha" and nothing came up, even though I have a kasha recipe posted on this blog. Not perfect! I'll see if can figure out what the problem is but in the meanwhile, try searching for cookies, cause that works just fine.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer corn soup

5 ears of corn, shucked with the silk removed
3 scallions, washed and trimmed
1 serrano (or jalapeno) pepper
2 Tbsp Earth Balance
1 qt water
Salt and Black pepper, to taste

1. Roast the pepper by holding it with tongs over an open flame until the skin is wrinkly with black spots. Or, you can cook it in a dry skillet over high heat. Shake the pan frequently so it doesn't stick. Once it is nice and toasty, remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, cut it in half the long way and remove the stem and seeds. Mince one half of the pepper. (Adjust the amount of pepper to your taste, but remember that the corn is very light in flavor, and it could be overwhelmed by too much chili.)
2. Use a sharp knife to remove the kernels of corn from their cobs. Then, use the back of the knife to scrape the juice into a bowl.
3. Chop the scallions and set aside.
4. In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the earth balance. Add the corn and corn juice, along with the scallions and chili. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the water, salt and black pepper. Bring the broth to a simmer, and then cook for an additional 5 minutes over medium heat.
5. Puree the soup in a blender in batches, filling the blender only halfway for each batch. You don't have to go crazy trying to make this 100% smooth; a few kernels of corn are nice.
6. Impress your friends!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lazy Pants Macaroni

This is pretty good.

Boil 2 c. water with a sprinkle of salt and one (minced) clove of garlic and a shake of chili powder.
Add 1 c. shell pasta (or whatever shape you feel like, gosh.)
Reduce heat to medium.
When almost all the water is gone, add 2 Tbsp. tasty flakes (aka nutritional yeast), a couple grinds of pepper, and a smidgy pinch (in the ballpark of 1/8 tsp) or dijon mustard. Cook until the water is absorbed.
Eat it. You might want to use a fork, but no judgments either way.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bubbe's Kasha Varnishkes

When I was a kid, my mom would always try to persuade me to eat kasha varnishkes, and I would tell her that I hated it because it tasted "like dirt." This is probably because I hated anything that was whole-grain until I was about ten, and kasha is made of buckwheat groats, which are very whole-grainy-seeming to a little kid.
Now, you may ask, what even is kasha varnishkes?
Well kasha varnishkes is a traditional Eastern European Jewish dish made of buckwheat groats with bowtie pasta, and it often has onions and mushrooms as well. I myself have more or less refused to eat kasha varnishkes since about forever.

Well, one of my grandmother's favorite activities is to bring food to me (we live in the same neighborhood.) In the last few years, this has been a bit of a problem for her since she's somewhat overwhelmed by the idea veganism and vegan cooking. Lately, the main thing that she seems comfortable making without any meat or eggs or dairy is soup.
Soup! In July!
So I told her, Bubbe, it's the summer. You have to stop bringing me soup to eat because I'll just put it in the freezer til the fall, anyway.

So do you know what she brought me instead?

Well if you guessed kasha varnishkes, you guessed right.
And I tried it.
And it was delicious! I mean, really really delicious! I ate the whole container full of it.
I think the reason I didn't like it when I was little was because it has a very earthy flavor--maybe because of the minerals in it? Kasha is a good source of iron and phosphorus, and if my Bubbe cooked it, it's also a good source of onions. It's traditionally made with an egg, but this is Bubbe's veganized version.
Incidentally, she says this is "a pain in the ass" to make. I say, totally worth it.
You can eat it hot or room temperature. Oy! So good.

Chop one large onion, and cook it in a saucepan over low heat in some olive oil. Add 1 cup kasha and cook until the kasha is toasty. Add 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt (Bubbe never adds salt, but I do.) Cover the pot, and simmer for about 12-15 minutes over medium-low heat. You want to cook it until the water is absorbed and the kasha is fluffy.
Meanwhile, cook 1 lb bowtie pasta (farfalle) in boiling water until it's tender, around 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, brown 8 oz. sliced button mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil.
Once the kasha is finished, fluff it with a fork and add the mushrooms and bowties.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Three simple steps to make your summer better

1. Slice a ripe banana
2. Fry it in Earth Balance margarine over medium heat for around five minutes
3. Put it in a crepe, or on top of some ice cream, or on your pancakes, or on your waffles, or french toast (get the idea?)

You're welcome.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


My hat it has three corners, three corners has my hat...
Sorry to post this a week AFTER Purim, but I had to rework the recipe a bit. Slash, I got lazy.

You'll need:
2 c. flour + 1 tsp. baking powder + 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. refined coconut oil
1/4 c. apple sauce
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. lemon extract

In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the coconut oil until soft. Cream in the sugar for 1-2 minutes. Add the apple sauce, vanilla, and lemon extract and beat until combined. Add half the flour and mix until just combined. Then mix in the orange juice, and add the remaining flour. The mixture will be a little crumbly, so smush it together into a ball. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes.

To roll out the dough, cut into 4 pieces. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin, and roll out one of the pieces to 1/4 in thick. Use a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass to cut as many large circles of dough as you can out of the piece of dough. You can re-roll it and re-cut it a few times to make as many cookies as possible.

Put the circles of dough on a silicone baking mat or piece of parchment on a baking sheet. Spoon about 2 tsp. apricot preserves (or other fillings) into the center, and fold the edges into a triangle shape. Pinch the edges closed tightly around the filling. Repeat this process to shape the remaining cookies. You can also fill them with the traditional poppyseed filling, (which comes in a can, lucky for me!)

Bake at 350 F for about 12 minutes, until the edges are light brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lebanese Meat-less Pies

Ok, here's my vegan version of something delicious that I used to eat a long time ago: lebanese meat pies. They're tasty, but they're traditionally made of lamb, which isn't really my style. So here's my lamb-friendly version, 'cause of this t-shirt.

You'll need:
1 1/2 cups dry TVP granules
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce*
2 tsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce*
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika*
1/8 tsp. ground cloves*
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (traditionally you're supposed to use pine nuts, but I'm not that rich right now)
1 Tbsp. soy sour cream
salt and pepper (how much? you ask. Figure it out yourself! I believe in you!)

1 package filo pastry and some oil, for brushing

*these ingredients are not traditional, but they help the TVP not taste bland

So that was a lot of ingredients! Well, if you're still feeling ambitious you can wrap these lil' guys in home-made pita dough, but I'm gonna take the shortcut and wrap them up in pre-made phyllo. Cause that's how I roll.

Ok so here we go. Let's make the filling:
1. Heat up the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and spices and saute, stirring occasionally.
2. Mix the Worcestershire, soy sauce, tomato paste, and boiling water. Pour this over the TVP. Let this sit for five minutes, and then add it to the skillet. Adjust the heat to medium, and let it sit. You want the TVP to brown a little bit, so don't stir too much! Cook for 15 minutes, and then remove from heat.
3. Pour the TVP mixture, walnuts, lemon juice, herbs, and soy sour cream into a mixing bowl and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now you have to find something to do while you wait for that to cool down to room temperature. (Like for instance, check if anyone posted on your facebook wall? Brush your hair? Walk the dog?)

4. This is the tricky/ fancy part. If you don't want to deal with it, you could also serve the filling inside of store bought pita, especially if you warm up the pita first. Otherwise, follow these instructions for how to fill the pastry. (I could describe it for you but it would not help you one bit. Just watch the video.) Bake them in a 350F oven for about 15 minutes, until they are golden.

They are a bit involved to make, and they will disappear quickly so you might be annoyed. Sorry? Um, enjoy.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Key Lime Pie

This will make your friends want you to come over for dinner all the time.

First, make the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. (that's 5 Tbsp.) vegan margarine
3 Tbsp. sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Combine the sugar and cracker crumbs in a medium bowl. Pour the melted margarine over the crumbs and stir to combine. Press into a 9-inch pie plate.
Bake the crust for 5-7 minutes.

Now make the filling:
1/2 cup key lime juice (I used one from a bottle, the brand is Nellie & Joe's.)
2 tbsp coconut cream (as in, the cream scraped from the top of a can of coconut milk. I had some left over from making thai green curry. If you don't feel like opening a can of coconut milk, you can just leave this out.)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. almond milk
2 tsp. tapioca starch
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 package mori-nu firm silken tofu
1/4 cup soy cream cheese

In a blender or food processor, combine the key lime juice, sugar, salt, almond milk, vanilla and tapioca starch. Blend until smooth. Crumble in the tofu and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides. Add the soy cream cheese and blend some more. Taste it and see if it's good. If it's no good, give up now, 'cause it should already be delicious.
Pour the filling into the pre-baked crumb crust. Bake for 1 hour. It should still be slightly jiggly in the center. Don't worry; it will set as the pie cools.
The hard part: Let it cool before you slice it. Seriously, let it cool before you slice it!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Smoky Lentil Soup With Spinach

There's nothing very exciting about lentil soup. Still, this is some goooood soup! Especially now, when there's a foot of snow on the ground here in Brooklyn. I decided to season the soup with smoked paprika and lemon zest, and I used some split red lentils for the sake of a) speed and b) prettiness. I got the idea to season lentil soup with smoked paprika from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything, whose The Minimalist column in the NY Times will be sorely missed, at least by me. (And please, please note that this dish is actually part of a healthy meal, and not a house made of cookies and candy! Don't accuse me of just wanting you to eat junk.)

You'll need:

1 lb. split red lentils
1 lemon
1 medium onion
1 large carrot (or two small)
2 stalk of celery--I know, I know, I really had a thing going with just one of everything! I guess you could use one if you wanted?)
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup oil (I used canola. Use whatever oil you like!)
A handful of frozen spinach, thawed--I used about 3 ounces, which were left over from another dinner this week. Or, if you want to use fresh, that would be awesome, obviously.)

Heat the oil in a large pot with the bay leaf. Dice the carrots, onion, and celery and add them too. Saute these veggies together until the onion looks translucent and the carrot is starting to think about maybe getting tender some day. While this is going on, pour your lentils into shallow pan and sort through them. This way, if the package had any lentils or bugs or clumps of dirt or other kinds of legumes mixed in, you can avoid putting them in your soup. Once you are satisfied that your lentils are in fact lentils, dump them into a colander and give them a quick rinse. Then they go right into the pot with the veggies. Add enough water to cover everything, plus an inch. (Not a very precise measurement! I swear, it's really okay; you can add as you go.) Add the smoked paprika and stir it in.
Bring the lentils to a boil, and then you can turn down the heat and let everything simmer on medium to low heat for about 40 minutes. The exact timing varies every time you cook dried beans. Just give them a stir every now and then. Add water periodically, so that the lentils always have some water covering them.
While all that's going on, you need to drain your spinach. Once it has thawed, grab hold of it and squeeze all the water that you can out of it (hold it over a bowl or the sink.) Yes, you lose some vitamins this way, but you avoid turning your soup green. If you really really can't stand throwing out the baby with the bathwater (wait, I mean....) then it's really your call, cause it's your soup. That's all I'm gonna say about that.
Plop the spinach down on a cutting board and chop it up. You don't want long stringy pieces of spinach falling out of your spoon and making you look like a fool when you eat.
Now wash your lemon and, using a microplane or box grater, grate as much zest as you can from the skin of the lemon. (Keep in mind that with zest, you always want only the yellow part on the outermost layer of skin, not the white stuff underneath.) Put all your zest to the side--now comes the juicing part. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze as much juice as you can from each half into a bowl or cup. You can strain it to remove any seeds, or else you can fish them out with your fingers (or chopsticks if you're really, really good at chopsticks.)
Once your lentils are soft, season to taste with salt and pepper. If you want, you can puree the soup in a blender (or with an immersion blender if you have one!) After pureeing, add in the spinach you've chopped.
Immediately before serving, stir in the lemon juice and zest. It's pretty hearty, so it can be a meal on its own, especially with some whole-grain bread. Yum!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gingerbread houses and other stuff, too

Happy new year! Maybe in 2011 I will make some things that are actually healthy, but I spent December making sweets, sweets and more sweets.

But first things first, Whaz in da bag???

This is my sister's dog, Remy.

Ok, so gingerbread houses are nice. For the dough, I used Mark Bittman's recipe for gingersnaps, which are delicious, but I added some finely ground black pepper and a pinch of cayenne to make it extra-spicy. For icing, I melted some corn syrup with confectioners' sugar until it made a thick paste, and used a spoon to drip the "glue" wherever i needed it. The results were very messy, but I like to think that adds charm.I had some dough left over, which I shaped into balls and rolled in sugar for some sparkly gingerbread cookies. I guess if I wanted to be really ambitious, I could have made gingerbread people like I did last year, but they still tasted good!

Another thing that had been bothering me was a complete lack of non-marshmallow rice crispy treats in my life, as I was having a bit of a jonesing for them. I found a recipe on that was really fantastically easy, and which turned out great. I doubled the vanilla, and I didn't regret it. Let them cool for a couple of hours before you cut into them to get neat little squares. If you felt like mixing in some chocolate chips or something in there, that would be ok, too, but I like them plain. And if corn syrup freaks you out, use brown rice syrup instead. Yummeh!