Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pecan Pie

Today is National Pie Day - not to be confused with National Pi Day, which isn't until March (or July, depending on how particular you are).  To celebrate, I made a version of the Best Vegan Pecan Pie.  I also made this for my mother's annual family dinner in December, and it was a bit hit among the entirely omnivore crowd.  It is truly the best pecan pie.  For the pie crust, I'm not including a recipe because I bought mine, but you can find recipes all over the interwebs.  Whole Foods has a nice selection of vegan pie crusts, and I got a whole wheat version.

Pecan Topping:
2 cups pecan halves
1 tablespoon Earth Balance margarine
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

10 whole grain graham crackers
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup agave syrup
2 teaspoons almond (or vanilla) extract
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350.

For the pecan topping, melt butter in pan on stove at medium heat.  Add pecans and turbinado sugar and brown while stirring.  Don't overcook.

For the filling, put graham crackers in a food processor and chop until crumbs.  (I used honey grahams.  Yes, I eat honey.  The My Vegan Cookbook blog, from which this recipe is derived, uses saltines.)  Add water and mix again.  Let sit for a minute or two.  Add the other filling ingredients and process until liquefied.  Cook in saucepan on med-high until boiling, stirring constantly.  Turn down heat to simmer for 2 minutes.

Pour the filling into the crust and add the pecans to the top.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Nutrition: 1/8th of the pie is about 420 calories, 46g carbs, 24g fat, and 3g protein.

Happy Pie Day!  This is so good, maybe I'll make it again on 3/14.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes

These cupcakes are fairly low in fat, and since I mistakenly left out the applesauce, they turned out denser and more like brownies than cupcakes.  Feel free to add 1/3 cup of applesauce to the batter (I have done a version with that before) if you want them more cakey.

Brownie cupcakes:

1/2 cup coconut milk drink or lite coconut milk
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raw cacao (or cocoa) powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a mini muffin pan.  (I like that size, but feel free to use the bigger ones and increase the baking time.)

Mix together the coconut milk, turbinado sugar, and agave syrup (not pictured - sorry!).  Mix vigorously with a fork or whisk every minute or so, until sugar is dissolved.

Meanwhile, stir together soy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside for a few minutes to let it curdle.  (This give the cupcakes their airy texture.)  Add to coconut milk and sugar mixture and beat until some foam forms on top.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cacao powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to the wet ingredients and stir until just mixed.  (Don't overmix, or the cupcakes will turn out too hard.)

Edited to add: I made these again, adding 1/4 cup applesauce and 1 tablespoon canola oil to the wet mixture, and they were incredibly moist and delicious.

Pour into muffin tins.  Bake about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting:

6 oz. lite silken tofu (1/2 block of shelf-stable package)
1/4 cup vegan sour cream or cream cheese (I use Tofutti brand)
1 Tbsp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 c. choc peanut butter

In a blender, whip together tofu, sour cream/cream cheese, margarine, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and cacao powder and blend.  Finally, add peanut butter and whip until desired texture.  Refrigerate at least 20 minutes before topping cupcakes, using a spoon.

A few notes about ingredients:
  • If you don't have Peanut Butter & Co dark chocolate peanut butter, I recommend getting some.  It is truly one of the best foods ever invented.  If you try the recipe with regular peanut butter, you may need to add more cacao powder and/or sugar.  If you don't like or can't eat peanut butter, you can leave it out.  Let us know in the comments.
  • When using things like maple syrup and vanilla extract, nothing but the pure, real stuff is good enough.  I like grade B maple syrup, because it has a rich, full flavor.  You could try replacing maple syrup with agave syrup (or vice-versa for the cupcakes).
  • For the cocoa, I am using Navitas raw cacao powder.  If you're using another kind of cocoa, you may need to increase the amount.  

This recipe is adapted from, which took the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World , by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.  Gotta love the Post Punk Kitchen.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Vegan Alfredo Sauce

When I started eating a vegan diet, the last thing I stopped eating was cheese.  I love creamy, cheesy things.  I would always have on hand boxes of macaroni and cheese - different kinds for different moods - including the cheapest, most neon-orange generic box with powdered sauce mix.  Now I buy vegan "cheese" and make my own vegan macaroni and "cheese" - which, while only a distant cousin of my boxed favorites, is enough to satisfy my cravings.

This sauce is more like Alfredo and is, I believe, even better than the too-rich dairy version (or my previous attempts at making it with skim milk).  And the protein and fat content make it a food I can have on a regular basis.  It's derived from a recipe in The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak.

2 Tbsp chopped garlic (yes, I use the kind from a jar)
7 oz. lite silken tofu (half a package of the regular, refrigerated stuff - not actually what's pictured here)
1/4 c water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2-1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Nutritional  yeast
1/2 heaping teaspoon salt

Sautee the garlic in a pan for a minute or two with 1/2 Tbsp heated olive oil until golden brown.  Transfer to a blender and add all the other ingredients.  Blend until creamy.

Voila!  You can use it for any kind of pasta dish, like this one.  I had it with vegan ravioli and garlic-sauteed spinach.  It stores in the fridge pretty well for a few days.

Makes about 3-4 servings.  At 3 servings per recipe, the nutrition info per serving is 146 Calories, 3g Carbs, 13g Fat, 6g Protein.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Taco Night

You know, most of what I make hardly constitutes a recipe, but that doesn't mean it's not delicious.  This is one example - hence the dearth of photos: I didn't think of putting it on the blog until I was just about to eat.

Vegan Tacos

1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP) (I use Bob's Red Mill)
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 T chopped garlic
Chili powder, pinch
Cayenne pepper powder, pinch
Cumin, pinch

1 avocado
1/2 lime or 1/2 tsp lime juice
Salt, pinch
Garlic powder, dash

Fresh salsa:
1 medium tomato
1/4 jalapeno* pepper
1 T chopped onion

4 small tortillas (I used Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Low Carb, because they're high in fiber and protein)
Tofutti Better than Sour Cream

Add one cup veggie broth to dry TVP and let sit for 5-10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, make guacamole.  Cut lime in half, squeeze, and rub around inside of bowl.  Sprinkle salt and garlic powder (and cumin and cayenne, if you're in that mood) over the lime juice.  Cut avocado and put both halves in the bowl.  Mash with fork until desired texture.

Cook onion in olive oil at medium-high heat until translucent, and then add garlic, and cook until golden brown.  Add TVP and spices; cook while stirring until slightly browned and warm. 

For salsa, chop tomato, jalapeno*, onion and mix together in bowl.

Warm up tortillas.  (Here's my lazy way: I put 1-2 tortillas on top of the TVP mixture in the pan, covered with a lid, and warm on medium for a few minutes.)  Put filling, salsa, guacamole, and Better than Sour Cream on tortillas.

Wrap and eat!

*How do you put tildes on these blog-thingies?