Saturday, December 1, 2007

5-minute microwave brownies

I've been totally out of commission with a terrible HORRIBLE INSANE cold!!! I've either not been cooking or been cooking only soups, which isn't that exciting to put up all in a row.

However, now that i have my sense of taste back, i was really craving something chocolatey and warm. When it started raining, and Evan was out of the house, i knew it was time to whip something up. This is a recipe inspired by one i found on veg web, with some unique twists and scaled down to be a sweet treat for 2 people, or sinful decadence for one person.

5-minute Microwave Brownies
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1-2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
2 tbsp oil (i used canola, olive is a bit too strong for this)
4 tbsp soymilk (vanilla or plain)
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
handful chocolate chips to your taste
sprinkle of powdered sugar (for the end)

1) Mix the sugar, flour, and cocoa powder till even in color.
2) Add the molasses and oil and mix well. You should have little crumbles in a very dry batter.
3) Add the vanilla extract and soymilk, wisking or mixing till to get a smooth consistency similar to that of a cake batter. Add more soymilk if batter is too thick.
4) Mix in the chocolate chips to your liking.
5) Pour mixture into a microwave safe bowl, with some room to rise, left uncovered.
6) Microwave on "high" for about 3 minutes, depending on your microwave power. When brownie gives slightly to pressure in the center and comes back, it's ready.
7) Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.

This is great for someone who's been watching those singe serving microwave brownie commercials. The molasses in the brown sugar and the extra added molasses in the batter gives it a rich, dark chocolate, smoky taste which i love.

- If you choose to omit the molasses, be sure to add some moisture in, like substituting mashed banana or 2 tbsp of applesauce.
- Coming out of the microwave, it will be HOT!!! So please use hotpads and let it cool a little before handling or if you're around children.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Now that it's been getting cold here, i've been busting out my winter recipes. This involves a lot of soups and kassroles. This is one of my favs, and adaption of Omni Evan's mom's recipe.

Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped broccoli
2 tsp olive oil
3 cups broth
2 tbsp earth balance (optional)
1 cup soymilk
1/2 tsp of thyme
dash of black pepper

1) Fry onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant.
2) Add broth, spices, and broccoli and bring to a simmer.
3) Reserve 1/2 - 3/4 cup of the soup, getting as many broccoli pieces as you can in the cup. (this will determine how chunky the end resulting soup is)
4) Add soymilk and heat through.
5) Blend the soup with a hand blender or in a blender till smooth in consistency.
6) Add back to pot, and stir in the cup of reserved soup and broccoli chunks.
7) On low heat, melt the EB and serve immediately with crusty bread.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

MmmMmm Gravy

So this is the gravy that i use in basically everything that will taste good with gravy on it. It takes a few minutes, but i make a lot at one time and freeze it in ice cube trays to use later, and believe me, it's well worth it. (Just be sure to let your guests know what it is before they get some ice for their drinks...)

MmmMmm Gravy
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3-6 cloves of garlic minced very well
2-3 slices of yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose white flour
4 tsp nutritional yeast
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 or 6 white mushrooms, sliced (optional)
extra flour or cornstarch (optional)

1) Cook onion and garlic in oil on med heat till onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant
2) Add flour, yeast, and soy sauce to make a paste, stirring to combine
3) Slowly wisk in the water, bring to a boil
4) Lower to a simmer and add mushrooms if you like, and spices
5) Pour over everything!!!

-After you take the gravy off the heat, wisk in 1-2 tbsp of Earth Balance for richness and a glossy sheen.
-When you add your flour, be sure to cook it for a few minutes to get that powdery taste out of the way.
-The longer you cook your flour, the darker the gravy, just be sure to keep stirring!
-When making "white" gravy, like for 'chick'n fried steak" or biscuits, substitute the soy sauce for some vegan broth. You'll get a lightly colored gravy with a simple rich flavor.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Creamcheese Frosting

This is a great frosting, soft, sweet, and tangy like real cream cheese! Be sure to cool your cakes and brownies before frosting, cause this stuff will melt when warm.

Creamcheese Frosting
1 tub Toffutti Better Than Cream Cheese
3 cups powdered sugar

1) Beat the cream cheese and the powdered sugar together on low or medium speed. You can actually do it by hand, just add the sugar in increments and incorporate before adding more.
- You can add a few spashes of soymilk if it's too thick or too hard to work with.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Zuppa Toscana

So, i'll be the first to admit that there's not anything really Tuscan about this recipe. However, i was trying to recreate Olive Garden's Toscana soup, so i thought since i changed most of the ingredients, i might as well keep some of the name. Although, there's not much Tuscany in their recipe either. In any case, it turned out great, i highly recommend this dish for those dark cold nights of winter.

Zuppa Toscana
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
2-3 small white potatoes, cubed
2 tofurkey italian spiced sausages, small cubed or crumbled (or whatever you like for a sausage substitute)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or more if you like it spicy
1 pinch kosher salt
5 cups of water + boullion or 5 cups of stock
1 cup soymilk
2 tbsp earth balance
4 large bunches of kale, sliced relatively thin

1) Cook chopped onion, garlic, and cubed italian sausage over medium heat in the olive oil with the red pepper flakes and salt till onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant.
1) Add diced potatoes and stir, cooking for 2 minutes.
3) Add the water and boullion, or 5 cups of broth, whichever you are using.
4) Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and coook for 20 minutes.
5) Add in the soymilk and earth balance and heat through.
6) Toss in the chopped kale and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring.
-Serve immediately in big bowls with some crusty bread-

- I find that the italian tofurkey sausage has enough spices, but if you don't want spicy, leave the peppers out. Be sure to add the salt though, even just a pinch makes a world of difference.
- Sometimes 6 cups of liquid is too much, so you can just simmer the soup on low to reduce some of the liquid to your tastes.
- Usually this soup isn't as great the next day since the kale gets all greenish/brown from the breaking down of cell walls, so i suggest cooking a large pot of it to share with family, or halving the recipe for a smaller amount.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

'More Than Just Pasta' Salad

This pasta salad makes veggies the main dish. With persimmon and chopped kale, it's more than just your average potluck pasta salad.

1 red bell pepper, minced
1 roma tomato, chopped
2 persian cucumber (or 1/2 regular cucumber), chopped
1 carrot, grated
2 kale stalks, chopped
2 persimmon, cubed
3 cups rotini pasta, cooked
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup good quality olive oil
1/3 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp vegenaise (optional)
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp vegan sugar (or to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper (or to taste)

1) Chop all veggies and cook pasta.
2) Blend the dressing together till glossy and creamy.
3) Toss the pasta and veggies together with 1/2 of the dressing.
4) Pour second 1/2 of dressing and toss right before serving.

I love adding some dried cranberries or sprinkling some ground flax on the top. This was the perfect post-yoga dish.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Vegan Resources and Information

Want to be better informed? Looking for nutritional advice? More info on veganism, fun facts and the TRUTH about vegans? Check out these amazing sites!

International Vegetarian Union
The Vegetarian Resource Group
Tree Hugger
Veg Blog
Veg Family Magazine Online
Vegan Health Organization
Vegan Outreach
Vegan Porn (Don't be fooled, it's just NEWS!)
Vegan Society
Vegan Wolf (Great list of ingredients to avoid)
Vegan World Order