stairway to vegan

Sharing a journey into the world of fabulous vegan food.


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A childhood meal……mmmm Mac and Cheese of course Vegan #MoFo day two

Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese

Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese

So, I am cheating a little with this one. Technically, I did not have Mac and Cheese when I was a child. Growing up in Australia it was not something I was aware of, however, once I moved to Canada, I soon found this warm, gooey, cheesy, pasta and fell in love at first bite. I soon made up for lost time and probably consumed an entire childhoods worth in the first couple of years living  here. So, I guess this is my “second childhood” meal memory.

Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese

Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese

As a vegan, I searched around for a great version of this dish and finally found this recipe by Isa Chandra at the Post Punk Kitchen. If you have not yet visited her site, you should head on over there pronto.  The recipe Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese is so good, when I made it, I ate the entire pot full.

Enjoy,

96B4F31D4DF30EE65A022CF611762965

 

 

 

Roasted Red Pepper Mac & Cheese

By Post Punk Kitchen

Yield: 2 large servings
1/2 pound macaroni or other small pasta
3/4 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced medium
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons organic cornstarch
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
1 roasted red pepper (jarred or homemade)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons pizza seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1. Preheat a 2 quart sauce pot over medium heat. Sauté onions in oil with a pinch of salt for 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, then transfer to a blender or food processor.

2. Boil a large pot of salted water for cooking the pasta. Once boiling, cook pasta according to package directions.

3. Drain the cashews and add them to the blender along with the vegetable broth, corn starch, nutritional yeast, red peppers, tomato paste, pizza seasoning, salt, mustard and turmeric. Blend until very smooth. Scrape down the sides every 30 seconds or so and test for smoothness.

4. Transfer the sauce in the blender back to the sauce pot where you cooked the onions. Turn the heat up to medium and let cook, stirring very often, until thickened. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes. Taste for salt. It should taste slightly salty because you’re going to be pouring it on the pasta.

5. The pasta should be done while the sauce is thickening, so drain and place pasta back in the pot you cooked it in. Set aside.

6. When sauce is thickened, add it to the pasta in the pot, and use a large slotted spoon to mix well, taking care not to break the pasta.

 

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Strawberry Champagne Pearl Soup with Palmiers #veganMoFo

Strawberry Champagne Pearl Soup with Palmiers

Strawberry Champagne Pearl Soup with Palmiers

The last day of MoFo and it is time to celebrate. Another month of blogging comes to an end. I will miss my morning fix of radomofo, browsing the blogs and seeing all the great recipes, ideas, pictures and funny stories.

While I will miss MoFo, I will also enjoy a short break. Just enough time to recharge the batteries and get the creative juices flowing again.

In the meantime, I have finished my month of “Soup and Bread” with a dessert.

This soup is nice and cold. It is not overly sweet, but the addition of the Palmiers will add in the sweetness. Confession time: the recipe uses Tapioca Pearls, however, I could not find any at my store today and had run out of time to look further, so I substituted them for Orzo pasta. I think the Tapioca would have given the soup a nicer, creamier taste. I also added a dollop of cashew creme and a few fresh Lemon Verbena leaves for garnish.

Enjoy,

96B4F31D4DF30EE65A022CF611762965

Strawberry Champagne Pearl Soup with Palmiers

Strawberry Champagne Pearl Soup with Palmiers

Strawberry Champagne Pearl Soup

Serves 8

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup tapioca pearls
    9 cups strawberries (frozen can be used)
    1 cup sugar
    1 lemon, juiced
    1/2 cup Champagne or sparkling white wine
    6 mint leaves, plus more, for garnish or lemon vegans leaves
    1 cup cashew creme (soak 1 cup cashews in water overnight, drain, blend with equal amount of cold water in blender until creamy and smooth)

In a saucepan, bring water, tapioca, strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and Champagne to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then add mint leaves. Let cool to room temperature.

Blend together with an immersion blender or in a standing blender, then strain through a sieve. Chill in the refrigerator, covered, for 3 hours.

Serve soup in glasses with a dollop of cashew creme and garnish with mint or lemon verbena leaves.

 

Strawberry Champagne Pearl Soup with Palmiers

Strawberry Champagne Pearl Soup with Palmiers

Vegan Palmiers

Serves 8

  • 1 cup  sugar
    1 pinch salt
    1 sheet Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (double-check, but I found this brand to be vegan), defrosted but still very cold.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the sugar and salt. Pour 1/2 cup of the mixture onto a pastry board or other flat surface covered with parchment paper and spread it around. Unfold the sheet of puff pastry onto the parchment and pour the other half cup of the sugar mixture on top, and spread it evenly to cover the puff pastry.Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper and using a rolling-pin, roll the pastry until it’s a 12” square and sugar is pressed in all around. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper. Fold the sides of the pastry square toward the center so they go halfway to the middle point. Then fold one half over the other, like closing a book. You should have 6 layers. Slice the pastry “book” into 8 slices and place them cut-side up on parchment-lined baking sheets leaving plenty of space between each one.

Bake the cookies for 6 minutes or until caramalized and brown on the bottom. Then turn and bake for another 3-5 minutes until caramalized on the other side. Transfer to rack to cool.

Strawberry Champagne Pearl Soup with Palmiers

Strawberry Champagne Pearl Soup with Palmiers

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 267 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 362 Calories from Fat 76
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8.5g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.6g  8%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 24mg 1%
Potassium 355mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 71.7g 24%
Dietary Fiber 4.0g 16%
Sugars 59.0g
Protein 3.8g
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 165%
Calcium 4% Iron 10%
Nutrition Grade B
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional Analysis

Good points
Bad points
Strawberry Champagne Pearl Soup with Palmiers

Strawberry Champagne Pearl Soup with Palmiers


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Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Light Rye Bread #veganMoFo

Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Light Rye Bread

Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Light Rye Bread

For todays soup, I have made a Chickpea and Pasta soup with a Light Rye Bread. Very fitting for the first day of Fall.

Time is really slipping by this month. It is hard to believe we are already in the fourth week of Vegan MoFo. In order to complete my 20 posts, I will have to be a little creative and double up one day, as I have just realised that I will only be able to squeeze 19 in before the end of September. Oh Well, I guess I will just slip in one extra…..:)

Enjoy,

Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Light Rye Bread

Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Light Rye Bread

Chickpea and Pasta Soup

Serves  10

  • 1 lb dried chickpeas
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 3 litres vegetable stock or water
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb skinned fresh tomatoes, seeded
  • 10 oz small tubular pasta such as ditalini
  • flat-leaf parsley, optional

Put the chickpeas in a bowl and cover with plenty of water. Mix together the bicarb of soda, flour and salt and add enough water to make a thin paste. Stir this mixture into the bowl with the chickpeas and leave to soak for at least 12 hours – preferably overnight.

When the chickpeas have doubled their size they are ready to be cooked. Drain and rinse. Put them in a large stockpot and add the vegetable stock or water. Tie the rosemary sprigs in a muslin bag and add to the stockpot. Do not be tempted to just add the rosemary sprigs without the bag, as I did. The rosemary will fall apart and you will spend a long time fishing out the stems and leaves.

Add the garlic to the stockpot and pour in half the oil. Cover the pan tightly and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and cook over the lowest simmer until the chickpeas are tender, which can take two or three hours. Do not uncover the pan for the first hour and a half, or the chickpeas will harden. For the same reason, do not add any salt until the chickpeas are nearly ready.

When the chickpeas are tender, remove  the rosemary bundle. Purée the tomatoes through a food mill or in a food processor and add to the soup with their juice. Stir well, add salt and pepper to taste and cook for a further 10 minutes or so. .

Before you add the pasta, check that there is enough liquid in the pot. You may have to add some boiling water. Now, add the pasta and cook till al dente. I like to add some freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, but the glory of this soup will be undiminished if you prefer not to. Garnish with flat leaf parsley and drizzle with extra olive oil if you like.

Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Light Rye Bread

Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Light Rye Bread

Light Rye Bread

Makes one loaf

  • 1 ¾ cups + 3 Tablespoons warm water
    2 ¼ teaspoons, or one ¼ ounce package active dry yeast
    2 ½ cups bread flour
    1 ½ cups light rye flour
    1 ¾ tspn salt
  • 1 Tbspn sugar
  • 2 tspn caraway seeds

Activate the yeast
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water and yeast. Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes so the yeast activates.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour, light rye flour and salt until well incorporated.

In another medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, caraway seeds and stir until just combined. Whisk in the warm water mixture from

Mix the dough
Add the wet ingredients to the bowl containing the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon in one circular direction for 1 minute. Now stir in the opposite direction for 1 minute.

Coat the ball of dough in vegetable oil
Add about 1 Tablespoon olive oil to another medium mixing bowl and spread it around the inside with your fingers. Use a spatula to scrape the dough into the oily bowl. With dampened fingers, form the dough into a ball and rotate it around in the inside of the bowl so it’s coated in oil.

Let the dough rise
Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and let it rise in a warm place until it’s doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.

Let the dough rise once more
Degass the dough by pressing on it with dampened hands several times until no more gas comes out of the dough. Form the dough into a ball again and let it rise until it’s doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.

Proof the dough
The dough can now be proofed by gently forming it into a lightly oiled loaf pan and allowed to sit covered with a plastic bag until it reaches about 80% to 90% of it’s intended size, which should be about 40 minutes. The proofing stage is where the dough takes most of it’s shape. It’s important to leave room under the plastic bag so the dough can rise sufficiently.

Preheat your oven to 375F  Remove the plastic bag so the dough can rest for about 10 minutes while your oven is preheating. During the baking process, the dough will rise another 10% to 20% of it’s intended size in the process known as oven spring. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when the loaf pan is tapped.

Cool the  bread  completely before removing it from the loaf pan.

Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Light Rye Bread

Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Light Rye Bread

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 456 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 543 Calories from Fat 133
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14.7g 23%
Saturated Fat 1.9g 10%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 2224mg 93%
Potassium 641mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 86.4g 29%
Dietary Fiber 15.0g 60%
Sugars 8.4g
Protein 19.5g
Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 8% Iron 38%
Nutrition Grade A-
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional Analysis

Good points
Bad points
Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Light Rye Bread

Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Light Rye Bread


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Spicy Chard and Corn Flan with Toasted Oat and Sesame Crust

Spicy Chard and Corn Flan with Toasted Oat and Sesame Crust

Where I live, we are enjoying a long weekend. The weather is still deciding if it will co-operate or not, one minute it is nice and sunny and warm, and then the clouds start rolling in with rain, then, the sun comes out again. Luckily I did all my outside work yesterday ( I played hookey, and took the day off). Front, side and back lawns mowed and laundry washed and then dried on the line. Does anything smell better than sheets, dried in the sunshine?

This time last year, we took a trip to PEI (Prince Edward Island), and the people we were staying with had an outdoor clothes line. I had forgotten how great these are. When I got home from our trip, I set up an outdoor line and have been  using it whenever possible ever since. This is just one of the things I do to try and reduce my own “carbon footprint”. I also try to ride my bicycle to work at least a couple of days each week, compost all my green waste and this year (as I have mentioned in previous posts) have signed up for a CSA basket to support the local farmers.

If we all do a little bit, together wecan  make a difference:)

One of the new items in our CSA this week is Swiss Chard, so to help use it up, I decided to make a Spicy Chard and Corn Flan with Toasted Oat and Sesame Crust.

If you prefer less, or no spiciness, you can reduce or omit the red pepper flakes.

Enjoy,

96B4F31D4DF30EE65A022CF611762965

Spicy Chard and Corn Flan with Toasted Oat and Sesame Crust

Spicy Chard and Corn Flan with Toasted Oat and Sesame Crust

Spicy Chard and Corn Flan with Toasted Oat and Sesame Crust

Makes 1 flan

Toasted oat and sesame crust:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 3 Tblspns sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup flour (whole wheat, spelt, brown rice, whatever you prefer)
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn cumin
  • 1/4 tspn ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1/2 tspn paprika
  • 3/4 tspn oregano
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or any other non dairy milk )
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water, if necessary

Lightly toast oats and sesame seeds in pan over moderate heat until aromatic and starting to turn golden.

Remove from heat. Add to food processor, and process until fine.

Add flour and other dry ingredients. Process until combined.

Add milk and oil and pulse to combine. Add water if necessary. The mixture should still be crumbly, but moist enough to stick together when pressed into the pan.

Press crust mixture into the base and sides of a greased 9 inch spring form pan, The sides should come up about one inch.

Place crust in refrigerator while preparing the filling.

Filling:

  • 3 Tblspns olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard washed and chopped
  • 12 basil leaves chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tspn red chilli flakes (reduce or omit entirely if you do not want a spicy taste)
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 300 g silken firm tofu
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tspn salt

-Pre heat oven to 375 F.

Heat oil in pan on medium, add onions and saute until soft.

Add chard, basil, garlic and chili flakes and continue to cook until soft, about 5 mins.

Place tofu, lemon juice and salt in food processor. Process until smooth and creamy. Add a little water or almond milk if necessary.

Add tofu mixture and corn to cooked vegetables. Mix well. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.

Pour filling mixture into crust. Bake 45 – 50 mins until firm.

Remove from oven and let sit at least 15 mins before removing from pan.

Spicy Chard and Corn Flan with Toasted Oat and Sesame Crust

Spicy Chard and Corn Flan with Toasted Oat and Sesame Crust

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 357 g (1/4 of the flan)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 593
Calories from Fat 336
Total Fat 37.4g
Saturated Fat 8.9g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1234mg
Total Carbohydrates 53.1g
Dietary Fiber 9.2g
Sugars 5.2g
Protein 17.3g