Friday, March 7, 2014

Cranberry coconut bran muffins with fresh ginger.

Bran muffins are super hit or miss. These are the hit-type. I've pulsed fresh cranberries, grated some ginger and threw in some unsweetened coconut so as to make these muffins good things. Throw in some more ginger, nuts or carob chips, whatever's your bag.

Yields 16

Ingredients I
1 1/2 cups bran
1 3/4 cups almond milk

Ingredients II
1/2 cup oil
2 tbsp molasses

Ingredients III
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Ingredients IV
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
3-inch chunk of ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 cup fresh, raw cranberries, pulsed

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine Ingredients I in a bowl and let sit for 10+ minutes. This is to soften the bran. Add Ingredients II into this bowl. In a seperate bowl, combine Ingredients III. Lastly, stir in Ingredients IV. Your batter ought to look like this:

Using a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop, fill your liners. They'll be about 3/4 full, but will rise above quite a bit when baking.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean from the centre.

Split open and spread on some nut butter, fruit preserve, vegan butter, or enjoy on their own.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lemon Linzer cookies.


Saturday night, I did what any other asshole would do. I wrote letters to my correspondences, blared my latest mixtape, and watched Bake With Anna Olsen.  I tuned into a stellar cookie episode. Lemon Linzer cookies were a part of my childhood. Yeah, so were eggs, and mullets. Those days are now behind me, though I often mullet over. I spent a good while veganizing this recipe and am happy to report they turned out stellar. Plus, what better way to utilize my lovely new CuisinArt mixer? 

Believe it or not, the Rudimentary Peni & Suicidal Tendencies stickers
did NOT come with the mixer. We live in a harsh world.

A word on sugar, powdered and otherwise. I refer to for cruelty-free brands. VivaLaVegan also has this super helpful bit of info!

Ingredients I

3/4 cup white flour
1 1/4 cups almond flour (almond meal)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter, cubed and chilled -- I used Earth Balance

Ingredients II
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp cold water
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer -- I used Ener-G
Zest of 1 lemon
Almond extract

Ingredients III
~1 cup filling -- I have half a cup each of lemon curd and blueberry pie filling
Powdered sugar for dusting.

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients in Ingredients I. Add in your butter. Beat with an electric mixer or your mixer. The mixture will be dry and crumbly.

In a small bowl, combine all of Ingredients II. Lightly whisk until well-combined. Pour into your large bowl and mix until just combined.

Your dough will be soft and quite pliable.
Too pliable. So, we ought to chill it.

Remove from bowl and form into a disc shape on cling wrap.

Chill the dough for at least one hour in the fridge. Once that hour is up, preheat your oven to 350F. Line two light-coloured baking sheets with parchment paper.

Halve your dough. Dust some flour on your surface and on your rolling pin. Roll out your chilled dough to be about 1/4 inch // 6.35mm  thick. Using a cookie/biscuit cutter, cut out 12. Repeat with your other half. Using a smaller cookie cutter, cut out the centres. I used circles, and scored these little darlins from the Dollar store in town. You'll now have 12 bottoms and 12 tops. I had some extra dough left, so I made 1-inch scalloped circles to make a few mini-sandwiched cookies.

Bake your full cookies for 5-6 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Bake your holey cookies for 4-5 minutes, same deal. Cookies with hard edges or holes will brown faster, eff why eye.

Once baked, keep them on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Dust powdered sugar on the holey cookies - make sure they're fully cooled er you're in trouble.

Take the flat side of the full-cookies and spread a light layer of your filling on it with a small offset spatula or butterknife, about 1/8 inch away from the edges. Add an extra dollop to the centre. Press your cookie toppers on.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Spicy black bean broccoli & eggplant with tempura tofu.

Today, I ventured out into the -50C/-58F frozen shitshow that is Winnipeg. I had to pick up some staples from the oriental market and figured a jean jacket would be the perfect parka alternative. Long story short, it was a wee bit brisk, so I decided making a spicy stir-fry would warm up the entrails.

I picked up another jar of black bean paste (douchi). My go-to brand is Asian Family, and a jar is about $2. A good black bean paste will contain very few ingredients, the primary ingredient being fermented black soy beans. There will also be some soy sauce. sugar and vinegar in some brands, but the fermented beans best be first on the ingredients listing. The flavour is sharp and pungent. Buying black bean sauce will yield a totally different taste, due to the massive amounts of sugar, vinegar and sodium added in there.
Lee Kum Kee is my favourite brand of chili oil. The chili flakes settle to the bottom, and the soybean and sesame oil creep up top, and it is orange. as. fuck. It has a fairly high smoking point which is stellar for pan frying. This jar set me back another $2 and ought to last me an awful long while.

For the Vegetables
3 Indian eggplant, cut into eighths 
1 small crown broccoli, florets will yield about 3/4 cup
1 small can water chestnuts
2 shallots, sliced lengthwise
Toasted cashews, chopped
1 tsp chili oil + 1/2 tsp of the settled chili
2 tsp black bean paste

In a wok, add in your oil and begin pan frying your vegetables on medium-high heat. Once your vegetables are about ready, add in your black bean paste. Throw in your cashews and set aside.

For the Tofu
2 cups club soda
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
Spicy salt, optional
Extra firm tofu
Canola oil for frying

Cut your tofu into slabs (about 1cm thick), then into squares, finally into triangles. Mix up your tempura batter. It ought to have the consistency of a crepe batter or slightly thicker. The thinner the batter, the more it'll spread out in the pan. Oil up that pan, about 1cm of oil will do. Shallow fry your tofu until golden brown.

For the Udon Noodles
Stir fry the noodles in an oil of your choice. For two packages, I used 1/2 tsp chili oil + 1/2 tsp coconut oil. Once ready, the noodles will be good and crispy.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Orange & nut biscotti.

Heading to a coffee shop is always a sad display for myself. What they lack in vegan baking options, they more than make up for in charging up the arse to replace milk with soy. I'm left with a $6 steamed soy milk beverage with a shot of caramel every. single. time. I've made biscotti in the past but never blogged the whole shebang, so make yourself a proper cuppa, and be happy you're not listening to Second Cup blaring John Mayer's Best Of disc.

Ingredients I
1 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Spices: I used nutmeg and cinnamon, both freshly grated

Ingredients II
1 cup toasted nuts, chopped -- I used equal parts pecans, hazelnuts & almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted

Ingredients III
1/4 cup mild oil
6 tbsp coconut milk (as in the beverage)
Vanilla + other extracts if desired
Zest of 1 orange

Combine all of Ingredients I in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all of Ingredients III. Add your wet mixture into the dry. Mix with a spoon, not your hands, the mixture can be quite sticky at first. Halfway through mixing, add Ingredients II into the bowl. Mix well, it's okay if there's some floury bits poking about. If the mixture is still quite sticky, add in another 1-2 tbsp flour. It ought to look like this:

Keep in mind, this is to be a dryer dough. It should be moist enough to shape into 2 flattened logs that measure approximately 10 x 5 inches, about 1/2 an inch thick.

Using cling wrap, cover each log and pat fairly flat with your hand, a place, or little rolling pin.

Using a butterknife, score each log into 6-8 pieces.

Baking time is crucial! Bake for 30 minutes at 350F. 

Once out of the oven, immediately set your oven's temperature down to 325F.

Cut through the scoring, then let cool for five minutes. Set each piece on their side and bake for ten minutes.

After that, remove from oven, let cool for five minutes, then flip each piece to their other side, and bake for another five minutes. Repeat this step one last time. Your baking time will total 50 minutes (30 + 10 + 5 + 5).

Remove from oven and let cool for one hour.

Place in a glass jar. Serve with tea. Serve with Krakus!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sugar Cookies (drop cookies), vegan cream cheese frosting & toasted coconut.

Because the 65 year old iron, Power Rangers pocketsquare, red velvet spoon rack, bright green thrash/surf-punk mixtape, WWF magazine & DIY Milo card didn't quite feel like enough --

...I whipped up some sugar cookies. These are drop cookies, so no chilling the dough, which rules. They freeze nicely and beat the snot out of that Pillsbury garbage.

Sugar Cookies
Yields ~18

Ingredients I
2 cups white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

Ingredients II
1/2 cup dairy free butter (I used Earth Balance)
2/3 cup white sugar

Ingredients III
1/4 cup almond milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice, combined, to be set aside 5 minutes
Vanilla - I used 1 tsp vanilla paste
Lemon extract
Combine Ingredients I in a bowl and set aside.

Beat together Ingredients II, then add in Ingredients III.  Slowly incorporate your dry mix. The dough will be soft and a wee bit sticky. Using a small ice-cream scoop, or a tablespoon, drop dough onto a dark baking sheet, arranging the cookies 12 to a pan, or 3 x 4.

Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes, or until cookies are puffy and bottoms are slightly browned.

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
2 tbsp dairy free butter
2 tbsp vegetable shortening
Almond extract
Beat together everything but the powdered sugar, until smooth and evenly incorporated. Slowly add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat for several minutes, or until light and fluffy. This makes a little over 1 cup.

Toasted Coconut
Sometimes toasting things can be terrifying. I used 1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut and turned on my stovetop to Medium/Medium-High. Get a nice big pan and some patience. The coconut will brown in 5-7 minutes, give the pan a shake every few minutes so it toasts evenly. Place the coconut on a plate to fully cool.

Once cookies and coconut are cooled, frost the cookies with a miniature offset spatula and then dunk into the coconut.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Coconut oil-based shortbread cookies.

When I'm at the bulk store, scooping out coconut oil from those massive vats, I get some pretty vivid Fight Club flashbacks in my noggin. I'm sure this happens to everyone, though, so I'm not too worried. I mean, I'm not stealing the oil from a dumpster, I'm not shopping with anyone named Tyler.. however, if this is your first time visiting The Hardcore Herbivore, you have to bake these cookies.

These are coconut-oil based, and slice up nicely once you take them out of your ice box.

Yields 18 cookies

Ingredients I
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened, but not melted
1/4 cup white sugar
5 tbsp cold water
Extracts -- I used both almond and caramel, as well as vanilla bean paste

Ingredients II
1 1/4 cups white flour

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In your mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together Ingredients I for a few minutes. Add in your white flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Your dough should have the consistency of PlayDough. If it's too crumbly, add in additional cold water, 1 tbsp at a time.

Place Saran Wrap on your table and form the dough into a log on top of the wrap. Roll the wrap around the dough, and twist the ends of the wrap, so you can further form the log into a cylinder, which should have a 2 to 2 1/2 inch diameter. Press both ends of the dough so they don't crumble off. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Remove your dough from the fridge, and take off the Saran Wrap. Try not to get to handsy with the dough, as the heat from your hands can start melting the coconut oil in the dough. Slice up into 1/4 inch (no slimmer) pieces and place 12 to a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, turn your pan, and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until bottoms are slightly browned and the tops show a little colour to them.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Vegan Tony Roma's Baked Potato Soup.

Two decades ago, I remember riding in the backseat of my grandparent's wood paneled station wagon. For we were heading to Tony Roma's, very likely with coupons in hand. Those early 90's laminated menus contained ribs, ribs, steak, ribs and some ribs. I don't think they'd yet gone shrimpin' with Bubba. Sweating at the brow, I let the server (who later joined B4-4) know I'd very much like the baked potato soup, please.

The soup came 'round  spilling over the edges in a negligible crock that definitely used to be white. While my heartily-mustached grandfather tackled his rack of ribs, my grandmother annihilated her club sandwich and french fried potatoes. I scarfed down what tasted like if a baked potato and a pint of cream were to go head-to-head in a cage match, with bacon bits as the weak-kneed referee.

Fast forward twenty years and all I want is some baked potato soup, hold the animals.

Ingredients I -- Cashew Cream
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews 
1 cup water

Ingredients II
3 cups potatoes, chopped, skin on
2 small yellow onions
6 cups water
Vegetable stock powder (I prefer Knorr)

Ingredients III
1/4 cup non dairy cheese (I prefer Daiya cheddar style shreds)
1 - 250ml container Belsoy soy creamer
2 tbsp vegan bacon bits
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt

Optional: 3 tbsp flour or cornstarch, dissolved into 1/4 cup hot water

First, make your cashew cream. There's a number of different methods including
- Soaking in cold water overnight
- Soaking in hot water for 2+ hours
- Boiling on medium for 20 minutes
I've had good luck so far with the third method. Once boiled, I give my cashews a rinse, throw them in my blender and add cold water -- enough to just cover the nuts. Blend for some time, then strain if there's any larger bits you'd prefer to do without. Set aside.

Next, prepare your vegetable stock, and bring it to a boil with your onions and potatoes. Break out the immersion blender and pulse about half the pot.

Finally, add in all of Ingredients III and your cashew cream whilst simmering. If the consistency is too thin, add the optional starch mixture, and bring to a boil so the starch cooks out and thickens the soup.

Top with some shredded Daiya, green onions, and bacon bits.

Serves 4-6.