Monday, October 22, 2012

Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake

I have a guest post today over at my friend Christy Morgan's The Blissful Chef blog. Check it out here to get the recipe for this amazing Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake, cooked in a cast iron skillet!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jumbo Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce and a Giveaway!

It's time for a Virtual Potluck again! You may remember around this time last year we were celebrating Robin Asbell's Big Vegan cookbook, and I posted her recipes for Kale & Sun-Dried Tomato Calzones and a Pumpkin-Cherry Bundt Cake with Cherry Glaze. Well, Robin has a brand new book out, full of sweet treats made with whole grains and natural sweeteners. Her book and the cool autumn weather has inspired me to dust off my oven mitts and get back in the kitchen baking again. How could you not be inspired from recipes like Spiced Banana Bread with Dried Mango, Pumpkin-Date Bread Pudding, or Pistachio Brownies with Ganache Topping?

And if you want to start your day off right, there's an entire section for Breakfast Sweet Treats. One of the first things I made from Sweet and Easy Vegan was the Jumbo Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce. These pancakes are big and hearty, and not too sweet. The strawberry sauce added all the sweetness I needed, although my husband added a drizzle of maple syrup to his. I think the next time I make these, I might try Robin's suggestion to forgo the sauce and serve them like flatbreads with a tofu scramble and tempeh bacon. She has generously allowed me to share the recipe with you, so here you go!

Jumbo Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce
serves 6 - 10

1 lb. strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 tsp. gluten flour (optional)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups almond or other non-dairy milk
1 Tbsp. egg replacer (like Ener-G)
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine strawberries, agave syrup, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until berries break down and sauce thickens. Keep warm until ready to serve.

2. Make the pancakes: In a large bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk until well mixed. In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the almond milk and the egg replacer, whisk until smooth and frothy. Add remaining 2 1/4 cups almond milk, agave syrup, and lemon juice and whisk until thoroughly blended. Pour into flour mixture and stir just until combined.

3. Lightly oil two nonstick frying pans and set them over medium heat. (You can also use one large, rectangular griddle.) When the pan is hot, use a 1/2 cup measure to portion one pancake into each pan, they should spread to a width of 6-7 inches. Cook until bubbles appear all over the top surface and edges are dry, 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook other side about 1 minute. Continue cooking remaining pancakes the same way. Serve warm, topped with strawberry sauce.

For other delicious breakfast treats, check out these other participants in our Virtual Breakfast Potluck:
Mocha Scones with Cacao Nibs
Shaina Olmanson's Food for my Family Blog

Coconut Banana Granola
JL Fields JL Goes Vegan Blog

Sweet Polenta with Cherry Sauce
Julie Hasson's Julie's Kitchenette Blog

And there's more! From now until Nov. 1, you have a chance to win your very own copy of Sweet and Easy Vegan. Just leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite vegan breakfast consists of - the vegan breakfast of your dreams! A random winner will be chosen Nov. 1. Good luck!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A German Trip & a French Soup

We are back from our trip to Germany. A jetlagged baby waking up at crazy hours prevented me from recapping my trip sooner, but sadly, there weren't many vegan discoveries to report. My family there lives in a smallish city, where there are several "Reformhauser" or health food stores, but even there many products are vegetarian but not necessarily vegan. It's not like in Berlin, where they're lucky to have vegan cafes and even an all-vegan grocery store. I did get excited to find these vegan gummy bears, because as a kid, before I learned where gelatin comes from, I loved the Haribo ones:

They were totally hard though, and got stuck in my teeth. Possible it was just an old packet or something, but I wouldn't recommend these.

Like I said, the health food stores had lots of vegetarian faux meat products like these:

Vegetarian sandwich meats
Vegetarian sausages because, of course, it's Germany. (Vegetarian liverwurst?! No thanks!)

Vegetarian Wiener Schnitzel makes me laugh. I don't know why. It's just funny.

I didn't check all these packages but I did notice that a lot of them contained egg whites, so they weren't vegan. We easily found non-dairy milks made from soy, oat, or nuts, but no yogurts without soy. The restaurants we went to, unless they were "ethnic," had no vegan options AT ALL. We had several meals out that consisted of green side salads and french fries. It reminded me of 20 years ago when I first went vegetarian in high school (Eek! I just gave my age away!) and I had to make do with meals like that. In all, it seemed pretty easy to get along in Germany as a vegetarian, but quite a lot more difficult as a vegan.

Speaking of french fries, why doesn't this product exist in the US???

Curry ketchup is BRILLIANT. They sell it EVERYWHERE in Germany (I think they usually eat it with sausages) but why don't they sell it here? It's so good! And it's made by Heinz! I really love this stuff, as you can see by my overuse of exclamation points!!! Or do they sell it here, and somehow I've just never noticed this in grocery stores?

At any rate, even though we ate more than our weight in french fries, most of the time we ate at home, and by that I mean my mom's Thai home cooking. I should have taken pictures of it, but I was too busy stuffing my face. Sorry about that. Nothing like two weeks of mom cooking for you, especially if your mom is Thai!

But now we are back in NYC and the cool autumn air has me craving soup. I've always loved French Onion soup but sometimes cooking down all the onions on the stove requires more time and attention than I'm willing to give. I may or may not have burned a pot full of onions on more than one occasion. Which is why I was happy to find a recipe for the soup in Robin Robertson's Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. Her recipe is so incredibly easy I don't know why I haven't been doing it this way all along. It's simple enough to recap for you: thinly slice 4 sweet onions (like Vidalia) and put them in your slow cooker with 1/4 cup olive oil. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, then add 5 1/2 cups vegetable stock and cook 30 minutes to 1 hour longer. Robin suggests adding an optional 1/3 cup brandy along with the stock, I didn't do this but I did add a little red wine. To finish, cut some French or Italian bread into slices, top with vegan mozzarella (I used Daiya), then place under the broiler until cheese is melted. Float the toasts on top of the soup in individual bowls to serve. Alternatively, I put the bread on top of the soup, sprinkled the cheese on top, then put the entire bowls in my toaster oven to melt the cheese. I think this way maximizes the melty cheesiness. Bon appetit!

Stay tuned Monday for a special Virtual Potluck post and a chance to win a copy of Robin Asbell's Sweet and Easy Vegan!