Thursday, March 9, 2017

Meringue Cookies

This recipe is from the cookbook Aquafaba by Zsu Dever.

Recipe: see page 104 of Aquafaba.

This is a wild cookbook. I laughed as I made this recipe because it was such an odd idea! I didn't believe this could actually work.

You know how when you open up a can of chickpeas and you drain out the liquid? It turns out you can make stuff out of that liquid.... like Meringue Cookies! That bean water is called Aquafaba.

You take the bean water and blend it with a mixer or a whisk. After awhile it starts to froth and foam and then it firms up. It's similar to how people whisk egg whites to make meringue.  Vegans don't eat eggs, so this is an interesting replacement.

Add a little sugar to sweeten it, and you have a base that you can use to make things like the recipes in this book: lemon meringue pie, cool-whip-style dessert topping, ice cream, swiss buttercream icing, marshmallows and marshmallow creme, and even vegan butter and cheese.

Once the bean water has been whipped for awhile it starts to get a little sticky. This apparently makes it a very good binder in recipes that usually call for eggs. The cookbook has recipes for baked goods such as brownies, quiche, hot cross buns, challah, brioche, macarons, and butter cookies.

I added a little beet juice to provide a some pink food coloring to these meringue cookies, and used a pastry bag to create the shapes. Meringue cookies are very light and airy. It is almost like eating cotton candy. You don't really chew them, they just kind of dissolve in your mouth.

You can view additional photos from the book on my pinterest page for the Aquafaba cookbook.

You can view this recipe for meringue cookies at The Jazzy Vegetarian website.

Ingredients: granulated sugar, aquafaba (bean water), cream of tartar.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Szechwan Tempeh and Green Beans

This recipe is from the cookbook One-Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson.
Recipe: see page 116 of One-Dish Vegan.
This is another fast and tasty recipe from the cookbook One-Dish Vegan. I use Trader Joe's Organic 3-Grain Tempeh, which consists of soybeans, rice, barley, and millet. Some people can't stand tempeh, but I love it. It is chewy, but with a little crunch, and the taste is kind of nutty.

In this recipe the tempeh gets covered in a sauce made from tamari, chili paste and sugar. It's sweet and spicy. I had never thought of using those ingredients together to make a marinade before, but I will definitely be trying this on some other things like tofu or mashed, fried chickpeas. Very tasty.

There is also an added sweetness that comes from the red onion, and an extra zing from some fresh grated ginger.

Ingredients: tempeh, green beans, red onion, fresh ginger, Asian chili paste, dark sesame oil, dry sherry, garlic, red pepper flakes, sugar, tamari, vegetable oil, rice.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Vegetable and Pasta Bake

This recipe is from the cookbook One-Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson.
Recipe: see pages 191 of One-Dish Vegan.
I think the Brussels sprouts kind of wrecked this for me. I am a huge fan of them, but they seemed a little undercooked here and didn't really fit with the sweetness of the butternut, red onion and tomato.

Ingredients: red onion, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, penne pasta, white beans, canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes, liquid smoke, fresh sage, smoked paprika, vegetable broth, bread crumbs, salt, black pepper.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sesame Soba with Tofu and Broccoli

This recipe is from the cookbook One-Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson.

Recipe: see pages 148 of One-Dish Vegan.
This is a tasty vegan recipe that can be prepared quickly. The sauce is creamy from the tahini and spicy from the Sriracha. I deviated a little bit from the instructions and cooked the soba noodles separate from the broccoli, which I steamed. The first time I made this the broccoli completely fell apart by the time it made it to the table. I like it a little crunchy, and boiling makes it soft and waterlogged.

Ingredients: extra firm tofu, buckwheat soba noodles, broccoli florets, dark sesame oil, soy sauce, vegetable oil, garlic, ginger, tahini, mellow white miso paste, Sriracha, vegetable broth, sesame seeds.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tofu Ricotta

This recipe is from the cookbook Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

Recipe: see page 206 of Veganomicon.
I've already made this recipe for Tofu Ricotta for this blog before, but couldn't pass up doing it again when I found some vegan manicotti at the Viva la Vegan grocery store in Rancho Cucamonga (southern California). It's a great little store for finding interesting things I never knew existed. They had things like Tofurky pizzas (Tofurky makes pizza?), and the new 'Beyond Meat' which I have been reading about in the news for the last 2 years and is supposed to be a hyper-realistic animal-free faux meat. I keep reading stories about it, but have never seen it, and they had it.

So, they had vegan manicotti, which is something I don't think I've ever seen. It's been difficult for me to find mostly because those big pieces of pasta, like manicotti, lasagna and the big shells, tend to be made with egg. But maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, because this was DaVinci brand pasta, which is fairly common in this area.

I assumed there had to be at least one recipe on my shelf of vegan cookbooks for manicotti, but surprisingly there wasn't. Then I remembered this recipe for vegan ricotta in Veganomicon. It's very fast to put together, especially if you have extra firm tofu with a low water content. Some brands of tofu are firmer than others, even though they may call themselves extra-firm. You have to press it to squeeze out the excess water, and that might take a couple hours, but after that it's a 2-minute recipe.

It's been many years since I've had animal-based ricotta, but it seems to closely imitate that. As I remember it, ricotta never had much of a taste anyway. It got it's flavor from what you put into it, and that is the case here as well. I like this. It's a great general purpose recipe.

For the photo, I topped the manicotti with tomato sauce and a creamy cheese-style sauce made with white beans, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and tahini.

Ingredients: extra firm tofu, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt, black pepper, basil.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cauliflower Comfort Bake and Savory Herb Biscuits

This recipe is from the cookbook One-Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson.

Recipe: see pages 162 and 87 of One-Dish Vegan.
That looks like a lot of cheese in there, doesn't it? It looks like it might be cheddar and provolone and maybe some feta. Throughout the entire time I was eating this I was thinking "This looks like cheese!".... but it doesn't taste like it, and it's not cheese.

It is actually some thinly sliced butternut, potato and cauliflower. I bought a mandoline so I could easily slice these to the thinness specified. Mandolines scare me, so this recipe was a big deal. I'm afraid I'm going to slice a finger. That creeped me out just typing that last sentence. That's how much mandolines freak me out.

Anyway, the recipe is thin slices of those vegetables along with two layers of kale. A 'sauce' made of white beans, unsweetened almond milk, lemon juice and garlic powder is poured on top of the casserole, then topped with ground walnuts, salt and thyme.

The recipe called for spinach or kale, and I went with the latter because have a lot of it in my garden. I love kale, but I didn't care for it here. There was one step where it was steamed, and then it cooked in the casserole for another hour. It seems like it was overcooked, which tends to make it bitter, and not smell so good. I don't think that would have been the issue if I went with the spinach instead.

My other note with the dish is that most of the flavor is in the topping of the bean 'sauce' and walnut/thyme mixture. I found myself looking forward to every bite from the top.... and then not so much the bites from the bottom. It could have used some of that flavor layered down into the dish. Or maybe some salt sprinkled down there.

I'll definitely make this again (I also have a lot of butternut from my garden), but I'll go with the spinach and try doing an additional layer of the bean mix.

Also in the photo is vegan Savory Herb Biscuits from the cookbook. It's a standard recipe for quick biscuits, but was a little salty for my tastes.

Ingredients: (Cauliflower Comfort Bake): cauliflower, kale, russet potato, butternut squash, canned white beans, unsweetened almond milk, lemon juice, garlic powder, walnuts, olive oil, dried thyme, salt, black pepper.  (Savory Herb Biscuits): all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, dried oregano, unsweetened nondairy milk, vegetable oil.